This is probably going to be controversial and hugely unpopular but I feel like it needs to be addressed.
Now everyone discusses the stigma attached to breastfeeding and attempts to abolish societies insane views towards doing it in public and rightly so. What nobody talks about however is the shame and stigma that is also attached to formula feeding, especially among parent/mother groups (online and in person).
I want to point out that I am in no way belittling or shaming breastfeeding Mums, I think you’re absolutely incredible but so are formula feeding Mums and they shouldn’t be made to feel subpar or inferior because they feed their babies in a different way.
Sometimes it is NOT a choice.
When Robyn was born my mental health plummeted; anxiety, PTSD and depression took over. The flashbacks were so vivid that at one stage I struggled to differentiate between reality and my head. I looked down at Robyn and saw a grey, lifeless Noah. James saw her pink happy and breathing but all I saw was death.
I had to stop, I needed to protect my already struggling mental health so our journey came to an end. It wasn’t a choice; I couldn’t ‘just push through the pain’ and I definitely wasn’t ‘just being lazy’.
I feel guilty and I grieve the breastfeeding journey I longed for twice over. This is only amplified by sly comments that aim to shame formula feeding.
For some it is a choice and that is equally just as okay. We are our babies’ mothers and we have the right to decide how they are fed.
OUR bodies, OUR babies and OUR choice.
So instead of belittling and shaming each other let’s build each other up, society already does a wonderful job at knocking us down. We are more powerful when we uplift each other.
However, you feed your baby it is valid and at the end of the day does it really matter as long they are fed and happy?
Mamas (formula and breastfeeding) you are all awesome, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Everywhere I go people insist on telling me how ‘lucky’ I am to have one girl and one boy. They say “oh it must be lovely having one of each”. Now, when it comes from strangers it doesn’t enfuriate me so much. I mean all they see is the two children in front of them, they’re not psychic so it’s not really their fault. However when it comes from those who know our story it’s heart crushing. It feels like he doesn’t exist, like he doesn’t matter and I just can’t.
Three people, who have been told our story and knew about Noah have said the “One of each” line to me. Three may not sound like a lot but considering we have been sheltered inside for the last year because of covid it’s quite a lot. I can assure you if we had more face to face encounters with people the number would be significantly higher.
The first time it happened I was at work, we had just announced to the world that we were pregnant and that baby was a girl. A colleague asked me about my new pregnancy, if I was excited and then ends the conversation with “oh it will be so lovely to have ONE of each”. I just stopped dead in my tracks, what had I just heard? They couldn’t be serious, could they? This is someone I’ve worked with for years, someone who has been on the other end of the phone receiving my sick call because life after Noah was too hard and they acted as if he didn’t exist. Why? I know it wasn’t malicious but it still hurt, ALOT.
The second time. Granted this person was a total stranger but her “One of each” came directly after discussing our story. I was at the doctors having a coil fitted (pretty intimate procedure), so my usual doctor was there and a nurse. The nurse asked me about children and if my July baby was my first, I said “no she is my third”. She then went on to ask how old my other two were and if they were boys or girls and I told her about Oliver and then I said “my second, Noah should be 2 but sadly he died the day after he was born”. It went silent for a bit, my doctor spoke about her experience with babyloss and then after the nurse turned around and said “I don’t blame you for stopping, I stopped having kids after my two, one of each as well. It’s so nice having ONE OF EACH, isn’t it?” So despite me telling her about Noah she compeltey disregarded him as soon as she found out he was dead. I was screaming inside but being led on a bed with no pants on and my doctors hand deep inside my vagina was hardly the time for a kick off, so I ignored her and stayed silent for the remainder of the appointment.
The most recent time we had been out for a walk and on our way back in we bumped into our neighbour, had some general chit chat “aww look how big the baby is now” and then gues what? “It must be so lovely having one of each, aren’t you lucky?” Aren’t I lucky? You can’t be fucking serious? You were around when our son died, you watched as I grew his bump, asked about when he was due, how long I had left and when my induction was. You even signed the fucking condolence card with the presents everyone got for us after he died and you still think I’m lucky because I have one of each? I am not lucky, couldn’t be further from it. I’d give anything to have all three children with me.
