The writing topics come from the themes of the Baby Loss Awareness Alliance.
Marlieke de Steur from the Hanne Foundation has developed the seven daily themes that you can talk about during this week.
Laura from Liefste Lijnen ( @liefsteijnen ) and  @wheniwasgrieving  made the beautiful drawings for the subjects.
Can we share your contribution? Then tag us on social media. In this way we create more awareness together. We are curious about your contributions and hope that writing can provide comfort.

Milou’s story : Love for your child. It sounds so obvious. Unfortunately, that was the last word that came to mind for Milou after she was born and we had to lose her immediately. While I felt the urge to stare at Timothy all night long, Milou had to leave as quickly as possible.
I mostly found her scary and cold. Didn’t dare to look at her face or actually hold her. Because the photographer came and I knew very well that it was β€œnow or never”, I did both anyway. I slowly got used to her face full of red spots and her cold, stiff body. Until the moment I caressed her cheeks and they felt like stone. The fear returned immediately.
It took weeks for me to start feeling love for her. And now… now the love for her is overflowing but it can’t really go anywhere. Because of the necklace I wear, she is always with me just a little bit. By writing about her in this place, sharing photos and expressing my story, that love is slowly taking hold.
Forever in our hearts, you will be missed forever. We never forget. We call your name and you existπŸ’–

Love for Saar β€“ The love for Saar is just as much as for her sisters, which sometimes makes it so difficult that she is no longer there.
Love for my girls – They are both sisters of Saar & they love Saar’s life in their own way, but especially the love for each other as sisters here but also the love for their sister there above the clouds.
Love for my other half- we are so different but that is why we are so good together.

Tim : β€œThe love top, who do you love the most?” Not a very useful question in itself and for me trying to answer it didn’t yield much, actually still doesn’t, but I’ll do it anyway πŸ™‚ The clichΓ© is true, the love for your child transcends all other loves. A new number 1 with a dot. Riley deserves and receives so much love and she will never do anything wrong.
And I love Esmee even more because of her. I didn’t know that was possible, I feel so close to her. We share something that we don’t share with anyone else. We did something together that we’ve never done before. It has been given to us and partly taken away, because we will always feel the love. We just can’t get rid of it all.
Love is also caring for someone else, that is no longer possible with Riley. But that one week when that was possible was wonderful. Love is also sharing things, that is possible, but they are not shared with us. Love is also making memories and remembering those things and passing them on, we can and will do that. But I can’t really tell her how much I love her, because I don’t have the words. But as I’ve told her many times before, I’ll keep trying and searching to find them and let her know how much I love her.

Noortje writes: When my eldest daughter was born, I was flooded with love. A hatch in my heart that I didn’t know existed opened, and I felt love in a way I had never felt before.
During Liv’s pregnancy I wondered, can you really love your second as much as your first? Is there a hidden hatch somewhere that opens when you have given birth?
I received the answer on October 23, 2017 at 11:25 PM. Then we became parents for the second time. We gained a beautiful baby girl. It turned out that my heart actually still had such a hatch and I was overflowing with love. Love for that much too small, much too quiet but oh so perfect girl.
For a moment, just for a moment, it didn’t matter that she wasn’t alive. She was there, and she was ours.
Love, life, Liv.

Suzanna writes : He is perfect, he is beautiful. It’s love at first sight. But along with the wave of love, a wave of fear flows through me. He’s quiet, it’s deafeningly quiet. He’s beautiful, but he’s so pale and so weak.
And then it is black, blacker than black. A screaming pain comes together with the intense love and warmth when they place Matz in my arms. The most beautiful boy I’ve ever seen. That intense feeling, my beautiful little boy from my belly into my arms, nothing but love. That is motherly love, the world can end because there is only one thing that still matters. And while I’m overflowing with love, I’m torn with pain.
The love is a love I had never felt before, it is a mother’s love. It is warm, intense, unconditional, overwhelming and all-consuming. It outweighs the heartbreaking pain we had to experience so soon after that first moment. Now that we are three and a half years later, feelings are changing. Except for love, this one lasts!
With the birth of our son, my love for Jan also changed. Suddenly I also saw him as a father… Sweet, caring, reliable, warm, protective and proud. And how proud I was of him! We went through the same pain and sadness together, both in our own ways. And while I believe things could go either way at such a low point, our love for each other grew.

What does the word love mean to you since the loss of your child?
The love for Hanna (and also for Teun and Hidde) was not yet that great while they were growing in the belly. Being pregnant caused a lot of discomfort and I didn’t enjoy it at all. Before I gave birth to Hanna, we did not know the gender, so we did not know ‘who’ had died, Hanna or Teun (Hanna would have been called Teun if it had been a boy). That made it somewhat impersonal and with arranging a farewell there was little room for love for Hanna. But this took over the moment she was placed on my stomach by Tony. My heart overflowed with love, pride and intense sadness. So crazy but so true that these emotions can all be there at the same time. The love for our daughter Hanna is still enormous. She is our girl who made us mom and dad, she made us experience and feel the love for our own child. Not a day goes by that I don’t embrace and feel my love for her. She is with me every day and has a loving place in our family. We love Hanna, just as much as Teun and Hidde. She always belongs.πŸ’–

Rainbow after Storm : Love means to me; have a connection. From the moment I knew I was pregnant, I felt so much love. So much connection. The sadness we felt he said goodbye; moment of losing was hard. But the love we feel for you as a family is even heavier.
You are part of our family. Our first son after 2 girls. A little brother. Your photo is on the cupboard, your memories are there. You are present; not physically but present.
Love is unconditional. And we feel that. We intertwine.
Dear Storm, I miss you. And I can’t wait for the day that I can hold you in my arms again.

Dear Liza,
Today we write about love. We feel an indescribable amount of love for you.
From the first moment we knew we were pregnant with you, our love, just like you, started to grow more and more every day. Such a special brother or sister for Joep, a second child! For 39 weeks you were allowed to grow, grow from our love for you.
When we heard that you had died, we didn’t know yet whether you were a boy or a girl. That was also one of the first questions I had, we wanted to know who we had lost. You were a girl, tears ran down our cheeks. Tears of sadness, but also of much love, love for our daughter.
Your birth was tough, but also full of longing, because even though we knew you would be born still, it was love that dominated. The love for our first daughter.
And the love for you girl continues to grow a little every day.
Because of you we are even more aware of the love we feel for our family and our loved ones around us. We also felt the love of the many people around us.
As it would have said on your birth announcement and ultimately on your birth and death announcement:
Liza, born to love forever.
All love to you darling! πŸ’–

Daphne : Love from the first moment, love for your child, love for your family, love for your partner. Even a loss, especially a loss, brings with it a lot of love. Overwhelming, surprising, unexpected, unconditional.
What does the word love mean to you since the loss of your child?
Since the loss of Meganβ€οΈπŸ’«, love has had an even deeper meaning and that sounds strange, because I had already met the love of my life and we already had two beautiful children that I love dearly?!
Love for Meganβ€οΈπŸ’« is infinite, it does not disappear, does not diminish and that is inextricably linked to grief. Every milestone stings, because she should have been with us, growing, blossoming. But that will never be the case.
Even more love has arisen in our family. From the moment we knew we were going to lose Meganβ€οΈπŸ’«, Hajo and I told each other that from now on it is even more important to communicate well with each other and to respect each other, even if we handle the situation differently. And that happened and because we did that, we noticed that our connection became even stronger and even deeper. There is complete confidence that we will live to be 100 together.
Love for our other children has continued to grow. I already loved them unconditionally, all the children equally. But after the loss of Meganβ€οΈπŸ’« we realize even more that it is not self-evident that we get to watch them grow up. Even though I can stick them behind the wallpaper every now and thenπŸ˜‰, I hug them extra, I say I love them even more often and I try to enjoy them more than I already did.
What also gives me a great feeling of love is that the oldest two children always name Meganβ€οΈπŸ’«. For them, Meganβ€οΈπŸ’« is also part of our family. Does anyone ask how many children we have? They will say 4. They name her every day. Love

Elianne: You were born in love. In love we also had to let you go πŸ’”
With love I held you for days. Day and night. Close to me, sucking on my little finger.
I loved sleeping with you in the hospital, with the longest stay of five weeks, but also the shorter stays of 1 or 2 nights.
I lovingly gave you tube feeding, medication and, above all, lots of kisses and hugs.
It was love that kept me going. Otherwise I probably wouldn’t have lasted 7 months with 3 hours of sleep a night, always alert and ‘on’, always comforting and carrying you. Always worrying and worrying.
I still carry you with love, my heart has a very special place for you. Sometimes that love hurts. Because it can’t go anywhere. Because I miss you on my chest, close to me.
Sometimes that love actually comforts me. Your life was hard. You had pain, sadness and suffering. Life was too hard for you. Your death has also spared you a life of pain.
But I would rather have you with me, my sweet pug πŸ’«
Welcomed with open arms,
Let go with pain in our hearts πŸ’”

Love from Lauren:
Sometimes I forget
That you were just so small
Healthy and happy
With open eyes

Sometimes I forget
That I loved carrying you with me
You in the cloth
Nice in my coat

Sometimes I forget
The smell of your hair
You skin so beautiful
Without all the stickers

Sometimes I would like to forget
The smells and colors
The beeps of the equipment

Sometimes I would like to forget
The fear and uncertainty
The knot in my stomach

But I will never forget love!
The love you brought.
My love for you!
The love that is still as tangible as it was then

Marjolein: Should I write, shouldn’t I…?
On a festive day like today, I really want everything to be and feel festive. Also for Evi. That all my attention goes there.
But there is a simmering unrest somewhere, which slowly crept in again at the start of October. A constant feeling of stress. Is it my job, that one parent meeting? Is it our party that is coming, some things still need to be arranged…
Actually I know what it is, but I secretly hoped that after 5 years there would only be love and peace left… besides that love is there is a great loss. Missing Ilya.
Because… Evi shouldn’t have been alone downstairs with us while Luca slept for a while. She should not only have received a present on behalf of Luca, but also a drawing or a present from Ilja. An extra toddler should have sang along with two hoarse parents (with morning voice πŸ˜…). There should have been another saucer of cake.
And that feels a bit heavy all day long, tucked away somewhere deep. So I just hung a garland on Ilja, so that he is there even more πŸŒ πŸ’™

Our girl Nora : You often hear about it: the moment when your baby is placed on your chest after birth, the so-called ‘Golden hour’.
This is the moment when you can see your baby for the first time and make skin-to-skin contact.
During this moment, your body produces a boost of endorphins and oxytocin, which will increase the bonding process.
It is the moment when you hold your baby for the first time and are overwhelmed with love for your baby.
This is how I imagined it, taking into account the possibility of complications.
I was so looking forward to it.
I looked forward to hearing that first cry, knowing that everything had gone well.
But that moment never came.
Two days before the birth we heard that our baby had died.
It was heartbreaking. Fear and tension took over, and childbirth became something to really dread.
I was afraid that the moment I had longed for, the β€œGolden Hour,” would not have the same effect as I had hoped.
I was afraid that I wouldn’t feel the intense love for Nora, afraid to meet her and hold her.
Fortunately, this turned out not to be the case.
As soon as she was born, the midwife described what she saw: 10 fingers, 10 toes and a small upturned nose.
Before she had finished speaking, I asked to give Nora to me.
I wanted to have her close to me, to feel her on my chest, and to still experience the ‘Golden hour’.
There she lay, a little small but already perfect. Completely finished.
The motherly feeling washed over me, and I would do anything to protect this little body.
Emotions overcame me, emotions I had never felt before.
Although giving birth to a silent baby was one of the hardest things I have ever had to endure, I consider it the best day of my life.
It was the moment when we were allowed to see our most loved ones for the first time.
We stayed at the hospital for the rest of the day, where Nora’s grandparents, uncles and aunts came to visit.
We didn’t expect them to want to see her, we hadn’t thought about it. But seeing everyone love her so much and be so sad was hard for us.
It was a strange situation. Everyone held her, just as they would a living child.
At that moment we realized that not only did Jan and I love Nora, but that her family had also taken her to their hearts.

And suddenly you were there, a little baby on my chest. Your daddy answered the question what your name is: RowenaπŸ¦‹. I don’t think I really knew what unconditional love was before this moment. The situation was unreal and inhuman, because we knew we were going to lose you. And yet there was that overwhelming feeling of love and pride. This is our child, our daughter. So finished, so beautiful, so wonderful. In the short time we had together, we tried to give you a lifetime of love. Endless kisses and hugs. Yes, there was and is sadness. Heartbreaking sadness and raw mourning. But isn’t grief actually just love? Love that we want, but cannot give because you are no longer with us. Love that gathers in the corners of our eyes, and eventually rolls down our cheeks. Never have we tasted so many tears and felt so much love at the same time. Our hearts are broken, but also filled with pride, admiration and endless love for our girl RowenaπŸ¦‹.

