After I lost my twins at 17-weeks pregnant, one of the first things I wrote was, “This is not the story I ever thought would be mine.” I wallowed in sadness, not knowing how I would face the world with such great pain, not knowing how to pick myself and my shattered life pieces up off the floor, not knowing how I could ever touch my body again – knowing it had failed me – not knowing anything, or why this happened to me.
And then, I shared my pain with others. I told my family and closest friends that our twins left for heaven, that I would never know them. My wife and mother, my father and brother-in-law, held me close. Physically. They were there in the hospital with me. My brothers, their wives, their children, my grandparents, my cousins, and my dearest friends called and texted me with sympathetic and loving words.
I was so sad.
But as I received their love, something I can only refer to as miraculous began to happen.
I found strength.
Strength enough to face what I knew I must: tell the rest of the world that I had lost my twins.
And so I did what we do in today’s world. I posted on Facebook:
With the heaviest sadness our hearts have ever known, Sara and I had to say goodbye to our babies as they left this world for heaven yesterday. My pregnancy was picture perfect and the twins were developing exactly as they should. But for a reason no one knows, my water broke at 17 weeks and our Little Angels — a boy and a girl — did not survive. May God hold them close.
What happened next has forever changed my life. Never before had I known such sadness. But never before had I realized how much love there is in this world… for me, for my wife, for our family.
The prayers. The well wishes. The positive and loving thoughts. The good vibes. There was an outpouring of love and support. From friends I haven’t seen since fifth grade. From colleagues. From cousins – and cousins’ cousins – across the country. From past professors and teachers. From exes. (From exes!)
I knew I’d have to turn to the Babble readership and the lovely people there who have supported my journey to motherhood from the get-go. While I never thought this would be my story, it was becoming clear that this is my story. And it has to be told.
Many people – too many people, in fact – sent me messages of their own stories, of the losses of their babies. Old friends from high school. Strangers. Even family.
Not only did I realize just how loved I am, but I also realized that my wife and I weren’t alone in our sadness. So many people were sharing our grief. So many people were praying for our healing. So many people were sending us so much love and goodness.
Somehow, our loss became a shared human experience with loved ones, friends, acquaintances, coworkers, and strangers alike. Somehow, knowing that others shared in our pain, knowing that so many people cared enough to pray for our well being, began to lift some of our sadness and has given us the strength to recognize that we will get through this.
I know that everybody handles loss in their own way. And I’d never judge anyone for dealing with their story in a different way than how I am managing to get through. But my heart aches for women and families who cannot (for whatever reason) share their loss with others, for the silence they are forced to grieve in, for the loneliness they must live in.
I truly could not have gotten to this place – this place of beginning to see the light, of slowly pulling ourselves out of the darkness and prepping our hearts to try again – without each and every supportive message, loving comment, and tender word we’ve received.
I pray, and send love and light, to all the women who suffer in silence. May they find the comfort I have found in knowing that they are not alone. That a simple woman from Upstate New York who shares their same dream of motherhood carries them in her heart, and walks this journey hand-in-hand with them.
May we all say a prayer for them tonight.
Read more of Aela’s writing at Two Moms Make A Right.