This week is no ordinary week. Today marks the beginning of “Baby Loss Awareness Week” (ending on the 15th with the wave of light) and all over the world people are speaking out more. They are talking more, remembering more, and doing more to raise awareness of the impact of baby loss – at any stage. It is a week where we can stand up and say “that was me – I am the 1 in however many whose baby never came home”. It is a week where it is more seemingly okay than ever to talk about baby loss and the changes it brings to a person’s life/future.
This week people pledge to do more and want to make a change – all in a hope that another family doesn’t have to face the debilitating grief of losing a baby in the future!
Each year baby loss awareness week brings moments of both deep reflection (and regrets too) for me. I reflect on the fact that I am the 1. I reflect on the fact that this week dedicated to loss, actually means something to me now, and I reflect on how massively different our lives are because one our babies died 2 days before her due date. I also reflect on the regrets I have – regrets I haven’t done more to make a difference and regrets I have that I haven’t yet changed the world in her memory (the latter of which I know now is completely okay!).
Baby loss awareness week is also a time of year when social media is filled with so much about losing babies, and people sharing their stories, that I cannot help but talk too; or at least think about our experience. This post however isn’t one of those of retelling my story again – I said in the Summer that I was stepping away from that, and I also realise that it doesn’t particularly help to make a difference when I am only telling others what they already know. Yes it sheds light on something horrendous that we went through, and at the time telling my story certainly helped others to see our journey of loss and grief, as well as helping me to make sense of it. But I am aware too that those reading this already know the story. I am sure that you don’t just forget that someone had a stillbirth, or their baby died in hospital, or that they miscarried between their other 2 kids? Those of you who want to help your friends, colleagues, neighbours or family member following the loss of their baby know the story. So in this post, I will spare you the details. Rather I want to write about things related to loss that really mean you can act – do something other than being aware, and help them or talk to them and love them even more. I want you to know this week how it feels when people do that. How it feels when they remember the story, or remember your babies name, however long it was and then they let you know that.
I want to create some awareness on your part of how you can make someone else feel loved and acknowledged in their loss, simply by remembering and then letting them know that you did!
When Others Remember
I recently had 2 experiences that highlighted the importance of this simple act for me. It came about by the kindness of 2 strangers – Two separate individuals that I know online because we all happened to use the same # of babyloss.
Basically I was on Instagram and 2 other baby loss parents within a week or so sent me a photograph on Instagram that had on it a little tag that read Poppy’s name . Assuming their message was from one of my stories I casually opened it, only to be completely taken aback that someone I have never met and that never knew of Poppy until now, had taken time out of their day to remember my baby girl! One of the messages said that she was remembered all the way in Croatia! And the other that she was remembered at their daughters party (their baby also passed away)!
It was so incredibly kind and thoughtful and it made me feel so good inside for the next day or so.
You see, when others remember her name it fills me with pride. The mothers pride I feel daily from my other children is ignited in that moment for her. When I hear or read the name we lovingly picked out, spoken with ease by others, or written like that to remember, it feels wonderful – our little girl is remembered and acknowledged in this world. She is counted and not forgotten.
When others remember It makes me happy and I feel loved by them. Both of these emotions are feelings that are contrary to those of the grief that come with losing a baby. Therefore when your baby is remembered you get a burst of feelings that combat the draining emotions of grief and loss and you can so easily say; “That really made my day”!
When others remember I am touched beyond measure. I am touched that they see our baby/her memory as important as we do, and I am touched that they took the time to say so. Baby loss is something that is carried throughout life and whilst life moves on for others, and us to an extent, it is something that never leaves or “goes away”, so when another person can take time out of their day to remember and talk it is a wonderful feeling. I always value the time that others can give to talk and remember with me and all of those who have lost babies, know that it’s not easy to bring it up or to know what to say, but recognising that a possible few awkward minutes can change how someone feels is surely worth opening your mouth (or a new message/text)? When you remember and when you talk, it is a warm fuzzy feeling and relief to be able to share our baby!
When others remember I am reminded that she has impacted others and her life meant something more than “Stillbirth”!
Life after loss is a constant battle to live a new normal where the loss doesn’t trip you over all the time, whilst maintaining the memory of your child and doing things to fill the void. It isn’t an easy thing to do, as both impact the other. But, when your child is remembered it suddenly normalises life and both living in the new normal and keeping their memory alive, align on equal par to sit just right. I am always reminded that despite not being able to do all I have wanted to (and still hope to do) in her memory, its really okay, because when others remember her, I am reminded that those tiny feet that never walked the earth, have still made an imprint in it, and that thought right there brings a lot of peace, happiness, and balance on the other side of loss.
I have said before to not be afraid to speak about a baby who has died, or ask someone about their story and life now. I hope that this week especially you will be more aware of how powerful and touching doing so can be. I hope you can take some time to overcome the awkwardness and let that person in your life (who is one of the stats being discussed this week), know that they are loved and remembered and that their baby too is remembered and loved in this fast moving world. I have tried to move on from not being hurt when people don’t remember because that has been destructive. So, when people do, it somehow feels so much more special.
Never underestimate the power of the simple act of remembering. And Never underestimate how it feels to hear your babies name who never made it home. Lets talk more and remember all those gone too soon.