I cannot find the words to properly explain the joy you feel when you finally see the word “pregnant” show up on that little blue test. I cannot find the words to properly explain the gratitude and pride felt in watching your body change so quickly–all to provide a proper home to grow human life inside you. I cannot find the words to properly describe the giddiness in having not just one, but two little buddies with you always–to talk to, sing to, and dance around with.

I cannot find the words to properly explain the grief in losing first one, then shortly after, both little buddies–completely encapsulating you. Forever changing the way you view, walk through, and think about the world.

My husband Luke and I found out we were pregnant last summer. The deeply prayed for, longed for, completely miraculous blue word on the test brought us a joy I did not know was possible on Earth.

RELATED: A Mother’s Love Can’t Be Measured In Weeks

I sprang out of bed at 6:21 a.m. I can’t explain why, but I woke with an urgency to take a test on that very day at that very moment. A few moments later, I was sprinting out of the bathroom to wake Luke like a child waking her siblings on Christmas morning. Sorry, Pinterest ideas. There was no hope in me creating a social media-worthy “You are going to be a daddy” reveal for Luke. I was far too thrilled to hide this from him for even a millisecond. This level of joy filled the Pfleiderer house for the next few weeks.

After that, our home was filled with a unique type of mourning neither one of us has ever experienced.

There is life before our twins and there is life after our twins. These two lives are not the same.

I didn’t think there were any words to help a momma during this time. Other than, “I am so sorry. This SUCKS. I am so, so, sorry,” everything else said is either a well-intended attempt at silver-lining the cloud that simply cannot be given a silver-lining, or even worse, a minimization of the extreme pain you face. But after sharing our story with my dear friend Emily, she proved me wrong.

Through streaming tears audibly soaking her phone, she said, “Gosh, Kel. I am just so, SO sorry you two are walking through this. But I’m so comforted in the thought of those babies getting to watch their momma and daddy from up there, getting the best view of all you two are doing and all you will continue to do. I just know they are up there totally astonished at the rock stars their parents are. I know you make them proud and will do so for the rest of your days.”

When I was pregnant, I felt an overwhelming responsibility to hydrate enough, eat enough, study enough, move enough, track my symptoms enough, talk to them enough, be enough of anything and everything they needed. I now feel an overwhelming responsibility to live up to what Emily sharedI will fight to make these babies proud.

I will fight to celebrate their lives forever.

I will fight to say their namesdespite society so desperately wanting to hush them.

I will fight for all of the other parents who felt insurmountable joy followed by insurmountable grief—and all the while, felt hushed away and tucked aside by a society that makes us feel anything other than a perfect, beautiful, 13+ week pregnancy announcement is just not right to share and would be best kept between the family.

No. 

Tell your story. You are a mom now. Your spouse is a dad now. Those babies of yours have names. That grief of yours is not meant to be hidden. The joy you felt at the miracle of their lives is not meant to be forgotten. Say their names. Tell your story. Share your grief. Celebrate their lives.

RELATED: I Had a Miscarriage

I talk to our babies every day. Today, I desperately want to talk to you, momma who just miscarried. 

You will grieve this very desired baby (or babies) forever. The world seems to be tilted on a different axis . . . because it is. This is a new life now. You won’t “get over it.” And you shouldn’t. I know this, because my grandma, who rarely speaks of emotions at all, still gets choked up when recalling her angel baby.

Last Christmas, sitting at a small restaurant in Ohio, grandma fiddled with the stem of her martini glass as her voice caught, again and again, sharing her story with my sister and me. I can count on one hand the number of times I have seen my grandma emotional. Fifty years after she lost her baby, she sat across from two of her granddaughters and bravely told the whole story through teary eyes. Her face was glowing from the overhead Christmas decor, making every emotion so pronounced.

Fifty years later, and my ferociously strong and stubborn grandma is still grieving. You and I will grieve our babies forever, too.

This can seem a horribly grim thing to say. But when they were in your womb with you, you shared every moment with them, talking and smiling at them. They are gone from your womb, but above you now. As you grieve them, if you allow, you will be guided by them. Guided to be strong. Guided to tell their story. Guided to tell yours. Guided to keep pushing. Guided to make them prouder each day of the warrior woman that is their momma: YOU.

Grief is so strange, isn’t it? Grieving human beings who you never got to look in the eye, all the stranger. But momma, it’s OK that the waves still come. It’s OK that one second you feel fine, and the next, you’re crumbling and crippledglued to your couch, lost in a riptide of crushing grief. Sometimes you may swear there is an elephant on your chest. Others, you may swear there are springs underneath your feet. You are a momma longing for her babies while also bubbled over with joy in knowing they will never know pain, heartbreak, exclusion . . . they will only ever know love. Let the waves come.

