Loss parents have many zones to their lives. Loss Parent, Normal Parent, Not A Parent, Friend, Sibling, Child. All of these zones are overshadowed by Loss Parent, at least at the start of the journey.
Once the initial numbness and pain has passed all zones are still affected by the loss but in different ways. Friend zone may change as some people will no longer want to be around you as they will have no idea what to say or how to act. They may also be afraid of the tears or that they fear the loss will rub off on them (numpties). You may also find that you don’t want to be around some previous friends because they have a child the same gender or age as your missing child.
I have all the zones listed above. All of them were affected by the loss of my Milo especially the Normal Parent zone. I wanted to talk about my son but a lot of people didn’t want to hear about him in normal play group situations or they just wanted to say they understood how I was feeling due to losing a grandparent (still a loss but incomparable to the loss of your child).
Loss Parent is an odd Zone. I find that while this zone is a constant in my life I am visiting it less and less. It is starting to not define me any more. At first all my interactions were led by the fact that I am a loss parent but now I find that I no longer lead with my Milo story (wrong word but it works for this post). Obviously this zone takes over around special dates but I would worry if it didn’t.
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.
You may find that your parenting style changes considerably once you have lost one of your children. You may have been really relaxed before but are now what is considered to be a ‘helicopter’ parent, watching your child’s every move like a Red Kite or you could have been really protective and now have loosened the reins a bit because what is the worst that can happen when you have had to say goodbye to your child.
A change in your parenting style isn’t wrong, just as your parenting style staying the same with your other children isn’t wrong either. You do what you need to do to get through.
My parenting style definitely changed loads between my eldest and my youngest. He was bottle fed, in a pushchair constantly, in his own room from five months, slept away from home at five months and at nursery at twelve months. My daughter on the other hand was breast fed, co sleeps (even now at three years old), wrapped as much as I could, never spent a night away from home and she will be going to nursery but I couldn’t face sending her at twelve months. He also napped in his moses basket or cot from birth whereas her nap place was my arms or lap. I barely put her down for the first three months of her life. When people wanted a cuddle they almost had to pry her out of my arms but I freely gave over my eldest son.
I do feel bad about the differences but I can’t go back and change it unfortunately, just like I can’t go back and change the loss of my boy. You never know how you will be after a loss and how much you can cope with.
This is an extremely important day. It may mean the anniversary of your child’s passing or their due date. For me it is the day my Milo took his last breath. He took it in my arms while his dad’s surrounded me. He was just under 5 months old.
It needs to be marked in any way you feel fit. If you need to be by yourself then do it. Involve your living children if you want too or don’t but make sure the day is marked. Your child only has a few special days.
The anniversary is a day where is it sociably acceptable to cry in public or even to just scream their name.
My Milo’s anniversary is in early July. This year will be the fifth one and each year it gets harder and harder, especially as his siblings get older and older. In previous years we have done balloon releases (don’t do them now as I am more aware of the environmental repercussions), read him books sitting by his grave, had family picnics in the space behind his headstone (got some funny looks that day) and visited a beach to write his name in the sand. I have no idea what to do this year. I would like to do something that involves his big brother and little sister but both of them get very bored, very easily.
This year I have decided to participate in the Blogging from A to Z challenge. The challenge is to write a blog post everyday (except most of the Sundays) in April. Each post will be on the same theme, which is chosen by the blog author and in an alphabetical order.
The theme I have chosen in Parenting After Loss.
Losing a child is a major life event and it changes almost everything in that life and the life of those around you. It is also something that, unless you have experienced it, you will struggle to full understand.
Losing a child is nothing like losing a close adult. A child has had no chance to experience life or love. Some do not even get to feel the rain on their face or the wind in their hair. I know my Milo didn’t. He lived his whole life inside a hospital ward. He only came home on the day of his funeral. He never got to sleep in my bed, surrounded by my arms or feel the grass under his bare feet.
Hopefully by reading my A to Z challenge posts they will be able to give you a small insight into the world of a loss parent and how it is intrinsically changed forever. If you are a loss parent reading the posts then I hope them make you feel like you are not alone in the darkness.
My two living children adore this show. In fact, one of my Lilith’s first words was Marshall. Aiden plays it all the time at school with his friends and it is the first thing Lilith asks for when she has TV time.
I get the premise but it is totally not based on reality. Where in this world would you find such an incompetent bunch of adults that are completely reliant on a 10-year-old and a bunch of juvenile dogs.
How did Captain Turbot become a captain? Did he steal the boat and proclaim himself captain?
How on earth does a chicken be deputy mayor? Surely Chickaletta would poop in that handbag.
The merchandising has also gone crazy. Granted we have every version of the soft toys and all the cars ever produced but there is so much other stuff out there too. They even do full party sets with plates, cups, bowls, decorations and filled party bags.
I don’t know if my Milo would have liked Paw patrol but I guess he would have been subjected to it even if he hated it.
This weekend is the start of the scrabble for school places. Anxious parents are awaiting an email or a positive log in to their respective council website.
Monday morning (very early) there will be tears of both joy and sadness. Some parents will be going to bed with a satisfied smile on their face while others will be thinking of how to start battle command to get their child into the school they believe they should be in.
I can sit back and watch this scramble and know that while I should be in there with them, I am glad that it is not something I have to deal with for another 2 years.
My Milo would probably not have even gone to school, or if he did it would be a special school so I wouldn’t be involved in the scrum for the oversubscribed schools.
I do feel sad that another milestone has passed without him but I can’t be too sad. Now, the first day of school and all the obligatory photos in front of a door with shining shoes and sightly oversized uniform will make me sob.