By sharing our stories we can impact the world is so many ways. We can releasd ourselves of those inner thoughts and give them to the world to hold, so we don’t have to anymore. We can connect with others who get it, and who have shared similar experiences - making us all feel less alone. It can be read by someone too scared to share, but now feeling heard. It can educate and inform those around us to understand the way that we have gone through. It can cause ripple effects by empowering others to share their stories, or do so, vicariously through yours.
I think overall the shock and disbelief I felt after our first loss has just been compounded with more shock and grief over the years. I still can't believe this is our life, that after four pregnancies our home is still so quiet. That we have two graves to tend to.
Our baby had anencephaly. She wasn’t expected to survive to term or the birth, let alone live outside the womb. We were told our best option was to terminate. I don’t really remember the next few weeks. I know at one point I had agreed to terminate. But by 15 weeks I knew I had to carry our baby to term.
What does it mean for your child to be stillborn? It means that you never hear their cry, never see their eyes, never know what it is to feel your child's warmth. Children born at the same time grow up. You only know your child on the first day of his or her life, which is also their last All the other ages, from toddler on, you never get to see.
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 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?
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.
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.
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.