It’s been four months now since I gave birth to my sleeping angel and I now feel ready to write a monthly diary on my feelings surrounding her birth and death; and how we are, as a family, getting on with life without our much longed for daughter.
So, I haven’t been able to write up until now about my own personal feelings as it has all seemed far to raw. However, I received a message late last night asking how long it takes for the pain to go… I don’t think the pain ever truly leaves but I think you find a way to move forward, I also believe that this takes a different amount of time for every person. You need to expect good days and bad days… I have days when I don’t feel like doing anything at all; but I force myself to because I have a family and a home to run! I have also been asked the question ‘when do things start to return to normal?’, I believe after speaking to many loss mums and dads that things never really return to normal after you’ve lost a child… you just find a ‘new normal’ if that makes sense; you find a way of coping and as time goes on you will naturally start to look to the future again… but this is not something that you can force, and it will happen gradually, over time.
I thought I’d give an overview of the first three months before moving on to how I feel – 4 months on:
The first month for me was all about planning Sophie’s funeral (Sophie’s special day as I prefer to call it). Sophie had a post-mortem which had to be done at Great Ormond Street Hospital and took 7 days… these were the longest days and I hated the thought of my baby being there alone. We couldn’t start any funeral arrangements until she was back in Maidstone so the time just dragged. During this time, we went to register her birth and death… and for anyone reading this who is at the start of this harrowing journey be prepared for the registrar to be very ‘professional and official’, by that I mean cold with zero empathy! I think they have to be really as it’s an official document, but we weren’t prepared for it!
So after Sophie was returned to the funeral directors we were able to start planning her special day. I will be writing a separate post on how to plan your baby’s funeral and will post the link here. We decided that we wanted a really big send off and had a balloon release, a lovely ceremony and a gorgeous venue for her wake. It took a month before we could bury Sophie and I coped really well during this time as I was busy planning her funeral and seeing her regularly at the funeral directors.
This month was hard… the funeral had taken place now and I had nothing left to plan or organise; the only time I could see my baby now was at the graveside and I found that although I began by visiting every day, this soon went to once a week. I did feel guilty for not going every day, but I have my other children to care for and I felt that I was just getting too upset. So, I reduced it to once a week, which is how often I go there now. We had our appointment with the consultant 8 weeks after Sophie’s death, this also made this month extra hard as we were discussing the pregnancy, birth and death, as well as post-mortem results and plans for a future pregnancy. The appointment was draining and upsetting, but we are thankful that we now have answers as to what went wrong.
This month was challenging but not as difficult; My focus was on helping my eldest son through his GCSEs. I could finally look at Sophie’s photos and talk about her without crying (and anyone who knows me, knows that I talk about her a lot!); although at night-time it hits me quite bad… when the children are in bed and I have time to think!
So, moving on to this month… How do I feel? Well, that’s a difficult one because I still have good days and bad days but I’m definitely having more good days! I am laughing now without feeling guilty, and I can finally look at pregnant women without feeling intense jealousy. I do still struggle to look at newborn’s though, and it does really get to me if I hear stories about people who don’t care for their children. But I can say ‘I’m getting there’ and actually mean it! The night-time’s are still hard and I still struggle to motivate myself, but I have fantastic friends and family which really helps. I asked a good friend the day before the funeral (who had unfortunately lost her son in an accident) ‘how the heck am I even going to walk tomorrow!?’ my legs literally went like jelly each time I thought about it! And she said to me ‘you will get through it by taking one step at a time’. And that was the best advice anyone could have given me! And that’s the advice I will give anyone else who is going through this. I find that also helping other people is healing for me and I will do anything I can to help and support anyone who is going though miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss.
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