baby

"As someone who’s lost a baby too, this is what I want people to know."

This post deals with infant loss and may be triggering for some readers.

We know it’s hard.

We know you don’t know what to say and are terrified of upsetting us further.

We know you wish you could take away our pain - we wish we knew how to do that too, but sadly, when you lose a baby in pregnancy or infancy there’s very little which will take away the overwhelming heartache and sorrow which follows.

In time, the loneliness and despair does soften, but it’s a loss which never truly leaves you. And what most loss mothers want their friends and family to know is that sometimes, we really need you to have that uncomfortable conversation with us, the one where you’re not sure how to respond, and can’t think of the ‘right’ thing to say. 

Watch: A tribute to the babies we've lost. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia

We often don’t know what to say either, but we need you to reach out, to say our baby's name, and not to ignore our pain. 

We’re not looking for answers, platitudes or a cure for our grief, we need to tell our stories in order to heal, and sometimes what we really need is for someone to sit with us in the darkness and just listen. That solidarity is what I craved most after my son Miles was stillborn.

When I read the heartbreaking post from Chrissy Teigen it transported me straight back to that hospital room and the overwhelming feelings of utter sorrow and devastation I felt when we lost Miles.

When we tell our stories and talk about our babies it's rarely for pity, seldom for attention and nor is it because we’re wallowing or stuck in our grief.

Most baby loss mothers I know tell their story to be understood, to keep their baby’s memory alive and to help ease the way for those who will sadly face similar heartache in the future. 

Talking about your child should be the simplest and easiest conversation in the world, but if your baby died before their life could fully begin it can be one of the hardest, most gut wrenching conversations you’ll ever embark upon. 

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Harder still is finding the strength to keep talking if your attempts have been met with awkward silence in the past. 

But if silence prevails on both sides, who will tell the next broken and bewildered mother that she will eventually be ok? That her baby’s life matters, that even though in this moment her tears won’t stop she will eventually laugh and smile again.

If we don’t tell our stories how can those who haven’t felt this pain begin to understand its intensity or the ferocity with which it takes over your heart and mind?

2020 is a year that’s taught us all that we are all still evolving, that it's ok to admit that you can’t comprehend another’s lived experience, that you’re still developing an understanding. 

"If we don’t tell our stories, how can those who haven’t felt this pain begin to understand its intensity or the ferocity with which it takes over your heart and mind?" Image: Supplied.

This year has shown us the power in being willing to listen, learn and to do so with an open mind. 

After losing Miles I wanted to share our story to help end the silence surrounding baby loss, because with silence comes shame, yet there should be no feelings of shame attached to baby loss. 

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If our experiences of miscarriage, IVF and stillbirth are kept in the shadows we will always feel as though they need to be hidden and spoken of only with those who’ve endured similar heartache.

I share my story in the hope that those who read it know that they’re not alone, that their grief is valid and that they will make it out of the darkness. It may take some time, but one day they’ll look back in amazement of just how far they’ve come. 

When you lose a baby people often tell you that you’re brave. 

You’re brave for talking about your child, brave for sharing your story, you’re brave to face the world. I never felt brave in doing so, initially I felt bereft and bewildered and spoke of Miles to make sure others knew he was real, that he had been born, that he was worth remembering. 

I was worried everyone would move on and forget about him.  

Listen: Tahyna MacManus on the misunderstandings of miscarriage. Post continues below.

What I think is brave and wonderful is when people include and mention babies who sadly couldn’t stay. 

It’s brave when people reach out to their friends who’ve lost babies even though they’re unsure of what to say or do. 

It’s brave to keep having the uncomfortable conversations in the hope that one day they’ll no longer be uncomfortable. 

October is Pregnancy and Baby Loss Awareness Month. Take this opportunity to reach out to a friend, say their baby’s name, ask them how they are coping after miscarriage. 

Text, call, send a pigeon, or share an article on baby loss. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never reached out before, late is better than never and you never know just how much comfort you may give to someone who is navigating their way through the grief and heartache baby loss brings. 

If this has raised any issues for you or if you would like to speak with someone, please contact the Sands Australia 24 hour support line on 1300 072 637. 

Annabel Bower is the author of Miles Apart – a heartfelt survival guide to miscarriage, stillbirth and baby loss. After her 4th child was stillborn she founded the Miles Apart Foundation which distributes donated copies of the book Miles Apart to hospitals around Australia. Copies of the book can be purchased or donated at www.milesapart.online, or you can visit the Instagram page.

Feature image: Instagram/Chrissy Teigen; Supplied.

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