When a pregnancy ends or a baby dies, there is such helplessness felt by the parents of that child. Losing your baby makes you feel as if you’ve lost your sense of self. How do you move forward after such heartbreak? How do you make sense amidst the devastation?
This struggle can be made more difficult with the support you may (or may not) receive from those around you. Some will try to tell you what you need and others will simply disappear because they are unsure of how to help you. This dichotomy of support is overwhelming and often overlooks the needs of the one who is grieving.
Every person experiencing pregnancy and infant loss needs to know that they have rights in their experience.
You have rights. These rights are enduring and they put the grieving experience back in the hands of you–the one who has experienced the loss. These rights serve as a reminder that you are the only person in charge of your grief. Others should be there to support you but they must respect your rights.
This the bill of rights for the pregnancy and infant loss experience.
1. You have the right to talk about your baby. Anytime. Anywhere.
2. You have the right to be sad…and happy…and any other way you may be feeling because your emotions are valid.
3. You have the right to share your story or not. You get to decide with whom and when you do this.
4. You have the right to reject platitudes and anything else that does not bring you comfort.
5. You have the right to remember your baby and you get to decide what that looks like.
6. You have the right to ask for help even if you aren’t sure what you need.
7. You have the right to say exactly what you need and expect others to respect this.
8. You have the right to have your loss considered and your child remembered by those who care about you.
9. You have the right to embrace your grief and reject any imposed timelines–carry it forever.
10. You have the right to change your mind and your perspective at any time in this journey.
11. You have the right to grieve regardless of when or where or how you lost your baby. There is no criteria to determine who hurts after losing a baby–that heartbreak is universal.