Motherhood

‘The Most Difficult Decision of My Life’

Photographer Catalina Kulczar-Marin‘s first pregnancy was the opposite of everything she expected. Here’s her story…


The year 2014 started and ended in death. It was just that kind of year.

My stepfather and my mom were about to celebrate their 27th anniversary when he suffered a fatal stroke. I was six when they married, and even though he wasn’t my biological father, he’d always been my dad.

To cope with our loss, my husband Juan Miguel and I slowed our lives down. We moved sluggishly and socialized less. The rhythm of our voices fell behind their usual beat. But we also began talking about starting our own family. Though we’d lost a life, perhaps we could make a new one.

I was 35 when I sought out a fertility specialist. I had been having difficulty conceiving; I was still mourning; and I felt lost. But before our first fertility appointment, miraculously, I found out I was pregnant. What’s more, we were pregnant with twins.

The good news lifted our spirits, and we spent Thanksgiving out of town with friends and family. At the dinner table, we celebrated life, death and love. Our friends offered best wishes for a healthy pregnancy. We were full of optimism for our twins.

Even though I wasn’t at high risk for birth defects, Juan Miguel and I wanted to take every precaution. We decided I would have an amniocentesis. I was 16 weeks pregnant, and we arrived at the hospital feeling hopeful. During the pre-procedure sonogram, I searched the monitor, watching intently as the technicians measured each baby head to rump. But unlike past visits, one of them measured significantly longer and weighed more than the other. I didn’t think much of it, although the technician spent a lot of time roving the sonogram wand over the tight skin of my belly.

We relocated to another room for the amnio. The doctor took what felt like forever choosing where to insert the needles. “Is everything all right?” I asked, starting to feel uneasy. He couldn’t locate a second placenta, he said, and twin pregnancies with single placentas are more likely to have complications.

After the test, the doctor suggested we see experts for further evaluation. Two days later, back in an exam room, I admired our twins from the monitor. The screen looked like a weather forecast. Rainbow colors swirled together as the wand rolled over their body parts; red spots lit up when the technician moved between their tiny heads and even smaller hearts. She barely spoke a word. Next, the doctor scanned my belly and reviewed the technician’s notes. He was searching for something.

After I got dressed, we met with the doctor in his conference room. The twins, he explained, shared a placenta and had a severe version of Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome. One baby was getting too much blood flow, while the other wasn’t getting enough. Later we’d learn that the dire progression of their condition from the time of the amniocentesis to the next sonogram — just two days — was remarkably fast.

We were told that, in our case, the chance was slim that either one would would survive, let alone live and grow healthily (if one twin did survive, he said, it would probably have severe neurological defects, among other complications). After much thought and tearful discussion, we made the most difficult decision of our lives. We would terminate the pregnancy.

Surgery, at the earliest, would be the following Friday, a full seven days from when we’d been faced with our grueling reality. They have a word for aeons such as this: Purgatory.

I couldn’t stand the thought of sleeping in our bed so we camped in the living room for the whole week. We cried and slept. I couldn’t touch my belly and denied Juan Miguel the same. We slowly said goodbye to our twins.

During this time, a friend gave us a small prism. It threw rainbows on the wall each time the sun glinted its angles. It was the only brightness we would see for months.

A week later, when we entered the fluorescent-lit hospital for our 6 a.m. appointment. I’d asked to hear David Byrne’s music during my procedure. “This Must Be The Place” was playing as I fell into a medically induced sleep.

I was insatiable when I woke up. No amount of water could quench my thirst, and hunger overcame me. My good friend Jessica was waiting for me next to the bed. Professionally, she guides women after they terminate a pregnancy. She held my hand and wiped my torrent of tears. She helped me dress and gave me water. Although I didn’t feel any physical pain and I was home by noon. But I was utterly broken.

Six days later my family and Juan Miguel and I would gather together for Christmas, but we did not celebrate. Tensions were high and my mood was low.

My darkest moment came on Christmas Eve. The immeasurable heap of sadness that I’d been carrying cracked open, flushing me into the dark waters of an emotional meltdown. After unraveling in front of my family, I walked alone to a pier in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It jutted just far enough over the East River for me to picture what it might feel like to let the ice cold water envelop me whole. Wrapped in my puffy coat, I imagined myself like a Medjool date sinking to the bottom of a glass of milk. I needed to shed this skin. I imagined that I’d climb out of my coat and would be left a seed, settling with an effortless “thump” on the river floor. I’d be untethered by this life and free from my nightmare. Blackness would wash over my eyes. I’d be finished with this brand of sorrow.

In my heart I’d already hit rock bottom. But even in the darkness, a dim light flickered inside me. I couldn’t see it, but I knew it was there. Jumping was not the answer.

After the holiday, all I wanted to do was run. I bought new running shoes. Hitting the pavement gave me strength and control. So I hit it hard. I beat the shit out of it. It was my catharsis. Even on frigid January days, I ran to release my grief.

When I started getting my period again eight weeks later, it was a sign of life, even if it was also a haunting reminder of what we’d lost. We went to Costa Rica for a work conference. On the final day, as we all gathered at the beach, one of the speakers’ teenage daughters approached me. “Catalina, can I come to your baby shower?” she asked. We all fell silent. Taken aback, I said “Sure.”

“She is clairvoyant,” the girl’s father explained to me later, “and this is not the first time she’s predicted something of this nature.”

A month later, I took a pregnancy test at Juan Miguel’s suggestion. I’d been significantly more emotional than usual and hormonal to a degree that was quite foreign to him.

“PREGNANT” appeared to us in black digital letters.

No, that couldn’t be right. We waited a week to take another test.

“PREGNANT.” We had conceived in Costa Rica.

We were simultaneously thrilled and terrified to be pregnant so soon after losing the twins. We guarded our hearts closely. But it was a textbook pregnancy. On Tuesday, December 15, 2015, at 4:34 a.m., almost exactly a year after we’d said goodbye to our twins, Pia made her early morning entrance into the world. There she was, in all her healthy glory, our beautiful baby girl — conceived during a time of sorrow, born into sheer joy. We’d come full circle.

That rainbow maker prism now hangs in our bedroom window. Before Pia was born, each time the rainbows appeared I would burst into tears. It was an agonizing reminder of the twins we had never met. Now when the sun slips its way through the mirrored glass, I smile. I say hello to our angels and I tell Pia that her older siblings are in the room looking out for her.

I’ve always believed that the universe doesn’t give us more than we can handle. There must have been a reason for our struggle. If it weren’t for the twins and our immensely difficult decision, we wouldn’t have Pia. Above all, I’m grateful to move forward, the three of us together.

Catalina Kulczar

Catalina, Juan Miguel and Pia.


Thank you so much for sharing this essay, Catalina. Sending a huge hug today to those who’ve had similar experiences.

P.S. On experiencing a stillbirth and three womens’ stories of miscarriage.

(Thanks to Catalina’s friend, Deenie Hartzog-Mislock, for contributing editing to this essay. Illustration by Alessandra Olanow for Cup of Jo.)

  1. Quinn says...

    This essay was so beautiful and raw that it moved me to tears. I just adore that Cup of Jo doesn’t shy away from these tough topics.

