My name is Carmen and I am a nurse, a yoga instructor, a farmer, and a writer. I am also the mother of three beautiful children. However, in my journey to have a family, I, like many other women, experienced pregnancy loss several times and in different ways.
For me personally, there was loss before I had children and there was also loss after having children.
Our first pregnancy loss was in 2015 and was a missed miscarriage; the baby had stopped developing at 9 weeks but we didn’t find out we had lost the baby until 12 weeks. Our second loss was an earlier loss when I was 10 weeks pregnant. In my third pregnancy, we lost our so-hoped-for daughter named Kaia, at 24 weeks via termination for medical reasons. After that, we had what is described as a chemical pregnancy, a very early pregnancy that ends in a miscarriage.
With all of these pregnancy losses, I experienced more than just the physical loss of having a baby. It was the loss of a happy pregnancy experience and birth story. It was the loss of having the family I envisioned and the expectations of what my future might look like. It was the despair of feeling like a mother but not having a living child. I knew there was nothing I could have done differently to save my babies, but it didn’t stop me from searching for reasons. It was isolating and I felt alone in my grief.
But after four pregnancies, four emotional journeys filled with excitement and then grief, I gave birth to our beautiful boy Case in 2017. Our lovely daughter Maelie followed close behind in 2019.
After having our two children, we then lost an unplanned pregnancy around 8 weeks. Even though I had two children, I did not feel like our family was complete and I wanted another child. My eighth pregnancy was our boy Jude, who we lost in August 2020 when I was 21 weeks pregnant, this time related to another terminal prognosis called Potters Sequence. Finally, our daughter Ayda came into our lives in July 2022, and as serendipity would have it, her due date was the same day that we delivered our son Jude the year before. It has amazed me many times how my worst day one year could be my best day the very next year.
I have been pregnant ten times (including another recent miscarriage) and have lost seven pregnancies; all in very different ways and at different times in my life. Building our family has not been easy, but it did build us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Over the years, I was asked many times, “Why do you keep trying? Haven’t you lost enough? Aren’t you scared it will happen again?” The answer to that was always: absolutely. Absolutely I was scared and absolutely I had lost, but I had also gained in so many aspects, and it was hope that kept me going.
A wise obstetrician once told me that some families are complete at one child and others are complete at five. This made me realize that I was allowed to want what I wanted. I asked another wise high-risk OB, “How do you keep doing this job when you see such heartbreak every day?” She said, “It is because I see families like you, ones who come back to show off their family of three one day.” And here I am :)
Some days I found myself rolling on the grass like an animal and other days I found myself unable to get off the kitchen floor, convulsing in tears. The pain was all around me and could hit me at any time.
Today my babies are the lights that continue to guide my life. It was my dream to honour the legacy of my babies in some way, because my babies will always be with me and there are many ways I can always remember them.
After journaling about the loss of my son Jude, which was something I had done after each pregnancy to release my emotions and to cope, I realized I had a collection of baby books for my dead babies under my bed. I thought to myself, “What is the purpose of all this?” I got the idea to put the journals all together and I collected them into one document. What transpired from there was me writing a book called A Diary to My Babies: Journeying Through Pregnancy Loss, which was published and released in February 2023. One of the beautiful gifts my babies gave me, something I otherwise wouldn’t have dreamed of doing, is becoming a published author. Though I would much rather have my babies, of course, this was one of the ways I could share and honour their stories and their lives.
Sadly, there is no real conclusion to pregnancy loss, as grief never goes away. It becomes part of our journey, a part of our story that we carry with us through life. Two truths can exist at the same time. We can still be sideswiped by grief when we don’t expect it, yet grateful and even more in awe of the beauty that is right here right now in front of us.
The poet Rumi once said, “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” So when you see a mother glowing, just know that she may once have been broken, but her capacity to heal was there. Her loss may never go away but the suffering can soften. The tears can be healing. Perhaps with the help of others who understand her loss, or with her ability to speak openly about her experiences and her lost babies, or with her advocacy for others experiencing pregnancy loss, her loss can lighten. Perhaps then the wound can let the light in"….And here we are :)
A link to Carmen's Incredible Book- A Diary to My babies: Journeying through Pregnancy Loss