Rowena πŸ¦‹ December 31, 2022 ✨ forever in our hearts πŸ’–

Esmee : People always said that the love for a child is greater than you have ever felt. I tried to imagine this, but never quite got there.
From the moment we heard that your heart was no longer beating, I was afraid, so afraid of the birth. Afraid of the moment we would see you and I would find it scary. I was afraid that I wouldn’t dare to touch you, wouldn’t dare look at you, that I would only feel sadness. I could never have imagined what it really felt like. That I would only feel love and pride. Everything else was gone. So much love, more than I’ve ever felt. So this is what they mean! I would die for you if it meant you could live. I said at your farewell that you are the smallest person with the biggest place in my heart. This is so true! You belong to me, you belong to Tim, you are part of us. You are what connects us forever. Which also makes me love Tim more than ever before. We are your parents, but also the ones who experienced you being born and losing you again. We are the only ones who went through this together so we are forever connected by you. I love you sweet Riley so much, more than I can ever put into words.
Xxx your mom

Sweetest lines: I am full of love. An indescribable amount of love lives in my belly. It feels like I’m handsome inside. It can’t come out anymore.
I am full of love. An enormous amount of love lives in my body. It swallows me up and drags me along. It wants out so bad.
I am full of love. An incredible amount of love lives in my heart. It grows and blooms, it tires you, it always looks for its way to you.

Lievelijn : Love is part of β€œbelonging”.
The run-up to Jip’s birthday is again announced by Baby Loss Awareness Week. And honestly, I doubted whether I wanted to write and share this year. Because although it is nice that there is extra space for Jip, it also makes the run-up to the anniversary extra intense. I think it is important, but also complicated, because it increases the β€œtension”.
And then I saw this week’s themes that @stichtinghanne has chosen with so much love, namely emotions. With the first day theme; love. And immediately I thought of this sentence that I read in β€œThe Courage of Imperfection” by BrenΓ© Brown. Love is part of β€œbelonging”. And then I had to.
The book is about vulnerability, showing yourself and that wanting to belong is something natural. (I’m selling the book short now, but hey, it’s not a book review! Haven’t you read it yet? It’s beautiful!)
But for me, this sentence is the essence of our love for Jip. It is an unconditional love, which I think you only know as parents and perhaps even really as parents who have lost a child. (Did I really say that, Yes I did).
Jip belongs to us forever, he is our first child, he made us parents. That love is unconditional and infinite. And I only hope that we can tell Juul and Liv that even death does not stand in the way of that unconditional love that you feel as a parent. Not for them, but also not for their brother.

ThΓ©rΓ¨se : LOVE. Because love never passes for your child, whether you have him or her here in your arms or like Pieter in your heart. This photo was taken on 27/12/2021, early in the morning before Pieter’s cremation. All together one more time. I cherish this photo, taken by my dear friend @riri_fotografie . This week, let’s support the people we know who have experienced loss a little more and let them know that we have not forgotten them.

Noortje writes : I felt sadness during the miscarriages. But when it comes to the loss of Liv, the word ‘sadness’ does not describe it.
Liv wasn’t full term, but she was finished. She was a little person with all the trimmings. With every ultrasound we saw her, every time we heard her heartbeat, the love for that little person grew. We could already imagine it, being a family of four. We looked at each other with smiles at the children’s farm when we met parents with a toddler and a baby, and in a while we would be walking there too.
And then it turned out that Liv was no longer alive and everything became pitch black. We not only said goodbye to that little person in my belly, but also to the future we saw before us. Of all the first times with and through her.
There were three of us again, but it wasn’t the same anymore. From that moment on everything was different.
No, the word ‘sadness’ really doesn’t describe it when your heart is being squeezed, your stomach is clenching and everything in your body is crying out for your child. I honestly thought things would never work out again. That I would feel this way forever.
But besides this immense sadness, there was also so much love. Love for my husband, for our two girls. I have always clung to that love in the darkest moments. And then came our rainbow, which also brought a lot of bright spots.
Little by little things got better. Not quite. It never got quite right again, but that’s okay. The loss of Liv is a scar that I will carry with me forever.

Sadness for what is, for what was. Sadness for what could have been…ever…never…

Milou’s story: Sadness in a form that is all-consuming. Sadness that runs so deep that it did not even immediately surface when the words were spoken by the pediatrician. β€œI regret to inform you that your daughter has passed away.” The first hours, days, weeks after Milou I was mostly numb. Of course there were tears. We cried together for what should have been. But the real pain, the real sadness didn’t kick in until weeks later.
Everything felt gray for months. Although little had changed, everything was different. Although life continued as normal, our lives came to a standstill on August 12. Fortunately, bright spots slowly appeared again, but life will never have the shine it had before. Sadness is always covered by a thin layer of happiness. It sometimes comes on suddenly, due to a smell, music, or a conversation. And yet, no matter how strange it sounds, it is nice to continue to feel that intensely deep pain sometimes. This way she will stay with us forever, forever a part of my heart🀍

Shadow Friends : β€œI’m just sad because Noor treated me.” Sam doesn’t understand that at all. Who gets sad about something as delicious as a cupcake with whipped cream and mice?
But mom understands. Noor has become a big sister and she was allowed to treat herself today. β€œSurely you were thinking about Jesse, honey?” ask them.
Vera nods and cries big tears.
Sadness can suddenly overtake you at expected and unexpected moments. At expected moments such as on a death date or, for example, Mother’s Day when you miss a child. But you can also suddenly feel tears welling up at moments that are unexpected. For example, if you hear a certain song that was played at the funeral. Or if you see a milk carton with an expiration date on it that was the due date. Smells can also evoke memories, for example suddenly bringing you back to the hospital.
In the book Shadow Friends, children can discover that it is very normal for these shadow moments to occur. That this is part of loss and grief and that they are not alone in this.

Touched Goodbye : The loss of your child not only affects you as parents, the other children also share in this grief. Being sad together because the sister you are so looking forward to is not coming, but also because mom is so sad. Like here, where mother and daughter have to say goodbye to little Eva….
Also think about those brothers and sisters if they show different behavior than normal at school, with friends or with Grandpa and Grandma. Ask them, or talk to them.
Parents can always have a photo album made by me, some choose to do this. Of course this is in memory of the baby, but it is also a very nice tool to look back together or start a conversation. And sometimes I also make my own album especially for the brothers and sisters. This way they have their own tangible memory, and if the need arises, they can pick up the album themselves…

β€œEvery day I think what would it be like if you were still here”
3 times in my life I have experienced sadness from very close, each time more cracks appeared in my heart that never went away
1998 I lost the man who raised me and gave me the norms and values ​​of life.
With everything I do I always think about him.
2014 I lost my mother, what a good grandmother she would have been.
2017 I lost one of the most precious things a person can have, my child, my second daughter Saar.
How big I am. love is for the three people here with me, so great is the sadness for the three people I have lost

Rainbow after Storm : Sadness is a difficult emotion. I have learned that sadness is not allowed to be. Sadness is being weak. Crying is waved away and ‘you just have to get over it’.
Nothing is less true. I am working hard on myself and am learning to allow emotions. There may be sadness. You can allow it.
Storm was born 5 years ago. At home, out of nowhere. Far too early and not yet viable. I have moments when I can talk about it without getting emotional. But there are also times when that doesn’t work. I listen to music, look at photos and memories. I allow my sadness. I talk about it. I no longer dismiss it. And that’s OK. Storm is part of our lives. Sadness is part of our lives.
Sadness is part of life. And it is so important to allow emotions. To be able to talk about it.
Sadness is an intense emotion. And that is why it is so important.

Dear Liza,
Today a theme that I find very difficult to tackle, because this comes in, this goes deep into my feelings. I prefer to talk about the beautiful feelings I have with you, but sadness is also one of the great emotions I feel around you and that is worth sharing.
I can still remember the first sadness in great detail, that was the moment we heard that you had died, unexpectedly, in such a short time. From completely happy in the car with dad on the way to the hospital for the last part of the birth, to a lot of sadness because your heart was no longer beating. It was a horror movie that suddenly played, also one of the moments that I later addressed with EMDR therapy. The pain and sadness we felt is difficult to describe. You, our daughter, who had been allowed to grow in my belly for 9 months, was no longer there. It was an incredibly sad and intense task to share this message with our loved ones and also tell someone else that incredibly sad message. We had a lot of sadness the week you were at our home, it is still so incredibly unfair that you were not given the opportunity to stay with us. The pain is still there.
Your farewell was intense, it felt inhumane to say goodbye to you, our daughter. The three of us did the last part, the sadness that Joep had when he realized that we were leaving you behind was terrible… Another moment before EMDR therapy…
When I talk about sadness I also think of all the sadness that our loved ones around us experience. They see our sadness and that makes it sad, but they also feel sad because they have to miss you in their lives.
The sadness we see in Joep because he misses you so much, his pain often makes us sad. Because we learn to bear our own sadness, but the sadness of your big brother… It is also so incredibly difficult and unfair for him, we grieve together, we cry together for you. And then we can also look at the stars while laughing and visit you.
We learn to weave sadness into our lives. Our sadness is in 2 parts. We feel a lot of sadness about what we miss, what we miss in you in our family. The sadness that our beautiful girl is no longer here. But there is also sadness about everything we still have to miss and what we would have loved to share with you. Special moments with family, but also the little things like a holiday, you are missed every day, every day I wake up with sadness.
I don’t think the sadness is getting any less, I feel like I’m growing around it. I am learning how to weave my sadness into my life without you with us, but with you in my heart.
Dear Liza, it will always be sad that we have to continue without you. Although fortunately I have also learned that it doesn’t just have to be sad… And fortunately that feeling usually predominates.
I love you girl!

Daphne: The loss of your child is extremely sad. As if the ground is falling from under your feet or your heart is being ripped out of your chest. An overwhelming all-consuming sadness. Over time, that sadness does not disappear, but it can change, for example it becomes less intense, but it is still there. Sadness for what never was and will never be again. Sad because you are forever incomplete.
How does your grief feel right now?
Today marks 2 years, 8 months and 6 days since we had to say goodbye to Meganβ€οΈπŸ’«
At that moment it seemed impossible to ever experience happiness again. It seemed impossible not to cry for a day, not to feel that intense pain of losing our daughter. To not break every day.
The sadness I felt then cannot be described in words.
And yet you have to continue, for the other children, for your husband.
And I remember people saying: ‘the sadness gets better, the pain gets less’ and I thought: ‘how the fuck does it get better?! How can I ever experience happiness again when my child is DEAD!?’ I sincerely wanted it, because I also felt that our other children deserved a mother who was not just sad. Because they matter too, just as much as Meganβ€οΈπŸ’« and they are here. I was going to hold on to that.
After 2 years, 8 months and 6 days I can say that the sadness is certainly still there, but it no longer dominates my day. It still hits me every now and then when there is a certain milestone, a triggering song or something the other children say or do. But the sadness is accepted. It may be there. It may be there, besides the fact that I can also feel cheerful, experience happiness and genuinely enjoy our family at this moment.
But our family is forever incompletely complete. Always one child short. That black edge will always be there, but that’s okay. That belongs to us now.

How does your grief feel right now?
We experienced intense sadness when Hanna passed away. Deep pain in every fiber of my body. Pain around my heart that radiated down to my toes. It’s not a muscle ache, not a bruise, not a scrape, a very deep stabbing pain. A pain that I did not know and would rather never have known. The pain was caused by such strong and intense sadness and loss. Fortunately, this pain has diminished with time. The sadness is no less, it is there every day. The idea that our family here on earth will never be physically complete still stings and often makes me sad. Hanna is so part of it, but we are not allowed to see her grow up. The sadness can still overwhelm me enormously, not visible to others, but very palpable to me. When this happens often, I notice that sadness settles in my body. I have to give myself space and time to let this be there. With the hustle and bustle of our family life, friends, family and work, I don’t always feel like or have the time to respond to this. But sooner or later my body will push me back. I know that if I give it space I will feel better again, but allowing this is difficult. There is little that can really ease the sadness, loss and pain. But the belief that we will one day be able to be with Hanna again does soften things a bit.

Elianne : We already had sadness during your lifetime. Living mourning. We mourned the life we ​​envisioned for you, but would be so different. Would be.
It never really happened.
The moment the doctors told you you were going to die, I thought I would never experience that moment in my life. Your life was hard, but things got so much better in the last month. We would make something beautiful out of it anyway, dear pug, because you would be there.
But it stopped so suddenly, your life suddenly stopped.
The moment of farewell, of your little body against me while I watched the life slowly leave you, cannot be encompassed with just ‘sadness’. It’s a pain in your heart. A scream in your head. Your body tenses and braces itself, because I don’t want this. This is not possible.
The sadness of coming home without you. The emptiness, the loss.
Putting the sadness of you in your basket and saying goodbye forever. Sadness that is still there.
But after 3 years the sadness hurts less. It is no longer the sadness that left me moaning and crying in bed, my mother’s heart crying out for you.
It’s more like a wound that never completely heals, always remains a scar. Sometimes that scar hurts more, sometimes I don’t even feel it.
But then I feel guilty, because how can I not think about you… and that makes me sad again.
The sadness of having to go further, but also wanting to go further.
The sadness, the scar remains. You stay. But it will never be the way it should have been. It will never be the way it was.
But I wear it with pride. Because I carry you with me forever πŸ’ž

Love from Lauren: I did not feel the deepest sadness at the moment of death. Not even in the days after.
The first weeks were tough and I certainly felt sadness. I still felt too much somewhere; it couldn’t be otherwise. Her body was gone. Her time with us was over. I was just too busy in my head to justify whatever my body said.
The weeks turned into months and the deep sadness came. It became black, heavy and syrupy. Everything in me was crying. It was just not always visible to the outside world. I worked again, got pregnant again and I kept myself up.
Too big.
Until I snapped.
The sadness had to go. I missed my girl with every fiber of my being. And when I really took the time for that, stopped growing up and kept going, then I started to grieve. And it was still black, heavy and syrupy, but I felt that there was more light, peace and space.
Now, 7 years later, I still feel that stabbing pain every now and then. Missing her, missing our future together. I know that those difficult moments will make way for light, peace and, above all, a lot of love.

