Shanelle writes again for Sands. She talks about how grief is a complicated process and how she coped....
It can bring us together, tear us apart or alienate us, the later one, is the one that I identify with the most these past three and a half months since my loss.
I was surrounded by love and at first, many beautiful people in my life reached out to me with this own loss stories following my miscarriage, in fact, one lovely lady, my partners cousin was the only person to visit me in the hospital, aside from him, despite having suffered a recent loss of her own, to give us a small blue teddy bear so I had something to cuddle.
Many thoughts and prayers came to us through calls, messages and cards and all I could offer in return was tears and eventually I started withdrawing. Not because I didn’t like them, or I felt unwanted, judged or anything like that but simple because I did not know how I felt or how to react on my own let alone around others, for one moment all my dreams were coming true after four years of trying to conceive and completing our little family and the next was doctors and hospitals, needles and scans and eventually labour… with nothing to hold after hours of pain.
But I was a mummy already and I had to just get on with it because no parent wants their child to see them hurt and eventually the calls stopped, the visitors stopped coming, life just kept moving on but I just stopped. I stopped talking, with myself, my partner, my family… even to my sister, my sister who knew what losing a child was like, more than anyone else, having lost her beautiful daughter 8 years ago to SIDS at 6 weeks.. I could not bring myself to share my feelings with anyone, especially her because I felt shame and guilt for grieving so deeply for a loss when it could never compare to a loss of her baby. How could I be so selfish to cry over someone I never had the chance to see without scans and could barely feel while she suffered every day, for years, for the loss of her baby girl with perfect little fingers and toes, a head full of hair and tiny button nose?
And so I withdrew even more, weeks would go by without visitors, or even uttering anything concerning my loss except for follow up appointments that cemented my silent grief even further.
With my only outings being school drops, errands and exercise all my relationships suffered until last Friday. Last Friday was my nephew’s birthday and the 8th anniversary of my nieces passing and here I was leaving her alone to suffer because I felt bad because of my grief and how it couldn’t compare to hers? What a sister was I? So I messaged and asked her to come over and so she did and when she walked through my front door, we cried. We held each other and we didn’t need to say anything to share how we felt. We just took solace in each other’s company and cried for our own losses, for each other’s loss and in that moment I learned she didn’t care the differences in our losses, she hurt because I hurt, and I her.
So many women, parents, families suffer in silence for their miscarriages, thinking they don’t have the right to mourn, or are over reacting for a baby they never touched, often never felt and will never hear cry. I was one of these people, I hid it, but no more. I have a right to grieve for the life I lost for as long as that grief may last.
My name is Shanelle and I lost my baby at 10 weeks and every day I grieve for that little life because that life touched mine, changed my life and I will forever cherish the time we had, though brief because I was… I am their mother, and I will not forget. I will not hide my tears, because they are proof that my baby was real and someone I am proud to share with you.
If you require support after reading this blog please contact
Sands on 13 000 72637
Shanelle is a trainee counsellor and photographer based in Brisbane.
She believes the best sound in the world is her son's laughter and how he sings to himself when he wakes from a nap. She is also a proud mummy to an angel baby and through writing and various arts she is sharing her experience and finding herself, all over again. In her own words.
"I am all and I am nothing, but most importantly I am exactly who I need
to be in this moment... and that is sometimes the hardest thing we have to accept,
openly and honestly.. Ourselves"