This week was baby loss awareness week and if you have read my blog before or follow me on social media you will know we have our own story of loss which I have talked about a bit over the years. This is why I think that although this week is a really tough one for me as well as so many others. Seemingly bringing all the pain and grief to the surface once again and making me think about our baby and a life that we will never know. Whilst that is extremely hard, I also know that it is important and by talking about losses and all the individual stories surrounding us everywhere we look if we just take the time to see them, it makes people feel less alone and hopefully more able to share their stories with the world, no matter how heartbreaking or taboo.
What is important to know though is that it is something that changes people. It changes the course of their whole lives, their very being in fact, more than anyone could ever know and that, for me at least, there is a definite line between before loss and after. One which spans more than just the immediate effect. I have written about living with baby loss before over a year ago now and as much as I hope every year will be different I have to learn to accept that it isn’t, it will never be. You are quite literally never the same again and really this week is no different.
After the immediate grief and moments that come after, life is supposed to go on, to the outside world all is the same and the loss is something that you ‘get over’. Not in a conscious or cruel way but like any grief there comes a point where it no longer consumes every minute of those around you. You learn to hide it, to live with it but it is always there just under the surface ready to break you at any point and that isn’t something that people talk about.
The thing is though, for the world this week is full of programs and awareness but to mothers, fathers, families who have lost, it isn’t just about this week. That loss doesn’t dissipate the moment the clock strikes midnight; neither does it start when the day turns over either, in most cases, and mine also, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about my baby. Not a single one because like it or not this is my life and this is who I am now and my baby is part of that, part of this life that they never got to be in but they are in, always.
Life after baby loss is always fragile. Emotions always ‘just there’ buried beneath the facade or beneath general ordinary life and sometimes edging on creeping out when you least expect it.
Today I was walking around the house tidying up when I came across this image here before me. Eva’s wellies, Roma’s wellies, and some old ones ready to donate or put in the age dedicated boxes that still adorn every nook and cranny in the loft because I can’t seem to make myself clear out clothes I know will never be worn again. An innocent object which just so happened to be lay next to the wellies that have been very much in use the last few days and perfectly reflect my little ladies with their ‘no pink’ personalities.
And yet it floored me. In that moment as they lay there fallen, wrapped tightly inside one another, seemingly as one, it seems to instantly epitomize my life, my feelings, my loss. It hit me in the heart like a ton of bricks and literally floored me as I sat in the hall alone, tears running down my face without my knowledge or consent taking my breath away with it.
The possibilities, the reality, everything just right there in front of me looking broken but also perfect to me. Like it should be. Should have been. A huge part of me just couldn’t bring myself to move them as I clung onto this tangible physical moment no matter how figmental or fleeting. Allowing myself the notion of what might have been and getting lost in that for a second. Somehow punishing myself that if I moved them I was taking that away, again.
I’d like to say it was a rare occurrence. That it is babyloss awareness week that made me see something out of nothing. That 5 years on I have this living with loss thing all in hand. I’d like to. But I can’t.
Every time I see a family of five, three children in a row, holding hands, playing, chatting, even fighting it doesn’t seem to matter at all I always feel that pull. I always feel like I was meant for that. I should have had that. I should have that but I gave that away. I let it go.
Now the rational part of my brain, the brain that has indeed worked through alot of my grief knows this will probably always be the case, that we will be ok and that we would never know what life without our baby loss would have been. Would have looked like. And that I will always feel like this. Maybe just maybe if we had have had another baby I would have felt I was destined for four. Just in the way I felt before Roma was born and I needed to have two. That physical ache for her. It never left. I know that. But it just doesn’t stop my heart from feeling it. Because truth be told I will always miss them. Not having another baby, but having the baby I lost back. I will always feel incomplete and a little lost in motherhood because I don’t want another baby, I want that baby, my baby, back.
I will feel moments like this forever, it’s part of my journey. Like I am sure it is for other parents. With every selling of the moses basket, prams cots, all the things that we are going through at the moment as we really do start to come out of the baby and toddler stage entirely as Roma prepares to turn 4 and start school next year. Leaving the baby stage behind seems so much more when my baby, no matter how many years go by will forever be baby. Will never be known as more than that.
As I prepare to be in the house on my own come September with no little hand to hold across the streets, in the shops or even dragging on my leg as I just try to get through the day it hurts. Every little thing means saying goodbye all over again despite never even getting to say goodbye in the first place.
Yet having said all of that, how there are many many moments when I just feel like it’s a battle every moment to go on, there are moments I treasure. This here is my picture summation of life after loss.. for me. Because as much as Eva is entwined in the hows and whys of the loss of our baby, she is right there in it with me, the memories and the pain we all went through together. As much as she is a part of that Roma is the after. She is the symbol of light that shows me every single day that we are ok, even on the days when we are not. She knows no pain, she is as innocent as innocent can be and maybe she won’t be that way forever but to me she will be, to me she will always be my symbol of light and the stark reality that we are the lucky ones who get to call her ours when things could have been very very different.
Life after baby loss is never the same again, it can be hard and long and tough, but that doesn’t mean that there cannot be light, you just have to know where to look for it.