Grief and bereavement are things that I had been relatively fortunate not to have had experienced. I know people that have lost parents, grandparents and one friend who tragically lost a baby and I was always sympathetic and tried to empathise as best as I possibly could. I truly felt sad and heartbroken for them, shocked and devastated even but I still didn’t feel grief.
Grief is something to me that I really dislike. I represents a pain, a longing, emotionally and physically it hurts. It’s unpredictable and it really is overwhelming at times.
I have spent a lot of time reading about grief and bereavement after losing my baby Darcey and there seems to be something so cruel about the death of a baby or child. Why would they be taken away when they did absolutely nothing to anybody. They had no opportunity too. Darcey died at 37 weeks old, just a few short weeks from her due date so for me I have spent a lot of time blaming myself. It cannot possibly be her fault, I was my job to protect her but I failed. No one knows why she died and we never will know but to me the responsibility stops with me.
I read somewhere that grief is really love, all the love you desperately want to give but cannot. Greif is love with nowhere to go. I really felt that.
Reading about grief in general I have found there to be certain stages that most people will go through.
Stages of grief
- Denial: When you first learn of your loss it is normal to think that “This isn’t happening!”. You might feel shocked or numb. This is only temporary and your bodies defence mechanism to deal with the overwhelming emotion.
- Anger: As reality of the situation sets in, you’re faced with the pain of your loss. You may feel helpless and frustrated. These feelings will turn to anger. You might turn your anger towards a particular person or life in general.
- Bargaining: During this stage you dwell on what you could’ve done to prevent the death. Commonly you might think “What if…?”
- Depression: Sadness sets in as you begin to understand your loss and it’s effect on your life. Signs of depression include constant crying, sleep issues, decreased appetite. You might feel lonely, regretful and overwhelmed. *Please do not struggle on your own. I have put a long list of charities and organisations that you can reach out to at the end of the post.
Looking over this list I can honestly say I felt all of them. I tended to remain with the feelings of anger and bargaining for a lot longer than the rest and stayed depressed for quite some time. However, having said this it isn’t a list of what you should be feeling and in which order. This just gives you an idea of how you or someone you know, who has experienced grief and bereavement may feel.
Like I mention above anger was a feeling I lived with for a long time. I was angry at a lot of things. I was angry at the universe for doing this to us. I was angry at the midwives who had let us down. I was angry at myself for not protecting her the way I should have. I even spent a lot of time being angry at pregnant women. I couldn’t help it. I kept asking – “why do they get their babies and I don’t?” I am someone that believes that everything happens for a reason. Even if it is something bad, as long as I can see the bigger picture and the ‘reason’ behind it I am able to work through it and move on – but this just wasn’t one of those times.
There was no reason for this!
This, in my mind, was the most evil thing to happen and I couldn’t get through it.
I even felt extreme jealousy towards those women who were pregnant or women I saw with newborn girls. It really hurt. It physical hurt. My heart was physically aching. If I saw a women ahead of me with a travel seat and spotted a pink blanket or I knew there was a newborn there, my heart would instantly start pounding quicker, my breathing became rapid and I would start the battle in my head; “Do I look, don’t I look?” I would clench my teeth together and force my gaze away every time scared that I might break down in tears right there in the street. This battle went on for sometime. It made going anywhere extremely hard and I avoided it where I could.
Grief and bereavement leave pain and longing but eventually of course you do begin to put one foot in front of the other and start taking steps to move forward in your life. The heartbreak is still there and the sadness doesn’t disappear but it’s something that you need to do – however slowly or quickly you feel is right for you. I do get very sacred to move forward sometimes and feel like I can’t move too far away because what if I forget her?
Here is a list of things I found online to help you come to terms with your loss and slowly begin to heal:
- Give yourself time. Accept your feelings and know that grieving is a process.
- Talk to others. Spend time with friends or family. Try not to isolate yourself.
- Take care of yourself. Get out in the fresh air, eat well and try to ensure you enough sleep so you have enough energy to heal.
- Return to your hobbies. Get back to some of these activities that bring you joy.
- Get support from support group. Speak with others (face to face or online) that have also experienced grief. It can help you feel less alone.
This, again is not an exhaustive list and will certainly not work for everyone but it gives a few starting points. I couldn’t bare the idea of a support group for example, but I know many many people who gained a lot from them. You do what feels right for you. Just don’t stop putting one foot in front of the other – however slowly – and know that things will begin to feel better.
I don’t believe the saying ‘time is a healer’ but as time goes on I am able to live again. My heart and my arms still ache every single day and some days or weeks are much more painful but I am learning to live with those feelings better.
I have written a list of charities and organisations below who can help with grief and bereavement. This is not an exhaustive list but these are charities that we as a family used or have gone to for support or advice.
Love Amy x
Sands – Stillbirth and neonatal deaths support.
Tommys – Support for miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death.
Bliss – Support for stillbirth, miscarriage and neonatal death.
Kicks Count – Support during pregnancy to prevent miscarriage and stillbirth.
Cruse Bereavement Care – Support for all kinds of grief and bereavement.
Child Bereavement UK – Support for the death of a child or baby. They also support children.
Florence Nightingale Hospice – Support for any kind of loss, be it a child or adult. They also support children.