For my husband Tim and I, grieving our many losses together has changed over the past sixteen years. Our first miscarriage took place in my parents basement. A young couple only a few months into our marriage, we oddly invited a friend over to keep Tim company watching the Minnesota Twins play October baseball while I spent most of the night in the bathroom. It wasn’t that Tim was uninvolved or remotely unsupportive, but we did make some strange decisions that first loss!
Fast forward thirteen years and when our daughter Siena died shortly after death, Tim was fully involved in every step. He slept at the hospital in the days after delivery, called the funeral home, chose a burial plot, and took three weeks of leave from work to be with me. He did this while keeping track of what was happening at home with our other five children so I didn’t have to!
Well, in short, we did. As a young couple, we found few resources and little support for our situation. We were making it up as we went. Each successive loss we would look back months later and think through what would have made it easier. We would talk about pictures we wish we took. Memorial arrangements. Things I wished I had done differently during labor.
And from the very beginning, Tim was incredible about remembering them all.
The only thing I remember hearing about grieving as a couple was not to expect Tim to grieve on the same timeline as I did. After our daughter Kenna was stillborn, I even heard the number three months attached. Something about three months, when I was starting to emerge from the raw and physical realities of my loss, Tim was simultaneously done with urgent things to do and started grieving in a new way. In some ways this wisdom nugget held true and other ways it did not.
There is no manual for grief. As we have had more opportunities to “practice” the processes of miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death, we have gained clarity in the types of things that work for us as a couple. We have danced the delicate balance of space, support, and time. In absence of a manual to give us as a starting point, each of our losses became the starting point for the next. Not making grief easier, per-say, but easing the burden of decision making in the unknown.
But what if there had been a manual? Would it have made life easier- If someone had handed us a book of information on baptism, burial, physical pains, and those emotionally tricky to navigate first months?
I think it would and I am ever so grateful for my friend Laura and her husband, Franco, for writing just such a book. Grieving Together is a compassionate and comprehensive look at grieving and growing together following pregnancy loss.
Laura and Franco can’t make any couple’s grief “easier”, but the friendship of their words can help guide decisions on topics we haven’t had a chance to think about. Their friendship leaves readers feeling a less lonely, afraid, and isolated.
In sixteen years, the awareness of pregnancy and infant loss as an important issue has grown. Support and resources are more readily available, particularly through online connections. As Catholics, we value the sacredness of both marriage and the unborn. This book fills a needed hole, upholding the dignity and importance of both.
You can read more about our pregnancy and infant loss journey here. I also invite you to join my pregnancy and infant loss dedicated mailing list and receive a free copy of Scripture Study for Pregnancy and Infant Loss! (I have an exciting announcement of my own coming next week and mailing list members will be the first to hear about it!)
Disclosure: As a part of the book launch team, I received a free copy of this book. All thoughts are my own. This post contains affiliate links.