I remember writing a long time ago that I knew one day posts about Freddie on here would fade away. It was the early days then, right at the beginning – but I knew even then that the desperate pain and grief would not always be something I could find and write new feelings about… that he would fade and withdraw and be harder to grasp and to feel his absence so keenly and painfully would elude me, even when I wanted that pain so I could hold him close.
Inevitably, it is true. In our own time, we find ourselves still walking, still breathing and living and going on. Not moving on, because that isn’t quite right – but just being somewhere slightly new. Parenting after the loss of a baby, I can say with certainty, is not the same as parenting without that experience. It is not better, nor even worse, but it is infinitely changed and altered from the experience it is when you do not have those experiences etched – engraved if the word is not a dreadful pun – into your being.
I have known no loss like that of our child; nothing else seems quite so pointless and yet so necessarily a moment to be celebrated.
For many of us the place of renewal came, at least in part, with the birth of a new baby. Something about that event, not least that it is simply so time consuming and thought consuming, changes things. And that is a double edged sword too.
There is joy of a particular kind in these rainbow babies and sometimes I feel like there is guilt etched into the words of the mothers and fathers enjoying them. Guilt at happy in place of sad, guilt at relief in place of pain, guilt at smiles instead of tears or even of smiles alongside tears. We deserve to enjoy them, to live every moment of them with delight and the thrill of parenthood. The confusion of loss walking along side us is hard enough. I have shed many tears since Ben’s birth and they are a guilty pleasure indeed. They are regret that this boy is now more real to me than Freddie, overwhelming sadness at the re-illustrating of who and what we lost, the boy we will never know, horror at what we have been through and a curious sadness that he is past and present is better and future has hope and joy inside it.
I have smiled more than I have cried though. It feels a little wrong and a little right – and that is the truth of it.
Mostly it is relief. Mostly it is just an exhale after endless darkened and stifling hours. Mostly it is just a chance to rebuild, in a particular way, the life we once had.
I thought very hard about extending the invitation below. I’m only too aware that for some there is nothing even close to a ‘happy ending’ in sight, now or ever. I know some people have lost rainbow babies too, or all hope of rainbows. I can only say firstly, you are ever in my thoughts and second if you have anything to say about parenthood after loss, in whatever form, you are welcome to join me here.
I would like to invite my fellow blogging parents who have experienced baby loss to leave a link to their favourite post about the hope for, or delight in, or emotions experienced following their rainbow baby and life after the loss of a precious child. It can be old or written specially for this carnival and I hope you will join me and share this post and encourage your baby lost readers and friends to join in. I wanted to collect and to see and the celebrate the colour that can come after the dark in this community of mine, in all its shades.