How Do You Say Goodbye?
Dedicated to baby Sadie and her family…
How do you prepare to say “hello” to a baby?
You excitedly share your news with your friends and family.
You watch the little heartbeat on the ultrasound screen with excitement.
You write lists of names.
You research the best pram, and buy cots and clothes and carriers and books and toys and teddies and nappies and wipes and breastpads and allll the things.
You decorate the nursery.
You are showered with cute outfits and other gifts when your belly is ripe and blossoming.
You may play silly games or see who can guess how much baby will weigh and when they’ll be born.
You have your belly painted or henna-ed.
You take week by week bathroom selfies of your growing bump.
You might be pregnant at the same time as family and friends, and talk excitedly about how your children will grow up together, being the best of friends.
You do antenatal classes, breastfeeding classes, parenting classes…
You pack your hospital bag, filled with baby items and a “going home” outfit, because of course your baby will be going home with you…right?
You think about who this tiny person will be – what they will look like, and who they will become.
You imagine their first cry, their first steps, the first day of kindergarten or school…and beyond…
You have so many hopes and dreams for them – and for yourself as a mother or father to this new little life.
But what happens when you’re faced with the three words that shatter your dreams and your heart?
Incompatible With Life.
And all of a sudden, not only are you preparing to say hello, you’re also preparing to say goodbye.
How? How do you possibly prepare to say goodbye?
How do you say goodbye to this tiny life that you already love so deeply, who has already taken up so much room in your heart?
How do you tell your family and friends?
How do you pack up all the baby items you’ve so lovingly prepared?
How do you pack up the nursery they’ll never come home to?
How can you play silly games and celebrate, when you know you’re going to be saying goodbye?
How can you possibly take enough photos to make up for an entire lifetime of memories?
How do you plan your baby’s funeral, choosing a tiny coffin or urn, songs to play, the outfit they’ll wear?
How do you look at other people’s perfect baby bumps and newborn babies without your heart breaking all over again?
How do you tell your older children that their new baby brother or sister won’t be coming home?
How do you walk out of the hospital with empty arms?
How do you kiss them one last time, knowing you’ll never get to kiss their sweet face again?
How do you answer the question, how many children do you have?
How do you even get out of bed each morning?
How do you smile? How do you laugh?
How do you breathe?
The truth is, I don’t think any of us know how.
But sadly, too many families have to experience it.
And it can feel like they’re doing it all alone.
Just know…you’re not alone.
Resources for Families
SANDS Australia – 24 Hour Phone Support, Online Support Group, Book Club, Stories, Resources
Bears of Hope – Phone Support, Grief Counselling, Resources, Keepsakes
Heartfelt – Professional Photography Service (Free)
Angel Gowns – Beautiful Gowns made from Wedding Dresses
Beyond the Willow Tree – Keepsake Jewellery (Breastmilk, Placenta, Hair, Ashes)
The Memorysmith – Keepsake Jewellery (Fingerprints, Hand and Footprints, Ashes)
Hands and Feet Casting – Check Your Local Area