Empty Hands, Fuller Heart

*TRIGGER WARNING: this poem is for Baby Loss Awareness Week. It gives a very personal account of stillbirth. It also offers some ways to help those who have experienced loss. I have been in two minds about sharing it because the last thing I want to do is cause upset. However, if it helps just one person feel that they are not alone, or if it helps a friend support another, then it is worth the share. Please only read on if you feel strong enough*

For 7 months I carried you, my heart bursting with pride,                           
Then the words that parents dread: “I’m sorry, your baby’s died”.            
There’s life before that moment and then life that we’ve lived since,                   
Split in just a second by a sentence so intense.                                           

Two long days, a walking coffin and struggling to breathe,                        
Scared of questions: “When’s your due date?” “Boy/girl do you believe?”
Panic attacks, anxiety, and stress I’ve never known,                                    
Phantom kicks, trying to stay strong, but feeling so alone.                          

In a strange state of limbo, I seemed now to exist,                                     
Not wanting to let you go, yet wanting to give you a kiss.                          
Determined throughout labour, to give you the best birth,                          
Extreme pain of heart and mind, but your silence was the worst.                          

Yet then we met you, gorgeous boy, and held you in our arms,                  
Bowled-over by perfection and your brother’s looks and charm.
I didn’t sleep a wink that night, I held you oh so tight,                                
Treasured memories, breathing you in, kissing you goodnight.                   

Just one nappy change, one outfit, one hand and footprint too,                                                     
Leaving hospital without you, it broke my heart to do.
Going home with empty hands, your cot in an empty room,                                   
Left with pain and bleeding mementos of my empty womb.                      

Your brother was our saviour. Superhero aged just two,                 
Making us get up each day, face the world with fun to do.                       
He’s grown up as a caring boy, with kindness in his heart,
Talks about you all the time, his life you’ll always be part.                         

Despite the endless grief we feel, I’ve much to thank you for,                                
Better person, have no doubt, who appreciates life more.
I pray that this never happens to future mums or friends,                          
If it does, here’s some top tips, so on you they can depend. 

If you don’t know what to say, then simply tell them this.                       
Give them a hug, let them cry, on their forehead plant a kiss. 
It may seem small but sit with them, listen and take their hand,                           
Tell them you are sorry too, you’re trying to understand.                            

One day you will see them smile, reassure them that’s OK.                                   
They’ll feel guilt for happiness and feel like they’ve lost their way.
Don’t tell them it was meant to be, or that they’ll have another,          
You wouldn’t say that if they lost their sibling or their mother.                  

And please don’t forget the Dad, close friends can be far and few.                        
Being her rock, helpless through labour; much to cope with too.
Never had the chance to know his baby from the inside,                               
Saying goodbye before hello, heartbreak he’ll try to hide.                           

Last word to my little man, every day I miss you so,                                   
Such an honour to carry you, to feel you move and grow.
I take comfort that you’ll never feel hungry, hurt or cold,                            
Love you till the day I die, then again in my arms, I’ll hold.

© Pass Me The Valium and passmethevalium.com, 2016.

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