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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 > My 4 year old son

My 4 year old celebrated his birthday on 1st July, as a 4 year old would, he thought his sister would soon arrive. You've guessed the rest - she died!
It took a while for him to understamd that she was dead, he had never been confronted with death before, not even a pet dying so the all so abstract notion of an unborn baby dying was beyond him.
He got it after around a month. And since then he has become very stuck to me when we're together. He will however chose to play with his friends when they are about and has gone back to school just fine. But since ive told him that whenever he feels angry to come to me and cuddle and talk to me instead, he does it like all the time.
But the anger has come back so he kicks up massive tantrums but calms instantly with a cuddle. Has he worked out that if hes angry he gets a cuddle from mummy or is he genuinely just upset but its his anger that overrides the sadness?
I always put him to bed as my partner works in the evenings, he caresses my arms, face, shoulders and kisses me multiple times and says that he likes me so much.
I have always been very tactile with him.
Sometimes he tells me he's sad about his sister but most of the time he tries to confort me.
I'm worried he's becoming too dependant on our physical echanges and that he feels as if he's replacing his Dad by comforting me, I dont think its doing him any good. Could this cause future conflict between the two later on?
Does this sound abnormal or is is normal behaviour for a boy towards his mum?
I dont want to read into it too much but for the past two weeks my mind is on overdrive and I cannot stop thinking about anything and everything. I feel like my head will soon explode from thinking so much.
Did anyone else have this too? I'm just over two months into my grief.
Thanks for reading x
September 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMachaela
I am sorry for the loss of your baby girl. Our second son died when my oldest son was two and a half; he got to meet his brother and also tried to comfort me. I remember on more than one occasion his handing me a pillow to cuddle and calling it by his brother's name, "Here mama, hold the baby." And I remember cuddling my living son as a comfort to me during some of my sad times. (Sadly, loss mamas who have no living children don't have this luxury.) Sharing cuddles and kisses with your four year old son I think is totally normal. Everyone has their own version of normal and you need to do what's right for you and your family. If it brings comfort to the two of you, I can't see where there would be any harm in it. It seems to me, he will grow up to realize he will not replace his dad but become his own man and this change will happen gradually over time. He's so young and now is a time when he needs his mama. If you find his need for affection too emotionally taxing then you might find a way to gently let him know you need some time for yourself. As long as it's comforting to both of you, how could it be a bad thing?
September 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEm

I'm so sorry that life led you to this place.

My daughter Nadia died when my son was four, like yours. He is seven now, and still he's processing. It's a subject that will come up many times over the years, with deeper and deeper understanding.

I wrote a text about him and the loss, here on Glow, in case you're interested:

As for the cuddles, I wouldn't worry about overcuddling him. What you've been through is huge, and it is very early days. You both deserve some of that wordless comfort.

After Nadia's death, I couldn't play with my son much. But after his dad read a bedtime book to him, after lights out, I would get into bed behind him, and hug him and just feel his breathing against my own chest. And I'd wait for him to fall asleep, watching him making longer and longer blinks until sleep covered him. I think I might have needed it more than he did, but we both enjoyed it. It was the only time of the day when my mind stopped racing, the only moments of true relaxation.
November 10, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAna