By: Rachel Helden
My baby matters. Or in my case, and perhaps yours too, my babies matter. My story, I have
had three miscarriages, two in the past year and one long ago.
Lately I’ve been experiencing anger unlike any I’ve experienced before, with the exception of
when I got divorced and my dad passed away, a month apart. That was rough. Anger! RAGE
really. If I could bold, underline, and scribble all over that I would.
Growing up, I wasn’t taught how to handle these tougher emotions. We were sent to our rooms
until we could be pleasant. Although I’ve carved out a lot of alone time for myself to grieve my
pregnancy losses, my anger doesn’t seem to fade. (Mind you, I’m not even three months out
after my last loss, and I know time helps… but it doesn’t “heal all wounds” no matter how
much I wish it would.)
Of course I’m upset that I’m yet to have any “living children” as our community likes to say, but
I can accept that this happened and I’m grateful my babies came to visit me and my partner for
The fiercer emotions arise in my day to day interactions. When I experienced grief in the past,
like with my divorce and dad’s passing, friends were lined up around the block in support. But
a baby loss is different somehow, perhaps even taboo.
Like when my partner was forgotten on Father’s Day, his first one, and while not the way we
had hoped, in our minds he is a father and that day was especially hard. Why did no one reach
Is it that people are uncomfortable with grief in general? In my experience, yes, if they’ve never
experienced a great loss they can’t truly understand, and those that have and don’t reach out
see grief as some kind of plague maybe. I for one have gotten comfortable with grief and loss—they are a fact of life.
When we love hard, our loss is hard.
Even though I’m not a math or science person, this seems like a logical equation, a simple law of physics.
The heart of the matter here is that no matter how society makes us feel, our babies matter.
Our losses matter. We matter.
So even when people’s eyes glaze over or they change the subject when you attempt to talk
about your loss, keep talking. Some of these issues could be resolved simply in education.
What people don’t know they don’t know, and change can’t happen until we speak up.
In the early stages, it has been especially helpful to be a part of this community where Share
has offered us a uniquely sacred and safe place to share. I went to my first in-person meeting
this week, and the saint of a woman who first reached out to me through the program
reminded me to be my own advocate. When I feel mistreated or misunderstood around my
loss, help people better support me. Another mom in the community recommended I “try to be
the change I expect from others.”
With each day, I try a little more. No matter how long ago your loss has been, I just want to
remind you today, that your angel baby matters, and so do you.
About Rachel Helden:
Rachel Helden is a photographer from the greater St. Louis, Missouri area. For the past four years she has been working on Free Way: An Adventure Through Loss, an illustrated memoir about a solo road trip she took after going through a divorce and her father’s passing. Rachel’s search for healing took her to all 50 states in the USA, most of our national parks, and twenty other countries. She sees the book as a grief manual, an account of how one person dealt with losing a past self. Rachel is currently working to self-publish Free Way. You can find more information about the project on her website at www.rachelhelden.com and follow her adventures on Instagram at @_photonomad_