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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 > Emotions

Hi Everyone,

Its been a while since I've been on here but I needed this space again to get some stuff off my chest as there is a lot going on in my head. My background is I lost my daughter at 8 weeks old, she was born with 2 holes in her heart and a coarctation, the surgery for her coarctation did not go as expected and she came out of surgery with problems with nearly every organ in her body. After 2 more surgeries she couldn't go on anymore and we lost her on the 5th August 2016.

After 3 months of counselling me and my husband felt so much better and fell pregnant, I am now 12 weeks pregnant with baby due on 8th August 2017 and full of emotions. My first feeling is sheer terror that this baby has the same issues although the chances are less than 1% and things look postive from the 12 week scan, I'm so stressed about it, I have cried eveyday for the last week and am finding it so hard. Because of this fear I'm struggling to bond with my unborn baby, then I feel guilty and a bad mum for not having that bond but I know it's my head just trying to protect myself in case the next scan shows problems with baby.

Then I have issues with the next scan, the gynaecologist looking after us originally told us we could have our 16 Week scan at the same unit that found our daughters heart problem which was very reassuring for us but now we are being told this is not possible. This is putting extra stress on me and my husband that we do not need, my husband is trying to sort it out but he comes back to me with the wrong answers and not asking the questions which I would have and therefore I end up being short with him.

The next thing that goes through my mind everyday is gender disappointment, I want a little girl, I have a room and clothes ready for a little girl that never got to be used and I want and feel like I need that little girl in my life. I'm telling people I just want a healthy baby and at the heart of it that it totally true but I'm not sure how far I will react if they tell me its a boy at the 20 week scan. There is pro's and con's to both sexes but my husband and all the rest of my family have said they want a girl, I'm sure we will love baby no matter what gender.

My last concern is being separated at birth from my baby, my little girl was taken straight to neo natal and I didn't get to see her for 6 hours, where she was so poorly I wouldn't get to hold her for 7 days at a time which was so hard. I am going for a VBAC with this pregnancy and want nothing more than that baby to be put straight on my chest and left there for over an hour, I don't even want baby to be taken to be weighed etc but I don't know how the staff will be about this. My fear of being separated from my baby is severe and I'm not sure how I will cope with it if baby is taken away for any reason or if I have to have another c section and don't get that all important skin on skin time with baby. I would love to breastfeed and I know this is an important part to start this off to a good start.

Thank you for listening and if you have experienced any of this and think you may have some words that could help me I would be grateful for some kind words. Sending positive thoughts and hopes to everyone.
January 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterC
First of all, I am so sorry for your loss. The feelings you are feeling are all normal, though hard to bear. You are not a bad mother! I lost my son at one month to a Congenital Heart Defect that was not diagnosed until after he died and my subsequent pregnancy was a very difficult time emotionally. Like you, I was afraid to bond with my baby before we knew if she would also have a heart defect. I did find, however, that by the time we had a fetal echocardiogram (around 20 weeks) I knew that I loved her. You may not have that same experience, but that's okay too. Lots of parents don't really bond with their babies until after they're born, sometimes quite a while after.

Like you, I also had a lot of complicated feelings around the sex of my subsequent baby. I kind of wanted another boy, but really...I wanted the boy I lost, you know? I was very prepared for either possibility, but I did cry a little at the ultrasound when they told us the sex. Actually, I think that that having a girl made things easier in some ways. It made it easier for me to separate the two experiences in my mind and to separate the two babies in my mind. Anyway, it's okay to have whatever reaction you have at the ultrasound. You will love this baby no matter what.

As far as your prenatal care and birth, don't be afraid to ask for what you need and press your care providers if they are reluctant. We found that when people knew our story they tried to be accommodating.

I hope this helps. What you're going through is so scary and hard--please try to be kind to yourself.
January 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAllison
Hi Allison,

Sorry for the loss of your son and congratulations on the birth of your daughter. Your kind words mean a lot and I have read them a couple of times throughout the day.

I went shopping today with my husband and your words fresh in my mind and whilst we were looking round the baby sections I found myself also looking at little boys clothes and actually finding them cute, something that has not happened before. Just being able to do this has made me feel so much more comfortable with the thought of having a boy and the different experiences that would bring, I can imagine a mother's relationship with a daughter and a son are completely different and also for dad's. We also brought a teddy for baby today and I've felt a much stronger connection with baby today than before.

So thank you for your words, I think they really hit the nail on the head and made me have a fresh thought on the whole situation. I will make sure I am strong with the care providers and hospital we end up at, I have thought about hiring a doula (not something done very much here in the UK) but I wonder if it's worth the money but I guess peace of mind and reassurance is worth it.

January 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterC
My heart weeps with you for your loss. My story is not exactly like yours but there are similarities and thought I would share my emotional journey with you. I lost my 1 yr old son in June 2016 and was 3 months pregnant with my second child. We did not find out the gender with either of our children. For the rest of the year right up until the birth, I worried. Would I be a good mother? Would I be ok if it was a girl? Would I be able to love another child as much as I had loved my son? The worrying was endless. As we were approaching my due date early December, My nerves were on overdrive. Despite knowing that all that really mattered was a healthy baby I found myself secretly hoping for s boy. I had never pictured myself as a mom to girls and loved having a boy. Even had wanted two boys. Well, when baby was announced a girl I was surprised and just a little disappointed. She wasn't breathing though and the cord was around her neck so I quickly got over disappointment. I wanted a breathing baby! Everything turned out just fine and we have a healthy baby girl. I was confused though with my emotions and feelings and wasn't sure how things would be and continued to worry. Now my precious baby girl is 2 months old and we are bonding like crazy! I love her sooo much but it took a while to get there. My boy was the perfect baby. He didn't cry,slept great, ate great and was happy to play by himself. My girl however is the opposite. It has been very difficult but am thrilled with her now that she's smiling and cooing. I do want to try for another boy but I understand that I will never have my son back. I just wanted to share my story to hopefully ease your worries a little even though I completely understand them. Every child we give birth to will always be a part of us.
February 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJudy