The pain of losing a baby, at any stage of pregnancy, is indescribable. It sends waves of sadness crashing through loved ones leaving everyone helpless – thrown overboard.
Stillbirth has taken two babies from my family. My son and my brother. My Mum and Dad lost their little boy 40 years ago. Grieving parents were treated differently then. They didn’t even see him. His name was Gareth and the nurse told my Mum he had a shock of black hair. But that’s all they will ever know about him. They don’t even know where he is buried. After a long labour which ended in a silence like nothing you could imagine, my Mum was placed back on a labour ward with pregnant women and new mums nursing their babies. I cry for her every time I think of that.
Jack’s death at nine months floored everyone but it ripped my Mum apart because she knew what that pain was. She once said to me: “Darling, I wished so hard for you to be a girl who would never know this heartache.”
So we have fought this stormy sea twice. But finally, after thinking we would never come up for air, we can breathe and smiles and laughter reign.
This is due to the support we were given. From day one my husband and I were cared for and listened to and able to be with Jack. We were comforted and given space to sob and scream until we ran out of tears. My Mum told me that my Dad has never spoken about Gareth, she has never seen him cry – not because he doesn’t feel the pain like a dagger to the heart but because he felt he never could. My poor Daddy.
Today men are encouraged to wear their hearts on their sleeve and I have one who does. He doesn’t ‘man-up,’ but grieves every day. I’m grateful for his tears but will never get over how much losing Jack has changed him.
My heart hurts for those going through loss, what great mountains of emotion they must conquer during such distanced times. There is one thing all of us can do for them – talk to them about their miscarriage, their stillbirth – their baby.
If they had chosen their baby’s name, say it. It’s all they will ever want to hear.