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My baby girl died: questions for those who have been through this...

(14 Posts)
anais2403 Wed 21-Jan-15 16:33:37

Hi everyone

My daughter Sophie died suddenly early December. She was 17months old. She was so perfect. We miss her so much. We have no other children.

I have a few questions for anyone who has been through this and might have any thoughts on any or all of these.

What I am most afraid of is seeing other children who Sophie played with. I've read that some of you surround yourselves with children (some are your own, I know). How do you do that? How do you interact with other children - particularly those the same age as your child - knowing yours will never grow up? Most of our friends don't have children so we can avoid it, but wonder whether it's best not to do this. Sophie's nursery are also planning to put a tree in the courtyard she played in. I'd like to go see this happen, but I worry I might... die seeing her friends all these months later. They will have changed and grown up and they'll be talking the way Sophie never will. How do I cope with this?

We've also organised for a tree to be planted and a bench with a little plaque in our local park. We haven't thought much about the practicalities of the day on which it will happen. My family keep referring to it as a 'ceremony'. I don't know whether I want a thing or whether it's best to just have people come and visit when they can at different times and to take them to the park at that time. Any thoughts?

Finally, we've booked to a see an experienced bereavement counsellor, because I'm willing to try anything. But I realise that day to day we are actually coping better than expected (weeks ago I didn't eat or get our of bed, now I eat a little and have gone back to work). We have so much support from friends and family and I'm able to talk to them and share my pain. We both have jobs we love, which we've (mostly) returned to. We have awesome friends. I have been exercising a lot and doing fun stuff like roller derby which has distracted me. My husband and I also talk a lot and very openly. So what will I gain from counselling? Has anyone been? I know it can't hurt, so I'm willing to give it a try. But if anyone has any thoughts do let me know.

Thanks in advance

fuffinhelp Wed 21-Jan-15 20:34:18

I'm afraid I don't have any advice for you anais, but just wanted to send my sympathies and thoughts your way. I can't imagine what you're going through, or how it must feel, but it seems like you have good instincts for what you can handle, and are doing things which are helpful for you, and you and your husband have a great relationship which will be really important for you both. With the counselling, I guess they have experience of different ways of dealing with this, so it might be beneficial. Wishing you all the very best, and hope you can get some helpful input from other MNers x

Messygirl Wed 21-Jan-15 20:39:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Messygirl Wed 21-Jan-15 20:40:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

outflewtheweb Wed 21-Jan-15 20:42:30

So very sorry. How heartbreaking.

I think counselling will help you to face any emotions that might wash over you in time and sort of arm you to deal with them. It sounds like you and your husband are doing amazingly already but it can't hurt to try the counselling, too.

I read stuff like this and find the strength some people have is just incredible. I'm sure some more helpful folks will be along soon.

Jjcrackers Wed 21-Jan-15 21:00:11

I am so so sorry for your loss. We lost one of our twins at 31 weeks. A little girl. It isn't quite the same I know. Your pain must be indescribable - I can hardly bear to think about it.
My biggest regret was not getting counselling - I think it would have given me techniques for coping the wave of grief hits you both unexpectedly and expectedly. Please do go. Sending love to you and your angel

KleinePoppet Thu 22-Jan-15 18:35:39

Hi anais,
I am so, so sorry that your Sophie has gone. It's so unbearably unfair and just endlessly, horribly, terribly sad. As if a word like 'sad' could cover it... My heart aches for you and your husband and for your little girl who should still be here.

I am rarely on MN these days but happened to be here today, saw your post and wanted to reply. Our story is different to yours - our baby girl died as a newborn, due to an accident during her birth, in June 2012. She was also our first child (we are now fortunate enough to have our second child with us; he's ten months). We are two and a half years down the road, and while life is certainly not the struggle it was to start with, neither of us find it at all easy.

I will add my thoughts here on your questions, in the hope that they may help a little, but with apologies if they don't.

