Thank you to the online sisterhood of baby loss
As it's baby loss awareness week I wanted to share this again. I wrote it 2 years ago to say thank you and to raise awareness that you don't have to be alone.
As you may know I lost my daughter in December 2013. As I was searching for someone that could talk to me I came across a group of ladies on a social media site. One of the girls was inviting other ladies to a private pregnancy after loss group. I asked if I could join and was welcomed with open arms.
When I joined I thought some of these names were really quite funny, I was pretty boring Charlotti, but some of the ladies on the group had more exciting and mysterious names like Happyandhopeful, Animaule, Chalky, Bob, cocolocolady, Analambchop, Babyouch, Dexter, LouLou4444, GW80 I really could go on for hours.
So there I was, a bit scared I must admit, I’d heard lots of weird things about talking to people online. I didn’t want to share too much in case they were a bunch of weirdos.
It seemed a nice group though and we all had something in common, we’d all lost a baby, no matter what gestation the baby was, our babies mattered.
We had another thing in common, we were all scared senseless that the babies we were carrying wouldn’t make it. Unfortunately some of the babies didn’t and sadly some of the ladies left the group. Each and every baby loss was heart breaking and it always brought us back home to ‘what if’.
I found over time that I needed these ladies, we spoke every day, several times. We could express our fears and apprehensively share our hopes and dreams with each other. In time, these ladies became my friends. We moved our friendships over to a group elsewhere, where for the first time in months we found out each others real names and we could then put a face to the person and user name we had been speaking to.
We went through a lot together, every time one of us had a scan we rallied around wishing luck and checking in a million times to see if there was an update. Consultant appointments, midwife appointments etc, but one thing that never tired was the support from the ladies. No matter how low you felt or how often you needed some support, there was always someone to talk to and someone to offer you the words you needed, even if the words were simply “we’re here for you’ and ‘one day at a time.’
We would get excited for each other when something wonderful happened like reaching milestones, negative harmony results, learning the baby was healthy and well after a scan. After good news we would often chat about baby names and we all loved that so much. We could talk about names until the cows came home.
To keep us going and distracted from the reality of our situations one of the ladies had an idea to introduced ‘Cake Saturday’ which meant that every Saturday we had to eat cake and take a photograph of it and post it on the group. It did my weight no good especially as the cake seemed to accidentally spread into the week as well.
Then we introduced ‘Purchase Tuesday’ which meant if we bought something that week then we’d show each other what we’d bought on a Tuesday. In fact my partner asked me if the ladies all said they were going to inject crack into their eyeballs on a Thursday would I do that too? I don’t think I would have gone that far. But as silly as these things may seem, it was the little things that kept us going through the hardest 9 months.
However, we did it and after what seemed 100 months the rainbows started arriving. I think we were all extremely apprehensive. Our lovely naivety had been ripped away from us and so being pregnant and giving birth was nothing more than extremely scary. So after a few visuals of mucus plugs being presented, (yikes, I kid you not) and many updates on contractions on the group, one by one the rainbows arrived, not all easy journeys but as a miracle might have it they were all born alive and well.
It really has been one hell of a journey with these ladies, I have spoken with them, cared about them, laughed and cried with them almost every single day for the past three years. I didn’t realise that I would ever have anything like this.
As for the rainbows, well what can I say, how lucky am I to have watched almost 60 beautiful rainbow babies grow into gorgeous happy toddlers. I have seen their first birth photos, their first outfits, their first mouthfuls of food and plenty of ‘yikes what in this nappy’ photos. I’ve seen their first crawls and their first steps. I’ve shared their first birthdays and their second and every Christmas they've had so far. There isn’t a day that I don’t think about my rainbow friends and their children. Without these ladies I don’t know what type of experience I would have had.
It makes me really sad how often I see ladies against each other in motherhood, fighting about what they think the other mother is doing right or wrong with their child. I can’t imagine how alone I would have felt without these ladies and without us uniting together no matter what our choices have been.
It is truly amazing what friendships can come from the deepest and darkest of places, and when you accept each other for doing things their own way. Parenthood isn’t a race to the end or about being better than someone else, it’s about love and devotion. It’s the most challenging yet the most utterly beautiful journey you can ever undertake. So don’t fight with each other, love and support each other and enjoy special friendships.
Before I finish I want to acknowledge all of the babies that didn’t make it. Each and every single baby that hasn’t made it to live on earth, you matter, you really matter and I know for a fact that you were wanted and you are loved and always will be.
So, you know who you are girls, thank you, from the bottom of my heart thank you for your friendship, love and never ending support xx