Baby loss and heartbreak

baby loss

‘Baby loss.’ These are not words I ever wanted to say or write. And yet here I am. Here we are.

I’ve been trying to write this post for days. Trying to find the perfect words to honour a life that lasted only 16 weeks and yet was, and will always be, so very loved.  Trying to find the words to describe the immense pain that we are feeling, that doesn’t disregard the fact that I know we are not the only ones who have ever felt this way.

But I can’t. I can’t find the right words and maybe there aren’t any.

My heart hurts right up to my throat as if the pain is trying to explode out my mouth (and often does).  My head and eyes constantly throb from all the crying. And my belly aches with emptiness.

I know that many women have felt the pain of losing a baby before me and I’d like to thank all of you who have since reached out and shared your story.  It does help to hear that I’m not alone….and yet I still feel very alone in this pain.  It feels like mine and mine alone to bear. I realise that probably sounds incredibly selfish – I know this was Andrew’s baby too and I know he is feeling it just as much as me right now – but I can’t help the way I feel, that this pain I’m in right now is uniquely mine.

There’s a kind of desperation to it.  I wish I could share it, or heal it or do something with it other than sit with it, but it seems like the only thing one can do in this situation is bear it.

I don’t feel like this is something anyone talks openly about, even though I know it is more common than any of us care to admit.  Maybe people don’t talk about it about it because it’s simply too painful to try and explain.  Maybe because those you tell, and even those who love you very much, don’t have the words to express how sorry they are.  And then inevitably they feel like they’ve said the wrong thing and it gets awkward and uncomfortable.

I read once that vulnerability is being about to sit in the dark with someone and not be tempted to flip on the light.  (Which I guess in this instance is about not being tempted to avoid the subject in fear of making us feel it again.)  It’s about being able to sit with a person who is hurting and just acknowledge their hurt rather than trying to find answers to solve it, or words or ways to help.  Because there really are none. I think it’s about being comfortable enough to sit in the pain with us, and know that that is enough.

We don’t need your words, but we do need your company and support.

So I guess my sharing here is my way of asking you, to sit in the dark with me.  With us.  To be comfortable enough with reaching out, even when I might not reach back.  I have received many texts from friends in the last few days and I’ve read every one but for some reason I can’t always write back.  The pain of finding words is just too much. But please know that just knowing you’re there helps.

I keep looking for reasons why.  What are we meant to learn from all this? What possibly could be the good to find in this horrible situation?

But I just keep coming up blank.  I guess it still hurts too much to even think clearly and maybe one day I’ll find the answer in retrospect, or maybe it will always just be a heartbreaking loss that we’ll never truly understand.

I keep looking for comfort everywhere. Comforting foods, comforting clothes – my bed and sleep are my only havens right now.  I guess it’s my mind and body’s way of trying to heal.  Sleep is the only escape from the pain. When I wake, sometimes there is a brief moment where I forget, until my hand finds my belly and all the pain comes flooding back.

I try to keep busy, distracting myself from the pain.  Trying to stop my mind from travelling to thoughts of what should have been, because those thoughts are the most painful.  I know I do actually need to let myself feel the pain, but to get through the day with two little ones, distraction is the only way I can keep it together.  It’s only when night comes and the boys are in bed and there is nothing else to do but feel that I break down.

It’s a strange kind of grief.  Not like losing a loved one who you’ve spent many years with.  It’s the loss of expectations, of all those moments you imagined from the first moment you found out you were expecting.  It’s the loss of the sibling for your children and all the memories you thought they would share. It’s the loss of a Christmas with three, with a new baby in your arms. The loss of watching them grow and change. It’s the loss of the joyful birth you thought you’d have.  It’s the loss of trusting your own body to keep your baby safe.

I guess the only thing to do now is to try and heal. (Though I’m not sure where or how one even starts to do that.) I guess you’ve got to start by trying to put all the pieces of yourself back together.

I have a feeling that they won’t ever go back in exactly the same way, but maybe that’s the point.

Edit. Three-ish years after this post was written I published my book Watering the Flowers – a guide to find healing and hope after losing a baby. It’s my hope that these words help you wherever you are.

If you’re in Australia you can buy a copy here. If you’re outside of Australia you can purchase via Amazon.

14 Responses to “Baby loss and heartbreak

  • I am not sure I have ever healed from losing my babies. I think part of me died along with them. I also think part of Justin’s and my relationship died, and has never come back.
    I have no words that will help. No words of comfort. I could never even find the words to talk about my losses.
    All I can say is give yourself and your body a little kindness. Do not do what i did after my loss at 19 weeks. I self harmed for almost six months until Tamika forced me to get help. To this day I have never forgiven my body for it failures. It has affected much of my life. Self doubt and insecurity has ravaged me.
    But what I did do and I recommend to you it do something to remember, something to say goodbye. I got a tattoo. A peony. We called our daughter Peony. For me it was… it is a symbol of her life. For the other four babies, I have not done something as visible. But I have gone somewhere private and for each baby I have planted a tree.

    • Bettina Rae
      8 years ago

      Oh Julie. I’m so sorry for your losses. I’m afraid of the changes this will bring to our relationship too. It has already changed things. Send ing you and your babies lots of love too. Xxxx

  • Sitting with you in the dark xx <3

  • peafritters
    8 years ago

    I just want you to know I am thinking of you and your family often and am so very very sorry for your loss. I wish this pain wasn’t yours xxx

  • One part of me feels like I don’t know you well enough , that I have no right to comment here but another part of me feels like I have to . I hate to see another mother hurting the way you are , not just any mother but A mother with 2 of the most loving , kind and beautiful boys I have ever met . I am not about to say , I know how you feel , because I don’t and I could never imagine the heartache of losing one of my children. I won’t say that time heals all wounds because it doesn’t but it can help you get from day to day. You will get through this . One foot in front of the other , one day at a time . Those little boys need you and if ,at first that is the only reason you get out of bed in the morning , that’s ok at least you did .

    It isn’t selfish at all to feel like this pain is yours , you carried that little baby in your belly . A mothers love is like no other and the tragic loss of that is unimaginable , unbearable .No one can intensely feel that pain like a mother , but that doesn’t mean that you are alone in it .Youll never be alone . Andrew , your boys , your family will be with you and no doubt all those friends who’ve been messaging you are with you too. Everyone reading this , every mother who has ever lost a child , every mother out there hearing of your heart ache , were all with you Sitting in the dark . Sending so much love x x

    • Bettina Rae
      8 years ago

      Thank you Amy. Your words mean so much to me. xxx

  • Vanessa
    8 years ago

    I too feel a bit like Amy, that I don’t know you well enough to comment but I’m sending you & Andy & the boys our love & sitting in the dark, even a month later & hoping there’s a little more light now. Xxx

  • Shirley Pace
    8 years ago

    I don’t know how it feels to lose a baby. In my own personal hell, I have held test after test that revealed my own ghosts would never materialize. And the world excepts us to carry on while all our hopes and dreams lay smashed on the floor. I give you permission to wallow, to scream, to feel all your feels. I say no, don’t get up and carry on, take time to heal.

    (Two of my ghosts are here now though, after IVF, a very miserable pregnancy, and very nearly dying in childbirth. I too shook my hand and asked “seriously haven’t I been through enough?!?”)

    • Bettina Rae
      8 years ago

      Aww hun. My heart breaks for you as well. I don’t know the answer to that. Haven’t we all been through enough? Sending so much love to you as well. xxx

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