It’s my birthday soon… and I’m so very sad with such a heavy heart. Not because I’ll be a year older, but because there is something so very huge missing from our lives.. because I can’t celebrate with all my children.
Last year I was so excited to turn 30. I couldn’t wait. It was going to be my best year yet. We were happy, we were blissful, we were so excited about everything the year had in front of us which was going be full of huge fabulous milestones. Everything in our life was working. Falling pregnant with Elliott just tipped our year as being so perfectly perfect. Then, overnight the best year turned into the worst… and the 10 months before sadly became meaningless, a tiny speck in this huge black hole. Thinking of how happy I was last birthday makes the fall feel so much bigger all over again.
Birthdays after having children become about them and not you. Its about their beautiful faces in the morning and when they are old enough saying in their squeaky voices “happy birrrfday mummy”. I am so grateful for the two gorgeous voices I get to hear from Emma and Ashton that will say this on the day. And I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have that.
BUT I have such an overwhelming sadness that I won’t have our other baby in my arms. He won’t wear that little 0000 linen romper that I picked out and took home in advance, forward thinking that he could wear it when we go out for a dinner on my birthday. Instead it sits in a crate in the cupboard with all the other clothes i took home for him, brand new with tags, that he’ll also never use and yet I just can’t bring myself to take them back. I’m so very sad I will never hear him say in his own squeaky voice that he loves me. And likewise, while I can say it to him, it will never be to his beautiful face again.
I don’t want my friends and family to feel uncomfortable knowing I feel like this and scared they can’t say happy birthday if they want to. I don’t want people to worry about tiptoeing on eggshells worried that they’ll upset me. I do WANT to celebrate my birthday because I still want to honour another year I’m living because yes I have so much in my life to be happy about. I have SO much to be thankful for. I am so blessed to live another year with my earth side children, my husband, family and friends. I am blessed with good health and love and family. And that’s a lot to celebrate and acknowledge. But in all of that acknowledgement the deep gut wrenching sadness has taken over which I do feel a bit guilty about. I am happy FOR my birthday but I just don’t feel happy.
A beautiful friend who also has an angel baby hates her birthday with a passion. After much discussion about her birthday and her feelings I promised her I’d very crassly send her a message every year on her birthday saying “f&$@ you birthday!” instead of the usual greetings. While that might sound strange, she said yes please she’d like that very much! Things are just so different after becoming a loss mum and I think it’s all about finding what your new normal is and trying to adjust to it, not force it to be the same it was before.
There’s no right or wrong or best way to deal with these things. Everyone is different and everyone’s journey is unique. I know I deserve to be happy and I deserve to celebrate but it’s not about what I deserve. How I feel is not a choice based on my sense of worthiness, but a reflection on my processing of grief. Things are just not the same and they’ll never be. Forever someone so very important and loved will be missed and missing from our lives and every single event. And so far I’ve found for me it’s on special days, or at special events that it hurts the most.
On the day I will force a smile and put on my ‘happy mask’ as much as I can because my older two children have the right to feel happy and be excited (which they are bless them) and not associate birthdays with sadness. But on the day it’s likely I’ll cry a lot too. I’ll probably be very angry and super woeful. I’ll feel sorry for myself and think and know how cruel and unfair it all is. I’ll miss him like I do every single day but somehow even though it’s hard to imagine that it’s possible, I’ll miss him that little bit more.
On my birthday I will light a beautiful candle another mother of an angel so kindly made for us, a candle we have decided will be lit only on ‘special days’. And I will remember as I always do that he is part of our family, just not in the form I so desperately want. So it’s not just my birthday, but another big step in our journey.
Our sweet Elliott,
Mummy misses you so much and life just doesn’t feel full and complete without you here. Whenever I blow out a candle you’ll always be what I wish for. Xoxoxo