Thursday, 26 May 2016

Tired of Grieving by Dani

I took my rainbow Harrison (3) to a Kindy event today – an under 8’s day. It was supposed to be fun, supposed to be a family event, with an animal farm as well, until a little girl in his class grabbed my other hand and said ‘my mummy couldn’t make it can I walk around with you and Harrison.’   And of course I said yes, but just like that the grief washed over me. I shouldn’t have a spare hand to grab, they should both be taken, by both my boys, but only one is still here on Earth.

I’m tired of knowing that there are simply more of these painful moments to come. I lost my first-born, so at that time I never really knew all the things I would miss out on until Harrison came along, and now, as he does these things, they are things I am also missing out on with Jasper. I can’t make people understand – and nor would I want them to – it’s soul destroying and you cannot make people understand that your heart will physically ache for the rest of your life. Before Jasper, I didn’t even know a heart could ache. And yet still I hear that I should be grateful for what I have, when in actual fact, the loss of Jasper has made me able to appreciate happiness and joy more so than before – to really appreciate what I do have. But no matter what, the empty room is always empty, and nothing brings back what you have lost, and what you can never have. I will never get mementos, hold his hand, argue with him, meet his first girlfriend, get tired of him arguing with his brother, watch him get married and see his children. All of that died the day he did. And yet I watch his younger brother achieve what was robbed of him every day.

And I realised – I am so sick of grieving. It’s been almost 7 years and to some I am a veteran and to others I am still so new on this journey. Some things have gotten easier but not the things I miss out on... that Harrison misses out on. I’m sick of still feeling like that – sick of still feeling confused, still feeling guilty, still feeling like I could have done more, still feeling angry, feeling sad and above all feeling discouraged in myself that I haven’t done better.

I’m tired of my grief. I don’t want to feel sad. I don’t want to have an internal breakdown when one of my son’s friends wants to join us to look at the farm animals. I don’t want that hole in my heart to be pierced open at the drop of the hat. And I was asked today – if you could spend only 15 minutes with your loved one in heaven, would you? Of course I would. I’d do it in a split second just to hold my baby boy in my arms again. To tell him that I love him one more time. To make sure he is happy. The explosion of grief would be terrible, but I live with grief every day, so why wouldn’t I just to see him again?

For the most part I enjoy all the beauty in life and am grateful for what I do have. Every day with my rainbow is a blessing and I often get comments of how clear the love we have for each other is. But you can’t control emotion and it crashes down on you, drowning you like a wave and all you can do is try and stay afloat until the wave recedes.

Tired. At the moment it is a word that sums up my life. Tired of grieving. And knowing that the road is stretched out in front of me, never-ending, is one of the most tiring things.
If you require support after reading this blog please contact 
Sands on 13 000 72637

Danielle Hall

Wife to Corey and Mumma to two boys: Jasper Rhys in heaven and Harrison Phillip Robert in her arms. Jasper passed away after PPROM at 23 weeks and birth at 26 weeks, surviving for 10 hours in the NICU unit. Currently completing a Master of Social Work with the goal to aid in the safety and protection of all children, because all children deserve to feel safe and loved.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Honouring One's Loss by Therese

When my baby miscarried 34 years ago, there was no such thing as a memorial garden or cemetery area  (such as the one at Fawkner Cemetery in Melbourne) where I could go to honour my loss.

Some 6 years ago I was divorced and my mother died, all within a few months. While struggling with the grief in both of these events, it got me thinking about the loss of my baby all those years ago. What could I do to honour that child? I felt it wasn’t fair that its passing had no recognition apart from what was in my heart.

Around this time, my son and his wife also lost two babies to miscarriage, which reinforced my desire to do something worthwhile to celebrate all the lives of those lost babies in my family.

There were a number of things I could do: draw, write a poem (I did do this too), plant a tree, have a plaque made. What I decided to do was relatively simple but so meaningful for me. I decided to buy a rose and plant it in a pot - it turned out I had chosen the Jane McGrath rose, a lovely soft pink rose.