  2. I just had tears pouring down my face on the train into work. Thank you for sharing this beautiful essay. Pen x

  3. Kate says...

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. I had a really good friend lose one of her twins to Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, and I can only imagine the darkness of that loss. Her daughter is now a perfectly healthy 2 year old, after being born at 27 weeks. She is the strongest woman I know.

    I am currently 33 weeks pregnant with a high risk baby with a kidney/bladder abnormality and it has been the hardest time of my life. No-one talks about this stuff, so please know how much sharing your story has made my journey a tiny bit easier and how much it is appreciated.

    • Heather says...

      Kate, have you seen the Special Needs Spotlight series that This Little Miggy does? http://www.thislittlemiggy.com/p/special-needs-spotlight.html

      It’s a series of interviews with parents of children with special needs who talk about their experiences from diagnosis (often in utero) to current day. The interviewees are candid about the challenges they’ve faced, but their stories are also uplifting.

  4. Kat says...

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am fortunate to have a 4 year old whom I had no trouble conceiving but fertility problems and miscarriages feel all too common and it’s heartbreaking. It seems among my friends more have experienced complications than have not. Because of this I have decided have only one child because I simply don’t want to take a risk of losing a baby; I just know I’d be an emotional wreck and I can’t bear the thought.

  5. julia says...

    I want to add to this beautiful chorus of support and thanks. i terminated a much wanted pregnancy at 16 weeks for genetic issues not compatible with life. i thought the darkness would take me. I suffered alone, fearing that judgement on top of all the pain i already felt would bury me. i would run until i couldn’t tell tears apart from sweat. just kept running.

    thank you again for sharing, it is life giving to not be alone.

    • Anonymous says...

      I know this pain and get strength from your post.

  6. Dutta says...

    Thank you so much for sharing. I had to go through abortion procedure two years back exactly on this date. I still find myself sobbing and remembering how the baby would have been. I was only 6 or 7 weeks along.. still feels so raw. Always so uplifting to find I am not alone grieving about the child I could have had.

  7. Elizabeth says...

    The moment I found out I was having a boy, images ran through my mind of my husband and me doing mad Saturday morning dashes to grab lattes on our way to t-ball games, and crashing cars on the living room floor just to make our son laugh. The devastation of learning that the baby had cystic fibrosis at 18 weeks, and ultimately ending the pregnancy at 19 weeks was a slow motion, out of body pain/numbness I can’t describe. That baby is imprinted on me forever, and I am grateful for his short time with me because of what the whole experience taught me about leaning on the people who love me for support–which is something I’m usually too proud to do. My heart goes out to all the sweet will-be parents who have also gone through this (so many I’ve learned!).

  8. Cristina Cassidy says...

    Dearest Catalina,
    I had no idea you had experienced this. Knowing what a compassionate, sensitive person you are, I can only imagine the pain you endured. Your decision to choose life over death during such a difficult time reminds others that pushing through the pain is where the life lessons lie.

    Here’s wishing Pia, Juan Carlos and you the best year ever.

    Love,
    Cristina

  9. Becky says...

    Thank you for sharing your story, Catalina. My heart aches for you and everyone else who is posting their stories of loss.

  10. alana says...

    catalina, than you for sharing. hugs to you.

    cupofjo, thank you for providing opportunities to share important and courageous stories such as this one.

    and cupofjo readers, thank you for nurturing and protecting this blog as a safe space where these stories are received with kindness and reflected back as love.

  11. Reem says...

    Oh. Oh. Thank you for sharing this. I am currently trying to conceive, and it is such an emotional time. I often think that I can’t handle it on top of everything else life has going on, but I too have to believe that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. You are so strong and your family is the most beautiful. Thank you.

    • Rachel says...

      I’m in the same boat. I had no idea how gut wrenching this process would be. I’m pulling for you!

  12. I’m so sorry for your loss. My twin sons died after being born at 23 weeks due to PPROM and it is a pain that no parent should have to endure. I’m hoping someone can help me understand what happened to Catalina, did she have a Caesarian? I’m not sure what is meant by ‘procedure.’ When termination was vaguely mentioned to me at 20 weeks, the doctor said they would have to inject my boys hearts and then they would induce labour and I would give birth to them. Perhaps things are different in the UK. I would love some clarity on what a termination in the US in the second trimester involves. Sending love xx

    • Lisa says...

      Procedure likely means a D&E, or dilation and evacuation. It’s similar to a D&C, but more invasive and you are given stronger anesthesia (a spinal block or even general anesthesia). It’s done in America for pregnancies that are further along but need to be terminated.

  13. Elizabeth says...

    Thank you Catalina and Joanna for sharing this story. I had a miscarriage and then daughter born with a severe heart defect. It’s cathartic to hear stories of how complicated this life can be.

  14. Sandra says...

    Thank you for this story. My heart goes out to the author. My son was our 7th pregnancy…the 6 before him were miscarriages and an ectopic. Our son actually started as a twin pregnancy, but one embryo stopped developing at 6.5 weeks. Pregnancy (and infant) loss is so gut-wrenching and it is so isolating because people don’t talk about it. I’m glad to see it discussed here.

  15. Megan says...

    What a powerful story! I feel so connected to the author, as I am also 35 and also struggled for years to conceive, only to lose my first baby at 10 weeks. And now, 3 months after the loss, we are pregnant again and I am overjoyed/terrified/frightened/excited. Her story gives me so much hope for a happy ending this time around! Thank you so much for shining a light on this topic.

    • Robin says...

      Sending up a prayer for you and your family today, Megan! I can understand all of those feelings.

  16. Gill says...

    Such a lovely story of love and loss on many levels. Beautifully written, I couldn’t stop reading, hoping for the happy ending that finally arrived.
    Congratulations to Catalina, Juan Miguel and Pia

  17. Alison says...

    I miscarried exactly one month today. It is hard going through the days thinking “I was supposed to be pregnant today but I’m not anymore” and “I’m supposed to be showing now”. The baby was due on my first wedding anniversary.

    Joanna, stories from other women in similar situations are so helpful. I am not alone; we are not alone.

    • Ashley says...

      Exactly one month ago today I found out I was going to miscarry also. Our 1st baby was due on our wedding anniversary also. Thanks for the personal reminder that we are not alone in this.

    • Regina says...

      You are far from alone! I miscarried in 2013 and am fortunate to have given birth to two healthy children in the years since my miscarriage. In my experience, once you reveal you’ve miscarried, you’ll find so many other women have as well. The support of other women are what help us all through these difficult experiences.

  18. Anonymous says...

    I am experiencing my third miscarriage now. I have a joyful two year old that I am so very grateful for, but my grief is profound. Thank you for helping me feel less alone.

  19. Greta says...

    Thank you for caring enough about all of us to share this story.

  20. Sarah R. says...

    Heartbreakingly terrible and beautiful.

  21. April says...

    Thank you for sharing. I can see by the number of comments that this has touched so many women. I had a miscarriage of our first pregnancy about eight weeks ago. My husband is absolutely, incredibly supportive, but I still struggled to conceal my grief at works and with friends. I didn’t want to share with everyone because the loss was so personal and I feared judgmental or hurtful comments. When I wanted to share, it was still hard because I knew I’d cry and be a mess about it and it’s hard to just blurt it out. Knowing the statistics doesn’t help your heart, but posts like this one do. Thank you, Joanna and team, for the sweet work that you do.

