Half a dozen people I know were pregnant at the same time I was with Elliott. We were adding to the next generation to grow up together close in age. How perfect it would all be. Then life threw us a major curve ball and changed all that when my membranes ruptured (waters broke) early and our son was born. He was beautiful and perfect but born too early to survive. Realistically it could have been any of us this happened to but I was the one who became THAT statistic.
Losing Elliott put me in a place where I was suddenly no longer a part of those waiting for my baby, but it didn’t put me in the club of mums of new babies either. I HAD our son but we took him home as stardust in a beautiful little blue box. Instead of holding him in my arms, I was mourning and screaming and crying for him. Suddenly I was in a new club, as a bereaved mummy.
Now I’ve found in this instance that one of two things might happen with your friends, especially those who are pregnant or have babies. You are either drawn closer together or your relationship is greatly (negatively) impacted. And it seems that this change in your relationship happens very quickly.
Im grateful to those who didn’t turn away from me but instead turned towards. They opened their doors (and hearts) to listen to my heartache and every little detail of what really could and did go wrong. They continued to listen to me whinge, cry and be angry. They honoured my baby, looked and commented lovingly on his photos and welcomed him into our tribe. There’s a difference between treating someone differently (bad) and with sensitivity (good). Compassion was given as they put the ball in my court allowing me to decide how much I wanted or was able to discuss and be involved in right now in their journey of motherhood. Better still they were happy with whatever decision I made in general, on that day or in that conversation.
It must not have been easy listening to everything about our loss while still pregnant or with a small baby but they did. I can imagine it gave them anxieties they probably wouldn’t have had before. They should have been in a gorgeous state of innocent happiness but instead let sadness and the reality of life into their bubble. This selfless support meant the world to me, perhaps even a little bit more to have it from those still with their babies nestled safely inside. To know that while it’s not completely possible to understand and feel what it’s like, they took the time to actually empathise. Truely empathise. Not just sympathise but feel it and actually try to put themselves in my shoes. And to show or tell me in ways I KNEW they did that.
I’ve spend the last 7 months after losing our baby watching pregnant bellies grow. I’ve spent the last 7 months wishing I had the rest of the four+ months I was supposed to have too. I’ve spent the last 7 months being tremendously anxious for these friends breathing the biggest sigh of relief when the safe arrivals were announced. And through the last 7 months every time I have gotten the news, between the happiness and great relief, i have shed many tears feeling those cracks in my heart bleeding knowing I didn’t get to have that happy announcement and opportunity with him.
Hearing pregnancy and new baby announcements after loss can be extremely hard. Sometimes you brace yourself preparing to hear them. Sometimes you can’t wait and anticipate it with excitement. Sometimes this changes depending on how calm or heavy the waves are around you. Hearing such news can be what we know as a “trigger”, something that can renew the rawness of your grief. It’s the bitter reality of everything you won’t get with your child. You know you’ll never breathe your baby in and get to feel their skin on yours again and that hurts. This pain is in no way a reflection on how happy you are for your friend or family member.
I’m so grateful to those who understood all this and chose to make a gentle phone call or sent a beautiful personal message when their babies made their appearance into the outside world. I’m grateful that in their time of blissful happinesss they took the time to think of me and acknowledged Elliott straight away with so much love. I’m grateful that my fragile heart was treated so gently.
I’m also grateful to those who have given me the opportunity to be filled with the most beautiful warmth from holding their baby together with the knowledge that I was in complete safety to cry at the same time. Know that every tear that will ever touch your baby is filled with love.
I know Elliott would be caring, sweet and protective like his daddy and brother. I’m sure he is looking after the precious new members of our tribe. I bet he plays with all our children in the breeze and kisses them with blessings. I know he’ll shine bright above and down on them forever.