Our journey started in 2015. After our official honeymoon to Peru, which we went on two years after our wedding, where we literally walked above the clouds, we came home on Cloud 9 when we found out I was pregnant that October. I remember having bought Peruvian cloths that you could turn into wraps to carry a baby on your back like they had and thinking how neat that was and how this “neat” trick really stuck out in my head–we were ready to start building our family.

I had shared our pregnancy so early with pretty much everyone because, though I knew what miscarriage was, I naively never thought it would happen to me. I grew up in a family of five where my own mother was lucky enough to never experience any pregnancy losses. It was just not in my repertoire. As we prepared to do the big family share at our 12-week mark, we were losing our pregnancy. We were having a missed miscarriage. We found out baby had stopped growing at nine weeks, and I was told to go home, take some Tylenol and Advil, and “it” would pass.

As soon as I got home, I headed straight to my university laptop and started writing. I wrote until no more tears fell on that keyboard as my husband Phillip handed me a Kleenex Box.

I wrote about her name Amity and that it means “friendship,” the adventures we went on, the friends I told, the story of how I told Phillip I was pregnant (you’ll have to read my book for this one!) and just all that this little bean meant to me and us. I felt like I had never lived life more fully, being so aware of everything as it occurred as I had life within. Everything just seemed more vibrant then.

Unfortunately, I never got that naive vibrancy back for the rest of our pregnancy journey. But in writing it, I hold onto the pure elation I had felt once before, as everyone should. Being pregnant is so incredible.

For the sake of this article and wanting not to “write too long,” as I’ve been known to write novels,I will briefly describe, but by no means downplay, the rest of our babies’ stories in creating our family.

Our second loss was an early loss, when I was 10 weeks pregnant. In my third pregnancy, we lost our so-hoped-for daughter Kaia, at 24 weeks via termination for medical reasons. After that we had what is described as a chemical pregnancy, a very early pregnancy that ends in miscarriage.

With all of these pregnancy losses, I experienced more than just the physical loss of having a baby.

It was also the loss of the happy pregnancy experience and birth story. It was the loss of having the family I envisioned and the expectations of what my future might look like. It was the despair of feeling like a mother but not having a living child. I knew I could have done nothing differently to save my babies, but it didn’t stop me from searching for reasons. It was isolating, and I felt alone in my grief. I felt like I was the only one going through it and the only book I knew of was a guidebook called, What to do when your baby dies.

But after four pregnancies, four emotional journeys filled with excitement and then grief, I gave birth to our beautiful boy Case in 2017. Our lovely daughter Maelie followed close behind in 2019.

After having our two children, we then lost an unplanned pregnancy around 8 weeks. Even though I had two children, I did not feel like our family was complete, and I wanted another child. My eighth pregnancy was our boy Jude, who we lost in August 2020 when I was 21 weeks pregnant, this time related to another terminal prognosis called Potters Sequence.

Finally, our daughter Ayda came into our lives in July 2022, and as serendipity would have it, her due date was the same day that we delivered our son Jude the year before. It has amazed me many times how my worst day one year could be my best day the very next year.

I lost another pregnancy in December of 2022 and am currently pregnant again after loss and writing a blog about navigating that.

I have been pregnant eleven times and have lost seven pregnancies, all in very different ways and at different times in my life. Building our family has not been easy, but it did build us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Writing brought “a snippet in time,” a moment-to-moment basis, which shows me our growth even if I couldn’t see it at the time.

Writing through our journey has helped me heal.

Remember how I said how isolating, dark, horrible, alone I felt? Well, as a kid, I always kept journals. I spent a lot of days in my room writing. It was how I coped because I had a bipolar dad, and so as not to cause a “blow up,” it was better for me to retreat inward where I could always find my truest feelings and stay quiet not to bother anyone and stay unseen. It was always the best and safest way for me to process.

Not everyone likes to write. I totally understand that and think it is a good thing to have a variety of outlets. Some people create art through visual displays. Others crochet, sew, play, or listen, sing, or dance to music. It has been my experience on this journey that something is always born out of your babies loss in honor of them. It’s a “gift” they give you that we don’t always see. We don’t have to as long as it brings us comfort as we navigate the pure heartbreak of baby loss.

