It takes so little time for life changing loss to take place. Sadly, this happens all of the time and all over the world. Those left to carry on with life often have to pass through a state of shock. Then, the grieving process takes place. And then, whatever else life decides to throw their way.
For some, the situation is even more complicated. Women who are pregnant when they lose their partners face an incredibly unique circumstance. The feat of caring for themselves while pregnant and then a newborn (and possibly other children) in addition to undergoing the entire grieving process can prove too much to handle.
Thankfully, support groups specifically designed for pregnant widows have been established in recent years. This post contains real stories from real women about their experience with being pregnant and widowed. To read their full stories, please see the references at the bottom. They are listed in order of the post.
Although this is a rather somber topic, please dive in. Don't be afraid of feeling for these women. After all, isn't having compassion and empathy for others a part of the human experience. Admittedly, my cheeks weren't dry when writing this post. But it's a topic that is very real and typically shines an unexpected light on our own hearts.
15 Maternity Photos Honor Late Husband
How do you comfort yourself during a grieving period and capture a precious moment with someone all at the same time? You try your best to channel Molly Jensen and Sam Wheat from the movie Ghost. At least, that's what this pregnant Navy widow did in her maternity photo shoot. Eight months had passed since she lost her husband in a plane accident, but she could still feel him around her. With the help of a talented photographer, she was able to incorporate her late husband's image into her maternity pictures.
In her own words, “I knew I wanted to do it for him, I could feel his presence.” the mom-to-be told People. “It was surreal, the whole experience. It was very calming. I felt like it was just meant to be our first family picture of three. I’m so grateful to have that.”
14 Wall Street Journal Reporter Misses Birth of Son
Over one hundred women went on after 9/11 to give birth to fatherless sons and daughters after losing their partners.
In an interview with DesertNews.com, Jenna Jacobs, a mother who knows the pain of loss first hand, describes her emotions: "The pain doesn't go away." Admitting that she still cries for her husband every single day.
Today, her little baby is about to get his license, but back then things were a little more raw. She went on to say, "We're normal but we're not. There's no closure. There's no moving on. But time still passes." Among the 102 widows contacted, many have received help paying for childcare. Shortly after the tragedy of the attacks, many 9/11 widows formed a support group that met consistently to offer support to one another.
13 Hotshot Baby Born On Late Father’s Birthday
One great honor is to have your own child born on your birthday. So, brave Anthony Rose is among the incredibly honored.
That's exactly when his little girl decided to arrive on this planet - what would have been his 24th birthday.
Even though her dad had already been gone for a few months, she still had his heart, if you will.
Anthony Rose was one of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots trapped in the wildfire in 2013 never to come out again. Earlier that May, he and his wife Tiffany had learned they were having a baby girl. But, Anthony was gone by the end of June. Tiffany named their baby Willow Mae Rose. Given the seasonal nature of Anthony's work, he would have been around a lot to help raise little Willow, but since he wasn't, Tiffany moved closer to supportive family in Wisconsin.
12 NYPD Officer Gives Birth Through IVF
Some people might have looked sideways at Pei Xia "Sanny" Liu when she asked for her husband's "baby juice" to be preserved. After all, she did request it the very night that she lost him to a fatal "critical response situation gone wrong" incident on December 20, 2014. Thankfully, NYPD Detective First Grade Wenjian Liu was fertile and could produce children. Sadly enough, he would never see or hold any of them.
His daughter Angelina was born more than two and a half years after that horrific night. Sanny conceived the little girl through IVF and knew right away that she was carrying a girl, even before sonographs confirmed. It was a bittersweet moment when Detective Liu's parents were there for the baby's birth.
11 Daughter Born Same Day Her Father Was Laid To Rest
April 6, 2014 was the final day Peter Kaberere walked on this green planet. His wife Njeri Kaberere fondly remembers him as the love and pillar of her life. The two already shared one son Ulani together and Njeri was heavily pregnant with her second child.
