Today, I’m so grateful that Nastasya Hnat is serving as a guest blogger on Smuggling Grace. Nastasya is a personal friend and a tremendous advocate for parents who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss. She wrote this piece several years ago after she and her husband lost their first child.
In the years that have followed, she has worked to honor this painful form of grief which is known quite personally to many people. One in four pregnancies ends in a loss. In her advocacy work, Nastasya reminds us that this is not merely a statistic; it includes many family members who grieve deeply, and at times, in silence.
October is a month dedicated to awareness of miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss. If you have known this grief, please know you are not alone.
Though she wrote this piece several years ago, Nastasya offers it in the hopes that it will help grieving people and provide an opportunity for those who want to gain understanding.
Thank you, Nastasya Hnat.
“Grief is not a disorder, a disease, or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical, and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve.”
So very true. I do not cry over my son nearly seven months after I lost him because I am weak. I cry because I loved him, before I even knew he was a he. He was still my baby and always will be.
I hate that women who have pregnancy losses are not accorded the same respect as others who grieve. We grieve. We cry. We get angry. We sometimes go numb. We hurt in a way I hope you never understand. Yet, we are expected to get over it. The tears are expected to stop because the bleeding has stopped.
When a person has lost a grandparent, a parent, a sibling, a spouse, or a friend and you ask about the person lost, you hear the memories. The good, the bad, the happy, and the sad. The funny stories. The quirks that made the missing loved one who he/she was. Tears are shed and accepted; in fact, expected.
Ask a mother of an angel baby about her baby. It is true she will have no memories to share. No funny stories or quirks to smile over. She will tell you, “He should have been born today.” “She would have turned one today.” “He would have started kindergarten this year.” “We should be sending her to college this fall.” Yet, when she cries, if it’s even just a month later, she is judged.
We grieve not only the little babies we never got to hold. We also mourn the lives we never got to see. We mourn kissing the boo boos, the nighttime snuggles, the first day of school, the holidays. We even mourn the fights we’ll never get to have with our teenagers.
I will never get to see what color eyes and hair my son would have had. I will never know how tall he would have grown. I won’t get to watch him get on the bus for his first day of school and then later come home excited about all the new things he learned that day and the new friends he made. I do not get to be Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy for him. I’ll never know what his favorite food would have been or whether he would have been a teacher, an engineer, or a doctor. I do not get to watch him get married and have children of his own.
I do not get to have all the little moments that parents seem to take for granted nor the big ones that they look forward to and treasure.
The only way for us to move forward is to let us grieve. Do not think we are weak because we cry on days that mean nothing to you, but mean everything to us. Do not judge the tears when we see babies. We are not sick because we are hurt by the beautiful pregnant bellies we see. We do not have a disorder because it angers us to see pregnant women who do nothing but complain or mistreat their children when our hearts and arms ache to hold our babies.
I grieve. We grieve. We are not weak. We are wounded.
Nastasya Hnat lives in Memphis, Tennessee with her husband of nine years and their two living children, who are called Muppet and Poppet online. They lost their first son in the second trimester due to unknown causes in February 2012. Nastasya has a degree in Journalism and does some freelance editing in between her full time job of being a stay-at-home mom. She and her husband also ballroom dance on weekends.
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