The Capture Your Grief project I took part it on Instagram for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month was so well received I thought it might be an idea to share it on here too. Plus, it’d be a good way of accessing it in the future rather than having to scroll through hundreds and hundreds of photos of my cats.
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I’ll post a few themes/entries every week so it’s not completely saturated. The response to these posts on Instagram was overwhelming. I was so apprehensive about going so in depth about my grief and Aneurin but people were so incredibly kind and supportive which only spurred me on. I had more messages and interaction during October than I’ve ever had and mostly from other bereaved parents which was wonderful. I hope someone somewhere finds comfort in these posts or enables someone to understand or support a loved one suffering a loss a little better.
Day 1. Sunrise – I see Aneurin in nature all the time. I’m not sure why but the beauty of nature makes me feel close to him and gives me comfort. My favourite is rays of sunshine through the clouds which husband and I always used to say looked like heaven and now whenever we see them we like to think it’s our little Pea saying hello.
Day 2. Intention – At first I was really apprehensive about sharing my grief and life after Aneurin for many reasons. Partly because it is such a deep, personal pain and partly because I didn’t want to appear crass. However the more I learn about life after losing a child more I see how isolating and silent it can feel. My intention is to let other people going through similar to know they’re not alone in the complex and often confusing nature of grief and to give loved ones a better understanding of what it’s like to allow them to care for and support bereaved parents better.
Day 3. In Honour – Aneurin Davies, my beautiful, precious little boy. He was the most wonderful gift and taught me so, so much. We had an incredible roller coaster of a journey together and whilst I’m heartbroken he isn’t here I’m so glad we got him for that short time. Aneurin has changed our lives and our hearts and I will spend the rest of my life trying to make him proud and honouring his memory. This was the last bump photo I took during my last bath with him in my tummy. I was going to post a photo of his perfect hand but as much as I love sharing my son I want to keep a little bit of him to myself for a bit longer.
Day 4. Dark & Light – I posted this earlier but the photos just felt too personal and intimate to share so this swan will have to do. The first was a photo of me taken when we arrived at the hospital to be induced, the other was taken after Aneurin was born. The first photo is so scary to me, I look completely broken in it and terrified of what was to come. The second I am beaming with joy. I expected Aneurin’s birth to be horribly sad and traumatic but it was the total opposite. The trauma came later. All I felt was joy and pride at meeting this beautiful boy my husband and I made together. I have never felt like that.My grief is filled with darkness and light in equal measures. The trauma of losing my child, the heartbreak of missing him so much and missing all the things we should be doing, the joy of having him in our lives for that short time and the incredible love and pride I feel for him and will feel forever.
Day 5. Empathy – There’s a big difference between sympathy and empathy and the latter is what bereaved parents need. Don’t say ‘you can have more/you’re still young/at least…’, say ‘I’m sorry/this is really awful/what can I do’ and just be there. I don’t get cross when people say the wrong thing because it’s impossible to know what to say and I know people aren’t being malicious.
Losing a child isn’t something you get over or even move on from, you just have to find a way of living with it.
Please don’t pretend he didn’t exist. Say his name. Ask questions (including how to pronounce it haha). If we don’t want to talk about him we’ll just change the subject.
Empathy, not sympathy.
Mrs D x