Life after losing a child

guest postKeren Baker is a mum of 6, including 2 teenagers, 1 tween and she’s still surviving (just!) she wrote recently for BritMums asking about how you create your friendships. this time she goes very deep and touches on the very delicate subject of losing a child

Ok – thorny emotional subject coming up… Losing a child – can it ever be positive?

Sorry… Pardon?

What did you just say?

Is that a serious question?

Well anyone with half a compassionate bone in their body is going to give an answer of ‘no’. Are you kidding?

Well, I’m not about to say that losing one of our children was a positive experience.

How could it possibly be?  I still bear the scars.

Losing our daughter 6 years ago was the singularly most tragic and traumatic thing our family has had to face. I marvel that our family is still intact.

We had help though. We didn’t face it alone. My faith did, & continues to give me the ultimate hope. We also had some incredible people that stood with us.

But, has anything positive come from having empty arms.

Yes.

I’m not listing the negatives today.  I’m focusing on the positive things I’ve learned through bereavement- and they are lessons I’m fortunate to have learned despite wishing to have experienced them through a different situation.

Being thankful

Singing (badly) Big Yellow Taxi reminds me ‘don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone’.  So true.

Kids are precious but it’s hard to know just how precious they are until they’re not with you anymore. I’m thankful for my memory- never valued that before either. My memories of Natalie are so incredibly precious.

Mostly I’m thankful that we had that short 2.5 years. I have friends who have never had children, they’d love to have even one. I’ve had 6 kids. We are so very blessed.

We live in a culture that sees most of their offspring reach adulthood. We’re the lucky ones. Look across at the developing world, mothers routinely seeing children die from completely preventable disease. They face pain & sadness as a nearly inevitable part of life.  I’m grateful that I live in a country where children normally get to live to adulthood and beyond.

I learnt soon after about real friends. Some slid away. Some, despite the awkwardness & difficulty of our situation stuck with us. If despite my pain & complexity you’re my friend- you are worth your weight in gold. I learnt who my real friends were & how much I valued them.

The opportunity to begin again. This one was a real gift. Once you’ve known real tragedy, you become a little ‘untouchable’. People are far more accepting & forgiving of unusual behaviour or stranger decisions. They’ll often pass it off as a result of trauma.  It sometimes is.

The thing is, I could have gotten away with dying my hair 15 wild colours, or joining in some crazy scheme, but instead we got to re-evaluate our lives, decide whether what we were doing was actually what we wanted to do and make changes. I know, you can do that any time but this forced us to rethink, to say no to going places, and decide exactly how to do life. It made us a little braver than usual & I’m glad for that.

Lastly (& not exhaustively) it pushed me to learn new things I learnt to set up a website to help other bereaved parents. I wrote a book and connected with many other parents in the same boat as me. In my new me (which was a weaker and more vulnerable version) I had gained a better idea of who I was, learned about my weaknesses & gained a better view of what the world was really all about.

Can losing a child be positive.

No.

Did I want to waste the struggle by not learning from it?

Definitely not.

I’m still struggling, still grieving and still learning

So are many of you reading this too.

Useful links

www.winstonswish.org.uk
a great website with some unique and encouraging ideas to help you and your children to grieve.

www.sayinggoodbye.org
A web site for the Saying Goodbye services; a national set of remembrance services for people who have suffered loss at any stage of pregnancy, at birth or in infancy.

keren bakerKeren Baker works from home mostly doing Freelance Craft design and demonstrating. She loves being creative and that often extends to creatively avoiding the ironing or ‘creating’ cake. She lives in the ‘North’ although she spent a couple of years in the south. For downtime (of which there’s not a lot), you’ll find her making stuff , watching period dramas or dreaming of a day or two by herself somewhere warm and quiet!  She has a craft blog- which is the bread-and butter business/inspiration blog & a brand new solely parenting blog 6 kids plus me

Keren tweets @CraftStampInk.

Keren also wrote a book Empty Arms which can be found on Amazon

Share Button

About

BritMums is the UK's largest parent blogger collective. We offer bloggers the latest support, advice and how-tos as well as feature great content on food, travel, relationships, health, charities, crafting and much more. Our social network is free to join and helps bloggers connect with others; our BritMums Pro programme connects bloggers with brands on our high-quality projects and our annual conference, BritMums Live, is the blogging event of the year.

, , ,

15 Responses to Life after losing a child

  1. Franglaise Mummy 07 May 2013 at 18:54 #

    I can’t begin to imagine what you must have gone through/be still going through, but it’s great that you have managed to look at the positives and thank you for sharing them here.

  2. Keren 08 May 2013 at 07:34 #

    Thanks for replying and being encouraging! x

  3. Mama and more 10 May 2013 at 07:14 #

    You are a very wise lady to have taken learnings from such a terribly sad experience. I wish you much much strength and the retaining of happy memories. Someone once told me – don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. I hope that isn’t trite in this instance, but it seems to ring true x

    • Keren 11 May 2013 at 16:28 #

      Hi! Yes, some sayings do have so much truth in them, and that one is to be aspired to. If only we were fully in control of our feelings!!! x

  4. Eeh Bah Mum 10 May 2013 at 07:24 #

    Found this via your link. You’re right i have no idea what to say. Thank you for writing this.

    • Keren 11 May 2013 at 16:28 #

      Thankyou for commenting and being lovely x

  5. Jaime Oliver 10 May 2013 at 08:33 #

    I am so grateful for your #PoCoLo post this morning, I was completely unaware that guest posts where on here, i knew carnivals and round ups are but not single posts .. so thank you. and massive thank you for sharing something so so personal to you. Sending massive hugs x

    • Keren 11 May 2013 at 16:31 #

      To be fair neither did I until I started guest posting!! Thanks for commenting & making this part of cyber space feel much more warm & encompassing! x

  6. Xandi | The Mummy Scripts 10 May 2013 at 20:50 #

    Came to your post through #PoCoLo. I have to say how inspiring you are – to share the pain you have suffered and show the changes it has made for you and your family in the way you look at life. Thank you for laying it on the line, as you said x

    • Keren 11 May 2013 at 16:30 #

      In a moment of ‘wobbliness’ I have found such great women stand forward & be encouraging. It is a testament to just how positive BritMums, Twitter & PoCoLo can be. Thankyou ! x

  7. Verily Victoria Vocalises 11 May 2013 at 08:22 #

    I’m not sure whether to comment here or on your blog so I’ll do both. I’m so sorry to hear you lost your beautiful Natalie so early on in her life. No parent should ever lose a child. It is good to see you taking the positive things out of such a sad situation. Thank you for linking to PoCoLo xx

    • Keren 11 May 2013 at 16:25 #

      Thanks for all your lovely support! Mwah!

  8. Judith 11 May 2013 at 21:18 #

    I am blown away by the fact that you have written this. I love what you say about not wasting the struggle: it is always going to be a struggle, all you can do is find something positive to come out of it. I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like to lose a child, all I can do is say how very very sorry I am, but how inspiring it is to read that you have found some treasures in the misery. xx

  9. Maddie Sinclair 11 May 2013 at 21:31 #

    Wow Keren. That is so beautifully written. So loving and emotional, yet practical and reasoned. A great post. I’m so very sorry for your loss. I really admire you and you should be so proud of yourself too.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. When Laying it on the Line isn’t always good for you. | 6kidsplusme - 09 May 2013

    [...] wrote a post here You have no idea how painful it was to write [...]