My name is Anne Robin. I am the owner of Anne Robin Calligraphy. I don’t normally get too personal in my professional life. Aside from the occasional Instagram photo of my son (sometimes it’s too difficult to resist!), I usually steer clear of sharing my feelings or details about my life with the public. However, today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day, and I have been inspired by some fellow small business owners (like Angel Swanson of Love and Splendor and Danielle Walker of Against All Grain) to “come out.” Here is my story:
In 2009, I gave birth to my son Charlie. I had an unmedicated birth-center birth after a blissful, naive pregnancy. The birth itself was life changing – I had a newfound confidence and power and I couldn’t wait to do it again.
In 2010 and 2011, I had 2 miscarriages.
Then later in 2011, I had another pregnancy, which ended at 21 weeks due to an intracranial hemorrhage (ICH).
Again in 2012, my fifth pregnancy ended at 24 weeks due to another intracranial hemorrhage.
And earlier this year, 2014, I suffered a miscarriage again.
Obviously something is up. We have now had our DNA mapped, our chromosomes scrutinized, my blood checked and rechecked (and rechecked) for antibodies. But the doctors can’t come up with anything.
I’m not ready to give up. The thing I want most in life is to give birth to another baby, and I just am not ready to stop trying. Maybe the hope that it will one day happen is my coping mechanism. In the darkest days, it is the one thing that I can hold onto. I think that is the remarkable thing about so many women who have miscarriages, or late term losses, or stillborns – their perseverance. It takes such courage, but there is something about the drive of procreation.
This kind of loss has such a stigma surrounding it. It is so rarely talked about, even amongst friends, and I think that is a huge problem. It is a problem because we feel like we can’t talk even though it would probably help us if we do. It is a problem because people don’t know what to say to us when something like this happens. It is a problem because sharing, in this case, is so taboo that our support networks don’t have the proper tools to help us cope. And it is a problem because so many of us feel shame or confusion about what is going on with our bodies, especially when we see so many women around us getting pregnant and having babies, “seemingly” with no complications.
It is a vicious cycle. Silence is perpetuated. The “norm” is to hold off announcing a pregnancy until the first trimester is complete. (Or for some of us who have had later losses, even until the second trimester is over, or until we have that healthy baby in our arms.) Why? Because of the large possibility that something might happen. But if no one knows about the pregnancy, then where is your support network if something goes wrong? And subsequently, this leaves so many people suffering alone through this intangible, but incredibly real, loss.
So I am stepping out. I am breaking the silence. I am encouraging more women to talk openly about their losses and their grief. I want to help others like me, in any way I can, even if it’s small. So today marks the launch of my campaign to start the dialogue, and I am honoring that with a series of images I created with the help of Amber Moon from Pitbulls and Posies.
I offer them to you here as free desktop images and tattoo file downloads. Or, you can purchase an 8 x 10 print (or the whole series of prints) with the proceeds benefitting Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, an incredible organization that offers remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby.
Let’s make some noise.
*** If you would like to submit your story, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will post it to the blog. That way, this can become a forum for people to talk about their losses.