Tuesday, 18 May 2010
Tomorrow is the fifth anniversary of our daughter's death. By this time five years ago I knew that she would die but I still had to go through the labour. The odd thing is that I'm not upset at all. I've just spent an hour reading posts on the SANDS (UK stillbirth charity's) website. Usually I finish up having a good cry if I do that. But no! Of course, it's stupid for me to be upset because I'm not upset. I should just make the most of it in the certain knowledge that there will be a day when - randomly - I'm really upset. I know that some people would assume that I'm not upset because five years have gone by. But actually it is only eighteen months since the last miscarriage - and the final, final knowledge that we were at the end of the road. I think that the truth is that for the last two years I've just been entirely frozen. Loss has piled up on loss and I've just ceased to have any reaction. I don't look as though I'm frozen. In fact, I look quite normal but I really don't feel anything about anything. After Laura died, I promised myself I'd write a letter to her every year on her birthday and that I'd put all the letters away in her special box. But last year I didn't write the letter because I didn't have anything to say. This year is pretty much the same. My husband is away. So I'm here on my own with my son. I keep thinking I'll call someone but I don't really feel like it. Maybe I'll just go to bed and read a book.
Monday, 10 May 2010
Suddenly it has all come to bits because of the cricket team (I ask you - the cricket team!) and I'm sitting here crying when I haven't cried in months. The story is that my son (age 7) isn't in the cricket team. He's nearly a year younger than most of the other boys in his class and many of them are a whole head shoulders taller than he is - so although he's really keen on sport and tries really hard he isn't in the team. And it tends to happen at his school that if you aren't in the team at the beginning then you're never going to be in the team. There's this clique of big, beefy, hearty, sporty, loud boys who are in all the teams and my son is small and quiet and thoughtful but he really wants to play sport. But I can't even bear to hear myself say all this because I've always had a total contempt for all those pushy parents who care so much about whose child is clever / sporty / top of the form in this or that. And yet here I am in tears because my son isn't in the team. But, of course, it isn't really about any of that ..... I just tried talking to a couple of other mothers and they made comforting noises about how some children are good at some things and some are good at other. But for them there are children. For me, there's a child. And I know I'm lucky there is a child. I can't explain. It's too difficult. I suppose the thing is that it's the fifth anniversary of Laura's death on the 19th May and I was talking to my husband about that the other night. I said, 'It hasn't got any better, has it?' I expected him to say something comforting about how things have got a little easier with time. But instead he said, 'No, it hasn't got any better.' And that's just it. And now I start getting upset about the stupid, stupid cricket team.
Wednesday, 21 April 2010
I'm making myself type this post when I don't really want to. The truth is that we're looking at surrogacy. No, the whole truth. We're quite far down the line with the whole surrogacy business. We are looking at the US rather than the UK because in the UK surrogacy is virtually unknown. I don't know why I find it so hard to admit to this. I think it's because people I know will think that it is really weird / extreme / desperate / sad. Also I'm really frightened, really frightened of someone saying something horrible about it, or chucking a bucket of cold water on the whole thing. I vaguely tried it out on two friends. One said something derogatory about 'the kind of woman who would do something like that.' (In other words be a surrogate mother). This woman, of course, has three live and healthy children. The other friend said something chilly about the difficult psychological effects for the child. And actually I hadn't even said 'surrogacy' only 'donor egg.' I find these kind of comments amazing. Given what my husband and I have been through, I just thought people would cheer from the sidelines, no matter what they really think. On the upside, my Mum thinks it is a great idea. Also one dear friend here is whole heartedly supportive. Needless to say, she is a bereaved Mum. At the end of the day, I'm not really going to be influenced by what anyone says. But I could do without yet another thoroughly isolating experience.
Friday, 19 March 2010
To me it seems like this - you start out on the whole business of having children and you have an idea of how you want it to be. Ideally you want two children, a boy and a girl. To begin with all goes well. The boy is born and you love him more than you can say. But then the girl dies and suddenly you have to readjust your ideas about how you thought things would be. But still you expect to have another child. Then you miscarry and you miscarry ....... and all the time you are having to change your expectations. Then you think donor eggs. Yes, but you can't use your own eggs. So actually you're never going to have another baby that is your own. So then you think adoption might be better. But you are told that there are no babies in the UK. You'll have to adopt a child who is two or older. Once again you readjust. You can adopt a baby abroad. A Chinese baby, you think, that would be good. But nowadays it's very difficult to get a Chinese baby so you'll have to have a Russian baby ...... OK fine. But have you seem the admin you'll have to go through? So maybe surrogacy ...... And so it goes on. But the point is that, at every stage, you have to let go of an idea of how you thought the world would be. And that letting go is difficult and it takes time and there really aren't any short cuts. At each stage, as each piece of bad news hits home, you say, 'No way. No way at all. I'm not doing the donor egg thing / the overseas adoption thing / the surrogacy thing ......Never in a million years.' But then over time you see that actually there may be no choice. And slowly you come to accept the new reality. You talk yourself into the fact that it may be a good idea. Of course, the lesson is that you shouldn't ever have an expectations of how anything will be. But of course we do have expectations because we see what other people around us are doing. Wanting two children isn't like wanting to win the Booker Prize / the Pultizer Prize, nor is it like wanting to win millions on the lottery. It's a reasonable expectation - but dangerous all the same.
