I am of course very supportive of and grateful for initiatives, such as Babyloss Awareness Week 2014. I want people to talk about the causes of Stillbirth (along with other pre and ante natal causes of babyloss).
However, it is also obviously something I desperately wish I had no affinity with whatsoever.
During my first pregnancy the term ‘stillbirth’ was never even raised as a possibility – many other dreadful scenarios and conditions are highlighted and explained to expectant couples, but the fact my son could simply die for no reason at 41 weeks did not feature. A lot has changed in the 12 years since Louis died, in terms of support, but sadly Stillbirth rates have not decreased in the UK, hence why these awareness weeks are so important.
Sometimes I’ll read or hear about a very sad case of Stillbirth, I recognise it as the enormous tragedy it is and I’ll think to myself ‘I just can’t imagine’…I forget for a moment that I can imagine, I have that story too. I wonder how that mother will go on, because I didn’t know how I would go on, and I remember all the times I simply didn’t go on.
As the various whys and hows of Babyloss are discussed this week, I thought I would talk a bit about the road I have travelled with my grief and about how it has shaped the world I live in today:
- Grief made me forget myself. I had just turned 21 when my son died and I really can’t tell you very much about the girl I was before it happened, or the immediate years that followed. My life is split in two; two families, two identities. I sometimes feel like a fraud in my own life, cheating on the little family I had before by being so happy in the present.
- Grief has made my skin paper thin. I was always prone to be a little sensitive but now I feel exposed to every bump in the road. The world took on a sadness that I can’t ever seem to shake. I cry so easily I annoy myself.
- Grief has made me fearful. As parents we are all scared of something bad happening to our children, from the day they are born that must be our greatest fear of all. Once something has happened (regardless of the child’s age) and it stops becoming a fear but instead a reality, you can never go back. You can’t imagine that these bad things happen to other people, they happen to you and your family. Now I am blessed with two lovely daughters, I have to live with a twisted cruel mind that taunts me with all the ways in which I may lose them.
- Grief has made me strong. I may be fearful but I have been strong enough to rebuild my life, to go to university after my son’s father left me, to work, to risk my heart again, to think anyone would want the broken version of myself, to become a mother. I have had to fight my way back up but I did it – and I know that makes me strong. It takes a special kind of strength to be happy again.
- Grief has made me grateful. Yes it’s a cliché, but I am so grateful that I ever got to hold my beautiful newborn daughters, hear them cry at birth and raise them in a happy, imperfectly perfect family.
- Grief gave what it took away. This one is so hard. Where would I be now if not for my grief. If it were not for my loss and the journey my grief took me on I would never have met my husband, I wouldn’t be writing this now while my youngest daughter naps and my eldest is at school. This family wouldn’t exist. I have had to accept my grief is part of my story. It has in many ways been the biggest part of my story but less so now, new and happier chapters are being written.
Has grief been a part of your story?