What I wish I had known ten years ago. A letter from me now, to me then.
I know right now you feel hopeless and lost, and the mere act of getting up and facing the world seems too much, but I want to tell you, you are going to be OK.
Right now even the concept of being happy again feels impossible, and as you so often say, you almost don’t want to feel joy, as you feel that minimises your babies’ lives. BUT let me tell you one day soon you will feel happier than you have ever felt in your whole life, and this will in no way make the world think your babies’ lives didn’t matter, it will do the exact opposite. By you being happy and celebrating joy, it will show everyone how important your precious children’s lives were... because they gave you the gift of embracing the now, of never taking anything for granted, and they made you a mother.
So what advice can I offer you? I want to tell you everything, but I know some things you will need to discover on the journey… so for now just know this…
1. The brokenness you feel right now is opening up such a deep ravine within you and one day that hole will be filled with joy. You may never be grateful for walking this path but I assure you, you will be grateful for the happiness and lessons loss taught you... So don’t be scared of this pain and don’t try to run from it.
2. People won’t always say the right things... forgive them and educate them in the hope that they say better things next time.
3. Don’t be scared to share your story... Yes, I know you feel exposed talking about your experiences but it will help so many people if you feel brave enough to be open and I promise you, you won’t regret it. Hold nothing back as being transparent will be the catalyst for helping others.
4. Try not to let fear rob you of life. After you have experienced so much pain and loss, it is easy to become a worrier and to hold back from embracing life and experiences, ‘just in case’ the bottom falls from your world again; but by holding back you are robbing yourself. Live in hope and faith that things will be OK, as this means you will delight in it all… You can’t rewind life, so don’t let any bliss filled moment pass you by.
5. Don’t panic about the jaundice… both of your children will not stay yellow for long, even when the nurse freaks you out.
6. Never count the amount of sleep you have had. Yes, you like ten hours, but you will quickly see you can survive on one or two… the less you focus on sleep deprivation the better.
7. When people tell you children grow up fast, believe them! Before you know it, you will have a nine year old and six-year-old who seem like mini-adults.
8. Make as many family traditions as possible as it makes life magical for your children and those little things aren’t so little.
9. Don’t listen to people who tell you you take too many photos… you can never take too many – you will always revel in looking back at them.
10. Don’t be afraid of not doing what everyone else is doing. Do what is right for your family and you will all flourish.
Zoe, you have got this, hold on and never give up on hope, soon the sun will rise.
If you need support following loss, you may like to read the Saying Goodbye book. It includes our personal story of baby loss and 90 days of vital support Saying Goodbye Book