Esmee : This sadness is different, deeper, rawer, more intense, all-consuming. My cries come from somewhere else, deeper inside. Where I didn’t know where it could be. It even sounds different, sounds that I don’t recognize from myself.
They say it comes like waves, but it feels more like a tsunami. Everything has been wiped away, everything you know is no longer there. The tsunami is slowly receding, but the sea remains restless. Sometimes big waves that completely take you by surprise. Sometimes you sway quietly. And then out of nowhere they come back, huge waves, storm at sea.
Yet it is precisely in that sadness that I know how much I love her. The intensity of the grief is as deep as the love for Riley. Actually, sadness and love are a bit similar.

Marjolein: I used to think that sadness meant crying with tears. Now I know that sadness is not always accompanied by tears. Sometimes we simply run out of tears. Sometimes I cry silently. Sometimes I want to cry but I can’t. Sometimes there is also a smile right through the sadness. And sometimes that smile is there to hide the sadness from the other person.
In the first hours, days and weeks after the loss of Ilja, I cried with all my body, screamed, screamed, vomited, gasped for breath with sadness, pushed my head into my pillow and sat on the floor under the running shower where the tears washed away. Really ugly cried when (almost) no one saw it.
Every time during the first few days I woke up in a kind of unconsciousness, for a very brief moment, it lasted less than a second. Sometimes I felt my stomach lovingly. And then it hit me hard, it wasn’t a nightmare. Waking up was the nightmare. The stomach was empty… my stomach was really empty.
Months passed in which missing Ilja became more and more part of our new life, we slowly found our way around it. Suddenly there was a day where I hadn’t cried.
I can now often think of Ilja and talk about him without feeling a lot of sadness.
Yet it is always there, it coexists with happiness. It sometimes gives life a black edge and sometimes a golden edge, because I take extra care with what (and who) I do have.
And as I wrote yesterday, I always feel it a little stronger during this period. By the fall of autumn, the feeling, the smells of that time. And that is why it is extra nice to write about him here.
For Ilja πŸŒ πŸ’™

Our girl Nora : I often say to Jan that ‘I was a bit sad today’ when I have had a bad day. Most of the time I don’t really have to explain it. On such days I often don’t get much done in the house and I just stare into space, more or less waiting for the day to be over. The sadness after the loss of our girl was and is enormous. Many tears have already been shed and there will be more to come. I don’t think the sadness will ever really go away. You always keep thinking about ‘what if’ and what it would have been like. You grieve for what you have lost, your baby, but also for what has been taken from you, your child’s entire life. When you are in a place where other children play happily and carefree, your thoughts remain with the child who is not playing there. When you go upstairs and walk past her room, you think of the child who was never allowed to sleep there. The room, prepared together for her, is now unused and waiting, hopefully for a brother or sister one day. When you are with your family, you mainly think of your own child who was so welcome and was and is so loved. It doesn’t matter how many more children you may have in the future; you are always short of a child. It is lonely losing a child, no one around you understands exactly what you are going through. And no matter how many people are there for you, no one can tell you exactly what you want to hear, because there is actually nothing that can make it right. I still remember that Jan and I often said to each other in the days surrounding the birth that it all felt so unreal, almost as if it was not happening to us. Sometimes we forgot for a moment that this was the real situation, but what a pain when you are pulled back into reality. In addition to sadness, there was also a lot of misunderstanding for me. Why did this have to happen to us again? After two miscarriages, you don’t expect things to go wrong in the third pregnancy at such an advanced stage. Who thinks about that? I developed anger and distrust towards my own body, accompanied by a deep-seated feeling of guilt. β€œWhy couldn’t I just give birth to a healthy child like others?” Although the words ‘I’m a little sad’ partly describe the emotion, I feel much more than that in the moments when sadness overtakes me, but it all manifests itself in tears. Often they are silent tears that slowly roll down my cheeks. Tears that someone else won’t immediately notice unless they really look at me. But sometimes they are also big tears that almost hurt when they leave my eyes. These tears are accompanied by intense sobbing sounds. Loud and painful crying, causing pain in your chest. Although it seems to most people that you are doing well again, the pain and sadness remains present every day.

Suzanna writes : I was lying in bed with my son in my arms. Proud, in love and intensely sad. The sadness was so overwhelming, I didn’t dare let it be there. If I allowed it for a moment, the tears came, hard sobs and deep sighs. Afraid that everyone could hear it and I wouldn’t stop, I pushed it away. I kept the sadness inside myself. It has taken time to reveal the tips of the immense mountains of sadness. It was there for a short while and then it had to be quickly put away again. Afraid of my own sadness.
But the sadness wears off, it becomes less, it becomes softer. It doesn’t go away, it can still overwhelm me and it can still be incredibly raw. And that’s okay. I will always miss my son and always be sad about what happened.
It’s beautiful when there is sadness. The sadness is there because there is also a lot of love ❀️

Sweetest lines:
Do you hear my tears falling?
They whisper your name.
And shouting how much I love you.
Shoreless. Unending. All-consuming. Wavy. Compelling. Urgently. Impressive. Always present. Never ever.
My tears are a sea of ​​you-so-misses and sadness.

Lievelijn : In the beginning the sadness was all-consuming, all-consuming, all-encompassing. Every hook could engulf me, could submerge me and almost drown me in my sorrow again. Like a wild sea in which you try to keep yourself afloat.
In the meantime, the same wild sea has smoothed off the sharp edges. We have encountered all kinds of obstacles, situations and difficult moments. But also hopeful and loving moments that soften it. And acceptance of the way things are now. I learned to swim better.
This makes the sadness polished like a piece of sea glass. The sharpness is gone, the intensity is no longer all-consuming. Can no longer always be seen or felt in the bigger picture of the beach. What remains is a softened version of what it was.
There is a kind of resignation, gratitude and an enormous amount of love. Not only for Jip, but also for his 2 wonderful sisters. I’m not saying there will never be sadness again. But I like to think of it as a rare piece of sea glass, time has softened it, but also made it more beautiful. It is part of us and I often β€œforget” that it is part of it. And that’s fine, the way it is.

ThΓ©rΓ¨se : PROUD! As sad as you are as star parents, you are also so proud of your child. Just as proud as you are of a living child and you want to show your child to everyone.
This applies not only to parents but also to the other children. Our boys were so proud of their little brother. I remember Finley saying months after Pieter’s death: β€œThΓ©rΓ¨se, why is there no picture of Pieter in our room?” I replied that some people find it exciting to see a deceased baby. He responded with: β€œVery important… It’s our little brother and your beautiful son, isn’t that something we have to decide?” He clearly showed how proud he is that Pieter is his brother. You understand that his photo was ordered immediately and there are now several photos in our room. Because we are proud of him!
Unfortunately, sometimes you also get less nice reactions to his photo or when Pieter was born there were a lot of people who did not want to see him. This was very painful for us as parents. Because imagine if someone said this to you about your children? A deceased child is also part of a family. Pieter belongs to us, all our lives.

Of course I am proud of all my girls, that goes without saying.
But after I hit the lowest point in my life, both with Saar’s death and afterwards, I was still proud of myself on March 27, 2019.
This time it went well and it was not quiet but there was life.
Maybe it had to be this way, but Hanne shows that you should never think too much, but above all live and don’t care about what the world around you thinks.

I especially feel a sense of pride when people around us say his name. Liam 🧑 He was born silent, but he is here, and lives with everyone, forever. Even though he didn’t get the chance to join us, he left his mark 🧑

Esmee : I was so afraid to give birth to our girl who had died in my belly. I was afraid of what she would look like, that I would be scared, that I would not dare to touch her. Then she was there and everything felt different. I wanted to see her, feel her, have her on my chest, as close as possible. And how proud I felt! Only pride and love, there was nothing else left. Oh, I am still so proud of our beautiful sweet little girl. With her perfect feet, her little fingers, her long legs, her black hair and her little nose. Every day I look at her photos and feel it again. Proud that she is our daughter!

Noortje writes : My family, my pride.
Proud of my husband, my rock, my support. Proud of the father he is for our children here, but also for our girl there.
Proud of our eldest daughter, who made us parents. Proud of the girl who had to experience so much at such a young age, but always dragged us through everything without even realizing it.
Proud of our son, our rainbow after a heavy storm. He made everything feel like it hadn’t been in vain.
Proud of Liv, of our second daughter. Proud of the place she has in our family. Proud that our other two children talk about her and care for her in their own way.
And also, proud of myself. Proud of where I am today. Proud of what I have put myself through. Proud of who I am and what I have become. Proud to be the mother of three beautiful children and proud to be the wife of such a wonderful man.

Marjolein : When Ilja was still in my belly, I found it all quite exciting. What would he look like? Could it have been damaged? Would it be scary to see him?
Immediately when I saw him after birth I was so proud! I now know that the love for a stillborn baby is just as great as for a living baby. I felt exactly the same rush of love for Ilja as I did for Evi and Luca.
And he only became more beautiful when we got him home dressed. The cooling turned him pink and made him look like he was asleep.
We wanted to show it to as many people as possible, so we had several farewell moments at our home where friends, family and colleagues could admire it. If they wanted this, because I understood that it could be fearful for others too.
I am still very proud of him and I really see him as my first child. Luca is number 3 and not number 2 for us. Even though many people see that we have ‘two children’.
I don’t share photos of Ilja’s face online, because I’m afraid it will scare people. I definitely don’t want that for him. If you would like to see a photo, you can always ask me, because I am happy to show it if I am sure that is what you want.
Although it feels a bit strange to say: In addition to the great pride for all three of my children, I am also very proud of us. To RΓ©mon and to myself. Because I think we have come a long way again, almost 5 years later. We never avoided the sadness and pain. We went right through it. Sometimes it takes us down for a moment, but we always get back up and love for each other wins.

Dear Liza,
Today a theme that I really enjoy writing about, that is proud. And how proud I am of you. From the first moment I could hold you in my arms, it is so special to have a daughter. Your heart was no longer beating, but I had become a mother again. Mother of a beautiful daughter of whom I was very proud. She handled this very nicely in the hospital, after your birth we were first congratulated as proud parents of our beautiful daughter. Then came the sad condolences because we also have to say goodbye to you immediately.
During the make a memory photo session we also see our pride in the photos, you see the dejection, but also the pride. I still love looking at these photos.
During the week that you were allowed to stay at our home, I actually wanted to introduce you to everyone as soon as they entered our home. I didn’t always think about the fact that some people could also experience it as exciting, your lifeless body, because all I saw was our beautiful daughter. I proudly introduced people to you, we talked about how beautiful you are and also how sad it is.
When people ask how many children I have, I proudly tell them that I have 3. 2 to take care of and 1 sweet girl who unfortunately passed away but who will forever be part of our family in her own way. We would have preferred to have you with us, but we will never keep you secret. This proud mom really can’t do that!
I am also proud of my family, how we have shown each other and feel that we are strong together. Even though the grieving process is different for Dad, me and Joep. We still do it together. Now even with your little sister Floor. We also proudly tell her about her sister Liza.
Finally, I am also proud of myself. Proud of how I went through this whole process.
First of all, your birth was emotionally very difficult, but I am so proud of Dad and myself for how we did it together.
I am also proud of how I tackled the psychological process. The step to a psychologist was difficult, because I thought I could do this myself. But I’m so happy that I got help, tackled it with both hands and even tackled my biggest triggers with EMDR therapy, so that I now have a much better outlook on life.
But we are most proud of you, our daughter, as beautiful as you were, as beautiful as you will always be!

Daphne : The very first moment I experienced pride was when Meganβ€οΈπŸ’« was born. I was so proud of our girl that I heard her cry twice and that she then passed away peacefully, in comfort on my chest, in the presence of Dad.
She was so beautiful, she looked so much like her big brother!
When we got home I was so very proud of Riley and Marly. How they embraced their sister. Riley who kept bringing things to Meganβ€οΈπŸ’«, who always wanted to hug and give her kisses. Marly, who at 18 months old, indicated that she wanted to give her sister a kiss when she lay in her flower bed.
A week later I was able to read our daughter’s papers. And there I read that she had an APGAR score of 4 – 3 – 3. And I felt so proud, because she was only 22 gestational weeks old and there were children born at term who were sometimes born with worse APGAR scores. And all I could think was: ‘Gosh girl, you were so strong!’
Of course, it didn’t make sense, because that APGAR score was of no use to me. Either way the outcome was the same, you would die.
I am always proud of you. Proud that Meganβ€οΈπŸ’« is our daughter. Proud of our other children for how they have been dealing with the loss of their sister all this time and how she has been woven into their lives.
Proud of my husband for how he deals with the loss of his daughter, how he respects and accepts how we deal with this differently. Proud of how we have grown as husband and wife.
And I am also proud of myself. When Meganβ€οΈπŸ’« passed away, I couldn’t imagine that I would ever function in the Neonatology ICU again. Yet I told myself and the people around me that I did not want my work, my passion, to be taken away from me. I wanted to return anyway.
And I succeeded. Before I took on my other position as director, I no longer cared for the sickest patients, I had not gotten that far yet. But I am back at the place where I prefer to work. With the little ones. If I were to go back to bed now, I can say that I would be able to handle it mentally again.

