Stillbirth: Unexpected Heartbreak

The pregnancy has also been difficult for Neil (who has had to put up with my tears and fears for the past 38 weeks) and the children. Julie has repeatedly asked Jaylene if "this baby is going to make it," and wants someone to guarantee her that if she dares to get excited again, there will be a baby this time. Scott constantly asks if we've passed the point in the pregnancy at which we lost Laura. And Erik wants to know if we'll have another baby "if this baby dies."

We're also within a few weeks of marking the first anniversary of Laura's death, and I know for a fact that I'm not the same person I was a year ago. While I have cried a million tears for Laura, I have also found many ways to commemorate and honour her life: by founding a local pregnancy loss support network (something that is widely available in larger centres, but wasn't available in our community), by making donations in her name to various charities, and by reaching out to others who have experienced the heartbreak of stillbirth.

I've also gained a new sense of what is - and is not - important in life. If everything goes according to plan and I do get to take a new baby home from the hospital later this month, I will celebrate the miracle of that child's safe arrival with my entire body and soul. That is Laura's legacy to me. Ian McLean Douglas arrived safely on September 25, 1997.

Ann Douglas is the author of numerous books about pregnancy and parenting including the bestselling "The Mother of All Pregnancy Books." She regularly contributes to a number of print and online publications, is frequently quoted in the media on a range of parenting-related topics, and has appeared as a guest on a number of television and radio shows. Ann and her husband Neil live in Peterborough, Ontario. with the youngest of their four children. Learn more at her site, having-a-baby.com.

Copyright © Ann Douglas. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org.