posts about stillbirths and miscarriages


The key question at stillbirth

How would my baby have developed? That question will remain a big question mark for the rest of your life. Because of the untimely death – even before you have heard your baby cry, laugh, drink, and talk – you will never know the essential things about your baby. That remains a big question mark because they are not here.

That hurts and makes this loss and grief so enduring. These emotions are different to those we experience for grandfathers and grandmothers who die. Then there are memories that you can often look back on with fond feelings. The memories of grandfathers and grandmothers and also parents who die, make the grief different. You can daydream and look back on those precious happy moments when you’re filled with grief.

With a stillborn baby there is NOTHING. There is only a memory of the intensely sad period that you had together from the moment of birth to parting.

That period is often not easy and is dominated by sadness, powerlessness, incomprehension, and deep disappointment. You don’t want to be reminded of that, which makes it even more complex. Because who wants that now? To re-live the feeling of that intensely sad moment every time. Nobody wants that, right?


You’re stronger than you think

My friends have often said this to me. I didn’t see it or actually I didn’t want to see it. I was done with it for a long time. Be strong. Why, why? It didn’t matter to me anymore and it didn’t interest me. Why should I be strong. For whom?

Gradually I noticed that the fundamental sense of who I really was, was coming back. I noticed that all the knowledge I had gained (work experience, social aspects) was still there. It had only been pushed into the background because other things had taken priority.

No matter how black the sky is or how deeply sad you are, trust that if you are open to it, your real ‘strong me’ will surface again.

You can read how I overcame that heartbreak myself in my book. Readers of my book recognize themselves in my story. It is a story of many. The common thread is the same. The process you need to follow to become happy again. The details are within each fellow sufferer. That is what makes this subject (still birth) so complex.

Everyone experiences events and emotions in their own way and that is good. It’s also the only way you can survive. To be able to start living as that strong, whole, vibrant person again.

You can also order my book as an audiobook via my website. You will receive the book within a few days. You will receive the audiobook immediately in your mailbox. It gives you recognition and support.


I still miss my kids

The comment ‘I still miss my children’ certainly applies to me. In my case – after all these years – I still miss Tom and Tim. I would have loved to see them grow up and develop into happy boys discovering themselves, their likes, loves and passions. 

I also hear this comment from other mothers and parents I support in their journey to become happy again after the loss of their children. A frequently heard comment is: I miss my baby so much. So bad it physically hurts. Not knowing what I’m missing hurts. You know nothing about a stillborn baby. You don’t know what color eyes he/she would have had, the sound of their voice and the personality. These memories are absent! That is what makes the loss so palpable.

In the meantime, I have found a way to turn this absence into a happier life.

I can imagine that you would like to experience this too. I would like to help you. Do you get the feeling that you don’t know how to get your life back on track following the loss of your child? Then contact me. I’m going to help you with this.


My social circle only talks about their children

When a fellow sufferer says this to me my hair stands on end. How painful and tactless?

I then look at them with a mouth that falls open in surprise. What??? How do they think that’s okay. How disrespectful.

Suppose… you are a mother or father of healthy children who are developing, go to school, play sports and have friends. They mess with food and putting them to bed is a drama every day. Many parents will probably recognize this.

Then you have someone close to you who has just had a miscarriage or stillbirth. Will you try moving? Do you think deep down that person would prefer not to trade places with you? Because this person misses everything about his or her child. Really, everything! These people would give anything to do those things with their own children that other parents do, but they are left empty-handed, bereft, childless.

It is then extremely insensitive and shows a total lack of empathy if you only talk more about your own children. Talking only about your children emphasizes the loss of their baby to these people. They are literally forced to face these facts. 

I am sure that – fellow sufferers will agree with me – talking about children who are alive is no problem at all. It is only the extent to which and the way in which they are spoken about.

I myself have found a nice balance with my friends. Friendships in which everything is negotiable. Where girlfriends and friends talk about their children, but where my children Tom and Tim are also referred to. They are not alive, but after all these years they are still an important part of my life, and I would like to keep it that way.

