Out of all the clubs I imagined I would join as an adult, the baby loss club is not one of the ones that was on my list. Yet, I wouldn’t be sat here, writing this, if it hadn’t had happened.
The way life turns out can be surprising; the trials and tribulations that cross our paths as adults are meant to change and develop us. Yet, there is an assumption that baby loss and miscarriage breaks you. I’m here to tell you it doesn’t.
But you do have to rebuild yourself.
This blog has been written in honour of Baby Loss Awareness Week, held every year from the 9th to 15th October. It is a chance to bring this harrowing topic to the forefront; to share stories, seek support and say the names of our children. It concludes with the uplifting ‘Wave of Light’, on the 15th October. At 7pm local time, across the world, candles are lit for at least an hour to remember and commemorate the babies we have lost; those that lit us our lives for such a short time. Just picture that, a wave of candlelight across the globe!
It’s ironic really, that this awareness month is in October. My second loss, my little boy, was due in October. I also found out that I was pregnant with his little sister, my final child, in October. It’s a bittersweet month for us; especially with the advent of technology and the memories that resurface through ‘on this day apps.’
When it happened to us, I felt like I was living in a void. All the joy and hope had been removed from my life; it went to the core of my being. I thought I would never be happy again. Yet, I write this now, more than just “okay”. I, and my life, has grown around the grief in ways I hadn’t thought were possible. I have found a strength, a resilience and a happiness in my life, that I don’t think existed before we lost our two babies.
Whilst I wish it hadn’t happened, I have realised how it has created a new version of me that is more patient, focused and appreciative of what I have.
Whenever you mentioned baby loss or miscarriage, you discover that you HAVE in fact been entered in a lifelong club of grieving parents; this membership gives you insights into just how wonderful the human spirit can be. I recently asked the question in The Motherload® Facebook group about what people have learnt about themselves through their baby loss experience.
What follows, is an insight into the light at the end of the tunnel, filled with hope:
“The number one thing I have learnt about myself, since I lost my babies is I’m stronger than I thought, braver than I could imagine and I’m not alone and don’t need to suffer in silence.” ~ Shar
“That this needs to be talked about more. I learnt that I was one of many, not few.” ~ Vicky
“I have more strength than I ever imagined. My strength comes from talking about my miscarriage openly and honestly. My strength comes from physical challenges, like running The London Marathon this year for The Miscarriage Association. My strength comes from thinking about my lost baby three and a half years on and carrying on.” ~ Gill
“The one thing I have learnt about myself since I lost my baby is that I can carry on. I CAN do it, I CAN live without him. Yes, it’s hard, harder than I could ever have imagined, and I’m changed beyond recognition. But I can and am doing it.” ~ Katy
“I’ve learned to be more gentle with myself, to accept help, and that ultimately I can and will face what life throws at me and come out stronger on the other side.” ~ Nicky
“I’ve learnt that loss is a journey that changes and adapts, and to get up and get on every day after losing a part of your soul, makes you stronger than anything else in the world. Since losing Luke I have set up a blog page, started planning a fundraising event, and managed to get out every day, when it would be so easy to close in on myself.” ~ Jenny
“Most importantly I have learnt that kindness comes from unlikely sources and when you need to you can do things that you did not think possible – strength is a wonderful thing.” ~ Anna
“Definitely being stronger than I thought I was and that it is possible to smile and be happy again – I never imagined I would at the time.” ~ Tracy
“The one thing I learnt from losing my babies was that every woman who has been through this is an absolute goddess, stronger than she ever realised and absolutely worthy of as much space as she wants to talk about her experience.” ~ Louise
“One thing of many I learnt sadly is that it’s okay to talk about it because once you do, you realise it’s more common than you realise and it’s not your fault. It still needs more talking about openly and honestly.” ~ Nicole
“Life is a gift not granted to some. Use it to motivate you not define you.” ~ Jessica, mum of Ava, born sleeping.
“That even though I didn’t believe it for months afterwards……I can breathe again, I can laugh again.” ~ Gillian, mum of Sophie Hope; grew her angel wings at 53 hours old.
I have goosebumps reading this, just a selection of the honest reflections of a range of mums, at different stages of their baby loss journeys. So, if you are in the grip of grief now, remember this; share your thoughts and take the time you need to heal. Life DOES get better, it just takes time. And time is something you allowed to take.
You can find out more about Clara Wilcox on her website The Balance Collective. She is also the Author of “What Now? The Honest Guide to Miscarriage, Baby Loss, Parenting, Mental Health And Rebuilding Your Identity” (landing 15th October 2018)