What do you call yourself when you have suffered pregnancy loss, baby loss or loss of a child? For a child who loses a parent there is the word orphan, when you lose a spouse you are known as a widow or widower, but for a parent who loses a child there is no commonly known word.
It can be so incredibly difficult to refer to yourself as a bereaved parent. I (Jen) do not really like calling myself a bereaved mother. I think it gives off an image of constant sadness and gloom. While yes I am a bereaved mother I am still so much more. My experience of losing a baby during pregnancy has shaped the way I look at the world and live my life and I am still a mother, I thankfully have living children and apart from being a mother, I am a women, daughter, friend, sister, wife – the list is endless!!
But I always wished for a word that didn’t give the image of constant sadness, one that would describe me being a bereaved mother without using that term. I was very happy when I came across the term Vilomah. I think the word Vilomah is beautiful. It isn’t crude, or express sadness, it feels safe.
Vilomah is a Sanskrit word which on translation means “in reverse” “against a natural order”. Our Vilomah collection of prints gives parents the language to describe themselves and make the conversation about child loss a little easier.
This is the closest word found that can describe a bereaved parent. This is not a widely known word, but in the bereavement and baby loss communities the word Vilomah is being used more and more to describe a bereaved parent.
The loss of a baby or child is against the natural order, no parent expects to bury their baby or child and when it happens your world falls apart. Rebuilding this life, walking a new path, learning to live with loss, learning to live as a bereaved parent is incredibly difficult – you are now a Vilomah.
While some people will not like this word, others might like to have a word to use to describe being a bereaved parent. I particularly like that it comes from Sanskrit, which is one of the oldest languages in the world, it makes it feel that throughout time, no word, phase or feeling has come close to explaining what a bereaved parent is.
I am a Vilomah.