Nothing to hold. Nothing to grieve. Nothing.

I started counting this morning. The ones that I know about. Aunties and uncles. A distant cousin. In-laws. Twins. Two babies for two Mums. Some at seven weeks. Some at thirteen. Gone. No heartbeat. I’m sorry.

I got to fourteen. Fourteen babies that started life but were never born. These are the ones I know about. That I’ve heard about through shocked faces of other friends; “She’s lost them.” The babies I learned about through other conversations. And was told about when a new baby was born.

I think of these babies as if they had been born. Fourteen faces in one room. Old and young. Showing family features and friend’s features. Waving. Alive. Chatting. Their birthdays etched in the calendar, their due dates never reached.

What about the babies I don’t know about? What about the unborn children that mothers could never bare to speak about or reveal?

Sandra Harty Conway wrote about her losses in this poignant blog piece, “Your baby is gone and their future that you so longed and planned for is gone. You have nothing, no memories, no stories; you are just left with a feeling of emptiness, loneliness, pain and anger. You will never get to see your baby, you won’t hold your baby and celebrate their birth.” It was this that struck me the most. Nothing to hold. Nothing to grieve. No box of memories. Nothing.

October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I’ve seen so much coverage of what can often be a taboo subject. This can only be a good thing. To raise awareness. To start the conversation. To give a voice to those who are suffering, but can never speak.

I feel as though I have no authority to write on the subject. It has never happened to me. All I can do is imagine. To remember what I first felt when I learned I was expecting and how I worried that the tiny bud of growth would stop growing and disappear, back into the body that had nested it.

My friend and writer Isabel Hayes captures her experience beautifully. And so I will leave you with her piece.

 

26 Comments on Nothing to hold. Nothing to grieve. Nothing.

  1. Hi,

    thanks for your post. It is a really touching piece of writing. I really can’t imagine how horrendous it must be to lose a baby. I am not sure that I can read the links in your post at the moment because I don’t want to cry this evening – just saying that makes me feel incredibly selfish…I can chose not to read a link and face the reality, others are not so lucky.

    thanks again
    x

    • It’s ok not to read – totally understand that, don’t feel bad! it is such a difficult topic, but by talking about it more openly, I think it will help parents who are going through what must be the most difficult of times. Thank you for your comment x

  2. Thank you for sharing such a difficult subject to be thinking about. I will never really know what it feels like yet imagine it. But to those who had experience a difficult loss… opening up is the most challenging thing you could ever do. Memories are there to always remember but never forgotten

    • I think that’s what can make it the hardest – there is nothing left of a baby that was never born. No clothing to hold, nothing. Very sad. But agree, opening up is the most challenging. but probably the best way to heal 🙂

  3. The loss of a child too young to even see the world is heartbreaking, I really feel for mothers who have lost their children. Although I have never lost a child I think that we should all help those who are suffering in silence.

  4. I have been through losing a baby and so has my mum and many friends. It always shocks me how common it is and yet how many people don’t talk about it. Hopefully, people will feel that they can be more open and share their feelings about baby loss.

    • So sorry to hear that Janette. It is so common – and prob more common than we know as people often don’t talk about it or keep it a secret, which you can understand too. I know there’s days for this and that, for every cause, but I feel this one is actually very important, particularly for women who probably bear the brunt of the loss.

  5. I have friends who have gone through this and having not been through it myself it’s hard to know what to say but we all know that worry when you first find out you’re expecting, that constant feeling you’re going to lose them It definitely should be talked about more. Xx

    • Yes it’s terrifying, you’re watching every twinge and niggle and don’t ever relax until they are there in your arms. Especially in the early days. And actually you never relax after they come along either!

  6. These posts are bringing tears to my eyes, but thank you for posting! I was a huge fan of Sandra’s bravery and honesty on the topic as well, and I think talking about miscarriages is long overdue. As heartbreaking as it is, the discussion needs to be had so that women don’t feel as if it’s their fault or their failures that made this happen. Because as you’ve pointed out, there are 14 you know of. These people are not alone, and they should have support. x

    • Absolutely Zoe, you are spot on. Sandra’s piece was great. You’re right, I think women can feel they are to blame, when things are really out of their control. Thanks for your thoughtful comment xx

  7. It has been heartbreaking the past week hearing so many stories about baby loss.I really feel for them but my words seem empty and no comfort at all.

    • I don’t think words are empty – sometimes you can’t even say anything at all. Just letting people know we understand and acknowledge the loss is a lot I think.

  8. It’s totally heartbreaking, but it’s good that women now feel they can share stories, and find comfort in the stories of other. For too long it has been a taboo subject, and it must be so hard for women to go through something so awful and have to keep it bottled up inside.

    • Absolutely. It’s not something that ever goes away for a family who’ve been through it I’m sure. Thanks for your comment x

  9. This is a really written and poignant piece. we recently almost lost our third child at the very end of our pregnancy, and i literally can not begin to imagine how different our life would be now if that had happened. I’m so glad people like you are out here talking about this subject and getting others to speak out xxx

    • So sorry to hear you had such a terrifying experience – I can’t imagine it either. It’s probably far more common than we know but people perhaps feel that they can’t talk about it, or understandably. don’t want to. Hopefully acknowledging the pain and suffering will go some way to help that. Thanks for your comment xx

  10. I know the feeling, since mine died when I was 36 weeks old. I remember it like if it was yesterday (14 years ago) but I’m glad I can talk about it without grief in my heart.

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