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Parents of lost babies and potential of all kinds: come here to share the technicolour, the vividness, the despair, the heart-broken-open, the compassion we learn for others, having been through this mess — and see it reflected back at you, acknowledged and understood.

Thanks to photographer Xin Li and to artist Stephanie Sicore for their respective illustrations and photos.

for one and all > Can I be of help to my friend who lost her baby born the same day as mine?

Hi,

I hope I am not intruding on the community. I'm so sorry for all of you who have lost your loves.

My old friend, not necessarily a close friend but one of my oldest, had her daughter (her second child) the same day I had mine. My baby lives; her baby girl did not. We wrote to each other a bit in those early days, but as time has gone on, I've kept my distance, letting her initiate any contact, because I am sure it must be intensely painful for her to think or hear about, much less see, her daughter's birthday twin.

I know she was afraid of people forgetting about her little girl. I've thought of sending her a quick text on their birthday to say I'm thinking of her and miss her daughter too, but I am also worried about this causing even more pain.

Any thoughts? Would you find this a welcome gesture or a hurtful one?

Thank you for reading.
February 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSB
Hi SB,

Thanks for reaching out to us.

I completely understand why you have mixed instincts. A lot of us tend to find children of the age that our child would have been especially triggery, and this is hard to get around. However, based on all the personal stories I've encountered in this last year and a few months, I can tell you that the burden of loss lessens when it's shared. I'm sure she won't mind knowing that you are thinking of her baby. On the contrary, these anniversaries are forgotten by most, and a lot of us feel terribly alone with our pain at that time, and incredibly grateful to those few who do remember.

In fact, I don't think she would mind knowing you are thinking of her daughter at other times as well. People are often reluctant to speak up for fear that they will hurt us by reminding us, but baby loss is actually something that stays on our minds every moment of every day for months and months and months after it happens. We are reminded anyway. Knowing someone else is with us in our pain is a blessing.
February 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAna
My daughter just passed away 5.5 months ago and at first, the support was absolutely amazing. People reached out every day, sent cards and flowers and food and small mementos and it felt like the world (our small little world at least) was mourning right along with us, every step of the way. As time has gone on, however, the support has really all but fettered away. There are weeks that go by without a single person reaching out, and it is incredibly isolating and lonely. It is scary because it's only been a few months, what will it be like in a year? A few years? Who will remember our girl?

As Ann said, we are grieving our child every moment of every day so you will not be reminding your friend of her pain by reaching out, but rather extending a hand to her to let her know you're there, even if it's awkward, even if it's hard, which will mean more than you know. I was pregnant at the same time as 5 of my friends and each of their babies was born and lived, unlike our Evelyn. I hear from all of them (some more frequently than others) and it was awkward at first but we try our best to make it work as best we can. I'll be honest: it hurts less if you are able to not talk about your child but just maybe talk about other things, while checking in on your friend's well-being and letting her know you care. I know that may be a sacrifice on your part but it has worked for my friend and I and has allowed us to maintain a friendship through loss. Over time, it may change but for now, that is the boundary we have set for ourselves.

I can only speak for myself as I am not your friend but when Evelyn's first birthday comes around in August, I sincerely hope we get a text or email or cards from people remembering our girl right along with us. It would truly mean the world. Thank you for wanting to be there for your friend and for reaching out to people who can help you do that.
February 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa
Oh I wish more of my friends remembered Shelby's birthday. I would be so happy if someone sent me a message or some gesture that showed they remembered. You are lovely to be thinking so much of your friend.
February 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterShelby's Mum
Here is the deal for me. I had three friends who had babies within the same month as me. There were two that sort of disappeared. They may have sent a note occasionally, but they kept their distance. I know they were uncomfortable. I know they were trying to protect me. But, I also have lost the closeness and friendship with them 2 years out. I never quite knew how to plug back into their lives, when they had missed such a significant part of mine. I felt as though they were waiting for me to be better- to come out & play again- rather than capable of sitting with me through it. I know now that people avoid (myself included), for themselves as much as they do the person they are hurting/worried for. I'm not saying this is bad, but if the relationship is important to you...you have to fight for that.

Which brings me to my 3rd friend who did not let me recoil into myself and avoid her. She was there. She played down her own motherhood, leaving the details she knew would hurt for others. She protected me in that sense- knowing I would come around to her baby when it was right for me. She continued to text, and send cards, and momentos. She admitted she didn't know what to do or say. She was vulnerable. And because of that, our relationship survived despite being in polar opposite circumstances. After awhile...9 months...I wanted to embrace her baby. I wanted, as much as it hurt, to love them for loving me.

So that's my advice- to be friend b.
February 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterElaina
I had one good friend when I was pregnant with my daughter and we were due on he same day...we'll my daughter died and her son lived. And she was lovely. She understood that I couldn't meet her son, she understood that I couldn't be there for months and then, she was still there when I became pregnant again. I met her son when they came to visit after my rainbow was born. Our friendship
Is different now but I'm grateful that she's still a friend. And I LOVE that she emails or calls on my daughter's bday and says her name,
February 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAB
Thank you all, generous parents, for your responses. I really appreciate all your thoughts. My gut feeling was to contact my friend and it sounds as if you all think I should too. Our babies' birthday is coming up next month but maybe I'll send her a note before that, too... after all their eleven-month birthday is this week.

From my heart to all of yours, a hug.
February 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSB
SB- thank you for coming here. Every time someone tells me that a friend hasn't called in almost 9 months because she doesn't know what to say, all I want to scream is "tell her to google it". So I really commend your reaching out to us. Definitely called her and as these other ladies suggested, steer clear of talking about your daughter, even though it may be difficult for you since she is your whole life right now. Just tell your friend you are thinking of her and her daughter and that you know the day must be hard. I am dreading the one year anniversary of our baby boys death- not least of which since I know very few people will remember.
February 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAbby
Thank you, Abby. I hope you feel remembered when the day comes.
February 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSB
SB - you are a great friend. I didn't read the other answers, so this may have been said already....but she already hurts. She will never forget. My guess is she will greatly appreciate your remembering. My friend came to my daughters funeral and had her son a week later. It hurts, but it's lovely that she remembers my daughter. Hugs to you for your thoughtfulness and consideration!!!
March 21, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterko