I found out from personal experience and from chatting with some mums that it does not matter when and why a baby died, the fact still remains that a precious life was lost and the mum needs time and space to grieve.
Six weeks, sixteen weeks or a thirty seven weeks pregnancy, few days old, few months old, a year old …, It absolutely does not matter what stage the pregnancy was or age the baby was, from the numerous accounts I have read on baby loss, each woman irrespective of the ‘when’ has lost what she had spent days, months and years anticipating and the loss should not be trivialised no matter the stage or age of the baby.
I have sometimes heard people say perhaps the baby died because he/she may have brought the parents much headache in future, may have developed some disease or he/she just was not meant to be. But the reality in my opinion is no one on earth is perfect and despite our imperfections or challenges most if not all of our parents would still want us despite the ‘buts’ in our lives. During my last pregnancy I was told during one of the scans my baby had a chance of developing down syndrome or some form of a chromosomal abnormality. We were given a choice of doing an Amniocentesis and attend counselling. We chose not to go for either as we were not going to terminate the baby if the results confirmed our baby was going to develop down syndrome or any form of chromosomal abnormality. We just prayed and trusted God that all would go well. Babies die for various reasons ( i.e. medical issues, negligence, poor health care, a lack of knowledge) and some would still be here if these avoidable reasons were tackled.
Although I have experienced baby loss, I am very careful what I say when I come across another mum who is just bereaved for the following reasons:
• No two losses are exactly the same, there will always be common threads but the loss is personal to the bereaved. Hence I avoid saying things like I know what you are going through or what you are feeling
• Time will heal. From my own experience what healed was my faith in God and the comfort he gave me. Time only gave me the opportunity to reflect on what had happened.
• My loss occurred over five years ago, and where I am is a long way from where I was then. Therefore I reach out to other women now initially by first walking in their shoes before offering any comfort or advice.
Each new life… No matter how brief… Forever changes the world of those involved.