That’s why I really appreciate that those around me still regularly ask how I’m doing and try to imagine what age they would have been and dream with me about what they would have done football, hockey and what school they would have attended etc.

Surely this should be possible in every friendship or relationship. That’s my mission! Breaking the taboo and creating awareness that things can be done differently.


How did you become happy again?

After the death of my two stillborn sons Tom and Tim, I was deeply unhappy for a long time. It was such an intensely sad event that my life was turned upside down and I lost myself.

How was I supposed to turn this lack and loss into happiness and joy? I had no idea. I’ve tried everything. Nothing helped and actually – if I’m quite honest – I didn’t really care. Because what was the point of my life now? My much-desired children were not there. They were born silent.

A life changing event for parents who experience this. In general, pregnancies – and therefore babies – are much wanted. The pain associated with this loss is devastating and how to acknowledge it is often hugely challenging.

I started looking for help to get my life back on track. In my experience, however, what happened was that many other matters were brought up during conversations that simply did not matter. But what does help?

Send me a DM and we’ll talk. I’d be happy to tell you what helped me, and what you could do. 


Don’t complain because you have a baby, right?

People often have a live baby after having had a miscarriage or stillbirth. They are very happy and joyful about that. However, this does not mean that the lost pregnancy is forgotten. That lack and sadness remains, even if there are ‘living’ children. 

The fact that these parents dwell on this sometimes causes irritation and resentment in their group of friends Then people soon think or say: What are you nagging about? You have a live baby, right? Count your blessings!

People still don’t realize that – even though the baby has died during a previous pregnancy, or the pregnancy has ended with a miscarriage – it remains and always will be a part of their life. 

It is a bizarre thought to think that the end of a pregnancy also means the end of the deepest feelings and love for your stillborn baby or miscarriage. These children will always live on in the memories of the parents.

So don’t think they whine when they talk about their stillborn baby or miscarriage even though they had a live baby after or before. Pregnancies that end sadly remain part of a parent’s life forever.

People don’t realize that comments like: “Why are you whining? Look what you do have! Be happy with your baby that is there. You have a child, right?” To be very painful and hurtful.

That’s why I’m busy bringing my mission out to the world. That people should ‘just’ be able to talk about loss, mourning and grief. Without this leading to irritation, misunderstanding and lack of compassion. Everyone should be able to talk about it, both parents and the wider family and group of friends.


Doctors are people too

When I was hospitalized because of my two pregnancies and was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, I was looked after by the same gynecologist and nurses both times. That was nice and felt familiar.

Doctors and nurses are there for you and provide mental support, warmth, and a safe environment, even if the circumstances are less comfortable. They want to make you better in the kindest way possible. However ill I was at the time, I noticed that doctors and nurses are people too.

They were visibly affected and upset by my situation, during the loss of Tom and Tim. In addition, they witnessed my intense grief. They saw my pain and powerlessness when I gave birth to the lifeless Tom and Tim. Doctors and nurses are first and foremost professionals, but they are also people, and they have a heart and feeling. I saw their human side as they expressed their emotions verbally and non-verbally or tried to suppress them with all their might.

Because these professionals openly showed their emotions at my bedside in the hospital, I found my stay warm, safe and pleasant despite the loss. They gave me understanding and empathy. I felt that I was being recognized as having become a mother. That there is no shame in talking about your grief, pain and emotions. In my view, the empathy of doctors and nurses is essential to continue your healing path after discharge from the hospital to learn to live with the grief and loss of your child – in my case two children.

A cold impersonal care in the hospital gives a different start to the healing process. Precisely by showing the human and compassionate side, it is felt that this could be started from warmth and love. 

In my book: Stillborn, which also provides doctors and nurses with a view on these intensely sad events in mothers and fathers, I describe how I experienced my hospitalization.


