No offense, but those that haven’t gone through a TFMR just won’t ever fully get it.
This is one of the reasons why TFMR only spaces exist. Because we need a place for our grief after termination for medical reasons. Even within the baby loss community, there are ideas and beliefs that are hinted at, or judgement that is directly thrown at us. My advice—and I rarely give direct advice—is to get the heck out of there as fast as you can, if you find yourself in an unkind baby loss space.
Here’s a little story for you. Very freshly bereaved after my sweet daughter's death, I bought and started reading a very popular sort of “baby loss & grief guide” book. I bought this book because of the recommendations I had seen in TFMR groups and forums and because of the good reviews online.
I hungrily opened the book, read the intro (which spoke about picking and choosing the pieces of the book that would work best for you, and how some parts could be triggering, but just to skip them AKA there was a trigger warning for ALL the content in the book) and then jumped right to the chapter about “difficult choices.” It was the TFMR section of the book.
The chapter on TFMR started with ANOTHER trigger warning, and blah blah blah about if your beliefs didn’t “align” then you should just skip that chapter. Yup, TFMR apparently needed a second, "extra" trigger warning. INSIDE of a baby loss book.
I.wanted.to.hurl.the.book.at.the.wall (but it was an ebook, and decided against destroying my device). Because WHY? Why was there a trigger warning for someone who obviously never had to terminate a wanted pregnancy. Why? Why right THERE before the very chapter that my heart and soul was looooonging to read, why did the authors have to put a second trigger warning with religious overtones in it?
That trigger warning was not for me.
Even that chapter, which I thought was for me, now felt like it was not for me 😞
I bet neither of the authors had ever had to make the heartbreaking decision to terminate a very wanted and precious pregnancy.
Because of this, and for many many many other reasons, do TFMR families make their own spaces. I invite you to join mine, a bereavement doula (me) run Facebook group… you are welcome there. We understand the undertones and outright judgement, and are a safe place for your grief.
For bereaved TFMR parents only.
And if you want to go deeper than faceless (yet suuuuper helpful) social media posts, we also have quarterly grief circles, with a group of 5 or 6 of the same people, all together. Our next group is starting November 2023. Apply to join us in the Ascend TFMR Grief Circle here.
Your grief after termination for medical reasons, your heartbreaking medical decision that feels like no decision at all, MATTERS.
My heart was beating out of my chest and my palms were sweating as I mentally prepared myself to tell my whole termination pregnancy loss story to a friend.
Even though I knew her, you never know how people will react to abortion, or to grief even. But when I told her and she said, "me too"... my jaw almost hit the ground.
It happens when we find each other online too:
"Me too," we whisper to each other...
"Me too," people message me...
"Me too," we say collectively, breathing a sigh of relief that we can finally talk about our grief and love for our babies with SOMEONE.
And what a relief it is to be able tell our stories and be seen.
Would you like to feel the gentle support of a community that GETS you? Of being able to say "me too"? You can experience this in my upcoming grief circle just for us, bereaved TFMR parents. We start early November 2023.
It's not always comfortable or convenient, the moments when my daughter's grief pops up. But isn't that the damn truth about grief. It is NOT comfortable. It is NOT convenient.
For example, this is a picture of an origami boat my oldest daughter made in memory of the baby who died in pregnancy, in memory of her sister Clara.
Sometimes my daughter's grief comes out as spontaneous tears. So I sit with her. And sometimes she wants me to help her make Clara artwork, even though inside I'm falling apart and it's breaking my heart. But I am also proud of her. So very proud.
Together we sit. Side by side. Not taking each others' grief away.
I don't hide my grief from my daughter. I allow her to see me cry, see me mourn. In turn, she expresses her own grief, she doesn't bottle it up.
I'm able to show up for my daughter like this because I put in the grief work that I need to do for ME. My own journaling, artwork, being in my grief communities, doing my own therapy and getting my own energy work done.
It's so important that we have safe places to process our grief as adults. So we can show up for ourselves, for the kids in our lives, our partners, our communities.
If you're looking for a deep yet gentle space to process your grief after TFMR pregnancy loss, our grief circles are open for enrollment for just a few more days. Check out the details here and apply to join us.
So you can keep showing up in your life. You deserve a special place where you can write your baby's name too.
I hope you can let these words sink deep into your bones and soul:
💫Take it moment by moment💫
After my baby died through a termination, the depths of my grief were bottomless. And on top of that, I was never "educated" on grief before my TFMR.
I had to learn to live moment by moment, second by second. Until a bit more space came between the huge grief waves...then it was minute by minute. But if you are very early out, move through your experience moment by moment.
💫You are a good parent💫
Oh my heart, when another TFMR parent told me this, I felt like I could breathe again. Finding other people who had been through this horrific experience saved me. They reminded me of my goodness.
As a Bereavement Doula now, I run my own safe, closed Facebook group just for us bereaved TFMR parents. Come join us if you are looking for a community like this. Where people will remind you, YOU are a good parent too.
💫You made a kind and compassionate decision💫
No matter the type of termination, no matter your baby's or your diagnosis, YOU knew best.
As much as the media would like to talk up "carrying to term" as the "more" compassionate choice, I don't believe this. In between a rock and a hard place, all the options are kind and compassionate. None better than others. You made your decision with everyone's best interest and health in mind. And with LOVE. That is kind.
💫Your health and wellbeing matters💫
It does! Many TFMRs are due to devastating fetal anomalies, but many are for maternal health reasons as well. Or a combo. That was actually the tipping point for my case - we avoided maternal health complications by terminating our pregnancy.
Because I matter, to my other kids, to my husband. To ME. Me as me, my health and wellbeing matters. So.Does.Yours! If your TFMR was for maternal health reasons, you are welcome in my TFMR Support Circle (the Facebook group) as well.
❤May you hold these statements close. If you can't fully accept them all, let it take it's time❤
& if you would like Bereavement Doula support through your process after TFMR, I have free intro sessions open, so take advantage now. You can find out if 1 on 1 work or any upcoming grief circles would be best for you. Get your free session here. 🤲💜
Her story is not my story…I am alive and she is dead.
(Content includes suicidal ideation)