How to live happyendingless?

This post has been brewing for a while, I sit here feeling let down, isolated and frustrated. Who has done this to me? The loss community, the people I’d hoped to care for and support me have left me feeling like this. I need to stress, nothing has been intentional but it all stems from the same concepts:

A. Happiness is only truly found if you have another baby following a loss.

B. Everyone wants and gets a rainbow baby.

Over past weeks a few things have happened to make me feel the way I do. This isn’t everything which has contributed to my feelings, but here’s the headline stuff.

The first was a post on the national Sands page about support they offer for mums who are pregnant following loss. This is obviously great and so much needed. When I was pregnant with Henry I accessed help from Sands in the form of stickers I placed on my pregnancy notes so healthcare professionals were aware of my loss. On this Facebook post I asked if there was any support for mums like me. I didn’t get a reply so a week or so later I took a screenshot and messaged Sands. I got a reply back that said, no there wasn’t but they would look at the training offered to their volunteers. They mentioned that they have a helpline if I needed to talk to anyone. I replied saying thanks and explained that it was resources to access that I was looking for.

Then a crafter who has suffered a loss (and has a rainbow) who makes lovely memorial items posted that she would be dedicating one day a week to rainbow stories to celebrate them. I asked if there would be a night dedicated to mums like me with no rainbows, the answer was whilst our stories were important, no there wasn’t a specific dedication night at the moment. We aren’t to be celebrated yet obviously. 

Then, earlier this week I had an email from Tommy’s which was titled ‘Naomi, celebrate the rainbows with us this drizzly February’. Erm, no thanks was my initial thought, but just like driving past a car crash, I couldn’t stop myself from looking at the email. The first story was about a family with two rainbows (two, I know) and then a piece celebrating the Jules Oliver rainbow clothing range at Mothercare. I was cross, an organisation I considered to be safe was sending me personalised emails that I found upsetting. So, rather than brood, I tweeted them. The next day they suggested I email them. I explained my issues and said that what mums like me need are practical resources for coping without a happy ending, we need inspirational stories from survivors. Oh and how about working with retailers to make teeny tiny baby clothes to fit babies smaller than premature babies. Tommy’s replied, it was a bit defensive in places and, like Sands they mentioned their helpline. I replied saying thanks for listening, I explained that I’m probably not a good person to do a positive loss story on, and that I didn’t need a helpline, I needed stuff to read about real people like me!

The final straw has been an article by the BBC about rainbow babies. The title? ‘Rainbow babies: The children bringing hope after loss’. The title alone implies that my life no longer has hope. I tweeted the reporter and the BBC asking where the stories about people living without a happy ending are. I’ve not had a reply yet but I’m hopeful I’m listened to.

I absolutely know all babies should be celebrated and I know that babies born after a loss are precious. However rainbow babies are held in such high esteem, almost as some sort of holy grail. Comments like ‘I never thought I’d be happy again’, ‘my baby gave us hope’, etc. don’t make me happy for them, it makes me sad and resentful, then follows the feelings of isolation, then frustration that there is no specific support for people living happyendingless. I’m not angry at people for having rainbow babies (well, perhaps I’m a bit jealous), but there’s anger and frustration at the lack of support and understanding from the loss community. I’ve said it before but nobody knows what to do with us who don’t have a happy ending (whether that’s yet or ever).

There was one glimmer of hope last October. A documentary about baby loss called Still Loved by Big Buddha Films featured a few loss families including one with no rainbow – I loved it! A positive role model at last. Interestingly the big mainstream UK broadcasters have refused to show the documentary as it was too upsetting. Welcome to my world eh? I watched it at a cinema which I was glad for as it was compelling viewing and the big screen gave it the impact it deserved.

I’m increasingly frustrated by the lack of positive stories from families who don’t have a rainbow. Our rainbow baby died and ideas like these feel like one kick in the teeth after another. I’d like to read about people who have hope and joy without the presence of a rainbow baby (whether through choice or circumstance) because at the moment the message seems to be that to heal you need another baby.

