June is the month for raising awareness of the charity called SANDS, which stands for Stillbirth And Neonatal Death charity. This charity helps and supports families who have lost a child, before, during or after birth. SANDS offers and creates a community which enables individuals to come together in sharing personal experiences.
I work closely with a charity called Noahs Star. They provide financial support for individuals or families to participate in one to one counselling support following the loss of their child. After these sessions have finished, then I will always signpost clients to the SANDS charity.
I describe grief like the ocean. It is unpredictable and we never know what it will feel like from one day to the next. One day it can feel calm and serene and you can get a real sense of peace from it. Another day the waves can be surging, the undercurrent is strong and the waves build up until they come crashing down, we can feel like we are drowning. We can’t change our grief, no more than we can change the ocean… But we can learn to swim.
It is common to experience the following things as symptoms of grief:
Distorted thinking, irrational or fearful thoughts
Despair or hopelessness
Out of control or numb emotions
Memory lags or lapse in concentration
Losing track of time
Changes in appetite, not feeling hungry or feeling sick
Disturbed sleep, nightmares
We all experience grief and loss differently so it is really important that we try to recognise what we are feeling and how we are behaving.
Ways of helping and supporting people in grief:
Don't try to ‘fix’ anything. You will not be able to.
Take time to listen and hear when they are talking.
Sit with them in their pain, don't try to take it away.
Don't offer solutions.
If you have sadly lost a baby or a child then please do take a look at the SANDS website. Whatever your journey, it will give you the feeling that you are not alone. For more information please see www.sands.org.uk