If you were to see me walking down the street with my two daughters Holley 15 and Belle 10, you would more than likely see me smiling. There isn’t a day that goes by since the days they were born that I don’t smile and take a moment to stop and appreciate the precious gifts that they truly are.
I have no doubt that every parent looks at their children this way but when you have experienced losing a child, I believe there is something about this feeling that is deepened.
What I know now is that I am one of the many parents from around the world who have learned the hard way that having full term healthy babies really is nothing short of a miracle.
Sixteen years ago, I had my first baby. My son Jesse was stillborn. Three years later I had my third baby, Bo. Sadly, and completely unexpectedly my daughter died five hours after she was born.
Up until those two very special days in my life, I had never experienced the intensity of sadness as an emotion. I didn’t know how to say goodbye to them after I’d just said hello. I didn’t know how to function or to do much at all except grieve.
There is absolutely nothing that prepares you for the rollercoaster of emotions that follows the loss of your baby. Confused, angry, sad, frustrated, empty, lost, helpless, shock, disbelief.
After losing my babies, during my early stages of grief, I did a lot of reading about other people’s losses. As sad as every story was to read, I found it to be quite healing and found comfort in knowing that I wasn’t the only one.
I then read about an organisation called Sands (now Red Nose) and started attending the monthly support meetings. I found meeting people in real life who were going through a similar journey helped me greatly. It was so healing to be able to support one another, listen to and share our experiences without judgement or anyone feeling uncomfortable.
Without a doubt the peer support I received through Sands immensely helped me mentally and emotionally during the times that I needed it the most.
So much so that I am now in a place where I can use my experience of baby loss to help other bereaved parents, families, and their friends. 5 years ago, I become a volunteer parent supporter on the Red Nose national 24/7 support line (1300 308 307) as well as a co-facilitator for face to face and online support group meetings.
More recently I have been very grateful to become employed by Red Nose/Sands as a Bereavement Outreach Worker in the Hospital to Home Pilot program supporting families in the early months after losing their precious babies.
I feel that if I can offer my emotional and empathetic support to anyone who reaches out and can help them in some small way then my heart is content. This is my way to honour my babies, keep their spirit alive within me and make a difference in the lives of others who find themselves walking a similar road.
I share my story for no other reasons except to remember and acknowledge my babies and to help break the silence and create awareness around baby loss.
As much as I would give anything to be able to hold all four of my babies in my arms, I will be forever grateful for the miracle of my two beautiful healthy daughters that I have been blessed to share this life with as well as for everything that my two angels have taught me about life, love, strength, hope, resilience, and gratitude.
When you lose a parent you lose your past, but when you lose a child, you lose your future. My heart goes out to all who have lost; I know and understand your pain.
October 15 is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
Reach out to our 24/7 support line on 1300 308 307 or visit our support library
This year to acknowledge International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day we are sharing the moments of silence affecting bereaved parents to encourage conversation about pregnancy and infant loss for the month of October.