Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness: Chelsie's Story
October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month, and we know so many of you have endured heartbreaking experiences. Part of our passion and mission behind our #WeAreWeCan campaign is sharing the stories of the collective struggles that we as women face, and to recognize that we are not alone. This month, we're sharing the stories of women who've experienced pregnancy and infant loss in an effort to create awareness about the issue and to help other women who may be in similar situations feel supported, inspired, and less alone.
Today we're sharing the story of Chelsie Carr. Chelsie has endured a lot of pain and heartbreak in her young life, including a cancer diagnosis at the age of 16, followed by an aggressive regimen of chemotherapy, and subsequent infertility challenges and miscarriage as an adult. Below, read more of her story and her advice to other young women.
COULD YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR PREGNANCY LOSS STORY?
IN WHAT WAYS HAS THIS EXPERIENCE SHAPED YOU?
I learned how complex grief is. For the first week, I literally felt like the sadness would swallow me up whole. I questioned everything about my life and who I am and my future. I questioned my faith. I felt like I had “done my time” so to say, with cancer, and wanted to know why I was being given another burden to carry. I found myself hating my body and feeling like it had betrayed me once again. I literally wanted to crawl out of my skin and sleep for days. Every now and then, I would have moments of asking myself, “Why am I so sad?” We weren’t pregnant for very long; this happens very frequently; we didn’t meet this baby; we didn’t even get to hear the heartbeat. But here’s the truth: Dustin and I lost our baby. And that comes with a very deep and real pain that demands to be felt. I learned that the only way to truly heal from this trauma was feeling and acknowledging the pain so that I could learn how to live with it, instead of being drowned by it.
HOW OR WHERE DID YOU FIND SUPPORT, PEACE, AND COMFORT FOLLOWING YOUR EXPERIENCE?
FOR OTHER WOMEN WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED PREGNANCY LOSS AND MAY BE STRUGGLING, WHAT ADVICE OR WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT WOULD YOU OFFER THEM?
You will have moments when you are happy and sad at the same time, and that's okay. It's complex and, at times, confusing, but it's okay to feel joy even when you are sad. It’s important to grieve, it’s also important to find hope and hold on to it because that's the only way to survive this. Look for the hope. Look for the joy. Feel the pain, but move forward anyway.
WHAT'S ONE THING ABOUT PREGNANCY LOSS YOU'D LIKE PEOPLE TO KNOW?
I want other people to know that just because I didn't get to meet my baby and just because I was only pregnant for a short time, my loss is just as real and devastating as any other loss. It's the loss of a child, the loss of a future, and the loss of confidence and trust in my own body. Women who go through miscarriages need their loss validated, need love, support, and kindness and we appreciate those who stand by us for as long as we grieve and put our pieces back together.