I know he died but he still counts, right? I have THREE children. One girl and TWO boys – is that what one of each looks like? I dont think so. It feels like a total disregard to his existence and makes me feel like people think he doesn’t matter. He does matter, he always will matter. So next time you see someone with what looks like “One of each” maybe just keep it to yourself, you never know the extent of the storms they have clawed through.
For those who may not understand how I still have three children. Imagine one of your parents died, heartbreaking right? You’d still consider yourself to have two parents though, wouldn’t you? Because although one may not be physically here they are still your parent and the world still considers them that way. It should be the same when your child dies, you know it’s the same but sadly the world doesn’t. Society cannot fathom dead babies, so they choose to exclude them. This has to change, we shouldn’t be made to feel awkward when including our babies, nor should we question if including them is the right thing to do. We can’t do it alone, we need everyones help to change society and the stigma attached to baby loss. We need you. Maybe then the words that come out of other people’s mouths won’t tear our hearts to shreds as much.
Now its been a little over a year since we recieved Noah’s post mortem results and up until I just haven’t had the words to write about it. So let me recap a little.
We waited 9 months. Yes 9 long and very difficult months until we discovered what was behind our sons death. In those 9 months its safe to say I went stir crazy, the questions just kept spinning out of control in my head and I had come to the conclusion that somehow his death was my fault. We called numerous amounts of times only to be told “I’m really sorry, we understand how difficult it must be but these things can’t be rushed” or “I’m sorry its just so busy we have so many people waiting on results right now” (like thats supposed to make us feel any better). Obviously I knew it wasn’t their fault it was taking so long, they had to be thorough but it didn’t end my frustration, I needed to know.
I was in work when I got the call, how I managed to continue with my shift I don’t know. Its funny now I think about it, we were both in the exact same hospital on different ends of the phone at the same time. I wanted nothing more than to head over to her there and then and have the meeting. There are rules to abide by and that wasn’t possible, obviously.
The meeting was scheduled for a few days time. We were finally going to find out what had happened. But what if I dont want to? What if it was my fault? What if he could have been saved? What if they dont find a reason? For 9 months we had begged for this day to come and now it was here I didn’t want it. Then it hit me. The results of the post mortem was the very last thing left, this was the final chapter of his story and I wasn’t prepared to hear it. What parent would be? It was too much for anyone to bare.
Friday 4th October 2019, we got up got dressed and made our way to the hospital. It wasn’t my first time back there since leaving without Noah, I work there but it was the first time I had to go to that part of the hospital. It felt surreal, like it wasn’t real. How were we about to sit down and have a conversation about how and why our child died?
“There is a reason” the consultant said as we sat down in the chair opposite her before even opening the pages. I was somewhat relieved, until we dove deeper into it. “Your son had a disease called very long chain acyl-coa dehydrogenase disease or VLCADD for short”. In short, VLCADD is a genetic metabolic disease which prevents the breakdown of long chain fats (I will go into depth one day on this and the rippling affect this has had on our family). We went through all of the gruesome and scientific bits that come with a post mortem and I couldn’t help but invisige his little body lying there cold. She made it sound as if his death was inevitable, that with this disease there was no way you could survive. Having had my thriving 6 year old recently diagnosed with this too we now know that that is absolutely not true.
“We hope it brings you comfort” they said after describing our sons failed resuscitation, death, post mortem and telling us that we have a 1 in 4 chance of passing this disease on with every pregnancy. I couldn’t help but laugh inside, I know they meant no harm but seriously how is any of that comforting? None of that brings him back, nor does it make me feel any better that he died. If anything knowing we have a 1 in 4 chance had just shat all over our hopes and dreams of having another baby. What if we pass it on again? What if we already passed it Oliver? Adding those questions to my mind had not been comforting. And to be honest what ever the reason for his death would never have been good enough.
