The creation of human life is one of the most complex and shockingly beautiful things that our bodies are designed to do. The micro-anatomy that goes into this task is so astonishingly complicated that it's a miracle any of us walk around at all. And yet, most of us do.
Most...but not all.
When a baby dies, we are fragmented. Shattered, we must pick up the pieces and put them back together as we pay tribute to our children, our tables forever missing one, our families incomplete, our treasures in heaven, our babies alive only in our hearts.
It is through our stories that they live forever. These children were here and they mattered. They were loved.
They are loved.
It’s taken me all evening to work out what to type so expect pure ramble.
I used to love writing. To spill my thoughts and feelings out onto the screen, but then life and 'stuff' got in the way and for months now I have forgotten to sit down and have a decent one-to-one with myself.
Who am I? I am Lucy and I am 31 years old. On Thursday, July 2, 2009, as my son was dying I - the Lucy I had grown into over the past 28 years - was reborn into someone unknown.
When your baby dies, you have three options.
2. You go through the grief process, you meet lots of friends through your grief and it soon becomes your life - you let it define who you are.
3. You go through the grief process, you meet lots of friends through your grief but somewhere along the line, you go off on your own, needing to do something, somewhere, somehow but not quite sure what, how or where.
I won’t lie; over the last thirty-eight months I have experienced all three of the above - although not to the extreme where I did take my life, otherwise I would not be typing this now. Obviously.
I simply cannot explain the overwhelming need to be with your baby in the beginning, even though the logical part of your brain knows that the only way to be with your baby means that the overwhelming need will take you away from everyone you love and from everyone who loves you.
I do not think badly of the women – and men - who do follow that need. In fact, I think they are ultimately stronger then they believe themselves to be; it takes a lot of courage to take yourself away from all that you have ever known. Thankfully I was able to bring myself out of those thoughts quite early. Instead I turned to the ever-so-faithful Jack Daniels for a short while, before again coming to the realization that it didn't matter how many bottles I downed or how many tears I shed, he, Bobby, my son, will not come back.
It’s easy to look back now and see that I was stuck in point two for pretty much 18 months after his death.
Due to fertility problems, it had taken Steve and I 28 months to get pregnant with Bobby. Not surprisingly, we were not able to fall pregnant again straight away - even as I type this we are still childless.
I fell into the world of Internet support groups. I was even an admin on a Pregnancy and Infant Loss Board, helping others who had recently lost or those who I had met through Bobby's death. As time went on, it dawned on me that those whom I had spent so many hours, days, and months, not to mention emotional effort, into helping, were moving on without me. One by one they all fell pregnant. They formed new friendship circles and because I could no longer relate, I was left behind.
Out of all of the emotions I have felt since the day he died, that realization cut deep to the core, allowing the green-eyed monster to appear. I know that it was not premeditated, but I felt used, let down and stuck emotionally because ultimately, I had put my grief on hold, instead concentrating on helping them move forward.
Resentment slowly set in; with every new pregnancy announcement came the sweaty palms, the rushed heartbeat, the sick feeling at the bottom of my stomach. I had no choice but to be outwardly 'happy' for my friends, to not feel upset when pictures of their scans appeared on their Facebook wall and board profile. Each time I would subconsciously remove myself from their life for nine months until their baby was born safely.
I am ashamed to say that at certain points, a tiny, nasty part of me had wanted that pregnancy to end so that I could get my friend back. Then I would again be needed and things would go back to how they were.
It is amazing what your baby dying does to you, both physically and emotionally. This is the first time I have ever confessed to those feelings and reading them back doesn’t so much make me sad but instead makes me proud for how far I have really come in my lifelong journey.
I remember falling into the third point as though it was yesterday. It was in November 2010 and a very dear friend at the time had set up a non-profit organization to help those like us. Unlike before, this help wasn’t an emotional, intense ‘help’ - it was practical help. It gave me the freedom to still make a difference, but at a safe distance.
Having volunteered for this non-profit for a year, the opportunity came for me to go off and start my own. I am very proud to say that my baby, Upon Butterfly Wings, turned one on the October 1, 2012.
It wouldn’t be a lie to say that UBW has saved my life - not physically so much but mentally. Still having empty arms three years on, it has given me a purpose; it has given me a meaning to my life. Before Bobby died, I never knew what I wanted to be; what I wanted to do ‘when I grew up.’
I obviously still have moments where I will sit and cry over the need to have my little man here, right now. The need to see him in his preschool uniform, the need to know the color of his eyes and the sound of his voice. Thankfully, these days are overshadowed by the feeling of pride that not only was his death not so much in vain, but that because of him, there are mums and dads out there who are actually being helped and there are babies who are being treated with dignity and love.
Because of a need to help, by learning to live with and eventually understand and quite like my new mind, I now have the drive and determination to change a very small part of the world. There is no reason, apart from my own doubts, that need cannot happen.6 Comments