Yesterday I mentioned on my Instagram stories about the fact that whenever I post a picture of Gabriel on my page, I know I will lose followers. This doesn’t bother me in the slightest, my account isn’t about the number of people who follow me, it never has been. It is a place to share parts of my life and have done since about 2011. I also enjoy taking pretty pictures, writing the odd funny (at least I think they are funny) hashtag or caption and it has now become a place where I have connected to a number of women who have been a massive support in a time when I welcome all the propping up.
Along with being supported by the love of many people who are women I have never met, I have also been contacted by a number of women who have tragically found themselves in the same situation-on a path of disbelief, loss, pain and grief. As I have mentioned before, when I was in hospital with Gabriel, I contacted Elle because I needed to know from someone who had walked this path already that I would one day smile again and I wouldn’t always feel as though the only feeling I would ever feel would be complete heartache. I’m not sure if Elle will ever really know how much her blog helped me at that time, and still does; how much comfort I found from the words of another person who could imagine my pain because she had, and does suffer it. But she also is so positive, so full of hope and compassion for others.
I could understand the need to share stories of loss, of the heartache and the journey back to accepting that the world does not stop and somehow you have to find a way to re-navigate onto a path where you can again find happiness and a new normality. Not only do I want to make sure that my little boy is always part of my life, that he is always spoken about, his pictures are always present on my Instagram, his little life is treasured and the impact that he has had is felt, I also feel so strongly that stories of pregnancy loss are not swept under the carpet and never spoken about just incase it might offend someone.
I have been contacted by so many women who have lost children years ago and had to suffer the loss by themselves; they never shared the photos of their precious babies because people found it offensive or something that should not be spoken about. I can’t imagine not sharing my son with others, I love him so much, I love his little button nose and every lock of his dark hair. Why on earth would I not share him? Why wouldn’t I want his name to be spoken about and for people to know that he was here, he was a person and he is loved. I am proud of him, I am proud of my body for creating the most beautiful little boy-I am not ashamed, I am not going to hide him because there are still some people who find the topic of pregnancy loss and still birth uncomfortable. It happens and sadly it happens so much more than I ever knew.
There are so many women who have to face delivering a baby they know they will never be able to take home and every moment they get to spend with them will be the only and most precious. They then have to face a journey which is unimaginable and lonely. If I, in some way, can help to make that journey a little easier in some way, then why wouldn’t I. Whether it is message on Instagram where the mum just rambles because there really is no clear thought path-I too have done the same to others; if it is a message to seek some comfort as they sit in their hospital room, to know that they will one day be able to function in some way other than blurry eyed and feeling as though all is lost; if it is to vent about the injustice of it, or just to know that it is perfectly ok to speak about the loss of their little one, to feel and share the pain-if they decide to-because that is their story and sadly not every pregnancy story ends with a photo of the dad carrying the car seat out the hospital.
If it wasn’t for the women who I reached out to on social media, amazing women who I could find some comfort in during some of the darkest moments, I know I would have felt even more alone in my grief-that I was the only one and that it would never end.
But because there are stories out there to be read and shared, I wasn’t alone and I was able to offload some of my pain to someone who I could also look at as some time further down the line and see that they had found the strength to carry on, they didn’t look like the puffy eyed, greasy haired mess that I was. It helped me. It gave me strength. I needed to read them.
So if my story offends a thousand people and helps just one then I am so very glad that I have been able to offer something to that one person who needed it.
I know that the people who want to see my son’s face, hear his name and support his legacy by far outnumber anyone else, and I know how much love can be shared in those little squares, so I will continue to post photos of those I love the most.