My arms no longer ache like those first hours, but they are still empty – I am a mother without a baby
BBC Journalist Fiona Crack became pregnant last year with a much – longed for baby girl, but her waters broke early and her beautiful baby girl, named Willow, died. This is her story of a year of grief and healing, and the stories of 5 extraordinary women who shared her experience and all went on to channel their grief into futures that bear the legacy of their child.
In this moving article, Fiona describes her ordeal and the grief that followed:-
Grief folded and stretched time. ..One day we travelled to a register office and an official asked quiet sad questions. We left holding legal proof she was here, she was real. Birth and death shared the paper, the only document she will ever have.
She describes her coping mechanisms, so recognisable to many of us who have suffered the death of a child:-
My coping mechanisms are all about doing stuff and so I planned a part of our garden to dedicate to Willow, buying graph paper and poring over garden design books. We started landscaping in the coldest wettest week in February. We hired a 1.5 tonne digger. Friends and family came to help us in snow and frost, in driving rain.
After being given a memory box in which to place special things to remember Willow, Fiona set out on a journey to meet other mothers who had experienced such a loss as her and the stories of five remarkable women are here. They are:
Val runs the Tigerlily Trust, which provides hospitals with blankets, wraps and gowns for stillborn babies
Rachel runs Gifts of Remembrance, which trains midwives to take photos of stillborn babies
Ruth retrained as a midwife after the stillbirth of her daughter Scarlett. She has just started her first posting, having qualified this summer.
Aliyah Publishing graduate makes bespoke wall prints through her online shop, which help parents celebrate their baby’s name and birth date and is working on a bespoke memory book.
Megan began a popular vlog about stillbirth just weeks after the death of her son Milo
My advice to other parents going through this is let yourself grieve hard. Don’t be afraid of your grief – share it with people. That’s almost precious time before the world sort of expects you to be OK. Let yourself have that time.
To read the full article please click here
SLOW support groups are here for bereaved parents weeks, months or even years after the death of a child. And I know personally for me that in the early days it was so important to understand from others further along how the grief for a lost child evolved.
For more information on our forthcoming groups click here