I often wonder why I still grieve for the baby I miscarried over 30 years ago. I then say to myself: why not? If I don’t understand this how can anyone else?
It is amazing how much self-talk we do in life but even more so I feel during a grief episode. However, what could be more heartfelt a grief than the loss of a child? After all a child is part of a mother from the time it is conceived. Not only is there a physical emptiness when the womb is no long carrying a child, the possible illness that may have resulted plus the emotional pain of self and baby’s father just adds to the mix. Throw in grandparents to this and the grief can become overwhelming.
I remember feeling somehow responsible for the loss of my baby, although intellectually I knew this was wrong. I had no support to turn to especially in the hospital as they were quick to release me home after one night’s stay. At the time of my miscarriage there were no support groups such as SANDS and the midwives were not trained in the grief process, so couldn’t possibly give the support that was needed. Going home to a house in emotional turmoil with two lively children and a grandmother who was rather cranky added to the mix of devastation I was feeling, didn’t do well for my recovery. So is this an explanation for why I still grieve for my little lost soul?
Every year on the due date of my baby, I do some sort of remembrance for it (I didn’t even know its sex). Sometime after the 25-year anniversary, I bought my favourite flower, a rose, which turned out to be the Jane McGrath rose, something I thought of as rather fitting given that she had died and left such a legacy. My two daughters came to support me with this and I did a reading and played a special song.
Did this ritual help when I had not been allowed a burial or other form of memorial at the time of the loss? Yes, but only in part as there will always be that missing link. Do other mothers feel like me? Other Dads even? It would be nice to know this.
There is still no support I have found for such support in my area and wonder what happens to parents who experience miscarriage or a still birth? There is no information in the doctors’ surgeries or other public spaces, something I am remedying, while I wait for SANDS brochures. Will this information be enough? I hope so. At least it is more than I had when I lost my baby all those years ago.
Do I still shed tears, I hear you ask? Sometimes. It can be a song or an article on television that sets me off. When others close to me have gone through a miscarriage or still birth, this was enough to bring my loss to the forefront again.
But having now written my thoughts to paper, I realise that what every form my grief takes, it is all okay. For you out there reading this, your grief is yours to experience and while no-one can do it for you, it is okay for you to experience. Sometimes it is just too hard to have others understand when they haven’t been through this experience, however, while it might add to the grief at the time; I feel it is best to let it go. I forgave my mother because as I matured I knew she was grieving in the own way. After all we all grieve differently and it is all okay.
Gifts given but often hidden
Love freely given
To angels such as you
I thank you.
Therese Bryant (Murphy) © October 6 2010
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Therese has worked in the field of counselling and community development for over 20 years. She has worked predominantly in the health and welfare field. She has worked in the primary school sector counselling children through a range of loss and grief and traumatic experiences.
Therese has also delivered a number of conference papers on the theme of children’s loss and grief and articles on stress management too. She also worked as a Sessional teacher in the TAFE system and the Private Sector in the Community Services area, including Mental Health Welfare for over 20 years. She is also an experienced Supervisor.
Therese has as a small business conducting Reiki, Inner Child Therapy, Meditation and similar therapies. She is also works as a Group Facilitator and teaches stress management and relaxation techniques within the local community as well as running workshops in the areas of trauma and loss and grief and related areas.
Therese is a published poet and has three children and four delightful grandsons. She enjoys nothing more than a good cup of coffee and the occasional glass of wine or bubbly. She is passionate about climate change and the environment, wanting a clean world for her grandchildren to grow up in and one where any type of violence is not tolerated.