Rediscovering Joy

By Shannon & Mark's Mom

I mainly just want to say thank you for this site. I also want to tell my story as it might perhaps offer some degree of hope to those newly bereaved.

I visit this site every year as a way to remember my Shannon and my own heartbreaking choice. Today will be four years since we lost our baby girl due to Trisomy 21. When I think about my profound and utter sense of desperation then, I am amazed at where I am now.

I had a difficult time conceiving and did so with the help of artificial insemination. I had a difficult first few months and woke up every morning at 2:00 a.m. nauseous with a sense of foreboding. My foreboding became reality when I underwent a CVS and found out that my precious girl had Trisomy 21.

The first year was bad. But I survived and sometimes even thrived. My husband and I grew apart and after a year and a half I was resigned to the very painful decision to separate. He threw himself into work and food to grieve. I threw myself into work, friends, therapy, and meditation. I was determined to go through the grief: He was determined to avoid it.

What helped us? It sounds crazy but he brought home a puppy. I cried at first as I did not even like dogs. Well, I fell in love and this little surrogate furry child brought us back together. I became pregnant naturally a year and a half after our heartbreaking choice (nearly an immaculate conception as our sex life was pretty nil) and my son is now 22 months old.

Today, on the anniversary of my loss of Shannon, I spent the day with my son. My husband and I have healed considerably and I thank God we are still together. I think the main thing that helped me was to not have a deep, dark secret. I told most of my friends and family and soaked up their love and support. I made the choice not to tell my brother or anyone I suspected would be judgmental or unkind. I am profoundly grateful for the love I was given.

The day before I found out that Shannon had Trisomy 21 I found out that I had won a grant to write a book. I decided to decline it due to my pregnancy. When I found out about Shannon and made the agonizing decision to end my pregnancy, I decided that the holy spirit/grace/God or whatever was surely pointing me in a different direction. I accepted the grant and went off on a difficult but amazing journey.

It has been four years since my loss. I hold my son, husband and dog close. My book comes out in August. I feel grateful. I won't lie. It still hurts to have lost Shannon. My first choice would have been to have a healthy baby girl. That wasn't an option. Instead I chose to spare her and me a life of inevitable pain and suffering. I don't regret my decision.

I got through it. Give yourself time and allow yourself to grieve and eventually, you will too. You’ll see, you can be happy again. I find that mommies who have a more difficult time conceiving or finding our babies have an extra degree of patience and gratitude that gets us through the tough times once you have your next baby. I am sending out extra prayers, support and unconditional love to anyone reading this now.

Hang in there. It really does get better.


Books on Loss and Grief

Our Heartbreaking Choices: Forty-Six Women Share Their Stories of Interrupting a Much-Wanted Pregnancy

The Dive :: A Memoir

A Time to Decide a Time to Heal: For Parents Making Difficult Decisions About Babies They Love

Precious Lives Painful Choices: A Prenatal Decision-Making Guide

Sunshine After the Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother

Empty Cradle, Broken Heart, Revised Edition: Surviving the Death of Your Baby

Empty Arms: Coping With Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Death

A Silent Sorrow: Pregnancy Loss

Unspeakable Losses: Healing From Miscarriage, Abortion, And Other Pregnancy Loss

Surviving Pregnancy Loss: A Complete Sourcebook for Women and Their Families

Difficult Decisions: For Families Whose Unborn Baby Has a Serious Problem

Books for Fathers, Family, Children and Friends

Couple Communication After a Baby Dies: Differing Perspectives

For Better or Worse: For Couples Whose Child Has Died

How to Say it When You Don't Know What to Say: The Right Words For Difficult Times

A Guide For Fathers: When A Baby Dies

When Your Friend's Child Dies: A Guide to Being a Thoughtful and Caring Friend

When Pregnancy Fails: Families Coping with Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Death

What You Can Say When You Don't Know What to Say: Reaching Out to Those Who Hurt

Books about Trying Again and Pregnancy after Loss

Journeys: Stories of Pregnancy After Loss

Trying Again: A Guide to Pregnancy After Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss

Pregnancy After a Loss: A Guide to Pregnancy After a Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Infant Death