Friday, 26 February 2010
About a year ago a thought came to me. The thought was this - 'In all of this I have reckoned without the force of the human will.' I think that in our generation the human will is a bit unfashionable. Everybody has to be allowed to feel what they want to feel, to express everything, to process everything. Certainly in my twenties and thirties that was the way I thought. And that view does still have its value. But there are things too big to process. Sometimes the only way to survive is to get up and walk off. You can decide just not to think about certain things. And it also becomes apparent that you can also decide to be happy - although when I was younger I never thought that you could. In fact, the human will is incredibly strong. I feel now that I understand my mother and my (departed) grandmother in a way I never did before. They are war time women and they have very English stiff upper lips. They are busy, practical, efficient, nothing gets them down, they smile no matter what. Five years ago I'd have criticised them for 'denial.' Now I'm a grown up myself and I understand that sometimes it is better to smile and pretend it never happened.
Thursday, 11 February 2010
I feel as though I need an end to our story. Or perhaps it is more the case that other people need an end to the story. Usually stories like ours end with the birth of another baby. Of course, people who have suffered a stillbirth know that a new, living baby isn't the end of the story at all. But I think that, to the outside world, it looks like some kind of ending. But we, sadly, are not going to get that ending ..... So some how we need another. We need - or other people need us - to be able to say, 'Yes, all these horrible things happened but now we have ....... established a charity for disadvantaged children / started a course in environmental science / taken a year off and travelled around the world / written a book about what happened / become involved in a campaign for better medical research .......' (Fill in any number of other possible suggestions). We some how need an outcome, a story to tell which has an ending. I feel that if we had that ending we would find it easier to re-engage with the world. But no big project presents itself. Ideas come to us but we feel unable to commit to anything in particular. So instead the days drift on and we seem stuck in the same old place. Not desperately unhappy but just numb, disconnected.
Monday, 8 February 2010
My younger sister has had a baby - a little boy called William who was born yesterday. He is her first child and the first baby to be born in the family since Laura died. I didn't know that I'd really been worrying about my sister until I woke up this morning and realised that I didn't have to worry any more (or at least not as much). I did call her on Saturday night and she said, 'Yes, I thought it was all going to happen yesterday but now it has all gone quiet.' Of course, I wanted to yell down the phone, 'WHAT DO YOU MEAN - QUIET?' But I managed not to do that. I'm so, so pleased that she has had a boy. That is a real help to me and to her. I didn't want everyone looking in the pram and thinking, 'I wonder if Laura would have looked like that.' (Would anyone have thought that? Or am I kidding myself?) Also that wouldn't be fair on my sister. Her experience is her experience and she wants to enjoy it freely, without being weighed down by my baggage. Today I mentioned to a couple of woman on the school run that I was relieved the baby is a boy. They didn't get the point at all. And they didn't understand why I had been scared and worried. Perhaps it was stupid of me to think that they might understand. On Sunday, while my sister was in labour I did ring a lovely lady who I know in this area who also had a stillbirth. She is such a support to me. I said to her, 'My sister is in labour. I'm not upset but I just wanted to say those words to someone.' She understood entirely and it really helped. Tomorrow I might have to take my son to see the baby. That could be a bit more challenging. I think my sister knows that I'm not going to hold her son. I've never held a baby since Laura died and I'm not thinking of starting now. I'll be OK if the baby is big and fat and jolly looking. What I can't cope with is any tiny, skinny little babies which look a bit premature. But at the moment I'm not worried about all this. A day will probably come when I'll wail about all the attention that this new baby is getting and I'll think, 'I wanted Laura to have all the cards and the flowers and the new baby grows, all the love and the care.' But for the moment I don't feel like that. I've got much better at simply deciding not to feel certain things.
Sunday, 31 January 2010
I understand from reading other blogs that people write blogs for very different reasons. I suppose for lots of people blogs are just a place to post news and photographs - and why not? But my blog isn't like that at all. I don't usually put any stuff here about our holidays, our friends, our building work, my son's school - or whatever. Because the point is that I can talk to anyone in my normal life about those things. So for me this blog is specifically to do with my daughter's death. It contains thoughts I very seldom share with anyone in my normal life. Inevitably it also contains some of the rather small and bitter stuff which really has no other place to go. It seems to me that that is fine. Problems only arise if someone reads this blog and thinks that it is actually representative of my life as a whole. If they do that then, of course, they judge me as bitter and obsessed and sad. But anyone who does that is making a mistake. In my normal life I'm cheerful and busy and generally fairly positive - and, of course, I have masses of things going on in my life which have nothing to do with my daughter's death. I tend to assume that people who read blogs can figure that out for themselves - but perhaps not all of them can!
Tuesday, 19 January 2010
I haven't written this blog for a long time! I stopped writing it because somebody made some very nasty comments about it and the whole thing was so damaging and upsetting that I couldn't even face looking at the blog at all. But now I've thought it all through and I've realised that, if stop writing this blog, then I'm giving in to those people who have hurt me. So I'm starting again. And actually I never used to tell anyone in my normal life about this blog - but I'm going to now. I just feel that I do have a right to say what I want to say, in the way I want to say it, and that I should exercise that right. Of course, I know hardly anybody reads this anyway but that's not the point! Thanks to those who have posted comments in the past and might again in future.