Speaking with Brenna was an honor. Brenna and her husband Bill lost identical twin boys last year. When I spoke to her, she made it clear that she wants others to reach out to her, share their stories, and just be heard! If you or a loved one would like to reach out, her email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Below is her story, in her own words.
If there is one thing I have learned in life, is that life itself, in all of its wonder and beauty, doesn’t discriminate. I want to share a life experience that has definitely changed me in many ways, ways I am still learning about and learning to enjoy. While I know pregnancy is a beautiful journey, there are some of us women who miscarry, or endure a still birth, or like me, have had infant loss. Loss is loss, no matter which way it is looked at.
Last year my husband and I had identical twin boys, and lost them both to preterm labor caused by an infection in my placenta at 23 weeks. Our first born, Declan, weighed 1 lb 1oz and lived for almost and hour. Our second born, Manton, weighed less than a pound and lived for almost a month. My loss journey has been a wave of emotion. To be honest, there have been many days I have not known what to do.
It took me a couple of years to get pregnant. All in all I have been pregnant three times, and each time was amazing in their own ways, and each ended in loss. Working in the medical field, I know all of the possibilities with health. In it's own way, this made it a little easier to accept losing my boys, but nothing can really prepare you for the hard times in life.
After my loss, I found it so easy to forget to allow all the sad emotions to just happen. I was tucking that negative energy away, forgetting to honor the sadness that lurked right beneath it all. A couple of months after my boys being born, I remember a day where my husband and I went to the grocery store. We both walked around kind of numb in our routine, and when we got back home I decided to sit in the car a while longer with the car turned off and the garage light out. I just sat in the dark. I cried the hardest I ever had since both boys passing. I let all those emotions out and just sat in the sadness. It was scary. I was just blank.
After a few minutes passed, I remembered the tree analogy. Without the yucky mud covered roots that don’t see light, there wouldn’t be any beautiful leaves that grow. That is where I was for a while. These moments of trauma that happen are just our roots growing stronger so that more leaves can continue to grow. It is okay to remember that.
From that day on I started over in my own well-being with self-care practice. Whatever your modality of Spirituality is, I encourage you to lean into it. If necessary, start over with it and learn what it is for you. For me, it was meditation and crystals. I meditated even if for 5 minutes everyday. I carried a crystal around with me, even just for the reminder of what that crystal meant. I worked hard to find that connection to myself again.
The journey has not been smooth. This past Mother's Day was SO ROUGH. All the flowers I received, I dried out and turned into decor around my home. Taking negative experiences and turning them into something positive seems like almost common sense, but when you have a life-altering moment that forces you stop and pause, its a generous and calm way to bring you to a new kind of normal. Other times, small and seemingly insignificant things have brought me so much joy. For example, the first week after my boys were born, my achievement was that I set an alarm and actually woke up and showered and ate.
If you are reading this and have been through any sort of loss, pregnancy or not, you are most certainly not alone. Please, celebrate the small moments that made you smile. Reach out if you are finding yourself having thoughts you never have before. There is no shame in medical help. Anxiety and depression can happen, and it can be treated with medication and daily actions. Acknowledge the moments that you don’t feel happy or sad. That is just being, and you can be content without a swaying emotion. Take time for you, and welcome those around you who want to help. They need that connection just as much as you need it.
You are not a failure. You are not failing. You might question if you’ll ever be like your “old self.” You won’t, and that is okay. You are always evolving into something and someone with more depth and more love than you could ever imagine. Take what you have loved from the past and let it transition to who you are becoming. You are beautiful, you are loved, and more importantly, you are a Mother. I struggled for a while in calling myself a mom, because I am not raising my children here and now. Just think, Your body did something amazing and created that perfect tiny human was growing inside you. No one can deny or take that away, even after loss.