It’s taken me quite some time to write this post. When you are in the midst of an emotionally difficult time, it can make things even worse to have to collect and be alone with your thoughts.
After several years, four to be exact, I feel as though I am coming out of the other side a little bit and I’m ready to share this still raw, personal story.
The title of this post gives you an idea of what I’m referring to and yet after all these years, I still cannot bring myself to directly write or say what has happened. I don’t really want to so that tells me my healing is still entwined in layers of denial. Maybe it always will be.
As you will know, if you read my blog regularly, I have two lovely children – Zak and Sophie.
I should have three. That’s all I will say on the details.
The actual day is crystallised in my mind, frozen as though someone has pressed repeat on a particularly horrific Gif in my head. It is immortalised with a hideous and cruel clarity. Maybe I won’t allow myself to forget – I don’t know.
The month’s that followed on are a blur however. Numbness, self-destructive behaviour, agonies, desperation.
Blinded by my loss, I was utterly consumed by grief. I’d go so far as saying I was almost driven insane by it.
A few memories stick out from that time. My dreams were so vivid that I’m told I would physically sit up and lean over to pick up the baby that would never be, from the Moses Basket that wasn’t there. I could hear her crying in my dreams, which translated over into my waking hours in a blurred and agonising confusion. A doctor later told me this is a type of psychosis. I was literally driven insane through my grief.
I remember crying to the point where I would vomit. I thought I would die. Sometimes I wanted to.
I’m not ashamed to say that I was a very half-arsed parent to Zak during this time. In fact, whilst I’m sad for him that I emotionally checked out, I’m actually proud of myself that I rallied just enough to still function and take him through his days. That was a massive achievement on the days where I wondered how I would even get my broken body out of bed.
I thought about my baby every day, all day. I tortured myself with the milestones that should have been and would never be. I blamed myself. I hated myself. I lashed out at those I loved. I withdrew from the rest of the world.
Counselling, therapies and a course of anti-depressants did nothing for me. It was the darkest thing I’ve ever been through.
But the reason that I am writing this today is that I am coming out the other side. A light has appeared at the end of the tunnel and that is in large part due to the arrival of Sophie.
When they placed her in my arms, I cried hot tears of relief (not least due to the end of a 16 hour labour) as the open wound I had been carrying around started to heal. It is not an exaggeration to say that Sophie literally pieced me back together. It was though I’d been holding my breath for all those years and could finally let it out. I cried with joy. I cried with pain. I cried with sadness and I cried with relief to finally hold my baby. A new life. A new chance.
The feel of her tiny, wrinkled little body against mine, the softness of her breath and the tiny little mewls that I’d been hearing in my head were now a reality. She began the healing process that no amount of therapy or drugs could manage and for that I will always love her just that extra bit harder.
Of course, Sophie is very much her own person, her own baby. She can never and should never replace what was lost but she has helped so much. She brought light back where there was only darkness.
I still have dark days – I think that I always will and I’ve learned to accept them. I am a different person in the aftermath of such grief and it will take time to get to know this bruised and slightly less confident version of myself. You cannot go through this kind of thing without questioning everything.
However, these days amidst the chaos of family life, my arms are full and my heart is slowly mending. Remember and love I always will but for now at least I feel confident to say that I am beginning to heal once more.
I am letting that hard shell melt away with every sticky kiss and gummy giggle from my girl. Her positivity and thirst for life is infectious and as a result I am beginning to find myself again as a mother.
Most importantly, and definitely unexpectedly, I am also now coming to terms with a new life as a woman who has loved and lost. And for that I am thankful.
If you are going through something similar then I wrote this for you – you are stronger than you know.