A beautiful bear donated by another grieving mother to help bring me comfort through a wonderful charity called Aching Arms. My beautiful bear has been donated in memory of Maisie Ruth. I cried when it arrived and hugged it tightly. It is hard to explain how much this bear means to me, but I am going to try.
Since my beautiful Erin passed away I have changed. I have become someone for whom there is no standard name - a grieving mother; a mother without her child; an angel mummy. I was pregnant for 38 weeks, I went through labour, I gave birth, I had my daughter for 22 days...... and then she was gone. Suddenly it doesn't seem okay to talk about these things anymore. If Erin had lived I would have gone through the gory details of the birth with my friends, I would be updating my facebook status with the incredibly cute things Erin was doing on a daily basis, I would be taking photo after photo and showing off my little girl to anybody and everybody who would look. I can't do that now, not because my friends don't want to listen, but because I don't know how to do it. When you have a new baby it is perfectly natural for you to talk about them and bring them into conversations. When your baby has died it doesn't feel natural anymore. I guess this is associated with the taboo that is baby death.
The people I have found it easiest to talk to are people that I have never even met - other bereaved mothers through twitter. We don't go into great detail with eachother, but we are there to offer comfort: through a virtual hug; a message that says, 'I understand'; or a quote that seems to sum up perfectly how you are feeling in that moment. This bear is a further extension of that - a physical thing that I can hold and hug with the knowledge that it has been donated with the most precious love in the world - from a grieving parent in memory of their precious child.
As well as feeling as though I am connected to the mummy who donated this bear, I also feel as though this has connected little Erin and Maisie Ruth in some way. Erin never got the chance to make friends or play and have fun - all of her short life was spent in hospital having horrible procedure after horrible procedure. This may sound silly, but now I hope that wherever they are Maisie Ruth and Erin have found eachother and that they are laughing and playing together.
As well as the comfort I have got from receiving a bear, I have also felt comfort from donating a bear in memory of Erin. I know how special Maisie Ruth's bear is to me and how much I will treasure it and I hope that Erin's bear will be as precious to another parent who needs it. I now plan to donate a bear on Erin's birthday every year.
I hope I have explained how special I think the work that Aching Arms do is. The charity is run by a group of bereaved mothers and to me that is obvious because what they do works. In some ways the idea of giving a bear to a bereaved mother to ease their aching arms seems simple, but the emotion and meaning behind it makes it so much more than that. Please visit their website to find out more and support them if you can http://www.achingarms.co.uk/. I wish that all bereaved parents could be offered a bear and that all babies whose lives ended too soon could have a bear donated in their memory.