The situation was shocking for Peter's entire family. No one ever expected for such a devastating accident to occur. No one ever does. So, it seems only natural for his family to have felt the panic that they did. Njeri's daughter Njoki was supposed to be born roughly 10 days after the burial. But, the baby had other plans. Strangely enough, Njeri had packed her hospital bag before the service. It was a good thing she did, too.
Her daughter was born quickly and with no complications, but right after the service.
10 Alone And Surviving At Four Months Pregnant
On November 11, 2008, Jodie Rodenbaugh lost her strong, young, athletic husband because of an accidental injection of anesthesia during a routine shoulder-block procedure. At the time, she was four months pregnant. She was the kind of woman who pushed life to the limits. In short, she crammed as much into her schedule as she could. But the day she lost him changed everything.
Afterwards, she felt numb and vulnerable. As a runner, she wanted to just go run the pain away. But her pregnancy prevented her to push herself like she wanted. Rather than diving into any other escapisms, she decided to make three promises to her husband, even though he wasn't there. She promised to live, remain strong, and love like she'd never loved before. Those promises were what helped her to carry on being the best parent for her kids that she could be.
9 Left His Funeral And Entered Second Trimester
Less than four hours after Rachel Graham hollered a casual goodbye to her husband that morning, she found herself in the ER holding his hand.
Although his life had abruptly and unexpectedly ended from a heart attack, there was another life that had just started.
Rachel was a few months pregnant with her second child - a child that her partner would never know.
For the duration of the pregnancy, she struggled with how to behave. Torn between feeling happy about the new baby and grieving the loss of her best friend, the pregnancy was emotionally difficult. A doula donated her services to Rachel and she welcomed the birth of her son. It was only until after his birth that she realized her kids didn't know that she felt like she wasn't enough for them. To them, she was it and that was enough to keep her going.
8 Lost A Husband Gained A Daughter
If you look at your own life, it's clear to see that a lot can happen in a three-month time span. For Tammy Perconti, it meant losing a husband and gaining a daughter.
Her husband Jon was in one of the World Trade Center towers that was destroyed in the 9/11 attacks.
Fortunately, he was able to reach her via phone one last time. In that phone conversation, they exchanged details and sentiments, but never thought it would be for the very last time.
As it turns out, that short phone conversation was actually the last time she'd ever speak to her beloved husband. A few months later, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. To help deal with her grief, she and her daughter moved to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. For a while, she attempted to be both mom and dad for young Julia, but realized she just couldn't. Finally, she simply resorted to being the best parent that she could be.
7 Widowed At Six Months Pregnant
She reached out on a WhatToExpect Forum after her husband was taken from her in a tragic accident. At six months pregnant, she was lucky enough to have a great support system surrounding her. Consisting of family, friends, neighbors, and even complete strangers, she felt like she should be okay. But, she still felt a deep pain.
Still, she struggled with the fact that her young son would never be held by his father. Like hitting a brick wall, she went from having everything planned in her amazing life to being a single mom and a widow. Not even the strong support system could take away the hurt from her loss. With the help of a strong community, she came to accept that support would never take away her pain. They simply held her up when she wasn't strong enough to hold herself.
6 Cop’s Wife Gives Birth To Second Child After His Passing
Locust Grove Police Officer Chase Maddox was serving an arrest warrant just a few months ago, something he'd done dozens of times, when the situation went fatal.
He left behind his young wife Alex Maddox and unborn son Bodie Allen Maddox. Bodie was born healthy and vibrant shortly after his father was taken from them. Although he'll never know his father, he continues Chase's legacy by carrying on a traditional family name.
The residents of Locust Grove, GA united to show support to the freshly widowed Alex and her newborn. Many people gave money, food, time, services, etc. The town surrounded her with undying support. According to WSB-TV, "Even Mayor Robert Price couldn’t contain his emotions when he spoke about the baby and the rest of the Maddox family. 'If she says she needs something, we‘re gonna help as long as we’re here,' he said."
