My son Adrian James was stillborn on 30 June 2017. He was 1 week overdue, 9lb 0oz, and when I lost him my whole world was broken. I felt pain. I felt guilt. I examined every piece of my pregnancy for where I or my providers went wrong. And in the end, all I wanted was my son. Nothing will ever bring him back, and to this day, I am heartbroken.
I won’t lie to you, it’s going to be hard. You may dream about him and wake up sad. You may find you can’t dream about him and that makes you sadder. You will find that well-meaning people say very stupid things, and some who mean the most say nothing at all. You will lose friends. It sucks, because some people just don’t know how to deal. You will also gain friends, if you want them, and you will find instant connection with bereaved parents around the world.
When I was in the hospital, someone asked my sister about getting rid of the baby things at home. I’m so glad they didn’t. They provided so much comfort to me. They were his things, even though he never touched them. I keep most of them still today. Keep what you need. Hold on to what feels right to you. Don’t let anyone guilt or pressure you into packing or donating anything before you’re ready, even if you’re never ready. It’s no one else’s choice to make but yours.
You may find comfort in books or support groups. You may find comfort in therapy. These things are very individual. I never read books, and support groups were overwhelming to me in the beginning. I was lucky to find a therapist specializing in child loss, but everyone is different. Find comfort in what feels rights for you.
Life is hard. The fact that life goes on was the hardest piece for me, because what I wanted most was for time to just stand still. It’s okay if you want that too, or if you want the opposite and need to feel busy for long stretches. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.
You may find it difficult to go back to work, or you may want to go back right away. I was pressured into cutting my maternity leave short, and when I went back, I realized I was stupid. Quite literally — some research has been done on the effects of grief on the brain. Don’t feel bad if things that used to feel easy are now difficult. It does come back, just in stages. And if you need to change positions, or even employers, that’s normal too. Do what you need.
There’s more; there’s so much more, but I remember how much it all felt overwhelming in the beginning. Take the time and space and anything that you need. And know that you can ask me anything. I will always be here. I’m so sorry you are too.