Watching a friend experience the loss of their baby and the grief that remains can feel so helpless. Unfortunately, there isn’t a “one-size fits all” approach to support a grieving friend through loss, but there are many ways to be supportive. When my daughter died at 33-days-old, it was the first loss of this type…
When I lost my first baby during pregnancy in June 2011, I had never felt so alone, how the hell was I going to get through this? I needed someone, something to take some of the pain away.
I discovered by attending regular support meetings with other bereaved parents, I began and have been able to navigate this journey I had been thrown into.
Finding the right support when you experience the loss of your baby, is essential. I believe, if it wasn’t for this group I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Just over six years ago, my world changed forever, my first pregnancy ended at 27 weeks, my baby had died. I had no idea how I was going to be able to cope after the loss. How would I return to work, what would I tell people, what would I do with the baby things I had been collecting? Fortunately I was introduced to a support group called Sands (Preganancy, Baby and Infant Loss Support).
I knew I wouldn’t be able to attend the first meeting alone, my Husband said he would come with me. Before leaving home we weren’t sure to expect, would there be many people there, and would I be able to find the support I was so desperate for?
Upon arriving, I was welcomed with a hug by the person who had told me about the group, I immediately felt relieved, I knew this was going to be just what I needed.
We were introduced to the small group of bereaved mothers and asked if we would like to share our story. I tried to say the words, but tears just came instead. My husband who was holding my hand spoke those words “we lost our baby”. I just sat there and sobbed as my husband described briefly the loss of Alex, our first baby at 27 weeks into the pregnancy. As I cried I felt an overwhelming sense of support and love from the women in the room, who understood how I felt. Their losses may have been completely different to mine, but it was still a loss of a baby, as well as our hopes and dreams for that child.
Looking back my memory of that first support meeting, most of it is a blur.
I only remember the tears, and leaving knowing this group was just what I needed, they got it. I wouldn’t have to walk this journey alone.
The following month I still didn’t feel strong enough to go alone, so my Husband came with me again. I know he didn’t go for himself, he went for me. In the early days the women who are new to the group often bring their partner to their first few meetings, I get it, in fact we all get it. You need the person who has also lost their baby by your side.
I had some extremely dark days when I first lost Alex. I hadn’t just lost my baby, I had also lost my pregnancy. I remember lying in bed next to my Husband one night and just saying I wished I could be with Alex because the pain of losing him was so strong. I couldn’t imagine, how I was going to live.
One of the Mums from the support group gave me her phone number and she said I could contact her anytime. My Husband had to go to work and my family were in England, I felt I had no one. I just wanted to talk to people, who knew a little of what I was feeling.
So, six years on here I am. I am the Secretary of my local Sands group and I have made some wonderful friends through this group. We wouldn’t of met if we hadn’t lost our babies, but because of our babies we have been brought together.
The support I have received from my Sands has been unconditional. They have always been there when I have needed them and they continue to be there. I have been able to cry, laugh, show frustration and share the precious few memories I have of Alex.