Thursday, 22 February 2018

Grief as Time Moves On by Therese

Thirty-seven and a half years ago I miscarried at 16 weeks. I felt this baby growing and knew to be a person in its own right and had been looking forward to seeing its face: I never knew its gender but felt it would have been a boy - after all don't we mothers just know, and of course this was my plan!

People often look at me and I can feel their thoughts: “Why does she still grieve? It's been so long?” and in my mind I reply “So?” Grief is not an emotion that simply disappears with time but rather it is interwoven with life as we now know it, whatever that may be. For some it will be other children and for others it will to never know the joy of watching their baby grow.

What amazes me still (and I don't know why I am still surprised) but no-one ever mentions this lost baby, except on occasion -  my youngest as her partner lost his son at a very young age. Maybe I have learnt to be cynical over the years because those of us who have had a miscarriage or a stillbirth  (though I have never experienced this) that this is always with us; something often buried deep inside to get us through. I always say I have had four babies, not three and because I don't have the breathing fourth child does not mean it is forgotten even now when I am a proud grandma! This attitude of those who know this can still upset me at times. After all this time I suppose people forget but I do not!

Sometimes I sit alone on a bench seat outside, listening to the breeze and sounds trying to find peace in a world that forgets trauma and grief so easily because it is a way of life for so many, which is sad in itself. Losing a baby is something unique and miscarriage again is different from a stillbirth, as in my case I never even got to see my baby. 

Sometimes I think those of us who have experienced the loss of a baby need to be teachers to others who don't understand. We need to let them know about how it is for us, because even though they may never experience what we have been through, they can learn just to listen or just to be there holding your hand.

Even now after all these years I contemplate what may have been and for those who have the support, please use it when you need to; there was no support many years ago. You are so lucky to have a wonderful group like SANDS to offer support and be at the other end of a phone when you experience the loss of your beloved baby. Please feel like you can use them, they understand as they have been through it too! Blessings to all Mums and Dads who grieve for their lost one.

If you require support after reading this blog, please contact Sands on 13000 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.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

(Valentine's Day) Coopers Day by Samantha & Paul

This week on the 14th February my beautiful son would be turning 4.  4 years old…wow, even saying that feels weird!

To some people 4 years doesn’t sound like an incredibly long time, but as a Bereaved Mother who hasn’t seen her son for 4 years, it feels like a lifetime.

As a woman who loves love, I have always loved Valentine’s Day.  In all honesty, it used to be my favourite day of the year.  I was working in the city and would see florists running back and forth with beautiful bunches of flowers all day. As I sat on the train on my way home, I would see ladies (and men) carrying beautiful bouquets and wearing big beaming smiles.  I loved everything about Valentine’s Day.

In 2014 everything changed. Our son Cooper Joseph Rowe was born on 14th February 2014 at 10.41 pm at night.  He was stillborn (not breathing upon arrival into this world) and at the time I was all alone as the hospital had earlier sent my partner home.  Cooper was born at 22 weeks gestation so was perfectly formed but just a little too young to survive outside of my tummy.  His arrival and passing was heartbreaking.  It was unexpected and irrevocably changed not only our lives but also the lives of those around us forever.

The first year was tough….VERY tough.  If I be brutally honest, I had times where I questioned my own worth and desire to remain in this world.  I was so full of anger and just couldn’t understand how this had happened to us.  I was also very unwell following Coopers delivery and ended up being re-hospitalised for almost a month and needing lifesaving surgery.  This definitely delayed us being able to grieve the loss of our son.

Eventually I was well enough for release and that’s when our new reality really hit home.  We barely survived each day, it was all one small step at a time.  Those days were full of heartbreak, tears, broken spirits, arguments and most of all deep seeded grief for the loss of our firstborn son.  Everything seemed to trigger me and I would end up sobbing at the drop of a hat.  Everyone else had gone back to their normal lives but for us, we were still desperately missing our son.

As time went on, my partner & I went back to work and did the normal routine things that people do.  We knew that we wanted to honour our sons memory.  We also knew that Valentine’s Day would never be the same.

The following year in 2015, my partner & I made a promise to do something special on Coopers Day, and as such have done so ever since.  No longer do we celebrate Valentine’s Day, we instead acknowledge his day.  It is Coopers Day.  A day that belongs to him alone. 

We have started to take holidays each year in February and make sure that we are somewhere other than home for Coopers Day.  Last year we were in Hawaii, this year, we will be in Palm Cove.  Perhaps in a way it is a subconscious attempt at escaping the sadness and instead trying to find some small amount of joy in his day.  I would give anything to have Cooper back with us, but as that is not an option, I instead settle for making precious new memories each year in his honour.

Happy Coopers Day from Samantha & Paul xx

If you require support after reading this blog, please contact Sands on 13000 72637

Samantha Rowe

My name is Samantha. I am a Bereaved Mother located in Melbourne.

My partner and I have had an incredibly tough baby journey to date. We have lost 8 consecutive pregnancies/babies and are yet to have a living child.

Cooper was stillborn on 14.02.14

Hudson was stillborn on 23.01.15

Emma & Zoe (identical momo twins) tangled their cords and passed away on 30.08.15

I’ve also had subsequent miscarriages on 16.09.16, 31.12.16, 13.10.17 & 16.11.17.

We are commencing ivf shortly to see if that can help us achieve our dreams of becoming parents to a living child.

I run a social enterprise called Memories of an Angel which raises awareness for Pregnancy & Infant Loss. We sell Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness ribbons, pins and a collection of other Pink & Blue items. I am extremely passionate about raising awareness for Pregnancy & Infant Loss and very proud to be pioneering the cause and bringing these special keepsakes to bereaved individuals and families across Australia.

Memories of an Angel also coordinates a variety of events for special days such as International Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day, International Bereaved Mother’s Day, International Bereaved Father’s Day etc.