Don’t Shame Us for Trying (Again)

By |2018-07-09T22:18:28+00:00July 9th, 2018|For Friends & Family, Loss After Loss|5 Comments

You see those faces in the photo? That there, is pure joy. Those are the faces of relief, disbelief and excitement. They are of perseverance and resilience, stubbornness and determination. Those faces—our faces—are the reason we kept pushing through seven losses, to bring home our first child. Truth be told, there was a time we weren’t so sure we’d hit this milestone, and our faces, not to mention personas, were a far cry from this joy.

Hiding in Public: The Stigma of Pregnancy Loss

It’s no secret there’s a lot of guilt and shame associated with pregnancy loss and baby loss. For me, and many other loss moms I’ve met, the self-imposed shame runs like sports players watch their films. We replay events in our mind to analyze every aspect of each day of the pregnancy. We review each action taken or not taken, wondering if we could pinpoint the exact moment that led to the death of our child.

I’m not sure which is worse: wondering what caused it, or actually knowing that there was nothing I could have done to change the outcome. Regardless, the notion that as a woman, I was supposed to be able to carry and deliver a child, but couldn’t seem to, led me into a shame spiral. And yet, somehow, together with my husband, and the help of a strong therapist and compassionate doctor, we kept moving forward.

After each loss, we hid at home and in public, surrounded by strangers who didn’t know our story. When we finally ventured out to a family or friends gathering, we would have to deal with the Richard from Friends head-tilt talks. And I get it, unless you’ve been through this, you don’t know what to say or do. At the same time, nobody likes to be pitied. Those conversations would often turn to Why don’t you “just” adopt? And while we did wind up adopting, there is no “just” about it.

Perhaps what bothered me more, was when we “came out” during subsequent pregnancies, and got the Nina Katz to Carrie Bradshaw face from family and friends. That face, and that judgement, represented all of the fears we didn’t want to acknowledge. It was as though they were questioning, “Why are you doing this to yourselves?” and more so, “How could you put these babies through this?” It was a question I often asked myself…Am I being cruel to my children? Am I putting them in harm’s way? At the same time, after all of the testing I went through, the doctors continued to tell us there was no reason we couldn’t have a successful pregnancy. So we kept trying.

PAL Moms and Dads Need Love and Support

The thing is, pregnancy after loss is hard enough with all of the fear, anxiety and PTSD. PAL takes tremendous courage and vulnerability every moment, of every day of those 40 weeks. And as vulnerable as we make ourselves, PAL warriors need to suit up in armor each day to tune out the noise, both internal and external, and make it through. PAL Moms and Dads need love and support, not shame and judgement. We need people to remember that we are trying again because know in our hearts we’re meant to be parents.

Some may say we have a happy ending. But I don’t quite see it as that. Yes, we are extremely fortunate enough to have adopted our son, and then go on to have two additional sons biologically. For these three boys, I am forever grateful. It’s the ending part I don’t agree with. Our story is our story, and all of the joy in the world doesn’t negate what it took to get here. The way I see it, the birth of our living children is more of a beginning, if not a continuation of our journey. And if we didn’t try, we’d never know.

 

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About the Author:

Erin Kuhn-Krueger
Erin Kuhn-Krueger is a 5x miscarriage survivor (including a daughter, Baby Krueger, at 16 weeks 6 days in April 2010), and a 2x stillbirth survivor (twins, Sarah and Benjamin, at 20 weeks 5 days in October 2012). After her 4th loss, Erin created the blog and resource portal, Will CarryOn, for those experiencing baby loss, and learning to live and survive life after loss. She writes from the heart, touching on oft-taboo subjects, showcasing the struggles, determination and hope that have kept her (and her husband) together, and moving forward. She believes the more people talk about baby loss, the less alone those walking a similar path will feel. Erin received a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from Drake University where she studied advertising and marketing. She uses her personal experiences and marketing background to shape her advocacy work and community outreach in the adoption, loss and infertility arena. In addition to her writing, and speaking at support groups and conferences, Erin also works as the Community Outreach Director for The Blossom Method, a center providing therapeutic support and counseling for infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, baby loss, pregnancy after loss, postpartum depression, and more. Erin and her husband, Aaron, live in the suburbs of Chicago, and are parents of three sons: C, by way of domestic adoption (May 2013), and J (August 2014) and E (September 2017), after successfully carrying two pregnancies to term. You can find her on Twitter, and follow Will CarryOn on Twitter and Facebook.

5 Comments

  1. Jessica Ross July 10, 2018 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing! Your story sound similar to ours, we had 9 losses before having a living child, and one more due next month. Good luck to you and your family!

    • Erin Kuhn-Krueger
      Erin Kuhn-Krueger July 10, 2018 at 10:35 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Jessica. I’m so sorry you had to endure your losses, and will keep you in my thoughts for a successful, healthy and second living child. Please keep me posted.

  2. Glammy and Pappy July 10, 2018 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    These are the faces of our kids who we are so proud of telling of their journey❣😘 Glammy and Pappy

  3. Missing Noah July 11, 2018 at 11:18 am - Reply

    Thank you. As an infertility/loss/HG/Autism Mom, I get a lot of push back for the idea of trying for just one more. But my family isn’t complete.

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