In the end, it all comes back to one simple thing. I was one person and then my world fell apart. I put it back together and it fell apart all over again when my son died. Putting it back together again, trying to pick up the reins of a life that ran away from me 6 years ago, I find that the pieces no longer fit.
I'm not the person I was when I knew I wanted another baby six years ago. Six years is a long time to wait. I'm older, infinitely wearier and just much further away from the mindset of the person I was then.
I adore Bene. I love being an older mum, with patience, time and just enough unselfishness to devote my time to him being happy and content. Everything about having him is perfect. Our family is relishing the joy of having him.
He's going to need some sort of life. I'm a first time mum for the second time, conscious that I wanted to do baby massage and baby gym and baby swimming and nct and all those things, which I can do now. No toddler girls in tow, no frantic parcelling, enough money to manage.
I find doing them really hard. Leaving the house is really hard. Even leaving the house to be with people I do know is tricky, though getting better, but being with new people who ask 'how many' and look askance at 6 and dumbstruck at dead, is really hard. Today I nearly said he was my only one, just to feel less of a freak.
I came home from holiday full of inspiration to move, be better, be excited by life. But today made me feel small, weird, odd, unlikeable. I feel stifled by where we live and throttled by my history. No one wants to know the woman with the dead baby. I'm no fun at the baby group. Actually, I only want to talk to people who know this awful grief, not ones who say 'oh, but you have another now' brightly, moving on.
Last week someone asked me if I would go for the round half dozen. Someone who knows I have six. The world forgets so quickly. The world doesn't really want to know.
And here's me, playing along at being a baby mum again, knowing I have to go out, meet people, give him a little life – and knowing I want that too. It's damn scary though. As scary as the first time.
I'm the freaky mum who might infect people with dead-baby-itis. The one who thinks Bene is too precious for nursery. The one who knows tragedies happen. A bit odd. A bit too crunchy, without the personality to carry it off.
I want to live deep in a forest, in a beautiful house and never speak face to face with anyone again. I don't want to answer those questions, see those looks.
First you lose your baby and then you lose everything else. I'm not losing myself again though. I'm not. And I'm not losing this time with Bene but the last few weeks, with time to start remember who I was, what I used to be, how good I once was and what I can do when not weighed down by grief and wanting and anger and bitterness – I've also seen more clearly how many bits of me have gone missing.
Most of those pieces went missing before Freddie. Waking up now, coming to, I am reminded again of Frodo the hobbit. I am a little too wounded, a little too broken. What I really want now, more than anything, is a safe place to be. Anchored, safe harbour. Not a freak, not trying to fit in. Just me, just us. Somewhere peaceful. Less a fresh start, more a comfortable ending.
This tear in my soul is taking some living with. I'm okay with this place, this mellow light at the end of the tunnel. But being okay with it, living in it always, takes all my energy. Contentment as an act of will.