Baby Loss Awareness Week
To mark Baby Loss Awareness Week and the wonderful opportunity it offers to give anyone touched by pregnancy and baby loss a safe and supportive space to share their experiences and feel that they are not alone, Lauren talks to us about how grief has affected her as a mum of three who has lost two children.
"The other day someone asked me ‘how do pregnancy announcements make you feel?’
Thinking about this question made me think back to all the other similar questions I’ve been asked, how do you feel seeing twins, double buggies, children the same age etc etc etc...
Each question, in all honesty, makes me feel happy. Let me explain ….
I love nothing more than seeing families with their children, announcing pregnancies, seeing a beautiful newborn baby and them cherishing these precious moments. Of course, I wish I had all that with my 3 children and not just 1 of them, but knowing that another family hasn’t suffered the heartbreak we have is a huge relief. I would much rather see them happy instead of broken. You also don’t know what that family has been through, so much is hidden behind the front outlook. Graham, Ava and I went on holiday a few months back and guaranteed no-one would have known that we are a family of 5 and not just 3. That hurts more than anything, the fact not everyone will know about our children. They only see Ava.
I wouldn’t wish losing a child upon anyone – it really is the absolute worst pain you can imagine.
Grief cuts you up and you hurt in places you didn’t know existed. Some days I’m happy, smiling, enjoying my time with Ava and others I don’t want to get out of bed. But I do, purely because I have a beautiful little girl who needs me too.
It is perfectly okay to cry, scream and shout as much as it is to enjoy a day out and smile.
When we lost Elouise, Ava was still critically ill. This meant I didn’t get time to grieve, I was thrown straight into being there for Ava and caring for her. Living out of bags in several different hospitals. I hadn’t forgotten Elouise but my grief was delayed. When Ava came home, that’s when it all hit. I hated myself for not grieving sooner, we didn’t hold Elouise's funeral until 3 months later as Ava was in critical care and then end of life care. We wanted to wait just in case we needed to have a double funeral. Thankfully we didn’t. Grief hit me like a ton of bricks and it didn’t end there. I soon realised that grief doesn’t end, it doesn’t stop and it most certainly doesn’t get easier. Yes it becomes more manageable, grief becomes an everyday emotion but nothing gets easier. You change completely as a person.
Grieving for Theo was a little different, it was SO unexpected. I had tooclear our house immediately, I couldn’t face seeing his crib, car seat, clothes, toys etc everywhere. Everywhere I went there were reminders of Theo everywhere. The draw in the kitchen full of his bibs, Ava’s wardrobe was now their wardrobe, the bathroom had his wash stuff in, Ava’s wheelchair had his car seat adapted all on. Literally everywhere I looked, there was a reminder. So within a few days we packed it all away. I felt like I could breathe again. In our house now we have some beautiful memorial bits, things I look at and smile. I remember the quirky parts of my pregnancy, feeling him kick for the first time, seeing my belly wiggle like mad. That’s how I want to remember Theo 💜"