I feel lonely with my loss and sadness

In a world where everyone is busy, agendas are overflowing, the distance between the people who enjoy life and those who have to deal with intense grief such as when they have experienced a stillbirth or miscarriage, for example, can be huge.

When you are in mourning, a lot goes by unnoticed. You are not really interested in what is happening in the world at that moment. There are other things that concern you. Mothers, parents who must deal with this, often live in a daze in which sadness dominates. The rollercoaster of emotions is often overwhelming. Life can feel so aimless and sometimes you are looking for a way out to talk about it. A child that was so desired is suddenly no longer there. It’s like you’re starring in the worst horror movie.

Your neighborhood live their lives. Yours is standing still. You want to pick up your life again, but the emotions are getting in the way. A mixture of sadness and loneliness, makes you numb to life.

How nice is it if there is warmth, a listening ear and compassion for you. Not only after the loss, but also for longer as long as you need it.

Actually, the duration for this emotional event may be permanent. Because however you look at it or turn it; you have become a mother or a father. Isn’t there also recognition for children who were born healthy and alive? We all think that’s the most normal thing in the world!

It is my mission that talking about this topic also becomes normal. Only then do all fellow sufferers no longer feel lonely and alone with their grief.


Stillborn vs Deadborn 

In 2018 I met an English woman. I told her that I am the mother of two Deadborn sons Tom and Tim. She then said that the English use the term stillborn in situations like this.

Stillborn! I always used the word Deadborn and it always felt cold and chilly. Distant too, while this was about my own children.

Do you feel and notice the difference when you pronounce it? Stillborn sounds so much warmer and softer than Deadborn. Death sounds loud, cold, and chilly. That is the situation. It is nice to be able to give it a word that sounds more loving and warmer.

I am a big proponent of collectively using the term stillborn. Then we will all automatically come to a moment when everyone knows what is stillborn and what you can do if someone in your social group of friends experiences this. 

Stillborn because that just sounds warmer than deadborn.


Talking vs. Silence

Lately I’ve been approached a lot and I receive e-mails from people who have read my book Still Born, that it is still difficult for many to talk about the loss of their pregnancy and baby due to a stillbirth or miscarriage.

Moreover, it is not just individuals, but also couples among themselves who encounter this. What one person likes to talk about, the other prefers to be silent about it. Even then it is important that there is a safe space that offers a listening ear to those who want to tell their story.

At the time, I really liked that I could tell my story to my friends. They offered me a listening ear, in the beginning let me tell my story time and again crying. When I was struggling, they put a comforting arm around me. I felt heard.

Now, years later, it’s still nice to talk about it every now and then. The strongest emotions are gone. It’s more of a short chat now about what Tom and Tim would have been like. Unnoticed as a mother, I still wonder: What would they have looked like now? What would their characters be like? Practical aspects are also discussed. What sports would Tom and Tim play? Football or no football or rather hockey. 

Talking about Tom and Tim from time to time keeps the memories of them alive and I like that. I am convinced that many like me that this has happened to, also like it. Those who are willing and able to tell their story.

As an outsider you don’t know what to say or do? Download my e-book “Do and don’t” do for free. It gives you insight into how you can support your girlfriend/boyfriend or daughter/son so that she/he gets the recognition they want and need.

… respect their loss even if people don’t want to and can’t talk about it. Everyone deals with it in their own way and that sometimes makes the subject of grief so complex and complicated.


How do you help a parent who is grieving?

It is important and necessary that women who have given birth to a stillborn baby or who have suffered a miscarriage are properly guided and supported. This can of course be done with professional help, but the immediate friends and family can also do more than they might think at first.

Often people do not find the right words to help. They just say something, but often don’t know what to do. They think this is the right thing to do. What they don’t know is that well-intentioned social responses can sometimes come across as insensitive.

You don’t want that, do you? You really want to tell your sister, aunt, girlfriend, colleague something empathetic, don’t you? Read or listen to my book to understand what you’re dealing with as a parent, partner, friend, or colleague. The book gives you a lot of insights and helps you to really be there for your family member, friend or colleague.

