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SANDS meeting

(6 Posts)
steph0488 Wed 29-Mar-17 13:02:56

Hi
I lost my baby daughter during childbirth 4 and a half weeks ago and I'm finding it difficult to cope. There is a SANDS meeting on in my local area tonight and I've been thinking about going. Just wondering if anyone has ever been to one before and what the format is like? I'm a little worried it's going to be set up like and "AA" meeting and we will have to sit and share our stories one by one - don't think I'm quite ready for that just yet.
I'd really appreciate it if anyone who has been to one before could give a little insight.

Xx

PopsyDoodle Wed 29-Mar-17 16:50:57

Hi Steph, I am so very, very sorry to hear about your little girl. How incredibly sad. You have my every sympathy. The early days, just trying to keep going, are absolutely appalling. I remember them all too well (we lost our newborn baby girl nearly five years ago), and I can only say - as you will doubtless have read and heard elsewhere - that the unbearable pain and blackness does, very very slowly, get better with time.

I apologise that I only have a couple of minutes to write this, but I didn't want to read and run. In our area, yes, that was the format of the Sands meetings - sitting together and sharing stories one by one, then general conversation. It is hard listening to other people's stories, but comforting to be in a place where everyone knows how are you feeling. I think that most of them are run in a similar way, though you'd need to check with the local organisers to be entirely certain - maybe an email or text, if you don't feel up to calling? I am 100% sure, though, that if you want to go, but don't feel able to talk, no one will press you to do so and you will be able just to listen. The nature of these groups are such that everyone understands... But if it seems as if it would be too much, then do just plan to go to the next one and then re-evaluate how you feel nearer the time; don't put yourself under too much pressure. Your days are hard enough at the moment without pushing yourself too far beyond your current comfort zone.

Also, just an idea, if you can't go, you could ask the organisers if you could be put in touch with some others, individually, who might want to meet up? The local friends I made through Sands were a lifeline to me in the year following DD's death.

Sending love to you and to your daughter x

Blueroses99 Wed 29-Mar-17 17:06:08

Hi Steph, I'm so sorry for your loss. flowers

I went to my first Sands meeting about 2 weeks after losing my little boy last July, and most months since. It has been a lifeline. We don't go round in a group and have to share stories. The organiser will usually start by asking how everyone is feeling, someone will start off the conversation and it goes from there really. Usually it will be someone who has been to the groups before that starts off. General conversation. People can share as much or as little as they feel comfortable. No one is put on the spot or judged.

I found it helped validate my feelings and made me feel much less alone. The 2 hour sessions were quite draining but I always was glad to have gone and felt it helped me work through my grief.

You can always get there a few minutes early and ask the organiser to explain the format and tell them that you don't want to share until you feel ready. And there is nothing to say you need to stay to the end if you're not comfortable (though no one has ever felt uncomfortable to leave early at any of my groups, we tend to feel we need a bit more time to wrap things up if anything, but no one would mind if anyone did leave early).

All the best xx

movpov Wed 19-Apr-17 01:37:24

Hi Steph, I am very sorry to hear about your lovely daughter. I've only just seen your thread so it may be by now you have gone along and tried it. I lost my baby son 20 years ago and it was a couple of months before I got in touch with SANDS. Someone came to the house first and we had a chat, then I went along to a meeting which was in the same hospital where he was born, which was hard. Some people were quite new to the group, others had been going for a while. The thing about groups like this is that everyone has experienced the most terrible loss, and understands your pain and grief. You will be made welcome and given lots of support. If you want to talk about your baby, someone will listen. If you are not ready to share your story, that's fine, you don't have to. If you want to cry, someone will hold you. If you want reassurance your feelings are normal and you're not going mad, you'll get it there. I made some friends there, and we saw each other through subsequent pregnancies with all the anxieties they brought; we still see each other from time to time many years later and will always have that shared bond that only someone who has been through such an ordeal can begin to understand. Whether these meetings turn out to be for you or not, take care and be kind to yourself and if you want to talk about your little girl here, talk away x

Hopeandpaige Fri 05-May-17 12:19:24

Hello, I'm wondering if you have been to any yet and what was it like??
I lost my baby girl 04/10/16 at 40+3 so I understand exactly that raw pain you are feeling and what your going through! I go to a local baby loss counseling session every Monday morning but I haven't been to a sands group!
If I have any advise for you I don't know if you have already done it but at the national abouratum in Stafford they have a sands baby mormoiral garden where you go and lay your own painted stone for your baby, I found it a very beautiful thing to do and I go every Sunday to visit it! It's well worth a day trip to!! I have my baby girl paiges stone there even both sides of grandparents have now layed stones too!! Take care of yourself hunny

steph0488 Mon 08-May-17 17:48:37

Thanks for all your help everyone, so sorry to you who have had losses too it's something no one should have to go through.

Hopeandpaige I'm so sorry for your loss sad I had another thread about sands because I really was so nervous about going and wanted a reply before the meeting that evening -this is the reply I added to it a few days after I went
"After lots of deliberation I decided to go to my meeting on Wednesday. When I arrived there were two other couples there for the first time too and we all had the same apprehension about going in. I have to say it was one of the saddest and heartbreaking things to ever have to go to. It was so sad to hear about the losses of the other families and what they have been going through since. Before going I thought I would just listen and wouldn't want to talk about my daughter or what happened but after a while I was able to talk about it and even share some things I've never said to anyone before. Although it was horrible in lots and lots of ways and I cried when talking about my own story and when listening to the stories of the other ladies it was therapeutic in lots of way. It was nice to share stories and actually laugh about some of the stupid stuff people have said after our babies passed away and helped to know that lots of the thoughts and feelings I have been having are normal and that the other mums were feeling similar things. I really would recommend going to a meeting if or when you feel ready, it wasn't the "AA" type meeting I thought it would be at all. I completely understand if you don't feel it's for you.. part of me was convinced it wouldn't be for me and my husband didn't want to go as he thought it would make things worse and be too upsetting which I totally understand too but maybe he will go in the future if he ever feels like he would like someone to talk to."

I have been back to my second meeting since and still feel the same way, it's a chance to talk to people who really understand and share how you are feeling. Again was so sad especially listening to two new group members about their loss but it was again very reassuring to talk things through and realise that what I was saying/feeling is "normal". It also helped to chat to people who are at various stages of their journey after losing their babies and see how they have managed to go forward with their lives while still remembering their precious babies but not in the depths of deep intense hurt and grief that I am feeling at the minute. I've since met with one of the girls outside the group for coffee which was really nice and have connected with some others over Facebook so we keep in touch until our next meetings. Unfortunately there were lots of errors in my care during labour which may have contributed to my daughter loss and I'm currently in the prices of going through and investigation about this whilst waiting for her full post Mortem results and the support of the other mums from sands has been invaluable for this.

Sorry this message seems a little disjointed but thought it easier to copy and paste my initial thoughts on the first meeting as well as add some now that I've been twice. Thankyou for recommending the memorial garden unfortunately I'm based in N.Ireland and there is nothing like that here as far as I'm aware.
Let me know how you get on if you do decide to go to a meeting, I hope you find them as useful as I have. Xx

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