It all started when I broke the news that our baby, Olivia, was gone. She was ectopic ... my tube ruptured ... and she died.
"I'm so sorry you went through this," my friends would console me. "I've never had a loss. But my friend, so-and-so, had three miscarriages."
And still, intended or not, there it was.
I couldn't imagine having endured what I had just gone through once ... Let alone three times.
And somehow hearing that others had endured so much more than me (and were still functioning) made me feel even worse. Not better.
And what I was left with was a funny feeling that there was something wrong with me. With my grief. Why did just one loss leave me so completely, utterly devastated?
As I heard horror story after horror story of multiple losses -- occasionally shared, it seems, with the intent to trump my bad fortune, but more often then not with good intentions -- my heart just cried, "Enough already!"
I confessed recently to a small group of gals that I have had four pregnancy losses. Quickly, one of them chimes in . . . "My sister had 22 losses, three of which were stillbirths."
Bam. Instant invalidation. Who am I to grieve four first-trimester losses when others have had 22? And several in late pregnancy?
Women now come to me, saying things like, "I've only had one loss. I can't imagine losing four like you."
And do you know what I tell them?
One is enough.
You don't have to go through 2, 5 or 10 losses to feel the devastation of the death of your baby.
You don't have to be in the second or third trimester for your loss to count.
You don't have to almost die yourself to have gone through trauma.
You didn't have to give birth in order to name your baby.
You didn't have to be bonded to your baby to earn the right to mourn.
You didn't have to see your baby on an ultrasound to know that you did indeed lose a child and not just a pregnancy.
You don't have to let others play the one-up game with you to invalidate your experience.
You don't have to go through infertility before or after your loss in order to fully feel the grief of who you will forever be missing.
You don't have to have to have an empty home to feel the pain of a little life gone too soon.
Yes, there are many types of loss. Yes, we each have our own experiences that shape the way we grieve and mourn our children who have died. Yes, no two experiences are exactly alike.
But that doesn't mean that your chemical pregnancy is any less important than her 22 losses and three stillbirths.
You have experienced the death of a child. You have paid the too-steep price to be apart of club none of us want to join.
You are now one of us. A bereaved mother. And I want you to know, you are welcome here, even as we all wish you didn't have to join the club.
As you navigate your grief, we promise not to judge you, to make you feel like your grief is less than ours, or that your baby somehow less important.
More than anything, we want you to know: Not only is one enough . . .
It is too much.
We are so sorry you've had to endure the death of your sweet baby.