A couple of months ago, I became aware of a couple on Twitter tweeting about an organisation called Saying Goodbye. After ‘chatting’ to the very lovely Zoe, I found out that the organisation hopes to support parents of ‘lost’ babies by holding Memorial Services in Cathedrals across the UK.
Regular blog readers will already be aware that I have been very fortunate to have enjoyed two pregnancies which resulted in the happy births of our gorgeous boys. We haven’t experienced the tragedy of a miscarriage, stillbirth or early infant death so can only try to imagine the heartbreak it causes. I have written briefly about stillbirth before and I have friends who have experienced these tragedies and who have very different ways of dealing with them.
Some families are very open and talk about their angel babies as much as they do their other children, others prefer to remember more privately within their family. Grief is a very personal thing and there is no right or wrong.
I know that when I found out I was pregnant with Spud, I already felt very pregnant at 4 weeks. I had morning sickness (all day) and my body was changing in order to nurture this tiny being. Before that moment, I always thought that if you suffered a miscarriage in the early stages of pregnancy that it was no big deal, that it was meant to be and that everything happens for a reason. I still think that things are meant to be and that they happen for a reason but that miscarriage is far from ‘no big deal’. I can begin now to understand how devastating it can be to be pregnant one minute and not the next. It’s not just the loss of the baby but of your hopes, dreams and excitement which are taken away in a moment. There’s no birth certificate or funeral to remember the little dot you loved before you even knew they existed.
Having had complications with Spud’s pregnancy, I was prepared for him to be born at 28 weeks and it was all a bit of a blur at the time. It’s only now when I look back that I can begin to imagine how different it all could have been. How unimaginably difficult it would have been to leave the hospital without our baby.
Having spoken to Mum’s online who’s babies were born sleeping or didn’t survive beyond a few weeks of birth, I know how important it is to be able to speak to other parents and to be able to support each other.
Losing a child can be very isolating. Other people don’t know how to react and they often come out with very insensitive comments without meaning to cause upset. You might not be able to talk freely with family as they are also grieving and you are the one who doesn’t want to upset them further. Being able to get support from parents who know exactly how heartbroken, angry, cheated and completely devastated you feel can be invaluable.
Saying Goodbye Memorial Services hope to support grieving families and to remember their babies with the support of other families who understand exactly what they are going through. To show the world that no matter how early these babies are lost, that they are all important and they are loved and remembered.
I don’t know if I had experienced a loss, if I would attend a Memorial Service. I might find comfort and support in attending, I might not. I don’t know. I will hopefully never have to find out.
I have decided to support Saying Goodbye because I don’t have all the answers.
I can’t make it better, no-one can.
They say time heals all but I suspect the best case scenario is that it simply dulls the pain a little.
Perhaps you will share this with a friend who shares with their friend who decides to attend a service and they find it helpful in dealing with their grief and that’s all I can hope for. That by spreading the word, it could reach someone who finds comfort in remembering the ones they love with people who understand their pain.
You can also read Zoe and Andy’s incredibly heartbreaking personal story which inspired them and motivates them still in organising these services. The list of services can be found on the main Saying Goodbye website and you can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook.
The first service takes place at Exeter Cathedral on 15th September 2012.
If you are grieving and would like support, Saying Goodbye are being supported by the following charities which you might find helpful…