Invisible Grief


This was my third pregnancy. My previous two had been perfectly healthy and I never had a hard time getting pregnant. It was a blessing I may have taken for granted. We had just told our close family members and I was feeling good, which was crazy because I usually got terrible morning sickness right at 6 weeks. I just hoped it meant I might get lucky this time. But then, the bleeding started. And it lasted for almost a week. 

I called my doctor’s office and spoke to a nurse, but she shrugged it off like it wasn’t concerning. It made me so angry! She told me I would just know if I’m having a miscarriage. But the thing was, I didn’t know. I was in a gray area. I didn’t have all the signs and I didn’t know whether I should hold onto hope that things were okay or wait and expect the worst. I felt incredibly alone, while also knowing that I had a good support system. One of my close friends had just gone through this, and she was there for me in ways nobody else could be. She put me in touch with a midwife who offered advice and guidance and helped me feel better through the unknown.

A few days later, I started cramping. Then the bleeding increased. And just like that, I guess I knew what was happening. I felt really disconnected and numb, knowing this was a sad thing to happen but also not sure how sad I was feeling. I felt like I was in a fog for a few weeks, just feeling down and empty. 

Grief looks really different for all of us. It doesn’t always look like sobbing for hours and eating bowls of ice cream. For some of us, it looks like we are fine most of the time. And truly, I feel like I have been. But small things happen to remind me what I lost.

I see someone that is due at the same time I would have been and I feel like I’m being left out. Or my son says a prayer asking for the baby to come back in mommy’s tummy. And I lose it for a minute and let the tears come.

But then, I open up and find so many stories similar to mine. So many other women who have experienced this loss that we are told is very common. It feels hard to open up about a loss that may not feel as big because we didn’t actually get to see our baby and hold them in our arms. Those feelings are still valid and need to be felt. 

It has been very healing for me to share about my miscarriage. People are so understanding and want to offer comfort. It makes me feel better to just let the secret out, even if it makes people uncomfortable and unsure of what they should say. But the best thing really is just to say, “I’m sorry.” Nothing else needs to be said. Just sit in the hard feelings with someone and allow them to open up as little or as much as they would like to.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

I think it is important because it is often not talked about. This month helped me to be brave and share my story in this public way. So many other women with stories like mine stay silent. They feel alone and can’t often find anyone to relate to. October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, and at 7:00 PM, people around the world are going to light a candle to create a wave of light in honor of the babies gone too soon. I’m going to be lighting a candle to remember my baby. For some, this could become a ritual to be able to feel connection with those we have lost. If you have a friend who has experienced loss, maybe you could light a candle for them and let them know you are thinking of them and the loss they went through. 

We have a Forever Loved wall on our blog that is dedicated to those pregnancies and infants women in our community have lost. This is our way of remembering those close to us here in East Idaho.

If you’ve experienced a miscarriage or the loss of an infant child, you are on my mind this month. That grief is tough, and often comes out of nowhere. But you’re not alone. Please reach out if you need someone to talk to. It’s one of those clubs none of us wants to join, but there is so much love and compassion among those of us affected by it. I know it has changed me and the way I view others who have experienced this loss. I’m sending love to those of you who carry this invisible burden of grief accompanied with having a child the rest of the world will never be able to see. Love you mama!

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Kayla Ward
Kayla has lived in Southeast Idaho all her life, growing up in Shelley, going to school in Rexburg, and now living in Idaho Falls. She is married and mom to a sweet little boy. She has a degree in child development and loves working with children, but especially loves being home with her own child. She loves spending time reading, running, sewing, and laughing. Her family loves spending their summers in the mountains camping and going on rides in their side by side. Ever since having her little boy she is in love with talking about birth and motherhood and loves hearing other women's stories.