Maternal resilience: facing and overcoming perinatal bereavement.

We are convinced that it is imperative to lift the taboos surrounding motherhood. Thanks to your testimonials, you offer invaluable support to all women who are going through or have gone through a similar ordeal without daring to talk about it. Thank you for them, thank you to you.

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Anne's testimonial

February 8, 2022 is a date I'll never forget.

Every year, I celebrate the addition of a candle to my birthday cake, but this time I also learn that I'm pregnant. This unexpected pregnancy, after already having three children of my own, came as a huge surprise.

I remember shedding tears of joy but also of fear. The arrival of a surprise baby is no small thing. My husband is just as surprised, and we need time to come to terms with the news. We make an appointment with the gynecologist for a few weeks later, weeks that turn out to be the longest and most trying. Pregnancy symptoms soon begin to manifest themselves intensely. I suffered terrible vomiting day and night, a first for me despite my previous pregnancies. The idea of expecting twins came to mind, and I decided to bring forward my appointment with the gynecologist.

D-Day confirms my suspicions: I'm pregnant with twins. It was a shock, especially as the doctor warned me that one of the hearts might stop beating before the next ultrasound. So we decided to wait a while before announcing this extraordinary news.

The next check-up is the 3-month ultrasound. Having had a check-up a week before, I'm confident so I go alone. This appointment marks the beginning of a painful journey. I'll never forget this moment. In front of the screen, my doctor takes the measurements. Everything's fine with the first baby, but I quickly sense that something's wrong with the second. My hunch is right: the neck of the second baby is abnormal. Alone in this room, without my husband, I'm overwhelmed by emotion. Memories of my screams and unanswered questions haunt me. Further tests are necessary, and an appointment is made with DianEcho a few days later.

Sadness and worry dominate. We feel helpless, but choose not to show our children anything so as not to worry them, especially as they are still unaware of the family's expansion. My husband and I decide to keep it a secret for the time being.

Amniocentesis is the next step, carried out relatively late because of the risks associated with a twin pregnancy. The baby with abnormalities is misplaced and already suffering from a lack of amniotic fluid, making the examination too risky for him or her. Amniocentesis is therefore performed only on the other baby.

We soon learn that the baby with anomalies will not be viable and may die in the coming weeks, but the pregnancy can continue if the first baby's tests are good. It's May and I'm already over 16 weeks pregnant. The wait is unbearable.

The first results, at last, are good. Our baby is healthy, but we still have to wait several days for confirmation. We continue to keep my pregnancy a secret from our children, a difficult decision but one taken to protect them.

Finally, around the 18th week of amenorrhea, when all the results were positive, we told them the news. We explained that I was pregnant with a baby and that we had to wait before telling them because of the tests required. We chose not to tell them about the second baby, knowing that its survival was unlikely.

The morphological ultrasound arrived, and it was with our stomachs in knots that we went to this appointment. The doctor wasted no time in telling us that the sick baby's heart had stopped, probably a day or two before. The news was difficult, but also a relief. My greatest fear was that I would feel him moving before he died, which would have made the situation even more difficult to live with and accept. But the hardest part was yet to come: carrying a dead baby next to a growing one. Those were the most complicated 17 weeks of my life. Yes, I carried life and death at the same time. Every morning was a challenge. How could I move forward and enjoy this last pregnancy under these conditions? Despite all the love and support I received from those closest to me, I felt very alone, lost in a world I hadn't chosen to know.

I was convinced that giving birth would alleviate some of my discomfort. It was a kind of driving force for me, to continue this pregnancy as best I could. The birth came three weeks early, by caesarean section, a bit of an emergency, but in the end it went well. I remember having a wonderful midwife who stayed with me in recovery, allowing me to enjoy my baby from the moment he was born. I had prepared myself to see the second little baby, but things didn't go as planned. I saw a photo of him, then nothing for a year. It was a very difficult time for me, torn between joy and sadness. Then the months flew by, gradually calming my heart. A few days before my baby's first birthday, I decided to pick up the photo of the deceased baby. I needed to see it again, and I did. It did me good and helped me understand certain things. Since then, I've felt better. It's as if the wound has closed. There's still a scar, but with time it becomes less painful.

A few months after I gave birth, we told our children what had happened. We were afraid of their reaction, but on the contrary, they reacted very well, and it was a relief for us to be able to share our story, our family's story.

For several months now, I've wanted to tell my story, but I quickly realized that it wasn't that easy. Transcribing my story is a complicated task. Emotions get the better of me. At times, I felt like I was reliving it all. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to have the support of two friends, and I'd like to thank them.

Perinatal bereavement is still too taboo a subject in our society. The more we talk about it, the more we'll be able to move things forward. I hope my story can help other parents.

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