"It’s imperative that family, friends and colleagues know that reaching out, talking about our babies, just showing up and supporting bereaved parents means more than you could ever know, and not just in the beginning."
Danielle - Freeda's Mum
Freeda Love Mayflower Hill, our perfect and very loved gorgeous girl, was stillborn at 41 weeks and three days after a healthy, normal, low-risk pregnancy. The news that she had passed away was a complete shock to us as well as all of the hospital staff.
After sharing intimate experiences with other loss mums and from my own experience I am saying my baby’s name to ensure people know that the level of support (immediate and ongoing) and the language they use has such a significant impact on bereaved parents’ recovery journey and ongoing trauma.
As well as being devastating, losing Freeda has been extremely isolating. In addition, I was dealing with many struggles that are often physically associated to your body after you birth a baby and struggling daily with parenting my young son when all I wanted to do was disappear.
I’ve lost connection with people I thought were friends. To me, it’s clear that people could not understand that the impact of losing a child is like no other.
People staying silent, absent, thinking they can relate or offering support and not delivering has been one of the hardest parts of my journey. I’ve observed people think that because I’ve linked into services that I am and will be OK, that we have family around us to help when we don’t, that because we had a memorial for Freeda that I’ve been able to move on – this is far from the case.
We recently had our first Christmas without Freeda. For no one to mention Freeda in any way really reiterated to me the feelings I already had been experiencing and then watching my son open about every second gift under the tree hit home that Freeda will perhaps just be a fading memory in other people’s eyes.
It’s important to know that professional and charity support can never replace informal support. We have only been able to start Red Nose counselling in February (Freeda died in May last year), accessing private support did not come promptly or easily and my hospital referral for outreach support was not actioned until six months after Freeda died.
I am truly grateful for the support and practical help we did receive which was mostly initially after Freeda’s passing but I would not be where I am today on my recovery journey if it wasn’t for a friend who is nothing less than a Saint. She dropped everything to be with me for Freeda’s birth and held her before I was able, stepped up to seek information to support and help us, advocated for me when supports were lacking, showed up endlessly when I was at my lowest and so, so much more. I am blessed her support still continues strong now.
It’s imperative that family, friends and colleagues know that reaching out, talking about our babies, just showing up and supporting bereaved parents means more than you could ever know, and not just in the beginning.
Say Their Name Day is on March 25 – a special day to remember all of the little lives we have loved and lost, and support bereaved families.