Why We Need to Talk About Losing a Baby

 World Menopause Day 2023

Breaking the Silence: Navigating the Depths of Grief

Last week was baby loss awareness week and the end was marked on Sunday with the wave of light to honour those babies who are sadly not here. Last week was great for opening up the topic and for raising awareness of what many people have gone through. It is important however to carry on those conversations and to keep talking about this topic. So many people feel like they can’t talk about what they went through and they need to know they are not alone and that they can. Every day more people are going through this heartbreak and their pain and stories matter. Here at the Just for Women Centre we provide personal service such as one to one support and counselling for those that have been through miscarriage or losing a child, the subject is very sensitive and difficult at the same time which is why we are trying to encourage for everyone to open up about it and make a subject that people shouldn’t feel they should keep it quiet.

Francesca’s Story

Everyone grieves differently and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. When it comes to losing a baby, no one can truly understand unless it has happened to them. Losing a baby or a child is one of the most unnatural experiences we can go through as a parent. There is a word for someone who loses a parent – an Orphan. There is a word for someone who loses a spouse – a Widow. There is no word for someone who loses a child.

It really is true when people say you can never really understand unless it happens to you. How do I know this? Because I thought I knew, until it sadly happened to me. My whole perspective changed. Things I would have thought were weird or things I wouldn’t have really understood before, I changed my opinions on them. It really is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

Aside from the obvious pain we go through, it is also really lonely. Even when going through it with a partner, they can’t truly understand what it was like for you. How it felt to carry a baby and everything that goes with it. From feeling the kicks and all day sickness to the heartburn or sciatica. Attending multiple appointments, filling up your bladder and struggling to hold it whilst being scanned. Gaining stretchmarks and swollen ankles, cutting out alcohol and avoiding unsafe foods. We started caring for that baby from the moment we found out they were there. Our mind and body revolved around this baby. We couldn’t just turn it off for a bit, they are always there. We bond with them and we picture our life with them.

For some reason up until recently, it almost seemed taboo to talk about losing a baby or having a miscarriage, it just didn’t seem like the done thing. People find it very upsetting, so it fell on the person suffering to make sure they didn’t make others feel uncomfortable. For some, not talking about it may have been their way of coping. But for most we craved the opportunity and safe space to share our story. To talk about our baby and keep their memory alive.

I had a baby boy at 21 weeks who sadly isn’t here. His name was Elijah and I had him 5 years ago. I proudly talk about him whenever I can. It has been part of my healing process. Because to me, he mattered. He was my baby and him not being here doesn’t ever change that. He was my little boy’s brother, my husband’s son. He is still, and forever will be, a part of our family. The thought of not being able to just share him and talk about him feels so wrong to me. I never want to forget him or pretend he didn’t happen. As painful as the whole experience was, I will never want to erase him from my life.

I started by sharing his story online and with anyone who would listen. Every year on his birthday I would celebrate him. Every year on babyloss awareness week I would share his story again and join in on the wave of light. Every time I was given the opportunity to talk about him, I would. People would apologise and tell me I don’t have to answer their questions but it actually made me happy to be asked. Because when they did it felt like people acknowledged that he was mine and that he still is important to me.

The thing about losing a baby, whether that is during birth or during pregnancy or after, it causes trauma. Some people will experience a lower level of trauma than others and it may not cause too many issues throughout life. However, it is still trauma that sits there, inside you and could affect you at any point. Not speaking about what you went through will only mask what is there. It is important to talk about it and you may find it helps you with the grieving process.

Sometimes we don’t feel comfortable talking to someone close to us and actually feel better talking to someone we don’t have an emotional connection with. This could be speaking to a professional who will sit and listen and will give you the safe space you need to be open and talk. It could be joining support groups on social media and speaking with other mums who have been through the same. It could even be speaking to yourself in the mirror or to a camera. It is important to get out what is flying around your head over and over. It will calm the mind and feel like a weight has been lifted. There really is no right or wrong way but it is important that you don’t bottle it all up and feel alone. If you can reach out to a friend or family member even better.

You have been through one of the hardest things we could ever go through as a parent. Don’t carry that weight alone, you have been through enough. It is important we start talking about our experiences and our babies as it encourages other mums to do the same. Other mums who also feel lonely and like they can’t talk about it. Who so desperately want to be able to talk about it. The more we share the more others will feel they can too. It is not something we should feel ashamed of and have to hide. We should feel proud that we went through the worst heartbreak imaginable and we carried on. We are warriors and should be proud that we got through it and continue to get through it each and every day.

Understanding the Impact:

Grief is a multi-faceted emotion that can arise from various experiences such as the loss of a loved one, a miscarriage, divorce, or even a significant life change. The way grief manifests is deeply personal; it can affect our emotional, mental, and physical well-being. Some individuals may find solace in talking about their grief, while others may prefer a more private, introspective process.

Coping Strategies:

1.       Seek Support: Coping with grief can be an overwhelming journey. Don’t hesitate to reach out to friends, family, or support groups like the ones offered at Just for Women. Sharing your experience with those who understand can provide comfort and connection.

2.       Honor Your Feelings: Give yourself permission to experience the full spectrum of emotions that grief brings—sadness, anger, guilt, and even moments of happiness. These feelings are a natural part of the healing process.

3.       Self-Care: Grieving can be physically and emotionally exhausting. Prioritize self-care by getting adequate rest, nourishing your body, and participating in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.

4.       Professional Help: Seeking the guidance of a therapist or counsellor experienced in grief and loss can be incredibly beneficial in navigating your emotions and finding a way forward.

Breaking the Silence:

One of the most challenging aspects of grief is the silence that often envelops it. Society’s discomfort with this topic can make individuals dealing with grief feel isolated and unable to express their feelings openly. It’s essential to recognise that grief is a real, profound, and individualized experience, and no one should have to suffer in silence.

Just For Women: Your Safe Space

At Just for Women, we are dedicated to providing a compassionate and safe environment for individuals experiencing grief. Our support groups and counselling services are available to help you process your emotions and gain strength through shared experiences. Grief is a complex journey, but you don’t have to navigate it alone.

World Menopause Day – 18th October 2023

This month the Just for Women touch on the subject Menopause as this month (18th October) is World Menopause Day where various originations and charity’s hit on target about the depths and criteria of the subject. Here at the centre we host a workshop (Women’s Matter Group) which is hosted by one of our counsellors Liese who studies and menopause. The group is held in a group upto 4-6 women where Liese presents a slide show of all the criteria’s of the stages of menopause. This year’s theme is cardiovascular disease where Liese will host a morning get to together for those that attend the group to present a presentation on the theme to help women to be more aware of this symptom and how to prevent and care for themselves. This years theme is cardiovascular disease which Liese will focus on and help make her group aware and look into how we can prevent it from happening. Factsheets – Menopause Info .

Menopause is a stage in every woman’s life where sometimes they can feel lost or have a journey if going through grief where they have felt they have lost their fertility stage, especially for those that have had difficulties of becoming pregnant.

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