Although it is 15 years ago now that our 1st son was stillborn, I can remember vividly the emotions of that day...
On the morning Michael and I went into hospital to have labour at the end of my first pregnancy, I had never felt happier and at peace with myself and everything around me. We were finally going to meet our long awaited son... I had never felt so high in the clouds!
Within 2½ hours, I was falling from the highest peak into a dark bottomless pit... We heard those fearsome words from the sonographer “I am so sorry, I cannot find a heartbeat... Your baby has died...”. The walls of the room caved in, there was the noise of my screaming and yet I heard nothing. My heart was pounding and yet it felt as though it had stopped. The world had stopped.
Even now, 15 years later, some of my memories of those first few moments remain very vivid and anything can trigger those raw emotions of grief which are followed by the uncontrollable tears.
3 weeks after leaving hospital, someone suggested we attend the Sands support group. Obliging people that we are, we said we’d go – and so we did.
It wasn’t at all what we had expected – and after the first meeting we still weren’t sure whether it was right for us. But it was an opportunity for us to meet other parents who had also found themselves tragically leaving hospital with a box of memories and not their precious and much wanted and loved baby.
In fact it was liberating to be able to talk with others who truly understood what we were saying and feeling because they too had experienced such a tragedy. They knew what we were going through because they too had “been there”.
Sands was great at helping me with my grief and issues surrounding losing Dhillon, but a few months on, I felt I needed someone who could help me work through some of my deeper concerns about me as a person – not just me as a bereaved mother.
I found a counsellor who I connected with. I felt I could open up to her and she helped me find the confidence I needed to help rebuild my life and become the new me.
After the birth of our second son, my husband and I trained as Sands befrienders and together took on the running of the Leicestershire & Rutland group. We have been supporting bereaved families ever since.
We now have a fantastic team of befrienders who help provide support to bereaved families either at the group or on a one to one basis. Our support group is a very diverse one attracting parents from different cultural backgrounds. What unites us is that we are all bereaved parents trying to come to terms with our loss and seeking a way to adjust to our “new normal”.
Roopal - Mum to Sahil and Dhillon