In honor of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, special guests, Lauren Terrell and Leah Jennings, share their personal stories of miscarriage and stillbirth on today’s bonus episode of the Parent Cue Live podcast.
- Give grieving mothers safe place to process and feel every emotion. If you haven’t personally experienced pregnancy loss, it’s difficult to explain the rush of emotions a mother feels during this time. Let her process her feelings with limited questions and ample time.
- Don’t have any expectations of them. Most mothers tend to be in an emotional and mental fog during this moment in their lives. Be patient with them.
- Be what they need. What a mother needs most from you during this time is whatever they ask for, whether it’s a cook, a housekeeper, or a silent supporter. If they need something more from you, trust they will ask. Keep them uplifted in prayer.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
When Lauren found out she was pregnant for the second time, she was so elated, she quickly started brainstorming nursery themes. Five weeks later, she noticed signs she was miscarrying her unborn child, but dismissed them. Her first pregnancy was perfect. A miscarriage couldn’t really happen to her, could it?
Leah’s unexpected pregnancy story looked differently from Lauren’s. Still a newlywed and in a new town away from her support system, the idea of having a baby at the time was an unwelcome surprise. So when she started to miscarry her first child, she was surprised by the extreme feelings of grief and guilt that she felt.
Pregnancy loss is one of those topics people either tiptoe around or silently keep wrapped in a layer of sadness and shame. And although it’s a terrible thing, talking about the unfortunate, yet common life event, can serve a greater purpose, offering hope and assurance that women who suffer this loss are not alone.
Lauren was surprised by the amount of grief she felt with her miscarriage. It felt strange to feel so emotional about an early pregnancy loss. But when her third pregnancy ended in the stillbirth of her 23-week-old daughter, she felt like she had permission to truly grieve.
She shared the news of her loss on Facebook. The outpouring of support and stories from women who had also suffered pregnancy loss kept coming. Though the stories were different, there was a common theme among them—many of the women had never shared with anyone their pregnancy loss stories.
For many women, pregnancy loss is laced in shame and embarrassment. Leah felt the same way.
“You feel broken,” Leah says. “You feel like you can’t do the one basic function the Lord gave you. It’s a quiet guilt we all have.”
How to be supportive
When someone else is grieving, humans have a desire to make them feel better or fix the situation. But moms who suffer pregnancy loss and stillbirth don’t need fixing. What was helpful to both Lauren and Leah were the friends and family members who let them express their emotions in their own time and way.
Another important way to support someone going through pregnancy loss is to limit your expectations of them. Instead, ask them what they need, and let them know you’re available to them if, or when, they want to talk.
Finally, remember a woman who has suffered pregnancy loss is mourning the loss of her child and the future she envisioned. Everyone’s grief looks differently.
“Whether you planned it, whether it was a surprise the night before, it doesn’t matter. This is still your child,” Lauren shares.
QUOTES IN THIS EPISODE
[Pregnancy loss] is a quiet guilt we all have. — Leah Jennings
Whether you planned it, whether it was a surprise the night before, it doesn’t matter. This is still your child. —Lauren Terrell
I don’t think anyone should compare grief. Every loss is unique. Every story is unique. — Lauren Terrell
VOICES IN THIS EPISODE
Kristen is the Executive Director of Messaging at Orange, Director of The Phase Project, and co-author of Playing For Keeps and It’s Just a Phase – So Don’t Miss It. She combines her degree in secondary education with a Master of Divinity and lives with her husband, Matt, and their three children, Sawyer, Hensley, and Raleigh, in Cumming, GA.
Leah Jennings is wife to Kevin and toddler mom to her daughter, Arden. She is a writer, personal trainer, and wellness coach and loves combining these passions whenever possible. In her spare time, Leah enjoys reading, traveling, and teaching her Zumba class.
Lauren has a degree in elementary education, has led two high school small groups, and is up to her eyeballs in the preschool world as she and her husband clamber through parenthood with their 5-year-old girl and 1-year-old boy.
Did you enjoy this episode? Help us spread the word!
Hopefully, this episode has helped you find a few practical ways to “do family better.” If you appreciated it, we would love for you to rate or review the podcast on iTunes. Your rating and review help get the podcast in front of new parents and listeners. You can also click the buttons below to share this episode on your own social media channels. Thank you for listening!