Leaving the hospital last time after lots of scans, blood tests, arms full of letters and leaflets I felt the strongest I had felt after any of the other miscarriages, because I knew I had a support network I could turn to.
When your child dies unexpectedly there are a few things that are different, more intrusive and more painful. There are processes that, by law, have to be adhered to following the death of a child in infancy. Processes that aren’t applicable, or even thought about, should your child die before they are born.
Medically I had suffered a second trimester loss, but to me I birthed our sleeping baby boy. I contracted, I felt every pain, my waters broke, the umbilical cord was cut and I delivered a placenta. I held our little boy in my arms, I kissed his little button nose and dressed him in the smallest outfit. It can be very isolating knowing Arlo-Jorg is not acknowledged as a baby because of the gestation he was born.
I think initially I fought a lot with myself and with the people closest to me, but as I’ve begun relaxing, socialising and finding my identity again, I have been able to accept and tolerate my grief, the ways it manifests itself and the ways I express it.
In the weeks and months after both my husband and myself have tried to access support in various guises but unfortunately our situation doesn’t seem to quite fit in. Saul was too old for us to be supported by pregnancy and stillbirth charities
I was a mother losing her son yet I didn’t look like it because he wasn’t in my body. As much as I wished it was me going through it rather than my wife, I was in awe of her strength at delivering our boy into the world. But we had to go through the usual rigmarole of being asked if I was Holly’s ‘friend’ or ‘sister’ accompanying her to the appointments. It gets so draining always being mis-labelled in these circumstances. How hard is it too have a quick glance at the notes before walking into a room?
It’s a confusing place to be in the baby loss community, I kind of felt like I didn’t really have a ‘place’ or a right to people’s sympathies. A termination for medical reasons (TFMR) can often be met with judgment, and I almost feel like a fraud when I see people sharing their stories, because they didn’t choose to end their babies life, I did. But I’ve put those feelings on myself - I have been met with nothing but support and love.
Religion has taught me that we each have “crosses to bear” and hard things to endure in our lives - there is no escaping that. For us, that is baby loss - for others? I wouldn't want to assume, but I do feel that in spite of those God is rooting for us and with us more than we often notice.
Through the #DiversityInLoss series I wanted to explore also the different ways in which people can communicate and express their emotions following the death of a baby, and therefore with the release in aid of Tommys, the Baby Charity, for this year's Baby Loss Awareness Week, it felt fitting to welcome Sophie and Liberty in this series.
The world kept on moving and all I wanted was it to stand still whilst I processed what had just happened. Instead of planning our first family photo shoot, I was planning a funeral.