FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. WANE 15’s Britt Salay caught up with one set of parents who are hoping their book will help others understand pregnancy loss.
“I think it’s probably been brewing in our hearts for a good long time,” said Kristen Riecke, who wrote the book with her husband Patrick Riecke.
The Riecke’s spent a year and a half writing their book No Matter How Small: Understanding Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss. They wanted to help people learn more about miscarriage and stillbirth pregnancies, whether the reader is a parent who has experienced pregnancy loss or a person just wanting to learn more. The book was published on April 21, 2020, the original due date for their first child, Stephen.
“We lost him 20 years ago this month,” said Kristen. “Our story started out the young, in love couple wanting to grow their family and now we’re the old couple. We feel like we’re sort of a little further down the path and that we couple write something that would help somebody today that’s maybe just starting their journey.”
Their book follows three unique stories of pregnancy loss. The characters in the book are not real people, but their stories are familiar ones to Kristen and Patrick, who work with several support groups for parents who have lost children to miscarriages, stillbirths, and infant death. Each story details how the parents work through their loss, but the book also discusses after-birth topics people might have questions about.
“Having been there ourselves and being there with a lot of other families that’ve walked through miscarriage and stillbirth, we realized there’s actually a lot of logistical, practical questions that come up too, about memory making or funeral services, or how do you remember the baby for years in the future,” said Patrick. “There’s not just the heartwarming stories but there’s also the practical advice as well.”
They say their biggest hope is that the book helps to normalize discussion about infant and pregnancy loss, so that parents who have lost pregnancies can feel comfortable talking about all of their children.
“These children are real people that are part of our lives and when we lose that pregnancy, we lose our hopes and dreams as well as a person that’s really important to us,” said Patrick.
“That person leaves their imprint on this world and we wanted to honor the imprint that Stephen left on us, and help [parents] to know that this is not something that we need to be ashamed of,” added Kristen.
Kristen also said she hopes the book can bring comfort to other parents who may not know where to go for information about their own pregnancy loss. It is an experience that she can relate to, after struggling to find resources when she had her miscarriage.
“At the time I worked at a library and I remember just grasping for any kind of information and I had gone to the self-help section and there were like two books that even mentioned miscarriage or pregnancy loss at the time,” said Kristen, “[I] Did not feel super resourced. I did, however, have a cousin who had experienced pregnancy loss and a good friend of mine and they both sent me good resources including a book that I just loved and meant so much to me and so it’s an honor to put something out there for other people like I had when I did go through it.”
The book is not just geared towards mothers, either.
“I think for a lot of dads, we either don’t want to think about it a whole lot or we think our only role is to support mom going through that because it’s such an intimate experience for her, but this is our child too,” said Patrick. “I have to admit that I was pretty attached even though I hadn’t gotten to see him in person yet and I had my own grief that I had to work through as well.”