The days after the meeting are a bit of blur. I took some time off work and tried to “process” but I honestly didn’t really have a clue what I was actually processing. “We’ll know more when we meet the genetics team” I just kept telling myself. I googled everything but since its extremely rare there wasn’t an awful lot I could find and the only bits of reading that I could were absolutely devastating. I even tried to find a community but the only page I stumbled across stated “NO NEGATIVE OUTCOMES” in the description so I gave up and decided to deal with it alone.
I then had to find a way to tell my pregnant sister that Noah’s death was genetic and she too could be a carrier and, yes although her husband would have to be a carrier too which is rare it’s something she too could pass on. I didn’t know how, I didn’t want to scare her but I had to. She needed to know. I hated pregnant people at this point but I didn’t even think about how I was feeling I just felt empathy towards how this news would affect my heavily pregnant sister. She was okay, anxious obviously but we were told it was so rare that it would hugely unlikely for her baby to be unaffected and they were right my nephew is now a year old and absolutely fine!
I still don’t think I’ve fully come to terms with it, even now. Yes I’ve accepted that he had died but the what ifs thud around my head on a daily basis. What if we had known? What if he had no infection markers on his lungs? What if I hadn’t tried to breastfeed? What if he wasn’t 15 days late? Honestly, I could go on forever. I try not to delve into them a too often or I don’t think I will come back from it but I know they’ll never leave me and neither will my Noah. Maybe I will never fully process or come to terms with his death and maybe that is okay. If I do I’ll be sure to let you know the secret.
We never got to say goodbye; Not a text, a letter, a conversation or even a funeral. You were here one day, then the next day you were just gone.
It was hard to really grasp the concept that you were no longer here since covid withheld us from the traditional grief rituals, it didn’t feel real. It still doesn’t really. I half expect to see a random photo of your cat or garden on Facebook or see your name appear on my phone but you never will.
I’ll miss all of your strange and wonderful little quirks; the little Christmas cards you’d send, the random little messages about your ghosts, the way you never liked confrontation, your strange witchy intuition and even your extremely creepy portrait of Freddy Mercury. Most of all I’ll just miss you and your crazy but wonderfully bonkers self.
I’ll hold on to all of the memories always and forever. My fondest memory is of the day before you left for Denmark, we were at the Christmas Carol concert in the park. We stood there singing the Christmas carols with the neighbourhood and as it was coming to an end you reached for my hand and squeezed it really tight, we never said a word but I knew that was your way of saying goodbye.
I wish I could have held your hand like that one last time, at the time you needed it the most. I wish I knew our last conversation would have been our last, I’d have told you about how the times we’d sit there just watching TV were some of my favourite moments or how much I love the way you would break into song. That I love you. I just hope that you knew.
You were my ‘Granny Granger’, my friend and my safe haven and I love you.
There isn’t a word that accurately describes how much you and all off your support means to me.
You were there through the darkness and never once told me it would be okay, because you knew it just wouldn’t. You stayed even after others ran.
You sat with me in my pit and waited for the light to slowly creep in and then when I was ready you took my hand and helped me crawl to the surface. I know that you would do it again.
I’m sorry. I know I’m not the same friend or even person I was 10 years ago, my grief has stolen some of the best parts of me but you never hold it against me nor do you complain when sometimes I just can’t do the things we used to. I’m sorry that I couldn’t get the words out in a phone call. I’m sorry that not wanting anyone around included you. I’m sorry that a whole year of our friendship was spent focusing on my healing. Just know that I would do the same for you if you ever needed me to.
You always acknowledge him. It may be in little ways like saying “the boys” instead of just Oliver, or simply just saying his name out loud. It’s not forced or asked of you; you just do it without thinking. Partly because you know what it means to me but mostly because of what he means to you. He wasn’t just a part of my life he was a part of yours, someone you waited and wished for too and I know that you love him just as much as my other children.
Lastly, thank you. Because I don’t say it often enough, I know you never want it and isn’t a requirement of our friendship but I mean it.
A couple of weeks ago someone reached out to me and asked for some tips on surviving pregnancy after loss and I honestly had no idea what to say. I had obviously survived pregnancy after loss my 6 month old was proof of that, but how? I do not know, honestly I don’t. It was terrifying, emotional and downright exhausting and I am absolutely astounded that I made it to the other side.
