Pregnancy and Infant Loss: Advice from the Tula Community
In the summer of 2012, a small group of Tula fans decided to form a Facebook page to share in their mutual love of a carrier that held their precious babies close to their hearts. Nobody could have predicted how much this group would grow, and how parents would not only join to chat about all things Tula, but also their unique parenting paths with the accompanying highs and lows. It has been an honor to have cheered on new babies born, milestones they have reached, and watched them grow into school agers and even teenagers since then.
Over the years, many members have also shared a sad piece of the journey of growing a family, as current data tells us one in four parents have experienced pregnancy or infant loss. The month of October is dedicated to these stories, to these families, to these little ones who have left too soon. The grief shared by us all is also as unique as a fingerprint, and whether private or public, a scar on our hearts that may fade over time, but never fully goes away. Names may have been given, sometimes a picture taken, or only a memory of seeing a positive test is what we carry with us.
Some of our community members who have experienced pregnancy and/or infant loss have kindly shared some advice and words of love and support for others who are grieving a similar loss.
The only thing that helped me cope was time. Time to grieve what could have been, time to mend our broken hearts, and time to gather courage to try again. – Jessica E.
Its ok to not be ok. Its ok to be ok. Its ok to have no idea how to be. – Chelsea S.
Grieve, regardless if its been 2 days or twenty years. So many people think that within a few days you should "be okay" and ready to get back to day to day life. And the truth is, you're never really ready. There are constant reminders, there are constant scenarios that play over and over in your head. You see a pregnant woman, and you think "that should be me" you see that new mom and dad with their baby, leaving the hospital the same day as you, except, your arms are empty, and your heart is shattered. You see that baby crawling, and you know that should be what YOUR baby is doing. Grief is such a hard thing that I have found to deal with and go through. – Audie G.
It helps even to this day when people acknowledge my son and say his name. He was real, he existed, he mattered. – Tammy W.
There is no timeline for grief. We lost our youngest son, Oliver, after he was born at 22 weeks gestation in May 2013. Over 6 years later and there are still days it suddenly gets harder to breathe when I think of him. We will love and remember our babies until our dying breath, and while it will change over time, we will also grieve our babies until then too. Don't let anyone tell you differently. – Danielle R.
What helped me: allowing myself to “feel” all of the emotions that come along with it. Not expecting myself to get over it. – Catherine C.
When we lost our premature daughter Elinor (almost 4 years ago), what helped me the most was finding a group of other local moms who had lost babies soon after, at, or before birth. Seeing and hearing from them that there was indeed hope and that life would someday be bearable helped me get through the day to day until I found my new normal. I also had some family and friends who had lost babies message my husband and myself telling us about their losses and about how they got through the time. A big piece of advice I got from that that helped me was a reminder that my husband and I would grieve very differently and be on our own time lines, so we needed to be there for each other but understand that we would most likely be in different places for a while. Another thing that helped me was getting a bear to represent her in family pictures and family moments (like the birth of my rainbow baby, and the recent announcement that we are expecting baby #3), we went through the organization Molly Bears to get a weighted bear. Things that definitely weren’t helpful were comments like: “you’re young, you can try again,” and “God needed her.” – Hannah D.
I didn't tell a lot of people because my loss was early and I couldn't deal with all of the "I'm sorry" sentiments. A friend who also had a loss (but much later) validated my feelings one day when she said that, “A loss is a loss, no matter how early or late.” It made a huge impact. I finally felt entitled to be sad. – Lore S.
I lost Jacob at 19 weeks in 2009, and Brady at 16 weeks in 2012, and this past June I had an early loss. I found huge strength in talking about my boys and their stories. It was awkward for a lot of people and that was hard for me because it almost made me feel ashamed that I felt the ways I did. I lost friends and got amazing new ones. Support groups helped a bunch. After losing Jacob, I started drinking heavily and taking prescription pills to a point where I went to detox and rehab. I was much healthier mentally, sober, when I lost Brady and was able to advocate for myself a lot more than I ever had before. I knew I needed people around me who could relate and I needed healthy coping skills. I’ve had two rainbows since my boys but they’re always with us. – Kelly B.