Guest Post by Kristen L. O’Neill

2023 was a year of deep pain. The kind of pain you experience when the third baby you are expecting dies in your womb. With the third loss in a row, I had to face the harsh reality that siblings for my living daughter may never come. I had to grieve the loss of what I thought my family would be.

In my darkest days I would listen to the song “Bigger than the Whole Sky” by Taylor Swift on repeat while walking my dog on the beach. Every lyric hit hard.

“What could’ve been, would’ve been
What should’ve been you”

The dreams that my husband and I had for our September 2023 baby were destroyed with the words “I’m not finding a heartbeat”. These were words that I had heard before, but my body was still unprepared for the emotional and physical pain to come. 

I began to turn my love and grief into a passion for advocacy. A friend encouraged me to connect with Kate LeBlanc of Resolve New England (RNE). Kate suggested that I sign up for Advocacy Day, which put me in meetings with the staff from our Maine Congressional delegation. During these meetings, I shared my pain but also my love for my babies I never got to meet. With the help of friends at Mainely Infertility and Oleaga Law, I found my voice to advocate for individuals and couples who experience what is not talked about enough. I also am fortunate to have been asked to serve on the RNE Advocacy committee where I can have a continuous impact to strive for real change. It can be exhausting to always feel the need to teach and advocate, but I also have learned about the balance needed to deal with the effects of secondary infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss. I found that balance by taking days to walk the beach, listening to a song that brings me back to that hotel room where my body pushed out my baby.

The dark days are hard, but I found a community of support on both coasts of the US and Canada. I felt like I was able to claw my way back out of the darkness with friends that I could text when every single thing triggered me to tears. I am so grateful to these friends, most of whom I never knew before my third loss. These people who instantly felt like best friends because we spoke the same language—grief.

As we head into the new year, I was moved to put these thoughts down. A double yolk was probably the catalyst. A sign I will take as luck and good fortune for the year ahead. I no longer desperately hang on to “signs” telling me my rainbow baby will come. I’ve become peaceful on my journey of infertility. What will come will come and what will not cannot be willed into existence by believing in the signs. Grief did not give me my new empowered self, the love for my children and myself devoted me to my life’s new path.