Tommy's guest blog, 05/01/2016, by Lucy Gadney
The loss of a baby is shocking, isolating and leaves many mums feeling both distraught and empty.
It can be difficult to know how to come to terms with the loss you have experienced, of both your baby and the future that might have been.
Whilst the grieving process is often private and intimate, some people choose to honour their baby’s short life with a tribute page. They find that by talking about their baby and their experience, and marking what has happened, they find a sense of comfort or as a crucial step in their own grieving process.
Lucy Gadney set up a Facebook page in memory of her baby girl Penelope who was born sleeping.
This page has given her a platform to connect her with other mothers and fathers who understand her pain.
Lucy was 34+5 weeks pregnant when she lost Penelope.
‘I didn’t even know something was wrong. She never moved in the day time, only in the evening to her daddy’s voice. He came home early and he felt something wasn’t right but I had no idea.’
Lucy gave birth to baby Penelope, weighing 5lbs, in April this year.
‘My labour was beautiful and calm. I was induced at 8pm the night before but nothing happened until 10am, she was born by 12pm. We were able to spend 4 days and nights with her and it felt like we got to know her even more than we already did, she was so beautiful and it breaks my heart I never got to take her home.’
Lucy set up her Facebook page, ‘Mummy to an angel baby’, to write down all of her feelings that she felt unable to share with other people.
‘I could be honest down to every last detail and almost protected because I knew I was safe behind a computer screen. I was protected from uncaring likes and comments that later turn into gossip; ‘How is she so depressed?’ ‘When will she be over it?’ and ‘she needs help’. Anyone that came to my page would truly understand my pain and be non-judgemental. I was able to be a new me.’
Knowing how to talk to people about your loss can be difficult. This Facebook page has given voice to her pain and created a network of people who listen and support.
‘I couldn’t believe the response after one day, my inbox was going bing bing bing! People from all over the world. I don’t have a huge amount of ‘likes’ but everyone who visited the page felt the need to send their wishes and their own stories which is just breath taking. I know every time I have to explain, even briefly, about Penelope it tears me apart but these women were just so honest and they spoke in so much detail about their beautiful babies. I felt honoured.’
Platforms such as Facebook can provide solace and solidarity to bereaved parents. We think that this is social media at its finest.
‘We waste so much time on social media. I know while I’ve been waiting to go back to work after losing Penny. I found seeing family and friends constant updates of their precious babies reaching milestones that Penny should also have been absolutely heartbreaking. But now I have found all the right pages to ‘like’ and people I feel comfortable sharing my experience with. When I do end up on Facebook again, I feel safe with what I am going to see on my newsfeed.’
The page has given Lucy a much needed place to open up and talk about her baby girl.
‘I needed a place to safely say how I felt and I achieved that. I also get to show my daughter off, knowing that I’m not bringing anyone else down as all of these ladies know my pain. So it was just a bonus when I found I was helping others too. I’ve received of thanks from women who say that reading my page has helped them realise that what they’re feeling and going through is normal and they are not on their own. I hope that I can help more people feel that their not alone.’
Stillbirth is devastating. Be kind to yourself and make sure you take things at your own pace. You can read all of our information and advice on stillbirth here.
If you want to commemorate your baby, Tommy's offers the option of ‘In Memory’ pages. These allow friends and family to show their support through messages and donations which help fund our research to prevent pregnancy loss.
If you would like to see Lucy’s page and connect with her you can do so on her page, Mummy to an angel baby.
After giving birth to a baby who has died you will have decisions to make, but take things at your own pace and discuss what you would like.
After a stillbirth you will have to deal with the emotions of losing your child.
A 'stillbirth' is the death of a baby after 24 weeks of pregnancy but before birth.