Grief – definition: intense sorrow, especially caused my someone’s death.
I have been grieving for 1384 days. My journey began on the 16th October 2015, the day my daughter died. She was a full term baby, she weighed 9lb 7oz. Her name is Betty Dora Burborough. I have 2 sons, one who came before her and one who came after. I will only ever know what it is like to raise a daughter in my heart, never in my arms. Betty was stillborn, on October 17th 2015 she became 1 of the 15 babies that died in the UK that day. Betty was that statistic, I am part of that statistic. And here begins my journey, my journey of grief, loss, tragedy but ultimately love.
Nearly four years on I am used to how it feels now, I can deal with it, I can control it. Sometimes I feel worse, sometimes I feel ok. I will never feel ‘better’ I will never feel the same. I have just learnt to live and navigate it all. It 100% doesn’t feel as raw as it did in those first few weeks, months, but it’s still there, she is still gone. I have HAD to deal with it, I have HAD to live without her BUT I will NEVER accept and have peace with what happened to me, to us, to my family. Whoever said ‘everything happens for a reason’ – whilst I appreciate so many more things have happened that probably would not had she lived I doubt that person had experienced the loss of their child. I have said this so many times before but a parent should NEVER have to bury their child. It is not the way life was intended, it should be the other way round. I know it’s not always the case, I have done it – so many others I know now have also done it. We are the statistic, but we each have a story, we each have a child who we are desperate to tell you about, share with you, we want you to see them, admire them, tell us how beautiful they are, just like you would with everyone’s living children. The difference is, we only have a handful of images, we don’t have carefully curated photos of them with balloons on their birthdays, laid on a mat with a cute caption each month when they are babies. Their ‘firsts’ were their ‘lasts’. They will forever be ‘our babies’ because for them life went no further.
I don’t want you to feel sorry for me, I don’t need sympathy. I just want you to understand my story so that if you or one of your friends or family find themselves in this position you can help them, be there for them. The death of a child will always be a shock, it will always be in my opinion one of the worst things you can go through or see anyone else go through. But, perhaps myself and others talking about what we’ve been through can help you to guide a loved one or yourself should it god forbid ever happen to you.
I’m not here to try and scare you. If you are currently pregnant or grieving yourself then you may not feel you have a place here right now and that’s ok. I understand. But this week I want to try and help, try and educate. I’m not an expert, but I have been through it. There’s no tool kit for loss, but there are some things I would of done differently had I known more about baby loss. That doesn’t mean to say that if you are pregnant you need to read and educate yourself, I don’t want people to go through what should be a wonderful time in your life in fear. I am not here to breed fear. But at least if today or tomorrow or anytime from the moment these words are published you or someone you know find yourself in this position you may be able to help them, this may be able to help them. They might be able to capture the photos I wish I had, or avoid the situations I wish I had.
If you have read this far, thank you. If you havn’t lost a baby but have read this, thank you. Thank you for trying to understand and thank you for allowing yourself to be open to this topic. If you have lost a baby, I am so sorry, I am sorry you have had to come here, I am sorry they died. But please know you are not alone, please know you are going to be ok, please know there is no sugar coating it, life will not be easy from this point, but it will get better. Please don’t feel ashamed, don’t feel isolated, and don’t suffer alone or in silence. In order to grieve we must re-live and talk about our experiences so that we can understand and move forward (not on).
So welcome, my name is Jen and my daughter was stillborn, my daughter died.