Yesterday I wrote a post about why the internet sometimes SUCKS since Finley died (read here). Today, I felt it was only prudent to discuss the other side of the internet – the side which has been an amazing support to me in the aftermath.
I’ve written before about my birth group, the Sweet Pea Club. In the very initial days after Finley was born, they were a huge support. I was still in the hospital, and could only get online on my phone. When I was alone at night and couldn’t sleep, it was to this group that I turned, and they were amazingly supportive.
The internet also gave me an outlet to tell family and close friends what had happened without having to have multiple difficult phone calls. As we were in another country, it helped to be able to take my time explaining things in a way that I thought was appropriate. And it also gave me the opportunity to decide if I wanted to reply to people or not. I was so overwhelmed with messages and calls from people that I couldn’t really take it all in. But it was nice to know that people were thinking of us.
And I remember one message I received in particular. It was from a woman that I had only met once. Surprisingly it was a woman who I met when I went to a baby group in Italy, I thought I would start getting to know some of the other mums out there, as soon I’d have an excuse to join them. It was literally only a couple weeks later that Finley was born. She told me about Sands (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity in the UK) and that she heard it had been a great comfort to women who’d lost babies.
Over the coming days, if I could face it, I went on to the Sands website and read some of the advice they had for bereaved families. It was good advice, and advice that I actually wish I’d had before we saw Finley for the last time. There is a forum which was also a huge lifeline for me (and is available to mothers anywhere, not just in the UK). It was one of the very initial places where I started sharing some of my thoughts and feelings about my loss. I remember writing down the story of what happened in its entirety and sharing it there. It was long, so long. And I received so many supportive replies.
I also joined a PAIL (Pregnancy and Infant Loss) Forum on BabyCentre, which was helpful as it was familiar to me. I’d joined the community there very shortly after finding out I was pregnant.
One of the first blogs I came across was from another bereaved mother who I had spoken to some at BabyCentre. Her blog is called Silent Love. At the time I first ‘met’ her she’d lost twin boys and then also another little boy in a subsequent pregnancy, all to the same condition. Since, she has lost another little boy. Her words are always so eloquent, and she has been an amazing support.
After reading her blog, I started reading more. I discovered Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope which is a website that any woman who has experienced PAIL can share a photo of herself and her story. It is searchable by type of loss, so you can find others who have experienced similar losses to your own.
I found Still Standing Magazine, which is an online magazine. It has a whole host of regular contributors, but also other parents who can submit stories and poetry for publication.
I discovered CarlyMarie Project Heal who is the wonderful mother who will write your babies name in the sand at sunset and photograph it for you. She organised the Capture Your Grief photography project in October and the October 15th Beach Prayer Flag Project.
There is Small Bird Studios. Franchesca is a wonderful mother who organises events for mothers. She works on the Lost For Words Card Line with CarlyMarie. They design cards for many occasions with bereaved families in mind. This can be a saviour, as often these types of cards are hard to come by. She is an author, and all round sweet lady.
There is still life with circles by Angie, who hosted the Spoken Word Blog Roundup and created the Right Where I Am Project. She painted mizuko jizos for Kindness Day and I was lucky enough to receive one.
Glow in the Woods is another shared blog that has more of a literary feel. Angie is one of the contributors, and you can always expect real, raw posts. They also offer some very practical advice.
There is Beth Morey whose words are always so eloquent and heartfelt. She tackles topics that others might be afraid to discuss.
This is only a list of some of the initial resources I came across. Since I started writing my own blog, I have discovered so many other wonderful blogs and websites. I have spoken to some of the most amazing people on twitter and facebook. I have participated in some amazing events.
None of this would be possible without the internet. I probably would still be reeling from what happened, feeling completely and utterly alone and wondering if I was normal in what I was experiencing. But instead, a whole world of support was opened up to me, and for that I am so grateful.