I am sharing about my daughter Bethany born in my 16th week of pregnancy on 14th March this year. Bethany is the little girl I never thought I could have, after losing two babies early in pregnancy in 2008, 2009, having my beautiful son Caleb in 2010 and then another precious baby at 10 weeks in 2018.
I prayed this time would be ours and all would go well after so much heartbreak before. Growing our family finally, giving Caleb the sibling and companion that he longed for and that I longed to give him. Then in that moment being told my baby’s heart had stopped and she had died, part of me died too. In an instant my world became a different place, a dark place with no hope any more, just loss, heartbreak, sadness, longing and grief. Having to bring home that news to my son, so eager to become a brother, was horrific I simply can’t put it any other way.
The day Bethany was born, a tiny baby girl, my heart shattered to pieces. Bringing her into the world then saying goodbye all at once. The days and weeks that passed, trying to recover physically, planning her cremation service and trying to make it through that agonising day, facing each new day thinking and reliving in my mind what should have been, was all utterly exhausting. The Covid lockdown at the time was perfect timing for me though, I wanted to hide away and shut out the world. I still do most days. The waiting for 5 months to receive Bethany’s post mortem results was agony, week after week waiting on answers. Then finally being told there were no answers and in the consultants letter to me the words which simply said ‘Bethany was a perfect little girl’. This broke me again, how could I ever understand why this happened to my baby.
Now facing all the first milestones without her, counting the number of weeks she would’ve been and the grief I carry is beyond words. I keep going because I have to, I carry her in my heart and inner being every moment of every day, and I tell people her name – I want people to know I have a daughter, she is so very loved and her short life matters. We talk about her and Caleb proudly tells people he is a big brother.
Grief following the loss of a baby is something so very unique, it is a loss like no other. What has helped me through the last 8 months is being able to talk, through counselling and support, being open about my grief and being able to share and connect with other bereaved parents who know exactly how this feels. And who have become some of my closest friends and supporters. To know our babies matter and our grief matters, is so important. I’m grateful to everyone who supports me, holds me up on the days I cant face the day and doesn’t feel the need to rush me through my grief. There is no time to any of this, only the passage of time until I can hold Bethany and my babies again.