The grieving process is often a lonely one. When you experience this, you really need your group of friends and family. A small gesture, comment or listening ear; it can make your day and give you strength to get on with your life.

Pain you have never experienced before

If you are pregnant, you will live unnoticed on a pink cloud. You look forward to and long for your baby. If, for whatever reason, the pregnancy suddenly ends prematurely, it hurts. A lot of pain. You are confronted with pain that you previously had no knowledge of.

This pain causes emotions to pass that you have had little or no experience with before. Emotions such as powerlessness, sadness, disbelief, fear, lack, incomprehension, and pain. Physical pain, but especially heart pain.

I myself have experienced this three times. It was an intensive time where it was difficult for me to really enjoy my life again. Proud and grateful that we managed to become really happy again.


And then there was silence…

As a pregnant woman you are very focused on the ‘life’ in your belly. A kicking baby in your tummy confirms the feeling that everything is okay.

Grumble and sigh

As a pregnant woman, however, you are sometimes done with that hassle and rumbling in your belly. When you want to go to sleep, there is suddenly a baby who is busy playing football in your belly. Or is he/she turned in such a way that they press nicely on your bladder with all the discomfort that entails. Sometimes it makes you feel despondent and grumpy.

However, it is confirmation that all is well with your baby. Then you think: ‘Oh it’s good and how nice that I feel the movement’. Pregnant women really like that movement.

However, it has a different effect in pregnant women if the baby suddenly stops moving or it is suddenly very quiet in your belly. The baby in your belly also must sleep sometimes and can also be turned in such a way that you don’t feel anything for a while and then…

… then you will be terrified. Because a quiet belly is not what pregnant women want to feel. Fortunately, there is the ultrasound machine. That offers a solution. Then you hear your baby’s heart again. And the confirmation that it’s OK comes in your stomach reassures and relaxes you.

Only sometimes….

Women often feel instinctively when something is wrong with their baby. Then they keep asking for an appointment with the obstetrician or gynaecologist. It doesn’t feel right when they aren’t heard and their concerns are brushed away.

Sometimes, and yet more often than you think, a pregnant woman unfortunately does not get the answer she wants to hear. How sad it is when you hear that the little heart has stopped beating. The baby has died. The steam locomotive has stopped running. Then it really got quiet in the stomach.

This is the most feared scenario by all expectant mothers. When such a message comes to you, you get the feeling that your life has ended up on a roller coaster. All dreams, pink clouds and future plans disappear from your life.


Good times Bad Times

The start of the new season of a Dutch reality program has an episode that came in well for many. One thought it was impossible that a stillborn child was included in the script in an episode, the other thought it was too confrontational. There was also a group of viewers who didn’t want to watch it when it aired.

If we all keep looking away from the topic of stillbirth, a sad event that is the order of the day, people who have this happen to them will be left with only their sadness, feelings and thoughts. This happens more and more often than you might think at first. Just pay attention to what is happening in your area.

As a society we shouldn’t want this, should we? The world is too rigid, not flexible enough. Fortunately, many things are going well. It is therefore easier to talk about happy and cheerful topics and post on social media.

A stillbirth is something that happens. Unfortunately, more often than we think. We can’t close our eyes to that, can we? You want your family member, friend or colleague to be able to tell his or her story, right? That you can really be there for him or her. You want to offer them what these people need, right? Compassion, empathy, understanding.

Offer them a listening ear and ask what you can do for them. What do they need, ask open questions instead of closed. Don’t stick to empty words, but actually take action. Read what you can do in my download “Do and don’t do”.


Baby Loss Awareness Week

It’s Baby Loss Awareness Week this week (9-15 October). For a week, various foundations and organizations draw attention to pregnancies that end with stillborn babies.

