This week, Steven and I had the absolute honour of being guests of Our Missing Peace Charity and SiMBA Charity at the second child bereavement event which was held at the Garden Lobby of the Scottish Parliament. This event was hosted by Mary Fee MSP and titled , “Breaking the silence” , which was intended to raise awareness and help break the silence around child loss while allowing us parents the chance to speak with ministers and MSPs about the impact that bereavement care and support can have following your child’s death.
I was super excited to finally meet Nicole from Our Missing Peace charity as i’m a bit of a “fan girl” over her! Nicole’s Instagram was one of the very first accounts I found following Francesca’s death and have always been so amazed by her strength following her own son Bens tragic death. I remember reading her blog last year and trying to soak up every last little bit of her strength though her words as at that time I had no clue how anyone could survive the pain of their child’s death. I didn’t know anyone that had ever been though similar at the time so I don’t think Nicole will ever really know how much her words helped me especially in those early days. Nicole has even gone to create an unbelievable UK based charity with the aim of ” providing support to bereaved parents all over the world by creating a unifying symbol, signposting service and educating the public about child loss.”
The parliament event was the first that I had ever attended so I wasn’t sure what to expect which made me incredibly nervous. I find it a lot easier to write about my journey as the words seem to flow a lot better when I try to put them down “on paper” where as I find a lot of the time I struggle to speak out loud about Francesca’s death. I haven’t ever been good at public speaking and i’m pretty socially awkward at the best of times so I find it depends on the kind of day i’m having if I can face questions around our loss. Mainly it depends on If my emotions allow at that time. So I was worried that by attending an event solely around the tragedy we had lived through that id make a bit of “tit” out myself. Maybe even have a full blown dramatic melt down or the likes in front of some fancy someone or another and look like I working towards an Oscar for best dramatic interpretation. Who knows but I was so excited to have been asked along that there was no way I could miss this chance to have my voice heard in someway for our baby girls memory.
The event was held in the Garden lobby where various charities had set up around the hall where we were able to go and chat away to find out more about their work for helping the bereaved families. Many of these charities I had heard of and some i’m glad I have now from this event. Mary Fee MSP gave a heart warming speech and to open the event she quoted the author Megan Devine. “When someone dies, you don’t lose them in that moment, you lose all the things they might have been. you lose a future”. We then heard the most horrific statistics of stillbirth and infant death rates of 2018. It hit us both hard in that moment that she was talking us about us, we were within those rates , we were one of those families affected , our baby girl was one of the stillbirth statistics, how was this our reality now?. I cant explain the horrible feeling that appeared in the pit of my stomach knowing that this was going to happen again to another child, another family. I felt the walls close in and found it hard to breathe.
One thing that will always stick with me was listening to the very brave, very inspirational Kirsteen, from Simba charity who spoke to the crowd , so proudly , so beautifully about her gorgeous little angel, Eoin who was sadly stillborn too. Kirsteen shared a poem which perfectly described Eoins precious features and the hall stood still. You could have heard a pin drop. I don’t know how she managed to hold it together the way she did. It was clear to those not affected directly by stillbirth that in that moment they understood a little better and knew our babies were exactly that babies, they were here too , they existed , we carried them , gave birth to them , loved and cared for them on their short time with us and planned a funeral to say goodbye too just the way you would with any other human being. The only difference is our little ones didn’t have a lifetime of memories they only have us , their heartbroken mummies and daddies here on earth to help share their stories in the hopes that we can normalise this awful, lonely taboo of silence.
Stillbirth is lonely , infantloss is lonely , childloss is lonely no matter what term or age your child was. The lonliness can be deafening. It only adds to the cruelty of our loss. If we can somehow band together and let others like us know that it is OK to feel HOWEVER you’re feeling. Please know that it Is OK to share your babies name and story with others same way it is perfectly OK if you chose not to. Whatever you feel is right for you, is right for you. There should be no judgement only space to grieve with the knowledge that there is support out there for us should we ever need to seek it out.
I only hope there was someone in that crowd that took on board our experiences and has the power to make a change somehow.
I have included the details of the charities who have a massive variety of support on hand to help anyone out there who may be struggling somehow with the death of their child. No matter how recent or how long ago it may have been please reach out if you need someone to chat to .
As Always For Francesca and Leo xxx
For more information on Mary Fee MSP please contact firstname.lastname@example.org