To the outside world it may sound crazy. But there are moments when all you feel is pride. When was that for you?
We were so very proud the moment Hanna was placed on my stomach. We thought she was such a beautiful girl, she already had a lot of dark hair and even though her eyes were closed we saw that she had long eyelashes. So wonderful that she was allowed to grow into this little person in my belly for 9 months. But certainly also in the following weeks, where she seemed to be increasingly forgotten. ‘Normal’ life continued again. Even though she had already been buried, we were still so proud and she was and still is in every fiber of my body. We are still proud to be her parents. She made us parents, she will forever be our first child. When we feel a little more complete, and all together at the cemetery, I am proud of our family. Not the family we had in mind, but despite everything we are equally proud of every child. Hanna who will always be our baby. Teun and Hidde, our boys, who we can see growing bigger and bigger

Elianne : I was so proud of you. You were born with a broken collarbone. Your head was blue due to the difficult birth. You were clearly in pain. You were given morphine in neonatology.
You continued to cry even after your collarbone healed. You developed little or no development.
After we found out that you had a serious brain abnormality and developmental delay, you were given tube feeding and medication, and you went to a medical daycare center.
How proud I was that, despite everything, you could suddenly hold a ball. That you could sometimes lie quietly alone at the shelter. That when you were about 6 months old you started laughing and following toys.
These were completely different milestones than Luuk’s. Then it was about rolling, sitting, standing and walking. Now the milestones were smaller, but the pride perhaps greater.
I also felt proud when you fought during your last days. You battled devastating epilepsy. You couldn’t win the fight. But I was and am still proud.
My girl, my mopsielopsie. The most beautiful girl I know πŸ’ž The strongest girl I know ❀️

Our girl Nora : It is indescribable how proud you are of your child after birth. I don’t believe this is any different if your child is not alive. Although it is more sensitive, because not everyone wants to see your child. Something we understand and probably would not have wanted before. Being proud of your child, but not being able to share it. Not being able to talk about her because people would rather avoid the subject. This sometimes makes it difficult, because as a new parent you want nothing more than to talk about your child. Even though she is no longer with us. In the context of raising awareness, you could ask a parent who is experiencing something like this about their child. Where this will be accompanied by sadness or perhaps the parents are not ready to talk yet. But you will often also notice a glint in the eyes of these parents when they talk proudly about their child. We understand that this feels like a big step, but giving our child a story keeps them going. There is already such a big taboo on this subject, but talking about it is healing. I often find myself mentioning Nora’s name casually in conversation. This can sometimes evoke uncomfortable reactions from people who are not very close to me, but it is the reality I live in and I am not going to beat around the bush. You may find this annoying, but you will forget this tomorrow and I will forever be the mother of a dead child. In the hospital, Jan found it difficult to see how I cared for, held, hugged Nora and proudly told everything to my parents, brothers and sisters-in-law. But he kept telling me how proud he was of me for getting through the days in the hospital so strong. Consider about 20 hours of contractions and knowing in advance that the child you are about to bring into the world is no longer alive. At the same time I was proud of him. How he guided me through the birth, even though it was actually weeks too early. I remember looking at him after she was born and saying, “If I always gave birth with you next to me, I could do this 10 more times.” But not only during childbirth, but also in recent months. How he made me laugh on days when life seemed colorless to me.
I’m proud of you, her and me. Us❀️

Immediately after Matz was born I was proud, a proud mother. My pride was only overshadowed by the pain and sadness we went through. I found it hard to feel the pride. It was there when I could show my beautiful son to those around me, but it was short and muted. The pain and sorrow were greater, much greater. It was only when my depression calmed down a bit and I had more space to grieve that that was the moment that my pride could also start to grow. That what I so wished, the love and pride would be greater than the sadness and pain, could finally come true. I believe that when the grief came loose, only then could my pride grow.
I am also incredibly proud of my love. The man who has managed to hold on for three and a half years, who stood firm in the fierce storms we went through. I am proud of him as the daddy of our son and I am proud of him as my lover! ❀️

To the outside world it may sound crazy. But there are moments when all you feel is pride. When was that for you?
We were so very proud the moment Hanna was placed on my stomach. We thought she was such a beautiful girl, she already had a lot of dark hair and even though her eyes were closed we saw that she had long eyelashes. So wonderful that she was allowed to grow into this little person in my belly for 9 months. But certainly also in the following weeks, where she seemed to be increasingly forgotten. ‘Normal’ life continued again. Even though she had already been buried, we were still so proud and she was and still is in every fiber of my body. We are still proud to be her parents. She made us parents, she will forever be our first child. When we feel a little more complete, and all together at the cemetery, I am proud of our family. Not the family we had in mind, but despite everything we are equally proud of every child. Hanna who will always be our baby. Teun and Hidde, our boys, who we can see growing bigger and bigger.

Favorite lines : In the stars, in the moon and in a sparkling smile. In an unexpected butterfly, in a warm spring day. In a shell on the beach, a summer breeze, a winter shower. In a carefree dance and in the softest sweater. In our feelings and in our being, in our existence and in our lives. No, you never left, you stayed in all the beauty.

Lievelijn : Of all the cuddly toys in the house, only 1 counts for Juul. That one cuddly toy that cannot simply be made or purchased. That one cuddly toy with the birth weight of her little big brother. Yipbeer.
It fills me with pride when she has tea parties with him, puts him in a chair to watch TV together or calls him to bed in the evening. She is just as fond of Jipbeer as she is of her little sister.
It fills me with pride that she and her little sister are here. Despite all the fear. That we are here after 4 years, without him. A nice life in which he has his own place. And that we are really happy (with fits). Because I wouldn’t have dared to dream of all that 4 years ago.

Suzanna writes: And there I lie, I can’t help but watch and listen to my son’s heartbeat. The nurse tries to talk to me, but I can’t. I can’t talk normally without bursting into tears, so I don’t talk. Time passes, painfully slowly and yet very quickly. Before I know it Jan walks into the room. He takes over the Doppler from the nurse and it’s just the two of us for a moment. We exchange a few words with each other and otherwise we are silent… We see the heart rate drop… 100, 95, 90. We look at each other, eyes full of fear. We think the same, this is not going well. The moment I’m ready to press the red button, the room is full within a few seconds.
The children’s team is ready in the operating room and the table where our beautiful son Matz will lie is less than two meters away from me. They start resuscitation almost immediately. My head is overflowing with thoughts and yet it is completely empty. Fear, just fear. I feel a fear that cannot be expressed in words. I would like to scream; “No!! No, no, no, it can’t go wrong. They have to help him, he has to cry, they have to tell him it will be okay.” The powerlessness is paralyzing, I can’t say anything and I can’t move. My eyes are constantly focused on my son. Paralyzed and powerless, I lie watching as they do everything they can to save my son.
I hope I never feel the fear I felt then again. So intense and so paralyzing. But fear is still there. Fear of what is to come, fear that things will never get better and fear of a new pregnancy. But the desire to move forward, the desire for things to get better and the desire for a second child are greater than the fear and so I go for it, moving forward with full fear ❀️

Noortje writes : The fact that we had to give Liv up without any prior warning terrified me. One moment everything seemed to be going well, the next moment the ground disappeared under my feet.
Every night for weeks, I hovered over my sleeping daughter, listening to her breathing. Terrified of losing her too.
When I held a positive pregnancy test in my hands the month before Liv’s first birthday, I was of course happy. But joy did not dominate at that moment. Fear predominated. I felt so different from the girls, was everything okay?
One good ultrasound after another followed, but I now knew that that gave no guarantees. Confidence really had to grow. Sometimes it was there and suddenly disappeared, so I went back to the midwife for an extra check.
Once I was past Liv’s term and I felt the baby, things got better. If I’m honest, it wasn’t until then that I started to enjoy it a bit. And if I felt like I hadn’t felt the baby for too long, I would poke my belly until he spoke.
In the first few weeks after my son was born, I would sometimes wake up at the strangest times during the night and immediately check and feel whether he was ‘still doing it’.
I think every new parent knows that fear, but that fear immediately feels a lot more realistic if you have actually experienced that things can suddenly be different.

Esmee : You usually think the worst doesn’t happen. When you have fears, the people around you say, but that doesn’t happen. You shouldn’t think like that. But what if the worst has happened. So it’s possible… the worst does happen. What should you do then? How can you gain confidence again? How can you believe that the worst won’t happen. How can you not be afraid of everything that comes and can happen? How do you regain confidence? I do not know yet…

ThΓ©rΓ¨se : When you hear that your child inside you has died, your world completely collapses. The words: β€œGuys, it’s not good, his heart is no longer beating,” still ring through my head regularly. I doubted myself for a long time. Is it because of me? What did I do wrong? Nothing. Because there is simply nothing you can do about this.
After Pieter was born, he was examined, as were the placenta and umbilical cord. Nothing came of those investigations. According to science, he was perfectly healthy and just died. The fear that is then released has a different charge. Because can my other children just die too? Every evening I checked to see if they were still breathing. That fear has now diminished, but it remains an element.
This fear is also terribly present during a new pregnancy. And unfortunately, you also get thoughtless comments from people, such as: β€œWell, you’re now past 20 weeks, now you can start enjoying yourself, right…” It doesn’t work that way when your child, your little baby, has died inside you. At least not with me. The fear of it happening again was so great. It went well for us, but unfortunately it also happens again to others.
They say fear is a bad counselor. In my case, I try to learn from my fear every day. And that works, with small steps.

Daphne : Ever since we had children, I have always been afraid of losing one of the children. No reason at all at the time, but I did have that fear. After Meganβ€οΈπŸ’« died, that fear has only increased. Who’s to say it won’t happen to us again? No one can guarantee us that.
There is always the feeling that the sword of Damocles is hanging over us.
When I was pregnant with Logan, I found it mentally very difficult. Even though the pregnancy felt good, the fear that we would lose him was greater. An ultrasound scan every week in the beginning, then every three weeks. Tensions before the 20 week ultrasound, spitting, hyperventilating. An extra CTG at 36 weeks, because I had had COVID 2 weeks before and was afraid that things might not be going well in the abdomen. Fortunately, everyone at the hospital was so understanding that this was possible.
But even after Logan was born, that fear remained. What if he suddenly dies in his sleep. Always, always, where Logan was, I was. Hajo thought I was too focused on Logan, but then I said that I just couldn’t let it go, the fear was too great. And it would get better when he was 1 year old. Then the risk of cot death was simply smaller and he was bigger, could do more, was stronger.
And for me it was the same. After he turned 1 year old, I became calmer and I trust that he won’t just die anymore.
But it’s not just the fear of losing Logan that is there. Also with Riley and Marly. If they are sick, I can quickly become very concerned.
Do I really have to say to myself: ‘Daphne, stick to the facts. They’re usually healthy, they have these symptoms, it’s probably flu (or similar). There’s no need to worry so much now.” And luckily Hajo is there to calm my fears. Now that we are 2 years after her death, I notice that the fear is decreasing. I can deal with it better.

Love from Lauren :
Will I ever be happy again?
Will it ever be normal again?
Oooh that new pregnancy…
Yesterday in the mom cafe we ​​(also) talked about fear. Fear around normal life, what do I say when they ask how many children I have. Will we all be okay together or will we also lose each other in this great sadness.
Anxiety has many forms and looks different for everyone. Worrying, panic attacks, overcompensating, sweating attacks, doubting, not daring to make choices, making choices too quickly, radically cutting off your hair (like I did) and everything in between.
There is fear in sadness. Sometimes you have lost something as precious as your child so unexpectedly. What else is coming… what else are you losing. Will life ever be beautiful again and will you feel the sun shining in the depths of your soul again?
I’ve been there too. The coat of fear that hung over me came in many prints and designs. Sometimes light and sometimes heavy, but I carried it with me for too long.
Until a moment came when I chose. Chose through the fear to do things and feel again. The fear slowly diminished and I felt new energy flowing

I never thought about the possibility that my pregnancy would end like this. We were taken by surprise. It happened so quickly, there was barely time for fear. Just after Rowena’s death πŸ¦‹, many fears came to the surface.
Fear of sharing the news with family and friends, who had just celebrated the new year. Fear of saying goodbye, seeing and touching our daughter for the last time. Fear of the cause, was it my fault? Fear for the future, how on earth are we supposed to move forward? Fear of the impact on our relationship, can we live through this together? Fear that, as time passes, our daughter will be forgotten. Fear of a new pregnancy, is it too early to want this? Will it work? Will we lose another child? Fear of pregnancies among people you know, please let them be spared what happened to us. Fear of picking up life again, I preferred to go back in time. Fear of reactions from others, well-intentioned statements that can sometimes be so painful. Fear of those overwhelming emotions that could burst into tears at any moment. Fear for myself, completely losing control.
When all the sadness and fears swallowed me whole and the darkness never seemed to budge, I started writing to sort out my thoughts. One of my first notes earlier this year, when the mourning was still so raw:

πΎπ‘Žπ‘› π‘–π‘˜ π‘›π‘œπ‘” π‘‘π‘–π‘’π‘π‘’π‘Ÿ π‘§π‘–π‘›π‘˜π‘’π‘›?

