The Realities of Grieving For A Baby
**Trigger Warning – Baby Loss**
Apparently I was talking in my sleep the other night. I was telling someone that Heidi was mine and not to take her away. I remember that dream vividly, mainly because I have it at least once a week. There is someone taking her out of my arms and walking away with her. I can’t get off the bed and she is gone. The most painful part of that dream is that she is alive.
Sitting on the sofa at night with a big bar of chocolate crying my eyes out. Going through Heidi’s memory box. Talking about the night the twins were born. These are all things I expected of my grief. I expected grief to go a certain way, the way that is portrayed in books and films. I expected it to be text book and like so many other things in life it hasn’t been. In fact, it hasn’t been how I expected at all.
‘Just be grateful that you have 2 healthy children and that you get to see what she would have been like through Little Lady’. That statement has been said to me so many times I’ve lost count. It’s well meaning of course but my response (mostly not said aloud) is always the same; could you imagine life without one of your children? I am lucky but my love and time spent with Little Man and Little Lady are totally separate to my grief for Heidi. I parent 3 children but my parenting for Heidi is through my grief.
One of the things that I didn’t expect to experiencing in my grief journey was the flashbacks. They are worse when I am feeling anxious, tired and hormonal. I actually had some the night before that dream happened. I was in bed, alone with a headache and had gone to bed pretty much straight after the kids to sleep it off. Sleep didn’t come though and as I lay there with my eyes closed all I could see was the night everything happened; being told Heidi hadn’t made it, Little Lady being put into an incubator, not being able to take either of them with me onto the recovery ward.
Grief catches me unaware a lot now I am 2 years into it all. It isn’t the raw grief now; the anger, the long bouts of crying. Now it is, I suppose gentler but almost more painful. I was cleaning out Little Lady’s toy box the other day and found at the bottom of it two identical teddies, obviously meant for the twins. Twin announcements on social media can send me off crying too even with people I don’t know. I’m obviously happy for those people but also so envious that I didn’t get my happy ending to my twin announcement.
As I have said a thousand times, there are no hard fast rules for grief especially when you are grieving for your baby. In the early days of this journey I even once got asked how I could grieve for someone I didn’t know because she hadn’t been in my life. But she had, she had lived inside of my tummy for 29 weeks, I had seen her on scans kicking her sister, I had felt her kick my ribs numerous times and I had got to know her for those 24 hours after she had been born.
I hope that if you are reading this feeling similar to me then this makes you feel less alone, there aren’t any magic answers I can give you to make it all easier because somehow you just get through but you are not alone. I also hope that if you are reading this unsure how to talk to someone that you know who has empty arms that this helps you to understand how they are feeling.
There is text book grief and then there is the realities of grief and everyones reality is different.