Dr Ashleigh Smith interviews Annabel Bower – author of the heartfelt book ‘Miles Apart’ which aims to support mothers navigating grief after the loss of a baby at any stage of pregnancy or infancy and gives practical and emotional advice on coping with the many challenges life after loss brings. Annabel has also launched a not-for-profit foundation to distribute donated copies of Miles Apart to hospitals around Australia and hopes the foundation will help raise awareness of the emotional impact of baby loss whilst also supporting those who endure it.
They discuss miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death and the process of grieving. They also discuss the ‘out of body experience’ in the hospital,’ ‘the evaporation of excitement and hope for the future of a shared life together with your baby.’ Such sentiments, Ashleigh acknowledges, are only understood by women who have lived and endured the agony of pregnancy/baby loss.
Annabel explains ‘grief gas lighting’ – how you can do it to yourself or by another person. She opens up about how she felt when Miles’ due date approached and how people flock to pregnant women but avoid women after they have had a loss.
She talks about the expectations and exhaustion of grief and that initially she couldn’t open up and talk about what had happened to Miles. Annabel discusses the responses she has been receiving to her book and the loneliness of loss and why we can feel just so isolated after the loss of a baby. She talks about adjusting to the new normal and coping with the ins and outs of your life when you're grieving the loss of your baby.
Annabel writes about gritting her teeth when listening to other people trying to console her with platitudes or ‘at least’s’ – such as ‘at least you have other children’ and ‘at least you know you can get pregnant.’ Dr Ashleigh Smith explains how beneficial meditation has been for her grief and how it can help calm the mind and find peace amongst the ravages of grief.
Finally, Annabel explains how someone can donate a ‘Miles Apart’ book to hospitals Australia wide.