I’m Jo and I'm a mum to Jasmine. I’m based in Wigan and I have my own business as a utilities advisor and mentor. I attended a counselling retreat and this is how it helped me.
Right from the start, driving down the drive to the retreat venue, I began to feel relaxed. It was so calm, quiet and welcoming. After I saw my room (which was a cosy single with a washbasin) I was shown where the kitchen was and invited to help myself to coffee, tea and biscuits. There's next to no mobile coverage there, which is great actually to stop and relax. I had already made the decision the weekend was mine and I owed it to myself to think of me and my well-being for this time.
They know where the grief, loss and sometimes physical pain is and how to draw it out in a safe way.
Grief and pain that’s pushed down, undealt with or hidden will manifest itself in other guises. I had never been able to discuss my grief before. I was scared of either upsetting other people, or too frightened that I would go to such a dark place that I wouldn't find my way back.
Grief, loss, emotional trauma – they are all catastrophic. If you associate those feelings with the loss of your baby; the loss of your future with that baby; the dreams that won’t ever come true, the result is debilitating.
But society encourages us to move on so the pain gets squashed down - 'dealt with '. Of course it’s not dealt with at all.
At the retreat, I felt totally safe, emotionally, to grieve for my babies and to deal with that emotional trauma, while I was supported by specialists.
There were so many great bits to the retreat too that made it special.
Every minute of the weekend was carefully thought about so that it was centered on our well-being. There was so much kindness shown. The home cooked food was delicious. The Irish nuns were so friendly. But most of all, I was shown how to grieve for my babies in a totally safe place and with people who had total control over the situation.
Following the retreat I immediately felt empowered! I had reconnected with my feelings. I started caring more about me, something that had stopped a while ago.
I used the goals I had set on the retreat to focus on this new chapter of my life. The support after the retreat is ongoing. The life coaching with Michala has been amazing for moving me towards those goals.
I would say to another person who has endured loss and grief of a baby, to go on the retreat - JUST GO.
To have been through such excruciating trauma and to keep it inside you is a life sentence.
Even if it's years after your loss, it's still important to have the specialist treatment that the retreat offers. You will feel like a weight has been lifted.
Two full days of carefully structured counselling with experts will make you see your life in a much clearer and brighter way.
It certainly did for me.