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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 > Bereavement suite

It’s nearly 1am and nearly 48 hours after I gave birth to my daughter at 21 weeks. I have held her and saw her so perfect and small, I just cannot get my head around this or how it will ever be okay.
I have two amazing boys and my brain is telling me to cherish and love them, but my heart is breaking at this loss.
In my grief, I have all the “what ifs” whirling around. I had an amnio test. I did it for the right reasons, my little girl had a heart defect that could have been connected to a chromosomal abnormality. My nephew has no quality of life, either sedated or in pain and was diagnosed with a heart defect at 20 week scan. His brother died at 5 weeks old after a 20 week scan heart diagnosis. I have two small boys who have a great life and need me, I needed to consider them. Yet, what if the amnio caused my beautiful, prefect baby girl to die? What if I had hassled the midwives more when they sent me home earlier with a suspected virus when I thought I was in early labour?
And now I cannot go home as they try to get what may or may not be an infection out of me. And they are testing everything to see what caused this and I do not want to know. I want my baby so badly, that is all. Nothing will change that she is not here. And I do not want to be told that this is my fault because I do not know how I will cope with that and I want to be strong for my boys, who deserve all I have.
I don’t know what I want from this post and I do know this grief will change with time, because I need it to, because it must for the rest of the family. I also know somehow I will get through these weeks, the funeral, her due date, my pregnant friends, I just need to work out how this will be possible and how I can forgive myself.xx
May 27, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLauren
Dear Lauren
I am so sorry for you and your little daughter, it is a horrible and devastating time. I lost my daughter Alicia at 36 weeks, she died from placental insufficiency. For me it took months to get my head around it, it has been 1,5 years now, but I am still crushed sometimes. Life did continue though, somehow. And so you will also continue, as you have realised, and somehow you will get along tough mom. It is much too early to see how exactly, just keep going for now. You will do it. Most important: this is not your fault. Say it to yourself every time the feeling comes up. Make other people say it to you. Say it every day. Last thing you need is guilt on your shoulders, it isn’t going to help you no matter what the medical facts are. My therapist told me fault and guilt always imply the will to do harm in the first place and l believe it is true. Now you will never find even a trace of intent to harm your daughter in your heart in the first place so whatever happened is clearly not your fault. Please try to let that go, no need to forgive yourself something you have not committed. I hope I could make myself clear, I don’t want to be pushy. Stay in contact if you like, we are standing together here, understanding and trying to pull us through, every day. Love to you and your sweet daughter, I am thinking of you.
May 28, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJana
Dear Jana,

Thank you so much for your message and I am so sorry for you have had to go through so much.
Your words make sense to me so thank you, I am trying to keep just taking one step at a time. So much to cope with, want to just crawl into a ball but the midwife is coming to do more bloods, going to register Mila’s birth and death this afternoon. I cannot even think about the funeral yet.
I keep talking which tears me up but also stops my head going to the places that do no good.
Really thankful for this site, it is so gentle and lets me know it is okay not to be okay.
Thank you so much again and take care of yourself.xx
May 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLauren
Lauren, I am so so so sorry for the loss of your sweet girl. I lost my son to premature labor at 24 weeks about 5 months ago, in the first weeks, and still occasionally, there were so many alternate realities that my mind would go to, so many "what if's" like, if I had just TIMED those so-mild-I-could-hardly-feel-them cramps I had, if I had NOT listened to my midwife when I called with concerns and she said what I was feeling was normal, if I had not gone out to dinner and just straight to the ER, if if if.

Nothing you did was wrong. You made every right decision for your baby. While I so wish this was just a bad dream, over the last few months I have been able to be a little more stable in my reality. You will too, in your own time. I had to, at first, make the decision every single day to forgive myself. Now the self-blame is quieter.

As for the funeral, I remember being numb through the planning process. My mom and mother-in-law and my husband were right there with me. I picked a coffin that I felt gave my son dignity - it was well made and simple, and comfortable. I chose to bury him next to my brother in law (who died two years ago at 27), so he would have companionship and "know" his uncle. I am planting an extensive and exhausting garden in his memory, so that because of him, life grows, and I have work to do every day to keep him proud of his mom.

We're in this together.

