I have had a lot of ups and downs since losing Ivy-Rose, as you would expect. I have come to find some really good new coping mechanisms when it comes to dealing with my grief and I just wanted to share them incase they can help other grieving parents or just anyone grieving in general really, if it helps one other person then I will be happy with that.
I have had a few people still contacting me through this blog and social media asking how I have coped with my emotions and the chaos surrounding my pregnancy with Ivy-Rose and then how I have been able to cope and manage my grief with losing Ivy-Rose so here are a few of the things I do if I feel things are getting on top of me…
- Process my emotions – this is really difficult especially after losing Ivy-Rose, most of the time you have so many emotions building up you don’t know what one to deal with first. I like to take time to myself, no phone, no laptop, no tv, no one around me just me in a quiet room for at least half an hour to think, cry, scream into my pillow, whatever. This way I can take time to process what emotions I am feeling and process my thoughts, I never lock myself away for too long because then I feel too alone so there’s a fine line there but you will know yourself when you’ve had enough time to yourself.
- Speak to family, friends or someone you can confide in – Once I have processed my emotions and thoughts I immediately go to my sister or my aunt (she’s also lost a child so it’s sometimes easier to speak to her), I know I can go to them and they wont judge me in any way and just actually saying out loud how I’m feeling is a huge relief in itself. Also by doing this I know I don’t have to put that mask on and pretend that everything is ok the way I do around most people because they know what I am feeling and respect the fact that sometimes I’m not ok, sometimes I don’t want to talk but them just being by my side is a huge weight off of my shoulders and I don’t feel as lonely as I do most of the time.
- Seek professional advice – There are a lot of charities out there that are purely to help parents who have lost a child or more so a baby, it takes two minutes to google charities in your local area and they are a huge help. Each charity is different of course and offer different services but most offer counselling on a 1:1 or group basis. They also offer a lot of other things to help your grieving process and most of these charities are run by people who have also lost a child and know exactly what you are going through and I think that makes opening up to them a whole lot easier and it reminds you that there are other people on the same boat as you, you’re not alone. Also, if you don’t fancy approaching a charity, I’d advise you to contact your doctor, they can give you some medical advice if you need something to help with anxiety or sleeping etc and they can also refer you to see a counsellor, I prefer to try and do things without the assistance of drugs (prescribed of course) but I already suffered from really bad anxiety before falling pregnant with Ivy-Rose and since her passing it has gone through the roof, so as well as a lot of counselling I am receiving drugs to help my anxiety, which is fine because if that’s what makes this process a little easier then who has the right to say anything, so don’t feel bad if your doctor thinks it is bed to prescribe you with something.
- Create a memory box – When I was pregnant with Ivy-Rose, I created a memory box (I have one from when I was younger and I love mine so I always said I’d make one for my child before I even knew the path me and Ivy-Rose were about to go on). I put all of my scan pictures in it, photos from my maternity shoot, photos from my baby showers, bump updates and also my hand written diary from when I was pregnant. I also put in a few little things from my baby shower, or things I had picked up along the way in my pregnancy from outings etc that reminded me of when I was carrying Ivy-Rose. My aunt also got Ivy-Rose a little memory box with her name on it and little rose’s etc and in that one I have her, little keepsakes that people bought her when I was pregnant, I told people not to bring gifts to my baby showers but a few people did bring like little teddies or ornaments for her room so I have put them in there and I also put her little hospital bangles, her life-support tube and all the outfits she ever wore in there too (vaccum packed so I can keep her scent and take them out and sniff them when I want to feel close to her). When Ivy-Rose had passed I received a “memory box” from a charity called SiMBA a.k.a. Simpson’s Memory Box Appeal The hospital are given these boxes to give to parents who lose a child before during or shortly after birth. It is amazing and very personal, I was going to post a photo of all the things inside the memory box but some things are too personal I just want to keep them to myself so I will list what is in the box so you get a rough idea and can create your own similar one. There is; a clay hand and footprint mould set which we done in the hospital, ink hand and footprint kit which we also done in the hospital, a lock of Ivy-Rose’s hair, a little teddy bear and she has the exact same one in her coffin with her, a little pink knitted square (when we were in the hospital she was given on and so was I and the neonatal nurse told me to always keep mine on me and keep Ivy-Rose’s under her vests then when the time came for us to say goodbye forever we swapped them so I have her scent and she has her mama’s and we are forever connected), a little candle & candle holder to light for your baby, there are a lot of booklets on how to deal with grief, how your family can help you etc. It is a really fantastic idea and I am so grateful I got given one, there are other things but for sentimental value I wish to keep them private.
