All bereaved moms feel the emptiness of platitudes from well-meaning loved ones, but they can be particularly painful for the mother who has never birthed a live baby, and who, through various circumstances, possibly never will.
From people who do not know what you have endured, come callous questions such as:
“When are you going to start having children?”
“Don’t you want to have children?”
“Are you just being selfish and focusing on your career instead of a family?”
“A good woman would provide her man with children.”
If you have experienced multiple losses, you may feel unworthy of grieving each child.
If you haven’t experienced multiple losses, you may feel unworthy of grieving.
If you have older, living children, but this will likely be your last pregnancy, you may feel unworthy of grieving.
Then, on top of the hurtful comments above, if there are people who know of your losses, these are some of the responses you might have experienced:
“You should just adopt.”
“You shouldn’t give up – keep trying.”
“You should have started trying sooner in life.”
“You already have children. You should have stopped trying after your last one.”
“Maybe this is:
-punishment for something.”
-a good thing. After all, parenthood is really hard.”
-a sign that you wouldn’t have been a good parent.”
All of these things are cruel and unnecessary.
While having a subsequent “rainbow” baby doesn’t take the pain away of losing a child, when you do not and likely will not experience the joys of a “rainbow” baby, you face enduring the pain of your loss(es) in addition to the pain of knowing that the last birth experience you had, the last birth experience you may ever have, is one that was tragic.
Yes, there are additional fertility and parenting options that you could consider, and stillbirthday does have a list of many of these options at our recurrent losses section. However, just focusing on what you should do next in your fertility journey is terribly unfair.
Your loved ones would be wise to consider these thoughts:
You may be done trying, and just want to find peace with childlessness. Telling you that you “should” do anything could pressure you in ways you don’t want to be pressured, and make you feel uncomfortable with trying to find peace in your decision.
You may have already tried some of their suggestions but didn’t tell anyone about it (adoption isn’t like grocery shopping, for example. It’s not a quick fix, and it takes a lot of careful and prayerful consideration).
There may be more to your situation than you have shared with others.
Even if you have older, living children, ending your fertility with a loss can be extremely painful. It can make you want to “try again”, and cause a great deal of inner conflict. Knowing that the very last birth you ever experienced was a tragic one can be a heartbreaking burden to carry, and this burden can actually feel compounded by the sense that you don’t deserve to grieve because you have older, living children.
You are still a mother, and your loss is still your baby.
If you have experienced a loss at the end of your fertility, please know that while you are ending your fertility with a loss, you are not “ending in a loss”. You are still a mother. Please know that your pregnancy loss is still a birthday. Please know that your baby is still, in fact, your baby.
Please visit our Farewell Celebrations for ways to honor your baby.
If you would like to share your experience of ending your fertility with a loss, you can share your story here, and you can read stories shared in the special category for ending fertility with a loss.