Infant Loss and Managing Grief: Ranita Dodson
Updated: Nov 19, 2018
Ranita gives her guidance to women who may have gone through similar heartbreak.
The Village is a place on my site where I’d like to give a platform for others to speak their truths, reflect on their life experiences, and give advice and guidance to others. I imagine that the variety of topics discussed here will be endless, and I envision it as a safe space where there will eventually be something for everyone.
In this first edition, I interviewed my very, very good friend Ranita Dodson. We’ve known each other since our freshman year in high school, and I thank God that we have stayed in touch and stayed close. She’s super funny, really thoughtful, and overall just an awesome person.
Did I mention she made me a God mother? Her son Aiden is my one-and-only Godson, and such a ball of energy!
But, before she gave birth to Aiden, Ranita endured a devastating loss. In her second trimester during her first pregnancy, she went into early labor and her baby did not survive. Obviously, it was a traumatic experience that impacts Ranita to this day. She was gracious enough to open up about her experience, and give her advice to women who have gone through similar heartbreak:
On the experience
My overall experience was heartbreaking and then I went numb. To actually carry a child for 21 weeks and feel the movement, hear the heartbeat, experience the growth and plan a future with a child in it and then bam, just like that you are no longer with child and burial/cremation arrangements have to be made.
How did you process your loss?
Honestly, at first I didn't. I went numb and just tried to block it out. And then one day out of nowhere, it hit me. Right then I knew I had to deal and cope somehow, so I just started praying, leaning on and trusting God.
After your loss, what changed in your interactions with others?
I think the hardest thing about communicating my loss to others was knowing that 99% of those I spoke with, although sympathetic, really had no idea what I was going through and how difficult and life changing an experience such as that could be.
It wasn't often, but there were a few unintentional hit of the nerve. Before I reacted I has to remind myself they are dumb and don't know any better (not my finest moment).
How did you gain the courage to start another pregnancy?
I didn't gain the courage until I knew I was pregnant. My son was a beautiful accident I never knew I needed. It wasn't planned and wasn't a thought and then bam, pregnant! I had a difficult pregnancy medical wise. I was on bed-rest starting at 15 weeks with weekly shots of progesterone an a uterus that wouldn't stop contracting. But I was calm, optimistic, and positive. I was finally comfortable around 36 weeks.
What’s your biggest piece of advice to women who gave gone through a similar loss?
You are not alone; not every pregnancy is the same. It is not your fault! Do not keep your emotions bottled in, let them out! Find outlets that allow you to turn your emotions into something positive. Talk to your partner, they lost something too!
Thanks so much, Ranita for sharing your story. <3