This is my personal story about my termination for medical reasons (TFMR). Originally published on Spoken Grief, The Spoken Grief podcast hosted by Shuma Rouf that unapologetically talks about grief, death and loss. Originally published on September 20, 2020.
âMy story starts out full of innocence and love. My husband and I had a daughter together before we were married and we wanted a 2nd baby. We waited until after we were married in the fall of 2017 to try to have another baby. Overjoyed is an understatement for what we felt when we found out we were expecting a baby just a few weeks into our marriage.
Our baby was planned, wanted, so loved.
We announced to both sides of our families over Christmas and New Year's. Everyone was so happy for us.
I was thinking about getting a doula and I already had a midwife picked out.
But at our 11 to 14 week scan, everything was wrong. Our baby had so many anomalies; my doctor told us, "Your baby's heart will probably stop very soon." I just remember being on that ultrasound table, feeling time slow to a crawl and speed up all at once. It was like falling into a black hole and everything sounded tinny. The doctor kept talking but the words made no sense. Cystic hygroma, hydrops, no nasal bone. He asked us what our religious beliefs were on termination.
We were sent home with a piece of paper that said the probable cause of all her conditions, "Turner's syndrome" (I say her because we feel like she was a girl). The frantic Googling started and pulled up terms like "incompatible with life," "less than 1% survival rate," and some crazy Cesarean section called an "exit strategy." Very dangerous for both mother and baby, and typically with a very very poor outcome.
It did not sound good.
Dear fellow TFMR parent,...
This message is for you, bereaved TFMR mama/papa/parent: Your parenthood is beautiful and the love you have for your baby is unfathomable, infinite.
You are a good parent who made a difficult medical decision.
This only shows how profound your love is.
Those that do not understand this are the minority.
What they think and say and spew only speaks to *their* unkindness.
This is the TRUTH-
You are a kind, loving parent.
You deserve only love and understanding and care for your grief, and this is not up for some religious/political debate.
You are worthy of support and you are a grieving parent.
TFMR Bereavement Doula
On the minefield that is the ´comments section' of articles on terminating for medical reasons and how to care for yourself
Let's talk about the comments section of articles (usually in mainstream media) that retell the heartbreaking stories of terminations for medical reasons, otherwise known as TFMR. My advice: don't "click to expand" or "click to see all" or read at all if you can avoid it. There's always some angry pro-birther-at-all-cost no-matter-the-suffering person in there.
Guard your grieving heart. Remember why YOU made the medical decision you did for YOU and YOUR baby. That decision, made with sooooo much love and respect for life is what matters.
If you do find yourself in the comments section of an article on TFMR (termination for medical reasons) and feel triggered, angry, scared, upset, outraged or all of the above due to an ignorant comment, reset yourself:
1. Close article/comments
2. Place phone down or walk away from device
3. Center yourself in your LOVING decision...through meditation, an affirmation, deep breaths, sharing the trigger with a TFMR friend, prayer, going for a walk, whatever you need to do
4. Continue until you feel reset, still acknowledging that that was a shitty ass comment
And keep taking care of your grief and love in safe, TFMR spaces. Come join my Facebook group, the TFMR Support Circle, if you need a caring space like this, free of trolls. Just click that link to apply. I screen everyone to keep us all safe.
The TFMR Support Circle is a place where we understand the triggers as a big part of this experience. A place where you can safely share your story.
How do YOU take care of yourself after reading hurtful comments about TFMR?
Keep taking care of yourself gently 💜
The TFMR Doula
P.S. And all comments on this blog are held for review by ME so no hateful remarks will ever appear in this comments section. Only grief support for bereaved families allowed. We are not available for hate and ignorance here.
What the world sees
What the world sees is just the tip of the iceberg. The world sees us going to get-togethers, smiling, back at work, maybe even pregnant again after loss, laughing at jokes, carrying on and talking about our hobbies.
Well...I'm sure you know intimately what lays beneath the surface:
😭 Crying, so much crying
🕳 Feeling adrift, a loss of purpose
💔 Utterly heartbroken
🙅♀️ Body shame, even loathing your body
🤫 Feeling unsafe to share your complete story
After losing your baby to a medical termination, whether for your health or the baby's health, or a combination, there are so many layers to work through.
Under the surface, that iceberg of feelings and emotions just goes on and on.
💜What's under the surface for you today?💜
P.S. I am taking applications for the next round of Ascend, a grief circle specifically for bereaved TFMR people. A place where you can explore the depths of those "hidden from polite society" emotions and layers. Applications due by March 22nd.
The lack of mourning rituals
Having all the little clothes does not prepare your soul to be a mother, father, parent...and it definitely doesn't prepare you for your baby to die.
It's a rite of passage that can remain unmarked, hushed up by society (perhaps even more silenced if it is a termination for medical reasons TFMR). A hello wrapped up in a good-bye, a passage into invisible motherhood.
Even if your family/culture/religion does practice some mourning rituals, it is healing to continue to create and honor those parent-child bonds. And to honor your own grief.
It's okay to create your own rituals. It can be even more healing to practice in community.
That's why I created Ascend: A TFMR Grief Circle.
My program Ascend goes deep into ritual, storytelling, all in a safe community space where you can be held and seen through this stage of life. We meet live (Zoom) about twice a month for 3 months of support.
The next circle starts at the end of this month. Applications are due by March 22nd, 2021.
You can learn more and apply here.
💫What rituals do you practice to honor your baby and your grief? Candle lighting, altar keeping, saying your baby's name, sharing their story? Let us know in the comments💫