Baby Loss Awareness Week

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Baby Loss.

These two little words can bring forth tears and anguish.

How can these two little words cause such heart ripping pain that even your bones feel as though they are made of paper and your soul aches?

Two little words that can devastate.

Baby Loss.

Grief and tears.

Guilt and fear.

Pain and uncertainty.

It does not matter if the loss was in early pregnancy, at birth or within the first year of life.  Baby loss is cruel and it changes people forever.  It affects the parents, the siblings and the extended family.

The worst thing I have found is the well-meaning, but ill-chosen, things said to you.   If you know someone who has suffered then please Act before you Think.  Think before you Talk.  Talking takes Time.

 

ACT  THINK  TALK  TIME

 

ACT

A hug.  A hand on our arm.  A small smile.  A tear shed with us and for us.  An acknowledgement that IT IS NOT OK.  That life is cruel and unfair and the pain is real and unforgiving.  We may want to talk.  We may not.  Be there for us and let us know that your shoulder is where we can lay our head, your ear is ready to listen and your arms are there to give us some strength.

If our grief makes you uncomfortable then that is your issue not ours.  Do not burden us with your issues, we have plenty of our own to deal with at the moment.

 

THINK

Before you open your mouth, please think before you speak.  We have lost a child, our baby and all those hopes and plans for the future have been taken from us.

We don’t want to hear that it was probably for the best. Or that the baby is better off in a different place, be that in heaven or in the stars or wherever.  We want our baby to be with us, here and now.  We want our baby to be with us.  We want our baby.  Our baby.

Please don’t be unintentionally cruel and suggest that we can always have another.  Try again.  Start again.

We can never replace that loss.  It will be with us forever.  And if we do go on to have more pregnancies, have more children, it will be filled with fear and apprehension.  Gone are the heady days of  looking forward to scans of our baby waving at us on the screen.  Now we wait with fear until the sonographer says there is the heartbeat and despite this reassurance we still fear every appointment.  Trying so hard to be strong and positive and yet deep, deep down is that knot of fear.  It has happened before and it could happen again.

 

TALK

Be ready to talk and listen.  Let us talk it out.  Cry it out.  Scream it out.  Talk with us. Cry with us.  Scream with us.  Talk together.  Share that pain, that grief and anger.  We may not want to talk further.  We may want to talk at length.  We may talk around in circles, going on and on and on.  Dissecting and evaluating everything we did, we ate, we thought.  Trying to find someone or something to blame.  Blaming ourselves.  Stay with us and just listen to us talk.  Help us by listening.  Be gentle with us as we grieve and try to make sense.  Talk to us.  This is your gift to us, maybe the most important gift you will ever give.

 

TIME

AND when we are ready, you can talk about how you feel, how sad you are for us. How devastated you feel.  How angry you are for us.  How you wish there was something you could do to help.  Listen to what we are saying back to you and take some guidance from us.  There is no time limit on grief.  It can take weeks, months, years to come to terms with what has happened but it never truly goes away.  Note that date in your calendar and be aware that the days around that date are likely to be sensitive.  Other milestone dates can be upsetting too, just like anyone else who is grieving, extend that hand onto our shoulder.

Give that hug.

Wipe that tear.

AND JUST BE THERE.

 

Baby Loss Awareness Week runs every October.

It is an opportunity to talk about baby loss.  Baby loss can affect people throughout their lives and there are whole generations of men and women who were not allowed to grieve properly when they suffered baby loss themselves.  It is estimated that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in a miscarriage.  People are still losing babies before, during or after giving birth.  Babies still die through illness, disease, accidents or through Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) formerly known as cot death.  Each one is devastating and each family grieves in its own way.

Baby Loss Awareness Week aims to inform, support and educate people about baby loss and how it affects the parents, family, friends and society.  The week ends with Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day across the world.  A global day dedicated to the memory of the babies lost and in support of those who have been affected or touched by baby loss.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day – Wave of Light

As  part of this we take part in the Wave of Light.  At 7pm (your local time) we light a candle in memory and support of those losses and those who have lost.  As 7pm reaches each time zone candles are lit around the world creating a global Wave of Light.

 

Tonight at 7pm I will light my candle.   I will think about those who are lighting their candles too.  

All those babies.  All those tears.  All that sadness.

In the candle light I will silently shed my tears as I unpack that small, hard stone of grief and set it out before me.  

I will quietly howl.  And gnash my teeth.  And the hot tears will fall.  And for a moment I will be lost.

I will remember that little spark of life.  

Then I will blow out my candle.  I will wrap that small stone of grief up and bury it away in my heart.  

Forever with me as a reminder that life is a gift and it is fleeting and wonderful and painful too.

This one is for you my little Pip xx

 

PipsCandle2014

 

If you are affected by this post then please do seek help – the Baby Loss Awareness Week site is full of advice and information please click HERE to visit their site.  Please remember you are not alone and there are people who can help and support you. xx

Always interested in writing, reading and learning in general. I love the quirky and unusual! All thoughts are my own!

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21 Responses
  1. What a wonderful post. I think it can be so hard to know what to say and how best to support someone going through such a tragic loss. My thoughts are with you. x

  2. You are in my thoughts.

    It can be so difficult for people to know what to say or do. My sister lost 2 children, and people were so thoughtless in their comments at times so totally understand this post.

  3. Louisa

    I am sorry for your loss. I lost 3 babies in a row and the pain never leaves you. The insensitive comments of some friends are still with me now.

    1. Helen

      Thinking of you too Louisa, it will be 6 years in November and even though we now have our daughter, it is just something that you learn to live with. Today and the day I lost are the two days that I take time out to really remember. xx

  4. A beautifully written post on a very hard subject. Some really useful advice for people. Have been so touched and moved by the posts on this subject and have been holding you all in my thoughts. x

  5. While I have not been personally affected by baby loss, I have two sisters who have. Watching them grieve was so hard. My tears join yours for the lose of my nephews. Thank you for this beautifully and carefully written post. May solace find all who have this pain.

    1. Helen

      Thank you Deborah & my thoughts are with your sisters too. It is surprising how many women (and men) are affected by this and yet it is still seen as a taboo subject. It is no wonder that people do not know what to say to someone who has lost a child if they have never encountered it before.

  6. I haven’t had to deal with loss myself but my mum and my aunt both lost babies at a few days old. My husband also lost 2 babies when they were less than 6 months old, with his first wife. His 2 girls would both be in their 20s now and he still finds it hard some days. My heart breaks for him, my mum and my aunt and my thoughts go to everyone who has suffered this kind of loss.

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