Spam (noun):Unsolicited messages sent over the Internet, typically to a large number of users
Today is a milestone, not a real one, but my made-up one. This is how my mind works, it just creates something from nothing. Like last month, I was pulling on some brand new socks and thinking “this would be a nice tradition if we had children! Big day ahead? That requires new socks, BoC!” Anyway, today marks the day where Summer was roughly 5 months in my tummy, and now she’s been gone for 5 months: 5 months in, 5 months out.
It reminds me of the annoying ‘9 months in, 9 months out’ posts I’m seeing all over Facebook, where mums compare their 9 month bump to their 9 month old baby. Parents: you share pictures of your children so regularly, why do we need a reminder that you also carried them? How’s that for ‘baby brain’? Yes, I realise that this is bitter, but you’re reading the baby loss blog of a grieving (“am I even a”) mother. So you can cut me some slack, though I’m cutting you none. Gasp, did she just play the baby-loss card? Who cares. You’ve got a baby to show off. I think we all know who’s winning in this game of trumps.
Triggers are different for different people. With BoC and My Baby, I only minded about seeing baby scans. But for me now, it’s the “we’re having a baby!” announcements, baby scans, baby bumps AND “it’s a girl!” announcements. Yes, I realise that’s a long and exhausting and impossible list, but I’m just telling the bruth here. It’s just all the stuff I nearly had. (In How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days Kate Hudson as the lead character says “you can’t miss what you never had, Ben!” – err, yes you can Andie! Great film, one of our faves).
A few years ago, a family member sent 9 photos to our family whatsapp group of his daughter lifting a spoon to her mouth (quick sorry to him, as he might actually read this). I replied, “9 photos?!” And he responded “I was trying to capture breakfast, it’s called art”, I replied “no, it’s called spam!”. I eventually left that family whatsapp group. No one ever cared about what I was doing, it was all about the children. The other day, a family member (who likely won’t be reading this) sent 37 pictures of her children to a different family whatsapp group. THIRTY-SEVEN. Now, James and I have ten living nieces and nephews, could you imagine if they ALL did that? Imagine if we received 20 photos per child, on their summer holidays, that’s 200 photos! Hint: I do not want 200 photos, my phone memory does not want 200 photos. Suggestion? Just pick your favourites!
I blogged previously about all of the travelling we’ve done. When we’re away I tend to post one image a day, so I have to acknowledge that’s probably overkill. Still, I think Wonders of the World are perhaps a little more interesting/varied than breakfast or a day at the wildlife park – but I guess it’s all personal preference. Grandparents love the photos, parents adore it, this aunt… likes them to an extent. 5 photos fine. 20? No no no.
Our siblings frequently gift our parents photos of their children – for birthdays, Christmas etc – photos of their children are the go-to gift, apparently! Personally, I find it a bit lazy and narcissistic (I know, I know. Having a blog is also narcissistic!). I’ve always thought: Why don’t you just give that to mum on a random Wednesday? How is that a gift for her? Instead, I gift our mums days-out, jewellery, shoes or dresses; you know, the stuff most women tend to like. The stuff they didn’t just stop liking because they became a grandmother. On one occasion, we witnessed a sibling gift three A4 framed photos of their children, to the same person. THREE. Every time this has happened over the years, I’ve wondered: where’s the space for mine? You’re not leaving me any space. There are more kids to come. Again, if every sibling gave three framed photos every year for 18 years, well that’s maths even I’d struggle with – and I work with numbers. I worried about there being space for my children, even before I had any. Now that I’ve had a living one (and refuse to be THAT mum that gifts a photo as a birthday present), it’s only going to get worse. It makes me feel so inadequate, like grandchildren are all that matters here. I mean, how do I compete with that? Why is baby loss such a constant fight?
My mum babysits my nieces regularly and years ago I asked her to stop sending me videos. She’s under strict instruction to only send me videos or pictures where something funny or interesting happens. Previously I’d be sat at work, watching videos where, honest to God, nothing even happened! 2 recorded minutes of my niece’s life, 2 minutes of my own that I will never get back. It was like watching a live stream of her babysitting. Pass! Even Big Brother Live was never that interesting.
While we’re here, I’d like to talk about slow motion videos. Is there ever a good time for a slow motion video? Rhetorical question. Children jumping into ball pits, children going down slides, children kicking a ball: all in slow motion?! What is the deal with that? Yawn! Perhaps I’ll like it when it’s my own kid, but I like to think I’ll never ever ever send one, that the function shall remain forever unused on my phone! Because in case you hadn’t noticed: it’s boring.
My friend’s mum used to counsel grieving couples and she said the hardest thing for them was always family occasions. I can understand why. It’s August and I’m already dreading Christmas. For some reason, a couple married 8 years doesn’t count as a family. You need to have a child to be called a family. Except, when you’re at the airport, queuing in immigration, when asked “same family?” James and I always approach the booth together.
Anyway, Summer’s been gone 5 months. And my mind clearly travels to strange places. I guess it just returns to what my counsellor observed early on; that I don’t feel I have a place in our families, without children. Well, 5 months of being an insider, another 5 on the out. And just under 5 months until Christmas, which is usually just another trigger for all of the anger/envy/grief. Joy to the world, indeed (!)
N.B. Please note that it is not lost on me that I am blogging VERY frequently at the moment and that my own emails could be classed as spam! That said, I take comfort in the fact that all recipients have signed up to these musings (ha!) and so these can’t technically be classed as ‘unsolicited’ emails! One day, I hope not to blog, and that’s how we’ll all know I’m ok. That’s how I make peace with it, anyway #Sorrynotsorry
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