Over the past year or so, I have sought advice and support from various resources. Online forums, babyloss charities, Facebook support groups, wonderful friends of mine, and family. Even friends of friends have personally contacted me to share their experience. This has brought a lot of comfort and made me feel far less alone.
That alone feeling is something that I battle with from time to time, especially when I hear damaging comments which, surprisingly to me, I have experienced and from those I least expected it from. I’ve since discovered this is a huge problem amongst other loss parents, having listened and read of their experiences. Just adding to the heartbreak. So I wanted to do something that gives back to the babyloss world that I have so reluctantly become a part of, but also couldn’t have done without.
As I am fortunate to have read so many beautiful words over the past year, I just couldn’t keep them to myself. These words need to be shared. Shared amongst all those people going through or will go through this horrific time. I hope that these words can bring some hope to others.
Obviously I’d love to name all of the amazing people who have helped me, but there are so many of you that have supported me during this time that I can’t possibly.
Just know that I appreciate Every. Single. Thought.
Every. Single. Phone call.
Every. Single. Text message.
Every. Single. Coffee.
And Every. Single. Run chat. Drunk chat. The lot.
More than you will ever know. And you all know who you are 💜
Here are just a selection of the countless wonderful messages and pieces of advice I have received or seen. I hope you find them as useful as I have done x
On remembering our little ones
We light a special candle to invite our stillborn daughter to join us- often at dinner, sometimes while I’m doing dishes- it helps me to know we’ve not forgotten her, even though the world keeps spinning.
Also coming to terms that I can be happy and laughing, and still sad, all at the same time- that the emotions aren’t mutually exclusive.
I make sure we celebrate what would’ve been their birthdays and I get a new soft toy each year as well. We also light rainbow coloured candles each year on the 15th October (the international day for remembering lost babies)
On coming to terms with not having a rainbow baby, or not having any children
Transitioning to child rearing and coming to terms with not having anymore children. Embracing this stage by getting involved more (something I wouldn’t be able to do with a 1 year old). It hurts oh it hurts so bad. I’m working on being able to talk about my baby without crying. I’m working on being able to be happy and supportive of friends and family who are having children. In planning family trips, romantic trips and girls weekends also. I wouldn’t call these a distraction, I’m just trying to live my life.
Watch your grief transform when you stop asking ‘why’ and start asking ‘what heals you?'” After reading that, I realized how much of my sadness and anger was wrapped up in the “why” question: Why me? Why [my daughter] Why did she have to die? So every time I caught myself focusing on “why,” I turned my thoughts towards the question, “What would heal me?” What would bring me just the tiniest bit of happiness, laughter, or even just a slight smile? And I put a focus on doing those things. Sometimes it was going for a short walk or just sitting outside in the sun. Sometimes it was dancing with my oldest. Sometimes it was watching a funny movie. If I couldn’t DO the thing at that moment, I at least made a mental note of it and planned to do it later when I had time.
The second thing that helped me a lot was this question: When thinking of “why,” is there any answer to the question “why” that would be okay with you? Is there any reason for [my daughter’s] death that would make me say, “Oh, okay, I get it now, and I’m cool with that.”? I actually sat down and made a list of every single possible reason that she died, from physical/medical issues, to the idea the I was being punished … I listed every possible reason that I could think of. And then for each possible reason, I asked myself that if I knew for certain that was the reason for her death, would I be okay with that?
The answer was a resounding NO. I realized that the “why” question was irrelevant, because no answer would make me be okay with what happened.
I found that once I stopped asking “why” and focusing on healing, I had a turn around. It wasn’t immediate, and I didn’t notice it till a couple months later. But it happened. I’m not saying it made me 100% better and I don’t have pain anymore. But letting go of “why” allowed me to move on to the next level of living after loss.
On trying to get through this pain as a couple
You experienced monumental high’s and low’s in a compacted amount of time.. be kind to yourselves.. most people couldn’t have held it together if these things had happened over 5 or more years… Happiness & Grief flashed before your eyes and it’s only right that you deal with it whatever way you can ..
One day you will see that although you feel like you have been standing still and not living , you’ll look back and see things did change
Unfortunately Grief has no time limit and will affect everyone differently.. be kind to each other and it’s half the battle won
All you can do is focus on each other and try not to let any of this come between you. I know it’s not easy but try to stay strong and just focus on your relationship. Forget what everyone else is doing.
