It’s Baby Loss Awareness Week, a week for raising awareness about pregnancy and baby loss and also a time to reflect and remember our lost children.
Baby Loss Awareness Week culminates in the ‘Wave of Light’ at 7pm on Thursday 15th October. We’ll be thinking of you and all your beautiful children – young and old this week.
And here’s a few articles that we’ve stumbled across that are particularly pertinent this week (and after):
’10 things you need to know when someone’s baby dies’ from Scary Mommy
‘How to talk to children about miscarriage and stillbirth’ from What’s Your Grief
There’s also a range of baby loss articles on our articles page.
Father’s Day is one of the many days that the loss of a child feels even more profound. Although as bereaved parents are keenly aware, a child’s absence is felt every day.
The amazing blog ‘What’s your grief?’ asked fathers to share their Father’s Day grief and their responses will resonate with bereaved dads at SLOW and beyond.
Here’s the full article and a selection of their responses:
You will always have that open space in your soul, for that’s where you store the memories.
You will never truly be done grieving; you will learn to live and cope.
There will come a day when you will look back and see the goods before the bads.
I am an amputee, a father without a son. THAT is my new normal.
I may look the same as before Kylie died but I’m a different man altogether.
The weight of loss never goes away, we just learn to carry it.
And for the non-bereaved, how should you acknowledge Father’s Day? Our advice from SLOW is if you know a grieving dad, pay them a visit or make that phone call to tell them that you are thinking about them and their child.
Be kind to yourself on Father’s Day and if you need support the SLOW support groups are open to all that have lost a child and parents can come at any time after the death of their child. For times and dates of forthcoming SLOW support groups link here.
Mother’s Day can be particularly painful if you have lost a child and even more so if you have lost your only child.
This article from the amazing blog ‘What’s Your Grief’ was written two years ago but it’s definitely worth revisiting on this difficult day.
‘What’s Your Grief?’ asked their readers to help them write a post in anticipation of Mother’s Day and together nearly 100 bereaved parents offered their thoughts. Their collective wisdom was compiled to write a heartfelt letter to bereaved mothers. Here are some beautiful insights:-
It is excruciating knowing that my child will never return to my arms. However, a mother’s love for her child doesn’t require physical presence.
I actually am normal. I’m just different now. I believe those who say they want to support me on difficult days like Mother’s Day, but part of this is accepting me as a grieving mother who will always love her deceased child.
On the one hand, I feel immense joy because I was blessed with my child and I feel gratitude for every moment I was given with them. On the other hand, the pain of missing my child – my greatest happiness, my life’s purpose, and my best friend – is intense.
This day will forever be hard for me. I live with an emptiness that no one can fill; so I may be sad, I may be unsociable, and I may need to take a break to be by myself in a quiet place. Whatever shape my grief takes on this day, please allow me to feel the way I feel and please follow my lead.
I can sense that people feel uncomfortable talking about my child and I constantly feel like the elephant in the room, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Honestly, I find it really comforting when someone talks about my child.
Be kind to yourself on Mother’s Day and if you need support the SLOW groups are open to all that have lost a child. For times and dates of forthcoming SLOW support groups link here.
One of the best pieces of advice I received from the SLOW group when I was in the deep, dark, depths of grief after my daughter died was… to be kind to myself. For me, being told that it was ok not to be at the coalface of grief all the time was really helpful. Grieving a lost child is hard, hard work so giving yourself a few minutes of respite from the pain is sometimes the only way to get through a day. And… the grief was always there again at the end of my distracting task…
This article from the fantastic blog ‘What’s Your Grief?’ gives seven helpful tips on how to practice self-kindness. Here’s some snippets:-
1. Don’t compare
Try not to compare yourself to your expectations. In fact, it can be helpful to let go of your expectations about grief entirely.
2. Accept that a wide range of emotional, physical, and cognitive experiences are normal in grief
Having a narrow conceptualization of what is normal in grief often causes people to feel like they’re not doing as well as they ought to or, worse, like they’re completely losing it.
3. Give distressing emotions and experiences the time and attention they need
The only thing that would help is to acknowledge the pain and find ways to take care of yourself and heal.
4. Ask for help
You’ve experienced a major hardship and now is the time for you to let others take care of you.
5. Focus on basic needs
If you are able to meet some of your most basic needs, you’ll be in a better position physically and emotionally to deal with your other more complex and nuanced stressors.
6. Give yourself a break
While many people think coping with life after loss is only about confronting and coping with difficult grief emotions, we believe that coping encapsulates anything that helps you feel better and gives you a boost of positive emotion
7. Love the person who died unapologetically
What we know about grief is that an ongoing love and attachment is totally normal! So, go ahead and talk about your loved one as much as you want, do all the little things that keep you close, and, by all means, love them apologetically.
The SLOW support groups give our bereaved parents a chance to talk to other parents that have been through the devastating loss of a child. The groups are open to all that have lost a child and parents can come at any time after the death of their child. For times and dates of forthcoming SLOW support groups link here.
This blog article from ‘What’s your grief?’ has really resonated with us here at SLOW, especially for the bereaved parents and facilitators that are a little ‘further on’ in their grief.
What it Means to ‘Change Your Relationship With Grief’
For many parents coming to our support groups, one of their first questions is ‘will it always feel like this?’. It was definitely one of my overriding questions in the early days after my daughter’s death that I directed at Nicola and Susie, the facilitators at my first SLOW group. I wanted to know if it would get better – surely I couldn’t feel like this forever and I didn’t think my body could even survive such physical heartache?
I can clearly remember Susie saying – ‘it does get better but it doesn’t “get better” ’ and now eight years on I know how right she was.
This article shows how you can live with grief and that over time that isn’t as negative as it initially appears.
The reality of grief is that it often stays with you until the day you, yourself, die. For those who think of grief as being all negative emotion, I can see where this may seem unmanageable, but rest assured the impact of grief changes over time. As you change your relationship with grief – by changing how you respond to, cope with, and conceptualize grief – you will likely also find hope and healing. If you think about it, grief is one instance where there is a strong benefit to accepting its ongoing presence in your life because doing so creates more room for comfort, positive memories, and an ongoing connection with the person who died.
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