Today is international friendship day, friends are an important part of human relationships. When something so devastating happens like the death of a baby, you fully expect to have the support of your friends around you. To lift you up when all you see is a heavy darkness. But what happens when that expectation isn’t met, and all you hoped for in a friend turns out to be quite the opposite.
There were many, many messages of sympathy from friends, from family and acquaintances. But when the real support of friends was needed, these turned into empty offers. As we walked down the street, we watched as people who had just offered “support” cross the street. It was obvious, as there have been times where they’d cross back after passing. What had we ever done, to not only lose our child but have people avoid us as if we were contagious. It all felt incredibly unfair.
Many, many years ago it was believed that anyone you met on the internet would be weirdos, murderers or just generally hideous people. That attitude for me lessened when I met my husband through online. When pregnant with Melody I was poorly with Hyperemesis and suffered from Ante-natal depression; both making it difficult for me to leave the house. It isolated me completely, it certainly wasn’t an ideal situation. I found solace on a birth board – May 12, and then eventually Facebook splinter groups; they became my home, my safe place to post and be. We would all speak most days, and always check in after appointments, share the good, the bad and the ugly. It was lovely. Other Mums before me lost babies too, everyone came together; it was what we did. Lit candles, and held each other up.
When Melody was born early, there were a couple of us with premature babies, we would each share our fears, and share how well our babies were doing, it was a real community. I do miss it.
Then just like that, she was gone.
Their love and support continued, and I will always, always be so grateful to the Mayflowers (I named my book after them) and Baby Talk. They will never understand how much their friendship and support meant to me, in the weeks after she died; I really will never forget that. They were kind enough to club together and got us a memory box. One lady is my children’s God Mum, having lost her own baby, she became my rock.
As posting on the birth boards became more and more harder, I stepped back and found the corner of Babycentre nobody ever wanted to see; dark and ugly – yet with so many joining each day there was never a chance to build cobwebs. And that’s the painful thing, that baby loss is not rare.
I found support on PAIL, and have ‘met’ some incredible people, who have helped me, and in return, I hope I have helped them too, by helping them it inspired me to set up Little Daffodils.
Through PAIL I met another close friend – my internet weirdo..
International Friendship Day
I want to celebrate and thank all the people mentioned above for carrying some light, for helping to make the early days more bearable. Because without you all, I don’t know where I would be, I may never have met some of you, but please know you mean the world to me, and you are all Melody’s aunties – her family. Thank you for never letting her down.