I take my first steps into what seems like a dark, endless and lonely corridor, holding nothing but my husband’s hand. With each step I take, I am moving away from my 20 week old daughter, Amelie Belle, stillborn that morning in that hospital room. My legs are so heavy that each step feels like defying extreme gravity. The battle in my head echoes in my bleeding heart and body.
Eleven years later, I remember the feeling like it was yesterday! I could not breathe, I felt like my heart and my soul were being pulled out of my chest, slowly, with each step we took. My husband was whispering reassuring words in my ears with every step, my head was hearing them but by heart wasn’t listening. I did not want to leave my daughter’s sight. I just wanted to hold her once more, forever, protect her for longer.
I think many people would relate to that, when you experience tragic loss you just want to stop the time and remain with your loved one forever, you refuse to move on; literally for me, I didn’t want to step out of that room and for a long time, I held onto Amelie emotionally, and even physically, I didn’t want to heal her spot in my womb. This is the hardest thing to do, to let go of our child, because we love them so deeply, with our whole essence, it hurts like nothing else! We don’t want to leave a void if we let them go.
In that moment, when I walk away from my daughter’s body, I feel hope. I knew it was going to be a journey. I had to dig deep, squeeze my husband’s arm even tighter and call the universe for all the courage I could get to see me through this. The hurt was real, the pain was agonising. And I thought: be gentle with yourself, allow yourself to grieve, it’s ok to cry and feel despair, but there has to be light at the end of the tunnel. It must have happened for a reason.
My husband and I had lost another pregnancy just a year earlier, and I was still feeling vulnerable from guilt, sadness and fear from the loss. When I fell pregnant again with Amelie, I buried it all under the joy of the new life, and didn’t deal with it.
I have always been fascinated with the science of the mind, and I studied previously the healing techniques of NLP, hypnosis, body therapy and emotional aromatherapy. So when I lost my daughter Amelie, I started to apply these healing techniques to myself.
I had to do something to get out of the hurt, I had to make sense of it all. I didn’t want to feel numb for the rest of my life. I thought my daughter didn’t deserve to die in vain.
It affected my wellbeing, my sexuality, my sense of self worth, my ability to care for my family. I couldn’t really engage with anyone I felt distant from reality, a parallel universe in which I was only existing, not living or feeling. My professional career was a refuge of busyness, a distraction from the pain. I suffered severe post natal depression a year later, following the birth of our rainbow baby boy Benjamin, but I was in absolute denial and didn’t want to ask for help so I never treated my depression, which enabled it to last for a decade!
In 2018, I founded Mammaste (a twist on the salute Namaste) to honour the Divine in my three lost babies. Mammaste means “my Child, the Divine in me bows to the Divine in You.”
I founded the movement #IamAMammaste first of all to break the silence and raise awareness about pregnancy loss. One in 4 women experience pregnancy loss! It is a frightening statistic! And secondly, I want to empower other women so they can feel pride, joy and gratefulness when they think about their child, rather than guilt, pain and sorrow. It’s a horrible place to be.
I authored a book called (working title) “Mammaste, your ultimate guide to rise from the ashes of pregnancy loss”. In this book I share the very specific tools and techniques that I’ve used to kick myself out of that nasty place that is so lonely.
I also manages an online community @mammasteofficial on Facebook and Instagram for other women to break their silence, share their story and empower one another.
The Mammaste online healing program, opening up in November, is designed as a self pace online self empowerment course to guide women through the exact steps I took to heal myself so they can transForm the hurt into opportunities for crafting their new life. The program involves weekly live calls plus simple assignments to complete during the week. The participants are kept accountable and are supported through a learning portal together with lifetime access to the community of current and past alumni… a grief counselor, psychologist and GP are imbedded in the program to ensure all participants are adequately supported.
I chose to believe our children only want our greater good…
They don’t want to see us suffer. They chose us for a reason, to teach us something, so we owe it to them to honour their sacrifice and start listening to the messages they want us to hear.
Face to face Mammaste meetups are also available once a month on the Gold Coast.
If you or someone you care about needs immediate support with pregnancy loss please contact Bears of Hope.