  22. SB says...

    I was deeply touched by this story and the comments from readers. I too had a devastating diagnosis half way through my pregnancy (trisomy 18) and could not empathize more with the tough decision of whether or not to terminate the pregnancy. My husband and I decided not to terminate, and I was (perhaps naively) surprised at the animosity our decision received. I was surprised that so many of my pro-choice friends would be so unsupportive of my decision to continue the pregnancy. No matter which decision you make, the choice is YOURS and yours alone. There is so much redemption in the act of choosing itself; choosing what is best for you, your family, and your child.

    My husband and I were extremely lucky- our son survived to term, survived delivery, and we were able to spend a blissful 5 days as a family. Those days at home, just the three of us, were the best days of my life.

    I have always loved this blog and the strong, inspiring group of women it attracts. This is such an important dialogue, and I thank Catalina and Joanna for facilitating it.

    • Jelly says...

      SB – this is so uplifting! I am in my second trimester and had a miscarriage last year with our honeymoon baby. I live in worry every day that something will go wrong or something might happen to her after she is born. But you describing those few days with such joy and hope is so touching and humbling. You are right! Every day I have with her is a blessing, I will live each day with thanks and hope in my heart instead of worry. Thank you so much.

    • Helen says...

      Thank you so much for sharing this. I was reading through all of the beautiful, supportive, sad, and compassionate comments yesterday and wondering if any readers had made the decision to not terminate, and what that was like… A few years ago I read the book “Waiting with Gabriel” which blew my mind. It was the first time I had heard of perinatal hospice. At the time I had no idea what that could be like, and even now, with a recent miscarriage, it’s hard to grasp. I’m sorry at the reception to your decision, but so uplifted by your experience.

  23. Megan says...

    Blessings to all. Wishing light and love for all who have shared, read, or walk in silence. Peace.

  24. Mallory T. says...

    This was such a beautiful piece. Thank you for sharing such a difficult, personal experience with us, and in such a raw, honest way. You are amazing, Catalina.

  25. Emily says...

    As I read Catalina’s painfully beautiful story and readers’ honest comments, wondering what I could add, the coincidental timing of this post struck me. Today. January 9th 2002. Fifteen years ago today, we lost our first baby son.
    I was 21 weeks pregnant. It had been 2 weeks of hell (yes, purgatory is the perfect word) since the first of many tests which indicated a problem, as well as waiting for the neurosurgeon to weigh-in (he was on vacation!… we were at an Ivy League-affiliated hospital, why oh why was there only one pediatric neurosurgeon??). We terminated our pregnancy in the most emotionally painful experience of my life (and physically painful too–I see now that this wasn’t right– it was 18 hours of torturous and excruciating labor–how is that okay?).
    It’s been 15 years it still feels raw. Not every day, not even every week, but when I talk about it or think about it, it’s raw. Our baby was beautiful in every single way right down to the chromosomes…and he was missing most of his brain. This decision went against every maternal instinct I had–and I’d had strong ones since I was a six year old desperately waiting until I could babysit. It felt all wrong, even though we knew it was right. I felt shame, guilt, shock and sadness. What followed was years of depression and anxiety, right through the next pregnancy, possibly the one after that too. Finally, with therapy and medication I don’t obsessively worry about my (three healthy thriving!) boys. I can travel and work and I have a great relationship with my partner. But, hell, the experience changed me.
    I’m so so sorry to all the women who have experienced any form of pregnancy loss. My thoughts are with all of you and your unique, painful stories.

  26. Lauren says...

    What bravery. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.

  27. Lauren says...

    What bravery. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us.

  28. MA says...

    Your story is so heartbreaking, and uplifting. Thank you for sharing. Your words are beautiful. And the gift of the prism is a wonderful idea. Something to catch light when darkness prevails.

  29. Elizabeth says...

    This is an amazing story, thank you for sharing!

    Because of the part about the girl in Costa Rica that knew she was pregnant, I felt I had to share this book I just started reading – “Memories of Heaven: Children’s Astounding Recollections of the Time Before They Came to Earth” – https://www.amazon.com/Memories-Heaven-Childrens-Astounding-Recollections/dp/1401948529.

    I’m not a religious fanatic by any means, but the stories in this book are pretty crazy – knowledge of and connections between siblings born and those that were miscarried, children knowing when mothers are pregnant before they knew, memories of a past/future life and people they have not yet met…all things I don’t think about daily but give me pause…

  30. Wow, thanks for sharing this Catalina and Cup of Jo.

  31. Mimi says...

    Oh my heart! It is full, and sad, and happy. Happy for you two – for the sweet little girl you now have. Sorry for your deep loss. Life is an ocean of so much joy and pain.

    I have yet to fully absorb or acknowledge my own losses. Thank you for your brave heart in sharing yours. I lost twins to a miscarriage. I was in a liminal space of denial and “knowing” I was pregnant. Then one day, I saw the two precious fetuses I had lost and the tears just flowed. It was like an out of body experience. I wasn’t ready for another pregnancy, my heart was grieving and I was so afraid of loosing another baby. But exactly 1 year after loosing the twins our baby boy was born.

    Life is so full. Thank you for creating this space and little community. It is joyful, inspiring, healing…so many things to our hearts and lives. Love and blessings….

  32. What a beautiful story of hope. I read this with tears in my eyes. Loved the ending! Congratulations on your beautiful family.

  33. Trish says...

    Thank you for sharing this. I have been pregnant 5 times, and have 3 living children; two boys and a girl. I am aware that for some women, this seems a terrible thing to consider, and for others, a relatively mild, and beautiful gift. I might believe the babies I lost are part of the ones I have now–my last child, my daughter, in particular has a huge personality, a spark that makes her seem somehow more than. The second baby I lost was a girl, and sometimes I think my daughter is living a life for both of them. Or maybe not. The truth is, who know? Not me, at least. What I do know is that these experiences and losses make me who I am, make my family what it is, and they are special and sacred and worth thinking about and sharing. So thank you again for doing so.

  34. Cara says...

    Too often these stories go untold. Thank you for being so brave and having the courage to share this both heart wrenching yet beautiful story.

  35. Cat Mouton says...

    Absolutely moving, and beautiful.

    Thank you for sharing, Catalina (and Juan Miguel and Pia)

  36. The most challenging, saddest parts of pregnancy are discussed so rarely and yet these are the issues we need to be talking about far more.
    Thank you for sharing your experience.

  37. I was so happy to read a happy ending…what a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing!! xx

  38. Lindsey M says...

    Catalina – Thank you so much for sharing your story. I can’t imagine the strength that going through that experience took.

    Joanna – Thank you for providing the space for this story. Reading through the comments affirms why this is the only blog I read daily. What an incredible community of women.

  39. Morgan says...

    Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your experience. Our home is full with three rainbows of our own and two angels who guide us from above. Love and light to your family.

    • Morgan says...

      Just to add a thank you to Cup of Jo for sharing stories that represent the myriad of experiences being a woman and becoming a mother. It always feels better when you connect with people who have lived similar experiences.

  40. Meredith says...

    What a beautifully written, poignant story. Thank you for telling it. It once again reminds me of how strong each of us is.

  41. Tasha says...

    How horrible. Rather than calling it a surgery I would appreciate if you used the term abortion. It is not a surgery. She should have given he twins a chances..How evil. It wasn’t her Joice to kill them.

