Celebrations After Stillbirth

Is there a how to guide somewhere?

A month after Leo died, it was Valentines Day. Needless to say, it went by somewhat unnoticed. Sunday is Mothers Day. In a few weeks, it’ll be my 29th birthday. Then Easter. Then our 7th (dating) anniversary. Then her birthday. Our 5th wedding anniversary. Christmas… Leo’s birthday.

Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day. It’s all over-commercialised bullshit. But it’s still Mother’s Day. It’s daffodils and Spring sunshine. Flowers and pinks and purples. It a day to celebrate mothers. And a day when I will most likely ignore all of social media. We are going to go to see Leo. And I can’t wait. I miss him so much. Is it appropriate to take a spade and get him back? This was meant to be such a wonderful time. Sleepless nights and exhaustion. But wonderful. Full of daffodils and Spring sunshine. It still will be. At his grave. What do you take your dead sons and his grave for Mother’s Day?

What do you want for your birthday? 

I don’t blame anyone for asking me. It is my birthday after all. I wouldn’t expect people to let it go by unnoticed. But I just can’t relate to the word want anymore. I don’t understand how I could want anything ever again. I want my baby boy back with me. I want to go back in time. I want to scream and shout at the people in the hospital, to save him, to do something. I want to unhear those words. I want to not have the image of my baby boy, unmoving, silent, on the ultrasound screen in my head. I want to hear his cries. I want to feel him squeeze my finger back. I want him to be warm. I want to feel his skin on my skin. I want to know the colour of his eyes. I want to be able to dream of him. I want to know if he’d walk before he learnt to crawl. I want to know what his first word would be. I want to know him. I want to know my own son. I want to not even know that bereavement midwives exists. I want to be naive and excited. I want to scream. I want to run away. Far far away from this. I want to give my family back their grandson, their nephew, their cousin. I want to take the pain away from everyone around me. I want to take the pain away from my wife. I want her to laugh, without apologising. I want to be carefree without guilt. I want to go outside without fear of breaking down. I want to know what the future brings. I want some certaintity over life. I want to know this pain will subside. I want to know that fighting is going to be worth it. I want to know how tall he would have been. I want to know what he would have become. 

How do you celebrate your birthday knowing there is a massive hole in your life, forever? Every celebration is just going to be missing Leo. I can’t switch that off. Ever. I know in time, I’m sure, with practice it won’t be as hard. But right now, the thought of celebrating anything about us just feels like I’m forgetting him, moving on. I don’t know how to combine the two.

Oh, I just wish I could change this. 

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8 thoughts on “Celebrations After Stillbirth

  1. This brings me to tears. I want all these things too. So badly. So very badly. What did I do for my birthday this year? Honestly, not a whole lot. And it was 6 months after Matthew died. I haven’t really celebrated any holidays since losing Matthew. I still can’t really imagine celebrating them, though, at some point, it seems I might again. But everything, forever, will be bittersweet, you know? Whatever “good” happens is also sad, because our children are supposed to be here. Their absence is felt so deeply. Be gentle with yourself and do what you feel is right in the moment. I wish there were a guide too… So many hugs to you.

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    1. Thank you for reading and for your comments, it is really hard isn’t it, to know how to approach those days and feel comfortable and safe with the level of ‘okay’ and ‘normal’ that happens. Everyone ‘here’ is so kind, just knowing that it is a shared feeling is enough to be able to take a deep breathe and face it all. Thank you and take care x

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  2. Oh how much I feel the heartache in your words. It is so very hard, and I wish none of us had to know what this feels like. I refused to celebrate my birthday shortly after my loss. It was at the 2 month mark after our loss. Just in between the days we mark Leona’s birthday and the day she died. It was still a dark place for me and I loathed even hearing people asking me what I “planned to do to celebrate”. I didn’t want to hear “happy” birthday. Looking back, I DID recognize the day for myself. I stayed with my husband, visited the place we scattered Leona’s ashes, quietly watched the sunset at the beach. I stayed off of social media, and just let myself BE. Looking back, it was just what it needed to be. Be gentle with yourself as these earthly milestones come up. Sending you love.

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    1. Hello, thank you for your comments. It’s hard to know how to process the initial celebrations and I’m sure with each one we will discover what makes it ‘easier’ for us both. It will also be around the two month mark, so I think it feels far enough way for some but it’s still so raw. I’m sure we will make Leo part of the day and do something to mark it, but celebrations might be a step too far. I’m just hoping I don’t end up with a post mortem results appt around the same time… Thank you for reading and take care x

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  3. I read your post and see all of my own thoughts in there. My daughter was full term when I lost her, and exactly a year – to the day after my son arrived. For the first few years their birthday was such a difficult day. As the years passed I found new ways of separating the emotions so I wasn’t a wreck for my son’s happy day. It is still difficult, but manageable. This year is set to be a difficult one though as my 4th child, my son, passed at full term this April. Trying to find joy in celebrations now is going to be a whole new learning curve. You will get there. Just focus on the love you had for your daughter and how happy she would have been joining in the celebrations too. Try to see it as a happy thought and not a sad one. That’s the 1st step to working on it xxx

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