The first time I became pregnant, I had been married for just over a year. I was so excited to finally be a mother, something I had looked forward to for several years. I had started babysitting at the age of eleven and always wanted lots of babies of my own. I, of course, told all of my family and friends of my pregnancy and all was going well.
I went in for my three-month checkup, and the heartbeat of my baby could not be found.
I was devastated that my baby had died, and to make matters worse, my body did not want to give it up. I had to go in after waiting a week for the “natural process” to happen and didn’t, to undergo a D&C. I bawled throughout the process, knowing my baby was indeed gone, and no miracle was going to happen to make it otherwise.
At about the same time I lost my baby, a good friend of mine, Emily* gave birth to a little girl named Claire*. Emily, in contrast to me, had no experience on how to really take care of Claire and didn’t know how to get things done for herself or her home while juggling a baby. I educated her and showed her several things that I knew, and after talking to her in depth, I offered to pick up Claire every weekday after work for four hours. This would allow Emily to get household chores done, food made, time to herself, and give me the opportunity to take care of a baby I so needed at the time.
Emily was happy to let me care for her daughter, giving us both time to do what was needed. I took care of Claire for several months, being her babysitter on the weekends if needed also. We both learned the benefits of taking care of Claire this way.
During this time, I went through a second miscarriage at six weeks along.
I was extremely grateful I could hold and feed Claire. A year later, I gave birth to a son and could finally call him MINE. I quit my full-time job outside the home and continued to care for Claire, plus two more small children who lived next door, full time in my home. I was so happy and busy!
I was able to have two more sons and a daughter during the next eight years.
When my children were the ages of twelve, ten, seven, and four, my husband and I adopted two girls, sisters who were six and eight years old. They fit in nicely, and we knew our family was now complete!
I would encourage women of all circumstances to communicate with one another and help one another.
Experiencing a loss, as well as not knowing how to cope with being a new mother, dealing with postpartum depression, and just taking on the responsibility of a new life is very complex. Talking with other women, relaying how you feel, and seeing if there are options for you can be very beneficial.
Looking back, I feel so blessed to have had such a great friend who would trust me with her newborn. I couldn’t have endured those six months in which I lost my first two babies without Claire. I loved her as my own, and Emily knew that. Emily was able to get her life in order so she could enjoy being a mother. She had a second daughter five years later and, to this day, is still a great mother.
*Names have been changed.
Blog Author: Stephanie Stanley. Stephanie lives in Eugene, Oregon, with her husband of twenty-two years and their six children. Being able to have a large family has brought such joy into their lives. They are a very close, loving family that supports each other always.