My name is Charlene, and I am a mother of loss. I am also a full spectrum doula that specializes in pregnancy loss. Many do not understand my need to help others in the field of bereavement. But it all stems from my own losses.
On August 3, 2011, by daughter was unexpectedly born sleeping. It had taken us four years to conceive her, and just like that, she was gone. I then suffered two miscarriages, and nearly lost my youngest son at 18 weeks. And here I am, pregnant again, being told I will likely lose another, or at best have another preterm delivery. Even worse, I have been told this is my last chance to have a baby.
I could go into great detail about my losses. And I am sure much of what I say many of you can relate to. Our stories all have similar threads that wind in and out. Though different, the pain is the same. Instead, I want to get one message across. That it’s okay. However you felt in the past, feel in the present or the future, it’s okay. You are allowed to hurt. You are allowed to laugh and be happy. This is your journey, and no one else’s.
I wrote the following letter to myself, and now, I read it to you, for you, with love.
It’s okay that when you said you only wanted what’s best for your daughter, you lied. It’s okay that the truth was, you selfishly wanted to hold her in your arms and sing her to sleep at night. It’s okay.
It’s okay that you laughed during parts of her birth and find joy in life now. It does not mean you love her less, or don’t take the loss seriously. You celebrate her life and feel the joy that is her, even in death.
It’s okay you couldn’t hold her while she was still warm. Her soul was no longer with her precious body. It was with you. She was with you, holding your heart, your hand through every soul shattering moment.
It’s okay you didn’t let her brother hold or see her. You were trying to protect him. You were being a mother. It’s okay you didn’t make the right decision.
It’s okay you think losing her was your fault, your body failed her, you deserved it, that you are less of a woman. You did not choose this. You would have laid your body down for hers. Why is losing her a failure at all? You were blessed to know her for a short time on earth, but your soul will know her forever.
It’s okay you wanted to start trying to conceive right away; secretly hating every pregnant woman who crossed your path. It’s okay that even when pregnant again, there are moments you wish you weren’t. That doesn’t mean you don’t want your baby. That doesn’t mean you will lose yet another. Feeling disconnected from pregnancy and from life is not a sign you do not care. You’re confused and scared, and it’s okay.
It’s okay that your grief ebbs and flows. It will always be with you, it’s a part of you. It’s okay that at times you want to get lost in that pain. Sometimes believing if you feel the pain deep enough, you are embracing her, honouring her. It’s okay to have hope. Hope for the future, for the world, for your life. Whether you’re sad or joyful, angry or indifferent, she will always be with you. No matter what, above all else,