I invited my three children to share in the celebration that I had planned to honour these babies. My daughters came to share this with me, while my son felt unable to do so at the time – they had their own way of dealing with their grief, which in itself reminded me again how we all grieve differently.

At the same time, the planting of this rose reminded me vividly of my mother who had a proud love of roses with her favourite being a deep red rose. The celebration occurred with some beautiful piece of music and some words were said.

I had finally honoured my lost child and the rose bush continues to flower prolifically, giving me beautiful pink blooms twice over the summer period. The bush has lost it roses now as it readies for the winter but I will be looking again late Spring for the first signs of life.

Therese Murphy April 2016

If you require support after reading this blog please contact 
Sands on 13 000 72637

About Therese 

Therese has worked in the field of counselling and community development for over 20 years. She has worked predominantly in the health and welfare field. She has worked in the primary school sector counselling children through a range of loss and grief and traumatic experiences.

Therese has also delivered a number of conference papers on the theme of children’s loss and grief and articles on stress management too. She also worked as a Sessional teacher in the TAFE system and the Private Sector in the Community Services area, including Mental Health Welfare for over 20 years. She is also an experienced Supervisor.

Therese has as a small business conducting Reiki, Inner Child Therapy, Meditation and similar therapies. She is also works as a Group Facilitator and teaches stress management and relaxation techniques within the local community as well as running workshops in the areas of trauma and loss and grief and related areas.

Therese is a published poet and has three children and four delightful grandsons. She enjoys nothing more than a good cup of coffee and the occasional glass of wine or bubbly. She is passionate about climate change and the environment, wanting a clean world for her grandchildren to grow up in and one where any type of violence is not tolerated.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Mother's Day! - Tiffany

Two years ago I got to experience my first Mother’s Day with 3 gorgeous children: my two girls and my first born son.

The Mother’s Day was amazing. I got a cup for the first time (I still use it), the love I was shown was amazing, a feeling I was willing to embrace for the rest of my life.  Little did I know 3 days later I’d lose my son and two years later I’d be 3 boys down with 2 girls who do their own thing.

I’m not looking forward to Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day scares me. Mother’s Day feels like bad luck to me. Since losing my boys I wonder if I’m even worthy of the day, I wonder who is going to leave next. I hope one day this goes away but I just don’t see how it can L.

For the first time my eldest daughter is so excited for Mother’s Day and I’m trying to keep excited with her but it’s so very hard.

To make my week worse, I’m 14 days late for my monthly: I did 5 tests, all negative and a blood test saying the same thing. All the doctor says is that it’s normal to be that late for some women and all I want is something positive.  

I often look to the moon for guidance from my boys and usually feel more lost than anything.

Our second daughter has started looking out the window of a morning, yelling hi Wade, Jax and Tristan. Then she turns to me and says Mummy I miss them. I reply  me too honey. I struggle to keep strong sometimes as I feel bad that they feel sad also. Our eldest daughter has started saying Mummy I miss you at school, I want to be with you all day. That makes me sad also because I understand the pain they feel and the worry they always have. Every day after school she asks Mummy are you pregnant yet? And her face when I say not yet hurts.

I’ve felt myself connected with my cousin who is nine at the moment and I think its my way of dealing,actually interacting with a boy: it makes me happy and sad to see what I’ve lost. I’m not even sure it makes sense.
It’s been a really long two years and I’m very tired and scared all the time. I feel I’m doing well, it’s just certain times that obviously get at me. As you can probably tell, I’m full of mixed emotions and its just an up and down rollercoaster that I have to ride.

