Woe Is A Tragic Backstory

Friday, 2 February 2018

This blog has lain bare for a while now. I feel as if I've almost run out of writing steam. Perhaps it's the anticipation of being critiqued again in a few months (as many of you know I have applied to start my masters degree). But it's also that I've simply been so busy. I've got three, sometimes four, days a week where I've something to do and that's a lot, actually I think it's too much. I probably class myself as an ambivert, but it's times like this when my introversion really shows. We're only four weeks into the new year and it feels like much longer, I'm exhausted already.

However, before I have a shower, and before Edith starts really having a go at me I wanted to try and type up one of my gripes. THE MEDIA. There's something about every kind of media that grinds my gears, but I'm talking about television and film in particular at this point. 
You won’t have noticed it before but pregnancy and babies are all over the place, from when you're out and about, to just trying to keep yourself busy with netflix, it's almost impossible to get away from. After losing Ezra, and my miscarriage, it was as if the world of pregnant women, and babies, and young children, were just out en force, out to get me, out to rub it in. Everywhere I looked there was something, a pregnant woman or a young baby that would make me think two things, one: enjoy it while it lasts Sweet Summer Children, and two: why are you here in my fucking face (because obviously they knew and were doing this on purpose). Pampers and aptamil adverts? A personal affront! Awful.



Sneaky grief

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

There is a misconception that, spread by proverb and wishfulness, time heals all wounds. In actuality this is, for the most part, untrue of emotional wounds. When it comes to bereavement there is no healing, there is only acceptance - and in the cases of the death of a child I believe that one never really reaches a place of true acceptance. I have said many times before that the word Surreal is the best explanation of the experience and I think with surrealism there is no acceptance as it doesn't feel real. There's no fully accepting the unreal. 
So grief comes in many forms and if we accept that there is no total healing then we accept that grief is a constant. It comes in ebbs and flows and some days are worse than others (hence the struggle of fleeting happiness discussed in a previous post). 
The last few weeks, as I'm sure is the case with many of you, I feel the grief has come more often and harder. It is in the lights, it seems, another Christmas without my son and yet a Christmas with his sister - who may or may not (likely not) be here if not for his absence. I have begun to experience her Christmas firsts where I never had the opportunity before.

Dippy Eggy Weggs

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

When I was pregnant first time around the first symptom I had was going off eggs – I'd been eating them for breakfast every morning, and none of that hard yolk nastiness, it was all orange, dippy, runny goodness. So going off them was probably a good thing at the time, you weren't supposed to eat runny eggs when pregnant (amongst other delicious things), due to the salmonella risk. Let's be honest, what's the point in a hard yolk anyway?

 However, it was much harder second time around because I liked eggs again, and I had started to really like brunch. And as we all know the only difference between lunch and brunch is the eggs. Not to mention the fact that I spent both my pregnancies not doing much and eating a fair amount of junk food under the "I'm pregnant!" excuse, so it was nice to have a couple of eggs and soldiers knowing that it was healthy comfort food (and shakshuka anyone? yum!). Good to enjoy the nutritional benefits without having to cook them through.

musings on death.

Thursday, 23 November 2017


So that's it. Edith is older than Ezra. Feels weird. A bit anti-climactic. There should be something to mark the occasion and yet nothing. I remember having said the same about Ezra's birthday, and every other "anniversary". My sentiments have not changed regarding that. There’s no fanfare and no congratulations. No medal. I think it's more that I don't want congratulations for her still being alive, more congratulations for myself having not gone entirely insane (and had I it would have been unapologetically so because I don't do things in halves apparently). Our situation is so different from most people on instagram that I feel like the anxiety isn’t quite understood. I thought, maybe naively, that it would lessen a little as she got older, but now I’m more paranoid than ever, it’s like every day she lives past her brother is a stolen day, we’re lucky she’s got it, and that it could just go away at any point. It’s like I’m creeping around on the eggshells of life, trying not to bring any attention to myself lest the powers that be realise we’ve ticked over our allocated time and they come to take what is theirs. In all honesty I didn't think I'd have another baby. I didn't think that even if I did it would end up in a baby, I didn't think that we would get there. Here. (I wonder if that’s the same for those whose child has been stillborn? When immediately your child is older than the one you lost.)
It feels bittersweet. I'm always going to be wondering whether Ezra would have done this one thing that Edith has. I'm always going to wonder what he would have looked like in the clothes she now fits in, because they were his clothes. 
In all honesty I never thought we'd get here, and maybe that sounds off in the sense that Where Else Would This End? What happened to Ezra and to me, and everyone else with the misfortune of being in this club, is unlikely and is the minority percentage. It's probably not going to happen again (though, of course it does and that's just even fucking worse), so where else would I end up after having a living baby but with a living baby? A toddler? A child? Teenager? And so on in the normal timeline. I'm feeling a little lost. I don't know what to expect and suddenly I feel very inadequate whereas before I was giving advice I'm now to be receiving and asking (if my pride allows) I am theoretically trained in the childcare I suppose, the technicalities, but less so in practise. From yesterday to today nothing has really changed. Just another day.
I've been given a look behind the curtain, it's A if I've stared into the face of mortality and only now come to truly understand it, that death is inevitable. People are taken indiscriminately, no matter age or health or sex or wealth or status. We are all on a list to die and have no idea of what place we are. Am I tenth or ten billionth? Soon or after those who haven't even been conceived yet? 

