Alex’s Story- Life After Loss

October 25, 2023

I’m Clarissa
A Certified Fertility Health Coach who works with career oriented women to improve their cycle health and optimize fertility before pregnancy. 
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Hey there friend! I feel honored to share this conversation with Alex Suriano as she opens up about her own journey with loss and grief. Alex has become a dear friend and I’ve been so encouraged by her resilience, wisdom, and thoughtfulness, and how she lives her life with intention. During the interview, she courageously shares her story of losing her son, the journey towards healing, and how these experiences have shaped her into the person she is today. 

This heart-wrenching experience has been her darkest moment, and eventually, also an invitation to live life fully. As a Life Coach, Alex uses her experience to be of service to others in similar journeys because she believes that no one should have to suffer alone. She creates a safe space to guide and empower her clients, so that they too can transform their pain into deep purpose and create a meaningful life, on their own terms.

Throughout our discussion, Alex shares some practical tools for those who have experienced loss and are in the thick of that grief. We also touch on the importance of community, how to support others who are facing grief, and even the journey to conceive again after loss. This episode is a gentle reminder that you are not broken, there is nothing to fix, and your feelings are completely valid.

Listen to the Full Episode Here

Alex’s Personal Experience With Baby Loss

Prior to having children, Alex worked in the banking industry in a good corporate career. She created a beautiful life with her husband and also has a great and supportive family. They decided it was time to expand our little family and they had their son, Philip, back in 2021.

When Phillip was 1 month old, he unexpectedly passed away. This was the absolute worst time of her life and the most difficult challenge she had ever faced. It’s been quite the journey for her, because that kind of life experience to me shakes up your entire world.

Her Journey Through Grief

This experience put things into perspective and helped her realize what’s most important in life. Her personal healing journey allowed her to find her way back to herself and build a life that was meaningful and aligned with who she wanted to be. 

For so long, she had fears about starting her own business that were holding her back. After having a life taken away from her, there’s nothing that compares to what she went through, so now she’s not scared of doing anything anymore. 

Her journey through grief has been a  beautiful one as she learned to have dual emotions like grief and love coexist. She allowed the ebbs and flows by honoring both extremes and both sides of her emotions. This is what ultimately allowed her to live a life true to herself, where she could continue choosing hope and continue moving forward. This path eventually led Alex to having her daughter, launching her business, and moving to Miami because she no longer let fear hold her back. 

The Importance of Community

Her journey taught her that healing is not linear. You may start to feel better, but grief pulls you back down again. Now she is resourced enough to be able to love herself unconditionally through that period of darkness. Regardless of how much time it’s been since his passing, she is able to mother her own self through that now. 

At the beginning during her darkest days when everything was just a complete whirlwind and nothing made sense, she felt as if she couldn’t function as a person. She was overwhelmed by even the simplest of things and cognitively it felt like she had been shut down. 

She feels lucky to have her family, because even though this was during the Pandemic, they came down to support her and her husband through it. They really showed up and were the ones holding them up when they weren’t able to stay afloat. Having them there felt invaluable to her. Alex feels that getting adequate support is very important in the healing process. 

At first it was as if everyone was being careful and tiptoeing around her and her husband, because they didn’t want to say the wrong thing. She took it upon herself to sit down with her  family and acknowledge that everyone was doing their best and gave them a kind of permission slip to grieve with them.  After all, her parents were grieving their grandson. Her siblings were grieving their nephew. 

By doing so, it removed so much pressure and allowed everyone to break down and grieve alongside each other. That made her feel like Phillip’s life was really being honored not just by her and her husband, but by their family as well. It helped her to connect with them and see the beautiful love that rippled out from her son’s brief moment here on Earth. 

Even in those early days of losing him, she felt so honored to be his mother here on earth for that brief month. She does the work she does now in supporting other women through grief, because she knows how difficult it can be, but also how life can be very beautiful again as well. For Alex, this journey has helped her to come back home to herself and live a more aligned life. It was a huge spiritual awakening for her personally, but she understands that grief is such an individual experience unique to each person. 

How to Offer Support to Others Who’ve Experienced Loss

And I think you just gave everybody permission too that just showing up is what people need. Right? You just just be there for them, just being conscious of what they may need, trying to anticipate some of those needs too because like you said, when you’re in that state of mind, it’s hard to make just simple decisions. You know, so help make the decision for them. Like, instead of asking, you know, what do you want for lunch? Just bring them something delicious and then either way that’s gonna, you know, fuel them and nourish them. So I think that’s really, really helpful advice too for anybody listening who busy. They’re experiencing this firsthand or know somebody who is. So I’m just grateful that your family was really there for you and really helped you get through such a difficult time. It’s really beautiful.

If you’re wondering what you can do or how you can help a friend that is grieving the loss of their baby, Alex shares a few suggestions. 

It’s normal to think that you have to help fix the situation, or fix something for them, but instead try to approach it from a place of “I’m here for you and I’m here with you.” Let them know that you’re there to hold their hand through this. You don’t have to say anything. You don’t need to do anything. They just need to know that they’re not alone. 

“There’s so much value in people coming to you and being with you exactly how you are without wanting to change it.” 

