To the mom who has just lost her baby:
I have stood where you stand. I have felt the deepest of despair as I tried to comprehend the truth of my new existence.
I have lived in the sorrow of knowing that there is no going back, there is no fixing this.
Losing a child is something no one should ever have to live through but you are here and you are strong and you can make it through this, I swear.
I’ve always likened my grief to a shipwreck.
You are stranded, at first, in angry waters. The waves of grief are so big and it seems almost impossible to survive them as they threaten to swallow you whole.
If this is where you find yourself now, do all you can to find ways to vocalize your feelings. Share your pain with others so they can act as life preservers while you are struggling.
At your most vulnerable, know there are always people who will allow you to take shelter with them through any storm.
Find your support, never be ashamed to call on them.
In time, the weather changes, the waves settle but you still have the occasional rogue waves crash over you.
Accept these moments of overwhelming grief, allow yourself to feel what you need to feel without feeling like it is a setback.
Know that your existence has been forever altered by this loss and life as you knew it is no longer.
You may never restore that ship to its former glory. It may sound scary at first but life after loss can be full of so much joy and purpose but it will probably never feel the same as life before loss.
A great way to tackle the varying feelings of loss is to channel them into something positive that will help you honor your child.
Talk about your little one, write about your experiences, create something in their memory, do a walk in their name, release a butterfly.
I find that coping with grief is in the doing. Managing the waves is not about fighting against them but moving forward with them.
That is the end of my shipwreck analogy but I do have one more piece of advice to share:
It does not matter how far along you were when your child passed away.
It does not matter if you were prepared to say goodbye or if you were taken by surprise.
It does not matter if your child never took his or her first breath or if you never got to hold your child in your arms.
Your grief is real, is warranted, is okay to feel.
Discover what makes your grief easier to live with and do all you can to pursue that.
Find your people, whether it be family, friends, other loss moms or a publication like Still Standing Magazine.
Allow them to support you.
Be gentle with yourself as milestones or benchmark days come to pass.
Last but not least, know that time does NOT heal all wounds but grief does change in time.
I am so sorry for your loss, I hope this helps.
Morgan McLaverty, a world traveler that has taken roots in southern New Jersey where her husband Sean was born and raised. Now, a stay at home mother, she cares for her three living boys; Gavin Cole(5), Rowan Grey(3) and Holden Nash (1). She also is a mother to Lennon Rhys. Lennon was born still at thirty one weeks and five days. His loss spurred on a need in Morgan to write her feelings, share her grief and help others in the process. She hopes her words will help shed the silence and taboo nature of discussing pregnancy and child loss.