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Longer ago bereaved

Updated: 2 days ago

Grieving your first born child or children

A friend of mine has recently lost her adult son, when I think about how she must be feeling it feels almost too much to bear. 

It got me thinking about how different my grief probably feels to hers. Of course these are just my thoughts and we are all different and grieve differently. 

My twin boys were my first children and I was so ready to be a mum of twins. I had no idea what it was like to be a mum as they were my first babies. They lived for a few weeks in hospital but were very premature so needed many interventions to keep them alive. We did what we were encouraged to do but it was difficult with the incubators and wires. I didn’t really feel like a mum.

They died and we buried them and we never got to bring them home. I didn’t get the experience of being a twin mum to living twins. I never held them together when they were both alive. I still don’t know how it is to be a parent of live twins. 

I was grieving something I never really had. I was grieving something that I had only imagined. Obviously I did have them, they were my babies but I didn’t have the mum experience. Looking back, it sort of feels like I didn’t know what I was missing. I knew what I thought I was missing but I didn’t truly  know. It was however the most awful time and so difficult to live through those early days, and years.

Maybe it was better, maybe it was not. I longed for a baby…I needed something more…I needed something to live for. 

Once Jess was born, exactly a year after the twins, it was just amazing but it was also so difficult in so many ways. I could see what I had missed out on, but still not fully as she was one baby and I was supposed to have two at once. Every time she did something or I thought about things it was difficult - how do you breast feed two? how do you stop two from crying? when she smiled, crawled, walked and talked, all so special but such a reminder of what I had missed out on. It was also very difficult to not be over protective of her…I am not sure I managed that. I hardly put her down unless I needed to. She was also such a help in many ways, I had a baby that was alive and I could be her mum more easily. 

I had so much love to give. 

I try hard to be a mum to Charlie and Joshua, and always have. It’s incredibly important to me to talk about them, say their names and always remember them. A lovely lady recently told us that what we do to keep their memory alive is our way of parenting our babies that have died. I like that thought and I haven’t heard it before. So humour me with all my fundraising and sharing about them, it helps so much!

I wanted two babies at the same time but knew I probably wouldn’t ever have twins again. I had Sam as soon as I could (after a c-section) and loved the 20 month age gap between them. 

The ‘grieving what you didn’t have’ still continues for me, as Jess and Sam grow up, one big thing which I didn’t foresee was Jess learning to drive. For me I always think that would have been ‘last year’ for the twins, as Jess (and Sam) grow up and achieve things. University for Jess and Sam was another period that was in my thoughts…would Charlie and Joshua have gone to Uni? I wonder if they would have stayed together or gone to different places. 

The grief has changed though over the past 25 years. I like to think about what they might be doing. What they would look like. What sort of characters they would have. Would they be similar or different to each other just like Sam and Jess. 

I can’t really imagine (and I don’t really try to) how it must feel to lose a child that lived for longer. I think it’s probably just as awful whatever the circumstance. 

Nobody should have to bury their baby or babies. I wish that there wasn’t so many twins and triplets still dying. I wish the support that our charity provides wasn’t needed but sadly it is. 

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