In the early days I spent my time sitting still, laying down and literally doing all I could not to move. I was so fearful that any wrong gesture or twist, I would miscarry and then the bleeding happened. “Threatened miscarriage” or “bleeding of unknown cause” they called it, come back in a week to see if the pregnancy was viable. I was so used to only hearing bad news by this point so I pretty much called it a day there and then and came to terms with yet another loss. A week later and after more bleeding, I was so sure I would be leaving the scanning room with the words “no baby” still echoing through my heart. It was a miracle when she turned the screen round and said “there’s your baby’s STRONG heartbeat“. How? Do you know what I didn’t even care how, I was still pregnant and was determined to do all I could to stay that way.
Then came the car crash.
I was 10 weeks pregnant when we were hit by an idiot driver doing 70mph in a 20mph zone. Completely totalled our car and almost us in the process, thank god the Swedes invented Volvo’s. My first thought after breaking out of our jammed shut car and discovering the driver had ditched his car and ran off was I need to check if I’m bleeding. I had sharp stomach pains for about 2 weeks, I was scanned and baby was doing perfectly and turns out it was just bruising from my seat belt but it was terrifying none the less. I honestly don’t know how I’d have coped if we lost our baby because of wreckless asshole’s bad decisions.
Of course from the minute we found out we were pregnant the 1/4 chance of the baby having VLCAD was on our minds every second of the day. Then just after the crash it was confirmed that both James and I were carriers and we had to decide if we wanted to have this baby genetically tested. It took us a while, I mean our options were; have bloods that could take up to 12 weeks (I was already 11 weeks), have a CVS/Amnio or wait until after baby is born and just test them then. We deliberated it for as long as we could and finally agreed to go ahead with the CVS. We just had to know what we were up against this time, however a CVS come with its own risks (1/100 chance of miscarriage). I worried about the procedure for 2 weeks before the day came, I went into the fetal medicine room terrified I would leave with another dead baby. The procedure itself was nowhere near as bad as my head had made it out to be and all in all it lasted 6 minutes.
I rested for 20 minutes and we went home where I was on strict bed rest for 24 hours. 48 hours they say is how long after the CVS, if something is going to happen it will however it could be up 2 weeks later. Those two weeks were a long wait but nowhere near as long as the wait for the results, even if they did only take 1. “Your baby girl is neither a carrier nor has the disease“. Finally something was going right and for a while it felt like a weight had been lifted. But it was only temporary, anxiety and fear would creep out again. It always did.
Around 18 weeks I started to feel a heavy feeling in my vagina and completely convinced myself I had an incompetent cervix and the baby was going to arrive any minute. I went to the doctor, midwife and anyone who would listen. No incompetent cervix concerns by either professional, just my ‘third’ pregnancy taking a toll on my already stretched and been through a lot body. It didn’t stop me worrying about it though, right up until I hit the third trimester I was so convinced this was this case.
Let’s talk about movements. Once Robyn had a pattern in her movements I allowed the anxiety and depression to take over. I became consumed by trying to feel her move and by consumed I mean I would lie in bed all day just waiting for her to kick or nudge me. If she didn’t move when I thought she should have I would spiral, convinced I would be planning another child’s funeral and waiting to hear the words “I’m so sorry” all over again. I would wake up every day thinking today is going to be our last day and go to bed every night thinking when I wake in the morning she will be dead. So I didn’t sleep. I laid awake most nights til 5am just for the reassurance that our journey wasn’t over. It was hard, no more than hard, it was debilitating. I went in for reduced movements 6 times, 3 of which resulted in overnight stays because Robyn’s heart rate would drop. This only fuelled my anxiety to the point of no return. The final time I went in they decided to induce me, her heart rate dropped too many times for their liking and I sat there thinking we are never going to get to take her home. All of this had to do ALONE thanks to Covid.
