What an amazing project! An opportunity to take stock, and sit and really think about that. Where am I right now? So thank you, Angie (Stilllifewithcircles) for the opportunity, and here goes.
It is the end of May, and it is beautiful outside. The parks and public spaces are full of families, laughing children, babies in buggies, sunbathing couples, picnics, prams, games. And then there's me. I feel separate to them, I am there, I am reading my book in the park, enjoying the sun, chatting to friends, just another 20-something woman who doesn't have kids yet. Only she does. Only she doesn't. Only she should have. So that's it, that's where I am right now- stuck in the "should have beens"
I no longer break down in tears, or shakes, or feel the need to run away at the sight of other little families. But I am jealous of them. I do look at them and think- that should be us too. Why are they living the life we should be living, why are we not?
I spend a lot of time now thinking about this time last year- I was pregnant, and so looking forward to this time this year- being out in the sun with my baby, on maternity leave and going for walks with my buggy, visiting family and sitting in the garden, maybe this weekend would have been his christening? I feel cheated, that is new. I no longer just focus on his loss, it isn't all consuming any more, instead I think about what we would have been doing together, I mourn the life he should have lived, the future we should have enjoyed together. I wonder about the stage he would be at now. Newborns are less of a problem to me as 8 month olds. I suppose rather than staying a baby forever, I imagine him growing in Heaven.
I still have a lot of moments where I am back in the hospital holding him as he passes away, and it feels like yesterday. But now I am able to think less of that moment, and more of the happy memories, all the things he achieved in his 51 precious hours. Both make me cry, but in different ways. I cry less now, no longer every day, and no longer for hours at a time. It's a few gentle tears then they're gone.
I have reached a point where I am able to take enjoyment in life, but it is"happysad". This is a term I made up a couple of months ago, because I could not think of a better way to describe how I felt in that moment. I am able to enjoy life and feel "happy" as an emotion, but it isn't happy how happy used to be, it is mixed with sadness that Robert won't ever experience the thing that made me happy. How can I ever feel truly, innocently, carefree happy. Not happysad, or happy if only, or happy but....just happy. I still can't see a time when I will. I know the worst case scenario. I know acute, life changing grief.
I am trying again now, because I feel that the only thing that will bring enough happiness to balance the sadness is a sibling for Bertie. I am aware that it won't make it all OK, that I will still grieve for my first born, and that it may make it worse in a lot of ways as I discover with each milestone the next baby reaches exactly what we, and he, have missed out on. But, my arms are empty, and every ounce of my being aches to be a mum. I feel like life is on hold, I am just going through the motions, waiting for life to begin again. And I don't think it will until I see that positive pregnancy test. What is interesting is that I don't feel guilty about trying again any more. I did, the first couple of months, it felt like I was trying to move on too soon, and that I would be leaving Bertie behind. As time has moved on, so has my mindset, I no longer feel that guilt. Maybe it is because we knew we always wanted our family close together, so if he were here, well maybe we'd be trying again now anyway. Enough time has passed that I won't look at the next baby and think, if Bertie had lived, I wouldn't have you. It is terrifying though. So much so that in some ways it is a relief each time it doesn't happen. But what else can I do? To get my life back on the track it was supposed to be on, I have got to go through the scariest nine months I will ever face. And just hope I get the full nine months this time....
So, where am I? I am here.