Many of my close friends have been and continue to be very supportive but there are several people who I no longer speak to following the death of my daughter. Some people chose to remain silent and in doing so chose to remove themselves from my life. Others I made the decision to no longer speak to for various reasons.
According to a study that was conducted in the UK, almost half of the parents of stillborn babies say family and friends avoided them after the birth. 9 out of 10 said they felt isolated and alone after the tragedy which is heartbreaking.
There are many reasons we may lose friendships after the tragic loss of a pregnancy or baby. Most people felt that their friends just did not know what to say or do as they simply could not understand what the bereaved parents were going through. There is also a wall of silence around pregnancy and infant loss which forces bereaved parents into isolation. Maybe friends feel guilty because they have living children, or they don’t know how they can help. Maybe some were tired of me constantly “being negative” and declining their invitations for get togethers or to birthdays, baby showers etc., not realizing that I was simply not ready.
There are many things I can say about the people who weren’t there for us in our time of need. Things they said or didn’t say, times we were there for them, and they did not show up for us, and moments of missed opportunities to provide comfort as they were just uncaring.
Instead, I will say, many of my friendships have become a lot stronger. I have also met some incredible people through the Butterfly Run and I greatly value their friendships. Although I have grieved some of the friendships I have lost, I appreciate being able to have very open and raw discussions about my emotions and my baby with the friends I have made within our community.