On dealing with inappropriate and damaging comments and opinions
You do what you need to do at the end of the day. Grief is a personal thing and no-one should have a say on what’s right and wrong
Ignore and move on, I know it’s easy to say and when you’re not in a good place it’s even harder but it’s all about YOU at the end of the day. People will always judge and always voice their opinions whether you want to hear them or not but eventually your skin will thicken and you will ignore the ignorant and sail on oblivious. You’ve both made it through this awful traumatic time and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I’m not a god believer but I think the universe only gives us experiences that we can cope with, that we can learn from. You are now turning into the teacher by sharing your knowledge, it’s all part of your journey
We will never accept losing our little ones, I think it is more about accepting our lot what we do have and no it’s not fair! I write a lot and walk a lot and try to focus on the here and now, I have also been working on a project to raise funds for charity.
On coping, day to day, when confronted by triggers
It’s silly but I end up just unfollowing pregnant people now….. it’s pretty natural to feel this way so don’t be so hard on yourself
With time comes acceptance. In my case several years. I’d add to that finding another purpose in life, a goal other than being a mum. Writing and charity work have been mine, but I had several years of floundering around aimlessly wondering what the point of my life would be. Seeing as you’re a blogger already you obviously get how therapeutic writing can be. When I focused on my other pursuits life improved massively, but you have to be ready mentally to move on
life got better for me when I decided I just didn’t have the energy to keep chasing something I knew I was never going to have. So slowly and surely I started to focus more on what I could do : travel, career, health and more importantly just being me. As awful as it sounds I lost a young relative and my Grandad to cancer and it just made me realise that life isn’t always fair but if I focused on all the good things I had / could do they outweighed the bad…
Easier said than done, but the relief I felt when I started to move on little by little was immense.
I still have pangs of jealousy, regret but at the same time have so many good things going on in my life now it just isn’t quite so bad with no kids after all (yep I did just say that!!) Good luck and don’t rush – you will start taking the first steps when you ready and most of all it’s OK and completely normal to feel like you do now
Try to avoid surrounding yourself with pregnancies and babies right now. Give yourself a break babe, its like being punched in the ovaries every time you do it. I’m trying to focus more on filling my life with happier alternatives at the moment
Not sure if this is helpful at your stage, but I know when I was in the clutches of depression after all the failed treatment I just kept asking myself “why me?” and blaming myself for everything that had happened. I thought I was so unlucky, or being punished for something. Recently I saw on tv someone being interviewed about something terrible that had happened to them and she replied “You just can’t take life personally.” I think that sums up perfectly the way I feel now – bad things happen to good people every day: accidents, rape, murder. It’s not their fault, they didn’t deserve it. Once I stopped all the self-hatred and questioning and could just say “shit happens” and shrug and move on, I felt a helluva lot better. Big love
On due dates/birthdays
My advice would be to acknowledge it and to grieve. I still remember my babies would due dates and do something small to remember them. Planting a flower, making a cake, buying a balloon, writing baby a letter. Don’t worry what others think, only you understand how you feel and what you need to do. Cry as much or little as you need. Time really does heal, and I hope this milestone helps in the healing process
My heart goes out to you. I remember this feeling well. Do what you feel is right for you. For me it was a quiet day off work, alone,I wrote a letter to my baby telling them just how I felt. I tied it to a balloon and let it go. I cried a lot that day but when it had passed I felt better. The symbolic act of the letter and the balloon really helped me. I remember thinking beforehand that I wasn’t sure it would help but it was important to me to do something to mark the day. You are grieving and as a counsellor I whole heartedly believe that it is healing in the long term to acknowledge your feelings of grief and loss. You are not alone in your experience but your feelings are unique to you so follow your heart.
I’m dreading this day in July..however I want to try and turn the day into a positive by hopefully organising a charity event to raise money for the Miscarriage association. My partner and I are both hoping to raise money to help others like us. So far my plan is to do a giant birthday party on what would have been our due date. And have fun things for all ages to do. Its just an idea but if i can muster up the strength to face it i hope it will help get me through the day
When the due date was looming for my little angel, I was absolutely dreading it!! My lovely hubby booked me in for a spa day by myself, and I spent the day thinking, reflecting, weeping… It was just what I needed. I was worn out by the time I got home but I slept better that night than I had in a long time. I felt a lot better the next day. Allow yourself to grieve. I also bought a little teddy with the nickname we’d given him, and the year written on the jumper. It helped me having something physical to have a cuddle with when I was struggling. I now wear a bracelet with charms for each of the 3 little angels we never got to meet. Something like that might help you too.