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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.

parenting after loss > Finding friends

My second child just turned 4 months and my first child's birthday is/should be next week. Intellectualy I know that I can't avoid people forever and I know I can't just keep him with me at home all day. We go and do stuff on the weekend but the idea of meeting new people gives me a lot of anxiety, especially people with kids. I don't know how to feel comfortable around people with everything that is in my head and my heart. The pain is still so present, like a knot deep inside chest. I know I am extra emotional right now because we are approaching the two year mark and everything is still so raw and confusing now that we have a second child. It's a strange pull between wanting friends and doing "normal" things like play dates etc, and not ever wanting to let anyone else into my life. I was already a bit cynical about people before life got really fucked, and now I am even more leery of people. I want friends so he can have friends, and there is a part of me that wants friends for myself. I don't know how to have friends anymore, what to say and not say and what will they say. What to do if I feel uncomfortable or want to leave. Do I tell them right away? Hi, my name is Amanda and my baby died and I'm super fucked up as a result and I may cry seemingly unprovoked and I still have nightmares often, want to come over for a tea party?? Somehow I don't think that would work out so well. I feel like if I don't say anything I am doing something to betray his memory and existence and at the same time I don't want to sit there and talk about it and answer questions and probably have them say the wrong thing. I think I like the idea of having friends and not the reality of it. I don't have the advantage of already having friends, I have moved around a lot and we moved to California the year before everything happened, so I never really made any friends. Basically what I'm saying is I have no friends. I want them, I think. Maybe.
June 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda
I'm so sorry for the loss of your baby. Is it possible to join a real-life baby loss group? I found 2 wonderful friends soon after we lost our baby 4.5 years ago- we all lost babies within 3 months of each other. They are my rocks, the people I can vent to, be sad around, feel weird around and know they will "get it".

Also, could I gently ask whether you've had counselling after the loss? it helped me enormously. Although I have to say things didn't really turn a corner for me emotionally until around the 2.5 year mark. And I distinctly remember falling into a depressed slump at Shelby's 2 year anniversary so please don't feel that this isn't normal or means that you aren't coping. If you haven't found a wonderful counsellor I think it would be a good start?

And you are not alone, you have lots of friends here (but I know real-life friends are good to have too!). x
June 14, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterShelby's Mum
Amanda,

I am so very sorry that you lost your sweet baby. The question of "mom friends" was always a difficult one for me - even before we lost Jacob (our third). Moms' groups (at least in my experience) can often be weird, competitive gatherings. I never liked play dates. They always left me feeling wrung out. What I did was find neutral mom things to do (library time, Little Gym, Mom/baby yoga - something you'll go to with regularity). Then, I had a series of weeks to watch people and pick out who I thought I could be friends with - kids or no kids. I never had "mom friends" - just friends who also happened to have kids my kids' age. For me, the commonality of motherhood alone wasn't enough to justify time spent. And I don't know how you feel about sharing your experience. For me, losing our baby is a wound -- a gaping one -- but it's precious, so I'd be unlikely to let anyone I didn't trust and like touch my wound - if that makes sense. Do the things you like; you'll find your people. And if there is a mother alive who doesn't understand an emotional outburst, you don't want her as a friend :) I'll be keeping you in my thoughts.