Written by Malisa Morris for Nest Integrative Wellness
Trigger warning: Grief & Loss
From my earliest memories, I held onto the dream of becoming a mother. It was a dream woven into my childhood, nurtured by the simple joys of looking after my little cousins and giggling with friends’ and family members’ babies. I felt a deep connection to motherhood and believed that when the time came, it would be a natural and beautiful experience. I imagined that I could easily choose to conceive and create a wonderful family with any number of children I desired.
But when I finally made the decision to step onto the path of motherhood, life took me by surprise. At 27, healthy and full of hope, I received the heart-wrenching news of “fertility complications.” It felt like the ground had shifted beneath me. There were no warning signs or preparation for that devastating news; it was a sudden and overwhelming blow.
The following two years were a roller coaster ride through the world of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Countless medications, needles, blood work, ultrasounds, and the highs and lows of emotions became part of my daily life. In 2013, I was overjoyed to discover that I was pregnant with twin boys. It was an emotional high, and I cherished every moment of that miracle. Yet, little did I know that my journey was just beginning.
When I decided to expand my family once more and welcome a third child, I found myself grappling with fertility challenges for an agonizing three years. Along this path, I encountered the pain of losing embryos, the heartache of miscarriage, and the terrifying ordeal of an ectopic pregnancy in 2021. Then, in 2022, I experienced a miracle. I was naturally blessed with the birth of a beautiful baby boy. He is a ray of hope, a reminder that sometimes, against all odds, life finds its way.
For those of us who have experienced pregnancy later in life, there is an added layer of anxiety. The thoughts of potential miscarriage or stillbirth weigh heavily on our minds. The journey becomes more complex, and our emotions are often a mixture of hope and fear. This was my experience throughout my most recent pregnancy.
Amidst these trials, I discovered an inner strength I never knew I had. But I also faced overwhelming grief and emotional pain that threatened to consume me. There are moments when I look back at my fertility journey with gratitude for my blessings. But there are also times when I can’t help but wonder about the babies who might have been.
As we enter October, it’s a time to remember that this month is dedicated to Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness, culminating in Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day on October 15th. It’s a time for us to come together in solidarity, to support the countless mothers who have walked a similar path.
I know I’m not alone on this journey of grief and loss. I’ve seen friends and family members navigate the heartache of pregnancy and infant loss. I’ve witnessed their remarkable resilience and courage. Nobody should have to endure this painful journey alone. It’s in our collective support that we find solace and strength.
In Canada, the statistics are sobering. Approximately one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage, and the pain of infant loss touches the lives of many[*]. These numbers remind us of the urgency to support those who have experienced this grief and challenging journey.
Together, we stand in unity for the mother who yearns for motherhood, the mother who faces the challenges of fertility, the mother who has experienced the pain of embryo loss, the mother who has endured the heartache of miscarriage, the mother who has faced the anguish of an ectopic pregnancy, the mother who has said goodbye to her multiples, the mother who has endured the unimaginable loss of a stillbirth, and the mother whose baby was taken from her too soon.
In sharing my journey, I hope to shine a light on the often silent struggles of pregnancy and infant loss. It’s a path marked by grief and resilience, heartbreak and hope. Together, as we support one another and raise awareness, we can provide comfort and strength to those on this challenging road. Through our shared compassion and understanding, we honour the babies who touched our lives, if only for a brief moment, and ensure that their memories live on in our hearts. Remember, you are never alone on this journey, and together, we can find hope and healing.
[*] Source: Canadian Paediatric Society. (2021). Infant and perinatal mortality in Canada. [https://www.cps.ca/en/documents/position/infant-and-perinatal-mortality-in-canada]
Malisa Morris is a Registered Social Worker and mental health therapist with Nest Integrative Wellness. If you are struggling with conceiving, loss, or the rollercoaster of parenthood, Malisa is currently taking new clients. Book with her here.