In honour of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, today I share my story. You may feel you know a fair bit about me, due to what I share here on a regular basis. But much of my story I have not shared before as it has been too painful, and too personal.
My story is one of a mother's love. A story of baby loss. This week marks 9 years since we lost our second son. Those nine years sound like a long time, but they also feel like a mere moment.
I share my story today in the hope it may help someone. Another parent who has lost a baby and is grieving and feeling alone. Maybe that parent is you.
In October 2008, at 35 weeks pregnant, my second son was stillborn.
It had been a routine second pregnancy; with no indications anything was wrong. The first I felt something wasn’t right was after a busy day caring for our toddler. When I finally had time to sit down, I realised my baby hadn’t moved much that day. The next day, our son was born, but his little body was lifeless. He had died in utero.
The cause of death was unknown at the time of the birth. We knew that I did not have any of the usual risk factors known to be associated with stillbirth; I was not overweight, it was a second pregnancy, I was not a smoker, I was still only in my early thirties and I didn’t have any health issues.
The post-mortem, which we received many months later, advised cause of death was a severe feteo-maternal hemorrhage. The simplest explanation for a feteo-maternal hemorrhage is the membranes between the placenta and wall of the uterus breakdown. It can occur due to trauma, placental abruption or may be spontaneous, with no cause found; which was the case for mine.
It is a very rare occurrence, cannot be screened for and happens in an instant. Because it is so rare, there is very little known about why it occurs, or therefore how to prevent it. There was nothing anyone could have done to save our son. It was simply a terrible, tragic loss.
At the time, my husband and I knew about stillbirth, as a good friend in South Africa had experienced one a few years earlier. But we, like so many others, didn’t consider it was something that could happen here in Australia.
In Australia, it is a sad truth that there is limited awareness of stillbirth, its frequency, causes and impacts. Unless directly impacted by stillbirth, most people believe it is something that used to happen, prior to the advent of modern medicine or belonged to an age when health and nutrition were poor.
Through our tragic experience, we learned the statistics for stillborn babies have not moved in decades. Despite the advances in medical and health care, six babies are stillborn every day in Australia.
A frightening statistic when we knew first-hand the pain and suffering those families were experiencing after the loss of their longed-for baby.
A journey of transformation
Today (as you probably know, as you are reading this on my website), I am a life coach, working with other mothers who choose to honour their lost child by living their best and most authentic lives.
My journey to get to this point has had tough times and moments where I questioned whether I would be okay. Was I ever to feel truly happy again? Would my marriage survive? Might our first son be irrevocably harmed by the loss of his brother, or, his parent’s sadness and grief?
Because of the experience of losing our son, I found myself reflecting on many of my life decisions. Personal values, career, home location and friendships to name but a few were deeply examined in the weeks, months and years after the loss.
This is not uncommon; most parents who experience the loss of a child reconsider many of their life choices. Sometimes changes are made, other times not.
As I have written about elsewhere on this site, it was this experience of reflection, and the deep desire to live life in a way that honoured my stillborn son that led me to start my coaching business. Which is why I am here, sharing my story.
Living life with purpose
Having a purpose in life gives meaning. And when our life has meaning, we feel happier and tend to look forward to our future. This is my dream for others too.
My purpose in life now is to help other parents transform their lives – from one experiencing the pain of loss, unwanted change, anxiety, challenge and imbalance, to a life of balance and happiness. A life full of joy, hope and love.
I'd love to support you too. Click the button below to book a time for your complimentary consultation.