|Where do I start? I could write and write and write. And cry. And write and write some more.
The loss of a baby or child is a parent's most horrific nightmare and emotionally is probably the worst type of pain a parent will ever have to endure. The grief is all consuming and quite simply, no one can understand the intense devastation unless they've suffered the same loss themselves.
"They" say it's important to be kind to yourself in the face of grief - but in reality that is probably the very last thing you're thinking about. You may still be numb and can't quite comprehend what's just happened. You may want to spend the days in bed and not be able to face anyone / anything or you may still feel ok to get up in the morning, get dressed and see people (I did). You may have other children to have to get out of bed for and therefore have no choice in the matter but to run on auto-pilot.
Realise that your grief is your own. Work through it as you need and don't let others tell you how you should be feeling. Remember that no one else feels or knows the way you feel right now.
The early hours and days - what I wish I could’ve known or done differently:
(this list isn’t large, thankfully, but if I had these thoughts in the beginning, then I’m sure another heart-broken Mum could have them too)
- If you have the chance to tell your child or baby it’s ok for them to go, make sure you do. I can’t recall doing this – I just kept on willing my baby to live and felt guilty for it afterwards.
- I wish I had have thought to find a photographer to take some professional photos – both while Jayden was still alive and after he died.
- Never would I have made the initial phone-call to the funeral directors. Trying to say, “I need to organise my baby son’s funeral” ripped my heart out all over again. Ask someone else to do this and then have the funeral directors call you.
For reasons I don’t quite understand, I didn’t think to dress my baby in something truly beautiful. I have since seen the most amazing gowns – even for tiny, tiny babies. It wouldn’t even have to be that, just something special. I had the mentality “he’s getting cremated, no one is going to see him, it doesn’t matter what he wears…” I can’t believe I thought that.
Realise that your grief is your own. Work through it as you need and don’t let others tell you how you should be feeling. Remember that no one else feels or knows the way you feel right now.
On a last note (but by no means all I have to say on this subject):
This grief will be part of you for the rest of your life.
Yes, the pain will ever-so-slowly lose its heart-wrenching intensity over time, but it’s never gone completely. Grieving isn’t like a sickness that can be cured – you won’t make a full recovery and get back to ‘normal’. It’s more like a deep wound that eventually closes - leaving a scar that remains tender and still hurts every so often.
In time, the place you’ll find yourself at is the place where you learn to live with your loss. It sounds strange, but for me it’s like a ‘comfortable sadness’. It’s now three and a half years after I said goodbye to my little man. The tears can (and do) still fall in an instant - it never takes much - but I look back over the years, months and weeks and I realise just how far I truly have come. I can promise you that you will too.