Hannah Grace Day.

There are moments which mark your life,
Moments when you realise you will never be the same and time is divided into two parts,
Before this ….
and after this.

As you stand in that place with new eyes,
You see things more simply,
You discern honesty more quickly,
Get hurt more easily yet,
experience love more sincerely.
You let go of the unnecessary more readily
And cling to gold more intensely.

Everything might be different but these moments brought perspective and you cherish those that walked this path with you.

Poem written by Cecilia Lubbock

Hi I’m Cecilia, the mother of 3 children, the eldest of whom was still born on 3rd September 2015. We named her Hannah-Grace, a name inspired by a woman who petitioned for her child in the same way we petitioned through prayer for our unborn child.

Losing a child, particularly through stillbirth isn’t something that is well documented or widely spoken about and so I found myself on an unfamiliar and unfathomable road. For the past 6 years, I’ve juggled the many emotions surrounding losing a child whilst also rediscovering who I was as my priorities and outlook on life had changed.

This story started following the joyous 12 week scan when the doctors detected that our unborn child was likely incompatible with life outside of the womb. There were so many ways we could have handled that moment but amidst the despair and heart ache, we needed strength for the coming journey and chose to hope.

The journey had its ups and downs including moments of denial however around week 25, we decided to face this situation head on. Allowing ourselves to tune in, the quiet moments brought perspective as we realised we were already a family and that our time together was NOW. We had no guarantees for the future and so made the most of the here and now.

In the coming weeks, we talked to baby, bought her first outfit and had ‘family days’ together. She was our child and deserved happy memories to be associated with her name.

So much sooner than expected a decision had been made when at 30 weeks, a lack of heartbeat confirmed her passing. The unknown had been answered.

The time in the hospital was raw as we grappled with the reality of the situation.  We had become parents but had no child.

Feeling a mix of everything and nothing at the same time, We summoned all our strength to make the most of our remaining time in the hospital. We realised we loved her even though she didn’t live (outside of the womb), we loved her regardless of her imperfections. We had discovered a new and deeper love that didn’t depend on performance but a love without bounds. We didn’t love her because of something she did, we simply loved her because she was ours!

15 Firstborn stillborn Still born 1 | Spaces International

In the time that followed leading up to Hannah-Graces’ funeral and beyond, we were blessed to be surrounded by a group of individuals whose ability to ‘be’ and to listen was like a lifeline to our recovery. They demanded nothing, expected nothing and didn’t try to fix us, they just had this incredible ability to ‘be present’, and tune in. We were without words and our home became silent. Like chords without a melody, we couldn’t articulate and lived with the feeling that we would never be ok.

6 years have passed and we have learned to live again, to adapt and find our new ‘ok’. Hannah-Grace’s story has been a huge pivotal point in our lives leaving us forever changed by what we had experienced.

Upon reflection, I recall two key points which have stayed with me.

  • We will never forget or stop appreciating the bravery of those people who dared ‘to be’ with us in that time and who faced the unknowns and entered our home without knowing what to expect. For it is people like that who enabled our hearts to be healed, like a life raft in the storm.
  • We experienced a new way to love which didn’t depend on performance or how someone treated us. Hannah-Grace didn’t live this life with us outside of the womb but she still qualified to be called ours. We loved her endlessly irrespective of the situation.

And so, in memory of her 6th Birthday, I invite you to join with me as I act from some of this learning.

15 Firstborn stillborn Still born 2 | Spaces International

I invite you to engage with one of the following:

  • Love in a non-performance way. Is there someone you can share your love with just because?
  • Is there someone you can show appreciation towards who helped you through a challenging time in the past?
  • Is there a way you can make the most of the NOW where a future outcome in unknown?
  • To help someone in need by assisting them with something necessary and perhaps mundane

I will certainly be joining in on the above and as a starting point, will be sending appreciation notes to those who steered us back onto a path of hope.

All my love from Cecilia and in memory of my baby girl Hannah-Grace!

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