Empty Arms Bereavement

Meet our Support Group Facilitator, Libby Cole

2018 gave me reason to be here, but I didn’t find my way until 2022. I had recently returned home to Massachusetts after years of living in California. It was the pandemic, I had an almost-two-year-old daughter, and I was getting reacquainted with life on the east coast. And it all felt so bizarre because I returned a very different person than when I had left – I had carried and lost my son. He was conceived in late 2017 after years of trying. We were thrilled and, frankly, relieved. We were finally pregnant – we could actually get pregnant! And then the news that he wasn’t healthy and his prognosis very uncertain came like a ton of bricks… actually more like a 2×4 to the head. We made the heart-wrenching decision to end our very wanted pregnancy, and since then our life has been anchored in a (very) distinct before and after. It was a decision we never imagined actually being faced with and one we certainly never wanted to make. But a decision nonetheless. Two things compelled me to reach out to Carol and get involved. The first was that, while this experience happened on the west coast, once back east, I suddenly felt like both my baby and our experience was distant, both literally and figuratively, from our new life. I was searching for ways to both bring him with us and continue my own healing. Second, abortion care was increasingly under attack in the United States, and the prospect of Roe v. Wade being overturned was becoming more and more a reality with each passing day. I know this to be a devastating decision to have to make, regardless of circumstance, and the aftermath brutal. The added stigma, isolation, and shame that can accompany this type of loss is complex and real. All together, I felt compelled to do more and knew the next chapter of my own healing was also going to involve supporting others. For my husband and me, having a support group like this was a literal lifeline, particularly in the early days and months of grief. How did this become our life? Is this even happening, actually real? And how are we going to live with this? I see you. I support you. I’m glad you found us and so sorry you need to be here. 

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