#TimetoTalkTFMR - 5 Years ago
I wrote this blog for Baby Loss Awareness in October 2014. It was the first thing I wrote about losing a baby to a TFMR. When I read it back now I can still hear the guilt and shame in my voice and still see that I wasn't really ready to talk openly about what had happened. A lot has changed in the last 5 years, for both me personally and the taboo within the taboo. My blog name at the time was 'Rainbow Chaser' but in that moment 5 years ago I genuinely thought I'd never see the sunshine again.
Baby Loss Awareness Week 9th-15th October.
I couldn’t let Baby Loss Awareness week (9th -15th October) pass without being brave enough to speak out and help to break the isolating taboo surrounding all of the many ways people find themselves grieving for a much wanted baby. I should add that I was inspired and helped to write this by an amazingly strong new friend.
In May, we had to say goodbye to the little girl that we had, but never had. We had received the heart breaking news that our unborn baby was unwell and unlikely to survive to term. We were given the burden of choice. We ‘chose’ to ‘interrupt’ our pregnancy and met our girl too soon. Our reasons are our reasons and I’d happily justify them to anyone in private but I ask that this post is not the place for judgements, please.
There are 17 stillbirths every day in the UK and 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage but there are also many more women who share my own experience. The loss of a baby, whatever the circumstances, is completely devastating and is made all the more so by society’s inability to acknowledge and discuss this type of loss. It’s too unspeakable to contemplate or too terrifying to understand. Chances are you know someone who carries this unbearable sadness everyday yet the chances are they are shouldering this sadness in silence.
In the aftermath of such a devastating loss you scrabble around trying to piece life back together but life has been blown apart and the pieces no longer fit evenly. Some of the pieces are missing. Everything has changed and you must adjust to a new ‘normal’. Life doesn’t stop and if you are lucky, like me, many of your friends, family and colleagues will adjust with you. Some will not. Life becomes heavier, weighed down by a genuine hopelessness for the future and exhaustingly endless cycles of ‘what ifs’ and ‘what could have beens’.Most people want to have children and as your friends and family prepare for and announce their new pregnancies they understandably delight in the prospect of a new life; you are the reminder that sometimes the worst can happen, that sometimes babies die. Frightened to steal their joyful naivety, you stay silent. You lock away your grief, uncontrollable bitterness and unbearable sadness, and paint on your face, each and every day.
Society’s general reticence to speak about baby loss means that an underground world exists. In this world people befriend complete strangers to share their darkest, saddest moments and daily struggles. I have been so lucky to have the support of those who understand the devastating nature of my own personal tragedy. I’ve been lucky to have the enduring support of some amazing friends, family and colleagues too but it is not like that for many. So, I’m writing this post to bring this world above ground, to help to break the taboo, and to send my unwavering love and support to all those who will be lighting candles, this week, to remember. Hopefully, this week, more women (and men) will find the strength to tell a friend ‘my baby died’ and more friends will find the courage to listen.