A legacy is passing on your life experiences and the wisdom you’ve gained through trials and triumphs. A legacy is something you leave behind that will benefit others. A legacy is what you will be remembered for and how you will make this world a better place.
Often times we think of leaving a legacy after decades of life. We imagine in our old age, we sit back and reflect thinking about what imprint did we leave on this world. Society associates a legacy with death and death often with old age. But what about the legacy of a baby who never had earthly experiences? Do they have a legacy?
Can an unborn baby leave a legacy?
My answer is a resounding YES! Absolutely! An unborn baby can have just as much impact and wisdom on lives as a 90-year-old. The trial alone of losing a baby can change and transform a single person. I believe that good can come out of trials like this. I believe there can be a legacy for an unborn baby.
The last two days I was able to host a table at two local FIT4MOM franchise groups in my area. My table was for Porter. I had a selection of books that I have found are helpful in my grief and my children’s grief. I had small gift bags with a poem, seed paper and a candle. I had print outs of lists for local therapists, support groups and baby loss doulas. And of course, fruit for the mamas and kiddos to snack on.
I wanted to host this table because when I lost Porter my midwife, Michelle, was amazing. She helped me get into therapy. I was assessed for Postpartum Depression immediately. Which did you know you could have PPD after pregnancy loss? I had no idea! I had friends who dropped off things for Porter, sent Postmates gift cards so we could eat, sent flowers, dropped off books. My family honored him and never belittled his existence. I had friends that reached out to me and shared their story. They made me feel like my baby mattered. I had an amazing support system instantaneously after Porter died.
As I started talking to more and more women who had experienced this loss, I realized many, if not most of them, did not have the support like I did. Women shared that they felt alone in their grief. They were not offered a referral to a therapist. They were not screened for Postpartum Depression and Anxiety. They were simple told either A) follow up 4-6 weeks post D&C or B) you can start trying in 3 months. Can anyone tell me how those two options are helpful just after you lost a baby? They aren’t helpful at all.
This is why I started this blog and wanted to run these tables. If medical providers are not providing the resources after a loss, women are going uncared for in a time they so desperately need care. Every midwife, OBGYN, perinatalogist and IVF clinic should be equipped with the local resources to find support after a loss. My table was hosted in the Tempe/Mesa area of the Phoenix valley. I wanted my information to be relevant to them and easy to access. In the midst of my grief, googling for a therapist was NOT what I wanted to do. If anything, I hoped that a mom who saw my table would store some information in her mind and be able to help another friend, sister, coworker down the road, so they know they aren’t alone.
Aside from the medical providers aspect, this table addressed processing grief. I brought a long a handful of books that I have found invaluable. The main one that many moms noticed was the one we had for Emberli. This book helped Emberli process what death and grief was on a child level. Looking through the book, it does a great job scaffolding terms so that a child can truly begin to process their loss. It starts with explaining change, then death, then grief and finally exploring their experience. What a wonderful resource to share with moms looking for support with any loss.
This table and this blog is Porter’s legacy. He left such a huge imprint on my life. He has taught me more about the qualities of the person I strive to be. I have learned through his loss that empathy is a gem, a badge of honor that we earn. I have learned that sympathy is equally important and harder to navigate in loss. Losing Porter has taught me to be a more compassionate person. He has shown me that through loving him fiercely during his short life, I can love others fiercely too. I have learned that perseverance is more than just crossing off my to-do- list, but picking myself up every day to keep going. Porter has taught me to be honest. I wasn’t dishonest with others before, but I wasn’t necessarily honest with myself. Losing Porter has made me confront myself, my fears and get honest through therapy.
Look at the amazing path of beauty this sweet boy has left behind him. He has changed me to the core of who I am and how I respond to the world around me. He has changed the stigma on not sharing pregnancy loss. Because he mattered to me and your baby mattered to you.
You are not alone.
If you know someone in the midst of loss,
Remind them they aren’t alone.