A letter to all parents who have lost a child
I am so sorry that you are having to deal with the grief of losing your precious little one. Losing Thomas was honestly the most difficult thing I have ever had to endure but I have been lucky in that I have had the support of my loving husband. A stillbirth or miscarriage taints so many aspirations and hopes for the future. I have found myself to be very despondent, detached and questioning a future throughout all this, these are all normal phases of grief but I know that they are more aggressive and last longer with others, especially in those who have little support.
It becomes extremely difficult to ever be the person you were or live the life you formally lived after losing a baby or a child of any age. It changes you, it changes something deep inside, it changes your zest for life, your views and trust in friendship and relationships and you are overcome by this constant ache deep within your heart - a longing for the baby you have lost. It sometimes helps a little to know why you lost your little one, sadly in the case of many stillbirths and miscarriage's the causes can be unknown. I know that it has helped us to know that it was a congenital heart defect that took our little Thomas from us.
It becomes very difficult to function in 'real-time' and this is completely normal, you are grieving the loss of your precious child. It may take some time before you are able to make any major decisions about what you want to do next, I still on maternity leave, I find it very difficult to socialise with anyone, I even struggle to walk through the street most of the time. You have to take each day at a time, be gentle with yourself, allow yourself to cry, scream, shout, let all your emotions out - it is very important not to bottle everything up as it will eventually catch up with you and knock you for six when it does.
I am at home on my own through the weekdays, I have found that having too much time to myself can be a double edged sword really as you need the time to gather yourself together and begin rebuilding your life, but it can also make you feel very isolated. I use the internet lots, and have met many other who have suffered the same or similar losses and it has helped me a great deal and still is - I keep in touch via email frequently with them. These are people I feel I can share my true feelings with, and a great tidal wave of different emotions rear their ugly heads along this path of grief. It is so sad that having suffered this loss, when we need our friends the most - they are not there. I feel many people, friends and family have let me down since I lost Thomas and it is just one of the horrible things that we have to learn to cope with, as if we don't have enough pain in our lives without losing our friends.
When you begin to think about trying to conceive again, (which is often a very common feeling after such a loss) remember that it is completely normal to want to try as soon as possible and only you and your partner will know when you are ready to. Unless there are medical reasons then there should be no one telling you when you should try or not. My husband and I had the most overwhelming urge to try again, in no way to replace Thomas but we just knew it would be the only way we could help heal our broken hearts and the want for a baby never goes away. The maternal instinct becomes very confused after a loss, you should have a baby but you don't, you are a mum but where is your baby? Being pregnant again after a loss can be very scary. Those of us who have lost babies are no longer naive to the things that can go wrong in pregnancy, there may also be a lot of guilty feelings as you may be reminded of the little one you lost when you suffer from pregnancy symptoms.
Remember that you are not alone, many women have suffered the loss of a child. You can feel extremely isolated but I found that reaching out to others who have suffered similar loss really helped me. Just over three months have passed since we lost Thomas and it is still very difficult to believe that we are visiting a grave where our baby boy lies instead of sharing the joy we know he would have blessed us with. We know that we will never forget him, we will always carry him with us in our hearts and minds. In many ways it has become more difficult with the passing time to accept that life is moving on. The world doesn't stop even though we wish it would if only for a while, allow us time to grieve for our baby without having to put on a front in everyday situations. Thankyou for taking the time to read this and we hope that you are able to find a little more peace with each passing day, but remember, give yourself time.
Lots of Love
( April 2004 )