𝐷𝑒 π‘Ÿπ‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ π‘£π‘Žπ‘› 𝑑𝑒 π‘Žπ‘“π‘”π‘Ÿπ‘œπ‘›π‘‘ π‘Žπ‘™π‘™π‘Žπ‘›π‘” π‘”π‘’π‘π‘Žπ‘  π‘ π‘’π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘‘,

π‘šπ‘Žπ‘Žπ‘Ÿ 𝑑𝑒 π‘π‘œπ‘‘π‘’π‘š π‘›π‘œπ‘” 𝑠𝑑𝑒𝑒𝑑𝑠 𝑛𝑖𝑒𝑑 π‘”π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘Žπ‘Ž π‘˜π‘‘.

𝐼𝑛 π‘£π‘Ÿπ‘–π‘—π‘’ π‘£π‘Žπ‘™, π‘π‘–π‘˜π‘§π‘€π‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘‘.

𝐻𝑒𝑏 π‘–π‘˜ 𝑔𝑒𝑒𝑛 π‘π‘œπ‘›π‘‘π‘Ÿπ‘œπ‘™π‘’ π‘šπ‘’π‘’π‘Ÿ π‘œπ‘£π‘’π‘Ÿ π‘šπ‘–π‘—π‘› 𝑙𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑛.

𝐺𝑒𝑒𝑛 π‘π‘œπ‘›π‘‘π‘Ÿπ‘œπ‘™π‘’ π‘œπ‘£π‘’π‘Ÿ π‘šπ‘–π‘—π‘§π‘’π‘™π‘“.

π»π‘œπ‘’ π‘™π‘Žπ‘›π‘” π‘§π‘Žπ‘™ π‘–π‘˜ π‘›π‘œπ‘” π‘£π‘Žπ‘™π‘™π‘’π‘›? π»π‘œπ‘’ 𝑑𝑖𝑒𝑝 𝑖𝑠 β„Žπ‘’π‘‘ π‘Ÿπ‘Žπ‘£π‘–π‘—π‘›?

𝐺𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑙𝑑 π‘šπ‘’π‘‘ π‘£π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘‘π‘Ÿπ‘–π‘’π‘‘, π‘€π‘œπ‘’π‘‘π‘’, π‘€π‘Žπ‘›β„Žπ‘œπ‘œπ‘,

π‘Ÿπ‘œπ‘’π‘€, π‘Žπ‘›π‘”π‘ π‘‘ 𝑒𝑛 𝑝𝑖𝑗𝑛.

By talking a lot and seeking help, the fears have shrunk in number and become less prevalent than before. Some fears cannot be suppressed, I learn to live with them.

Rowena πŸ¦‹ December 31, 2022 ✨ forever in our hearts πŸ’–

Our girl Nora : Although the earlier themes of love and sadness are still very much alive in me, I notice that writing about fear is now more difficult for me.
Not that I haven’t experienced fear, on the contrary. This was one of the emotions that I felt very intensely, but the challenge lies in the fact that my anxiety has now been significantly reduced.
There were countless things I was afraid of.
It started during my pregnancy. I hoped for a healthy and carefree period, but that was not the case.
For 23 weeks I was plagued daily with violent vomiting and suffered from pelvic pain and gestational sciatica.
This was also the moment that I started to worry. I felt for another 5 weeks afterwards that something was wrong, or that something was about to go wrong. Until my suspicions were firmly confirmed.
I no longer had a positive attitude towards the pregnancy and became obsessed with every movement I did or did not feel.
Multiple ultrasounds confirmed that everything was going well, but in my head there was fear. I had the feeling something wasn’t going right.
But from the moment I stopped feeling my baby moving, a new form of fear emerged. The fear of hearing that she had died gripped me by the throat.
From that point on there was of course the fear of the birth, but also the fear of seeing her. What would that be like? Seeing and holding a dead baby? I didn’t want it at all at first.
Yet I can tell you that my deepest fears only manifested themselves in the months after the birth.
These months were difficult, especially due to the combination of bereavement and constant uncertainty while we waited for medical examination results.
We decided to have an autopsy and other tests done to understand what had happened, whether it could happen again, and whether it was related to previous miscarriages.
After a month and a half the results came in. It turned out that Nora had died due to a lack of oxygen in the placenta.
We had prepared ourselves for the fact that usually no clear cause is found, so this news hit us hard.
There were two possible scenarios: clotting problems for me, or an error in the formation of the placenta.
Another month and a half passed before I could undergo additional blood tests to rule out hormonal influences.
These were months of intense emotion, during which I obsessively searched medical literature to understand what had happened and why.
I started to become almost obsessed with fear and insecurity. Would we ever be able to have children? Our wish was and still is strong.
But will I ever dare to get pregnant again?
The fear caused me to break down at the prospect of the test results. I mainly slept a lot and avoided my feelings during the day by getting lost in all kinds of activities.
And then September arrived and we finally got the call with the long-awaited results: no abnormalities had been found.
While the chance of recurrence is normally about 2 percent, I had to think about 4 percent.
To put it bluntly, Nora’s death was simply ‘dumb bad luck’.

Dear Liza,
There have been many moments when I have been very scared and felt fear.
I think the first fear was, how am I going to be able to give birth to you. My deceased child, fortunately I was able to quickly convert that fear into an intense desire to meet you.
After your farewell, the fear came that the sadness would no longer let go of me and that I would not be able to find my way through the sadness. Would I ever be able to laugh again? And can I still laugh? Or do I feel guilty again? Fear that I would no longer be the Astrid before this enormous loss, because sometimes I no longer recognized myself. Over time and the process, this fear decreased, I noticed that I could laugh again and look ahead again. We looked ahead to a new pregnancy, a 3rd child. Your sister Floor’s pregnancy was one that was full of fear. The fear of losing another child was enormous. What happened to you and us was such a small chance, but no one could guarantee that things would turn out well now. I felt a lot of anxiety during the entire pregnancy. I was afraid to respond honestly when people told me to enjoy Floor’s pregnancy, because how could I really enjoy it when I felt so much fear.
I notice that there always remains a form of fear around Joep and Floor. The fear of losing another child remains present, often in the background, but when someone is ill, concerns arise more quickly. And also in everyday life, letting go is sometimes more difficult, because I’m afraid something will happen to one of them.
There is also a bit of fear that people will not appreciate my honesty. Some social activities are painful, confrontational or extremely difficult because we feel so incomplete. But to say that honestly and hope that there is understanding remains complicated. Because yes, we are also told sometimes, but you have to move on, life goes on… And it goes on, but without you… And that remains very painful. The fear is less and less present, but there always remains some form of fear for the future. The fragility of life makes me less confident.
Sometimes there is fear that as time goes by and we have to miss you longer, people will mention you less. That is why we want to pay more attention to infant mortality this week. Not only to ensure that you get the attention, but all the star children who are missed so much.
Because we will never forget you! πŸ’–

Milou’s story : Earlier I wrote about the fear of Milou, the fear of holding her and the fear of seeing her at all.
But the fear soon went a lot deeper than just that. The first few weeks I hardly slept. I lay there listening to see if I could still hear Timothy breathing. I had nightmares about losing him too.
In addition, we did not yet know what Milou had died from. Was it something genetic, was it just bad luck? What if Timothy also turned out to be ill?
Then came the run-up to a new pregnancy. Would it still work? The moment I had the positive test in hand, I was overwhelmed by fear again. Would things work out this time?
With every ultrasound, every appointment, the fear continues to arise. Although we try to stay positive, the fear of losing this girl is always present.

I have been extremely anxious. I was so afraid of everything that was to come. During Hanna’s pregnancy I was afraid that we would have to make choices about life and death. I was afraid of a birth that would cause complications for our child.
I thought I was thinking realistically by taking into account that we could lose her, but I never thought that this would actually happen to us.
Losing Hanna’s life was and still is terrible.
The fear of giving birth to a lifeless child was enormous, what would she look like, did she have any abnormalities such as a syndrome? This fear was completely unfounded, she ‘just looked’ like a sleeping baby, our beautiful little girl. I was afraid that seeing Hanna would make people very anxious. Fortunately, as far as we know, this was not the case. There was fear of really having to let her go, of having to bury her. All fears we had to face, we had no choice. There has been a lot of fear and panic.
The fear that no one would ever understand me. The fear that I would never get pregnant again. The fear that we would always be a family with only a deceased child.
In Teun’s next pregnancy the fear of a miscarriage. When I didn’t feel Teun and Hidde in my stomach, there was the fear that they would no longer be alive, which made me afraid to call the hospital. The fear that I would be late meant that I kept calling, sometimes in complete panic. The biggest fears on Sunday evenings were losing Teun and Hidde in my stomach when I woke up again.
The fear of losing a loved one is no longer so present. I have no influence on it at all. Death is part of life. I find the death of a child incomprehensible. Why? A question that I quickly put to rest, it will become clear. I believe that I will meet Hanna and other deceased loved ones again in heaven, that faith takes away many fears. ❀️

Elianne : The fear of losing you. The fear of losing you forever. The fear of living without you.
It was there, the fear, in your last days.
But after that too. During Daan’s pregnancy I was afraid that he would also be ill. After all, there was a chance of repeating it. The idea of ​​burying another child was – how else can I describe it – frightening.
I was afraid of losing you. But I’m still afraid of losing you. In the first weeks after your death, I often buried my face in your clothes, looking for your scent. I was always afraid that it would no longer be there. Until indeed, your clothes no longer smell like you.
And even now; sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever forget how you felt, what your laugh sounded like. Will I lose you even more?
I love you so much. And I’m glad we knew you and that I was able to care for you.
Dear pug, I miss you πŸ’”

Favorite lines :
So scared…
That this was it.
That you are not with me.
That I’m not with you.
That we will never be again.
Like it was.
You with me.
So close inside me.
Together forever.

: Immediately after I heard that Ilja had died, the fear came. Fear that RΓ© ​​would also die in an accident on the way to the hospital, fear that family or friends would simply no longer be there. It could happen like that, right? The proof was still in my gut.
Fortunately, quite quickly in the weeks that followed, that greatest fear ebbed away.
There were other fears too. I didn’t dare leave the hospital room for fear of happy reactions in my stomach. Later at home I didn’t dare leave the house alone, soon I would encounter happy neighbors who didn’t know yet, or I would collapse in the supermarket, awkwardπŸ₯΄. So the first time I went shopping in Bovenkarspel.
In addition, I was suddenly terrified of the dark, especially when I was alone. It was very nice that our cats sensed that. During that period, one of them always walked with me, no matter what room I was in. They took turns. Until there was a day when Lexi looked at me and didn’t follow along and then I felt ‘I can do it alone again’.
In the first 3 weeks I hardly slept and I started having some kind of dreams while I was still awake or not. Hallucinations perhaps. The most frightening moment was when I took a sleeping pill and my body seemed to fall asleep before my head. Then I immediately gave up sleeping pills. Lying awake alone in the middle of the night and being afraid of the sounds around me felt incredibly lonely. So I decided to go to bed as late as possible, so that it was at least morning when I woke up. Looking back on it, it wasn’t healthy at all, but at the time it seemed very logical to me.
There was also the immediate fear of losing another child, sooner or later in the pregnancy or afterwards. And the fear that it would never work again. That Ilja would be the closest thing I could ever experience to motherhood. Yet very soon the desire arose to become pregnant again. ‘The desire is greater than the fear’. 
Getting pregnant was easy, but it wasn’t fun. It was actually 9 months of having your head in the sand, squeezing your buttocks and keeping your head above water with the occasional moment of enjoyment.
The fact that two sweet full-grown babies died in the womb during my pregnancy with Evi made it almost impossible. I still don’t know how I kept it up. I had no fear of childbirth, but that was also there now.
The biggest fear I have at the moment is that something will happen to Evi or Luca. This doesn’t bother me much in daily life. It mainly manifests itself when I doubt whether I should call the doctor. Then I panic and I will always call. Because 5 years ago I reassured myself and didn’t call again…
I still feel fear around other people’s pregnancies and ‘first see, then believe’. Because of this you still won’t see me (and maybe never again) at gender reveals and baby showers.

Lievelijn : There was fear after the loss of Jip.
The fear of never raising a child, fear that it was β€œup to us”, the fear of meeting certain people to whom I did not want to explain.
Then came the fear of losing Juul, the fear (however small) that she would simply be β€œgone”, the waking up at night with a sweat on my back.
We have never tried to ignore or hide this fear. But we decided almost immediately not to act on it.
We consciously chose to do these things and look for a solution if things got too bad. Move forward with full fear.

Noortje writes : A brother or a sister for our daughter, that was our wish. We knew all too well that a healthy baby could not be taken for granted. But we did not expect that the road to a second physically present child would be so difficult and difficult.
During and after the miscarriages I kept hope. Trusting that a new pregnancy would go well this time. We already had a daughter, so it was possible. I held on to that.
After losing Liv, that hope was completely gone. I could not hold on any longer. After holding that small and far too quiet but so complete girl, something inside me was broken. Could we ever have a living child again? Hadn’t our daughter just been lucky? Wasn’t it just right?
No, it wasn’t. I didn’t want to and couldn’t end this chapter like this. I wanted to be able to say afterwards that it had all been worth it. That it hadn’t been in vain. The longing for a living child in my arms was great. Greater than fear, greater than sadness. When the hospital in Ghent said that they thought they could help us, there was a tiny glimmer of hope again. And I clung to that. With everything I had in me.
Hope gives life. Hope brought us life.

