Each May, we celebrate our mothers. We reflect on the beauty of their vocation and the wonderful ways they touch our lives. In the month dedicated to Mary, the mother of God, we remember her perfect example of this vocation.
But millions of women impacted by pregnancy loss may be struggling with mixed emotions, and, in quarantine, feeling more isolated than ever.
For women who have experienced miscarriage or stillbirth, who struggle with infertility, who have had abortions, the month of May is hard. Messages about motherhood, images of babies, Masses to honor mothers, Hallmark commercials — these are hard reminders of what these women have lost, or can’t have. Although grief is a natural response, theirs is a disenfranchised grief, a loss not recognized by society.
In general, our culture does not encourage ample time to heal from loss. Grief takes time, and it is a unique process for every person. For some, coping with grief can lead to unhealthy behaviors, like depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or isolation.
A mother is a mother, no matter how long her child was with her, or how long she hoped for or dreamt of her baby, and that connection always remains. But this message is hardly heard. In a world where unborn children are not seen as people, the loss of a child not yet born is easily dismissed, and the accompanying grief is not understood, and often not validated.
Every story of pregnancy loss is different. And every loss has a widespread impact, not just for the mother, but for fathers, grandparents, sisters, families, friends. There are few safe places where women can share their stories and mourn their losses. This again isolates suffering women, promoting secrecy, shame, and a fear of judgment, all emotions that interfere with true healing.
But healing is possible. It starts first with embracing women who are suffering from pregnancy loss. It starts with compassion rather than judgment, and welcoming these women in their grief, listening and finding a place for them to heal. At By Your Side LA, trained Merciful Companions walk alongside women who are struggling, helping them through their healing journey. For more information, visit ByYourSideLA.org or call 1-877-301-9684.