Rather than ending on a negative, I’m throwing my caution to the wind and asking for those positive stories (I really hope there are some out there!). If you’d like to share your story of hope and joy without your happy ending baby please get in touch by messaging below. I’d love to hear from you! 

Much love,

Naomi (Toby, Rory and Henry’s mummy) ๐Ÿ’™

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20 thoughts on “How to live happyendingless?

    1. I’m hoping to share positive stories of living with no happy ending baby. If you’d like to be involved please let me know ๐Ÿ’– It can be anonymous if preferred, appreciate your circumstances and that EVERYONE probably knows you! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  1. The rainbow baby thing is irritating I agree. It only helps if you have one or can have one. If you can’t is just as bad as any other baby related thing. My happy ending has been education. I’ve persued education and not children, which in some ways seems like a hollow type of ‘happy’. But I suppose it counts. X

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  2. Naomi, once again you’ve captured so much of what I’m feeling as we continue on our journey since OUR precious Henry was stillborn in May 2014. My wife has since beaten breast cancer but it has left us with other complications meaning we are facing up to the possibility that we may never get a rainbow either. We’ve embraced charity work and education, which some people have said is inspiring but to me it’s just doing our bit. โค

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  3. Hi Naomi. First of all, much love to you, Mr P, Toby, Rory and Henry. And thank you for writing this as it is also something I’ve been looking for. Our twins, Herbie and Pete, died in October 2015. Our ‘rainbow’ baby died in April 2016. All our babies were conceived via IVF and I just don’t know if I can go through it again. Even if I did, there’s still no guarantee we’d take a baby home at the end of it. Finding hope and joy again has been – and continues to be – one of my greatest challenges. At the moment, I’m trying my best to search in areas that don’t involve more treatment cycles, conceptions, pregnancies or babies that make it all the way home. It’s not easy. Sometimes, I find moments – mainly by being in nature. A beautiful beach with no-one else on it. A breathtaking view from the top of a hill climb. A sparkling snowscape or a rustling forest. How to integrate hope and joy into my life more fully, day-to-day, though? I can’t say I’ve really worked that out yet – or at least, it’s difficult to give tangible examples. However, I do feel hopeful that I will be able to embrace the deep sense of vulnerability that I’m experiencing and keep it with me as the source of my strength. To feel all my feelings in all their glorious complexity and try not to hide them as I make my way in the world. To be guided in how I live my life and connect with the world by a new sense of clarity about what is important to me. Each time I find myself doing any of these things, I’m going to celebrate it. This is not the life I would have chosen but it’s the only one I’ve got.

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    1. Much love Lucy! I’m so sorry you’ve had this journey, IVF adds a whole new dimension too. Thank you for your reply. I’m hoping to share these positive stories of living with no happy ending baby. If you’d like to be involved please let me know ๐Ÿ’–

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  4. Hi, someone showed me one of your posts that mentioned Still Loved. I’m Lou, mum to Finn (10) and my sleeping baby Lauren. I am so glad that my words in the film may have been of a little comfort to you. I can’t imagine how painful it must have been to lose your rainbow baby too, so cruel. I really am so sorry. I have supported many families who have lost their rainbow baby too, it’s a whole different ball game. And the hardest thing of all is reaching that point of acceptance, in our case, that we only have one living child. If you want to get on touch at all please do. Love Lou xxx

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    1. Thank you so very much for getting in touch Lou! Your story was so powerful, the loss world is full of families with babies after loss and it was important and much needed that your story was told. Thank you for speaking in behalf of mums like me xxx

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  5. Thank you Naomi for your story. I believe this is such an important side of the story to tell and I hope you find inspirational stories to share with mums. Surely there must be some rainbows. Some hope for those that have faced the devastation of losing their babies and are then faced with the possibility of never holding a baby of their own in their arms, the rainbow baby.
    Perhaps it is not fair of me to write either as I do have other children. But I lost my son Finn at 19 weeks. With this loss I also suffered the loss of my ability to have more children as I had to have a hysterectomy. Right now I am in the depths of grief but I need stories such as you are trying to find to give me reason and hope. I will also hope that one day I may contribute my own story as I will never have a rainbow baby either and that hurts so much.

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