As a mother of two lost babies, not a day goes by when I don’t think about them. I don’t need a specific day or week to think about the little people they might have been, or what they might have looked like. All mothers of lost babies do the same.
Whilst other moms might be busy taking their children to school or the park, or posting pictures of their babies on Twitter and Instagram, mothers of lost babies don’t get to do these things. Baby Loss Awareness week gives them an opportunity to talk about their baby with others who may have experienced the same thing in the past, or who may be going through that experience right now.
This is a post I’ve wanted to write for a long time, but never found the courage to do so. I was scared of what others may think, or how I might come across. I was worried about upsetting someone who may have experienced a loss recently, or someone who is having struggles with fertility issues.
First off, I know how lucky I am. I have a healthy baby boy, who right at this moment is sitting opposite me as I write this, eating soup and crackers and making a right old mess because he thinks I’m not watching him. I am. I always am. Sometimes I find myself watching him when he’s playing, amazed that someone so wonderful could come out of something so upsetting.
Owen is my first child, a result of my second pregnancy. When I first conceived him, my Husband and I had experienced a miscarriage only weeks before, when I was 6 weeks. I don’t want to go into too much detail about this; it’s not a happy memory and I don’t want to share the details, but I will say that it happened too fast for me to take it in. This baby was a wanted, planned and already loved baby, and I couldn’t understand why he or she was being taken from us.
Obviously I went on to conceive and give birth to a healthy baby, so we are luckier than most that there were no underlying problems or issues.
My second miscarriage was only two months ago. Again, another planned, wanted and loved baby. This time I miscarried at 11 weeks, 1 week before we were due to go to the 12 week dating scan. This time, there are no words to describe how devastated I feel. I remember getting home from the hospital the day it was diagnosed and just sitting there numb, too drained to even cry. The tears came later, when I realized what we’d lost. I was almost at that ‘safe point’; 12 weeks, where we would have told everyone, only to have it snatched away once again.
In the weeks that followed, it’s difficult to explain how I felt. It was like being on a rollercoaster that I wanted to get off; one day I’d be absolutely fine and just getting on with life, the next I’d spent most of the day tearful, mourning the little life that had been taken too soon. I can’t actually put into words what it feels like; that child may not have been born, but he or she was loved the moment we found out we were having them. As the saying goes; a mother is a mother the moment she finds out she’s expecting, and that is so true.
It didn’t help that so many female family members and friends were pregnant; a week after the miscarriage was confirmed, a friend of mine announced she was 12 weeks with her second child. I spent the whole day in tears.
When you lose a child, whether that be during or after a pregnancy, you can’t feel anger because what or who is there to be angry about? It was ‘once of those things’; not mine or Rob’s fault, nothing we could have done to prevent it or stop it, but that doesn’t make it any better. We haven’t told anyone; preferring to keep it to ourselves and grieve in private. There would only be questions; curious people asking insensitive questions without realizing the impact those questions have.
As a society we need to speak more about baby loss that happens before, during and after a pregnancy and birth. We need to break the taboo that surrounds this kind of loss, and that is what this week does. We need to stop parents who have lost a baby feeling alone and isolated, but make them see that they are not alone, and that there are others feeling the same things they feel. Baby loss awareness week is the perfect opportunity to have an honest dialogue about our experiences, our fears and worries, and maybe even our journeys onto parenthood from a lost baby.
Baby Loss Charities and Helplines
SANDS – The Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity
0808 164 3332 or firstname.lastname@example.org
BLISS – For babies born premature or sick
0808 801 0322 or email@example.com
The Lullaby Trust – Specialist support for families affected by cot death
0808 802 6869/0808 802 6868 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Miscarriage Association – For miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy or molar pregnancy
01924 200799 or email@example.com
Tommy’s – Funding into research for miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth
0207 398 3400 or firstname.lastname@example.org