When you have a baby everyone celebrates – they give you gifts and bring fizz to celebrate with you.
When you lose a baby no one knows what to do or say. Such a delicate area and no one wants to say the wrong thing – what’s right for one may not suit another. So I can only tell you what’s right for me.
My baby existed. He was conceived in love, carried with love, and deserves to be thought of with nothing but love. As with when a baby is alive people have sent me gifts, however the two greatest gifts I have received are for people to acknowledge my baby who was born sleeping and secondly to help me care for my son. Or maybe I’m wrong – there are three great gifts because my son aged six is himself a massive gift to me. He keeps us going. Not letting us fall apart or give up. Demanding of us and loving us along the way.
Pregnancy and labour are not all fun and games. You spend the whole of pregnancy planning the labour – how this one may be better than the last, doing hypnobirthing and antenatal classes preparing for the big day. Then after a late term scan I heard the dreaded news. “There is no heartbeat”. I was broken, but I knew I still had to birth my baby.
I had spent months practising my hypnobirthing and it wasn’t a waste. Labour wasn’t just sad, there was laughter too and I aced it – I’m bloody proud of myself. There were areas of sadness from my first labour with my now 6 year old son which haunted me. I was offered all sorts of medications to numb the pain, but I made careful choices – I wanted to be present mentally to meet my sleeping son. Giving birth to him was a cathartic experience, healing for me. I wouldn’t take it away – the birth was part of the journey.
Close friends said congratulations, a few precious friends and family came to support us and got to meet him. They were not afraid. We got to hold him and do normal new baby things, we washed and dressed him, complete with cloth nappy. We did hand and footprints and took photos, I even got to carry him in a carefully chosen sling. Friends and family brought him gifts or presents to go with him. Some special gifts went into the coffin with him and others into a memory box.
I grew my baby to full term. I laboured and gave birth to him. I still want my glass of fizz. I want to be congratulated for my achievements and consoled for my loss. I want to remember him so while it’s good to check first – don’t be afraid to ask questions. To praise and be positive with those who have suffered loss.
So ask me, any questions you have. I had a baby, he has a name, a weight and a birth story. In my case he was full term or fully cooked as I like to say. Many lost babies are not though and they still have a story, no matter how many weeks they were. Asking the details shows you care.
I’m so grateful for the support I’ve received. Remember this mama and maybe others want to hear ‘how much did he weigh’ ‘who did he look like’.
Sending all our love to those lost babies and their families out there. X