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.
I don’t remember a time where either of my parents sat me down to tell me about Jacob when I was older, but I have always known about him and what my parents went through.
The entire experience was a rollercoaster of emotions. We wanted it done, then when it was, we questioned our decision, knowing there was absolutely no going back. But once he was home, an enormous weight lifted and life felt slightly lighter. An emotional calm set in. Contentment. The disappointment, stress, anxiety and guilt over not visiting, and getting angry, and upset when we did visit was removed.
The language used in the cases of baby loss is even more delicate. Sally knew this and that’s why she didn’t jump in with medical terminology, telling me ‘It feels different from your previous miscarriages, because it’s not a miscarriage. It’s a termination.’ She knew that I was too traumatised and grief stricken to hear this word.
Maddie dealt with the day with unbelievable empathy. She handled the reality with grace and maturity. What would my advice to anyone wondering how to help a grieving child be? Let them lead ‘their’ way and be prepared for them to surprise you.
Each story, each experience, each family and each baby is different - and therefore, each deserve to be told, and then, heard. #DiversityInLoss