    • Kate says...

      You clearly know nothing about Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome and have never experienced a loss like this. As my Mom always said If you cannot say something nice, rather keep quiet.

    • Sarah Z says...

      What’s feels evil to me is this comment.

  42. Amy says...

    Thank you for sharing your story Catalina and to all those sharing their stories in the comments. You are all so brave and beautiful and I’m honored to be in the company of such wonderful women.

  43. Luisa says...

    I am a grandmother, probably older than most readers, and have heard my share of stories full of sorrow and joy surrounding motherhood, What a lovely family and I use the word lovely in its most rooted meaning, full of love.

  44. Cousa says...

    I’m very sorry for your loss. It’s hard to find the words to say, to console.

    My sister in law just had a miscarriage last week. She was already 5 months pregnant, and it was a baby girl. The doctors can’t explain why it really happened, and she’s desperate to understand why she’s lost the baby. She’s devastated. I wish I could take her pain away…she was so looking forward to being a mother, having her baby in her arms.

    I always thought miscarriage should be considered as a medical condition and if the baby is lost, it’s probably because due to a genetic disease or an under development of the physical body. But now I see that the expectant mother usually bonds with the baby so much before the delivery, it already becomes a relationship. My sister in law already picked out a name, bought cute clothes and I’m sure she had already sent her daughter to college in her mind, and picked out a profession. When you lose a baby, I guess you lose all your future dreams with her/him.

    Looking at it in this point of view helped me be more empathetic with her situation, I felt my heart aching with her loss. I hope she can have a happy ending just like Catalina, but I feel like there’s nothing that could make her happy again…

  45. Ana says...

    I had a miscarriage last june, after 16 months trying to have a baby. It is a devastating experience… I can remember the silence when the doctor was exploring me and those words… “Anina… I’m afraid…”.

    I remember my baby each month, it was due to… now, the 28th.

    I forgot to ask the doctor for an ecography, just to have a picture of her (I had the feeling she was a girl).

    I already have a 3 year old boy and God knows, maybe we are lucky again.

    Thanks for sharing, these stories make me feel less lonely with the grief.

    • B says...

      I don’t know who you are, or where you are, but I just wanted to send you a virtual hug. My current situation is almost identical to yours (I miscarried a baby last spring after months and months of trying to conceive, and I have a 3 year old boy that helps ease the pain). Thinking of that lost baby and the pregnancy milestones I should have been experiencing all year has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced. A huge part of the pain is the incredible loneliness that accompanies a miscarriage. No one else quite understands, and no one else continues to feel the pain months later. But know that you’re not alone. Your comment helped me feel like maybe someone out there actually understands. Thank you. I’ll be praying for you and hope you get your rainbow baby.

  46. Emily S. says...

    It’s great to hear beautiful stories like this, of growth and happiness developing from our challenges.

    Let me share two quotes from Khalil Gibran. They have brought me peace in difficult times.

    “The deeper sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”

    “Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
    And the selfsame well from which your
    laughter rises was oftentime filled with your tears…
    When you are joyous, look deep into
    your heart and you shall find it is only
    that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

    When you are sorrowful look again in
    your heart, and you shall see that in truth
    you are weeping for that which has been
    your delight.”

  47. Absolutely heartbreaking, but thank you for sharing your story with us.

  48. Nadia says...

    Thank you Catalina and CupofJo for sharing this story. I believe that it’s possible to transform the huge loss into desire to live and create life, as Catalina did. I admire her strength and openness

  49. This just hit home for me, as my husband and I just went through a miscarriage after Christmas. The only thing getting us by is the thought that someday we’ll have a healthy baby who never would have existed if not for the tragedy. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    • I’m so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and your husband. You WILL get through it and things will work out.

  50. Sal says...

    What a story. I’m tearing up here at work. Thank you for sharing, so many women go through the trauma of losing a baby or babies during pregnancy, and it’s therapeutic to read that you can come out on the other side, still grateful, full of joy. Blessings for you and your family.

  51. Luz says...

    This is so important. And it’s also a good reminder of the reasons that affordable women’s health services, like those provided by Planned Parenthood, are integral to a healthy society. Remember that because of strict anti-choice laws in many states in the U.S. that women have to travel very far to have these medically necessary procedures performed, or else cannot afford the travel at all.

    This interview is similarly heart-wrenching and honest: http://jezebel.com/interview-with-a-woman-who-recently-had-an-abortion-at-1781972395

  52. Julie French says...

    Brought a tear to my eye and am eternally grateful for the health of my children (and my work with those with disabilities). Thank you for sharing this lovely story.

  53. Thank you Catalina for sharing and Jo for opening your beautiful platform to such an important and moving story. It’s essential that we make more room among narratives of motherhood for the full range of experiences. I am so grateful to be a part of this community.

  54. Thank you for sharing your honest, beautiful story.

  55. Heather says...

    thank you for sharing. motherhood is not a part of my life right now, nor is it on the horizon (although I am about to be an aunt!), but i really value these essays nonetheless.

  56. Jen X says...

    So beautiful, blessings to you all.

  57. Heather says...

    People don’t talk about these experiences enough. Thanks for putting yourself out there and sharing such a personal story with honesty and openness. Best wishes to you and your beautiful family.

  58. Sarah says...

    This felt like divine intervention to read this morning. My husband and I just ended a pregnancy on New Year’s Eve after a Trisomy 21 diagnosis. Since children can often live healthy lives with Down Syndrome, I almost wished for a more clear-cut diagnosis. It was the most agonizing decision and the most painful thing we have been through. I worried for years that I would experience infertility as my mother had, but this never crossed my mind. My husband and I are so grateful for our almost one-year-old son, who has still given us moments of joy this past month. I know we will always ache for our second baby, but as Catalina said, I have hope that our family will continue to grow in the coming years and we will know we wouldn’t have our future sons/daughters without having experienced this. The website endingawantedpregnancy.com has been really helpful to me. Thank you so much, Cup of Jo, for stories like these. I have never commented on a blog before, but I just couldn’t not today.

    • j. says...

      sarah – i just wanted to say that i am so sorry for your loss. thinking of you and your family and sending love.

    • Erin G says...

      I am very sorry for your loss. We received this diagnosis with our first pregnancy 14 years ago and made the same decision. I wished for a worse diagnosis than Trisomy 21, such as Trisomy 18 – at least then I wouldn’t agonize over the decision so much. Experiencing a loss in this way can be so isolating because there is stigma associated with it so you don’t (I didn’t) want to talk about it for fear of being branded/judged. I’m still working through it and have a box with the sonogram and the two condolence cards I receive from people who did not know our circumstances. We are blessed with two beautiful, healthy boys (ages 13 and 11) that we would not have had otherwise. We will never regret our decision, but we’ll never forget. Life goes on and your family will be blessed again.

    • Sarah says...

      Thank you, J. and Erin G. I can’t express how much your comments mean to me.

    • Anonymous says...

      My husband and I also went through this exact process last fall. We feel and felt exactly like you did. One week after the procedure I was in a toy store with my healthy 2 year old and a visually apparent young baby with DS was also there with her mother in a car seat. I have never in my life felt such sadness, guilt and weakness. It was horrible. I went to the car and tried to hold back tears in front of my child. I am working my way through it all with the help of a therapist. This specific twist on this situation was so painful and isolating.

