Living With Grief


Style (noun): A particular procedure by which something is done; a manner or way

James: “Are you a plotter or a pantser?”
Anjulie:  “I’ve no idea what you’re talking about”

Apparently there are two types of writers: those who write with a plan in mind (plotters) and those who fly by the seat of their pants (pantsers). For some blogs, I have a vague idea about what I want to explore and the structure I want to use, but most of the time, I‘d consider myself a pantser.

This is a full-on pantser of a blog. I am sitting down to write, and I have no idea what’s going to come out. Except I do know this: I don’t want to write this blog.

It’s time, to start thinking (and it IS just thinking, seeing as I still have to get a date for surgery and then wait a minimum 6 weeks to heal) about one of the things I haven’t felt ready to write about: trying to conceive, again.

I’ve mentioned previously that after the first two miscarriages, it was all about getting pregnant again, now it’s about wanting the babies I already had. And that’s not just a soundbite. Because for the first time, I have known for definite what I have lost – a daughter – and that has changed everything, for me. It wasn’t just an idea or fantasy, she was a little girl.

Trying again, feels like a betrayal.

1) “Enough”

Trying again feels like I’m saying that Summer was not enough, but that’s not true. I’ve surprised myself, because I can see how pausing here and never trying again could be an acceptable option for us. I can see how I can live with carrying her with me, like this – fully attentive – as I do now.

But what if we do decide to start trying again, and I never fall pregnant? I’ll then have to go from thinking “Summer was not enough, so we tried again” to having to convince myself that she was enough and honouring just the memories of her again, knowing that I’m fooling myself and wanted more. It would make this loss even harder.

2) The Wrong Child

I have always loved being pregnant and was always very attentive to my bumps, aware that I had permanent company. So if I get pregnant again, what if I’m still thinking about another baby? Then again, what if I’m not? In one instance it’s unfair to the new baby, in the other, it’s unfair to Summer.

What if I have another first trimester miscarriage (they’re “common” remember, especially for me), will I revert to grieving Summer? Will I always be grieving the baby that made it the furthest? How awful that would be, the guilt. Losing one baby and grieving a different one more. If I have another loss, I just KNOW I’ll be catapulted back into the trauma of Summer, but that focus would be all wrong, wouldn’t it? Cue more guilt.

Growing up, I always said I wanted three children. I’m not even greedy now, I only want one. But I’ve given birth to one. So how do I make space for another child? I think I would also feel this way, if I had a living child, except I would reassure myself, saying that I’d be giving them a sibling. I can’t think of myself as giving Summer a sibling, as that’s just too sad. It doesn’t work. I still want Summer. I don’t want another.

3) A Ticking Clock

Surely I shouldn’t try again, when the grief is still this painful? But will it ever be anything other than painful? But what if I wake up one day, and it’s no longer so sad. Then I’ll forget ever having been this torn, and I’ll beat myself up for having wasted so much time. Because if I get pregnant again, it will not be before I turn 35, in which case I will be deemed a ‘geriatric pregnancy’. A geriatric pregnancy! Time is not on my side, I can’t just wait until I feel less sad. If I want to be a mum, I need to do something about it soon.

4) All This Love

I feel like I should be a mum, because I have all this love, and nowhere to put it. I think I’ll be a really good mum. I think I have a lot to give. I’ve been surprised about how much love/grief there has been generated from Summer. I can see how that love and energy would be positively channelled into a baby. But I shouldn’t need a baby to be ok, should I? I should be able to channel it towards myself.

By the way, please do not ask “what about adoption?” you would not believe the number of people who have asked me that. It is not a solution. It is an admirable thing to do, but trust me, if it were that ‘easy’ an answer, I wouldn’t have avoided this blog or be on my third bereavement counsellor.

5) This Time is Different

Yes, it’s a different pregnancy, but hope alone won’t generate a different outcome. If I were to get pregnant again, the pregnancy would have more medical oversight and would be consultant-led, whether it was looking like a healthy pregnancy or not. So that’s something.

