Introducing Crystal Webster
PLICA is thrilled to have four incredible women as Ambassadors to champion the cause of those who grieve perinatal loss and involuntary childlessness. Each of these women bring to their Ambassadorial role personal experience of perinatal loss and/or involuntary childlessness, knowing intimately the enormous grief this experience elicits, as well having first-hand experience of the possibility of healing and resilience forged through adversity. Jody, Brandi, Crystal and Janet bring a wealth of knowledge on this sensitive subject, as well as deep empathy for the heartbreaking journey our sisters find themselves on.
Here, PLICA Ambassador and author Crystal Webster from Sharing Solace shares her heartbreaking story of love, loss and finding hope.
My Madelyn Elizabeth died in my arms just one day after she was born in May 2010. We later found out that she had a genetic condition that made it impossible for her to sustain her own life - the condition, I now know, is something that I also have and unknowingly gave to her. My partner and I tried for 5 years to bring Maddie siblings through IVF, each time being devastated by the outcome. To this day, Madelyn remains an only child.
One of the most difficult things about this experience
Child loss and infertility is a daily battle. Every baby, innocent question, 'time of the month' and department store can be a trigger so powerful it brings you to your knees. The most difficult thing for me, especially early on, was answering the question 'Do you have kids?' and then 'How many kids do you have?' I often had to make split-second decisions about how quickly I wanted to get 'creepy'. If I lied and said 'no kids' I was killing a little piece of my soul. If I told the truth and said 'one, but she's dead' I didn't know what reaction I would get...
Lessons of Love & Loss
I don't know if I would call it a lesson...but I would say it has provided the most freedom in my life since Madelyn's death. I get to wake up every single morning and say to myself 'the worst thing that could ever happen to a person has already happened to me. If you can make it through that you can make it through ANYTHING. Including today.'
I wrote 'Confessions of a Griever: Turning a Hot Mess into an Haute Message (Laughable Lessons for When Life Just Sucks)' because I couldn't find a book that spoke to me in the way I wanted to be spoken to. I didn't want to hear the sugar-coated platitudes or be told to 'pray your pain away.' I'm a big girl and wanted to hear the truth. When I couldn't find a book like that I created one (similar to why Sharing Solace was founded).
Confessions of a Griever is part memoir, part self-help, part 'choose your own grief guide' and all irreverent honesty. It's a reminder that sometimes, life just sucks. You have to feel your freaking feels. You're NOT alone. You're NOT crazy. And this IS normal.
Being a PLICA Ambassador
Being a PLICA ambassador allows me to share Madelyn's story in a meaningful way that (hopefully) inspires and encourages others to share their story as well! Perinatal loss is such a taboo subject to discuss yet 1 in 4 families experience this grief. I hope to be there to allow others a safe space to share their stories of love and loss.
To purchase your copy of Crystal's book, please click on the link below.