Life After Death: A Single Bereaved Parent's Perspective
by Katie D. Smith, Co-Editor

Losing a child of any age is the most devastating of losses anyone can endure.  When a parent, such as myself, is unmarried and loses her baby that loss is compounded with loneliness.  My ex-boyfriend and I had broken up several months before the arrival and stillbirth of our Son, Charles.  The relationship ended on bad terms, and there was no way that we could communicate or share in the loss of Charles together.  I had made the decision not to reach out to my ex boyfriend after the death of my Son.  To this day, I still feel this was the right decision. Sometimes, one has no choice but to cut all ties when a relationship such as ours deteriorated beyond repair. 

Being single and not having my other half to lean on for support and care during the difficult times through my grief was not easy.  I felt very lonely in my grief, because I did not have someone by my side directly connected to Charles.  Sure, I was talking with other bereaved parents for support.  However, it was not the same for me.  They did not know my loss the way I knew it first hand.  I was envious of the strong bonds other bereaved parents had with their other halves.  I was not looking for a crutch.  I just wanted that same bond, that these families had together with their spouses or lovers. I eventually accepted that was never going to happen and embraced the opportunity to understand what other couples go through together when they experience the loss of their baby.

That understanding actually helped prepare me for the next stage of my bereavement: reentering the dating and relationship world.  It took me nearly two years after my loss, before I started dating again.  To say the least, dating was not easy and holding a relationship proved even more difficult.  I had a lot of first dates only.  I would go on a date with a man, we would chat, share about ourselves and our lives during drinks or dinner.  He would ask me if I had children, and I would tell him about Charles.  Then, the date would quickly end after that discussion.  I would never hear from him again.  Many of my dates were like this. 

I was so fed up with men at one point, that I decided to stop dating.  When I would go out with my friends, men would hit on me and flirt with me, but I never gave them the time.  A whole year went by before I agreed to go on another date again.  I had been let down so many times.  I was so tired of hurting and searching for someone, that would not run when he would learn about my loss. 

For a while, I casually dated without getting serious with anyone and did not share a lot about myself including my Son.  I did not want that same let down, that I had been getting from most men over the past few years.  I eventually learned to crawl out of my shell and open my heart more, when I felt that a relationship was going well with a man.   After all, openness, honesty and communication is the best policy when it comes to any relationship.

If you are a single bereaved parent, be patient with yourself.  Allow yourself time to grieve, before you decide to start dating again.  Keep faith and hope that when the time is right, the right person will come into your life.  Fate will touch your heart when you least expect it.  And if the timing is not right, it is okay to take a break from dating.  There are far worse things than being single! 

Please remember that if your date runs the other way, when you tell him or her about your baby, know that you are not the one with the problem.  Your date obviously is not mature enough to handle real life situations such as bereavement.

KotaPress would like to do follow-up stories on single bereaved parents.  If you would like to share your personal story of reentering the dating/relationship world, please submit your article to:

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