My Musings

5 months in, 5 months out

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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(7) Comments

  1. Asma says:

    This reminded me of a “story” a friend once told me of all the observations she made of her daughter learning to crawl the day before. 10 minutes later and the daughter didn’t actually crawl. I remember screaming in my head “so she didn’t even crawl? How is that a story worth 10 minutes” I couldn’t share my frustration with anyone. Maybe we can all be more mindful of the stories we tell and the images we share!

  2. Nicole says:

    This is the first of your blogs I’ve read but I shall be catching bup on the others now. I can so relate, the anger, the frustration and the hurt. I think babyloss just doesn’t figure on some people’s radar. I’ve had one person describe my attempts at pregnancy as unsuccessful, completely wiping away the fact any baby ever exited!

    1. Anjulie says:

      ‘Welcome’ to the Mumoirs club. Safe space for anger and frustration! I’m sorry you know the feeling, but yep, lots of angry blogs on here. They can all be accessed from the “Blogs” page via the main menu – feel free to comment, I love hearing people’s thoughts. xx

  3. Karen Palmer says:

    This is pretty bold and brave! And risky! I’m wondering how it’s gone down with your family. And I’m wondering if for you, it’s a relief and a help to have said it, and maybe, as it was for someone else who commented on the Instagram post, part of the process for you of one day being able to forgive these hurts.
    It certainly has an educational value which is really important. People can cause so much hurt by a) not thinking at all b) thinking they are saying something that might help, and getting it very badly wrong. I know that some people can be deliberately hurtful, but I suspect/hope that’s a very tiny almost non existent minority when it comes to folk speaking to mothers who have suffered the death of a child.
    And it has definite a value in helping other people see that they are not alone.
    We definitely all need to be more careful with each other so thank you for reminding me of that xx

    1. Anjulie says:

      And thank YOU for reminding me, that I should be careful of others too. It has not gone down well with my family, but it really HAS with the baby loss community.So I’ve a bit of welcome balance there xx

  4. Jo M says:

    It’s incredible how similar your story is to mine. I had 2 miscarriages and then my son who was born at 5 mos. and died. I don’t have 10 nieces and nephews – just 5, Actually 7 if you count my husband’s side. And I’m about a month from my son’s due date. What you describe about feeling *worthless* in your family because you don’t have kids is EXACTLY how I feel. Additionally, I was the last one to get married so my single personhood was even worth less. I did a lot of work for my brother’s wedding and I MOH at my sister’s. By the time I got married, they all had kids. I know they put time into the planning and stuff and I wasn’t as demanding, but I think you understand what I’m saying without saying it.
    And yes, photos keep coming even as I am grieving. I don’t get nearly as many as you though, so honestly they didn’t bother me. But what did bother me was the long winded text messages my dad would send after each photo that praised each of the living grandchildren. It was so hurtful to me and I was trying to figure out how to request not to be a recipient, knowing full well my dad would take the request the wrong way. I got to a breaking point a couple weeks ago and just straight up messaged them all “I don’t want to receive text messages of ______.” Three things I requested not to be texted. And I was ignored. No one responded. I followed up with 3 things I DID want to be texted. Nothing. For 2 days. My dad started texting as usual and I decided to message him about it privately. He accused me of being inappropriate with my requests (sure enough he’d misunderstood my request not to RECEIVE messages as a request for him not to SEND messages – I just didn’t want to be on the thread!!)

    And my SIL removed me and hubby from her photo updates. Not what I asked for but I guess everyone decided to read more than what I wrote.

    Oh well… I just blocked all their phone numbers. This way it feels like the silence is something I created… 😞

    I went on a tangent there, but point is… I feel this post SOOOO MUCH.

    1. Anjulie says:

      Jo, I’m glad you went off on a tangent, this all needs to be said because we all FEEL it so much. I know it’s difficult to know how to deal with us, but it’s even more difficult having to deal with baby loss! Imagine if we took one of their children away, they think it’s not the same.

      You have no idea how much I needed your comment. I often feel it’s just ME, so some of the angrier, punchier stuff like this just stays in my head, goes round and round. I feel better for getting it all out and knowing others understand – I hope you feel better for it too. Keep fighting, I’m in your corner. xxx

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