I still think about my should-have-been child 75



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In 1971 I gave birth to my angel, Greta. She was the smallest baby and was bright red. Before I could even touch her she was whisked away by doctors and I still remember that fear and the pain of not knowing if she was OK.

She wasn’t OK. And I had no idea that I would really never be OK again either. I never got to hold my baby either. Back then if you had a stillborn, miscarriage or any birth defects, it was unheard of to be handed the baby like you would be now. My little Greta never even breathed her first breath. I’ve heard a term “born sleeping” which I find a lot more comforting than stillborn. But nothing really did comfort me. I went home from the hospital, 19 years old and with no baby. My neighbours had no idea I’d lost her and came over with gifts. It was heartbreaking to say out loud that I didn’t have a baby.

It’s been 45 years since that day and although I went on to have three other children, I still think about my should-have-been child. When people ask me how many children I have, I am tempted to say four because that’s how many I gave birth to, if you want to get technical.

I wonder sometimes if my attachment to my eldest child is normal and if other mothers really do feel that sense of loss still, so many years on? It broke up my marriage and forced me into a deep depression – I blamed myself for losing my baby. I thought maybe I lost Greta because I was so upset over the death of my father (a father who was hardly in my life). I blamed my husband too and it put a shadow over my life that even affected my three alive children.

I have a close friend whose son died 17 years ago in a car accident and she still finds it difficult. She reminded me that everyone grieves in different ways but sometimes I feel a bit pathetic grieving over a baby that I never held, when she had 21 years with her son and memories galore.

So as the 45th anniversary approaches I am still trying to come to terms with how life was so cruel, however I’m hoping that some other people can let me know that they too have experienced loss and it can take years to get over it.

Tell us your story below.

Guest Contributor

  1. there is no ‘right’ way or time to grieve for your child, It takes as long as it takes. I lost my son 4 years ago, he was 35 and had been ill a long time. People would say to me ‘At least you had time to get used to the idea’….Hell no! you never get used to the idea and it doesn’t make it any less painful. I even had a woman tell me ‘its been a year, get over it’ . I’ll never get over it, and I don’t think I want to. grieving for him keeps him alive in my heart.

    7 REPLY
    • Sorry for your loss Dawn, I agree with you. I don’t believe I would want to get over the loss of child no matter what the age. I wish you better days ahead.

    • So sorry for your loss Dawn. If I lost my son no matter how old he was I would never “get over it” so I am appalled at how heartless another woman’s comments are.
      Wishing you comfort in the years to come.

    • So sad for you Dawn. I can’t imagine what this loss would be like and I don’t think a mother who has carried a child could ever get over such a loss. One thing I’d like to share which I hope may help though,is that they always are with us and look after us. While we carry such intense sorrow it makes it difficult for them to reach us.The Love you still carry is the wave vibration they use to be close.So,visualise your little Greta with all your love and,keep sending that Love energy to her and imagine beautiful Light around her.

    • A big hug to you, keep loving your son, he deserves it. It is right to grieve however you do – I wish you all good memories with love 💕💕💕💕💕

    • How can people think like this? Each child has its own personality that is endearing and nothing can replace it

    • My mother never got over the death of my brother, she used to say, you don’t expect to bury your child, it’s not right for you to see your child go before yourself ,then she would say l still miss him. Is it wrong to miss him. No its not wrong of course you miss him, l do too

    • My son died over 10 years ago Dawn, you never get over it, you just learn to live with it

  2. I share your heartache. 37 years ago I lost Rebecca. I broke into pieces, and when I finally got those pieces together, I was changed forever.

  3. I lost a baby at 24 weeks…..I still grieve for her. I had another daughter after her but still remember the one who is with the angels. The grief never goes away, just get easier to live with as time goes on. My daughter would have disabilities if she lived.I am thankful that she did not have to go though life suffering. Think positive thoughts and be happy that you were blessed with other children,

  4. No you never get over it. I lost my 1st child Matthew at 6 weeks old during open heart surgery. I can tell you there is not a day goes by I don’t think of him at some stage through out the day. It’s coming up to his 40th birthday soon then of course his anniversary. This time of year is always hard. I did have 4 other sons and they are all well aware of there older brother. Also their children are aware of an uncle they never knew. I visit the cemetery quiet a few times a year and quiet often 1 or 2 of the grandkids will come and help with flowers and they always say hello uncle Matthew.

  5. you will move on but never forget. I had a beautiful daughter whose twin brother was still born, but on her birthday we never forget, and there are days when I say what would it be like if Luke were here

  6. Sorry I should say I have a beautiful daughter Amy, she is 32 does time heal, not really

  7. You will always miss your child as I do the one who was taken from me but he would want you to be happy.

  8. I lost my only daughter when she was 42, she is still alive but for medical reasons she is lost to me. My heart is broken . There always seems to be something missing now and I don’t think that will ever change.

    1 REPLY
  9. Oh my gosh I could have been reading my situation and thought in a lot of ways. I lost 2 babies in 1971 and 1972. One lived 12 hours one lived 24 hours…….we already had 2 very young girls……..changed our lives forever….never to be the same again…..never to get over the grief…..always still think of them and how our family would have been with them in it etc etc etc.

  10. Time does not heal i think you just learn to live with it a bit better, but it sure does change you as a person.

  11. no what you feel is normal i too had a stillborn daughter in 1971 i miss her everyday i wonder what she would be like i have 4 wonderfull children and 14 fab grandchildren but i still miss the angel i lost

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