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This little girl, has made me a much better person, friend, and therapist

Updated: Jul 20, 2022

One of my close friends gave birth to her daughter, Hera Jasmine Moos, on 3rd October 2020. Hera was due to be born in December, but she arrived early and sadly, she was stillborn. This little girl, who never made it into the world alive, has made me a much better person, friend, and therapist.

Before Hera came into the world, I imagined that losing a child must be one of the worst things someone could go through. I don’t think there are any words that could really explain how it must feel and I don’t pretend to know, as I am lucky enough to have never experienced it.

In 2020, during the pandemic, I watched my two friends, Chris and Halima, bury their baby girl. I see them now, trying to live some sort of a life without her, but I know they feel her loss in everything they do. Every experience they have, Hera should be there. Time passes, but the loss of Hera is everywhere around them, and I imagine it always will be. It makes me sad for them, and I wonder if they will have moments of complete happiness again? I hope they will.

Since Hera was born, I have worked with a client who has lost a young child. It’s the first time I have done this since Hera came into the world. I noticed the difference in how I worked with this mother now, compared to how I would have two years ago. I used to believe that time would heal, and that if parents kept on living their lives as ‘normal’, eventually the grief would pass.

I used to take an action-driven approach with all my clients. For example, planning self-care rituals, planning small things to look forward to or specific memorials to remember loved ones by. I’m not saying those things are not useful, but what I’ve realised is that they can’t be done with a structured, time-tabled approach like I might expect when working with other people who are going through depression or anxiety. Whilst I have done bereavement training in the past, as a CBT Therapist who has worked in IAPT, it hasn’t been something that I’ve put into practice or had lots of experience working with.

When I did my CBT training, the lecturer said something along the lines of how there is never really a situation that leads to the only response being depression, as there is always a different way to look at or respond to situations (for example, one person might see a relationship ending as a heart break, whereas someone else could see it as a lucky escape - there are different perceptions to the same event). He finished by saying the only exception is the loss of a child.

There is no treatment manual that a therapist can give to you to follow. There is simply survival. You do what you can to get through, and hope that one day you can start to build your life around the grief. I’ve learned that there is no moving on and there is no ‘time heals all wounds’.

When it comes to difficulties in life, in most cases, we can learn to accept it, change it or control it, but when it comes to grief, this isn’t possible. Instead, you learn to live the best life you possibly can, keeping the grief close to you because it is intertwined with the love you feel for your child. Again, this is from the perspective of someone who hasn’t been through it, and I don’t pretend to know how it feels, I am just trying my best to be able to support others who are going through it.

Hera, I will always remember you. Despite your short time in this world, you made me a better person.

There is no footprint so small that it does not leave an imprint on this world.

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