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#AtoZChallenge2017 Parenting After Loss, Day 21, Letter U – Unity

Being a loss parent gives you a sense of unity within the angel community. These are other parents who totally understand how you are feeling. They also get your frustrations with non loss parents who say silly things for the sake of saying something when faced with the loss of someone else’s child.

Meeting with another loss parent for the first time is actually easier than meeting any other stranger. You already have something in common and there is no need to have the pity head tilt that someone is unaffected by child loss will always use when you tell them about your child. They also get the quick mood swings and your need to cancel plans at the last minute.

There are many places to get the feeling of unity. Some loss parents prefer social media while others benefit from face to face groups. There is a local child bereavement group to me but I have never been and now I feel that I can’t go as it would take me right back and that is not somewhere where I wish to be currently be.

My unity comes from my many loss/rainbow baby groups that are based on a couple of social media sites. My first is PAIL. The members there were the first people I ‘met’ when I was in my darkest days. They understood the feelings and they just got the need to say my son’s name when no one else would listen. The PAIL mums took me in and they were so welcoming. I now co-admin the group and give that support to the new bereaved parents. I hope I offer comfort.

I also have a couple of groups on a different social media site to PAIL. I find I don’t use the angel mum groups as much so more as I have my rainbow now and she is a large part of my life and new angel mums don’t need to hear about living children when they just lost theirs.

From these groups I have found mums who all lost their beautiful babies at or around the same time as I lost my Milo. Having people at the same point of this journey is a great comfort to me. They totally get it and we had our rainbows around the same time too which also helped as a rainbow pregnancy can be very mentally challenging.

 

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Day to meet the girls aftermath

The meet when fantastically well.

I can honestly say I liked everyone who came and I think they liked me.

We ate, drank and were merry.

In the end I think there was about 20 of us over the course of the daytime/evening as not everyone could stay all day or make it until late. We took over a small area in the pub and kept adding more chairs and tables as more people arrived.

Those of us who stayed late did some serious drinking. I myself had 3 giant pitchers of woo woo. I felt very fuzzy as time went on but it was lovely. I was also drinking it straight from the pitcher with a straw. I decided that I wasn’t sharing so it didn’t matter. One of the other ladies was also drinking pitchers and seeing me drink them the way I did gave her the confidence to do it too (she wanted to but wasn’t sure if it was considered uncouth, I didn’t give a monkeys).

We spoke about many wild and wonderful things. I managed to speak about my Milo without getting upset. One of my birth group was also there and she said she could see and feel a difference in me while I was talking about him. There were no moments of having to take a moment and no tears. She has been with me since I was pregnant with him and so I guess time does make a difference to this journey.

Once some people decided it was time to go to bed the rest of us headed out for karaoke. If was a long walk in the wrong direction but hey ho. I hoped it would have been lots of fun but I found the place a bit overfilled with people and no where to sit down. You could barely reach the bar for a drink. That type of place is my least favourite. I managed to escape to a quieter area and I found a seat too. I didn’t stay out too much longer as some of the others were leaving then too so we all caught a cab back to the hotel.

There have been some ‘lovely’ photographs taken but unfortunately I am unable to share them as I haven’t been given permission. You can tell as we lot more and more drunk. The poses became more confident and weirder. The hairstyles also started to go awry. Luckily I didn’t make a huge effort with my hair and make up so I could faff as much as I liked.

I am really looking forward to the next time that we get together. For a bunch of women from multiple backgrounds and countries we got on fabulously. Meeting them has also made me feel closer to them and more involved in the group.

Day to meet the girls.

Today is the day.

This is the first time I will be meeting a bunch of ladies who have supported me through both the loss of my Milo and raising my living children.

These ladies are not a loss group. They are just normal people who didn’t see me as weird for thinking about my son and were lovely when I wanted to share his photos.

We didn’t start out as friends. The group was created to debate different subjects and to express our opinions on anything and everything. We slowly got to know each other and friendships developed. Some are stronger than others but the whole group rallies if something goes wrong in someone’s life. We have helped people through child loss, house fires, illness (both physical and mental), divorce and death of relatives/friends. There is always someone online if you need a chat, no matter what time of day or night.

The group tries to meet about every 6 months but I have yet to go. I either have been unavailable to go due to prior plans, money or distance or not felt strong enough to go.

The plan for today is to eat, drink and be merry. We have booked many rooms in the same hotel. We have asked for the same floor but I doubt that will happen.

I am very nervous to meet these ladies. They have been my rock for a long time and I don’t want to ruin that by making a fool of myself. Luckily I have some members from another group who I have met are coming so there will be some friendly faces.