Explaining Pregnancy Loss to a Toddler

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pregnancy loss

In June of this year, I had a pregnancy loss.

In light of October and Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, I wanted to write something on the topic, but I wasn’t entirely sure what to say about it.

I lost my pregnancy but I didn’t lose a baby. I was diagnosed with an anembryonic pregnancy, a condition that occurs when a gestational sac develops without an embryo. Another name for this condition is blighted ovum.

My first pregnancy was healthy so I assumed this one would be the same. We were excited, especially our daughter. We talked a lot about the baby that was growing in mama’s belly. But then I started spotting. The amount was less than a period, but more than a few drops. While I didn’t experience spotting in my first pregnancy, I was informed that it is common in the first trimester. So I continued to monitor it. I asked for an early ultrasound.

I came home and sat on the bottom step of the stairs. I asked my daughter to come over so I could give her a hug and a kiss. And then the tears started. After I had some time to process everything, we later told her that mama didn’t have a baby in her belly anymore.

We told her that sometimes, when you plant something, it doesn’t grow. She knew this concept well because we had been trying to plant blueberries in our garden, but they never grew. That we’d have to try again.

So we explained to her that the baby didn’t grow in mama’s belly and that we’d have to try again.

And that was that. She understood. Over the next couple of weeks, she would think about it again and ask me questions. But then she’d repeat back to me, “it didn’t grow this time, but we’ll try again, mama.”

Kids are truly amazing.

It’s been four months now and it melts my heart when my daughter talks about being a big sister. I can’t wait for that day to come.

What are some other ways you could share a pregnancy loss with young children?

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