This is the story of Sharon, Matt, Miles, Elias, Leo, and Esmé
Petals gives you an opportunity to talk honestly and openly, without having to protect anyone from the details that you so often do with friends and family. Petals counsellors understand how to help you through the hardest and saddest pregnancy and baby loss experiences. You will find a way through these difficult times of grief with their support.
If you’d asked either of us how many children we thought we might have, 6 would never have been the answer either of us gave! However, we have indeed had 5 baby boys and 1 baby girl! We’ve said goodbye to 2 babies before birth (Elias and Esmé) and 2 after birth (Miles and Leo), as well as having 2 sons that live at home with us now (Felix and Toby). Just summarising all their little lives in just a few sentences like that, doesn’t do them justice. To explain the trauma and heartache of what you go through in trying to create your family, is almost indescribable.
Petals didn’t exist when we lost our first little boy who was just 10 days old. So it wasn’t until our third baby, our second loss, that Sharon made the call to Petals wondering if counselling would be helpful. Let me (Sharon) tell you, that it will help you! I was sceptical, but I knew that our friends and family didn’t know what to say anymore. One loss was manageable, but we worked through it together. A second loss, that’s tougher. People REALLY don’t know what to say. Losing Elias felt very different to the loss of Miles, plus we had a 1 year old to manage too. We couldn’t grieve in the same way. Then a third loss, a fourth loss…. People will cross the road to avoid you. People won’t say anything – but it would be so much better if they at least acknowledged what you’re going through. Babyloss is isolating enough, without people staying quiet. Babies aren’t meant to die, and certainly not 4! It’s not just ‘one of those things’. It doesn’t ‘happen for a reason’. It’s really sad, and tragic, and somehow we needed to work through all of this and carry on with our lives.
The counselling that Petals provides is unique. The counsellors have the professional skills to be able to help process all of the information in your head, without being worried about what you say. They can handle it! Whilst still being lovely, and understanding, they don’t have the emotional ties that come with friendships that you have. We wouldn’t have managed without our support network, and some friends were particularly amazing and did their best to support us – but ultimately, no one can comprehend what you’re going through. You find yourself protecting them from the full details, choosing what you say and how you say it. Some can cope with more information than others, but they can’t help you process all the trauma and grief in the same way that the Petals counsellors can. It can sometimes feel really hard to open up and be completely honest – but it’s important and helpful to do it, in a confidential space, without judgement or opinion.
We are more than 10 years on now, since we began the journey to have our family. We’ve learnt so much about our strength of character, the way we manage situations, the way others handle our situation – and how we manage them! There are surprises along the way – you gain new friends and you sadly lose others. Friendships will change – with friends and family. They have to – you’re not the same person once you experience these life changing events. These little people give you new priorities, shape how you see the future, and how you live your life, and for that we’re thankful.
If you’re reading this because you’ve lost a baby, or because you are connected to someone who has, you (or they) will get through this difficult time. You need support along the way, and people to show that they care – not just say it. But you will find your way through it, and find a ’new normal’ with life after loss. It does take time, lots of tears, lots of processing (and a lot of cake if you’re Sharon!) but contact someone at Petals to help you begin to work through everything, either by yourself, or as a couple. It’s really important to keep talking, and it will help!