Something I have found incredibly helpful since we lost little L in December is reading about other people's experiences with stillbirth. I can't decide whether its a terrible thing for my mental state to be reading about other's grief or really cathartic? I think it is the latter - I don't feel as alone when I know that I am not the only person this has happened to. Nothing else I've experienced in life has been so isolating. I'll write more about this in the future, but today I just wanted to share the books/articles I have found most helpful.
- I can't tell you how many times I've read this beautiful piece by Kate Suddes for Cup of Jo. Ironically, I first read this when it was published in November of 2013 when I was 5 months pregnant. I got about 1/3 of the way through the post and stopped because I had not even considered that something so unspeakably awful could happen. I re-read it just days after losing L and everything Kate wrote resonated with me and still does. One thing particularly hit home - people pretending nothing had happened. We would run into friends who would just not say anything about our loss (nevermind that I was also hospitalized for 10 days including 3 in the ICU). It was as if they didn't ask, we wouldn't think about it. I think of L every minute of every day. Read this piece!
- The first book I read was An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination. Again, it just helped me put into words how I was feeling. My husband also read this and it really helped him to understand some of the emotions I was feeling that he couldn't relate to. NPR reviewed it in a way that summarizes the book well and there is an excerpt.
- The Art of Presence by David Brooks in the NY Times is an amazing article on being present for people going through a tragedy in life. This isn't specific to infant loss, but we'd all be better off reading the article and taking it to heart.
- Knocked Up, Knocked Down - A funny and honest memoir of sorts from a woman with first-hand experience with stillbirth and miscarriage.
- Pregnant Chicken on Stillbirth -This is a good read for some basics on stillbirth. For example, most people don't know that if you lose a baby after 20 weeks you have to deliver the baby. In my case, it was a natural birth without an epidural (not my choice - I couldn't have one because of other medications). This will help explain some of the details and offers some advice about what you can do for others to help.