Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day - A Personal Story
Miscarriage and Loss Remembrance
Strange where those words burrow themselves in. Miscarriage and loss.
I had two miscarriages. Many years ago. Many experiences ago.
My grieving went on long after it made much sense to me. After all, the losses were so early they were barely losses. Right?
They were losses after IUI's (intrauterine inseminations). I knew exactly what day I had been impregnated, exactly how far along I was. I could practically have told you how many cells each embryo had and how they were developing.
I hesitate to write on this sensitive, emotional subject. There is a political aspect to this conversation that is undeniable, given that we have a presidential election a scant 3 weeks from today.
The emotional, spiritual side is unmuddied by the political controversy. For me, I can separate these issues as easily as I open my eyes after a full, restful night's sleep.
I believe in a women's right to choose to have a baby or not to have a baby. That is my belief. I vote with that belief. That is not only my political belief; that is my feminist belief.
And yet. Those pregnancies held my future as I hoped it would be. Those two pregnancies were filled with soft, green grass and blue skies and picnics, holding a baby. Dreams of lighting candles and seeing the lights reflected on my baby's face. Gently holding my baby as I read my favorite books. I breathed into those places of sleeping and waking, knowing that my baby was alive and real and part of my waking life, not just a dream.
Yes, all those dreams and thoughts about an embryo so small that there was never any possibility of survival past living in my uterus.
Positive Pregnancy Test Dreams
While in fertility treatment, after a positive pregnancy test, I dreamt a whole life with my baby, toddler, pre-schooler. I dreamt of life with my child, all the way through college. All in the first several weeks, all while that baby was only a possibility of a baby. And I mourned the loss of that baby, child, and adult when the pregnancy failed. My heart broke with each realization that not every conception or embryo or pregnancy resulted in a baby in my arms.
I mourned the loss of those embryos that did not survive to babyhood.
I still do.
I still know exactly how old those children would have been. When their birthdays were.
I know that the moment I got those positive pregnancy tests that those embryos became babies to me.
Prayers to Those Mourning Recurrent Pregnancy Loss and Miscarriage
My prayers go to all of us who are mourning those losses today. Infant loss, spontaneous miscarriage, recurrent pregnancy loss--this pain has many different names. I am sending you loving thoughts, hoping that comfort finds it's way into your lives, moment by moment.
I hope that you can separate your loss from the political side of pregnancy. In three weeks we elect a president that is being very clear on his position. The issue is not abortion. It's about freedom to choose and reproductive health.
Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said in the debate with Vice President Joe Biden that he and Mitt Romney, if elected, would place supreme court justices on the court who would vote against Roe v. Wade.
Please understand that this is not only about abortion. It's also about fertility treatment and the ability to create embryos that create our families. It's about being able to have fertility treatment as a choice at all. If you think I'm exaggerating, please refer back to previous blogs about embyos being granted personhood.
I support a woman choosing. Choosing to have a family. And choosing not to have a family. Her choice. Not mine.
My choice is to take a few minutes today, two decades later, to sit quietly and remember the pregnancies that I lost. The embryos that didn't mature into the young men or women that I dreamed of. I will say a prayer of love and gratitude.
For all of us.
About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.