“Child loss is not an event; it is an indescribable journey of survival”
Child loss is a loss like no other. It is a grief that lasts a life time. When you lost your first child, the pain and devastation of loss can feel overwhelming. And for me, it was the most unfortunate moment when I had lost the life that I loved more than my own.
The whole journey began years ago. I still remember the day; it was 9 years ago, when I took a home pregnancy test on a Monday morning, it showed up positive. And I had cried instantly as I was feeling overwhelmed with intense positive emotions. It was the happiest moment of my life. Within few minutes, all sorts of mixed feelings (excitement, nervousness) ran through my body. We (I and my husband) were very excited to find that we were expecting. This is the first grand baby for everyone in the family, on both sides. All family members were celebrating this great news. Everything was awesome.
Of course, being pregnant is the most beautiful time in life for any woman, when you shall fall in love with someone you have not met yet. And for me too, it was the most crowning creative experience of my life. It was the time of transition, growth and a profound beginning for me. The thought that I was carrying my baby was the greatest gift that I could have.
The actual joy of this amazing journey had begun when I heard a tiny heartbeat for the very first time. I still remember the day when I went down for my ultrasound and heard my baby’s heartbeat; it was the most amazing feeling in the world. It gave me Goosebumps. I never want to forget how incredible it feels the first movement of the baby. I was wondering all the times, who is this person coming, growing, kicking, and turning inside me. The days were passing with the flying speed. Every day, when he kicks from the inside, I forget my all worries. He reminds me every time that a miracle was growing inside me. I was enjoying the each day with an impatient feeling that when will baby arrive?
Everything was smooth and normal. But, destiny has written something else for me. One day, my life turned upside down and everything was taken away from me in an instant. I had something terrible that I would never have thought. Unfortunately, during the last week of the 6th month of my pregnancy, I had developed sudden and severe symptoms of pre-eclampsia with high blood pressure, bursting headache, swelling in limbs and protein in the urine.
We rushed to the hospital and doctor says that we do not have anything better except bed rest and delivering the baby. He had prescribed me some medication and dietary modification. We were feeling helpless. All we wanted was a healthy baby. We had done every possible effort…frequent doctor visits, close monitoring, hospitalization but nothing has worked out. The sudden rise in blood pressure has restricted the proper blood supply to the baby. The pain of dealing with knowing that my body is betraying me was difficult to share with anyone. Initially, it was a case of intrauterine growth retardation (a condition when the foetus does not develop at a normal rate)…but within few weeks I had intrauterine death (death of baby inside the uterus) of my baby.
How could I forget that most unfortunate moment of my life, when the doctor came in and she had put the stethoscope on my belly like she had done thousand times before? She kept moving it and turned to me and said words that I shall never in my life time forget “there is not a heartbeat”. I was in a state of emotional shock. I could not believe that we had lost our baby. Our first baby…our dream of being a parent unexpectedly shattered within few minutes. Why me? How did this happen? These were the most obvious questions that came in my mind instantly? I was living in the nightmare.
I was shocked and filled with so much emotional pain that was almost unbearable for me. I was going through the most difficult phase of my life. The emotional pain was infinitely more difficult to bear than the physical discomfort. Anger, sadness, frustration, depression….I was frightened by the intensity of these emotions. I felt that I could not face going out. I had a deep feeling of failure inside me.
A sense of guilt and self-blame were overwhelming me. I was feeling that my body had let me down. We both felt quite alone with a question why this was happening to us? Our whole family had a painful emotional outburst.
Definitely, emotional recovery from losing a child is slow and difficult. I know there are so many other mothers (like me) who have suffered from the losses in the same way. There are peoples who have gone through the process of losing someone close. And emotional pain, sadness, depression are the common negative feelings that we all had after losing a dear one is almost unbearable for us.
I believed that grief is like an ocean. Sometimes, the water is calm and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim properly. I would love to share the things that helped me survived emotionally after losing my first child. These are the tiny positive steps that had worked for me like a magic. I hope it will help others too.
During those tough days of my life, I used to felt alone and depressed. Depression had drained my energy, hope and drive. Sometimes I sat down quite for hours and suddenly wept in next moment. Even reaching out to close family members and friends was not easy for me. But, emotional support of my family members was the first positive thing that has helped me a lot. Gradually when I had started a conversation with them, shared my depressed feelings and being around them, these tiny but positive steps would be able to make me feel less depressed.
Indeed, talk to our loved ones about your feelings, making an open heart conversation with your close friends is the first and most vital step that will help you to come out through your shell.
Do things that make you feel good?
After getting an initial emotional recovery with family support, I had started to do things that make me feel good. Being a creative person, I always love creative activities. In order to overcome my depression and panic feelings, I get involved in all those small things that make me relax and energize. Of source, my sad feeling has not been lifted immediately, but gradually I was feeling more upbeat and energetic as I had made time for my favourite things. Reading, writing, crafting and gardening had improved my mood swing.
No doubt, “small things can give immense pleasure and can overcome severe depression and sad fe