Jenny Albers is the author of the blog, “A Beautifully Burdened Life.”
The stay-at-home mom of two uses the blog to talk about motherhood, her journey through grief, and life in general.
Jenny also writes about the two miscarriages she has had in her life and uses her platform as a community for people going through similar struggles.
Jenny told Dearly that she was inspired to write one of her most recent Facebook posts after receiving a message from a mom thanking her for an article she had written on pregnancy loss.
The mom told Jenny about her own experience with miscarriage, saying that “she was heartbroken even though she was 'only 11 weeks pregnant.'” The word “only” struck a cord with Jenny.
She explained to Dearly:
“I hear similar comments all the time and it makes me cringe because I personally don't think my experience or my grief is any worse than someone who lost a baby early on in pregnancy. I don't want women who have experienced miscarriages to feel as if they don't have a right to grieve, simply because they lost their baby at an earlier stage than someone else.”
That's why Jenny decided to address it on her Facebook page, A Beautifully Burdened Life by Jenny Albers:
Jenny wrote, in part:
When women discover that I lost a baby during the 20th week of pregnancy, they will often open up to me about their own loss, but reduce its significance by saying they were “only” six weeks, eight weeks, or fill-in-the-blank weeks pregnant when their loss occurred. They usually follow up that “only” statement by saying something along the lines of how their loss does not compare to mine. And I guess I've said or thought some variation of the same thing. When discussing my early loss versus my later loss, I've reduced it to being nothing more than a medical mishap that occurred when I was “only” six weeks pregnant. And when hearing of someone else's full-term loss, I've considered how much worse it might have been to lose my baby at 40 weeks instead of at “only” 20 weeks.
However, as Jenny pointed out, the problem “lies within the comparison” and in the line of thinking that “one pregnancy, one life, is more significant than another based on its duration.”
The truth is that my losses are no more or less significant than anyone else's. Whether it was an early loss or a late loss, I've missed out on the same things as every other loss mom. I've missed a lifetime of getting to know two of my children. I've missed milestones and celebrations. I've missed the mundane moments that would have made up the majority of memories with the two babies who didn't make it home. I don't know the details of anyone else's loss, nor can I say I know exactly how they were affected by loss. But I do know that there is no “only” in pregnancy loss. Not in mine or anyone else's.
Jenny added that while there is no “only” in pregnancy loss, there is the word “already”:
There was a pregnancy that had already progressed to six, or eight, or twenty weeks along. There was already life as evidenced by two pink lines. The same pink lines that had already alerted a woman to her role as mother. There was already the sound of a heartbeat, whether it beat for a day, a month, or longer. There was already a connection between mother and baby. And there was already love planted deeply in a mother's heart. A love that had already begun to grow from the moment the first sign of life was displayed in the once empty window of a pregnancy test. It doesn't matter if a pregnancy “only” lasted for a few weeks. It doesn't matter if it was an early loss or a late loss. What matters is that there was already a baby who was loved immensely. And love cannot be measured in weeks.
And after sharing her thoughts, hundreds of more women began commenting and sharing their own experiences as well:
Jenny told Dearly that she is “overwhelmed” by just how many women have shared their stories with her, but she is grateful for that:
“I am grateful that this post has allowed the loss community to come together and support one another.”
She told Dearly:
"I realize that not everyone who has experienced pregnancy loss feels the same way. Each loss is so unique and we all process things differently. In my personal experience, losing a baby at 20 weeks was much different than losing one at six weeks. I was absolutely consumed by grief after my later loss, while I was able to function pretty normally after my early loss. I completely acknowledge that later losses are different, maybe even harder, but that does not mean that someone who has had a different experience is not justified in deeply grieving.
Jenny said that she “wants all loss moms to feel validated in their feelings of heartache” and that she wants to encourage those in the community to “stop comparing and to start comforting, no matter what stage of pregnancy loss one has experienced.”