But do those babies a favor? Don’t surf those waves alone. Invite your spouse into them. Invite whomever else you can trust into them. They want to ride them with you, momma. They want to carry you to shore, momma. Let them.

As you share your story, know that most everyone means well. This makes people who love you very uncomfortable, because they can’t fix it. In the discomfort, they will say well-meaning things.

They may say, “At least you know you can get pregnant.”

They may say, “At least you weren’t further along.”

They may say, “Maybe don’t tell anyone . . .”

They may say, “Just try again!”

They may say, “Maybe your body couldn’t do it.”

Worst of all, they may say nothing at all. 

I promise, though these comments sting, your loved ones mean well. They, too, are lost in this grief. Be gentle with them.

If something they say stings, I encourage you to educate them why. But understand they mean well. They want to take this pain away. They want to rip these pages out of your book because they love you, momma. And they hate that you are hurting. They don’t mean to hurt. They don’t mean to hush. They don’t mean to minimize your grief. Educate and guide them, just like your angel babies are educating and guiding you.

RELATED: 10 Gift Ideas To Support a Friend Through Miscarriage

Momma, the awful truth is, nothing anyone says will make this truly better. But I will tell you, just as my dear friend told me:

I am so, so, so sorry you are walking through this. But I’m so comforted in the thought of those babies getting to watch their momma and daddy from up there, getting the best view of all you two are doing and all you will continue to do. I just know they are up there totally astonished at the rock stars their parents are. I know you make them proud and will do so for the rest of your days.

As diligent as you felt when you were pregnant, please, momma, be as diligent with caring for yourself in this new life. Keep eating. Sleep. Cry when you need to. Laugh hysterically when you need to. Educate when well-meaning but hurtful words arise if you need to. Talk about them when you need to. Be quiet when you need to. Say their names. Dream up what you think they would grow to be, what you think they would grow to look like. And if you feel led to . . .  share your story.

As I sat, hysterical, on the crinkled white medical paper, my midwife said, “Kelsey. This isn’t your fault. This is so, SO common. You feel alone because you don’t realize how many other women have walked this road. You feel alone because nobody allows themselves to talk about it.”

Well, I thought to myself, I am going to change that.

Make them proud, momma. You already have. I know that will only continue.

Originally published on the author’s blog

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Kelsey Pfleiderer

Kelsey Pfleiderer is a writer from small town Ohio, now residing in the Florida Keys with her husband, rainbow baby boy and feisty orange neighborhood cat. After being diagnosed with a rare spinal tumor in the fall of 2017, she left her career in corporate events to pursue her deepest dream of writing full time. She founded her site, aperture expanding, where she candidly shares her heart on marriage, motherhood, chronic illness and more. She believes that by embracing our scars, both physical and emotional, we can create a roadmap that leads us to the life we were made to lead. She can be found on her Instagram at @kelsey.pfleiderer and her author Facebook page at Kelsey Pfleiderer.

Growing Slowly around the Grief of Losing Your Mom

In: Grief, Loss
Sad woman sitting on couch with folded arms

Everyone has heard about the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Society often assumes the stages of grief happen in order, but those who encounter grief know that’s not true. Undergoing grief can feel like riding a rollercoaster blindfolded—disorienting and chaotic. There are numerous ups, downs, and twists you wouldn’t anticipate. Grief is like an ocean. When waves come crashing, it feels like you’re being swept away. Regardless of their size, waves are always rough. Despite everything, you also get pushed forward to the shore after every wave. Sometimes, you may feel like you are drowning...

Keep Reading

The Shattering Grief of Suicide

In: Grief, Living, Loss
Sad person sitting in darkened hallway, black and white image

Navigating through my second Christmas without my dad, the weight of grief seemed even heavier this year. In fact, everything felt and looked different to me. As I unwrapped the ornaments and cards he gave me over the years, a tidal wave of madness and sadness engulfed me. I know many feel sadness and grieve during these times, but let me just say . . . suicide is a different type of grief. My vibrant, happy, physically fit dad committed suicide on April 30th, 2022. There, I said it. In the aftermath, a myriad of emotions consumed me. One perplexing...

