This is not one of our usual posts and it is a sad one. If you aren’t up to it then move along, our regular blogging will resume. But over here we do blog about our “life and times” and sometimes life is sad. I really needed to write about this before time passes and I lose momentum… I wrote this post for two kinds of readers – those who have friends that lose a baby during pregnancy and you would like to support them, and especially those who have lost a baby and are looking for folk who have been through the same.
It has been a year, a whole year, since we lost our babe way too soon. I thought I would blog about it, not to harbour on and on about it, but so that women who go through this experience will realise that there are all sorts of normal and all sorts of ways that folk feel this kind of loss. I have to say that my life has changed. Others not so much – and that is to be expected. My days look just the same… heaps of laundry and dozens of dishes. But my heart, has been re-arranged forever.
For the longest time I thought I would never breathe again… but here I am breathing. It took me a fair while to appreciate the short time we had with that little babe, rather than just being devastated at the loss of all that might have been. The longest time. It was only around the time that our little one would have been born when we had a family celebration of sorts, for the little sibling, that our older children had never met, that I started to feel that I would be okay again, eventually.
I have spoken to so many women this past year who have been through similar experiences, who have quietly and gently told me that they have had the same experience, that I realised just how normal this totally not-normal experience is. Women that lost babies years and years ago have tears streaming down their cheeks as they share with me. Oh the pain that folk are walking around with. I am blessed by a community of loving supporters and yet I have never felt quite so alone. In my head I can understand that this is a common enough pain and lets face it there are folk around me who have suffered so much more than I have.
I don’t really know what I was expecting on the anniversary. I certainly wasn’t expecting anyone else to be aware of it, and I thought it would be a day where we would just have our regular day and that perhaps I would feel a little downhearted. Really, I thought the day would pass like any other. It didn’t. I was overcome with a deep sadness that seems to have settled under my skin for evermore. I am fine really – don’t for a moment think there is no joy in my life and that I am miserable at every turn. But there are unexpected things that trigger the pain… and when I least it expect it that silent sadness that has so carefully been buried beneath the surface literally lurches forth and engulfs me.
While I know I am part of a vast and silent sisterhood, who have lost unborn babes… I also don’t know what to expect. Nobody talks about it. I am so blessed that so many friends have shared that they have been through the same, but their the conversation staggers to a halt as we sit in silence or change the subject. Really what is there to say, there are no words to describe a hidden ache. And to be honest I just don’t know what to say – I can be very factual, I can be breezy… but this is one place where I just don’t know myself well enough to be myself.
Se7en + 1 Things I have Learnt This Past Year
- This is a Lonely Road: Not for lack of company, you only have to go through losing a babe to realise how many of your friends, who are able enough to tell you, have been through it. Honestly nobody talks about it. I think it is lonely because I don’t trust myself to just talk about it… I do not have the right words. In fact I have learnt that for some things there are no words.
- It is easier to write than to speak: I know that there are friends who love me dearly, who will read this and think, “I had no idea” and for those friends, I really don’t expect you to know what is on my heart, I hardly know it myself – how on earth can I expect others around me to know how I feel.
- I am gentler on myself: I have learnt that I have a limit and there are some things that I just cannot push through. I am very much a getting things done kind of gal, but for this event I have had to be patient and wait for the journey to unravel itself. For previous aches and pains in my life, and like all of us, I have had my share… this is the first time that I couldn’t just say to myself, “time to move on.” There is a fine line between burying something so deep that it cannot hurt and not wanting to forget, or tarnish the memory of them. I don’t want to forget our little person, I cannot bury this memory, so I have had to ride the wave of it. It has been hard, often unbearably hard but I am not sorry, who would want the loss of a child to be easy.
- I am Gentler on Others: Folk assume a lot about other folk and they say the most amazing things… I find it very hard when folk ask us if we are we having another child… they can be so relentless. And when they say, “When is Hood #9 going to arrive?” I inwardly just crumble, but harsh as folk can be I have never been able to say… “Well, we lost our little #9.” Somehow to say it outloud feels like such a betrayal… and while it would surely stop them in their tracks it would break my heart at the same time.
- I Have Found my Friends and I Have Learnt to ask for Help: I am possibly the worst person in the world to ask for help… ever. I always imagine that I can make a plan, adapt, change my expectations, make things work. That has all changed. I admit I am really not very good at asking for help, much as I love and adore friends that ask me for help. I have learned to ask, to speak up when I just need some support or when I just can’t reach the expectations that float around me. Because my goodness there are days when all I can do is show up. Gone are the days, when I can quickly bake something or meet folk for a picnic in ten minutes… I am really in the season of “you will see me when you see me.”
- Treasure the Time Together with Your Loved Ones and I Fight a Lot Harder for the Things that Matter: Intellectually I know this, but now there is a deeper understanding that my time with our kids is surely fleeting, dashing past and just not worth wasting. Chores and sibling squabbles can really wait, I don’t have the energy to spend on them. Honestly, I give up a lot quicker on the things that don’t matter, than I used to. We have really spent a lot more time on making memories together, this past year: going for ambles, reading lots more books together. Creating time that sticks us together. This is our here and now and we need to cherish this time.
- I Assume so Much Less: It has been a year, I cannot expect folk to even give it a passing thought, why would they. But I find folk that know the road we have traveled still squirm when one of us mentions it, “Surely we have forgotten and moved on by now.” Well actually we haven’t forgotten and we aren’t about to either. While other folk might assume how I am feeling, I am no longer in that place where I can assume how my friends are feeling about things. They may not be thrilled at their new house and sudden move, they may not be thrilled at their career change – I no longer assume and I ask a lot more, “How do you feel about that?”
- Seasons Come and Seasons Go: For others the pain is somewhat removed. For me it is a physical pain reflected in the seasons, I feel the mood of my year swing according to it. I am okay with that. Sometimes I am content to not find a smile – it is okay really. This isn’t a little thing to just forget about and move on. For me this was huge… I carry it with me, a badge that no-one else can see, even if I think they can.
And the se7en + 1th…
A trouble shared is a trouble halved, and I hope someone reading this post in the future will recognise a part of themselves in it and find comfort. While gals do get together and talk about their day to day aches and pains… we definitely do not talk about the loss of our babies. But you are not alone and the path you are traveling on is an age old one… I draw comfort from that, and to the many that have been before me, who have held out their hands and said “I have been there too,” I salute you.