In this blog, Lisa shares a little about her grief journey and the importance of talking about baby loss.
We are now near the end of November and October was a tough month; a month tinged with sadness and grief for me and I would like to take time to reflect. October is Baby and Infant Loss Awareness Month, with a ‘Wave of Light’ being the focal point, when we light candles, at 7pm on the 15th of October, for those babies who have died.
The Wave of Light
Viewing social media on that Saturday evening was a beautiful but emotional thing in itself. It had been a difficult week and one that can bring up difficult feelings for bereaved parents, myself included. Looking at image after image of candles being lit for babies who had passed away was striking at the sheer volume of them, there were so many and each one represented a long for, wanted, precious, unique and gorgeous child in their own right. And that hit hard!
The statistics and figures surrounding any loss in pregnancy, stillbirth, infant and child loss are always tough to read and digest, however looking at those images and personal stories that were being shared had more of an impact because of the rawness of emotion displayed by those sharing; it was a subtle way of showing their pain and that was harder than reading any statistic for me.
Losing my daughter
As I mentioned briefly earlier, I am a bereaved parent. That’s still hard to say, write or admit. I lost my child during pregnancy. I’ve had people (who don’t understand grief!) comment that I should be “over it” or “moving forward” by now or some other insensitive comments.
In my experience of losing my daughter it’s not something I will ever ‘get over’, I am not only grieving for my beautiful little girl I am also grieving for all the life she never had too. I will never get to see her smile, hear her voice or her laugh, I will never watch her first steps, I will never watch her learn to swim or learn to ride a bike, I won’t have her first day at school looking at her with her uniform that’s too big for her, I won’t sit up all night with her when she is ill, I won’t cuddle her on the sofa when she is stressed about an exam, I won’t get to host birthday parties for her, I won’t watch her fall in love, I won’t watch her life unfold in any way at all, it is all in my imagination and that will forever break my heart!
I was very young when I lost my baby; she was a surprise but she was very much wanted. I went through a range of complex and difficult emotions when she died, some of which I still struggle with even now. The pain and grief were often so strong and complex that I shut it out. I didn’t know how to deal with it. I couldn’t talk about her, I couldn’t share her with anyone, I used self-destructive methods to block out and numb the agony I was feeling.
It was only through meeting other bereaved parents I began to learn I was not the only person going through this, I was no longer alone. It was horrible to know that other families had experienced what I had but I was no longer lonely and isolated in my thoughts and feelings. They had an idea of how I was feeling and even though each family and each baby was different and each story was different we were all part of the same horrible ‘club’ of having our babies that had died.
I have found some invaluable friends through talking with other bereaved parents and having that space to talk about my daughter, the complicated emotions that constantly arise from having a child that has died and the muddled walk through grief doesn’t feel quite as lonely any more.
Through the support I received, I finally felt brave enough and ready to share my story
I first discovered Let’s Talk About Loss shortly after the death of another loved one. LTAL has been such a valuable and important support for me, it’s helped me understand my own grief, process it, feel heard and held with others who really know how it feels. I became involved with hosting meet ups for LTAL and when I heard there was a book going to be drafted I wanted to share my story; through the support I received, I finally felt brave enough and ready to share.
Letters from the Grief Club
I was asked to contribute towards the book ‘Letters from the Grief Club’ along with other grievers and I was asked to share my story about my daughter Isabella and how the guilt I felt affected me and my grief. It was hugely therapeutic for me to write about my daughter and to open up about how I felt at losing her. It inspired me to write further about grief, loss, pain, emotions and trauma. It is a release for me to be able to share those things, whether they actually get shared with the world or not, it is a way of me processing and I find it very helpful. I would recommend anyone who is struggling to process or vocalise their grief and pain to maybe write it down, you don’t have to take the step of actually putting it out there in the world but it might be of use to be able to put that pain on paper instead of keeping it bottled up.
I will never get over the fact that I live my life without my daughter here with me, I will always be her Mum despite the fact she isn’t earthside anymore. I no longer have to go through the tougher days alone and for that I will forever be grateful. The best way, I have found, to process my grief of losing Isabella is to honour her every single day. I want her to be proud of her Mum. By sharing her, her story, her name and doing things in her memory she lives on through me and that is the best way I can be proud of my little girl and to keep her memory alive the best I can.
If you would like to share your story, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be delighted to publish it on our blog.