Suzanna writes : My relationship with hope has been quite variable over the past three and a half years. With the death of my son and the simultaneous decline in my kidney function (10%), my perspective disappeared. I had lost hope. Everything was black, everything was meaningless. There were moments when I had hope again. The kidney transplant with the chance of a second pregnancy has been a very important support for me. There was hope for a better future. Hope gives life… But the depression is erratic and despite the important support, there have been several times when I completely lost hope. That everything was black again and everything was meaningless again. The depression was too dominant during those moments.
Fortunately, at the moment I have hope again. Hope for a better future and hope for a second pregnancy. Exciting, scary and not yet confident, but there is hope!

Dear Liza,
After your death I found it difficult to hope, because I could hope, but we had experienced that your world can suddenly be turned upside down in less than 1.5 hours.
After we had some more peace in the grieving process, we dared to hope for a 3rd child again. Hope got us through that tough pregnancy, because it was intense.
After Floor’s birth, I especially hope that everything continues to go well with our family, now and in the future. I hope we never have to experience such great sadness again.
I’m never sure whether I believe in an afterlife, but the thought that it exists gives me hope. I hope you have ended up in a loving place. A place where you are not in pain, where you can enjoy beautiful things around you.
And my greatest hope is that I can meet you again someday, because I would love to hold you again, hug you and tell you how much I love you. πŸ’–

Daphne : It is very difficult to have hope when you have lost your child. It keeps you going, but you know better than anyone that hope can be lost like that. Before your baby arrived, you had so many dreams and hoped for a wonderful future for the two of you. After the loss, all that hope is gone and you have to learn to live with a hole in your heart. Where others are hopeful, you dare to hope, but no longer trust the good outcome. Hope suddenly takes on a completely different meaning when the worst imaginable has happened to you.
Do you still dare to hope and for what?
Shortly after Meganβ€οΈπŸ’« was born and died, I felt that I really wanted to have a child if we were allowed to.
We hoped for a living brother or sister for Riley and Marly. We hoped for another living child in our arms. We hoped that this baby could close that big gaping hole in my heart a little.
And it was granted to us. I was allowed to become pregnant again. But boy, was it mentally tough. We hoped that everything would go well, but I didn’t dare to trust it. I said, ‘I won’t believe it until he’s alive and well in my arms.’
And that happened! After a planned caesarean section at 39+5 gestational weeks, there was our rainbow LoganπŸŒˆπŸ’™
How proud and happy your brother and sister were from the first moment! You were hugged and kissed and they were/are crazy about you!
Over time I also noticed that he healed me. The loss for Meganβ€οΈπŸ’« is always there, but Logan eases the pain, I could care again, my arms were filled with a living baby again.
We hoped to one day be able to enjoy life again and now I can say that we can, despite the eternal loss and sadness for Megan β€οΈπŸ’« that can and may coexist.

Milou’s story : Day 5 of this week is about having hope. Something I found very difficult in the beginning, because all my hope and confidence in a good outcome disappeared in one fell swoop after the pediatrician’s words. From the moment we heard that Milou had an intestinal disorder and that we would get off to a tough start with her, I had hope for a good outcome. Even when I started to feel her less, I kept hoping that everything would be okay.
In fact, my hope for a happy ending lasted until I touched Milou and realized she was really dead.
After the period of β€œwaiting to get pregnant again” was over, a little bit of hope began to bloom again. The hope of one day being able to hold a healthy and living child of our own in our arms. The hope of seeing Timothy really become a big brother. Although fear dominates this pregnancy, there is of course that bit of hope. It is special in so many ways to be able to experience this pregnancy🀍

It is very difficult to have hope when you have lost your baby. It keeps you going, but you know better than anyone that hope can be lost like that. Before your baby arrived, you had so many dreams and hoped for a wonderful future for the two of you. After the loss, all that hope is gone and you have to learn to live with a hole in your heart. Where others are hopeful, you dare to hope, but no longer trust the good outcome. Hope suddenly takes on a completely different meaning when the worst imaginable has happened to you.
Do you still dare to hope and for what?
I can’t add much more to this. The hope of a family with children to care for. It has felt so far away. But for the most part we have been able to hold on to hope. We have experienced that He has given us hope, faith and a lot of love in the deep valleys. ❀️

Elianne : After your death my life seemed over. I can safely say that I had no hope left. At times I even wondered whether I still thought it was all necessary. To hope. To live.
Things kept getting better and hope returned. Hope for a happy life, a nice family life, a way to weave your loss into our existence. And of course the hope for a rainbow. A healthy rainbow 🌈 (and it came, our dear Daan ❀️)
Finally, I also hope that there is life after death. That you live pain-free and happy among the stars or in heaven and wait for me until one day it is my time. A loving reunion πŸ’žπŸ’« how nice that would be ❀️
Dear, sweet mopsielopsie, I love you ❀️

Love from Lauren : Hope, it gives strength and courage to continue. But what do you hope for when your child has died?!
When I think of hope, I think of bright spots in the darkness. But when the whole world feels dark, heavy and overwhelming. What still brings you hope?
My 3 year old son hoped that death was only temporary. That these blocks were on the grave to play with and were not replaced for a permanent grave monument. In the first months he often asked whether Lauren had been dead enough and was coming back. He hoped for a temporary respite. He hoped for another playmate. Those playmates came, but differently than he had imagined. He became a big brother twice more.
I especially hoped for small bright spots, kind people around me who comforted me, allowed me to tell my story and helped me through this difficult period. I also got what I hoped for, but also differently than expected. Friendships were formed, became closer and friendships were lost. Family ties deepened and I often received a wink from above. Little bright spots that helped me through the day or week.
Oh and I hoped I could become a mother again. That gave me love but also fear, because what if it doesn’t work out… but I wrote more about that yesterday. About fear and grief.
I hope that you too can feel hope during this period. It is a warm source within yourself that ensures that you can and want to continue even though the world is black and heavy around you.
I also hope that you can bring hope to someone. May be a bright spot for others. May bring love and warmth to all brokenness.

Esmee: Hope? I don’t have that anymore! This was my first reaction to today’s emotion. I was almost angry about it, why did they choose Hope? Maybe people who have had it for a long time have hope, but we don’t yet. This doesn’t help us, does it? But then I calmed down and started thinking. Why should I keep going, getting up every day, starting the day, if I have no hope? I have to have hope that things will get better. Yes, I have hope that time will soften it a little. I’m hopeful that the waves will become a little less high and the storms a little shorter. I have hope that I can handle this, that I am strong enough. I have hope that we can handle this together, that we will come out of this stronger together. I hope that we can give Riley a beautiful and important place in our lives. I hope that she will not be forgotten by our family and friends either. I even have a little hope that I can learn from this. That something good will come out of it. That’s actually quite a lot of hope.
Maybe don’t hope for big things. But most of all the hope that we can live with this and honor Riley.
And hopefully I will dare to hope for a brother or sister for Riley again. But I don’t believe that a rainbow baby is the only thing you can have hope for. That’s not just what a rainbow represents to me. It is rain and sunshine, sadness and happiness coexisting. Isn’t that exactly what I experienced when she was born? In fact, hasn’t Riley already shown us that these can coexist. In fact, she immediately gave us hope.

ThΓ©rΓ¨se : Hope is hard to find so soon after a loss. All hope has been given up. Yet it grows again, at least for me, when you are pregnant again and quietly dream of the baby in your belly. That hope grows with every kick. The photo with the subject says it all, here Valentine is less than two hours old and has just received his first bottle from Hans.

Sweetest lines:
When all hope is gone
When only darkness is left
And black day after black night
The colors fade
Then I quickly close my eyes
And I see you again
Then a point of light sparkles
There in the darkness
Then it glows again a little courage
That there is an ‘after-together’

Our girl Nora : Maintaining hope is hard, especially when your body lets you down.
This feeling comes over you when, as a mother, you are unable to keep the child alive that should be safely in your belly.
It feels like failure.
I remember well when the subject of ‘future children’ was first discussed. Shortly after giving birth I noticed that I wanted to get pregnant again as soon as possible.
When I expressed this to Jan and he indicated that he was far from ready for that, it hurt me a lot.
It was the last glimmer of hope I still had, which then disappeared like snow in the sun.
The following weeks I sank deeply into my feelings. I was counting on him to be ready soon.
Now, looking back, I think he was right. At the time I was partly influenced by hormones, but mainly by loss.
I thought I was ready, but I now see that this was not the case. I just want and wanted it too much.
I was often alone. Jan was at work and I was officially on maternity leave.
Although I needed that time for myself, it also gave me a lot of space to think. What did I want? Would I dare to try again?
All hope slowly began to fade and I had even told Jan that I didn’t think I would ever dare to get pregnant again.
I started looking into adoption, a topic we had discussed before but never delved into in depth. As I learned more, the idea felt more and more difficult.
While you would expect that bringing together a child who longs for parents and parents who long for a child would be a beautiful event, many things happen in the world of adoption that do not feel entirely ethically responsible to us.
This, which always felt like our ‘alternative’ that we always kept at hand, also seemed to disappear.
As time passed and the results slowly came in, it became clear that the chance of this happening to us again is relatively small.
Although this was the best news we could get, we had to get used to this new reality. So Nora had actually died for nothing.
It has now been another two months and we notice that we dare to look carefully at the future again. We have a small glimmer of hope for the future.

Marjolein: I have hoped and also despaired a lot, especially around pregnancies.
After Evi was born I really needed time to recover. Only when she was 1.5 years old did she manage to exercise more and lose some weight. Before that, I was still too busy mourning Ilja, combined with taking care of Evi and just my work and life and everything surrounding it. I wanted to become strong again in my body and be in better condition to start a new pregnancy. The only influence I had was on my own body. So that had to become stronger.
I lost 14 kilos and, after building up slowly, I was able to run 5 km again, which also made me feel much more energetic. I was ready again.
Then I became pregnant, we were cautiously hopeful and happy. I had all the symptoms, was tired, nauseous and hungry as a horse. I didn’t want an ultrasound too early, because I wanted immediate certainty and no doubts.
We went to Mallorca with the family and announced it with a card with a photo. When we got home we finally did the ultrasound, I was about 8 weeks pregnant at the time. We went there quite quietly and with some confidence. “We’re going to immediately see if there’s anything wrong,” said the sonographer. “Or two,” I said.
There was no heartbeat…probably not for 2 weeks. The gynecologist later saw that they were likely twins. So I had a good feeling about that.
No matter how much you try to prepare for it, don’t hope too much, just wait, be cautiously happy, you don’t know yet whether things are going well… Still, it’s a hard slap in the face when things go wrong again. Our third loss.
I didn’t want the physical part, I wanted it to be over immediately. I immediately ran to work, had only called in sick for 1 day for the curettage and actually I was even planning to come back for the parent meetings that day. Really put your head in the sand and turn off the feeling. And of course that came back hard during the autumn holidays. If you avoid it, it will catch up with you one day.
When I wanted to get pregnant again, for the 5th time, all hope had disappeared for a while…
I was actually convinced that it would never work again. Especially when it took a little longer. I remember well that my colleague said very sweetly: ‘Hey, don’t be so negative, of course it will work!’ And then I realized the difference between how I used to think and how I think now. Burying a fetus(es) twice and having to say goodbye to an almost full-term baby, from Ilja, that really does something to your hopes and how you approach life. And yet we moved forward with a glimmer of hope, because desire still won over fear.
And then after a very long wait there was Luca. Of course that didn’t happen automatically, I think I could fill a book with everything I felt about it, who knows more about that later.
Now that Luca is here, I feel that we can finally move forward again. The losses have certainly left a dent in hope and faith in life and the future. But I also know that time is my best friend and that trust can grow.
For Ilja, I hope he felt only warmth and love in my belly. And my greatest hope is that he is still out there somewhere and that he is doing well there πŸ’™.

Naomi: After death I knew one thing for sure: I never want to be pregnant again because Saar can never be replaced.
But in August 2018 I suddenly found out that I was pregnant because it later turned out to be a girl again.
My last pregnancy was anything but carefree, but I still remember standing here with my big belly on the beach 3 days before I gave birth and hoping again for the first time.
Hope for life 🀍

Hope that I would get better
Hope that my family would get better
Hope that I could be happy again Hope that
I could start enjoying again
Hope that Tobias knows that I love him
Hope that Tobias knows that I am proud hope
that Tobias is proud of me
Hope that Tobias is doing well wherever he is now
Hope that I will see him again when I also die
Hope that we will recognize each other then
Hope that he will come visit me again in my dreams
Hope that he is still with me
Hope that our connection only becomes stronger
I hope so, I want it, I believe it 😍
✨Always Connected ✨

Lievelijn : For a long time I lived between hope and fear after Jip’s death. Before his death, I hardly remember that saying. But that’s exactly what happened.
I found hope far too complicated, I didn’t dare anymore. If you hoped for something, it could be taken away from you. And at the same time it offered something to hold on to.
Was it that speck on the horizon? That little point of light at the end of a dark tunnel. That which attracted me. That’s what allowed me to keep going.
That little point of light kept getting a little bigger. And by the end of Juul’s Pregnancy, I still didn’t dare to dream. Nowadays, hope is no longer needed to survive. Nowadays there are dreams again.

ThΓ©rΓ¨se : I felt so guilty, especially the first year after Pieter’s birth. Because yes, he died in my stomach and all tests showed nothing. So it was bad luck. The link I made was that it must be my fault. Because yes, he is dead. After many sessions with my wonderful psychologist Liesbeth, I started to look at this differently. But sometimes, when I am sad and miss Pieter very much, the feeling of guilt can arise again. Couldn’t we have done something about it? I had seen him on the ultrasound in the hospital 3 days before. He was doing well there, or at least it seemed that way. He had already stopped growing, after a weekend when I was very ill and the midwife had to come by because I felt something was wrong with my baby. I will therefore always continue to wonder whether there really was nothing that could have prevented Pieter’s death. And there will always be a small part of me feeling guilty. Fortunately, I know that I am not the only mother with this feeling and I get support from stories of other star parents.