- other children of the same age... I avoided. I still avoid. Curly-haired girls I passed on the street used to cause my knees to crumple and my stomach to flip over. The children of friends who are of similar age: some of them I have met and spent time with (some I still haven't). I sometimes cry, sometimes have to leave, and - increasingly - am able to enjoy seeing them in a wistful way. It is getting easier. And having DS helps. Before him, I mostly just couldn't do it and was quite honest with friends about this.
Some people have the strength to do it; others have no choice; I had the choice, and couldn't do it. I can't advise what's best for you - and certainly you are 'coping' about as well as anyone could do, I think - but I just wanted to say, please try not to worry about it/try not to feel guilty if you can't go to the nursery, or if you can't see any other children at all. You have so much to deal with and it is very, very early days right now. If you choose not to do something, just tell people that you can't, and leave it at that. If you do want to go, have support on hand - husband, friends, family - and do not plan to do anything afterwards; it will be exhausting.

- the tree and the bench (which sound lovely, and also totally heartbreaking). My thoughts - which you must feel entirely free to ignore - are that I think you simply must do whatever is best for you and DH. I appreciate that it is impossible to know what's 'best'... so I suppose I mean whatever you feel you can handle. Perhaps imagine the different scenarios in your head (with a ceremony, or just you and DH, or taking other people there yourselves over time), and think about which one you fear the least, or feel is most important to do in Sophie's honour. While your family are also deeply grieving and need ways to do so, it is paramount that you have to be able to cope with whatever happens.

- counselling - we tried it, twice, with two different counsellors. It didn't help us, but then, like you, we are talkers - in fact we did nothing but walk and talk for at least half a year after DD died. However it was definitely worth trying and I think you are right, and also thinking wonderfully clearly, in saying that it can't hurt. I expect you have been reading a little about the type of grief that affects bereaved parents... you may find that things become harder before they get easier, and counselling may help you deal with that. (It might not get harder; I don't mean to frighten you in any way. There's no way of knowing. But as jjcrackers says above, the grief can hit so unexpectedly. Anything that can help you get through it, is good.)

I must go. I am so very, very sorry that Sophie has died. I send you all my love Xxxx

cathpip Fri 23-Jan-15 12:01:24

Hello anais
I am so very sorry that you find yourself here talking about your daughter sophie. We lost our 3 year old daughter Pippa in April 2014, she had just become a big sister 10 days earlier, it was so sudden.
As much as I would love to avoid girls Pippas age it is an impossibility. I have to take Pippas older brother to school and all her friends are usually running around the playground. I just slap on my happy face and exit very quickly, it's not there fault they are still alive and Pippa isn't, but there are days when it is very very hard....
We have had two benches put in place in our village, one in the playpark and one by the cricket pitch, we had nothing todo with the installation and went down as a family a couple of days later. We take comfort in the fact that we know children use them for either sitting on but probably more like jumping off.
My dh is receiving counselling at the moment, he went through a very dark patch, not that I was worried about my marriage but he said some very hurtful things... I have had a couple of sessions, it was good to talk. To a random stranger about everything, I have realised that my new talent is making people cry.. My dh is benefitting from counselling, his old self is coming back. We do talk as a couple but not about the events surronding Pippas death, it's to painful for me. We both understand that we grieve differently and that it can hit us at random, and even though my dh can grieve openly I keep mine for private. We have two young dc and they deserve a happy childhood, and if that means my needs come second then so be it. I don't want their childhood overshadowed by their sisters death. A 5 year old should not be asking why his sister is in heaven.
My life now has moments of happy but I function and that's it, and when today is over it's one day closer to seeing my daughter again, don't get me wrong, I want to see my grandchildren but I'm no longer worried about dying if you know what I mean.

approoachingfiftyandfat Fri 23-Jan-15 12:12:11

So terribly heart broken for you OP.. flowers and lots of them.

