Ignorance (noun): lack of knowledge or information
I wrote this last year and posted it on Facebook for Baby Loss Awareness week. I remember writing it and feeling very brave, but as soon as I clicked “post” I closed the app and hid away from the world for the rest of the evening.
This was my first public foray into the world of baby loss awareness, which I guess has in part encouraged the writing of this blog. The response was overwhelmingly supportive. And so I repost it here, for posterity.
I had hoped the heartache would end with the writing of this post, but this year, I shall be posting again, for Summer. Please no more. One cremation for your child is too many. Two is unthinkable. I don’t know why the universe is testing how much one heart can bear.
BABY LOSS AWARENESS WEEK: Tuesday 15th October 2019
I’ve gone back and forth about whether I should post this, but I have decided to, for Dylan, Arlo, baby I, babies B, baby J, my two and any of yours. They were here, they mattered.
Ignorance is bliss. And so we should all be thankful for that which we are ignorant to.
In all of this, I repeatedly remind myself that I’m lucky, privileged in my ignorance. I’m lucky not to have to worry about money, about whether I can afford my mortgage, my next meal or my next travel adventure. I’m fortunate that I have my health, that I’ve not suffered from an incapacitating illness. I know not what it’s like to see someone struggling with cancer, or to have to care for someone who is. And I have choices, abundant choice and opportunity. Best of all, I am safe and loved. With the confidence to know, feel and state that out loud.
I am blissfully ignorant to so much pain. And yet, I do know grief.
This year, we did something that I never pictured, something I never imagined. This year we attended a cremation for our unborn child.
I wore the black dress that I wore to our engagement drinks. I wore the jewellery that my mum bought for my wedding and the gold bangles made from my dad’s jewellery. I wore a pink cardigan. Because I think that our first miscarriage was a boy, and that this, our second miscarriage, was a girl.
11 weeks and bittersweet. It made us April Fools. My bereavements always seem to coincide with dates that others celebrate.
We left the house at a time we’ve never been at home to see; the Tuesday morning, sunny school run. Scooters and little people everywhere. We smile and dodge them all, silently fearing that we’ll never be able to join this rabble.
Driving to the crematorium, eerily apt music plays on the radio, echoing exactly how I had felt.
I’m so in love with you
It just keeps getting better
I wanna spend the rest of my life
With you by my side forever and ever.
Every little thing that you do
Baby, I’m amazed by you.
And then it’s our turn, to play the songs that we’ve chosen, that we think fitting for this ‘occasion’. We play our first dance – the Book of Love – and see a small white box being carried in, to the tune that I walked down the aisle to. Seven and a half years later, who knew that this is what we would be doing? And in the same week that another Baby R was born. Exactly three months since our first baby’s due date. And one month from this baby’s due date. Dates, numbers, thoughts. Endless thoughts: “We would have been good at this” I say. “I was thinking the same”.
You hold the box (and it occurs to me, that this is your one and only turn to carry our baby) and I place our scan pictures on it. There were so many “I can’t see it!” moments, until that last scan. Do you remember that last scan? I know you do. But I still can’t figure out what’s worse: the time we didn’t see a heartbeat, or the times that we did, but where it didn’t last.
I’ve developed an aversion to scans. I worry I’ll never be able to see another person’s scan without crying. Will today be another day I’m sent one? Another day when I’m scrolling through social media and it all hits me like a tonne of bricks? Another day to feel like a bad person, as someone else’s happiness is tinged with my sadness. I used to be ignorant to all of this.
Our second song is played. Small bump. So typical of me to have played this throughout my pregnancies, never fully appreciating what it was about until I finally paid attention to the very end.
Cause you’re just a small bump unborn
Then torn from life
Maybe you were needed up there
But we’re still unaware as why.
Tomorrow is one year, to the day, that I first found out I was pregnant. This weekend should have been the due date for our second pregnancy. Instead, we will be scattering ashes.
REASONS FOR THIS POST
- To emphasise that baby loss is more common than you’d think and to encourage people to feel comfortable speaking about it. These stories are part of us and I’m here if you want to talk.
- To highlight that, despite what social media depicts, everyone experiences both light and darkness. And that it’s ok, to not always be ok.
- To encourage people to think about their language, assumptions and treatment of couples without children.
Thank you to all who have supported and prayed for us through these difficult times. I hope to, in some way, repay your kindness some day.