Let’s do this together – one story at a time.
It takes strength to make your way through grief, to grab hold of life and let it pull you forward.– Patti Davis
It still feels so strange living my life without Kellan. I was so unsure of what my life would be like with him, and now I will never know.
Sometimes when I hold my dog Sophie, or talk to her like she’s an actual human, I wonder if this is what it would be like to have Kellan. That’s a lie, I don’t do this sometimes – I do it all the time. I wonder if when people watch me with Sophie, they think of Kellan too.
I still can’t even think about holding a baby. It’s painful to think about. I actually never want to hold another baby again. Thoughts like this make me realize my new normal is very different.
There have been a few people that have asked me how my husband is doing throughout this process (and I’m sure a lot more wondering that haven’t asked). He’s someone who is much more private, but I think it’s important to talk about his journey as well. It goes hand in hand with mine.
The first week for Scott was incredibly hard. I was honestly really scared, because I wasn’t sure how either of us would ever recover. I needed him to feel better just as much as I wanted to feel better. His main hockey camp was the week after Kellan died, and I know people wondered if he would go. But honestly, it was exactly what he needed to help begin moving forward. I went with him, and it was exactly what we both needed. That feels like an eternity ago.
Days were worse for Scott, and nights were worse for me. I was so scared to dream of Kellan. Scott text me every single morning to ask what I was doing for the day. I know he was just making sure that I got out of bed. I’m so thankful for him doing that. He is a huge reason I got out of bed. He still is.
I remember telling our counselor that I was jealous of him at one point, because it felt like he handled it all so much better than me. But the grief process is different for everyone, and that’s alright. We each have our own moments of struggle, our own triggers. I will say though, I think Scott handles all adversity and struggle with grace and remarkable tenacity. I admire him so much.
I’ve learned a lot over the past 11 weeks. One thing I’ve found is there are many people who have gone through the loss of a child. When I was pregnant with Kellan, a girl I knew from college lost her baby when she was around 15 weeks pregnant. She made a post on social media talking about it.
I remember thinking that I would never know how it felt to go through what she went through during pregnancy. I didn’t plan on having more than 1 child, and I realized that I would never understand the grief a woman felt when learning her baby had died inside her. I was so thankful for my healthy baby, and so sad for her.
While reading her words, I thought about each of the people in my life that I knew had lost a child. I thought of the many miscarriages, the infant loss, and the children others have lost. I never wanted anything to ever happen to Kellan, and I remember being scared for after he was born. I did not want to know that pain, and I knew that I was incredibly fortunate to have never felt it.
Little did I know, I was also incredibly naive. I would soon understand this pain.
When I read her post, I thought about how brave and open she was. Not many people talk openly about their experience with loss. They deal with it privately. I am now thankful the death of Kellan was so public. It has helped me to acknowledge what happened and be open. Let’s start talking about this tragic and horrible reality.
After Kellan’s death, many people have opened up and shared their losses with Scott & I both. There have been many stories and I had no clue how many people around me had experienced loss. While the stories are all unique in their own way, they are all relatable. The most eye opening thing I’ve realized looking back, is that we don’t talk about pregnancy and infant loss openly. But why? Because it’s uncomfortable and horrific to think about.
Miscarriage happens. Stillbirth happens. Infant death happens. It happens more than we even realize. And it’s absolutely tragic whether we talk about it or not. So why not talk about it? Why do we not discuss the big elephant in the room? If it happens so much, why is it such a hush hush topic? Let’s talk about it.
I refuse to be ashamed of what happened to me, or to just pretend like all is well. I am okay, because I am choosing to actively be okay. Every single day I make the choice to wake up and live. I ride a rollercoaster of emotions hourly. And that’s okay. That is my okay. My new normal.
October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. A month that I didn’t acknowledge or appreciate like I should have before. I ask each of you reading this – can we please talk about it? Can we not be scared and afraid? More importantly, can we not pretend like this doesn’t happen?
I am going to do all I can to bring awareness to this very real and sadly common tragedy. I am going to talk about it, I am going to be open about my struggles, and I am going to be honest. I hope that by doing this, I give others strength to do the same.
So I ask, if you’re reading this and you have been through a loss of your own, or you know someone who has been through a loss – if you can find the courage, will you share your story? Share you story with those who love you; share your story when you feel compelled to those around you; share your story with the world.
If you can’t tell your story, or maybe you’re fortunate enough to not have one – share my story. Or share them both. Share my blog.
Let’s start talking about this. We need to change the stigma around pregnancy and infant loss. And I am going to do all I can to help. Kellan deserves his story to be told. It is a heartbreaking story, but it is real. He was stillborn, but he was still born. And he was perfect.
I want moms and dads to know they are not alone. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, family & friends to know – you are not alone.
Let’s do this together – one story at a time.