April 25, 2022 Written by: Danielle' Kavanaugh, former board member + past guest of Faith's Lodge Ever since experiencing a Faith's Lodge child loss retreat in 2015, I've found it cathartic to bring my closest family and friends together to fundraise through...
The Things No One Tells You About Losing A Child
Written by: Hyedi Nelson, Faith’s Lodge Board of Directors
Mostly because the topics of child and pregnancy loss are still relatively taboo, those experiencing these types of loss can find that it comes along with countless unexpected challenges and emotions. It’s likely different than any type of loss they or many people they know (or are aware of) have experienced before. Here are three things I experienced after my son Charlie died when I was 30 weeks pregnant.
Things won’t make sense anymore.
Children are supposed to outlive their parents.
Pregnancies are supposed to be safe after the first trimester.
You’re supposed to leave the hospital with your baby after giving birth.
So many things you’ve previously known to be true have now been turned upside down. This can have a serious effect on your psyche and outlook on the world and can be incredibly isolating. That’s why having access to resources like support groups and places like Faith’s Lodge is so important. Being in the company of others who are experiencing similar emotions and can relate to what you’re going through can help you feel less alone. It can also help put the world back into focus – at least a little bit.
There’s life before child loss. And then there’s life after child loss.
Simply put, I wasn’t the same person after Charlie died. Returning to normal life was inevitable, but felt impossible. Showing up in the everyday places I had before, like social outings, family gatherings and work felt like I was entering into those encounters for the first time in my life. This process and these transitions were anxiety ridden and stressful and required a lot of support. One type of support available for the transition back to work is Hope Works Here, a service of Faith’s Lodge. It’s a program employers can put in place so it’s there if any of their employees need it. And if it is needed, the benefit provides layers of support to help guide the transition of an employee’s return to work after the death of a child.
It may cause a strain in your relationship with your partner.
If you’re on a pregnancy or child loss journey alongside a partner, you may find that this presents its own set of challenges. When that partner’s grief may not align with your own, resentment can result. For me, this added another layer of pain and frustration onto the trauma of the loss itself. One thing that many people find extremely beneficial during their time at Faith’s Lodge is that there are opportunities to process and meet as a large group – with partners – as well as separate parties. That experience for me, combined with the help of a therapist, led to me not only acknowledging, but accepting, that while my husband’s and my grieving journey would certainly overlap, that I was also going to need support outside of our relationship. And that our grief would potentially always look different from each other’s.
For me personally, all of these things had one common thread: a need for outside support to help get me along my grief journey. That journey has been a painful and difficult one. Finding support from Faith’s Lodge, family, friends as well as ways to honor and remember Charlie, each and every day, provided light amidst the darkness.