That brings me to the pandemic. If pregnancy after loss wasn’t already hard enough lets throw a worldwide pandemic into the mix. Being heavily pregnant during the first wave of the pandemic was something I never want to experience again. There were so many unanswered questions; What would happen to us? How were pregnant women and babies being affected? How am I going to continue to work on the frontline? Was I going to have to birth alone? Partners weren’t allowed to visit postnatally. OH SHIT you mean I have to spend time with my baby alone? What if she dies and I’m alone? I honestly felt like I couldn’t do it and at some points during this time wanted to give up but I picked myself up and dusted myself off best I could because I wasn’t doing this for me. It wasn’t about how difficult it was for me that didn’t matter. What mattered was that I did all I could to bring our girl safely into this crazy and chaotic world.
The emotions and anxiety were so overwhelming that my midwife referred me to a perinatal psychologist. She helped me work through a few things by trying to highlight differences between Robyn’s pregnancy and Noah’s. But honestly by this point the only thing that was going to help me was to get to the end of this pregnancy and bringing her home. So I wished my pregnancy away and I hated every single day of it which in retrospect makes me feel extremely sad. Though you would have never had known all of this by looking at what I had posted of my pregnancy. To the instagram world I made it seem like a true daydream and often the days I was struggling the most were the days I would post how “happy and blessed” we were.
Don’t get me wrong I know we are so very blessed but I was far from happy. I hid just how bad my mental health had gotten from pretty much everyone, I mean lockdown made it extremely easy for me to do so, since I had nobody to hide it from.
I think the biggest thing that helped me settle my anxiety enough to get through was blocking out baby loss. I know it probably sounds shady coming from a fellow loss Mum but for my mental health I had to do what I had to do. I mean I couldn’t completely eradicate it, my son died and that was something that was constantly on my mind but I had to take control of the things I was able to. So I muted the accounts and groups that I needed to in order to keep my anxiety in check and stop me from falling down a constant rabbit hole. I took a huge step back and stopped posting about baby loss and honestly it made me feel like a shitty Mum, I’ve never felt guilt like it but I had to. I’ve recently learned to forgive myself for it and I just hope that Noah would too.
As I lay here staring at my beautiful, miracle baby girl, reading back through all of the waffle I have just written I still have absolutely no idea how I made it. I just did. I had to, just like I had to keep going after Noah died. It’s like one day auto pilot just takes over and then just like that it switches off again, then you look back and think wow, I actually did it. I’m proud of myself and how far I have come but it wasn’t easy and truthfully it still isn’t. The anxiety and fear doesn’t leave straight away, I still spend many nights awake checking she is alive. It has gotten a little easier, I think the first 3 months after birth were the hardest and we are not there yet but we are getting there. I’ll never be able to not worry, what mother can?
Preparing for a new baby is stressful at the best of times but when you have previously prepared for a baby that you didn’t get to bring home it is all that much harder. We started some preparations for Noah and Oliver’s little sister, albeit much earlier than I had wanted but with the current Covid climate we didn’t have much of a choice. Gifted clothes needed washing and Noah’s things we decided to use needed collecting just incase.
Initially stress took over and I knew these things needed to be done so I never really anticipated the depth of emotion I would feel once I saw it all again. I didn’t allow myself the time or space to even consider it. But as I stood there hanging out the tiny little baby clothes, it hit me that less than two years prior I had done this for Noah and yet he never got to wear his clothes. I stopped for a moment and wondered if I was doing this for another baby that these clothes would never touch. You see loss taints things, this should have been an exciting moment for me but instead I was left feeling sorrow and filled with immense anxiety that none of this would be worth it. Don’t get me wrong excitement stands alongside the sorrow and anxiety, most days but there are days where it is completely overshadowed by the grief.
The true blindsided moment came the second James brought the pram we had brought for Noah up the stairs. Seeing it there in my bedroom where it had lay less than 2 years earlier was more than tough. Now practically it made sense to reuse the pram, it cost a fortune and I couldn’t bare the idea of traipsing the shops for a new one, but I’m not sure if it was the right decision for my heart. I look at it and its drags me straight back to the day we left the hospital, carseat in hand but ours wasn’t weighed down by the extra weight of our newborn baby. It was empty, we were leaving without him and it was honestly the most excruciating day of my life. Maybe these things wouldn’t have triggered me so badly if I took the time to consider their impact, or maybe they would? That’s the thing about triggers you never know when they’re going to affect you and you can be blindsided within seconds.
