A couple of days ago I met an old friend (not in years) for lunch and shopping. It was a great day of bargains, kids running riot in department stores, rubbish food and well overdue chats. When I met up with her I asked her “whose baby is that?” to my horror it was of course hers – I’d forgotten that 10 months ago id visited her with a gift to meet the new addition, that we had been to her blessing and that we had hung out since. To be my friend anyway it comes with the occasional blonde moment or spacing out mid convo but this was none of them, it appeared to me that my grief had made me forget an important part of an important friends life because it was baby related – thankfully we laughed it off and my absent mindedness was excused! I fed her over lunch (the baby) and grinned and chatted at her, all whilst we talked about Poppy, yet it didn’t hurt and it wasn’t uncomfortable because this baby, like a few others in my life, I already knew (though i’d forgotten) and had a little bond with. I share it because I want you to know that even though I’ve lost my baby I still find joy in SOME babies and I also have friends that are comfortable to talk about my loss in a very natural way.
Loosing a baby is something that you can’t understand unless you have experienced it. I’ve never expected anyone to understand it or even know the right thing to say to us. If you are a parent then you can probably imagine how it might be, how you might respond if heaven forbid you were unfortunate enough to have to bury one of your children, but having received a “not compatible with life diagnosis” at 30 weeks pregnant, I can tell you I DID imagine it all and nothing prepared me for the reality of loosing my baby, for this reason I know if it the roles were reversed I too would be stuck for words or what to do.
It is why when I meet other mothers that have lost children we have an instant bond, our hearts speak the same language, our minds have asked the same questions, our bodies felt emotions that you would think would kill you they hurt so much. We have all found ourselves apologising to others for our grief, comforting others because of our loss and we all try to act normal but feel far from it. A lot of these parents and mothers sit with me each month at our SANDS meetings but occasionally I will find one at a play and stay or social event and as sad as it is that we share in this loss it lifts your heart to know someone else gets it, and for an hour or 2 I can relax, drop my barrier, stop pretending and talk bluntly and openly at how rubbish life is sometimes, how hard this path is, how different you feel from who you were.
Once a month at a support group, or the occasional run in with someone isn’t frequent enough to not feel lonely or abnormal, 2 or 3 days out of 30 in a month I get to be understood, not judged or questioned on where im at or how loosing my baby is causing me to react. I get frustrated in between that, frustrated with myself sometimes that I don’t see things how I used to, frustrated that people seem to not be bothered any more, frustrated that they just don’t get how hard it is..STILL (yes 4months on and its sill hard) and frustrated that people don’t respond how we would hope.
As I sit in these valuable 2hr a month meetings though I can finally relax, speak and be understood, be assured I’m moving forward in a healthy way yet still with a great distance to go and I can share Poppy with people that won’t cringe, judge or make me feel I need to apologise because I did. I realise most of all though that however I feel, act or respond is normal for me, because I’ve never been through this before, I don’t know day to day (sometimes hr to hr) how it will be or what effect it will have on my life in that moment, just as those that haven’t experienced it don’t know what the reality of loosing a baby is like. This is my journey, meant for me and so its okay to be frustrated, sad, heartbroken, upset, anxious, empty, angry, tired, irritated, impatient, or even happy and laughing out loud and I don’t need to apologise for it. I didn’t fail a test, I didn’t loose my favourite pair of shoes or leave my purse at the shops – I lost my baby, I gave birth to perfect little girl on my due date that didn’t move, cry or open her eyes and I can’t just get on with my life as if that didn’t happen, I can’t pretend I didn’t see my husband lower a tiny casket into the ground and I can’t pretend it doesn’t hurt like crazy.
I dance with my kids in our onesies, laugh out loud with my friends, joke with my family and husband and enjoy my life in whatever ways I can, but the barrier of loss is always present in my life. Because I have a few days of fun and laughs doesn’t mean I have moved on from this nor does it always mean i’m doing okay. The pain of loss that you will never know is under the surface and anything can grate at it and cause it to appear. I want to feel normal, I want to figure our what life means to me now and the role I play and so yes I will plan social activities only to find it too much, I go places as a mummy and feel at a loose end, some days I smile but really all I want to do is cry…I’m not an angry, jealous or negative person, I don’t hate people because they have their living babies, I feel joy (mostly) with my 2 kids that ARE here but they don’t replace what I have lost. I don’t hate my life nor anyone in it, rather I am a grieving mother that is reminded of her loss and the pain of it when I see these things. I have emotions iv’e never felt that I can’t control but that I just have to ride out, I’m not suffering with an illness or disease; I loved a little girl, I loved the idea of a new baby and whilst I believe I will heal from this in the future and have the hope I WILL be with her again one day, this separation brings the most rubbish of days that not many in life will ever know.
Image courtesy of Pinterest