Keep Reading

Dear Dad, Maybe You’re the Bird

In: Grief, Loss
Young girl sitting on father's lap, older color photo

Maybe you’re the bird. The one I see outside my door. The one who flies so low it seems you’re somehow weighted down. Like you’re carrying more than just yourself. Like you’re carrying a message. Just for me. Maybe you’re the rain. The sound I hear that reminds me so much of home. Of you. Of driving in your car as a little girl when you looked over and asked my opinion about everything. When you made someone so small feel so very big. RELATED: Dad Left a Legacy in Fried Green Tomatoes Maybe you’re the butterfly. The one I...

Keep Reading

I Hope You Never Know What it’s Like to Forget Who You Are

In: Grief, Living, Loss
Woman staring at camera, black-and-white photo

I write best when I’m passionate. It’s always been my release. But lately, I’ve struggled to write. I’ve struggled to find purpose in my words. It’s all been twisted and choppy, not a bit poetic or beautiful. These feelings are what the struggles of loss, parenting, work, and marriage push against. It’s finding yourself over and over again and trying to make sense of the senseless. It leaves you questioning most things and leaves you feeling broken with no idea how to put yourself or others back together. I hope you never know. I hope you never know what it’s...

Keep Reading

I Don’t Know How to Live Without My Sister, But I Must

In: Grief
Sisters smiling in posed color photo

I’ve spent a year of my life living in a haze. Holding my breath, afraid to exhale. Focusing on staying in this frozen moment where there is no reality. I pressed the pause button. Pumped the brakes. I’ll stay right here and wait for my life, life as I knew it, life as I loved it, to come back around. Where there is no future to mourn, thinking about the way it should have been and no torturous past to remember, recalling the horror of that day. The special occasions that will come are now outlined in sadness. Wait, she’s...

Keep Reading

6 Ways to Be a Friend to Someone Grieving

In: Friendship, Grief, Loss
Friends hugging

Grief can truly be such a lonely experience after you lose a loved one. The loneliness isn’t necessarily because you don’t have anyone around you. It’s because only you had your relationship with the person who died, and it’s hard to find anyone to replace that. I have first-hand experience. My mom died recently and unexpectedly at the age of 62 and I at the age of 34, and it single-handedly has been one of the most painful experiences of my life. However, having support from family and friends will help you navigate this difficult time. Without it, the loneliness...

Keep Reading

These Final Gifts from My Mom Are Hard to Let Go

In: Grief, Loss
Little girls boots with worn toes, color photo

My daughter wobbled toward me in silver, square-toed go-go boots, one heel dislodged and flopping against our hallway’s faux wood floor. On her opposite foot, a striped sock peaked curiously through the growing toe hole. “Mama,” she said. Her tiny voice raised another octave, “My shoe!” I sighed, then sat on the floor. Waves of grief washed over me as I contemplated what kind of glue might capably reconstruct the shoe’s sole. Elmer’s glue? Textile glue? Maybe Krazy Glue? I knew the boots should just go into the bin. And yet, they—along with a vibrant, overbearing cat dress that would...

Keep Reading

A Daughter Is Never Ready To Let Her Dad Go

In: Grief, Loss
Grown daughter hugging older man

I wasn’t ready to let you go. When I was a little girl, one of my greatest fears was that something would happen to my parents. If they had to go somewhere, I would nervously follow their route in my mind, mentally noting where they probably were and when they should be back home. If they hadn’t returned by the time I thought they should, my imagination would get the best of me as I pictured a thousand things that could have happened. But the day I sat having a late breakfast at my kitchen table and saw an ambulance...

Keep Reading

Memories of Mom Are Everywhere

In: Grief, Motherhood
Family campsite with bikes, tents, and totes, color photo

Two weeks after my daughter was born, my dad drove from Pennsylvania to our home in Florida to stay with me for the week. I was nursing my daughter on the couch when my dad drug in four humongous plastic storage bins and staged them next to the Pack ‘N Play in the living room. The bins were full of my baby clothes, baby shower cards, a silver spoon, plastic and probably lead-infused rattles, and two cellophane balloons neatly folded. A time capsule of my babyhood. I thought of my mom’s hands being the last to touch these items. Had...

Keep Reading

Don’t Forget the Heartbroken Mothers

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Woman sad sitting on couch

The loss I recently experienced hit differently than others I’ve experienced. I thought that with three kids already in tow, it wouldn’t ache quite this bad. But it has. I don’t know if it’s because I was further along or because my entire household was over-the-top giddy and excited for this precious new life to enter the world. Perhaps it was the trauma of how everything happened or because I actually gave birth to him and held him. RELATED: We Lost Our Baby at 17 Weeks Pregnant Attending my first appointment to confirm the loss was brutal. I was surrounded...

Keep Reading