How sharing our baby loss story helps us move through grief.
The day our girls were to be born, the midwife phoned around hospitals to see who had 2 neonatal beds. She refused one particular hospital because they didn’t save babies 26 weeks and under.
Luckily I got to give birth to them in a hospital that saved them. They lived together until our youngest daughter died a week later (our eldest surviving twin lives on today).
Six weeks later, I was visiting my eldest twin daughter in the neonatal intensive care unit and a nurse actually asked me, “Are you over the other one yet?” I couldn’t believe that she had said that but it let me know that I wasn’t supposed to grieve any longer.
I learned to keep my grief to myself. I’d only cry if I was alone, usually in the shower and if my husband came in to see if I was alright I’d always answer, “Yes” with a smile on my face. My mask was created from that time onward. I made sure that I was “strong” and never showed any emotion except happiness because I’d look like I was falling apart.
I felt so alone in my sorrow and my husband and I grew further apart, however we looked like the perfect couple coping with our grief.
What I would love to have done.
Not so long ago, I remember reading birthing stories on Twitter between super models, Miranda Kerr and Gisele Budchen. It’s wonderful to share stories about a baby’s birth with the world. However, it’s difficult to share your story if it was a difficult birth and your baby didn’t survive.
I would have loved to have shared our daughters birth with the world, (as most mum’s do) and not have people feel sorry for me but have them celebrate with me and it be a natural conversation about birth and death.
But…What if it’s our baby’s birth and death that we’re sharing with the world? What happens then?
We talk openly about birth but not about death.
What’s with that?
Is it because there is a fear of upsetting the person suffering loss? Well don’t worry about that, we’re already upset and sad and sometimes inconsolable. If we want to talk, let us talk and please…offer us a shoulder to lean on.
There are birth stories abound when women get together. We talk about the pain, the drugs, the doctor, the midwife, how long the labour was and if it was natural or caesarean.
These are all acceptable conversations to have but if we mention death, the conversation ends.
I wonder what would happen if we tweeted about how grief has impacted those of us who have lost our baby? Not only in the beginning but a year later or 5 years later?
We desperately want to remember our precious baby (or babies) who occupied that space in time, who we loved and had all those hopes and dreams for. We want to be able to say their name and tell stories about them. Whether the stories are happy or sad, we just want them to be remembered.
We gather around the new mum and support her for as long as she needs.
That tends not to happen for a mum who is grieving the death of her child. Statistics show that support is there for around 6 weeks and then we’re meant to get over it and get on with life.
Stories live on.
Whether our baby loss is through an inability to conceive, miscarriage, still birth or infant loss, we’re robbing women of telling their stories by not allowing them to grieve the way they want to or the way that’s best for them. We tell birthing stories our whole lives. Giving birth impacts us so much, it’s extremely emotional and is so amazing in every way, it just has to be shared.
Let everyone’s story be told.
Stories let everyone know that our little person was in our life (and our families and friends lives too), no matter how long or how short the time was. It helps us feel that they mattered and added to our life.
Telling our story helps us keep their spirit alive and keeps them real for you.
I’d love you to share your story here (share it in the comments section below). Tell us your baby’s name, your birth story and anything else you’d like to let us know about your baby.
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