For the past few months, I’ve been posting on social media every week to draw attention to the topic of Still Birth. A stillbirth is simply a major event. I myself have experienced it twice and I know how drastic it is. It is important to me that my deceased boys, Tom and Tim, are not forgotten and that as a mother I give them the recognition they deserve all my life.

Because the love for my children Tom and Tim will never diminish. I simply cannot block or erase these feelings and thoughts.

After all these years, I’m glad I can talk about Tom and Tim with friends in my area. It’s like they’re still there. By talking about them there is also the realization in my social circle and family that this is very nice and important to me. That is not necessary every day, but it touches me when there is a listening ear in my groups of friends when I do need it.

That’s why this week is here! It is important that the Baby Loss Awareness Week has been created. We all draw attention to the loss of a baby, a child that is often longed for. It happens much more often than people realize.

Recently I spoke to a woman (65+) who indicated that at the time she was able to talk very little about her stillborn child with her husband. They faced their personal grief but did not share it with each other. At the time, after a stillborn baby, life ‘just’ went on.

She notices every day that grief plays a major role in her life. She couldn’t talk about it with her social circle and family.

She said to me: “It’s so nice that pictures or footprints of the children are being taken these days. I have no more fond memories at all.”

She was grateful to have read my book. She got a lot of recognition from it. She especially liked to experience that my story was actually her story. Other readers of my book report that they didn’t think about what you go through as a parent when this happens to you.

My book can be ordered through my website. 


Every time the confirmation that you have a lifetime

As the mother of the two stillborn boys Tom and Tim, I have a life sentence. I have to miss every phase and step of my children. That hurts because I would have loved to see it differently.

It’s so cool that friends’ daughter asked me to help her 21 dinner. Because she knows I love to cook. What she didn’t realize was that I also liked this for another reason. It felt like I was doing this a bit for Tom and Tim too. You know you can never do this for your own children. We are very grateful to be part of this fun evening. It was a magical evening with beautiful speeches, conviviality, and delicious food.


Help… my girlfriend lost a baby

 What do you do in such a case? Listen and ask what she needs. Don’t fill in what you could do. Ask. Also congratulate her on motherhood, this may sound strange but it is something you should do. Because… despite the lost pregnancy, she did become a mother. Do you want more tips and handles what you could do for your girlfriend? Download my “Do and don’t”. This document will give you insight into what helps and what can really go wrong.


Silent sadness

If you’ve had a miscarriage or have given birth to a stillborn baby, the world stops. You wonder if you’ve ended up in hell. You are overcome with emotions. Sometimes you don’t recognize yourself.

Everyone else continues with their lives and your world comes to a standstill. Because everyone else continues with their lives (which is logical), distance is created unnoticed and the connection between them is different.

While those that it happens to need time to pick up life. This is not simply arranged with a snap of the finger. Losing a child is an intense and it traumatic event. It’s not just back to normal after about four months. The will is really there to pick up life again, but it often simply does not work.

Due to the traumatic event, life comes to a standstill and because everyone else continues to live, there is still sadness. Silent sadness because the distance between them grows unnoticed over time. Time it takes to recover and heal. Time that everyone else spends on their own lives. The sadness gets further into the background and because of that you get silent sadness.


What remains is love

Parents of stillborn children are left empty-handed, literally empty-handed. There are no memories and experiences.

They only have the period from the birth until the goodbye that their baby is here. Then that too will stop.

What does not stop is the love for your child. That will last forever. I had to let go of Tom and Tim 16 and 15 years ago. But my love for them is so deep and intense that it grows, still does, and will never go away.


LIFE after survival

As a mother of two stillborn boys Tom and Tim, I lived in survival mode for a long time because it was such a traumatic event.

Having to let go of your children literally turns your life upside down. The children you have longed for are taken from you at the snap of your finger. It does take a few things to become truly happy again.

You can read how I did that in my book. A book that not only provides insight and recognition to fellow sufferers but is certainly also recommended for those around you because they often cannot imagine what happens in someone’s life if this happens to them.

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