I have recently decided to embark on a new business venture and have joined a children’s photography franchise. I was excitedly discussing this with a group of friends and family last week and mentioned that I would love to be able to “donate” one of my products to a recently bereaved parent each month. It would involve having to go to the hospital and taking hand and foot print impressions of the baby and taking some photos as a keepsake. My brothers girlfriend asked how I would deal with seeing a “sleeping” baby. Would it not just remind me of my losses?
Never having met my angels I wonder on a daily basis what they would have looked like, what colour eyes they would have had, what kind of personality, what colour hair… Everything reminds me of them. Losing a baby isn’t something you ever “get over”. You learn to live with it, but, for me at least, it isn’t something that goes away. I don’t brood on it. I don’t have an “unhealthy” attitude towards my losses, but I do think about it. I wear a necklace constantly of a silver bean to symbolise my babies. I must touch it 100 times a day and each time I am reminded of them.
The truth is that it never even occurred to me that going to a hospital to offer this service to bereaved parents would be a problem for me. It would be moving, emotional, desperately sad, but something that I could handle and something I feel I want to do. I want to offer something to comfort those parents. Sure, it would make me think of the babies I lost, but I do that daily anyway, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to me to have a thought about them. And anyway, it wouldn’t be about me. It would be about the poor inconsolable parents who will never get to hear their baby cry, never watch them grow, never know what colour hair they would have had. It would be about offering them something to cherish in memory of the baby they have just lost.
I think people who haven’t lost a baby assume that eventually you get over it and don’t want to be reminded of the fact. For some parents that may be true. We all deal with grief and bereavement in different ways. For me though, to help bereaved parents, to campaign for Baby Loss charities and to think of my angels daily is a way to give meaning to the losses. It’s the only way I can validate their existence and make sure that they were real.