“Everybody’s losing something right now, whether it’s the loss of a loved one, the loss of job, financial stability, of health” says Emma Hansen. “We need to learn how to support each other though this.”
While loss in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic has become a universal experience, in 2015, Hansen ― now a full-spectrum doula living in Vancouver ― experienced a unique and devastating type of loss: the death of her first son, Reid. He was stillborn when she was 39 weeks and six days pregnant.
After Hansen blogged about the experience of her delivery and intense grief, the response was overwhelming. From the comments readers left, Hansen was shocked to discover she was far from alone in having experienced this type of loss ― a loss that is rarely talked about.
After feeling a sense of validation and connection with the parents who shared their own stories of pregnancy or infant loss, she authored Still: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Motherhood, in the hopes that it would help other people.
Hansen believes it’s vital to create space for conversations around the death of a baby. She says loved ones should not be afraid to say the name of a child who has died. She thinks about Reid all the time in some form, she says, and so she appreciates the chance to remember her son with the people who matter to her.
In the video above, Hansen shares her story and encourages us, as a society to lift the taboos that leave parents in mourning isolated ― especially now, in the pandemic, when many people are already dealing with the physical absence of their support system. Love, support and community ― and the opportunity to talk ― make it possible for parents who’ve experienced pregnancy or infant loss to process and live with such deep loss.
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