This is a shitty club that no-one wanted to join but there are thousands of other members here with a duty to make it less shitty for each other. When you are ready, there is support there for you, now and forever more.
One of our main duties is to make membership that little bit less awful for each other. It can be a lonely place, but support is there. Community is there. Often our experiences can be considered niche but like many groups with involuntary membership, we have experienced a sense of confusion, fear, shame, failure, stigma and a lack of support and information. We can help acknowledge those feelings and that pain, share stories without judgement and recommend resources to to try answer the many questions we, and those wanting to help support us, may have.
There can be a phenomenal power in a simple change of words to alter perspective. Using 'and' rather than 'but' can have a subtle but powerful impact in allowing seemingly contradictory emotions to co-exist without diminishing the value of the other.
I can't change what happened but I can change the story I tell myself and others about it. Over time with each repetition I have refined the story of my sons' deaths and in doing so unintentionally stopped talking about their lives. Changing the way I tell their story so I talk about their lives reminds me of the happier parts of their lives and the dreams we had for them. It also helps to humanise awful abstract medical terms like stillbirth. Our sons died before they were born but they lived too and they are loved forever after.
Grief changes over time, it's a constantly changing landscape, one that is best navigated with others rather than alone. While our maps will differ there will be common areas and potential traps to avoid. I find my way through a changing landscape where support also changes with time as the distance from loss increases and sympathy wanes. As the landscape shifts so must my approach to navigate it.
Part of my way is to offer help to those that have lost babies by offering support and pointing the way to guidance, information and communities of kindred spirits to help them and others understand different ways to find theirs.
There are so many forms of support out there. If you are struggling mapping your way through this, I am happy to offer my help.
About Richard Boyd
Rich is a bereaved father of two stillborn twins and three rainbow children, writing about experiences of stillbirth, miscarriage and life afterwards. He has been writing to raise awareness of the many different aspects of loss for four years, is an active participant in the wider pregnancy and baby loss community, and supports bereaved parents in the workplace and as a befriender for Tamba. You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.