Despite what we’ve been through, I like to think I’d be able to enjoy another pregnancy again, as long as everything seemed to be going ‘normally’. Realistically though, I’m not going to be able to settle until I get past 19+5 weeks, so at least half of the pregnancy will be daunting, that’s a long time.

Some would suggest that I try not to get “too attached” or count my chickens before 12 weeks, but realistically, I’m going all-in. I am going to love or appreciate my baby wholeheartedly, regardless of the outcome. I know no other way. And if I were to go on to lose the pregnancy, I know that I will regret having not enjoyed it or mindfully appreciating it more. I hate not remembering what it’s like to be pregnant. I just feel empty now. So to move forwards, I somehow need to get my head round the cheesy phrase and “love like I’ve never been hurt before” – right now, that just seems a gigantic ask.

6) Gender Selection

This is one of the saddest thoughts: I might need to know the sex of the baby now.

Whenever I’ve been pregnant previously, we’ve never wanted or needed to know the sex of the baby. We were always happy to have a surprise at the end of it all. But now that I know that I’ve lost a daughter and all of the specific dreams I’ve had alongside that, I think I might need to know the sex of the baby if we get pregnant again. I’m sad if this does become the case. I’m sad about this change, another loss of the ignorance is bliss.

It makes me sad, because we – more than anyone – should just want a healthy baby, right? We, more than ever, shouldn’t care about the gender. But I do care now, and I can’t help but care. I know no one will ever replace Summer, but I know that another girl would go some way towards easing this pain. I’m not supposed to think this, let alone write it, but it’s the bruth. I worry that if I give birth to a boy, all hope balances on me seeing him and falling in love in that moment. But what if that doesn’t happen? What if they tell me it’s a boy and I’m, disappointed? After all THIS, disappointed?! And so this is one of the main reasons why I shouldn’t be trying again. Because this is a big deal and something I need to get a handle on.

It is no wonder that I didn’t want to write this blog. LOOK how much there is to deal with. It’s not one, but a whole host of thoughts and feelings I can make neither head nor tail of. I’m not sure if this has helped at all, but I do think it covers the stuff that’s been circling my brain for a while. So that’s something. Better out than in? We’ll see.

N.B. I’ve said that this is a pantser blog. For ‘fun’ I’ve made a list of some of my plotter and pantser blogs below, so you can judge for yourself whether I’m better at plotting or pantsing.

Personally I think there’s a ‘panic’ type of writer too, which build on the pantser tendencies. It’s where I have a moment of inspiration and an urgency to do a quick and short brain dump – these have often turned out to be some of my favourite blogs:


Three little pigs
Medical Insensitivity
Becoming a Net Receiver
Life on Hold
The Book (Quote) Thief


The Invisible Line
My Old Self

My PANIC Blogs:

Once Upon a Summer
Baby Loss Bingo
Summer Nights
Conversations with a Loss Mum
I’m Sorry For Your Loss

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(1) Comment

  1. Claudia says:

    I am an absolute pantser. The only plotters I had was the 6 months of Charlie and #blaw2020 in my personal account, which I wrote and worked on them in advance. Everything else, on Beatrice’s, comes from feelings, or built around the picture or from the general feeling of the people I follow and their sentiments. Nevertheless, I usually just start and let it take me. Which is why it’s such a rollercoaster and typos (eek!).

    But now, to your post and, as with many things in grief and baby loss, my comment is going to be personal. I want a baby here. Alive. In my arms. Charlie has left me overflowing with love to give. I wanted her. I had her. She is gone. I love her with longing. She is the conductor of everything I do and permanently in my thoughts. I think and speak to her even when I don’t realise. But the truth is… she is not here. Don’t get me wrong, I know I won’t be replacing her. But I welcome what is (hopefully) coming. But I, selfishly, hope it is a boy. Because I had my girl. And I don’t want to ever look at my baby and wonder how she compares to Charlie – how scary is that?

    Fuck it, I’m pantsying here. I miss my girl. But I do know I want a baby with me. And I guess that’s the bottom line.

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