Every woman’s birth stories are unique. These are the experiences we share as we sit around and talk about how our children entered the world. Sometimes these entrances followed our plan, other times not so much. Still, birth stories, whether they end in death or in life, share some common threads.
1. Love is the constant variable. We love our children that we lost in miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS or any other type of loss. And we love our rainbow babies. No matter how challenging the experiences we endured in birthing those little ones, love is present no matter what.
One of the most healing epiphanies I had after Zachary died was that my love for him could never be torn away from me. I think it is a beautiful thing that the love I have for ALL my children is the same. Even as memory fades, the love never does.
2. The freedom from judgement. No one should judge another person’s choices, struggles or triumphs in carrying and giving birth to babies. It is important to remember that we are all coming from different places, with individualized beliefs, and our own sets of baggage. The last thing any parent needs is someone to criticize their birth experience.
My younger self was far more judgmental than I am today. I remember believing in absolute right and absolute wrong. Now, I see that there are a thousand variations of that spectrum.
There are some that choose to continue their pregnancy after their baby in utero is diagnosed with a fatal condition. That was my experience with Zach. Then there are others that choose to terminate. I met one such couple when filming the documentary Expecting Sunshine: The Truth About Pregnancy After Loss. When this couple shared their birth story, of their baby who could never have survived beyond the womb, there was still so much love there. It was not a decision they made lightly. They still took pictures, bathed and dressed their little one, and cherished every moment they had together.
This is just one example of the impossible decisions so many families have to face. I truly do believe that all parents do their best in making these and other tough decisions. How does the saying go? Unless we have walked a mile in someone else’s shoes…
3. The need to be shared. We honor our deceased and living children by talking about them. There is no need to suffer alone any longer on the journey of grief. Similarly, there is no need to walk the path of fear by yourself as you expect your rainbow baby. By sharing our stories, we help heal our own wounds while others also can be spared much heartache.
This was something I discovered only once I started opening up about my loss and then about my fears in my pregnancy after loss. We are all passionate about our birth stories. I cannot tell you how much joy it brings to me to talk about ALL my kids. Even Zachary’s birth story is something I cherish. And I also love hearing what others have been through, as it invariably teaches me something about being a mother, a woman and a human on this journey of life.