A First Christmas without your baby
A message to all mums and dads this Christmas who are grieving the loss of a child for the first time. I am so sorry you are here.
To those who are here for the First Time.
The anticipation of any anniversary can be daunting when you are grieving. A first birthday, a first Christmas, a first new year without a child.
Next year I will face the first year of school that our Sebby won’t ever attend.
These moments feel so large, and they loom big in your future of firsts. December absolutely feels hard. I am a volunteer on the Peer Support line and I note the calls regarding pregnancy loss feel a little heavier because “at Christmas, I should have been pregnant”.
When a baby dies your whole future changes. It’s not just the single day of the loss, it’s a lifetime of days we have to face.
But what those of us, who have been through the first, the second, and I imagine, the 10th the 50th will let you know is that the 1st isn’t more hard, it’s just a little harder for you to understand.
I truly don’t believe that grief fades. I believe the 'grief button' just gets hit a little less with time, but gosh it hurts just as much.
What those with experience can share with you is that we have learned a little, very slowly, to bring the grief on our travels. To welcome it, to keep it by our side, and learn not to be afraid of it.
Grief should be sad and can be overwhelming because grief is a hole in our heart.
A hole shaped just like the children that should be there. Some days we rise against it, and some days we won’t. Don’t fight that.
We lost Sebby four years ago when he was ten months old. He was perfect and will forever be.
It’s unbelievable to me that that perfect life was shattered. I do not know how I am here and telling this story to you because how on earth does a mother lose her baby and continue?
I truly don’t know.
But I know you will continue too. I don’t know how, but you will.
It is just what we do, and wow it’s inspiring.
Sebby now has a four-year-old brother and a two-year-old sister. He is a huge part of their lives. They say they have a big brother, but I don’t think the comprehension will hit them until they grow and become parents too.
Death is such a big thing to understand, but their innocence and honesty when asking questions about him are humbling and many adults can learn from the mouths of babes.
But what we do, to protect others, when the grief is too painful and too hurtful to talk about, is we hide it.
But that means we hide our lost children too. We don’t allow them to grow and live freely in our world, but that is exactly where they need to be.
Child loss is unique and all-consuming, we join this club of heroes. I say heroes because no one could even begin to understand the uphill battle we face each day.
But here we are. You are here, and you are doing it.
Sometimes we question others for not feeling it with us too. For us, what is a gaping wound, to them is just a scar - but this is where time, and this community, can help you.
When child loss occurs, sometimes friendship and family loss happens too. The feat is too great for many. Who you thought would be your ‘support crew’ can shockingly change in an instant. But I say let those people go. Don’t allow any second of your grief to focus on anything except your beautiful child.
The more you allow the grief in, the more you become comfortable in life with truly owning that you are a bereaved parent. You NEVER need to be ashamed or afraid to say it out loud.
My heart is broken. It will never fully heal. Your’s won’t either, but that is ok.
We have our memories, and some of us are so lucky to have special photos and videos. We can look at those things and know that two things are true - complete joy and utter heartbreak.
Others sometimes don’t understand that.
It’s a balance that takes time to get to.
So this Christmas, I send you all, my beautiful bereavement family, the most gentle love and care. A time when you can celebrate loudly for those who aren’t by your side.
Because they ARE here, they ARE real, and they ARE yours forever.
How lucky we are.
Love Edwina, a cheerleader in your community.
SAVE A SEAT FOR ME
Rituals are so important at Christmas time - read 'Uncle Douggie's' poem for Sebby here.