I am joining in on the Right Where I am Project, where you do exactly that, write about where are you in your grief? Emotionally. Physically. Psychically. It is a chance to write about where life is right now for me, in this very moment after the loss of my second child, my first daughter. How things were back in the early days of loss and how they are now. Right Where I Am 2 Years, 2 Months and 16 Days into my journey
I am a 30 year old woman. I have been married for a decade to a very funny, deeply passionate man who is my best friend. I am a proud mum of 4 children and I volunteer my time to run a non profit organisation helping other families who experience miscarriage, premature birth, neonatal loss, stillbirth, infant loss of their child or diagnosis of a congenital abnormality.
I will do my best to describe where I am. I still find it hard, hard to share, hard to talk, hard to grieve. Hard to express the ache deep within my heart, especially to those on the outside looking in. I feel I have grown as a person, friend, a wife and a mother. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I sometimes wonder right now if my 'friends' think I am nuts. I know they think I should be 'over it' but losing a child is not something you ever get over, nor do you get through it. You just learn to live a new life. When you lose a baby who has never taken a breath, you don't have the same memories as if you lost a spouse or a relative, someone who was an adult and lived a life. I don't know what colour Yasminah's eyes were, or what her voice sounded like, or how she would look if she smiled or laughed! I have only a handful of photos and memories of her time within my womb.
It's like my heart has been scarred, permanently damaged. The early days and weeks after losing Yasminah I thought I could never go on. I wasn't suicidal, I was just so angry and hurt that this had happened to me! How could this happen to me? My body was confused just as much as my heart and mind. I will never forgot the day she was born, that first night listening to other babies crying in the ward and as the tears flowed from my eyes my breasts cried out for the child I longed to nurse. I wanted my daughter, I wanted sleepless nights, dirty nappies and late night feeds. I didn't want to know that the world went on, that meals still needed to be made, that washing had to be done, bills had to be paid, that the world around me had no idea that I had lost my child. I didn't leave the house, I stopped talking to my best friend who had her baby 10 days after I lost my daughter. Our children were meant to be growing up together. Everyone said I was very brave to visit my best friend in hospital so soon after losing Yasminah. I remember walking into the ward and seeing my friend and all her family were there. I felt like I had 100 pairs of eyes glued to my every move. I then held her child, I was so nervous, the first baby I held in my arms since my daughter. It felt wrong and weird to have a moving, breathing baby in my arms. This is what I should be doing not visiting my daughters grave. I held it together until I made it back to the safety of the car then proceeded to break down as the pain cut deep into my soul and the reality of everything I was missing crept in.
I felt hurt when I searched for other mums to try and relate to, I didn't want to feel alone, but that's exactly how I felt. Because Yasminah had differences I was made to feel from other mums who had perfectly healthy babies die that it was for the best because there was something wrong with Yasminah. This is the worst thing you can say to a mother who has lost a child who was different. I was angry with the world around me, angry that it kept moving. I couldn't stop crying. Why did this happen?
Two years later and I think of my daughter almost every moment of every day. Yasminah's name passes through my lips as often as I can. I cry but not as much as I used to and it is no longer always a hysterical, chest beating, screaming cry. You know the type of cry that gives you an instant all day headache, puffy and red eyes. Rather I shed silent tears, as the water flows in the shower or in the still of the night looking at her photo beside my bed. Sure there are still moments I break down and it can feel like I am right back in the beginning of my journey. I am no longer angry. It really does get a little easier as time goes on.Emotionally I would say I am doing OK. I still have good and bad days. Today wasn't a good day but it wasn't a bad day, it was somewhere in between. I stayed in my PJ's, I didn't shower or brush my hair. I thought about her a lot! I cried a few times today. I LOVE to talk, and have the phone bills to prove it ;-) There are 3 women who I talk to on a daily basis. My best friend, we share everything and I can talk about Yasminah to her and whilst she has never lost a child she is there for me unconditionally. It is hard to watch her child grow and celebrate birthdays, but in a lot of ways it helps me too. She listens to me rant, rave and cry. This is important. You really learn who your real friends are and who you can rely on. There is a saying I love that says you have friends for a reason, season or lifetime. My best friend is a lifetime friend. I have lost a lot of my season friends, you know friends from high school, old work colleagues, and neighbours. Many of whom may read this. It is not that I didn't want to still be friends with them, rather we just didn't connect anymore. The other two women I talk to are fellow BLM who both lost their child because of a congenital abnormality. They have lost a child who wasn't prefect in the eyes of others. To us our children were perfect, we understand each other and I would be lost without them all in my life. I no longer feel alone.
I have held another baby in my arms, my rainbow babies. For me it was a no brainer to try again. It was a difficult and a challenging pregnancy filled with fear. Would there be a problem during the pregnancy? Would they pass away too? Experiencing their sudden premature birth and watching my twins fight for life was scary and confronting. But I had a silent faith in my heart that everything would be OK, that they would survive. I held onto hope. Having our twin girls after the loss of Yasminah brought joy and happiness back into my life. I got to do all those things I missed out on with Yasminah. And still do, but I always wonder what it would be like to have 3 girls. The What if's are always there. Yasminah's little sisters spent 4 weeks in NICU but are now thriving happy, beautiful little girls who are learning to walk and talk. They play with dolls and I get to brush their curly hair. They have an wonderful big brother who loves them so much but he also talks about Yasminah. I love how he includes her in our life. I am happy and blessed that I have 3 beautiful, happy, healthy, living children and an amazing husband who stands by me through it all.
Life is good at the moment, it is hard, but it is filled with hope. Yasminah was a gift to me and I will miss her always and forever. But right now 2 years, 2 months and 16 days into my journey of grief I am surviving one step at a time. Big breaths, baby steps.