I’m trying to be gentle with myself and I’ve tucked everything away and out of sight until the time comes. I’m accepting that some days are just too difficult to bare and thats okay. However, it saddens me that preparing for our little miracle can cause so much sorrow and pain, that I’ll never feel the excitement I felt with her brothers during her pregnancy. I feel guilty that her greatness can sometimes be dominated by the grief of her brother. Now it doesn’t mean I love her any less, I love her in all the ways I love them and I honestly cannot wait to meet her. It just means that my heart has been too broken to allow hope in completely, so for now I will embrace the excitement when it comes and try to hold onto even just the tiniest amount when the darkness is overbearing. I will celebrate her on the days I feel able, she deserves at least that.
You have only been in my life for a short while but if I’m honest I can’t remember what life was like without you. We have become intertwined, I feel you everywhere. Our relationship is complicated to say the least, sometimes I despise you and other times I’m grateful for what you have shown me.
You have been there through everything; the sadness, the heartbreak but also the joy. You hover in the corner like a darkness and I used to think of you only as a burden. But truth be told you are not just a reminder of the pain of all that I have lost, you are also a reminder of the wonderful things in my life that remain. You came so suddenly and forced me to open my eyes and see what I couldn’t before, I was taking life and all it’s little yet glorious things for granted. Since you have been here things have changed, I now know how truly fragile life is and that nothing is ever promised. Because of this I decided to dive in deep and grab life with both hands, I allowed myself to submerge into everything life has to offer and honestly it has been amazing. It feels almost like an awakening, as if I was reborn the day you came and if you think really think about it I was. The day you came the person I was shattered into a million pieces and I had to decide what pieces to pick up, which ones I didn’t want and which ones were too impossible to fix. So thank you for forcing to me grow into the person I’ve become.
But like I said our relationship is complicated, it hasn’t been easy getting to a point where I can be more accepting of you in my life. You tore my world apart and I hate you. No matter how much I accept you being here that will never change. Although yes, you have shown me wonderful things and in some ways made me a better person you have also taken so many things away from me. Because of you I have anxiety and depression which at times have been debilitating and prevented me from doing things that I love with the people that mean the most to me. I have lost my innocence and naivety, some may see that as a good thing but for me it consists of always struggling to see a positive outcome. My mind instantly heads for the worst and once it’s there it’s nearly impossible to bring it back. So yes, I still hate you.
I think what is most confusing for me about our relationship is that the thing I hate most about you is also the thing I love the most about you. You will always be here. Forever lurking in the shadows and hovering over everything that we do. But you are a symbol of love, for as long as you are in my life the love for my child remains and I will never stop loving him. So as I much as I wish you would disappear, I hope that you never do.
Wrong. Being pregnant again doesn’t take away the pain of Noah’s death and it definitely doesn’t make my grief any easier to live with. A ‘rainbow’ baby doesn’t replace the child that died, there is still and always will be that gaping hole in your heart that longs for your baby in heaven. Pregnancy after loss brings with it a flurry of emotions (good and bad), they are extremely difficult to navigate.
I guess it’s easy for people to assume that because we are growing a new life the pain, sadness and longing are behind us. I mean in a society obsessed with only the positives how could you not? But this to me is offensive. It’s kind of like saying my baby can be replaced by another, which is incredibly not true. I mean would you tell someone to have a new baby after their 5 year old dies? Or to go find a new Mum when theirs in no longer living? No. The same applies here. Yes I am growing Noah and Oliver’s little sister and I am so grateful, but I’ll never for one second stop thinking or loving Noah, the pain will always be there. I will always miss him.
