Here at Petals, we are really aware of the pressure that comes with Baby Loss Awareness Week (BLAW) for those who have experienced pregnancy or baby loss – it is one of those significant dates, like your baby’s birthday or Christmas – you feel it matters, and that you must do something that not only remembers your baby, but also ensures those around you also remember, or more importantly, don’t forget.
With that in mind, we would like to share with you some of the advice our counsellors have given to women and couples over the past 10 years to cope during this significant week.
The anticipation is usually greater than the reality
As with many things in life, the build up is often more stressful than the actual event – the pressure to engage with BLAW and be with what you may anticipate as painful memories may actually be fine and even quite comforting at the time. So don’t over-think it, only connect with what feels right for you. This may mean that you limit your time on social media channels and try to avoid getting pulled in by other people’s stories or distress. Your memories and your loss are unique to you and it is important not to compare or measure them by other people’s experiences.
Less is more
We can easily feel like we have to do something big, significant or extraordinary to show how important our baby’s loss is to us – after all if our baby was here we would be doing so much for them, so we must do the same, or even more because they aren’t here. BLAW can often feel like an opportune occasion to remind family and friends of our baby and the pressure to make that happen can easily become overwhelming. Take the pressure off yourself – those around you who matter will always remember your baby, and those who do not remember, don’t matter.
You are not alone
BLAW is a national campaign to tell the nation about you and your baby and the loss you have experienced – it is a mark of remembrance but also a way of helping our communities to understand the complexities of this experience and acknowledge the people affected by it. If you can embrace this and feel held, supported and valued by this national recognition it may help to ease the pressure you personally feel to ensure other people remember and acknowledge BLAW.
Make this about you
Think of this week as being for you to connect with memories but also to be with the present and think about the legacy of your baby or your loss, how it has changed you and what meaning this experience has had in your life and the lives of those around you. This week can be a special time to look after yourself. Don’t let yourself get eaten up by guilt, remorse or resentment, but instead be kind to yourself and those you love around you. Do things that will help you to feel better, stronger, fulfilled against the back drop of this important week so that next year you may even look forward to doing the same again. Let the week be about love rather than pain, about healing rather than suffering – about the future rather than the past.