Taint (verb): Contaminate or pollute, affect with a bad or undesirable quality

I was speaking to a few people about my Life on Hold blog recently and it made me realise: that wasn’t even the half of it. I’ve mentioned the BIG things that recurrent baby loss has affected, but there are so many little things that are also tainted now and I warn you, you’re going to think me madder than usual.

Stickers: Yesterday I was writing a card to a friend. Usually when I post letters and cards, I put little address stickers on the back, personalised with “Mr and Mrs R”. The address stickers were running out at the beginning of the year and I was looking forward to adding a baby’s name to the new ones. They’ve now run out and I can’t bring myself to buy another “Mr and Mrs” batch. When we first got married, they were exciting. When we moved house, they were cute. Now they’re just tainted, as they make me think of baby loss and all we’ve been through. I know, I know: they are just stickers and I am mental.

Cocktails: I went over to my brother’s for dinner last month (when it was still legal to!) and there were three cocktails lined up on my arrival. My sister-in-law asked my brother “which one’s mine again?” and I freaked out: “WHY?” She laughed and said “because I’ve already drunk from it!”. I had just assumed it was a special fake alcoholic cocktail for a secretly pregnant lady. That’s where my mind IMMEDIATELY and inexplicably jumped to! If you’re not drinking, I’m worrying you’re pregnant. Because everyone is pregnant right now. Oh, except me.

Restaurants: Does anyone else have weird rituals or things they avoid which make them think they’re jinxing stuff? For us, it’s now the restaurant TGI’s. We can’t go there when I’m pregnant. People who know me, know I’m a greedy burger-eating machine. I grew up with three brothers and it was a Monica/Ross situation: if you didn’t eat quickly, you didn’t eat! Twice now James and I have planned to “pop in for a quick scan, then head to the TGI’s nearby”. I love TGI’s. But twice we’ve not made it to the restaurant. Both times we headed straight home after scans, knowing that the future we’d planned just veered spectacularly off course. It sounds silly, but we won’t be planning any more trips to TGI’s, it just feels like a jinx now.

Music: I’ve mentioned repeatedly about how I’m not yet able to enjoy music in the way I once did. So I’m very relieved we don’t have any weddings or celebratory events in the diary. I genuinely don’t think I could dance at a wedding, right now. This is sad actually, seeing as one of my favourite places to spend time with James, is on a dancefloor. He adores music and he’s one of those fab people who dances like no one’s watching. So often I’ve danced with James, looked at him and thought “I love this boy.”

Clothing: Urgh, this is a big one. I cannot tell you how many brands and items of clothing that are now tainted with baby loss: all of the items which I now associate with the miscarriages. There are the two baggy dresses from Hobbs that I always wore to hide my pregnancies. There’s the duck-egg Warehouse jumper that I wore to our first ever scan with BoC, where we found out ‘he’ had no heartbeat. There’s the Phase Eight shirt dress I wore, when I walked into the hospital pregnant with Summer and it’s the same dress I wore when I left the hospital, without her. There’s the pink Oasis cardigan I wore for My Baby’s cremation and the black and pink Oliver Bonas dress I wore for Summer’s cremation. Worst of all, there’s the Asda miscarriage gown. It’s actually a lovely, big, fluffy grey dressing gown. But James bought it for me, because I needed a gown when I went in to have my first ERPC surgery. I actually call it the miscarriage gown and have done, ever since: “pass me my miscarriage gown, please” – James hates that, but it’s true. That’s what it is and that’s how I see it. I should probably throw all these items away, but they’re hardly worn, and I guess that I’m just a glutton for punishment. Plus, I’ll need that gown again for surgery later this week.

The reason it’s hard to move forward, is not just because life’s on hold, it’s because life is tainted. In so many little ways, ways you and I could never have imagined. I know I’m going to push ‘publish’ on this blog and think of some more, but that’s ok. I just wanted to give you a glimpse into how it still is, months and even years, after losing a pregnancy.

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(3) Comments

  1. Claudia says:

    I get this.
    The dress I used for Charlie’s funeral was the dress I wore when I found out her heart was not beating.

    Since then, never one I wore it.
    Pregnancy clothes are in a bag. I don’t know, even on a future pregnancy if I will be able to wear them.

    So… yeah. I get you.
    Lots of love xx

  2. Karen Palmer says:

    Yep. Wore the ( beautiful!) dress I’d worn for Jennifer’s funeral to the next formal occasion we had, and it just felt bleak. It went in a charity shop bag soon afterwards. If you are happy to part from them, you could do the same, and let someone else wear them. And if you’re not happy to part with them, but never want to wear them again, you could get that clever Instagram lady ( can’t remember the name of the account) to make them into a bear for you out of all the fabrics. Or something xxx

  3. I know what you mean about items being tainted by baby loss, and it doesn’t make me think of you as ‘mental’ at all. I have managed to wear the jumper I was wearing when I found out Dylan had died a grand total of 1 time in the nearly 5 years since that day. I cannot get rid of it, and that one day of wearing it made me so sad and panicked that I haven’t tried it again. The sheer terror I have that punches me in the gut every time I see a double pram, particularly with two baby car seats on board, clearly twins, is horrendous and makes every single trip out shopping a difficult experience. There are beautiful blankets and clothes that I never felt able to use since we’ve had F and E, it just cut too close to see the beautiful healthy boys we had in the things we’d intended to be for the two beautiful but dead boys we had to say goodbye to.

    Just thinking about this has made me feel that overwhelming grey blanket of grief coming back over me. You’re not mental at all, or if you are, then I am too xx

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