Esmee : During your pregnancy there are countless things you should not do. Watch your food, not all cheeses, not too much cinnamon, not soft-boiled eggs, not lifting too heavy, not painting, not doing too much, not too little exercise, taking supplements, not too many supplements, not petting goats and so on. There are so many things to pay attention to. Is it any wonder that when things go wrong, the first thing you do is think it’s your own fault? Have I forgotten something? Have I done too much, have I done too little? If you ask those questions in the hospital, the answer is immediately no. How can the answer be directly no when there were so many things that were not allowed? I find this difficult to deal with.
I know I haven’t done anything that wasn’t advised and I still feel guilty.
My body was supposed to keep her safe and this didn’t happen. Shouldn’t I have done something different? Shouldn’t I have noticed? Was there anything I could have done differently that would have kept her alive? Did I shower too hot, stress too much? I shouldn’t have held her more often the week she was here. If only I had sat in the garden with her sooner, if only I had read to her more often and looked at her longer. The longer I deal with guilt, the more entangled I become in it. It’s part of it, but it doesn’t help me. It helps me to focus on Riley, on everything that was there. All the times I picked her up, that I read to her, that I sat with her in the garden, how I enjoyed her kicks in my stomach, all the hours I spent watching her. How very much we love her.

Noortje writes: I always write better than I talk, I always say. If I get stuck in my head, I let it out on paper. It is my outlet, my open book.
Yet I have been searching all day for the words to describe this subject: guilt.
I find it difficult to write about it, I notice. To evoke that feeling again. And especially to then tell that feeling that it is not true, or not necessary.
Because it was my body that had to keep Liv warm and safe, and it was my body that ultimately couldn’t. It was the failing placenta that caused my very healthy baby girl to die. And it’s human to look for something or someone to blame, but when it comes to my body… who else can I blame but myself?
I would have given anything to keep Liv with me. If I could have done anything to change the outcome, I would have. Whatever. No doubt. So I don’t blame myself, not anymore. After all, I wouldn’t have wanted it that way either.
β€œIf only I knew what to do differently, so that you were still here with me”
(Between the Stars – NiΓ±a van Dijk)

Elianne: I’ve wondered about it sometimes. What if we hadn’t gone home? After being in the emergency room all day? There was no room in the children’s ward, and we had a choice: go home or go to another hospital. We chose home.
But that night you had your first seizure. What if we had gone to another hospital?
What if I hadn’t gone to sleep, but kept an eye on you? Would I have noticed something before?
But would it have changed anything?
After you died, I felt guilty when I laughed. How can I laugh when my child is dead? At first it was small things; Luuk made a joke, for example. Later I could enjoy a whole day without thinking about you and without being sad. But then the guilt. My child is dead, how can I be happy?
The feeling of guilt is much less. Usually not at all anymore. And if it is there, you can often accept it and let it be.

Dear Liza,
Feelings of guilt… I found it a very difficult subject after we heard that you had died.
Because from that moment on I often felt guilty.
One of the first questions I got after we couldn’t find your heartbeat anymore was whether I remembered the last time I felt you… And unfortunately I still can’t tell you that to this day. Somewhere in those last 1.5 hours I still felt you, I know that, because during the check-up at home I still felt you kicking nicely. But in the car on the way to the hospital, my focus wasn’t on that, so I didn’t consciously save it. I felt guilty that I couldn’t name it and I also felt guilty because those were your last living movements that I can no longer remember.
In the first period I felt very guilty that you died. And to be honest, I still feel guilty about it sometimes. The moments may be short-lived, but they are still there.
It is always said, let a baby sit comfortably in mommy’s belly, because that is where they are safe. Well not, in our case my stomach was not safe for you. Unbeknownst to us, that damn GBS (group B strep) was in my stomach. And after my waters broke, that GBS went in the wrong direction, it went to you… Away from safety in your mother’s belly… And yes, that still hurts and I find it very difficult to accept. The what if we had handled it differently, if I had known or other what if questions often arise with these feelings of guilt. I know I could never have changed it, because within all the so-called safety protocols surrounding births, we were still in the safe zone and things still went wrong because the bacteria did something unusual, it went inside.
I also felt guilty towards the people around me. Towards Rob, his wife, who carried his child, failed. I know now that this isn’t a failure, but it sure felt like it at the time.
Also for Joep. We went to the hospital and told him we would come home with his brother or sister. But 2 days later we introduced him to you, his sister, who was no longer alive… It shouldn’t be the case that a 3-year-old male has to experience so much sadness over the loss of his sweet little sister.
Guilt went to the many people around us, who were sad because of something terrible that had happened to us. To make them sad, even though we couldn’t do anything about it, was very unpleasant.
The feeling of guilt sometimes arises, often at times when something fun or important happens in the social environment, but for us these are often the moments when we miss you enormously.
Then I feel guilty towards you, that we are having fun without you.
But I also feel guilty towards the other person that we also draw attention to you at such a moment. Because we need attention for you, so that we can get through the day better.
During the sessions with the psychologist I learned that I can also embrace this emotion. By embracing the guilt and sometimes allowing it to be there, I can also more easily put into perspective that I do not have to feel guilty towards you, because I could not have prevented your death. And not towards my social environment, because there should always be room for you and the sadness that comes with it. And if it isn’t there, I can always make it, because that is what is needed.
Liza, forever in our hearts πŸ’–

Daphne : Guilt is what many parents feel after the loss of their child. There may be that feeling. You are not guilty, because you would have done everything you could to prevent this loss, but you still feel guilty.
You would have wanted to intervene sooner, rely on your gut feeling, take it slower, take more photos or spend more time together. And above all, you wanted to protect your child, care for your child forever and cherish it forever.
Do you feel guilty or have you felt guilty and why?
I find this a difficult emotion to deal with. Even though we can’t do anything about Meganβ€οΈπŸ’«’s death, the feeling of guilt remains.
Towards Meganβ€οΈπŸ’«, but also towards our other children.
I felt very guilty that I had to take those pills to soften the cervix. It literally felt like I was going to kill my own child when I took those pills. This feeling was terrible, I cried, really hard. But I had to take them, otherwise the process would just take longer and I didn’t think that was fair to Meganβ€οΈπŸ’«
In the second photo, guilt hits me like crazy. They have just inserted the first vaginal pills there to induce labor. There is no way back, really no way back. She is going to be born and she is going to die, terrible😒
In the third photo, my epidural has just been inserted and once again the realization came that we would have to say goodbye to our girl in a short time😒
And now more than 2 years later, if I don’t babysitter, this emotion still runs wild with me. Countless times have passed the thoughts: ‘couldn’t there have been any other way?’ Then I really have to look at all the facts and come to the conclusion that it really couldn’t have been any other way.
A while ago a case came to the department with a similar heart defect as Meganβ€οΈπŸ’« I found this very difficult, because this baby did very well after birth. Which left me defeated, I thought, ‘did we really make the right choice?!’
So you see that miracles do exist! What I didn’t realize is that Meganβ€οΈπŸ’« had even more problems besides her heart defects. Hajo told me that clearly and then I remember. No, it really couldn’t have been any other way. Meganβ€οΈπŸ’« would have died anyway. But I still find these difficult moments. I still feel guilty towards the children. Since Meganβ€οΈπŸ’« passed away, I am no longer the mother I was. Fortunately, I am becoming more and more myself, but I will never be who I was again and I sometimes feel quite guilty about that towards the children. I also feel guilty towards the children that they will never have a ‘carefree’ childhood. They were introduced to death and the sadness that comes with it far too early. Every week they say that they miss Meganβ€οΈπŸ’« so much and regularly that they burst out crying over this. I can only hope that in the future they will not experience too much trouble from the loss of their sister.

Milou’s story : Feelings of guilt, there really are enough of them.
It started immediately after Milou died. If only I had gone to the hospital earlier, I would have insisted on admission on the first day that I could no longer feel her. Then maybe they could have saved her. I should have intervened earlier, insisting that it didn’t feel right.
During this pregnancy I am also torn by feelings of guilt. This child would never have existed if Milou had lived. But because she is dead, this child will come and she will take Milou’s place, replaced by another girl.
But this girl is also more than welcome! Not a replacement second child, but the third! Just a few more months of patience and then a third child will join usπŸ’–

Love from Lauren : GUILT
A powerful and oh so difficult emotion. As I said, I felt little guilt but was more on the spectrum; It is what it is.
Yet I see it a lot with the people I guide and the conversations I have with them and many others during training sessions, meetings, etc.
The questions they often ask themselves are:
* If only I had…
* What if…
* If I had done this or that earlier…
* If only I had done it sooner, faster, better…
* Shouldn’t I have felt or noticed that it was calmer in my stomach?
Guilt can haunt us and is sometimes very physically present. We carry it with us but it doesn’t do us any good. It is not a piece of jewelry to be cherished.
However, it is not about whether you are guilty or not. Let’s say that everyone wants the best for his or her child. So you will never deliberately do or omit anything that could harm your child. No, it’s about love. About being and feeling responsible for something that is very dear to you. The child that is entrusted to your care, which can grow in your belly, which you can feed and let grow. You would have loved to see, wanted and hoped for things differently. And if things turn out differently, guilt is in many cases a logical consequence.
When it comes to guilt, we can take the question of guilt away from ourselves. Even if there is a medical error, it can be healing if we let it go. Doctors and nurses also act out of love.
Focus on love and what your guilt is telling you. You became a mom or dad, but with empty arms. You feel guilty because you would have loved to see things differently out of love. That gives light and let us carry love with us instead of guilt.

Suzanna writes: What if… what if… what if… I blamed myself a lot for the death of my son. Guilt that I was able to refute together with my psychologist, but also guilt that was much more convincing and that is still there somewhere. As a parent you want to protect your child, always! I was unable to protect my son and that hurts incredibly much. Rationally I can say that I couldn’t have done anything more than I did. No cause of Matz’s death has been found.
My guilt got in the way of my grieving. I felt guilty but was also fighting that feeling. Reason and feeling…

Favorite lines :
The feeling of -what if-.
Heavier than a lost dream.
Always the shadow of my mourning.

Our girl Nora : I wish I had expressed my doubts earlier.
If I had sounded the alarm earlier, perhaps things could have turned out differently?
Maybe I overlooked signals from my body.
Have I ignored advice that I should have followed?
Was it that walk through the market on King’s Day, ignoring the pain that this caused?
Should I have called at night when I barely felt her that night?
It feels like it’s my fault.
As if I am unable to bring a healthy baby into the world, and cannot give my husband what he wants so much.
I feel like I can’t do what others can do.
I wrote these words a few weeks after giving birth.
Even though I realized I was doing my best during the pregnancy, I desperately searched for someone to blame.
While I was well aware that the hospital could not be found guilty of anything, in my mind it could not be anyone else’s fault but my own.
Especially when I heard that she died due to a ‘mistake’ made by my body.
I also felt guilty about not being able to enjoy the pregnancy.
Every day I suffered from severe nausea and enormous pelvic pain with my sciatica, but I especially looked forward to her kicks and eventually her arrival.
I hated being pregnant and said I would never want it again and couldn’t wait for it to be over.
Afterwards I felt extremely guilty about those feelings.
Why is this such a taboo? Why do we have to make each other believe that being pregnant is the best moment in your life when you feel at your best, while for some women it really isn’t?
What also bothered me was the strong desire for another child.
It almost felt like we were trying to replace her, which felt unfair to her.
Many people don’t understand that when you are encouraged to do fun things during the grieving period, nothing feels fun.
When you try to enjoy something, your thoughts remain with your child.
You can’t have fun without her. You don’t want that and you can’t do that, right?
Picking up your hobby for the first time, days out, going to concerts, a night away together and soon the first holiday without Nora will be coming.
I felt terrible for being able to enjoy things while my child is dead.
Although this feeling slowly fades, it still surfaces from time to time.
I recently read somewhere: ‘Don’t just exist, live. Live the life your child never got to have.’
This is what we’re trying now.
We’re doing fun things again. I make (life-changing) choices differently now. I keep her in my thoughts through everything.
I do it for her.
I do things that I normally wouldn’t dare to do under the standard of: ‘If I can get through the period of a dead child, I can do this too’.

I’ve felt so guilty about the most small and idiotic things.
– The steak on Sunday, it was well done enough.
-I liked sleeping on my right side instead of the left.
-I should have called on Sunday evening instead of Monday morning.
– the enormous stress of the last week before the due date.
-The many hard bellies during pregnancy.
These are all things that I have discussed in detail with the doctors and nurses. They were all able to explain and investigate that it was not my fault. I couldn’t help it. Everything had been examined and Hanna was in perfect health and there was nothing wrong with me either. I don’t feel guilty anymore. I do feel a strong sense of failure. My body failed so much, gave no sign of distress, did not start the birth earlier, my body was not able to give Hanna life.
Growing a child in my belly is possible, but bringing it into the world on time is not. I am so grateful for the medical world that helped Teun and Hidde be born earlier. My body can also bring living children into the world, but I have no confidence that my body could have done that without an introduction.