Triggers don’t stop because I’m pregnant again. Pregnancy and birth announcements still cut like a knife, seeing ‘my pram’ in the shop still stops me in my tracks and a newborn’s cry still very much breaks my heart. There isn’t an off switch for this and a new pregnancy doesn’t create one either. Once you have lost a baby the world is different, you don’t look at anything the same and unfortunately it can’t be fixed not even by a new baby. Maybe as my pregnancy progresses it might get slightly easier, but I still wake up every day thinking this could be the day that it’s all over so maybe it wont. Once baby loss has hit it’s almost impossible to envision a positive outcome.
Pregnancy after loss creates an excruciating amount of anxiety. It’s constantly second guessing any pain, niggle or symptom. Always assuming the worst, you tell yourself “different pregnancy, different outcome” but there are different negative outcomes as well. Even now at almost 18 weeks pregnant I go to the toilet and expect to see blood, I wipe multiple times just incase I missed it with the first wipe. In the last week I started feeling movements and I have already become obssessed despite the fact they tell you not to worry about them until 24 weeks. I constantly wonder which flutter will be the last and if I haven’t felt one for a while immediately think my baby has died. This will never get easier, I know that. The anxiety will follow me with throughout this entire pregnancy and will still be there when baby is. If anything I think it will get worse, during Noah’s pregnancy I thought my ‘safe zone’ was when he was here but that was when the worst happened so I know that’s not always the case.
Theres a limbo with being pregnant again, you’re inbetween grief and being triggered by everything baby and trying to be excited for your new arrival. I haven’t started shopping yet and if I’m honest I’m dreading it. I know it will be triggering but I also know it’s something I need to do for this baby. The last time I shopped for a baby I never got a chance to use it, so its difficult to see a future where I will. I think I’ll be leaving it to last minute and go when I can’t hold it out anymore but we will see. If I had it my way I’d buy nothing until she’s here but that’s not the best idea.
Pregnancy after loss is a wonderful and exciting thing but it’s not all good, your previous loss taints everything, it always will. So no, I’m not ‘healed’, I don’t think I will ever be, I will always grieve for my son. Please don’t forget this when asking me about my new pregnancy, it makes it extremely difficult to talk about and enjoy. It’s a sensitive and difficult journey so be gentle with yourself and take whatever time you need.
Birth announcements are tough for bereaved parents, period. Since Noah died I have seen so many of these from people around me, family, friends, colleagues and even now one year later, pregnant with his baby sister, I find myself feeling just as crappy as I did when I saw my first one. So I wonder ‘does it ever get easier?’ Will there ever be a birth announcement that does whip the ground from under my feet and completely stop me in my tracks? Truth is I don’t know the answer to this, I’m not sure anyone really does. Grief is different for everyone but the one constant among the bereft is that it comes in waves, so there will be days when you feel amazing and those where you are just taken straight back to the day your life came crashing down. It sucks but it just something we have to learn to live with.
Even though birth announcements are tough and they may never get easier I think its important to remember that every baby is special and they all deserve to be celebrated. Now that doesn’t mean you have to put your feelings on the back burner, pretend you are happy and celebrate that baby. No, I would never expect nor tell someone to do that, we all have to go at our own pace, it is important to acknowledge your feelings and protect your heart as much as you can. It doesn’t matter if it takes you weeks, months or even years, it is something that is extremely important for our health, jumping in too early can be detrimental to our healing process. So please go at a pace that feels comfortable and remember that it is completely okay to regress and feel like you can’t do today what you could do yesterday. What I do mean is that whilst we take all of this into consideration we need to remind ourselves of how special the gift of life is and just because our babies have died that doesn’t change. Life is always an incredible thing to be cherished and celebrated and I’ve found that remembering this has helped me to hold such a positive outlook even in the most tragic of times.
It’s important to remember that the baby being announced takes absolutely nothing away from your baby, your baby is equally as special and deserves to be celebrated too. A new baby doesn’t lessen the love you have for your child, nor does it lessen their importance in the world, our babies have an impact on everything and that will never change. It can be difficult to feel as important as a mother when your child isn’t around but you must never forget that you are and so is your baby.
So maybe it doesn’t get easier, maybe we just get used to dealing with it and that is something I am learning to accept.