So, up until Jude, I had been keeping baby books. And as I wrote to Jude, as I had all my babies, I realized I had a stack of dead baby books under my bed. I thought about compiling all the journals and letters into one document for family and friends to read one day if they liked to try to understand our journey that I kept hidden from the world in order not to be a burden.

For seven years, I had not known I was writing a book, as it was always cathartic just to me. I never knew when I opened my laptop in 2016, as I let the words spew out of me for my first pregnancy loss, that I would be starting the writing of a book, even on the same dinosaur laptop. Writing was always what I naturally turned to first, a way to dive inward without “bothering anyone” with my feelings. I could be real in my diary and counsel myself.

My pages never talked back. I couldn’t hurt the page’s feelings or anyone else’s, and that brought me deep comfort, relief, and reflection. I couldn’t write our story now as when I was in it, going through it, I couldn’t detach from the overwhelming emotions.

Carmen at her book signing for A Diary to My Babies

Author’s Personal Collection/Carmen Grover

I hoped my book would make a difference for my loved ones, and my husband suggested I try to publish it.

Writing the book while pregnant with our rainbow baby was a form of distraction for me. As many of you loss mamas know, we can never bring ourselves to “get too attached emotionally” for fear of loss. Though we know it’s impossible, it doesn’t stop us from finding ways to keep occupied. Writing served this for me but was also fuelled by such passion. The process of writing my book, A Diary to My Babies: Journeying Through Pregnancy Loss*, never seemed like work while I was writing it, working full time, pregnant with 2 children at home. It was the only time I had such energy, such a drive, which I do believe was my babies working and writing through me. The story of our babies, one I believe they gave us to share.

Today, it’s the best way I’ve ever known how to honor them, their brief lives, and how they matter. For me, releasing the book into the world was like birthing my babies in some way and a rebirth for myself in a sense. I was no longer hiding behind the pages but sharing my most honest and poignant feelings of the ups and downs of pregnancy loss, from rolling in the grass to convulsing on the kitchen floor in my cycle of grief.

Grief doesn’t pass. Time doesn’t heal. But it does make us less numb.

With no timeline or to-do list for writing, sometimes I wrote two entries in one day. Sometimes I wrote none. Sometimes I wrote nothing for months. I always wrote on anniversaries as I was searching, and something was always revealed. In writing you can always let it surprise you even if you think there is nothing there once you start you may and will find.

This book now serves as not a guide, but a book of the real emotions that come with building our families, how there is no right way to grieve, and how it never stops it just shifts. It’s a book I wish I had at the start of our journey.

There’s so much I would have missed on this journey and our story that I only see now in looking back and revisiting my writing, which shows how time does change our experience. The power of hindsight can’t go unnoticed. I am grateful I kept an account to remember. When grief takes hold of us, we can’t see anything else that is going on around us or what is. This allowed me to remember the people who supported us along the way and the signs and what they meant at the time we were going through it.

Writing shouldn’t be a “to do.” Always go with the flow of writing when the spirit moves you. It’s trying to tell you something–the messages from our babies. Writing should bring relief, slow you to reflect, and check in or be a dump on a moment-to-moment basis.

Some cues I used for writing if you are considering journaling:

  • I always started with Dear Baby and would see whatever would flow naturally.
  • When I was struggling, I would ask myself: What am I feeling, doing, thinking, hoping for, fearing, dreaming of?
  • I also wrote down any signs I experienced that day.

I do believe our babies’ stories always stay with us. They are always useful and evolving as our story changes. Whether it’s holding retreats or campaigns in their honor, playing a new instrument, or writing their name or an x for them on cards, we eventually begin to understand and see differently the magic of their short lives through our writing or whatever gift they bring you. It can be transformative.

May we continue to shine our lights on the darkness of Pregnancy Loss by sharing our stories of our lost babies and families in whichever way that feels right for us. It might help others to heal as much as it does us.

I will never stop writing for as long as I’m living. There are signs and special moments all around me that my babies send me. As long as I capture them in my words, I have proof (my book is made up of these “angel droppings,” as I like to call them) that they live on forever.

More on this topic:

**This post contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase using these links, you also support PALS without it costing anything extra for you — a total win-win!

Share this story!