May 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAllison
Thank you Allison,
I am up in the middle of the night again, woke up sweating and shaking, and remembering every moment. Your message helps me resolve to focus on dealing with this slowly and rationally. I got through today where the midwife confirmed that an underlying infection and the amnio caused a”perfect storm”, I will keep telling myself it was not my fault, just unlucky.
This grief is such a lonely place, it’s not just memories but the memories of what physically happened, how you feel and how you felt in your body. Still carrying the weight in your tummy, but not looking pregnant. My breast shrinking back to normal size. The stomach cramps as your body goes back to normal. It’s such a bloody horrible physical process.
Allison, I am so sorry for your loss and I can really relate to what you are saying. I am taking some leave from work and I plan to dig my way through this grief, grow veg and get my physical strength back. We will also be planting a tree for Mila where we spend a lot of time so she is always with us as a family.xx
May 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLauren
hello again Lauren. I still have those nights, the flashbacks, how quickly everything went from perfect to disaster. I do remember that initial physical toll so acutely. The milk, the belly, no more kicks- to be quite honest with you I still cannot keep my hand on my belly for more than a second. My heart is breaking for you because I remember so well how being early postpartum without a baby was so difficult, and I remember really having a hard time being in my body for a few weeks. Although I’m still so early in this too, I can tell you that a few months time can make such a difference for building your strength/confidence back up physically. It’s odd sometimes- when I encounter people who don’t feel comfortable talking about the grief side of things, they always ask how I’m feeling “physically “, and while I think that’s an odd question the real answer is that my body has returned back to normal so much quicker than the rest of me. I had a c section, so things were a little hairy for a while. The little spare strength I have is being sent your way. I hope today was okay for you. Each day is different, and you will have days that have a little more lightness, and I hope you can find space to embrace them. I’ll be thinking of you and your sweet little one. <3
May 31, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAllison
Dear Lauren
Mila- what a wonderful Name, it struck me, she is Mila superstar. For me, hardest part of preparing the funeral was picking a place, I just couldn’t imagine leaving my girl there. It helped me to insist on one detail of the funeral (putting flower petals on her coffin), maybe you have considered something that is important for you. Also quite many relatives and friends turned up, which also helped me because it made my daughter real and important. I hope so much that you can find a way through all the pain. Stay strong, greetings to beautiful Mila and you.
June 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJana
Dear Jana,

We are having a basic service at the hospital chapel whilst she is cremated, but my partner does not want to come so my brother will go with me. People say “sorry for your miscarriage”, I want to tell them she was a baby and I held her, but I don’t. There are a few people I know who have been through this, other than that I feel people don’t understand the loss.
I know how you feel about leaving them somewhere. I don’t have any religious beliefs but burying her tiny body somewhere that has no meaning or connection to us seems wrong, as does cremation. My only hope that is with a cremation I can keep her with us. I am thinking a price of jewellery and a tree on a price of land we own and spend time together.
The service is next Tuesday and I am trying to find a reading that holds resonance, but am struggling. I feel hopeless and in such a dark place right now, but I want the reading to reflect hope and love that I hope I will feel at some point. I don’t want her life to only be connected to the the darkness I feel right now.
The physical longing for her is really kicking in now. I sometimes think I want to know my test results and try for another baby, although I know I cannot solve this grief or replace her. Sometimes I think about adopting a little girl, giving all this love to someone it will do good for, then some good will come of this inescapable grief. I know my partner will not want any of this. I feel like right now he does not want me, that my grief is too much for him.
I have experienced loss and sadness before, but never this. There are times, thankfully, that do not last for more than a few hours, that the pain so so strong that I cannot think of carrying on living. Like a dark cloud envelops me and all thoughts of my children and good cannot break through and all there is is sadness that I cannot cope with and I do not want to be. I feel panicked by this, I repeat a mantra that “these thoughts are in the moment and will pass”, I have told a friend, I have asked people to keep an eye of me. I find comfort in the people I see leading normal, happy lives who have been through this pain. They are still in pain but life goes on and there is happiness.
Thank you Jana and Allison for sharing with me, reading your posts is agony, but helps so much, as does writing down my own thoughts that are near impossible to share verbally.
Love to you
June 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLauren