Seven months. More than half a year. Most of the time I was pregnant with you. Seven long and lonely months learning to live with the feeling of you not in my arms.
I’ve spent so much of this month thinking of the link you and I shared and of all the times when I thought of you and worried that somehow you were not going to make it. Was I being silly or did you tell me? Was it just my imagination, or did I feel what was wrong? Did you tell me? Did you ask me to help and I didn’t hear, so wrapped up in my worries for myself, or were you preparing me, letting me know that you were not going to make it?
The thing that haunts me is that maybe you were telling me. Maybe I could hear and feel that all was not well. Maybe that link between you and I was so very strong that were really did have a connection that was close to a spoken word. I know I told your daddy that I was worried about you, I know I had too many moments of disquiet to dismiss, I know that I stood one day and we talked about how daddy would have a boy and a young man to watch football with and go racing with one day, if you wanted to, and that that would be a strange and new thing – and that I stood there having the conversation and thinking “no, this just isn’t going to happen…”
But what frightens me is that perhaps you were listening to me. What worries me that you heard my worries and fears about having someone small, someone new, about maybe not home-educating you and having to baby proof the house – and you decided not to stay. I worry you thought you were not loved or wanted enough. I know, barely pregnant, when I started bleeding and losing your twin, I thought “this has to go, this baby” and I worry that you heard and took it to heart. I worry that the day I stood at the window and thought of sleepless nights and the thought popped into my head “perhaps the baby will just die” that you heard me and thought I meant it. I worry that when I was planning your birth with our doctor and said “one way or another, I want this all over by April 13th” that you heard and took it to heart.
It worries me that I knew you heard me well enough to kick me when I wanted to hear from you but I didn’t think to check you were not peeping in on my thoughts. I never guarded them, I never protected you from them.
I worry you didn’t know you were loved and wanted. I worry you know that when you were conceived we were not both quite sure and that there wasn’t quite enough love to make a baby who would stay. I worry you heard the wrong things.
You were so loved.
You were so wanted.
You are so missed.
Fran and I have both been reading books where babies who die turn into pixies – in hers they are little old Scottish men, in mine they are Dartmoor Pixies if they die before they are baptised. One of the few things I did for you, Freddie, was make a choice about that. In the midst of confusion, I threw over the traces of habit and didn’t have you baptised. I knew very thoroughly that I wanted you pinned to my new, freer self and not shackled to the old conventional one. So now, it is a little comfort to me to imagine you being a sparkly little spirit in a place we love. I know it is comforting your sister to half imagine the same.
If you were listening, I hope you know I would never have swapped evenings working on our shops for evenings cuddling you. I hope you know I would always have made choices that were right for you. I hope you know it was fear and lack of courage that spoke, not lack of love.
Your auntie says she believes you woke up and looked at us to say “Hello. I love you. I’m sorry I can’t stay.” It’s a good thought. It was a last kind thing to do that for me. Your eyes looked like you loved me. I hope you did.
You are so loved. You always will be. You will always be my little boy. No other could possibly replace you.