I remember how I felt when all of my friends were having babies and my arms were still empty.
The conversation with my mom when she told me she wouldn’t be mad if I was pregnant for my wedding. The questions from well-meaning family members asking when we’ll start trying.
I remember the joy when I heard that heartbeat for the first time, quickly followed by the ultrasound tech pointing to an empty sac beside it. The twinless twin.
The joy was intoxicating. Finally, after intensive fertility treatments, early mornings at the clinic and medication that made me feel crazy. It was all worth it. But to know that I had a baby inside me that wasn’t meant to be here was devastating. I carefully crafted the message to our family members, who were eagerly awaiting news from our ultrasound - “We have one strong heartbeat”. I couldn’t bring myself to share about the empty sac. I didn’t want to cloud this joy with sadness. I was grateful, thankful, and ecstatic for a healthy pregnancy.
When I started bleeding at work a few weeks later, I had to finally tell my manager I was pregnant. I probably would have just dealt with it privately but having an RH- blood type meant that I needed a Rhogam shot at the hospital, and I had to leave work to get it. When my manager asked me if I thought I was miscarrying, I said out loud for the first time that yes, but I’m not sure which baby. Much to her surprise, and my own. Up until that point I had not even acknowledged that empty sac and never planned to. It was that day I said goodbye to that little clump of cells with only myself, my husband, my boss, and my medical team knowing they once existed.
For baby #2 we headed back to the fertility clinic and as we were waiting for my period to show up so we could start meds, I started bleeding heavily. Too heavy. So, I called my doctor and the bloodwork showed that I was pregnant. A baby made with love! A true miracle for someone who was told I could never get pregnant on my own. But I was in the midst of a miscarriage. A chemical pregnancy is what they called it. Just a clump of cells. I felt like this was part of the baby making process. It wasn’t a “real” baby since I didn’t know it existed until it was already gone. How can you grieve something you never knew existed?
We had to delay treatment, so I told a few close friends who were in the know, and one sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers with an encouraging card. It was only then, with the flowers in my hand and reading those words did I start to feel the heaviness of what was happening. It was like all of the trauma tried to leave my body at once. It was permission to grieve. It was a release.
It was the beginning of my healing.
That one card did so much for my mental and physical health. The acknowledgement, the compassion, and the friendship felt through that paper turned my whole experience around. This is why I’m standing behind PaperScript and the Cards that Give Back campaign. Something as simple as a card can have a huge impact and I think we need to do more to support our sisters in need.
I've partnered with PaperScript to design this set of Cards that Give Back. All of the proceeds are going towards the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Network at Sunnybrook Hospital. What I love about these cards is how versatile they are. They could be used anytime and for any occasion. The insides are blank so you can use them any time to bring joy into your loved one's lives.
It comes in a bundle with 3 cards, a print, a sticker and a cute canvas bag, or you can purchase each element separately.
I always find an occasion to write a card to a loved one and am often scrambling for a card for an engagement, baby shower, Mother's Day, or to say thank you. Having a set of blank cards in my office drawer is a little trick I picked up a few years ago so I'm always prepared. You can feel good about your purchase knowing 100% of the proceeds are going to help families who need it while looking like you have yourself together. Please check out PaperScript and the Cards that Give Back campaign.