I feel like I am not the one to write this. Tragic loss is not something I’ve experienced in my life. I still have both my parents, I’ve never lost a sibling, and I’ve never lost a baby. Yes, I have known and lost all four of my grandparents, but either when I was too young to truly comprehend it, or when I was well into adulthood to be comforted into knowing that they lived long and wonderful lives into their 90s and were ready to move on.
I’m not sure I can even begin to grasp the pain of losing a child either during pregnancy, delivery, or after so I won’t pretend to know what that feels like. And while I’d love to offer exactly the right words to console women who are faced with this tragedy, the truth is, there are no magic words to make the situation better. While I am fortunate enough to not have experienced loss of a child, it’s more common than you think. Nearly 20% of women experience a loss of pregnancy at some point in their lives. No matter at what stage of pregnancy the loss occurs, it is a loss that can cause deep and difficult emotional and psychological hurdles. What makes matters worse, is that we don’t talk about this kind of loss, instead we tend to sweep our feelings around these kinds of tragedies under the rug, hide them and unnecessarily keep them unresolved.
Here’s what I can say: “we are here for you.” I do not offer these words lightly. If you, or someone you know is struggling with this kind of loss, please know you (or they) are not alone. There are a lot of people and resources who can help and we can assist you in finding exactly what you need to heal. Please do not hesitate to call us. I may not be an expert on this kind of loss but what I DO know is how important it is to not ignore the pain and the sorrow and to get the loving support you need to heal.
The only thing I can speak on from experience throughout my journey into motherhood, is the loss of who I was before becoming a mom. While I’m not trying to get her back, I’d be lying if I didn’t say there are times I really miss pre-mom Ang. There are parts of my pre-mom-self that I have been working hard to reclaim over the last 10 years.
She was badass; endless energy and optimism, laser focus, driven, fearless, passionate and patient. I miss the confident young woman who was a fearless litigator (that’s probably in my head but we’ll roll with it), the division I athlete. I miss the student, the Angie who craved knowledge and loved learning. I miss hanging out with friends. I miss showering anytime I want, I miss wearing suits to work and stilettos, and I miss driving my two seater convertible. I miss wearing sexy silky nightgowns to bed just for myself. I miss having sunglasses that aren’t scratched, I miss putting something down in my house and being able to find it in that same spot. I miss not finding half eaten apples all over my house. I miss not having the endless barrage of picking stuff up. I miss doing whatever I wanted, when I wanted.
For a long time, I lost that part of me who knew how to have fun and find joy outside of my children. I’ve been working hard to find the things that brought me joy before I had kids. I have been reading more. I am trying to relax more. I might even take a pottery class (or a pole dancing class). Who knows! I have tried to remember all of those things that made me happy … Reading makes me happy. Dancing till the sun comes up makes me happy. Running into the ocean makes me happy. Playing soccer, cooking an amazing meal, hosting a party for friends, laughing until my belly aches, a killer workout. I made a list in my head then tried to check some of those things off the list. Do the same. If they still make you happy, do it again! Make time. Find the joy.
Along with things I’ve lost, I’ve also gained so much. Mom-me is definitely more compassionate, more determined to live in the moment and cherish every second. I’m not nearly as cynical, and have a deeper drive and purpose to leave this planet a better place than I found it by raising kind and bright humans.