What It's Like To Experience The Loss Of A Child

"I am 1 in 4."

I am 1 in 4.

With a quick glance, you see a special bond between a mother and her daughter. Happiness shines as a precious little girl kisses her "mommy." But this picture-perfect moment is far from perfect. 

Only one child appears in this photo, but I am a mother to three children. One triplet on Earth and two in heaven.

Courtesy of Stacey Skrysak
Courtesy of Stacey Skrysak

What you don't see in this photo is the pain. The pain of holding a child as she takes her final breath. The pain of planning a funeral, instead of decorating a nursery. The pain that lingers, years after that final goodbye.

Grief doesn't go away. There will always be a piece of my heart, shattered without two of my triplets. But over time, I have learned how to manage the grief, even tuck that pain away, so it's not visible on the surface.

Because that's what society expects us to do.

People don't want to see me cry. Many people don't even want to acknowledge a loss. For decades, pregnancy and child loss has been a taboo topic, something that makes people cringe and uncomfortable. 

Courtesy of Stacey Skrysak
Courtesy of Stacey Skrysak

But, here's the thing — chances are someone you know has experienced a loss. Maybe it's a friend or neighbor. Maybe it's your child's teacher. Maybe it's the woman you watch on the news.

One in 4 women experiences a loss — whether it be through miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss.

As you look at this picture, you see a loving moment between a mother and daughter, but what you don't see is the special bond that child shares with her siblings. That necklace my daughter is admiring holds the initials of her siblings, Parker and Abby. She may not get to play with them at home, or walk side-by-side with them at school, but she knows all about her brother and sister. They will always be part of our lives.

Courtesy of Stacey Skrysak
Courtesy of Stacey Skrysak

You may only see one child with me, but I am the mother of three beautiful triplets.

I am 1 in 4. And I am not alone. 

This story originally appeared on Stacey Skrysak's Facebook page. Skrysak is a local television news anchor in Illinois, but her proudest role is becoming a mom after years of infertility. Stacey is a mother to a 22-weeker surviving triplet and two angels. Even though two of her children were only alive for a short time, her triplets have touched thousands of people around the world. Through her blog, Perfectly Peyton, Stacey has become a voice for infertility, premature birth, and child loss. These days, she sprinkles in the trials and tribulations of raising a daughter, who was once nicknamed "The Diva of the Nicu."

Cover image courtesy of Stacey Skrysak

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