Meagan Donaldson joins The Glimmer Podcast to talk about TFMR (termination of pregnancy for medical reasons), the importance of language and finding joy again after such heartache. Meagan is the author of ‘Still a Mum,’ which shines a spotlight on the stigma that still exists around pregnancy loss, TFMR and its impacts; not just for the parents but for other family members as well.
Meagan Donaldson was 23 weeks pregnant when tests confirmed her unborn baby had a rare condition. Told the prognosis for their daughter was poor, they made a heartbreaking decision to say goodbye to their little girl. Soon after, Violet Grace was born. Still, but perfect.
Meagan and Caitlin discuss the struggle of dealing with the busy practical side of babyloss and utilising writing to remember their babies. In relation to TFMR, Meagan has women writing to her saying they feel so much shame about the termination aspect of their baby loss so much so, they haven’t explained the TFMR to their families and carry the pain so privately. Meagan explains that the term ‘termination’ feels like it takes all the love out of Violet’s story and she felt this term didn’t appropriately describe the extremely difficult journey of saying goodbye to Violet Grace. She knows the choice of TFMR isn’t actually a choice and that it is made purely out of love. Meagan felt discomfort also with the word ‘died’ and preferred ‘loss’ while Caitlin feels differently.
Meagan shares about celebrating Violet’s birthday through creating cakes, donating gifts in her name and referring to her whenever asked how many children they have. She explains she has ‘muted’ certain people on social media and feels sadness when seeing babies similar aged to Violet posted on social media. Meagan used social media instead to immerse herself in a different type of community – those who have lost babies. Meagan’s psychologist told her to treat herself as she would a good friend in an effort to minimize the pressure on herself
Meagan explains a need to make meaning out of this situation and try to help others going through a similar situation in the future. She created the fundraiser ‘Violet’s Gift’ which supports grieving parents after delivering a stillborn baby. Finally, Meagan explains how joy and light slowly returned to her life and that she worked hard to seek it out and actively move forward. Brunch, books, beach, looking at flowers, going for walks with her dogs, reading about resilience, random acts of kindness, meditation, seeing her psychologist, support groups and doing things to stay connected with Violet.
It was hard work recovering from this immense trauma and has required a dedication that she feels has ‘felt like a fulltime job.’ At times it was too much and so at times she needed to give herself permission to just cry on the couch and ride the ‘grief hangover.’ Ultimately, what Meagan really needed to do, was to give herself some time.
You may also like to refer back to another Glimmer Podcast interview relating to TFMR with Anabel Bower, author of Miles Apart : Season 1, episode 4
Special thank you to:
- Corey Green (podcast editor - Transducer Audio) https://www.transducer-audio.com/
- Coby Grant (Winter Bear backing sound track)
- Ashleigh Smith (Producer)