PREGNANCY LOSS: FROM HEARTBREAK TO HEALING
Too many parents like Azeem and Marise experience the heartbreak of loss. After their first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at 11 weeks, they were devastated. They then went on to have two more losses—one at 19 weeks and another at 29 weeks.
“It was something that we didn't expect and it’s something that isn't talked about a whole lot,” Marise says. “That experience has been extremely traumatic and isolating. And it's been really tough just finding people who understand what we’ve been going through.”
“These experiences are one of those things that people don't discuss, they don't talk about a lot,” Azeem adds. “So, we wanted just to get our stories out there to the world and have them understand that, ‘Look, its regular people like yourself, right? That go through these different experiences like you do.’”
“You never think that this is going to happen to you,” Marise says. “You don't really hear about these stories. So, you're shocked and that turns to anger, that turns to trying to figure out why this happened, so then of course there's a lot of blame that I started to put on myself thinking that I had control over it and somehow, some way there was something that I didn't do or should have done. And it was really tough for a long time, it was also tough for Azeem and I because we grieve differently so we had times where we weren't really aligned and we felt more distant from each other and we both needed support but yet we were also trying to support each other and it just started spiraling from there until I started to accept what had happened a bit more and understand that this wasn't my fault, this wasn't his fault, you know these things happen to people and we need to normalize that these things happen.”
Azeem and Marise felt that most people didn’t acknowledge how big of an impact their losses had on them. “A lot of people do think that you're just supposed to get over it,” Marise adds. “They don't understand that the minute you conceive, this is a person, this is someone that you love unconditionally. It’s so hard to get that across to people who haven't experienced that life. So, we just continued on that journey and we found ways to try to support each other and also ways to support other people who have gone through this as well.”
Even through all of this, Marise and Azeem didn’t give up hope of having children—a couple of years ago, they gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl. And they just recently gave birth to their second daughter.
They want other parents who are experiencing this type of loss to know that they’re not alone. “Whatever you're feeling, there's no right or wrong to it,” Marise says. “Take it one day at a time and give yourself so much grace because you deserve it. There is so much emotion wrapped up in this and again, there is just no right or wrong way in dealing with it and you have to do whatever you have to do to survive. And also, the biggest thing is to share, because the more you share the more empathy that you will actually receive and the more support you will receive.”
“I think for all the dads that are out there that experience a loss like this, the most important thing that you can try to do is to talk to other men and also just try to dispel the understanding that grief just happens for moms,” Azeem says. “I think dads experience it too and it’s a significant loss for dads. And have someone to talk to. Have sound counsel for other men to really bounce ideas off and also communicate with your partner actively. Every day try to check where they're at and just you know have as much communication as possible with your partner and also with other dads that maybe experience the same loss that you do.”
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