  59. meg says...

    thank you — to both catalina and jo&co — for sharing this. having a safe space to be open and honest and raw and real is so, so cathartic, even for me as the listener/reader. thank you so much.

  60. Katherine says...

    This is why I love Cup of Jo. Thank you.

  61. yael steren says...

    Wow what an amazing story. So many emotions – and I’m so happy that the ultimate outcome was positive though I can only imagine how difficult the loss was. Thanks so much for sharing such a personal experience. xx yael

    http://www.yaelsteren.com/blog/

  62. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Thank you for your generosity in sharing your grief, loss, and love.
    This blog is really special.

  63. Lindsey says...

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. Sharing things of this nature can be so hard. A month after my mother died, my husband and I found out our daughter had a lethal skeletal dysplasia. We were told she would die shortly after birth, that she was on life support inside my body. We decided to do what we thought was the most humane thing, and take her off life support early. That was the hardest time of my life. It has been two years now, and we still have yet to have a successful pregnancy. But I feel like our luck may change soon. And I am definitely a better person because of all the loss.

  64. Jasna says...

    This made me cry. First out of sadness and then I totally lost it when that little girl’s dad said she’s clairvoyant – I hoped for a happy ending and was overjoyed when I saw the picture of three of them!

  65. Traci says...

    Thank you so much for so openly sharing your story!

  66. Fatima says...

    Beautiful.

  67. Kellie P. says...

    Thank you for sharing.

  68. Emme says...

    Speechless. This was so beautifully and truthfully written – thank you for this.

  69. Mekhala says...

    Thank you for this heartbreaking and uplifting story. The past politically charged months have wrecked havoc on my emotions, and I love to hear stories about the real pain behind abortion decisions. You are a strong woman, and pia is beautiful

  70. Carolyn says...

    I’m so sorry that you went through this and I know it all too well. We were absolutely blindsided at the 12-week ultrasound for our first pregnancy. We were so delighted when we saw our beautiful baby moving across the screen, heartbeat strong, but when the technician fell silent and kept going over the head, over the kidneys, repeat on loop without saying a word we knew we were about to hear awful news. The head of Obstetrics at the hospital came into the room to deliver the news: our baby would not survive outside the womb and we could meet with the genetic counselor to discuss our options. It was the most earth shattering news I had heard in my life. We decided to terminate the pregnancy, and due to my fear of other’s opinions about our decision we kept it silent. And continued to keep it silent. Through further testing we found out we are carriers of a rare fatal genetic disease. We wound up having 2 more pregnancies affected by it – and 2 more terminations. And in between those one beautiful, amazing baby girl. I’m now in therapy because I’m realizing that this silence and worry about the stigma surrounding termination is like a poison. It’s eating away at me, creating shame when I should feel none, and turning me into a sad and lonely person. Thank you so much for sharing this story–this is how we break the stigma and help support those suffering.

    • Thank you for sharing this Carolyn, it’s very brave.
      You did what you had to do, end of! I’d love to know what any critics would have done in your shoes (but then, that’s the problem isn’t it, armchair critics). You absolutely have no reason to feel ashamed.
      I hope you can find your happy place soon, you deserve to after such a traumatic time.

    • Jennie says...

      Carolyn, your story (and all the many others like it) break my heart. I terminated for T13 at 20 weeks, then healthy baby boy, another healthy baby boy, then a missed m/c at 12 weeks for triploidy, and am now pregnant with (so far) a healthy baby girl. I had trouble comprehending that I was faced with a second chromosomal abnormality, but I know at least I’m fortunate in that ours seem to be truly random and I just have a hardy uterus that doesn’t want to let go of sick babies. Unless you’ve been through it, I don’t think anyone can comprehend the absolute crushing devastation of losing a pregnancy, and I am livid that on top of that, many experience so much guilt over their terminations. As you said, you should feel no shame; you made the best decision for your family and your babies and you deserve love and support for your grief and struggles. Sending you strength and thinking of all of our angels.

    • Kile says...

      Sending love to you, Carolyn. The loneliness that silence breeds is a horrible kind of heartache. Stay strong.

    • Courtney says...

      I’m so sorry you have had to go through those experiences and on top of it deal with feeling shame because of the stigma. Good for you for seeking therapy, facing these emotions, and sharing your story here in the comments. Sending support and empathy, from one woman to another. :)

    • April says...

      I’m so sorry Carolyn. What a difficult thing to face. I am praying for you right now and praying that your heart will be filled with comfort and that your burden will be lifted. May friendship and joy replace your sorrow in a big way.

  71. Cynthia says...

    What a beautiful and touching story! I know it had to be hard to make such a gut-wrenching decision. I had two normal pregnancies and deliveries, but my husband and I had discussed the fact that if the baby was going to be born with severe birth defects, I would have had an abortion. I honestly can’t imagine any thing harder than losing a child at any age.

  72. Anonymous says...

    Thank you so much for this story. Posts like this are one of the many reasons I love CoJ.

    I went through a similar experience and am still deep in the grieving process even though I have a healthy toddler and am now pregnant again (still very early). The more people I share my story with the braver I feel but it never goes away.

    I was lucky to be connected with a wonderful therapist and working with her has helped me SO much. Suffering alone was too hard. For others who are going through something similar know that there are therapists who specialize in this type of thing and I hope you will seek them out. Love to all. F

  73. Kristy B says...

    This took so much courage and strength to right! Thank you so much for sharing! I can’t even begin to imagine what that must have been like for you and yours

  74. Ramona says...

    First of all….thank you for sharing your story. That took courage and I understand that may have taken a piece of your heart to share your story with the public. God Bless You. I have never been in your situation. But I feel that you made your decision based on many hours of heartfelt soul-searching and I believe you made the best decision FOR YOU. I will not judge. That is all.
    I am so happy to hear the good news of Pia’s arrival! I wish you ALL THE BEST in your life. God Bless You. xo Love, Ramona

  75. Noelle says...

    I’m not crying, you’re crying.

    What an incredible, beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.

  76. Alyssa says...

    Thank you for talking about the hard things on your blog, Joanna!

  77. Hillary says...

    Being 23 weeks pregnant with twins that share a placenta, this story hit home for me in a really strong way. I have been checked almost every week since I was 16 weeks for TTTS, and every single appointment I hold my breath. So far, all looks healthy, thank goodness. I cannot even imagine going though, this and I really appreciate the openness and discussion on something I myself didn’t even know about until I had to educate myself. It is a really unique feeling to be excited and completely terrified all at the same time, every single day. This pregnancy is nothing like I imagined, but I am so grateful for my journey.

    • susanne says...

      My nephiews (now 10 years old) also shared one placenta. Same as you my sister had also to be checked every week and -thank God- had a healthy pregnancy. After birth one had far too many and the other too few red blood cells so the first days were full of uncertainity because one was brought to another Hospital to the intensive care, but after a few days everything turned out well and they are the most lovely, great boys!!!!

  78. wow. such a powerful story. i had chills. happy first birthday to Pia. :)

  79. Danielle says...

    This is a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing your struggle and the most perfect outcome possible.

  80. Hannah says...

    Heartbreaking and beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story.

  81. j. says...