This day has brought with it some extremely conflicting feelings - an intense fear of death's coldness and definiteness, but also a sort of serene understanding that it's inevitable and that I'm facing that fear whether I like it or not. I can only hope that the next death I come face to face with is more in the natural order of things. I like to hope that when my own time comes I'll have garnered a relationship with it so that I might go as with an old friend, at the right time, rather than a bloody fight. 

She's a Donor Baby!

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

It's come to my attention that actually, Edith's conception is more interesting than her birth. So pull up a chair.



As anybody knows, when you fall pregnant you become a parent. When you give birth and look after that baby even more so, and so when I lost my baby there was no going back to being not a parent. I became a parent without a child, a parent to memories. I have become quite caught up in my status as a "loss mum" that the other side of my mum identity, a single mum truly by choice, had fallen by the wayside. I was taking the single mumhood in stride rather than celebrating it.

My mother told me that a child needs a mum and a dad. Ezra had me. He was well enough, in fact, I don't think he ever noticed that his dad wasn't around. As long as his bum was clean, his tummy full and cuddles on demand he was happy.

I decided very quickly after he passed away that I would have another baby. That's who I was now. But going about that, for me, was not as straightforward as it is for most of those in relationships. Sure, there were accidental Tinder babies popping up all the time, but I couldn't go out of my way to get a tinder baby - sadly I do have some morals sometimes. Also that meant timing meeting and shagging a stranger with when I was ovulating and hoping that they didn't use protection (they rarely do but you know) or have any STDs. Risky business. I'll admit that doing it that way had crossed my mind - grief and desperation does things to a person - but the deception would have too consuming.

The Clinic route, the "normal" way, was the next option. Expensive. I was a student at university when I had Ezra, I took him to classes with me, I worked part time and survived on SMP and my student loan. Money wasn't tight by any means but I wasn't flush with it. I found out about a program called Egg Sharing. Sadly, it was too late to donate Ezra's organs and my hope of hearing his heart beating away again was crushed. I wanted to do something. I thought I could help another woman conceive, as it, he, had been the best thing I had ever done, seen, experienced, and to give that to someone else... Amazing! But it didn't work out. I did all the tests, all fine, went to counselling, and this was where it stalled. The counsellor was very judgey - she commented on my age (22) and whether I was too young blah blah. I'd also overheard her talking about me to a nurse prior to our meeting.

I was so uncomfortable with it, with all of them, that I just bailed. It took over three months of my chasing them for progression to end in nothing. 

The absence of noise.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

In place of my son I have a box and a bear. This box contains baby grow, a red book, lots of bits of paper, documents that prove the existence of a life, it also contains photographs, a postmortem report. The bear holds ashes.
We don’t look like mothers, those of us that whose children have died, and yet mothers we are. I had all the thoughts of a mother, all the feelings, and no outlet for them. I had had the experiences, birth, feeding, bad nights, good nights, I knew what to do and yet these things remained inside me
The first two weeks I was a One rather than a Two and I didn't want to be. Nothing held any meaning. My house and arms were empty, my heart broken beyond any fixing. My bed was my refuge and I didn't move for days. I didn't have the drive to move. I didn't have the drive even to eat, for a month, maybe more (time at this point became a torture and I refused to acknowledge it), I survived on cuppa soup and smoothies. Liquids. Wine. A lot of wine. The world did not grieve with me either, some friends did, family grieved for themselves. 
The first month was marked by someone saying "I can't believe it's already been a month" – as if I needed to be told that when I basically knew it to the minute, even though I didn't want to.

I hated pregnant women. I hated babies. I hated children, and I hated adults because my son would never become either of them. I hated how they took everything for granted and how their families took them for granted.

It did not take particularly long before most went on with their own lives. I had to learn how to be me again, only the old me - the student, drinker, carefree person - was long gone. The me I became then was a cheap imitation of myself. I used alcohol to mask the blistering grief I felt and as a way to talk about my son without breaking. I blamed myself, though there was nothing to blame. Rather than open myself to the world I closed off, completely and entirely. I closed all feelings in a little box and left it. 
But I was not even a person anymore. I was just a lie. 
You know when they say that SILENCE IS DEAFENING? There is no other time where the phrase is as apt as when you have lost a child. There is an absence, and that absence is something that wasn't there before and it something that is so obvious to you. The quiet where there should be crying and cooing. Noise. I believe this to be among the worst memories. The silence when I realised what had happened, and the echo of that silence behind my panic, the silence from him that followed, the silence in the house when I got home and that continued on for over a year. 

Even now, with the noise of a baby, there is a distinct lack of his voice, not silence now but not as much sound. There is always going to be an absence of noise, even when Edie finds her voice and she starts screaming and yelling I know that there is one very important voice missing.

Mental Health Awareness Day

Monday, 23 October 2017

I have said it before and I will continue to as I feel it is the most apt description of infant loss:

It is surreal.

In day to day life I feel as if it, and Ezra, everything, is an abstract. An event. It feels as of I have watched this horrible thing happen to another person. I suppose it is a continuation - and lack to acceptance - of the shock that I felt in the first weeks. Those first weeks are something I simply do not think about because the feelings are still so raw, writing this now I feel my throat close and my breath stop. I remember it exactly, though I genuinely wish I couldn’t.

I read somewhere that the amount of grief one feels equates to the amount of love, and I suppose in some ways thats true. I cannot imagine ever feeling anything quite so painful, so bad emotionally that it transcended that abstract and became physical. It was, and still is, a physical pain, maybe because it is a physical loss. I don’t know. 

It was mental health awareness day – smack in the middle of baby loss awareness week/month – the other day, and because of a fussy baby I didn’t get time to write anything about it.