Anyway I’m off to rest now, thanks for listening.                    Tiffany

If you require support after reading this blog please contact 

Sands on 13 000 72637

Tiffany Aghan

Wife to Luke and mummy to Tamara and Summer, in her arms, and Wade, Jax and Tristan, in heaven. I have recently completed certificates in law and in psychology and in the process of completing certificate in medicine. I am having time off at the moment to spend more time with my girls. But I am hoping one day I will continue where I want to go.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Untold Stories of Mother's Day - Sarah K Reece

In 2015, I faced Mother’s Day thirteen days after cremating my beloved Tamlorn. Tam was my first pregnancy, silently miscarried before 12 weeks. I was devastated and could not bear to be around anyone else. I took Tam’s ashes down to a quiet camping place by the beach, and slept in the back of my van so that I could weep and paint and be silent, and talk to them as much as I needed to when Mother’s Day dawned. I wrote letters I never sent to my own Mother, to my Godmother, to other women who have mentored me. On another day I went to visit my Mum with a gift and celebrated her. That evening I returned home and Rose and I planted a peach tree in Tamlorn’s memory. But that morning I needed to be alone with my raw grief. I couldn’t bear to pretend for a moment that I could think or breathe about anything other than my dead child.

It wasn’t my first Mother’s Day with grief. I wanted children but have fertility problems. After a long term relationship ended with me fleeing homeless to a domestic violence shelter, I was glad I’d not had children, but I also grieved what might have been. Approaching my 30th birthday, the cut off I’d been given by doctors if I ever wanted to carry a child, I started to read books on grieving infertility. On bad days I would get stuck crying in the baby aisle at the shopping centre, entranced by the sweet baby things I had no need of, full of hopeless longing.

My beloved partner Rose has suffered the loss of six unborn children before we met. Mother’s Day is  a day she greets with a dread horror. The first time it came around for us as a couple, I bought her a candle. I was scared of intruding on her grief, but I was more afraid that she might think no one remembered her pain and her babies. It was a small token, given carefully. She wept. There was an endless pit of grief in her, utterly black and desolate. It was a wasteland of broken dreams and profound loss. Unnamed babies and lonely hours of heartbreak and suffering through their loss had left a wound in her so deep I was afraid nothing I did could help. But down in that darkness was now a candle. In among the memories of times she’d been told to ‘just get over it’ that ‘they’re not really babies’, or that ‘your body is killing your babies and no one knows why’ was something else – recognition that she was a Mother. It was the start of something different from suicidal depression and terrible suffering for her.

The second Mother’s Day we spent together, we were invited at the last minute to join her some of her family for a dinner. Delighted, we attended. Being around this little family was bittersweet on that day. I held her hand. The children ran around wildly after bath time, a riot of hugs and wet, clean skin and perfect smelling hair. The light in the home was golden orange. We were glad to be there and holding onto our own sadness tightly. After dinner, the Grandmother rose to clear the plates away and another person said ‘Oh, you shouldn’t be doing that on Mother’s Day!’ We were asked to do the dishes, as the only adult women present who were not Mothers. We did so without complaint. It was several days before I erupted with rage at home, bursting red hot from my numbness at their casual insensitivity and my own silence. Mother’s Day always brought with it these injuries, so slight to others, and such searing, sobbing, wrenching pain for us. The anniversaries that pepper our year, of conception dates, death dates, due dates for babies we never got to meet have a private anguish of their own. But the constant stripping of identity that is Mother’s Day is a different kind of agony. It comes with so many casual comments – that ‘we can’t possibly know what it’s like to have children of our own because babysitting isn’t the same’. That ‘it will be wonderful when one day we can be Mothers’. Or, knowing we planned to have children together; ‘so which one of you is going to be the real Mother?’

What is a real Mother? She carried that child herself. She is the genetic Mother who produced the egg. She’s not transgender, or a stepmum, or a godparent, or a nurturing aunt. She hasn’t adopted or fostered or taken on young people in need. There’s so many stories Mother’s Day doesn’t speak to. Most of all – she has a living child. We strip the name Mother from those who do not, and unlike widows, our language fails to replace it with anything to signify the loss. We are not-Mothers, not-real-Mothers, not-really-Mothers. There’s no place for our experiences on Mother’s Day, in the same way there’s no place for the experiences of those of us with abusive or absent Mothers. What there is instead is a lot of swallowing down that pain and trying to survive the day.

