Our client and dear friend Lana Pujara- Terigi opens up about her personal journey with infancy loss. Lana has been a client of Malabar Baby for years and when she reached out to us to share her story during Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, we were humbled. Lana openly and honestly shares her story, in the hopes that it will give strength and knowledge to families around the world on how to deal with, mourn, and support each other when something unimaginable happens close to home.
Back in September 2019, my life took a turn that I never saw coming. It was a story I never thought I'd have to tell, but it's one I believe needs to be shared. It's about my son, Luca, and the unimaginable journey we went through.
I woke up that day with contractions, my heart brimming with excitement. After months of feeling his kicks in my tummy, singing to him, and telling him stories, I was convinced that this was the day I'd finally meet my son. You can imagine the anticipation. That feeling of impending joy and wonder. But what I couldn't have predicted was that this day, which was supposed to be one of the happiest in my life, would soon turn into the most tragic.
As my husband and I rushed to the hospital, a wave of emotions took over us – hope, fear, excitement, joy... We were about to embark on a new chapter, ready to welcome this new life into our lives. But then, as the nurses began monitoring Luca's heartbeat, the room fell into a heavy silence. Their expressions shifted from hope to despair, and in that painful moment, I knew. That silence became a brutal echo of the absence of our baby's precious heartbeat. A room that was meant to celebrate life turned into a space of unimaginable sorrow.
In the aftermath of that heart-wrenching discovery, we turned to the nurses for guidance and support. But what became clear was that sadly they weren't equipped to handle a case like ours. They seemed just as lost as we were, unsure of how to console us or deliver the heart-wrenching news. Left alone in that sterile hospital room, our grief and confusion magnified by their uncertainty, it felt like we were navigating this nightmare on our own.
After Luca's birth, the nurses placed him in my arms. At first glance, he seemed peacefully asleep, not lifeless. Holding him was a mix of emotions, filled with anticipation and the painful knowledge that this would be our only moment together. It was a heart-wrenching introduction to parenthood that no one should endure.
Leaving the hospital was a mixture of relief and pain. The experience had been so traumatic that being away from that environment brought a sense of relief, but it was also painful because it marked the beginning of life without Luca. Till today, I can't bring myself to set foot in that hospital.
Arranging Luca’s funeral was the next step. We wanted to keep it private, just family. Seeing our newborn son in his small baby coffin is an image that will haunt me forever. A few days later, when the shock had set in, and we began sharing the news with extended family and friends, after all they were anticipating his arrival as much as we were. But something shifted. The initial "I'm sorry for your loss" quickly turned into silence. Months turned into years, and that silence persisted, even after we had moved forward and were blessed to welcome two more beautiful children into our lives. I don't blame anyone for this silence. It wasn't malice; it was simply an awkwardness born out of not knowing how to support us, what to say, or what to do.
You see, there's a stigma around pregnancy and infant loss, a lack of information about the causes, and a dearth of open conversations. It leaves many, even though they want to support, feeling helpless and uncertain about how to navigate these waters.
This is not to say, that we had no support. Some of friends and family, who stood by us, provided invaluable support. Some were expected, while others surprised us with their compassion. It was during this time that Anjali had reached out to us. Love and support from our community is what really helped us navigate this dark time in our lives and emphasis the profound significance of having a tribe.
This journey had been filled with immeasurable pain and grief, but it’s also been a path of growth and understanding. I’ve learned that it’s okay to grieve, to share tears and to keep my son’s memory alive. His loss has not only made me stronger, but I’ve learned more about compassion and empathy for myself and for others.
His heartbreaking loss has given me new purpose, to support others like me who endured this painful loss and to raise awareness about pregnancy and infant loss, so as a community we can come together, to better support those going through this tragedy.
Photo Credit: www.photographsbyvic.com
Here are a few things that I wish people could have done to support us better. I think these tips could help anyone who knows someone going through pregnancy or infant loss.
Be Present and Ask How We're Doing: One of the most valuable things anyone could have done was simply be there for us. Ask how we're doing from time to time. Just knowing that someone cares enough to check in means the world. It can be as simple as a text message or a phone call, saying, "Hey, how are you feeling today? Is there anything I can do to help?" It's those little gestures that show you're there for us.
Acknowledge Our Child's Name: Luca's name is something we hold dear to our hearts. So, when you're talking to us, don't be afraid to mention his name. It's not a painful reminder; and if you’re not sure, ask. It's a way of acknowledging his existence and the love we have for him. It's comforting to hear his name spoken by someone else.
Remember Milestones: Anniversaries and birthdays are the most triggering times I think for families who have a lost their child. It’s been four years now since we lost Luca, and these are the days when the pain is often at its sharpest, because we can never forget. So, if you remember these dates, reach out, it means more than words can express. It could be a simple message, a card, or just a shoulder to lean on. It shows that you remember and that you care.
Show Love: Ultimately, the most important thing anyone can do is show love. Love and support are what is needed most during these darkest times. Just knowing that we were loved and cared for made the journey a little less lonely. Whether it's a hug, a kind word, or just being there to listen when we needed to talk, love is the most powerful healing force.
So, if you ever find yourself in a position to support someone going through pregnancy or infant loss, remember these tips. They might seem small, but they can make a world of difference. Sometimes, it's the simplest gestures that help us navigate through the storm of grief and healing.
This experience not only taught me about my personal resilience and growth but just how crucial it is to raise awareness about pregnancy and infant loss. We need to equip healthcare professionals to provide compassionate care. We need to empower friends and family with the tools to support their loved ones during their darkest hours. We must dismantle the stigma surrounding this topic so that no family has to endure this kind of agony alone.
Losing Luca was an experience that changed my life forever. By sharing my story, I hope to contribute to a world where families like mine receive the support and kindness they so desperately need. Together, we can create a more compassionate society, where pregnancy and infant loss are no longer shrouded in silence and stigma.
If you'd like to connect with Lana for more information or resources, please contact email@example.com