Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness: How to Honor Your Angel

October marks Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness (PAIL) month. Over the course of this month, I’ll feature a series of posts dedicated to this month. It’s a bittersweet month for me. Sweet because it’s my birthday month, bitter because I’m reminded of my lost babies (not that I ever forget them).

This marks the final post in the PAIL series for this month. I’m going to talk about the different ways you can honor your angel.

We honor Ethan in a variety of ways. Honestly, we honor him all of the time. Even when we pray, we always include him (and jellybean). But here are just a few things we do:

  1. Tattoos. I know some people love them and some hate them. Maks and I both got tattoos in honor of our boy:

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I know some parents get a tattoo of their angels birthdates, names, and even add wings to signify they’re angels.

2. Balloon release. I know this is up for debate because of the environment factor. We do a balloon release every year on Ethan’s birthday – 12/13.

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3. Memorial jewelry. I had a special ring I wore along with a necklace.
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My ring went missing 😦 but I’m glad it didn’t cost too much. I think it’s somewhere around the house. The stone is Ethan’s December birthstone.

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The birthstone angel part did fall off but the important part – Ethan’s name and birthdate – I still have.

4. We make donations in Ethan’s name. We regularly donate to the L.A. Food Bank and have the donations In Memory Of.

5. March of Dimes. We did this one year and it was a lot of fun (though they are under some controversy as to how the donations are used, so do your research.)

6. Molly Bears. If you had a late loss, you can request a Molly Bear and it’ll be sent to you (though the wait time varies). Molly Bears run 100% on donation. I have an Ethan Molly Bear.

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The below photo was taken during our maternity photos with House of Designs
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Those are just some of the ways we honor our Ethan. How do you honor your angel?

As October draws to a close, I thank everyone for their support of me and other angel moms. October tends to be a tough month for all of us as we honor our lost babies so we really appreciate your support. For those new to the series and blog, I hope you found the PAIL series posts to be therapeutic as well.

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Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness #4: When People Don’t Acknowledge Your Loss

October marks Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness (PAIL) month. Over the course of this month, I’ll feature a series of posts dedicated to this month. It’s a bittersweet month for me. Sweet because it’s my birthday month, bitter because I’m reminded of my lost babies (not that I ever forget them).

People respond differently to tragedies. Some buckle down and get stronger. Some get weaker. When a woman suddenly loses her pregnancy or infant, I feel that’s when the true friends and family show their colors.

But how do you react when someone refuses to acknowledge your loss?

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It’s tricky and honestly, it really depends on your relationship with that person. If it’s a casual friend, you probably won’t be affected or care. If it’s a close person such as family or a long-term friendship, you might have a different (and possibly visceral) reaction. I know from experience, I had a lifelong friend who pretty much ignored what happened or didn’t think it was that serious. Needless to say, we’re not friends anymore and I’m not quite sure if we’ll ever repair that friendship.

On the flip side, I had someone who didn’t acknowledge my loss and acted very strangely towards me. She recently reached out and we’re in the process of repairing our friendship. My brother didn’t acknowledge my loss until years later and that really changed the dynamic of our relationship. We’re definitely not as close as we used to be.

What is the best course of action?

It’s really a case-by-case or I should say, person-by-person type of deal. You have to assess your relationship with that person and see if it’s a relationship worth savaging. Some people you have to stay away from – just for your own sanity – while others, you can be cordial and respectful without necessarily turning it into a Jerry Springer show.

The next post in my PAIL series will focus on the different ways you can acknowledge and remember your angel.

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Memorial

Last night was the worldwide honoring of babies lost. I was scheduled to go to a program at my local hospital but Bear fell asleep and I didn’t want a cranky toddler at a service meant to honor babies. So I created a memorial at home like I do every year.

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On the left, it is a Yankee Candle, my Hello Kitty keychain that has E on the shirt, my Molly Bear, and an angel given to me by my mother. A fellow angel mom gifted the Ethan brick. (I honestly don’t remember the name of the company that makes them. Once I get that info, I’ll update this post.)

It was a night of quiet reflection for me. Maks was at work, Bear was asleep so it was just me and my thoughts. Actually, no. I had Pulp Fiction playing in the background, but still…the rest of the home was quiet.

I leave this post with one of my favorite pictures of me pregnant with Ethan. He’s hiding underneath.

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Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness: How to Cope with Sudden Loss

October marks Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. Over the course of this month, I’ll feature a series of posts dedicated to this month. It’s a bittersweet month for me. Sweet because it’s my birthday month, bitter because I’m reminded of my lost babies (not that I ever forget them).

Today, we’ll talk about how to cope with sudden pregnancy and infant loss. While there are different ways to cope, I’ll share a few that have helped me with my losses.

  1. Do not blame yourself. This is not your fault. You did everything you could under the circumstances given.
  2. Do not blame others, unless it’s necessary. When I say necessary, I mean there are certain circumstances where another person is the direct cause of your pregnancy and infant loss. Most of the time, it is an event that no one could have foreseen.
  3. Laugh. If something is funny, laugh! It’ll help you.
  4. Cry. Have a big one. I mean a big, ugly cry. It’ll make you feel tons better.
  5. Journal or seek therapy. You’re dealing with postpartum depression and PTSD.
  6. Say your angel’s name. Recognize and acknowledge your angel, even if no one else does.

I hope this has helped you some. The next post will talk about how to deal when other people don’t acknowledge your loss.

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness #2: What NOT to Say After a Miscarriage

October marks Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. Over the course of this month, I’ll feature a series of posts dedicated to this month. It’s a bittersweet month for me. Sweet because it’s my birthday month, bitter because I’m reminded of my lost babies (not that I ever forget them).

In continuing Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness posts, I’m going to talk about what NOT to say when a woman just had a miscarriage. When a woman loses a pregnancy, that within itself is very traumatic.A woman doesn’t just mourn the loss of the pregnancy; she also mourns the loss of a future child. She mourns lost preschool days. She mourns lost playdates. She mourns lost snuggles, hugs, tantrums (yes, even the bad). She mourns everything associated with that child and that pregnancy.

Furthermore, one woman’s grief is different from another’s. A woman who lost a baby at six weeks pregnancy might react different from a woman who lost hers at 15 weeks. A woman who had a stillbirth might react differently from a woman who had an early miscarriage. Every woman responds differently to grief.

In long, here’s what not to say:

  1. I know how you feel because I went through something similar. No, you haven’t. There is NOTHING similar to a miscarriage.
  2. Anything age-related;
    1. Maybe your age tells you it’s time to stop. Says who?
    2. You’re still young; you have plenty of time. Are you psychic?
  3. Pray about it. Not every woman is religious or has a belief system she subscribes to. On the flip side, there are some women who prayed to get pregnant, just to lose the pregnancies. Even though your heart is in the right place, it is better to err on the side of caution.
  4. Everything happens for a reason. What reason?

Finally, the very last one I hate:

5. You can have another. And you know this…how?

In short, here is what you should say:

  1. I’m sorry for your loss.

That’s it. No more, no less. Those six words will honestly do wonders and lets the woman know that you care.

The next post in the Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness series will be on how to cope with sudden pregnancy and infant loss, be it yours or another person’s.