“We cannot know your grief, but we can walk with you at every stage” Jacinda Adern
Losing a child is completely different. It is a very different grief from what I am I told. No words or clear cut amount of time can heal the heart or soul of a parent after such a loss.
It is often said that time heals all wounds. I don't think I've ever truly believed that. The part about death and loss that cuts the deepest is when it comes unexpectedly. I won't pretend to know the kind of pain that comes with loosing a child, but a recent experience cut deep.
Just a few weeks ago, I experienced my first loss as a doula. And let me tell you, it hit me like a ton of bricks. And while I am a trained bereavement doula, I was not prepared for how I would support my clients when I myself needed support as well.
I wasn't prepared for the text message my client sent me telling me about her loss. A loss that had occured nearly a week before.
I wasn't prepared for how the news would affect my work with my other clients.
I wasn't prepared for how hard that first call would be.
I wasn't prepared for the bouts of sobbing that would come in the days that followed.
There came a point when I realized that their grief was indeed my grief.
My heart was sore and my soul was heavy. They were new clients. Parents of two young children already, excited about third. We were preparing the family for some developmental challenges, but even so, they felt blessed to have another child on the way.
And then this.
Support would be different moving forward, but I'm thankful I had the tools and training to help them navigate the beginning of their healing journey. The same resources that I passed along to my clients brought me understanding and comfort. I had my faith to lean on (Proverbs 3: 5-6). Doula friends uplifted me and gave words of encouragement when I didn't when I didn't have the capacity to understand why this happened. I truly appreciated that. I've learned that wisdom comes with every experience, even in the misdt of tragedy. As complex as this particular grief is, we find value in vulnerabilty and extend a lifetime of grace to the families who endure this pain daily. There is no love like the love a parent has for their child and we honor the depth of that love today & every day.
To any parent that has loss a child, my heart is with you. Always.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awarenss Month. The 15th of this month is designated as PAIL Rememberance Day. If you or a loved one has experienced the loss of a child, please consider honoring them by submitting their name for Stillbirthday's annual Heart Release or in some other way if you wish.