I was unlucky two times. In a row. I had to make a heartbreaking decision to end my son’s life at 21 weeks and terminate a much-wanted pregnancy because of the prognosis of a “best case scenario of the developmental quality of life of a two-month-old.” We were told it was a one in a million occurrence.
Five months later, I found myself pregnant again.
We were monitored closely: every other week at a perinatologist’s office. And then, week 17, they started to see the same abnormalities. Week 18, diagnosis confirmed. Week 19, second termination.
At that point, I couldn’t imagine being happy again or laughing. I knew that a child would not fix what I had lost, but it was the goal I had set. Two months later, I was pregnant again and terrified. After 36 weeks of waiting, I was induced due to concerns about inter-uterine growth restriction, and my healthy rainbow daughter was born.
My daughter didn’t magically erase the trauma I had experienced. She didn’t take away the love I had for her angel brother and sister. But she showed me that I worked. I could laugh. I could enjoy life.
After my experiences, I have gone on to advocate on behalf of reproductive rights. I was part of the 2012 campaign to re-elect Obama by being featured in a Planned Parenthood ad. I lost my children, but found my voice. I found my calling. A psychologist, I started to read books and take classes in perinatal loss and grief. Now I lead those classes. Loss is what I do. I help newly bereaved moms who made the agonizing choice of ending a pregnancy too soon. And through it all, I’m happy with the person that I’ve become, despite the road that brought me here. For me, this experience gave me new life in so many ways.