In common with many of those in my dead baby mama community, a community I value but so wish I were not part of, I find myself largely wordless this month. I wonder if October just does that; the cold, the sense of death, the bleakness. Any hope of life being sustained, of a miracle happening, seems to go. It was winter still the day I hobbled out of my front door to have Freddie; Spring and Summer have gone, Autumn is so very here, Winter is coming. And I am one of the few I know who lost their baby in April who is not pregnant again. Any hope I had has waned very fast, so fast that now I’m actually wondering, much as I did when pregnant with Freddie, whether it is even the right thing to do. Perhaps 4+1 who isn’t would be better.
I find myself looking in on my life from outside, looking in at me from outside. I’m finally, I hope, able to evaluate the truth of what I say before I say it. I find myself hearing a sentence and turning it round, seeing the hurt it could produce from the opposite direction.
“Which mother deserved a dead baby least?”
“Which baby deserved death most?”
I find myself able, mostly, not to say in retaliation “I think you’ll look back on that one day and cringe you wrote it” but not entirely able to not think it. Able to restrain myself in one place, but not in another.
Able to resist measuring pain and tragedy in one situation, but not in another.
If I look back at what I wrote initially, it seems full of light and life and clarity – and now I just feel empty and prosaic.
I’m counting up my years and thinking “yes, after Fran I’d have felt like that, but a few years down the line and I know too well that all babies are so different that to lose any of them is to lose the world.”
I cringe at my old self while knowing I was only the sum of my parts at the time. That I couldn’t help that. That to judge a young mother with no life experience such as I was is not fair.
I counted up the other week and realised that I’ve been pregnant 12 times.
I counted up the other day, thinking of the small people in my extended family and counted 5 children since I last had a baby. And then realised with a shock that I had used Josie as the marker. That without a living breathing child, even I can’t make him count quite as I wish. Only TWO have been born since him.
I did it. His mother. In that split second in Sainsbury’s, I forgot him.
I’m not sure if that is acceptance or denial. I’m so bored of the stages of grief. I wish they were laid out in a line, with tick boxes and a cash bonus at the end.
I do know I’ve done a lot of anger, these last few weeks. At myself, at Freddie for damn well having the indecency to die, at other people for not shutting the fuck up about their own problems when I’m trying to shut the fuck up about my own. I’m trying to be grateful for my dead son, because I have no idea what else to do. I have to make something of him, I have to make sure I get the healing I need from him and his little life, because otherwise, I have no idea what to do.