Find healing and hope after losing a baby

This post on how to find healing and hope after losing a baby is an extract from my book Watering the Flowers. Purchase your copy here.

find healing and hope after losing a baby

It’s your grief my darling and fuck anyone who wants to tell you how to do it.

Geraldine Proudman in Offspring.

Welcome to the shittiest club that you never asked to be a part of. Grieving for a baby lost in your womb is inexplicable to anyone who hasn’t felt it. You will feel lost and broken. Lonely and angry. Heartbroken and desperate longing for your baby.

What helped me the most when I was in the thick of grief was hearing stories of what other women had been through and how they felt. While it didn’t stop the pain, it helped me feel a little less alone knowing others had done it before me and survived. It made me feel like maybe if they could endure this, I could too.

The most overwhelming feeling I’ve felt in this whole process has been feeling lost to grief. My lowest points were those when I was unable to see the way out. When I could no longer see how I could possibly keep living with the grief I felt, and when I was unable to imagine a life where the immense pain of losing my babies would ever fade.

These times were my darkest. I’ve felt like giving up. I’ve spent hours desperately searching for an answer to stop the pain. I’ve ugly cried and screamed and felt unable to get out of bed. Maybe you’ve had these moments too?

I hope that in these moments, this book can be a comfort to you. I hope my words (and those of the other women who share in this book) might hold your hand and your heart through your darkest places.

I honestly never thought this would be my story. Though of course losing a baby is one of those things that no one expects to happen to them.

We know it happens, of course. To friends of friends, to Aunties, to cousins, to sisters, to other people. 

We never imagine it will happen to us. 

We know the statistics, we just never expect we will be the statistic. 

For some reason our brains forget that someone has to be. Even after you experience it once, you don’t expect to luck out again and experience it multiple times over.

I battled with why for over a year. 

Why us? Why our babies? Why now? Why our family? And all the other fun variations of Why. What did we do wrong? What’s wrong with my body What did we do to deserve this?

Why? Why!? WHY?!

The constant questioning is exhausting. It’s all-consuming. It sucks all of the joy out of life. It makes connecting with other people, even your partner, extremely difficult.

It makes so much of your life before losing your baby and what you worried about then, feel insignificant and incredibly unnecessary. At the same time it makes other parts of your life feel insurmountable, too big and too scary to get through.

After our three losses in 2016 and early 2017, I found myself in a very dark place. I’d never felt more alone in my life. Despite our best efforts to be there for each other, our individual battles with grief took Andrew and I on very different roads and at one point I could no longer see where they came back together.

We both knew after our 3rd loss that we would not be trying again in a hurry. Perhaps not ever.

He; because he couldn’t imagine having to watch me go through it all again. Me; because I knew that some, if not all of the problem was my highly anxious state.

I knew if I were to try again straight away, it would nearly certainly end in another loss. I carried a heavy stone of guilt in my belly about losing our babies and although a part of me could understand that I didn’t do anything wrong, I also held onto that guilt like a cross to bear.

It felt like I’d completely forgotten how to enjoy the life I already had, because I was so focused on trying to bring a new life into our family. 

Of course, I was grateful for my two healthy boys. I was grateful that Andrew had been by my side through all of it. But I wasn’t connected to any of it. In my heart and head I was too busy battling my own grief demons to enjoy how blessed I already was.

After our 3rd loss, a wise woman reached out to remind me that I needed to start watering the flowers of my life and not just the weeds. I was already thinking it was time for me to shift my focus onto finding joy again and this message felt like confirmation from the universe.

I needed to teach myself how to live without another baby. I wanted to be okay with the fact that there might never be another baby for us. I wasn’t entirely giving up, but I did need to give myself a break from it all. I needed time to find myself and the light again.

Within this book I share my journey through grief with you. I hope to show you that there is a way out, not necessarily by having another baby, but by watering the flowers you already have.

This book is not the words of someone who has passed through grief and is now talking to you from the other side (as many of the books on baby loss seem to be.) I wrote these words on some of my darkness days.

I’ve read too many books on grief and loss that have been written from a very resolved place. From authors who had already made peace with their losses. But I wanted to read the words of someone who was in the same place I was. Not someone who would tell me that time would heal my wounds (even if that were the truth).

When you’re still feeling the intense pain of a fresh loss it is extremely hard to hear this perspective. While I could appreciate that maybe one day I would be able to look back and feel this way too, at the time I wanted words that spoke of how they felt during the process of healing, not after it had already happened.

I needed raw honesty. I wanted to read my own emotions on a page. I looked for words that mirrored how to be as sad as I was, without feeling like I should be coping ‘better’ or be more grateful for what I already had.

So I started writing from that place. When I started I didn’t know what the ending of this book would look like. Nor did I know how long it would take for me to get there.

While this book is about grief and my personal journey through it, I hope that it is also a story of great love, of finding joy and of hope. I can’t always feel all of these things, but I am certainly always looking for them. I want to encourage you to do the same. Even in your darkest moments, keep watering the flowers of your life.