    Catalina thank you for your story – for sharing it with so many people. I too had a similar experience and it was by far the most heartbreaking decision I have ever made. Much love to you and your beautiful family.

    And Joanna – I can’t thank you enough for posting this. I feel like my voice was heard through Catalina’s story and it means just so much.

  82. This is so brave, so beautiful, and so deeply moving. Thank you, Catalina and Jo, for sharing such an important story.

  83. Lauren says...

    Thank you for sharing. I love the message: the universe never gives us more than we can handle. Blessings to you and your family xo

  84. molly says...

    thank you for beautifully articulating this heart-wrenching experience, catalina (and to cupofjo for seeking this content and validating its importance). my heart breaks for you and breaks again for me, as i’m sure you’ve felt happen when you hear that other moms and dads have had to go through your all-too-familiar and painful journey.

    your explanation of the purgatory resonates with me. between the time i first heard the possibility of diagnosis and until my husband and i made our excruciating decision, i felt stuck. just typing that sentence stops my breath at the tip of my lungs. there were countless meetings with doctors, more ultrasounds than you ever thought possible, meetings with specialists, more meetings with genetic counselors, questions from friends, questions from families, research online on our own… the possibilities for our precious baby seemed endless– he’d never make it to full-term, he would be massively impaired but live an abbreviated life, his youth would be full of surgeries, he would never have the intelligence to fully comprehend why he was different. no one could give us certainty that he would be or would not be. we had to make our decision based on statistics. we embraced the numerical figures like they were our little boy calling out to us from the future. but we still felt stuck.

    at some point making this decision for him and for our family felt easier. when we had heard enough and had come to our conclusion, we asked the flow of information–from doctors and specialists, the opinions from family and friends, our own judgement– to stop. they were so supportive of us and respected our decision entirely.

    we went to the clinic on auto-pilot and i wept as the anesthetist put me under. a nurse gently wiped away my tears as i drifted off to sleep.

    it’s been strange in the 4 months following our ordeal to feel in-between my old self and my new self. i’ve had pregnancy and motherhood experiences, but i have nothing to show for either. this time feels a little bit like purgatory to me, too. people won’t talk to me about babies or pregnancy or motherhood even though they know that’s the topic on my mind.

    we learned a month ago that we are expecting again. it’s hard to believe what our bodies are capable of after such loss. it’s a miracle, and we feel so blessed, but my heart (and maybe my husband’s, though he wears it braver than i do) is still in pieces. we hold on to hope that this pregnancy will work out like yours with pia. reading your story– and all stories like it– make me filled with positive energy.

    • CC says...

      I completely agree about your definition of purgatory. I had an ectopic and subsequently my right tube removed – since then, I feel like everyone avoids asking me about anything/talking about anything related to pregnancy/kids/motherhood etc. It can feel very isolating at times. And I agree that after any pregnancy loss you become a different version of yourself… and it’s quite strange to to try to reconcile these two identities…

  85. Ileana says...

    I am in tears as I read this. Thank you for sharing your story.

  86. Erin says...

    Cry at my work desk. That was absolutely beautiful.

  87. Nydia H. says...

    Catalina and Juan Miguel,
    Thank you for sharing such painful but precious story. I felt every word of it because I went through the same. I was pregnant with my first daughter- I did not have difficulty getting pregnant but due to my career ( pediatrician) had postponed our family planning. We got pregnant quickly. It was a difficult pregnancy due to morning sickness but, God, we were so excited. December 18 we found out it was a girl- my dream came true. On our 20th week anatomy scan, they found a tumor in her neck- she had a poor prognosis. You described it exactly as it was; the technician taking forever, the n doctor coming in and taking a while as well, also in silence… We also made the painful decision of terminating the pregnancy out of love- to spare our beautiful daughter from the pain that awaited her, if she even made it to the end of the pregnancy. Pregnancy loss, its such a difficult grief. a year and 3 months later we got pregnant again. Our rainbow babies are 4 days apart. Your twins and my Maia Sofia only know love. Noor Emilia is the joy of our life and sometimes she laughs and giggles in a way that makes me wonder if she is playing with her older sister. Big hug.

  88. Capucine says...

    Thank you for your openness. I hadn’t reflected on what it might be like to be given a choice. For the first time, I am grateful for the simplicity of spontaneous miscarriage. For me, having to make a choice for each of my six lost pregnancies would have added harrowing anguish, where there was already enough to saturate the earth of my heart. I’m grateful for having a way to see my losses as occurring in a choiceless state of grace, entirely out of my hands. (I am a mother of two living children now, and your rainbow image is a profoundly apt one for the way they suddenly cast an arc across my emotional sky, separating light into it’s most beautiful hues against my grayness. True magic, their coming.)

  89. Thank you Catalina for writing such a personal and powerful story, thank you Jo for sharing it here, and thank you to the commenters who are sharing their stories here as well. The more these stories are publicly told, the more power women will have as a community and as a political force.

    My mother once told me that it never occurred to her that something could go wrong with her pregnancies because she never knew anyone who had lost a baby or had any issues at all. It struck me that of course that wasn’t true! It was just that no one ever said anything. What a lonely way to deal with loss. I’m so proud of women today for lifting the veil.

    • Melody says...

      Ditto to everything Meltown wrote! Thank you, dear Catalina. Sending loving vibes your way.

  90. Lauren says...

    I know this purgatory. It is paralyzing.

  91. Aliya says...

    Thanks for sharing your story. I have just gone through a very similar experience this year at Thanksgiving, ending my pregnancy at 15 (almost 16) weeks due to severe abnormalities from trisomy 13. Losing my baby was the most painful thing I’ve ever gone through, and it’s really a unique kind of pain because a heartbreaking decision had to be made.

    My husband didn’t grieve the way that I did. In my experience, it’s one of those situations that garner a lot of sympathy when it first happens, but then people seem to want you to “get over it.” It honestly feels almost like divine intervention when I am struggling through my first day back at work and this is the first article I see on your site. It helps to know that i’m not alone in this experience, and there are other people that can relate. Although I’m sad to know that another person has gone through the same terrible experience that I have.

    I almost went into a panic attack before the procedure, and when I woke up and touched my stomach to realize that my baby was gone, the same sorrow-filled panic overcame me again. Worst moment of my life.

    Sending blessings and love to your beautiful daughter and your family. xoxox

    • Anonymous says...

      Know that I went through something similar and it was very hard between my husband and me for a period of time. We grieved in such different ways and needed very different things. I found support and also gained strength in knowing we were learning more about each other as a couple. And, this would strength our marriage in knowing what we need and can provide for each other (and cannot, just as important) when adversity occurs as we move through life together. Hope that is helpful in some way.

    • Laura says...

      Sorry you are going through this, Aliya.

    • j. says...

      Aliya – I am so deeply sorry for your loss. Having gone through the same experience years ago I can relate to your pain. Be kind to yourself – and do whatever you feel is right for yourself regardless of what others may suggest. I found that online support groups (for those who went through the same type of experience) really helped me get through the most difficult moments/days/weeks/months/years. Sending much love to you.

  92. Susanna says...

    After becoming a mother 3 years ago, I feel other people’s heartache deeply, especially when it comes to the loss of a child or pregnancy. Normally, essay’s around this subject are too much for me to read, they stick with me for days and it is overwhelming. This essay, and the message that it conveys, is so beautiful, I read it twice. I too believe that there is a reason for everything – sometimes we find out why and sometimes, we just don’t. Thank you, Catalina, for sharing your and Juan Miguel’s story. It was an honor to receive your words today.

