baby

"A letter to my stillborn daughter Katie, on your sixth birthday."

It’s been six years since I last saw your perfect little face. Each anniversary has crept up on me faster than I thought it would and every year I wonder how on earth I have survived losing you.

I have learned to cope with the pain, but that raw disbelief that you’re never coming home lingers. I will always feel incomplete without you at home with me.

This year the ‘bad Katie days’ no longer came unexpectedly. I no longer find myself crying myself to sleep thinking about what I could have done to save you. I have still have the bad days. A few weeks ago I saw the doctor who told me you were no longer with us, and later found myself crying that same carpark I returned to after your birth where I clutched your little purple teddy and wondered whether I would survive this.

This time I sat in my car and I cried, but I was able to pick myself up. Because the only reason I was there was because you gave me the strength to go on. You gave me back the meaning in my life.

A tribute to all the babies we’ve lost. (Post continues after video.)

Your sisters still speak about you often; every night they are in competition to see the first star of the night and yell ‘Katie’s awake!’ Every time the sky turns pink at night they start thanking you, a tradition that was started on your first ‘birthday’ when Aunty Simone told three-year-old Emily that you had turned the sky pink for her as we released your first birthday balloon. This was never the way I wanted you to be in our lives, but I still find comfort in the fact that your sisters love you and think of you just as much as I do.

Those who don’t understand the loss of a baby think that I should have ‘moved on’ by now and, in a sense, I have. No longer am I bedridden, unable to go to the shops in fear of seeing a pregnant woman or someone holding their baby.

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I can venture out with my friends and not be afraid of bursting into tears because I can’t bear to see the world so happy when I am so sad. I am still faced with constant reminders of your absence every time I see a little girl the age you should have reached or when I look at your sisters and feel like there is one missing — but now with that pain, there is hope.

"I still find comfort in the fact that your sisters love you and think of you just as much as I do." Image supplied.

For every measure of pain and sadness I feel from losing you, I build strength. You taught me to value life, to cherish those I love and to stand up for what I believe in. Losing you taught me the power of empathy and the importance of not judging a person who is experiencing something I have not.

Grieving for you taught me that your loss didn’t just affect me, it affected our whole family. It taught me that no matter how lonely you feel in your grief, you are never truly alone. For every friend I did lose after you died, my true friends showed amazing strength in supporting your Daddy and I.

This year I have come to a place of peace and acceptance. I don’t feel the need to dedicate the entirety of today to your memory to prove to you that I love you because in a way, everything I have accomplished this past year has been a tribute to your memory. You have moulded me into the person I am today and I am so thankful for that.

Happy sixth birthday, Katie. You are forever in my heart.

For you I shall live.

Tricia’s daughter, Katie was stillborn at 41 weeks, Tricia had experienced an easy complications free pregnancy but the cord had wrapped around Katie’s neck as Tricia went into labour. Tricia is a Volunteer Parent Supporter with Sand Australia.

Sands is a not-for-profit organisation that provides support, information and hope to parents and families who experience the death of a baby. All Sands Parent Supporters understand the heartbreak and devastation that follows the death of a baby, as they too have experienced it. Sand also offers resources and education for healthcare professionals.

Anyone affected by the death of a baby can ring the 24/7 Sands support line 1300 072 637 and talk to a Volunteer Parent Supporter or visit: www.sands.org.au T: @SandsAustralia F: www.facebook.com/sands.australia

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