Client story: ‘Losing our baby daughter’

“My journey with Firgrove started when I lost our baby daughter in the 22nd week of my pregnancy, with no known causes and no previous issues throughout my pregnancy.

The day we lost her my whole world changed and I could have never anticipated the pain and grief that my husband and I were going to experience. It truly has been the hardest thing I have had to learn to live with.

After leaving hospital I remember thinking nothing will ever feel the same again and I didn’t even know where to start piecing my life back together. I was in shock for a number of weeks and unable to process what had happened to me, I couldn’t understand the loss that had occurred in the turn of a day and I remember thinking we need help because we can’t do this on our own and I couldn’t even describe the pain we felt. My husband and I had found out about Firgrove whilst still in hospital, so we contacted them the next day after we were home, we were offered an initial assessment appointment for the next week. We spoke with the counsellor who listened to our story and recommended that we came weekly if we could, to speak with a counsellor, and that this would be for as long as we needed.

I have to be honest the first few sessions are quite blurry to me because I was struggling to process the trauma of what had happened, but I do remember how kind she was, allowing us the space to just be and feel what we were feeling even when we were unable to articulate it. This was vital as so many of our friends and family were not able to cope with our grief and what had happened to us. I felt safe coming to Firgrove and over time I was able to revisit parts of the traumatic experience, which manifested in nightmares, panic attacks, anxiety and a serious distrust of the world.

Throughout all these experiences, the Firgrove Centre and our counsellor remained our constant; sitting and listening to our pain without dismissing it or offering platitudes like many others had. The counselling support we had acted as a light leading us through a no mans land that felt very lonely and full of despair. I cannot count the tears I have cried for our little girl and the loss of hope I felt in all areas of my life, but slowly over time our counsellor helped us to trust again and learn to live with pain, sit with discomfort and honour our daughter.

Throughout this experience it became very clear to me that our society has very little tolerance of grief, we had very few places to go to discuss my pain, making it even more difficult. Firgrove gave us space and coping skills to talk about it in a way that helped us live with it. There was no expectation that we would have to process my grief in an arbitrary amount of sessions and it felt very open in the sense that we would regularly check in to see where I was with the amount of times we’d visited and how we felt in ourselves. Knowing that the support would be ongoing gave us reassurance that they really knew how to support people with grief and trauma as it is not something that can be neatly packaged into a number of fixed sessions. It is unpredictable in how it can effect a person and is something you learn to live with not complete.

When I started I was not able to work because of the exhaustion, fear, grief and trauma I was experiencing. From my background I was familiar with challenging lifestyles and considered myself to be very resilient. I was not able to do much work after our daughter died and found it hard to see a future for myself when I was at my lowest. However, over time the counselling was vital in my healing and I was able to cope more and more. I changed my job and began to make other positive changes in my life which I would not have done without the support of Firgrove. I did not take any medication but instead I was listened to and given strategies and validation to move forward, which has led to some long-lasting changes.

Before we lost our daughter I was not aware of how many parents experience baby loss, now I know it to be 1 in 4 which is hugely significant. The Firgrove Centre is an absolutely necessary service and I can honestly say I would not be where I am today without it. I am now a mother to a little boy and I would not have been able to cope with the pregnancy without being able to access my counsellor during the pregnancy. I would not have even entertained it if I’d not had support. Parents need support when they have experienced baby loss and there are very few places to find it, the trauma requires specific support and needs to be handled with care. The consequences of not having support at such a critical time would be devastating.

I cannot thank Firgrove enough for what they have done for me and it has really made me realise the importance of talking therapies and how they can be life changing. All of the counsellors there are fantastic and not only did we feel listened to but it was clear to me that I was being “felt with” even after many years of hearing people’s stories. It was beautiful to see how kind and compassionate our counsellor was to us.”