On 6th June, 7 years ago, during a routine midwife appointment, I passed comment to our (amazing) midwife that I hadn't felt the baby move as much recently. Looking back now, I know that I hadn't felt the baby move at all for a good few days by this point but I hadn't mentioned it to anyone. Why? I have no idea. I just presumed that everything just ticked along fine from 12 weeks onwards.

Within half an hour of mentioning the lack of movement, Robert and I were told that our baby had died. I can't even put in to words the enormity of that sentence.

The sonographer left the room and all I remember is crying and holding Robert in some kind of hope that he would be able to make it all better.

Naively, I didn't have a clue about the next steps and at no point during the next hour drive to Dumfries did I even think that I would need to give birth to the baby. It seems silly now to think that the thought hadn't crossed my mind because of course baby had to come out somehow.

On arriving at DGRI we had to sit in the waiting room along with the other expectant Mums. Some were proudly cradling their big bumps and others were nervously waiting on scans. It was the most surreal experience of my life because just a few weeks earlier, I had been one of those happy faces.
What followed next is a blur. But obviously someone told me that I would need to give birth to our baby and explained how this would happen. I had to take a tablet to start the labour and they asked that I stay in the hospital until the morning when they would put me on a drip to induce labour. I refused to stay in, just wanting to go home to my own bed and be with Robert so we traveled back up the road to go home. I remember it was a beautiful sunny night and our bedroom at the time had two big bright windows and I usually never closed the curtains because I loved to wake up to the view over the farm and the sea, but that night, we both arrived home, closed the curtains on the sunshine and sobbed.

The next morning we got up and traveled back to Dumfries in order to have our baby. We arrived at 8am and I was put on the drip and by 5:27pm, baby Abby was born. All I remember from 5:27pm on 7th June onwards is the silence. No one spoke after she was born. Robert and I just cried. There was no baby cry though. There was no conversation from the midwife because what was there to be said? There was just silence.

This silence seemed to continue for a long time. Months even. I have slightly hazy memories of the weeks that followed: Robert asking the undertaker (aka the most clean and tidy man in the country) to take his shoes off because we had a new living room carpet and I'd be cross if it got dirty. A hazy memory of Abby's funeral that lasted the length of two songs and then was over. Going to a Westlife concert because my Mum had bought the tickets a year before and I didn't want her thinking I was ungrateful and then not understanding why my sister and mum broke down in tears during Queen of My Heart. Meeting my best friends baby exactly a month later and finding the whole thing more difficult than actually having Abby. The empty feeling in my arms that I couldn't explain to anyone and which just didn't seem to leave me (and didn't leave me actually until Molly was born). But somehow, somewhere, the silence lifted. I don't know when and I don't know how it happened. But it did.

For me, I'm writing this because the stigma around talking about stillbirth needs to go. I lost some close friends after having Abby because they ignored me, unsure what to say or how to act. Every day chit chat got awkward for a while until word of our news got out. Even now, when someone asks me how many kids I have, I have a wee argument with myself inside my head...do I say 3 and then when they ask how old they are have to explain that one died? Or do I say 2 and then beat myself up about it for the next week because I'm clearly an awful human being for pretending Abby doesn't exist?
So really my advice to any friends or family of someone who has experienced a stillbirth is to talk about their baby. Even years down the line. Say their name. It won't upset them because they are already thinking about them, it's just a reminder that you are too.

So really my advice to any friends or family of someone who has experienced a stillbirth is to talk about their baby. Even years down the line. Say their name. It won't upset them because they are already thinking about them, it's just a reminder that you are too.