MrPop Fri 23-Jan-15 15:44:05

Hello anais

I posted on your other thread and have wondered since then how you are. I am so sorry about your loss of Sophie.

My DS2 died unexpectedly at the age of 11 months - now just over a year ago.

Re - seeing other children his age: I avoided this as much as possible. And if I couldn't (ie friends of DS1s with similar aged siblings), then I just used to kind of 'blank' them - it just felt too painful. I am a bit more able to manage that now, but I feel incredibly wistful and full of yearning when I see toddling boys. I also had to avoid mums of 2 boys, especially when they were similar ages to my 2 DC. It was self preservation - there are so many assaults on your emotions as a bereaved parent that you have try to minimise them.

I did go to counselling and found it very useful - from what I have heard and read, it seems to depend on how you 'click' with the counsellor. I felt (and still do) very guilty with regards to my DS2's death and those were some feelings that I could not share very easily with others - friends and family would want to shut the conversation down. I also became pregnant very soon after DS2's death and counselling was a place where I could express the complete mix of emotions the pregnancy brought up - again friends and family expected happiness and it was so much more complex than that.

twinklesunshine Sun 25-Jan-15 20:26:07

Hey, hopefully I can be of help. My little boy died when he was 3, coming up to 3 years ago.

I avoided children of his age, and specifically his friends. My closest group of friends all had a child the same age as we met at a baby group. I knew 14 of the children that started school at the same time as he was meant to. I couldn't bare it. My friends were really good and kept them out my way. I couldn't bare to hear about birthday parties etc. Nowadays I can see them and its fine, as they are double the are they were then. They no longer make me upset as I don't relate them to being the same age. I still struggle with any 3 year old, any child who has the same time, anyone who has a sibling with the age gap that my boys used to have. I think I always will. I don't fell guilty about it, one thing I have learned is that I need to be selfish and look after myself, and do whatever I have to to keep myself going. If I don't want to see children then I don't. I'm quite forceful with my thoughts on this and I'm kind of past caring what anyone else thinks as they don't have to live my life.

I haven't done bereavement counselling, simply because (and this is just my personal view) I don't want to talk to someone that hasn't lost a child. I don't think you can understand unless you have. You can emphathise, but you can't understand and that's what I need. I did see a psychologist for a bit as I was in such a state and I would highly recommend that, she gave me coping mechanisms which helped a lot.

Obviously this is only my own experience. If you want to ask me anything else please do. Thinking of you xxx

tenwrigglywigglycaterpillars Sun 25-Jan-15 20:32:08

I can't add advice but I didn't want to read and run. I'm so sorry for your loss. You sound very brave and I just wanted to send you flowers and a hand to hold any time x

Travelledtheworld Mon 26-Jan-15 20:28:27

Hello Anais.
I am so sorry to hear about your lovely little girl.

My baby son died when he was three weeks old. It was the most terrible thing that had every happened to me. That was 17 years ago now.

I avoided other babies. Could not bear to see them. All my friends from my Ante-Natal group were embarrassed and did not know what to say. Over time it got better and eventually I was able to hold someone else's baby.

Counselling was so important. Just to have a neutral person to talk to was so helpful. And she was a specialist bereavement counsellor who was able to tell me how tough things could really be.

Years later I had some other problems and even then I spoke to another counsellor about my sons death and how it affected me.

I went on to have two other lovely children and I think losing my first son made me love them all the more.

The raw grief fades and you learn to live with it. But even so expect the sadness to well up from time to time and it may catch you unawares.

Last year I bumped into a friend who had a son same age as mine would have been. She showed me a photograph of this tall, handsome young man and it brought tears to my eyes to know this was how my little baby would have looked.

Sending you all my hugs and kind thoughts. I hope eventually you will go on to have other children, but your little Sophie will always be special.

Taramara Mon 26-Jan-15 21:21:31

Thank you for this thread

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