My year (or so) of loss.
Our story today is another well written piece that on my first reading of it, made me say wow. Wow, what a bloody hard time our author has had but how much she has to offer us in sharing her experience and what she has learned. Her description of how people are with you after a loss, specifically miscarriage, is bang on and so well written. I wish her all the very best for the future and hope she continues to offer hope and be an inspiration to her friends, family and beyond with such wise words. I’ll leave you with this, taken from her story and which needs no explanation and made me stop and think wow. Simple, beautiful words:
“And there is one thing that has brought me comfort, and if any of you have known the loss of a baby, then I hope this may too bring some comfort to you. All your baby ever knew was love. It is a simple thing to write, but what a wonderful thing. “
My year (or so) of loss.
In August 2016, I was sitting on the beach at Thorpeness when the phone call came. Dad had been ill for as long as I can remember with one thing or another, but the last year had seen a steady decline in Parkinson’s and Dementia, and he had gone into respite care to give my Mum a much needed break. However he worsened and went to hospital after a fall. The call was to say that his consultant was moving him to palliative care.
And so, a week or so later I found myself sitting by his bedside with my Mum as he breathed his last breath. It was the first time I had been there at the moment someone passed. I thought that the year could not get a lot worse…if only I had been right.
I was already struggling with the news that a very close friend had been diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully she survived, but at the time it was by no means certain. When I fell pregnant with a much wanted and long awaited second child, it felt like things were starting to brighten up. If only I had been right.
Several weeks later, I started to bleed. I went on to have a devastating miscarriage. I had rushed to A&E when the bleeding started, and after a few hours of being poked, prodded and examined I was sent home to wait and see what would happen. I was so fearful for my baby, so desperate to will it to be ok I didn’t think to ask what would happen if it wasn’t ok. In a lot of pain, I miscarried our baby in the bathroom and was as much shocked by the physical process as with the loss itself.
After some months, we decided to try again. We went on to lose two more babies. Amid our losses, a dear friend lost her baby full term, and found out on her own birthday. Life felt…bleak.
Loss like this sets you apart. People say the wrong things. Or nothing at all, which is worse. The generous part of you knows that they don’t know what to say, that they don’t want to hurt you. But the pain and grief swallows up the generous part of you. Those that don’t mention your babies make you feel like they were not significant. Then there are the people who tell you ‘everything happens for a reason’ and it is very hard not to shout at them. Loss like this makes you bitter for other people’s good news, even though you know logically they haven’t ‘taken your turn’ it feels like that, and it is hard to put your pain to one side in order to be pleased for them.
Then there is the other thing that loss like this robs you of…trust. As I write this, I am 29 weeks pregnant…but it has been 29 weeks of joy diluted with fear and sorrow. I can’t let myself believe there will be a baby at the end of this.
There are some gifts, although they are not worth the price exacted for them. When a friend went on to lose her father, I was able to let her know what the physical process of dying is like, the changes in breathing to watch for, how to be gentle with yourself afterwards. Things to expect in the year afterwards. When a friend sadly miscarried, I knew what not to say. I was able to reach out a hand. The only kind of meaning I can extract from any of this is that I may have in some way been able to alleviate someone else’s suffering a little.
And there is one thing that has brought me comfort, and if any of you have known the loss of a baby, then I hope this may too bring some comfort to you. All your baby ever knew was love. It is a simple thing to write, but what a wonderful thing.
If you would like to send in your story of grief, loss, friendship, mental health or a story of hope please message me: email@example.com
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