Remember that there’s nothing for you to fix because, yes, their life has been shattered, but they’re not broken. And if you are the one experiencing this loss, just know that you are not broken, even though it may feel like you are. However you are feeling is completely valid and you are not alone

“The heart is so resilient, and it’s one of the hardest things that you can go through, but there’s nothing to fix, because you are not broken.” 

Alex recognizes how sad it is that her and her husband experienced baby loss. It happened to them and they had no choice, but their families chose to go through it with them. That is really hard knowing they chose to go through this heartbreak together. They never missed a beat and were there for them, despite not having a clear path on how to provide this level of support. There’s no instruction manual for this kind of thing, but it boils down to just be there for people. It means so much more to them than you can imagine. 

Practical Tools to Navigate the Grief Journey

Something that has helped Alex on her healing journey is figuring out how to integrate the grief and the loss into her life. The pain can feel unbearable for some and she could’ve easily stayed in that as well, but she chose a different path and the courage to do so came with time. 

She emphasizes how important it is to feel your feelings, which admittedly is not easy. Especially when you’re facing such a hard, difficult, and deep emotion that can be hard to carry and hold. 

“Feeling that pain is actually how you get through the pain.”

This skill is built little by little to develop that muscle and honor those feelings that you no longer want to have. Eventually it will begin to dissipate and no longer carry the big charge that it used to for you. It’s definitely a process, but it gets easier and easier the more you do it. Remember, there is no rush in the healing process, but by avoiding the pain and ignoring these emotions, they can become more ingrained down the line. 

Beyond the support of friends and family, Alex recommends seeking professional help as well. Therapy can be a safe space for you to process the experience. She also recommends being clear with your boundaries. Sometimes that may mean saying no to certain plans if you don’t feel like going, or even limiting interactions with certain people. That will help to protect your inner peace. Having these boundaries is about being honest with yourself and being in tune with your needs.

Conceiving After Baby Loss

Alex goes on to share her journey of conceiving her daughter Grace. There wasn’t much time between Phillip’s passing and getting pregnant with Grace. Of course it’s natural to worry while you’re pregnant, but adding in the component of grieving the loss of her son made it that much more challenging.

They went through a time of considering whether or not to have more children. When she did get pregnant though, she knew it would be important to address the grief that she was carrying. She knew that a new little soul was coming and she wanted to be the best mother she could be for her. 

That doesn’t mean that she expected to be fully healed, but she went into it from a very conscious place, knowing that her emotions and experience would have an impact on her daughter, even during pregnancy. Because of this, she did her best to find moments and joy and hope while pregnant. She wanted to feel peace and calm, without negating the reality of the grief she’s going through. 

She focused on several practices that helped her tune into herself from a place of love allowing her to mother and nurture herself. This not only allowed her to show up for herself, but also for her daughter, which was very important to her. 

Alex formed a beautiful connection with Grace, even before she was born, by talking to her in utero. She would explain that “mama is sad right now, but not because of you or anything you did.” This helped build that relationship with her already and making it known that they are both safe despite these feelings that are happening. 

“By honoring the moments that were harder, I was actually able to remove the guilt of feeling joy”

She got to the point in her journey where she could actually experience genuine joy and happiness. That was because she allowed grief to come in and to have its place as well. All of the emotions she felt were essentially saying “I’m missing my child.” Underneath the fear, underneath the grief, underneath the sadness, and underneath the anger is love. This love gets unlocked the moment you’re able to feel, the more difficult emotions like sadness and grief.

A Final Note of Encouragement

“Loss is hard, but life after loss…it can be beautiful as well.”

When all of this originally happened she couldn’t imagine doing all the things she does now, because she felt like she was in a deep hole of heartbreak and sadness. For anyone experiencing a loss, all of your feelings are so valid. At the same time, Your story is not over. It’s not over. 

Grief is such a unique journey and sometimes grief is a lot of unexpressed love. Alex has seen in herself and through her clients that if a woman has gone through the pain of baby loss, or of child loss, it tells you that her heart is so strong. Her heart is so resilient and so full of love. To go through something so traumatic and so hard, it guarantees that she has the most beautiful heart, because you cannot feel that level of grief without feeling that level of love.

Learn More About Alex and Her Work

Through the grief of losing her son and then going through pregnancy after loss, these experiences have really broadened Alex’s capacity to feel. This capacity that she’s built for herself is what allows her to hold space for others and her clients in coaching them through their grief. 

As a life coach, Alex supports women who have gone through baby loss and provides them with a safe space to grieve, so they feel held and loved just as they are. Currently, she mainly supports her clients through 1:1 coaching and group coaching. 

Alex also sends her community a beautiful newsletter every week that includes three ideas that support your healing, two things she’s loving and thinks you will too, and then one inspiring quote. It’s very uplifting and inspiring and she’s received lots of wonderful feedback from others about it. 

You can connect with Alex on her Instagram, and learn more about her coaching offers and sign up for her newsletter through her website. Be sure to check out her FREE Trigger Toolbox as well, which was designed to help you cope with various emotions and feelings by using simple and practical tools. 

If you or anyone you know has experienced baby loss, I hope this conversation helped inspire you to know that it is possible to move forward, while still honoring your grief, emotions, and experience. You are not alone on this journey. 

If you are looking for support in your fertility journey, then it would be an honor to support you. You can find aways I can serve you here.

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