Marjolein : People said so sweetly: ‘You shouldn’t feel guilty, you can’t do anything about it’.
But you can feel guilty, because that feeling is there.
Could I have done something differently? Ask me what I did during the autumn holidays two years ago and I have no idea. But from the autumn holidays 5 years ago, I still remember exactly what I did every day. That’s because I analyzed that week to its core. Where could I have turned the tide? Where could I have prevented the worst from happening? What could I have done and why didn’t I do it when I felt it wasn’t right.
On the last Sunday I called the midwife and had a check because I felt less alive. The following days I kept reassuring myself because there seemed to be explanations for everything. How guilty I felt about that.
Now I know that I acted on what I knew at the time, I didn’t know any better at the time. And I can’t change it anymore so I try to let it go.
Even after my second miscarriage I felt guilty. I remember being so angry with my body. I had worked so hard to live a healthier lifestyle and yet things went wrong. The gynecologist saw right through that. During the conversation I asked all kinds of questions. Could it be this, could it be that, how could it be that my body was letting so many pregnancies go wrong? She looked into my eyes and said, ‘But you can’t do anything about this!’ And somehow I accepted it from her, because she was the doctor who could have known or something. I had been acting big the whole time and then I burst.
I sometimes also feel guilty towards Evi and Luca, because sometimes I cannot be completely happy or because I am perhaps more worried and less willing to let them go.
I also felt guilty when I was pregnant with them, because I didn’t dare to assume a good outcome and I felt I was doing them a disservice.
And I feel guilty if I pay less conscious attention to Ilja for a while, because that’s how life can go.
Guilt… it is and remains a difficult feeling. Somehow I know that I am doing things as best as I can and yet I often have that feeling of failing towards all 3 of my children.

Touched.goodbye : Rationally you know that you don’t have to feel guilty, but emotionally you cannot switch off this feeling.

Feelings of guilt are a normal way for the pain of loss to surface. Feelings of guilt have to do with love and responsibility. You don’t have to be guilty to feel guilty. When you love someone, you also want to protect them. But we simply cannot prevent all disasters.
-Manu Keirse-

Lievelijn : Not a year will go by without me realizing that so many years ago, October 14, 2019, was an ordinary β€œgray” Monday.
4 years ago I went for a check-up with the midwife. Without fear and without suspicion. Alone because there would be nothing special.
Unfortunately it turned out so differently. And there was a deafening silence when the dopler was placed on my stomach. An ultrasound showed that it was really the case.
That before we were allowed to meet, we would already start saying goodbye.
Today is not Jip’s birthday, today is his death anniversary. And although this is normally after your birthday, with Jip it is before.
I’ve felt guilty about that. My stomach was supposed to be his safe place. Because even though I knew I wasn’t responsible, I still felt guilty.
We now know what caused Jip’s death. A piece of DNA too much in some cells. Perfect bad luck that that happened.
No one is to blame for that. That’s just perfect bad luck.

ThΓ©rΓ¨se : When Pieter died, the ground was removed from under us. We no longer knew how to proceed. But little by little you start to pick up your life again and try to enjoy it again. We have started to weave Pieter into our lives. We bought a beautiful Sam, a handmade sand cuddly toy in Pieter’s birth weight and height. This way he goes on holiday, we cuddle with him and he can still be very close. 10 months after Pieter’s death, on Wednesday October 13, 2022, in the middle of BLAW 2022, I tested positive. A new pregnancy, a new chapter. A rollercoaster of emotions for 9 months through you, through your family and on June 9, 2023 we had a beautiful son. Our Valentine. His name means healthy, strong and influential. We are grateful for him. Grateful to have him among us. Not a replacement for his brother, but a sweet little boy who looks exactly like his brother and who reminds us that we can be grateful. We call him our present.
That’s not the only thing we are grateful for. Also extremely grateful for the people who have been so close to us for two years. My brother and sister-in-law, my mom and stepdad, my parents-in-law, my friends: Babeth, Heleen, Jitske, Stefanie, Rianne, JosΓ©, our dear neighbors, my wonderful colleagues. People who have not let us down and have supported us through thick and thin for two years. I am grateful for them too! Let’s reflect more often on things we are grateful for. As Pieter’s mother, I am grateful to be his mother. He taught me things that no one else could have taught me. Dear Pieter, I love you!

Esmee : The last emotion of this week, what a beautiful way to end this day. Today is not only the last day of BLAW, but also our girl Riley’s due date. Three months ago I couldn’t have imagined that I would be grateful for anything. Anger and sadness, panic and despair alternated. Still, I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this. Of course I wish things had turned out differently, I would give anything for that. But not that it wasn’t there at all, because then we wouldn’t have gotten to know you, dear Riley. Our sweet little girl who has already taught me so much. I am grateful that I was able to feel you in my stomach. That you started pedaling so early that I was still able to enjoy it for a long time. That you made me feel happiness, even if only for a moment. That you made us parents. That you made me feel love like I never knew it before, unconditional. So strong that even the sadness was not there for a while.
For teaching me that sadness and love can coexist. That even in the greatest sadness there are bright spots. That even in the greatest sadness you can feel gratitude. That you have connected us even more with all the lovely people around us. To whom I am so grateful that they take care of us, are there for us. That support and love comes from unexpected places. We are grateful to you Riley because you belong to us.

Noortje writes : This week ends with the Wave of Light, a candle will be lit worldwide at 7 p.m. Our candle is also burning. For all the children who had to leave the world far too early, but especially for our Liv.
As hard as it was to lose her, I am grateful that I was able to have her. That I was able to enjoy the weeks in which things still went well, the pink cloud that was never allowed to be that pink again.
I am grateful that she came into our lives and still has a place in it every day. Grateful that the children know who she is and also name her.
And above all, I am grateful for everything she taught me and for the insight she gave me. That she made me realize what really matters in life and who our real friends are.
Grateful for her little brother who was allowed to join us. Grateful for her big sister who always gave me a reason to keep going.
Grateful for our beautiful family, which is stronger than ever.
Thank you, dear, for being with us. You will always continue to do so.
Our candle burns for you πŸ•―

A candle for you, dear Noor. And for all the sweet children who are so terribly missed πŸ’” 🌟
To the moon and back, dear pug 🌜 🦩
Grateful for what you brought πŸ’ž grateful that we were allowed to know you
Grateful for the days, months with you, even though it was far too short πŸ’”β€οΈ

Dear Liza,
I am so incredibly grateful that I can be your mom. There are moments of sadness, but pride and love prevail. My beautiful girl, my first daughter, that’s what I’m grateful for.
I am extremely grateful for the life lessons I have learned through you. Not all of them were great, but it did strengthen and shape me.
I am very grateful for the time we had you in our home. You were at home in your own basket and wherever you were, I took you there. I was so grateful that all this was possible. The fact that we had you embalmed made a big difference. I am grateful to the funeral director that she tipped us off about this, because this ensured that we were able to enjoy you immensely when you were with us.
I am also grateful for all the lovely people who have supported us and continue to support us after your loss. Grateful that they are always there for us, laugh and cry with us, call your name and talk about you.
I am incredibly grateful to be a mother of 3 beautiful children. Your sister Floor and big brother Joep who can be here with me and you, up there, among all the beautiful stars. Being a mother is such a special thing to experience and I know that it is not self-evident for everyone. We also know the loss, but fortunately we still have children to care for.
I am grateful for the beautiful friendships that have arisen with other star parents, the support I receive from the foundations and support centers. And I really like that I can also contribute to these charities to ensure that other star parents can be helped again.
I am most grateful for you dear darling, my girl, which I will never forget!
Our dear Liza, born to love forever! πŸ’–

I am certainly grateful, even though you are no longer physically there, Meganβ€οΈπŸ’«.
Very grateful that I could feel you kicking in my stomach so early. At 15 weeks already, at 18 weeks I felt you kicking almost every day. We connected very well together, especially when I put your sister to bed. Marly went to sleep in her bed and I sat on the rocking chair with her and then with my hands on my stomach we made contact. Very special and nice.
Grateful that we met you alive for a while, that I was confirmed that you had an enormous fighting spirit and were extremely strong. I felt this about everything during my pregnancy.
Grateful that, despite the enormous sadness and loss of Megan β€οΈπŸ’«, we were allowed to become parents of a healthy boy again.
We are forever grateful to @ireneleusink_photography for the photos she took during the birth and during the farewell. The photos are pricelessπŸ™β€οΈ
Grateful that times have changed. In which we can and may speak about our deceased children. Because when I look back years ago, look at how my mother had to carry this immense sadness… I find that inhuman. Your child died, was born and you never saw your child. Not even knowing if you had a boy or a girl, never having the chance to name it. And after that… it just wasn’t talked about. This was it… just respect for my mother for how strong she was in dealing with this.
Let’s make sure we break the taboo on child mortality even more.
Our children deserve to be mentioned, to be recognized. Parents deserve that their deceased child is recognized and talked about. That they get a chance to deal with this trauma. They deserve to weave this immense loss into their lives. Tonight we close Baby Loss Awareness Week with a wave of light. We light a candle for our daughter β€οΈπŸ’« and all the children who are missed so much. Are you participating?

Suzanne writes: Gratitude… I am also grateful after Matz’s death. If we could go back in time and you would tell me in advance that my son would die and what other misery would follow, I would still make the choice to deal with it again. Because in addition to the immense pain and sadness and the rollercoaster I ended up on, I feel so much love for my son. I became a mother and that feeling, that love is beautiful.
I am also extremely grateful for all the wonderfully sweet people I have around me. My dearest husband who is always there for me and supports me in everything, sweet family who helped and supported where possible and friends who have been there for me all this time. Standing on the sidelines and watching someone go through such a great loss and end up at the bottom of the well must be difficult, but I am incredibly grateful that all those lovely people have been there and stayed there all along ❀️

Sweetest lines:
When everything is silent and icy,
your heart is cold and gray.
Lost in empty loneliness
surrounded by mourning.

Just then there will be
recognition, a look, a word.
A warm feeling of being together,
like-minded, heard.

Connected in proud parenthood,
emptiness and fate.
Found in shared pain
for what was not allowed to remain.

A book full of tears,
every story of experienced sadness.
But sharing
makes the emptiness feel less deep.

Grateful for everything Hanna has given us. Lots of love especially. Through Hanna we met very special and valuable people. She has given us many new insights and learned a lot. And if I had had a choice, I would have chosen a life with a living Hanna without the loss and sadness. But it is what it is. Grateful for our 3 children where 2 shine in presence and 1 shines in absence.❀️

Marjolein : For the love and support we received from the people around us. And for the people who still think about Ilja and keep mentioning him.
Grateful that I was able to bring him into the world, that I can be his mother.
That Ilja was born in our wonderful country in 2018. And not in 1950, or in an unsafe place in the world, because how differently he would have been treated.
Grateful for RΓ©, my rock. Extremely grateful for Evi and Luca our rainbows after the biggest storm. And that they look so much like him that he also seems to live on in them a little.
Grateful for everything I have and for what I have learned from losing Ilja. He showed us how much people care about us and that grief is above all a lot of love. He showed us that we should enjoy the little things and the now.
Grateful that he lives on because others continue to think of him. That we can write and talk about him. Thankful that you read along with my stories, even though they are not always fun and sometimes even intense to read πŸ’›

Lievelijn : Grateful for all the help we received to do things the way we wanted. Grateful that there were people who really helped us discover the world again, unconditionally.
I am grateful that Jip was spared terrible suffering, because I now think he would have suffered.
I am grateful that I have met new people with whom I can share joys and sorrows. People who feel like a gift from Jip.
I am infinitely grateful that we were able to have 2 more beautiful, healthy girls. And I sometimes notice that Juul is occasionally allowed to talk about her little big brother.
Despite all the sadness, I am infinitely grateful that Jip is our son. He made us parents.
I am grateful that I can share my story here and I hear that there are people who benefit from it.
But I’m also grateful that this #blaw is over. Because although it is important that attention is paid to it. I am even more grateful that for most people it is something they do not often have to deal with.

Nyne’s forever mother : I don’t have a lot of time to write with our brand new rainbow daughter, so I’ve put together this year’s 7 themes. Because it is so important that it remains open to discussion, that the names of the children remain mentioned and the pregnancy and birth of Vieve gave new feelings, obstacles and many uncomfortable moments, this post
We are a family of 4, but for the outside world only with 3 showing.
Twice LOVE , because it doesn’t matter whether you have a silent or living child in your arms. For Nyne, for Vieve. My heart is overflowing with it.
Twice SAD , because sometimes the emotion can suddenly overtake me. Especially at very beautiful moments, the loss is often unexpectedly present. The tears quickly come at the thought that Nyne cannot experience this and will never be there.
Twice PROUD , because these 2 girls made me a mom.
Twice FEAR , because the fear of what is to come remains. That fear can sometimes be very intense. Afraid of losing Vieve too. 
Two times HOPE , because that has helped me through the past years and months and still does.
Twice FEELINGS OF GUILT , because I couldn’t give Nyne what I can now give Vieve. I wish I had followed my intuition better and had all the tests done earlier that were necessary to ensure that my body could handle a pregnancy and allow a child to grow properly. And because Vieve always has to grow up with an β€œinvisible” sister.
Twice GRATITUDE , because Nyne made sure I knew how wonderful it is to become a mother. For the strong bond with her daddy that she gave us. For making her sister’s β€œhouse” safe. And for the wonderful experience of having Vieve, with whom we can discover a new world.