For me the decision to end my pregnancy with Miles was one made out of pure love. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever faced, but I knew given the severity of his diagnosis that it was sadly the right decision.
December 2018 was a happy time for our family. My husband Josh and I were looking forward to Christmas, and our kids, Alfie (now 12), Ted (now 10) and Bonnie (now 5), of course were, too.
I was halfway through my pregnancy with Miles and things had been going well - and as I’d come to expect thanks to my previous pregnancies. It was a complete shock to Josh and I when we were told by our doctor at a routine appointment that no, this pregnancy, was in fact very different.
The doctor told us that Miles’ condition meant he wouldn’t survive. It came as an absolute shock. We were given all the information, and then went through the pain of termination for medical reasons. Miles was born still soon afterward.
Termination for medical reasons, or TFMR as it’s known, is relatively common - yet rarely spoken of openly. Many parents who face the agonising decision to end a pregnancy due to severe or fatal abnormalities fear telling their story in case they’re misunderstood, or their grief is minimised.
For me, the decision to end my pregnancy with Miles was one made out of pure love. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever faced, but I knew given the severity of his diagnosis, that it was sadly the right decision.
The hours, days and months that followed were painful, and I learned that there is no correct way to grieve. Looking back, I think it’s vital to be kind to yourself, take as long as you need and don’t feel pressured to bounce back to being your old self. Losing a baby has a profound impact on every single part of your life. Finding other bereaved parents who’ve faced similar heartache can be of immense comfort, as even though each journey of grief is unique, there are also many shared experiences along the way.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day on 15 October is important to me because it gives bereaved parents a chance to publicly acknowledge, celebrate and remember babies who couldn’t stay - but remain very special members of our families.
I know that the theme for PAIL this year is silence, and I am sharing my story so that other parents won’t feel so alone when navigating the heartbreak that baby loss brings. Grief can be incredibly lonely, and the silence that often follows the loss of a baby amplifies this.
Silence for me made my grief feel even larger and lonelier. When people around you can’t find the words of comfort, love and support you desperately need, your world feels even darker and smaller.
Shame only grows in silence, and you should never feel ashamed of losing a baby or choosing to terminate a pregnancy for medical reasons. By speaking openly, we help end the silence and create a society in which people don’t shy away from acknowledging babies who have died.
October 15 is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
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This year to acknowledge International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day we are sharing the moments of silence affecting bereaved parents to encourage conversation about pregnancy and infant loss for the month of October.