After midnight, my lovely designated night midwife would bring Alan up from the morgue. I could hold him and study his little face so I could learn it and imprint it in my memory. I accepted that it had to be like this, seeing my baby in the dead of night. This was a maternity hospital and we didn’t want to freak out the other expectant mothers and he needed to be kept cool. It was always hard to give him back because when he was physically present, I could feel his spiritual presence in the room with me.
Last Sunday as we sat around the table making baby dolls as a keepsake for the babies we had lost, I found out that things have improved on that front and now mums can keep their babies with them with the aid of a cool cot. Such a small thing and yet can have such a huge impact. There is still much to do though.
Mums spoke of seeing friends crossing the road to avoid having to speak to them. Feelings of isolation and judgement for even taking their maternity leave after their baby had died. Holding these retreats is about giving time and space to be with what is and to share if you want to in a very supportive, non-judgemental environment. Some women wanted to talk and others didn’t. There was no expectation either way.
It’s 14 years since Alan died and yet being at the retreat even as a facilitator made me realise how raw my feelings can still be a times and that’s okay. It also allows me to dwell on the beauty of Alan’s very short life and his legacy. As well as paving the way for his 2 younger brothers, he has also led me on this journey of self-discovery and expression and healing.
During the sound bath, I could feel all our interconnectedness and beyond our shared grief, we were all joingg by the immeasurable love a mother has for her children. As I sang, I could feel a sense of peace settling over the room.
While all the mums admitted to being apprehensive about coming along to the retreat, they all said afterwards that they found it very beneficial. We are having a morning event in October in Ennismore House focussing on the journey following miscarriage or the death of a baby.
Stories from the Womb is series of retreat type workshops for mothers who have suffered miscarriage or whose babies died. It is facilitated by 4 west Cork mothers: Laura Whalen, Sara Devoy, Pam Skinner and myself. You can find more information and book your ticket here https://www.clairemariebarton.com/product/stories-from-the-womb-reflection/
You might also like to check out our Stories from the Womb facebook page
Please get in touch if you have any questions.