5 Suddenly Widowed And A Few Weeks Pregnant
There are an increasing amount of support groups for widows. More specifically widows who are pregnant. Being pregnant and losing your partner is one of the most unique situations in which to find yourself. The grieving process is so different because you're still expected to be a mom all at the same time.
One woman joined the Widows and Widowers community on BabyCenter.com because the emotions were surmounting.
Her husband passed away suddenly at their home leaving her a few weeks pregnant with her fourth child.
In her post, she kept reiterating the need for finding some type of "normal." It seems impossible, but as always, the online BabyCenter community was beyond supportive. It goes to show that no widow needs to feel alone, ever. And, you can create a new sense of "normal."
4 The Second Chance Suddenly Single And Pregnant
It's not uncommon for a women not to hope for the chance at finding love again. After all, many times her late partner was the love of her life. Like Tom Hanks' character says in Sleepless in Seattle, "Look, it just doesn't happen twice." But, life has a funny way of surprising us, doesn't it?
Widow Crystal and widower Jeremy were undoubtedly surprised as they found love in each other - something neither was looking for or expected.
Both had lost their partners and left them behind to care for young families. In fact, Crystal was pregnant with young Jorge at the time of her husband's passing. When Crystal invited Jeremy to attend a support group, falling in love was the last thing on her mind. But, that's exactly what the two of them eventually ended up doing.
3 How The Grit And Grace Project Began
Like most women, Ashby Duval, founder of The Grit and Grace Project, never dreamed of ever being a pregnant widow. As life would have it, that's the way things worked out for her. On the last day of very eventful weekend, Ashby's husband Spencer woke up coughing and asking for a doctor. Ashby was five months pregnant at the time and their extended family was in town for a get-together.
Spencer's last breath was taken in Ashby's arms - his head resting against her bulging baby belly. Looking back, Ashby is thankful the event happened while so many family members were around because she would have been lost without the support.
Later that day, Ashby felt her baby kick for the first time.
Even with him gone, she found comfort in her faith and in the final gift her husband had given her - a sweet baby.
2 Seven Months Pregnant And Widowed Overnight
Unbeknown to either Ian or Rachel Green, Ian had a genetic heart condition that tragically took his life before ever holding the baby his wife was carrying. The day the event happened was one of the worst days of Rachel's life. Nothing more could have been done to save Ian. And, it all happened so quickly and without so much as a gurgling sound from her husband's chest.
Rachel had a very difficult time attending her birthing classes and tried her best to remove all memory of Ian to help her ease the pain. She even cleared out his closet the day after the tragic event. After her young daughter was born, Rachel had a hard time bonding with her. She was more like a robot mom than anything. It wasn't until Alexandria caught a cold at two-months old and made a similar gurgling sound as her late husband had made that Rachel realized how much the little baby meant to her. From then on, she managed life a little better.
1 The Ghost In The Maternity Pictures
Jesse and Amanda Snyder already had matching outfits picked out for their scheduled maternity photo session. But, Amanda lost her husband in a tragic accident at home before the maternity session could take place. He was going to wear a blue shirt. Instead of wearing it for maternity pictures, Amanda laid him to rest in that blue shirt. She felt that's what he would have wanted.
Like other widows before her, she wanted to include him in her maternity photo session. To Amanda, pictures were the only way to look back on the memories she shared with her husband. She canceled her baby shower, but this photo session was very special to her. Her photographer was able to photoshop an image of Jesse (from their wedding) into the maternity pictures. According to Today.com Amanda said of the pictures, "They mean more to me than anyone will ever know."
References: people.com, desertnews.com, usatoday.com, cnn.com, standardmeia.co.ke, yourtango.com, xojane.com, huffingtonpost.com, whattoexpect.com, wsbtv.com, babycenter.com, mirror.co.uk, thegritandgraceproject.org, today.com, dailymail.co.uk