Each year, Rose and I have moved further away from staying quiet and allowing other people to decide our story for us. We have both stopped trying to get over our experiences, or to look like we are coping. We buy each other gifts on days like Mother’s Day, and we go somewhere special together and hold hands, and cry. We tell friends or share on our social media what the day means to us. I write and paint about pregnancy and miscarriage and grief. When people ask us if we have children, or how many we have, we have started to count those not with us, or to say simply ‘none living’. With Tamlorn we changed the pattern completely and mourned them in public. They were given a name, they were cremated. We planted a peach tree in their memory. We told people, not only that we were pregnant – despite the advice not to- but that they died.

I started to push back against the wave of well-meaning people who inflicted pain in a thousand small ways. It took time to find ways to gently say things like ‘I know you mean well, but that hurts me to hear’. I also found a rising sense of rage that those of us who were suffering were expected to keep it hidden, for the sake of those who did not wish to be disturbed. This anger I tapped into when people pushed hard, trying to make us stop grieving, stop considering our losses ‘real’, or failing to be optimistic enough about how God/the universe was going to provide. I lost patience with those who kept pushing their ideas on either of us, even when we expressed pain. Some relationships were burned. But in small ways, the pain was less. There were far fewer of these constant new wounds from people around us, and when they did come we were no longer as silent or accepting. Speaking up and pushing back changed the pain. It was like slowly drawing poison from deep wounds. They were still deep and terrible, but not driving into suicide or despair. Other relationships grew stronger, friends saw us more clearly, understood the bitter-sweetness in our lives better. Our hearts were more visible. We asked for what we needed, told people what it helped us to hear. People who loved us connected in ways that didn’t hurt.

We also started to be part of events or support for others who had experienced miscarriage or loss. We sat weeping and numb together at a walkathon and released a white balloon. I called helplines and attended a support group. I saw in the trauma and devastation of other people’s stories our own pain reflected. We were not alone, not crazy, not unusual in this world at all. I saw in others and myself the symptoms of severe trauma – very familiar to me as I was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at 15. No one seemed to be acknowledging to any of us that these experiences could be deeply traumatic, with fear, blood, helplessness, horror, death, and a terrifying indifference from many of those around us. I felt like I had fallen into a secret underclass of people staggering home wounded from a war nobody speaks about.

Talking to others who have suffered multiple losses with no living children yet, for the first time Rose and I didn’t stand out and we didn’t need to hide anything. When I called the Sands helpline, overwhelmed by fear and a sense of death when we started trying to conceive again after Tamlorn’s death, a woman’s voice held me in all the shame and terror of how profoundly broken I felt, and told me exactly what I needed to hear: this is normal. It drives us crazy. It drives us into breakdowns. This is what it is. You do not need to be ashamed. Don’t carry it alone.

So, this year, as Rose and I are expecting again, we approach Mother’s Day with grief, excitement, and a determination to do what we need to do to affirm to ourselves that we are Mothers, and that our needs and grief counts. We will find private moments to hold each other and talk of our babies. We will give small gifts and be gentle with ourselves and each other. If people exclude us or advise us in ways that hurt we will push back gently. We will be together or apart as we need, in company or privacy as our hearts require. We will tell our babies we love them. We will ask our friends and family to be gentle with us. We will hurt, and hope, and mourn, and celebrate each other, and love. As Mothers. 

If you require support after reading this blog please contact
Sands on 13 000 72637

Sarah K Reece

Sarah K Reece is a ‘mad artist’, poet, and public speaker. She and her partner Rose have each experienced miscarriage on their hard road to becoming Mums. They live in Adelaide with their non-biological teenage daughter and as many pets as their unit can fit. Sarah lives with disability and is a passionate about mental health. She uses her business to fund networks that offer free community resources for vulnerable people. Sarah creates art such as ink and oil paintings and sculptures to make her private experiences public, gently opening up spaces about taboo topics such as pregnancy loss. You can find her art and personal blog at