    And, most importantly, Pia is beautiful!

  93. Charlotte says...

    Dear Joanna, when thinking about what I value most about your blog and the people/topics you engage with, the German word “behutsam” (gently/gentle care) pops into my mind first.

    Thank you for choosing your topics so wisely; thank you that the people you ask to share their stories feel gently enough cared about in order to be able to talk about things that life sometimes throws at you…and how they upflift themselves up again.

  94. Katie says...

    What a heartbreak. Thank you for sharing, Catalina Thank you, CoJ for publishing the best stories, always. Crying at my desk for their joy, and their pain. XOX.

  95. Mary says...

    I am so very sorry for the loss of this life. I am not a troll, but I have opinions and beliefs which I am saddened to learn are not shared by so many. I value all life and truly believe we have an obligation to protect all life. I am so sad after reading your story. I wish you and your family many blessings.

    • Jess says...

      Do you feel like this is helpful to anyone?

    • Kelly says...

      I feel like these anti-choice people are so obsessed with the concept of giving a baby a “chance” that somehow this “chance” seems to dwarf any real compassion for the pain and suffering that the mother and father are going through, and is completely centered on naïveté.

      It’s almost like they privilege this not even fully formed being’s wellbeing so much above and beyond the wellbeing of the parents?!

      Let’s just say even if the author’s child lived to be born, racked up huge medical expenses in its short life, and then passed away thereafter, it could be an exponentially devasting event both financially and emotionally for her and her husband – in fact, I would speculate that it could even pull her and her husband’s relationship apart which would be even more devasting.

      So, if you are anti-choice and think you are “so pro-life” I would suggest (I) putting your money where your mouth is and donating to organizations supporting women and families financially who are struggling to get by and (ii) don’t freaking have an abortion, fine, but keep your mouth shut if you’re going to pass judgement on the hard decisions anyone else might have to make.

    • C says...

      What I wish for you, based on what you have read here, is for your heart to be opened to the possibility that there are many ways to honor life. You most likely also do not agree with “right to die” for those who are terminally ill but like this family, the overwhelmingly majority do not wish to be in these situations and are making difficult choices based on their very own soul searching. You obviously can see that this is a loving family. I am not asking you to reconsider your views but rather reconsider the idea that your views are more righteous and life honoring then those who choose differently.

  96. Lauren E. says...

    Wow. Thank you so much for sharing.

  97. Kayla says...

    Thank you for sharing this story. We said goodbye last year to our daughter at 22 weeks due to a rare genetic disorder that runs in our family. Like Catalina, we were blindsided with this news at what we thought would be a normal procedural ultrasound. After reading stories like this and the comments above, it is truly amazing that so many have gone through something similar and although each story is unique and everyone’s pain is their own, it certainly is comforting to not feel alone. In a group therapy session for women who have lost wanted pregnancies, this poem was presented to me, it articulates perfectly how it feels to “go on” after such a loss and I keep a copy by my bed. I am unsure if this is the original source, but I found it at fourplusangel.com.

    THE STONE
    The best way I can describe grieving over a child as the years go by is to say it’s similar to carrying a stone in your pocket.

    When you walk, the stone brushes against your skin. You feel it. You always feel it. But depending on the way you stand or the way your body moves, the smooth edges might barely graze your body.

    Sometimes you lean the wrong way or you turn too quickly and a sharp edge pokes you. Your eyes water and you rub your wound but you have to keep going because not everyone knows about your stone or if they do, they don’t realize it can still bring this much pain.

    There are days you are simply happy now, smiling comes easy and you laugh without thinking. You slap your leg during that laughter and you feel your stone and aren’t sure whether you should be laughing still. The stone still hurts.

    Once in a while you can’t take your hand off that stone. You run it over your fingers and roll it in your palm and are so preoccupied by it’s weight, you forget things like your car keys and home address. You try to leave it alone but you just can’t. You want to take a nap but it’s been so many years since you’ve called in “sad” you’re not sure anyone would understand anymore or if they ever did.

    But most days you can take your hand in and out of your pocket, feel your stone and even smile at its unwavering presence. You’ve accepted this stone as your own, crossing your hands over it, saying “mine” as children do.

    You rest more peacefully than you once did, you’ve learned to move forward the best you can. Some days you want to show the world what a beautiful memory you’re holding. But most days you twirl it through your fingers, smile and look to the sky. You squeeze your hands together and hope you are living in a way that honors the missing piece you carry, until your arms are full again.

    • Justine says...

      Wow. That’s beautiful Kayla. Thanks for taking the time to share it.

    • Lindsay says...

      Thank you for sharing such an accurate metaphor for my feelings; beautiful.

  98. This is beautiful.

  99. heather says...

    Catalina this story … wow. I’m sitting here just crying. I had the reverse scenario; we lost a baby and then a year later had spontaneous twins. The baby years have absolutely upturned any notion I previously had about being in control of my life. I was totally unprepared to lose a baby. I was totally unprepared for twins. Surrender and adaptation are some brutal life lessons.

    It was so brave of you to talk about your story here. I’m so sorry you had to go through this. And I hope you will always see yourself as a loving mother to those twins you lost.

  100. Kerry says...

    Beautifully written.

  101. Emma Bee says...

    Thank you so much for sharing this. This is exactly why medical decisions should be between a doctor and patient. Period.

  102. Jaclyn says...

    Thank you for sharing this, Catalina. You have such an amazing, resilient soul. Sending love to you and yours.

  103. Deirdre says...

    I know your pain and I am so sorry. I have been through something similar. The waiting was purgatory and losing my daughter was pure hell. It’s been eight years and I think about her everyday and what might have been had she been healthly. Reading your article has brought me some healing. Thank you.

  104. Karen T. says...

    Holy crap. What a story, what a writer. In tears. I’ve felt those losses (late miscarriage, death of my mom to cancer at a young age) and what a gift to be on the other side. Sending you all the love in the world.

  105. Janine says...

    Thank you for your bravery. Sharing your story is more important than ever, I hope others hear your message with empathy.

  106. Michelle says...

    As someone struggling with infertility, this was a beautiful reminder of what comes at the end of the pain. Thank you for sharing.

  107. Wow, I can’t imagine going through and make those decisions. This will help many people getting through their own darkness.
    What a powerful essay.

  108. Sasha says...

    Thank you for sharing Catalina. My heart breaks for your loss and sadness, and also for that light shining in you giving you the courage to keep going. I’m so happy for your joy in Pia. I hope she’ll grow to be as courageous as her mother.

  109. Jami-Lin says...

    My heart goes out to you. Living with all of those emotions must have made your heart feel like it would explode. I’m so glad for the birth of your daughter, and your resilience.

  110. This story tugged at my heart strings so hard. I have many a friend who went through something similar of losing a child. It’s so devastating, and it’s even more devastating that they usually grieve in silence. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story of hope.

    xo, Sofia
    http://www.thecozie.co

  111. Lana says...

    I am s deeply moved by this! Thank you for including this story on your blog. Women need to see every angle of pregnancy so that we can hold each other up when things don’t go exactly as planned, and even when they do.
    Beautiful.

