Fresh Grief: how to cope
Curated for Sands Australia: Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and newborn death support for parents
Sands 24/7 support line 1300 308 307
Edwina's beautiful boy Sebby died from a rare genetic condition at 10 months old. She is now one of our peer support workers and as wells as being the mother of Sebby, she is also the mother of two delightful rainbow babies. She has been kind enough to share her experience of moving forward through the grief and her insights for other families who suffer the same devastation as hers.
Don't rush your pain
Grief is private. Grief has no time frame. Grief knows no boundaries. Allow yourself to grieve your baby in whichever way you choose, for as long as you choose.
In time, the pain will become your companion, and you will feel ways to thrive with it by your side. But in the beginning, when the pain is too much, this is impossible. If anyone tries to force you to rush your grief, quietly step back from those relationships. They are not helpful and they are more of a reflection on that person than on you.
Your tribe may change, embrace that
The loss of a child is all-encompassing, but now that you have become part of this silent community, you may find that your long-term friends don't remain the closest people in your circle. Some friends and family won't know what to say or how to act. They may offend you or they may just start ignoring you altogether as they can't handle your pain. Unfortunately, this is par for the course. But this is ok. Sometimes it can take a tragedy for true friends to come out of the woodwork. You may rekindle old friendships or build new ones. The connections made from losing a child will not always be a sad, morbid one. These friendships are just based on a solid foundation of loss. And we all realise in time, that grief is something we will all experience, parents who lose children, just get there sooner.
Be kind to your partner
The first few months are so hard. You may be grieving in completely different ways, but always remember you are both grieving. There is no "right" way. If you can weather this storm together, your relationship will be stronger than most. There are few worse battles to endure, so when we say "for better or worse", this is the worse. Ride it out, be gentle, give space when it is required, but come together when you can. Particularly in talking about and commemorating your child together.
Take your time with commemorative decisions
Many late-term losses and post-natal losses mean that you will be given the ashes of your child. So often decisions around these ashes are made quickly and these decisions cannot be changed later on. Allowing the box of your baby to 'live' in your home for a few weeks or months before you choose what to do with it, can be a comfort to some and allow you to understand the importance of what is in the box. You may want to plant a tree or sprinkle the ashes at your special place, take some on your family holidays, have them made into precious mementos. The modern possibilities are endless, so take your time with this step.
Know that you will be ok
This path has been tread many times over. Whilst your pain feels immense right now and you feel so alone, there are shining examples everywhere of men and women who have survived the loss of a child. So many examples in fact, that you don't even see them all around you when at a busy shopping centre. One day you will laugh again, one day you will say their name with a smile, one day you will feel energised again. Your time will come and whilst you don't need to believe that just now, other people will always believe in you. So just grieve and be, and things will improve.
If you need to talk to someone we are here for you 24/7 on our support line 1300 308 307.