Let me be clear though, this is not a book about overcoming grief. I’m not even sure I believe that’s possible anymore. From the many women I’ve spoken to, some whose losses were over forty years ago, losing a baby is not something you ever completely overcome.

Instead we have to find a way to reconcile the loss within us. It becomes a part of our story and we get to decide what meaning our loss takes on for us long term. It’s about finding a way to hold both love and sadness within us at the same time.

This book is for those of you still in the darkness. For those who feel lost and lonely within the transition of loss. It’s for you who is in the most excruciating pain you’d never imagined, for those who feel numb to it and for those who aren’t really sure how to feel.

Let this book be your guide home. Let it help you find your way again. Let it help you to start putting the broken pieces of yourself back together. No, they won’t ever come back in completely the same way as before. You will be forever changed, but I think that too can be a good thing (eventually anyway).

Right now, you might find yourself wishing you could go back to before, when you were naive to it all. Where the world was not such a scary and painful place. But the reality is, this new place, this new way of being in the world, is also in part about creating you.

This experience will change you into the person you need to be.

You will see the world in a completely new way.

Your perspective will forever be changed.

You will be know with absolute clarity what is important in your life and what is not.

Everything meaningless will drop away.

Eventually you may even be able to see this new version of yourself as a better one than before.

Though of course, it won’t feel like this in the beginning.

In the beginning, it will all just feel fucking unfair. You will find yourself muttering or crying out loud that ‘This is so unfair!’

You may even feel like you don’t want to go on. 

But you can. And you will. And you need to go on. 

Because if you allow yourself to go through the grief, if you can allow yourself to embrace your new reality (however reluctantly) you will discover that grief also brings us gifts.

Strength. Perspective. Bravery. Connection. Empathy.

A new way of being in the world that is fully present to all of it. The good. The bad. The ugly. The painful. The joy and the despair.

While it’s not all going to be good, having your eyes fully open to life is a powerful new way to experience it.

I will warn you though, the journey to this new place might be a long one. You may find yourself taking one step forward and five steps back. You might catch yourself numbing the pain rather than dealing with it. At some point (or at many points along the way) you might feel like you’re never going to make it.

Then one day you will. Slowly things will start to change. The pain will feel a little less jagged and unbearable, and you will find a way to make meaning of your loss that has previously felt completely unfair and meaningless. Of course, you may never find a ‘good’ explanation for why you lost your baby, but eventually your soul will be able to understand that all of this happened for a reason.

Whatever you decide that to be.

One of the surprising things I found about grief is how we need others to get through it. We need their stories to mirror back to us our own thoughts and our feelings. They help us understand our own grief.

If we try to battle grief alone, we can get so lost in the fog of it that we can’t see who we are now, or who we’ll eventually be on the other side. 

It can feel like a lonely road that we are destined to walk on forever. It can be difficult to understand our own feelings and it can feel like no one else understands us either.

But when we feel heard and understood, we can start to make sense of what’s happened. I can’t explain how it works. But being seen and understood by others, helps us to find a way to make the absolute awfulness of our situation feel somewhat okay.

Truthfully, this is a horrible shitty club to be a part of. This I-lost-ababy-and-life-feels-fucking-unfair-club. 

But one day you will find your way to the other side of it. You never get to leave the club, of course. But you’ll know that you’re starting to get there when you find yourself welcoming others to it. Offering others who go through this loss your story and your love, as I hope this book will do for you.

Before we get into my story, I just want to put it out there that at the time of writing these words I do not know whether or not there will be a baby at the end of this book. And that’s really not the point. I have not written this book because I know the secrets to overcoming all of the barriers to infertility and how to get your baby. 

I’m sorry if that’s what you came here for. That is not this book. As I write these words today I am unsure whether I’ll ever hold another newborn child of my own in my arms. But I’m determined to find a way back to happy anyway.

The aim of this book is to hopefully share how we can go on living and loving, regardless of whether our story includes a baby or not. 

It’s about whether we can open ourselves back up to the joy of life and all of it’s brutal and amazing experiences, knowing that there are no guarantees that it will all turn out okay. And maybe it will also be about being brave enough to open ourselves up to love again, when we know that loss may be the outcome.

I think we all want to believe that we will get our happy ending, but what if we don’t? At what point do we need to make the decision to find our happiness regardless of the outcome? And can it be done?

This book is not about overcoming the grief of losing a baby. It’s about finding a way to go on living a full life anyway. It’s about finding a way to make peace with your losses. It’s about doing the work to heal your heart and creating a life that makes you happy, not despite your losses, but because of them.

Purchase your copy of Watering the Flowers; A guide to find healing and hope after losing a baby here.

Other tools to find healing and hope after losing a baby

Yoga for healing after miscarriage series

Book a 1:1 healing session with me

Join the Online Yoga Circle – classes, practises and a community of women

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