The Loneliness of the Bereaved Parent


These are some almond and blueberry cakes. Each cake is supposed to have 3 blueberries but I didn’t let a lack of blueberries stop me from making them. Only one cake met the quota! If like me you love marzipan, you’ll love these. It’s a simple, tasty recipe (see below).

I am the 1 in 200. Sadly in Ireland and the UK 1 in 200 babies dies before, during or shortly after birth. 1 in 200 sets of parents are heartbroken.  This figure is surprisingly high, but we, the bereaved parents are the minority. We are the 1 among 199.

Life can be lonely as a minority parent. There is something uniquely challenging about losing a child at the same time our peers are celebrating theirs. The majority parents are celebrating pregnancies, new babies, first milestones, first days in school, communions, exam results, etc. This leaves minority parents thinking “this should have been my son/daughter”.

I have experienced a different kind of loneliness as a minority parent. My previous experience of loneliness found me looking for company on a quiet day. This new type of loneliness finds me avoiding or carefully chosing company. I don’t feel so alone when I’m at home on my own or with Conor’s Daddy. I might reach out to other bereaved parents because there’s nothing like hearing the words “me too” to ease the loneliness. However sometimes, when I am surrounded by majority parents, I can feel like the loneliest person on earth.

I am now able to recognise other women living a different life to the majority. Like me they may have had a child die. They may be struggling with infertility or waiting to meet life partners. These woman are in your staff room and within your extended family. They may go silent because there are times when there is no more lonely a situation than one where you are surrounded by the excitement that comes with majority parents talking about babies or children. Be mindful of the silent women in your groups. Never assume that having no living children or a single child is a life choice. Reach out to these women with sensitivity. You might just help them feel a little bit less alone.

*Top tips…

Here’s the recipe. Be sure to have enough blueberries!



5 thoughts on “The Loneliness of the Bereaved Parent

  1. Spot on… ever. The least lonely place is at home either on my own or with my husband. Hugs to you both Imogen x


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