- Remember it is ok to cry – At first when Ivy-Rose passed away I cried when she actually passed and then I just hid it, partly because I was numb and partly because I didn’t want the sad energy around my baby, dead or alive. Then I cried at her funeral and after that I only cried when I was alone, I didn’t want anyone else seeing me upset or crying, no one else was crying over her and I didn’t want to be a burden. Now, I know that my family and friends do still cry over Ivy-Rose, of course they do they just don’t do it in front of me because they don’t want to upset me more than I already am. Now, I know that I am also allowed to cry over my child, when and where ever I want. If I need to have a cry in the middle of the supermarket then so be it, it’s so much better to let it out than keeping it bottled up and who cares if someone looks at you like you have 2 heads, chances are you’ll never see that person again anyway so always cry when you need to cry, it’s part of this journey.
- Never feel bad for speaking your child’s name – I feel like I constantly post on social media about Ivy-Rose or photos of her or constantly bring her up in conversation but that is purely because I am sooo proud of my daughter, I am proud of her journey to meet me, I am proud of her fight to stay alive and I will forever be the proudest mama on this planet for what an amazing, strong and beautiful daughter I gave birth to. If people don’t like me constantly talking about Ivy-Rose or posting about her then they can remove themselves from around me. People who have children that are alive are allowed to post about their children daily or speak about them in every conversation they have so why shouldn’t we as bereaved parents be allowed to do the same. My daughter may not walk this earth but until the day I die her name will always be spoken and her memory will live on.
- Take up a hobby – I have always loved music, art and writing. I have found that now, I do a whole lot more of all three and it has really helped me during my grieving. It depends what mood I am in but sometimes I will want to just block out the world for a bit so I will come up to my bedroom, put my earphones in, put my playlists on shuffle and just blare my music until I feel better (it really helps, trust me) or sometimes I may even sing along. Sometimes, I prefer to come to my room sit in silence and just draw, I might just doodle lots of little silly scribbles on a page for a while or I might create a masterpiece, it just depends on what mood I am in. Then, other times, I will turn to this blog or my personal diary and just spill my heart out. Recently, I have been finding it hard to express how I am feeling and I am seeking more counselling to help with that so I have been writing more in my personal diary than on here but I still love this blog for the fact that not only can I write whatever I want and get Ivy-Rose’s story out there and possibly help others, I can read other peoples posts and it helps me realise that I am not alone. So if you’re feeling down and like you can’t express your emotions or just need something to stop your mind from going 1000 miles per hour then take up a hobby or pick back up on one you had but let go for a bit.
- Remember YOU’RE NOT ALONE – I know too well there are times you feel like you are the only person on this planet, the only person who is feeling like this, the only person who knows how it feels to have lost a child. Sad things is, it’s a lot more common than you think and there are loads of people out there going through the exact same heartbreaking journey you are. The statistics for baby loss in the UK are shocking be it; miscarriage, stillborn or death shortly after birth. Our hearts will never heal and we will never be the people we were before our angel babies went to heaven but we are still here, we have to live on in memory of our babies. Since losing Ivy-Rose a lot of friends, family members and family friends have come to me and told me their story of losing their baby, people who I had no idea had went through this, people you’d never think by looking at them that they have felt this heartbreak. But, you don’t always know everyone’s story and through our babies I have connected to some amazing people who I will be close with forever now. There is always someone who is willing to listen, someone who you can reach out to or relate to and I think it’s only until you go through losing a child yourself you are closed off from these conversations about baby loss when really we should be speaking about it and speaking about our babies.
I hope if you are feeling at your wits end and unable to process your thoughts or feelings that some of these will help you, these are only a few coping mechanisms I choose to use on a daily basis that really help me. Also, my inbox is always open for a chat to anyone who needs it, I can’t say I am going to make the pain and hurt disappear but sometimes just a friendly chat can make a huge difference.
Lots of Love,
Chloe & Ivy-Rose