  112. Claire says...

    Thank you for sharing. Your baby girl is beautiful xxx

  113. Olivia says...

    Thank you for sharing your story, Catalina. I’m so grateful for your bravery and honesty, and so sorry for your losses. It sounds like you had a termination doula, and as a birth and postpartum doula, I’m so pleased you had that support and care. Wishing you and your family the very best.

    Happy to see CoJ using this platform to share a story like this, and more content like this would be much appreciated.

  114. Mallory says...

    My heart is full. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story, Catalina.

  115. Dominique says...

    I conceived my son in Costa Rica after my husband beat cancer. We were told it would be impossible for us to have children. I think the ocean over there is magical.

    • Elizabeth says...

      This made me tear up. So sweet.

  116. ila says...

    Deeply touched. Thank you Catalina and Cup of Jo for sharing <3

  117. Julie says...

    Stories like this are *so* important for people to read to understand the difficulty and compassion involved in deciding what to do when a fetus is fatally ill. While I’ve read a couple of harrowing and lengthy personal accounts of similar situations on Jezebel, etc, I’m so excited that there is one here, where so many women come to read and seek wisdom and advice and perspective. Thanks, Cup of Jo, for putting this story up. And thank you so much to Catalina for writing and sharing it.

    • Sasha says...

      Yes!!

  118. Amy says...

    Thank you for sharing this with us, Catalina, and for helping stories like this one get seen, Joanna.

  119. molly says...

    Heartbreaking, but so happy Pia came out of it. In awe of your strength.

  120. Thank you for sharing. My family recently went through a similar tragedy as well – a devastating diagnosis, a horrendous decision to make, “purgatory”, and eventual healing. This is beautifully shared – I admire the hope and beauty you were able to convey while writing about such a difficult topic.

  121. Beautiful. The motherhood series always makes me cry. Still, I cant’ get enough :)

  122. Caroline, UK says...

    Sending lots of love to you and your family.
    In 2013 I had to terminate at 13 weeks due to my baby being very poorly and unlikely to survive out of the womb. I will never forget the day that I came round from the anesthetic in tears before I was even fully conscious. Xxx

    • Jillian says...

      Oh Caroline, I’ve read through all the comments here, but yours… just heartbreaking. Love to you.

  123. Jennie says...

    Adding my thanks to others for speaking out about your loss. I have lost two pregnancies to severe chromosomal abnormalities. With the first, I received the terminal medical diagnosis at 20 weeks during my first pregnancy (and terminated) and gave birth to my first son exactly a year after the termination procedure. The preciseness of the circle helped with my healing. I am forever grateful to all of the women who have begun to speak more openly about pregnancy loss, as I also struggled terribly after our first loss – especially being childless at the time.

  124. Rochelle says...

    There were a lot of tears reading this beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.

  125. Emily R says...

    Thank you so much for sharing this journey. My husband and I have friends who just miscarried at 38 weeks and we’ve all been grappling with the pain of their tragic loss. Hearing a story with similarities and knowing they were able to conceive and begin healing is inspiring and comforting.

  126. Jenny says...

    A baby born after a miscarriage or a still born birth is called a rainbow baby! So glad you got your rainbow! I am still waiting for mine after two losses.

    • Karen T. says...

      Sending you hope and love.

    • Sending you so many good vibes.

  127. Martina says...

    Beautiful story, and a wonderful reminder that abortion care is an essential part of maternal care, women’s care, /healthcare/. Thank you for shedding light onto the humanity at the center of this politicized issue.

    • Lo says...

      Hear, hear!

    • Luz says...

      YESS. Well put.

  128. Anonymous says...

    Thank you for this beautiful piece Catalina. Last year my husband and I also were faced with a decision and medically terminated the pregnancy. I did not know such pain, sorrow, and anger. One of my friends said to me, “You are already this child’s mother and doing what you need to do to protect them.” This gave me strength. I knew in my heart we doing what was best for this tiny baby. Yet, this did not erase the pain and solitude my husband and I both felt (and still feel at times).

    To medically terminate a pregnancy is a latent and very personal experience. I remember cruising along the street with my first child and another mother saying, “We’ll do all the tests, but just to know, we would never terminate.” Until you are sitting in the room with the doctors, after all the tests and procedures, with the reality of your unborn child’s dangerous outlook, you may not know what you would do. My therapist cautioned, “Be careful you share this with. You will get reactions you do not want and are not helpful.”

    I mention the above because when I first received all this news and also had a ten day purgatory and I was very alone. I was stunned with our reality. I took to the Internet to try to find other people who have felt similar pain and learn about their experiences. I commend and thank you for sharing your story and experience. I know it will give others comfort and a silent embrace when faced with a similar situation.

    Thank you Catalina for your honesty and hope through seeing your darling Pia. Thank you Joanna for having the courage to have a platform where women can share all of our stories throughout life.

  129. Celeste says...

    Thank you, thank you for sharing! Such a sweet, tragic, beautiful story. Sending love to you and your twins!

  130. Peem says...

    Wow. Pretty miraculous! The light in Pia’s eyes is just pure love! So happy it worked out so beautifully – and really interesting about the clairvoyant teen!

  131. Ali says...

    Thank you for being brave and sharing your story. We need more people to do so.

  132. Thank you for sharing this story. I’m grateful to you for your honesty, and I believe stories like this help all women. Strength and health to you, to everyone facing a similar situation.

  133. Caitlin says...

    So brave and lovely. Thanks for sharing.

  134. Wow. Tears of sadness and joy flowing. Thank you…The sharing of your story is such a gift for those of us who have been through something similar. It’s not something that gets talked about often or openly, but it’s so helpful to know you’re not alone in the experience of this particular type of sadness…the kind that nags you for the rest of your life. I know. Even if the sharp edge of it dulls over time, there are a million reminders of your loss every day, hiding even in your happiest moments. Even though I’d never wish it on anyone, it helps to know others have been there too and you’re not alone. Thank you for being brave enough to put these words out there.

  135. Shosh says...

    Thank you so much for sharing. What a beautifully written piece. Wishing you and your family long life, health, happiness, and peace.

  136. Laura C. says...

    You are so strong Catalina, thank you very much for sharing. Gracias!
    xoxo

  137. Anita says...

    What a beautiful story!! Thank you for sharing, Catalina.
    I’ve always enjoy the deep, meaningful content on this blog. Keep it coming :)

  138. Verhanika says...

    What a beautiful story and incredible journey. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  139. That was an amazing if tragic story. True courage. Plus, why the right of women to terminate pregnancy is not something to ignore. These people wanted their babies but knew they had to do the right thing. Love squared.

  140. Maggie says...

    What a warrior. Thank you for sharing your story–so full of tragedy and hope at the same time. Just like life, isn’t it?

  141. SN says...

    Thank you for sharing your story — you are so strong.

  142. Liz says...

    Sending love. thank you for sharing

  143. AD says...

    Thank you Catalina for sharing your story and Joanna for publishing it. I lost two babies in utero after devastating medical diagnoses and those were the darkest times in my life. I’m still looking for the strength to write my own story out. Reading from others in so therapeutic. Your Pia is beautiful and your twins are with you always and all 3 of my loves are too. 🦋

  144. Brianna says...

    Thank you for sharing <3