by Chrissa Georgiades
May 9, 2012. Sounds of newborn babies welcoming their first breath of air. I guess they are feeling the warm cuddles of their mothers- that safe embrace that each new mum hopes her little one will run to for cover when life gets tough. For some little ones though, life has already treated tough before they celebrate a birthday. The only sounds are a mothers tears. Those of the loss of a baby. Those joyful sounds of newborn cries soothed my heart…for my dearest sweet girl Sophronia was lying inside a hospital freezer instead of my embrace. My sweet girl was born still. And I was left to cope with the remains of her absence.
May, 9 2016. Four years after Sophronia’s death, I still cling to her memory. To how being pregnant was for me those full 33wks before she died. How she rolled around, how dark and thick her hair was against her creamy skin-she would have been such a beauty. Even though during these four years my eldest daughter now has a new sister and brother, I still feel a strange gap-that someone is missing from the children’s bedroom, from the dinner table, the backseat…
Coping with the loss of pregnancy is such a painful issue to raise, not only in regards to public awareness but mostly in providing support for the parents who experience such a tragic loss. Miscarriage is the most common pregnancy loss and stillbirth is not far behind but most mothers or women who experience these are not particularly interested in statistics. When you are the 1 out of 200 women whose pregnancy ended in stillbirth you don’t really care about how common it is other than that it happened to you. And if you have had a miscarriage and a stillbirth, I can assure you, you are feeling pretty numb especially when it happens one pregnancy after the other. You feel sad, nervous, scared at feeling those same emotions-and that’s if you are fortunate to become pregnant again.
But what do you say to a woman you know who has just experienced such a loss? So many people feel uncomfortable around you. They look at you like you have a terminal illness. I know I missed the anonymity of what a city like London offers when I had to return to the rural town of 2000 villagers after losing my Sophronia. Shopkeepers pretending that I hadn’t been pregnant for 8 months so as not to remind me of being pregnant, others staring at my body commenting on my weight. Tragic. If you feel uncomfortable or unable to empathise with a mother who has buried her newborn, or a woman who has experienced her 4th miscarriage, or 7th failed IVF attempt, I can tell you one thing alone that you can say that will slightly ease her:
“I am so sorry for you. I honestly do not know what to say”. And give her a squeeze of the hand or hug.
You need not say any more. Nothing else you say or do will make her forget her loss. If you have children, you need not deprive them of her company-if she feels awkward she will withdraw herself. And put bluntly-if you cannot say something along those lines-remember: she doesn’t give a toss about your opinion on the economy, your job, or anything irrelevant to her at this time. Use your sense and be discreet.
Life, after a pregnancy loss, takes time. A mother needs to heal. A father needs to be supported. For some women, this might have been their only chance at having a baby, for others they need to struggle somewhat more to conceive, and if they are blessed to experience another living miracle in their hands, well they are truly fortunate and I wish and hope all the best for them in enjoying that experience of childbirth, motherhood and parenting.
Sophrosyna was founded to commemorate my quiet girl Sophronia. My baby girl whose name in Greek means ‘of sound mind’. My aim, and those who support Sophrosyna, is to ensure that babies are happy, safe and loved by parents who are emotionally and mentally sound.
Chrissa Georgiades launches Sophrosyna to commemorate her daughter Sophronia who was born still on May 9, 2012.
This article was first published on LinkedIn on May 9, 2016 by Chrissa Georgiaedes