Today's post follows an interesting interview I had on the radio. The interviewer, through no fault of his own, clearly had no understanding of baby loss. He sadly resorted to many clichéd lines, which are regularly handed out to those who are unfortunate enough to know first-hand the sad reality of losing a much wanted child.
Image: Ante Vekic (Via FreeImages)
Being asked live on air if I knew whether there was something wrong with the five babies I have lost, or whether the reason for the losses was my body failing, was a first. Considering I am interviewed many times a week for both radio and print media, that is quite an achievement.
So many assume that the loss of a baby is the result of a genetic defect. Indeed, this can be the case but it's not always the case. As far as we know there was nothing 'wrong' with the five babies we lost. We chose not to go down the avenue of having their bodies tested, as for us it was not the right choice. We knew it would not change the end result, and ultimately we knew it could add even more confusion to an already traumatic time, so we declined. All we can consider are scans and development on the three babies we watched develop. All appeared to be fine.
Now the big one....
The word 'Failure' should NEVER EVER be used in connection with baby loss.
Image: Sigurd Decroos (Via FreeImages)
The dictionary definition of 'failure' is - an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success: His effort ended in failure. The campaign was a failure.
My babies did not fail.
My body did not fail.
I did not fail.
Tragically, loss and death are part of life. We all know this. There is a 'Time to be born and a time to die'. Some people's life expectancy is 100 years, for others it's merely 8 weeks in utero.
I could not do anything to prevent my babies being born into Heaven, therefore I did not fail to succeed. It is out of our control, all we can do is be as healthy as we can, and follow all the advice we can.
We hold onto hope.
Part of the work we are doing with the Mariposa Trust is starting the discussion and opening the debate, so we encourage everyone to keep talking. We continue to educate and we will continue to confront wrong perspectives.
For today my message is this: Be careful about the words you choose to use, and let's eradicate the word 'failure' from any conversations surrounding baby loss.
Parents who have lost a child are not failures. They are warriors, survivors and are some of the strongest people I know!
I hope this poem may give a little insight into loss.
Image: Gölin Doorneweerd (Via FreeImages)
Ten Minutes with You
If I had 10 minutes with you, what would I say?
Would it surprise you if I said nothing, other than I love you?
I would just sit and stare at you.
I would take in every inch of your tiny body.
I would memorise the shape of your eyes, mouth and nose.
I would breathe in your scent.
I would hold your hands and stroke your skin.
I would hug you and hold you, and wish those 10 minutes would last for eternity.
But then how could I let you go?
I would scream and cry and beg you to stay.
My child I may not have that gift of time, but I will always have you.
You will live in my heart, until the day I die.
And when I have taken my last breath, please be waiting at the Heavenly gates.
I will run to you and sweep you up in my arms, we will swirl and laugh and giggle.
From that moment on we will be together... FOREVER.
By Zoe Clark-Coates (A Saying Goodbye Poem)
Image: Markus Kammerer (Via FreeImages)
Zoe Clark-Coates is one of the founders and CEO's of the Mariposa Trust. The Saying Goodbye division offers support and national remembrance services for anyone who has lost a baby at any stage of pregnancy, at birth or in early years.
Website: www.mariposatrust.org & sayinggoodbye.org