Another Christmas over, another new year approaching, another chance to reflect on another year gone by. We are about to enter into our third year of trying again. We never imagined it would take this long, never imagined what we would have to go through to get our rainbow. It's been tough, really tough, on top of the indescribable grief of losing a child. And yet, I am reminding myself, once again, of all the things I have to be grateful for. I guess doing so prevents me from falling back in The Pit. Back into despair. It would be so easy to let go and fall back in, to wallow in the tar, but I won't let that happen. I will think, briefly, of my friends' rainbows growing up, of other friends, and family who didn't have to try, of all the people I know who, for one reason or another, had the most amazing 2012, 2013...whilst I, well, didn't. And then I will stop, take stock, and reflect on what I do have. What I am grateful for, and I surprise myself, that actually, there's quite a lot...
I am grateful for my husband. I have lost count of the times he has held my heaving body as I sob at yet another failure. Another dissappointment. How many times has he told me he doesn't want another woman, one who would have given him a baby by now? How many times has he told me I am not broken, that I am perfect as I am, that he loves me. How many times has he sat in silence. Out of words. Broken by grief and disappointment himself but unwilling to show it as he knows I will just blame myself all the more. I am so grateful.
I am grateful for my marriage. Same thing in a way, but not. How many couples have split over the stress of either child loss, or infertility? How many would survive both? I know we will never face anything worse than we already have. We buried our boy. If we can do that we can do anything. We are solid. How many people do I know who long for that? Trust me when I tell you that I do not take it for granted.
I am grateful for my family, especially my mum and my sister, who show
their love for my son nearly as much as I do. They understand what I
need and they do it. Others support in their own way too, and again, I
know many people who do not have the support network that I have.
I have a roof over my head, and what's more, I own it. (well, a few bricks of it at least). Many of you know I've been complaining a lot over the past year about not being able to sell this place, and now, thank God, we have. And I am so grateful, to even have it, let alone to have sold it. We get to have a fresh start, in a new home, leaving behind the sadness these walls contain. I know how lucky I am in this respect.
I love my job. I do! How may people get to say that? Yes, since my world fell apart, there are aspects of it which I find hard...but on the whole, it is challenging, engaging, interesting, well respected and well paid. Plus I get a great pension deal! In a country where unemployment is high, and job satisfaction is low, I am one of the lucky ones.
I'm grateful that I live in a country where treatment is not only available, but free. I love the NHS. It frustrates the heck out of me at times, but we are so lucky to have it. When I get frustrated talking to american friends about their latest treatment and that they get it pretty much instantly whilst I have to wait weeks at a time, I remind myself just how much they are paying for that treatment. I wonder often, what we would have had to pay for our two days with Bertie? Would they even have given us two days, or would we have had to prove we could pay first? Could we have paid? It doesn't bear thinking about. Nor does the end of the line with help trying again. But I know that the end of the line would have come a lot sooner for us if we didn't have the NHS helping us on this journey.
I am grateful that I had him. Not that I lost him, never that, but I am grateful I got to experience pregnancy, and moreover that I got to meet him. I am grateful for the ways in which he has changed me, I believe for the better, you may not agree.
I am grateful for my faith. Although I question it daily, I am so grateful that I know he is in Heaven, he is watching me and waiting for me, and that I will see him again. Without that, I don't think I would have survived this.
So please don't think me maudlin, or grief-focused, or ungrateful. I am not. But. Despite all of this, my son is not here, and I would give up all the material stuff in a heartbeat to have him back. The one thing in the world I want is being denied to me, despite having all my ducks in a row, despite being oh so ready to be a mum. Yes, my husband and I have each other, and yes, I have a nice life in other ways. But had Bertie lived....I would still have all of those things and so much more. I'd be whole. Had I been blessed with a rainbow...I'd be broken but patched up. I would have a purpose.