It has been 14 years since he was born. 14 years since he arrived at speed and entered his short life filled with a medical world of tubes and surgery.
In pregnancy there was never a moment where we didn’t consider giving him every chance but occasionally, on reflection, I do wonder if we did the right thing by him. Rightly or wrongly, giving him every chance has helped me deal with his death.
I am writing this the night before his birthday when there should be party plans and last minute wrapping but there has never been any of this. We never got the chance to discover his personality, he never got the chance to be a pain in the arse for his two older sisters, I have never had any cuddles, kisses or I love yous from him.
Losing a child has meant the deepest grief and pain, along with a guilt about how this has affected my other children who were raised by a mother who struggled with anxiety, depression and PTSD.
I have had therapy, I have had medication, I have had time and I have learnt to thrive again. I no longer feel broken
Despite having the love, energy and attention from my other children, I felt broken for a long time. There was never a time when they weren’t enough, my girls have always been enough but I needed time to heal so I could do more than go day by day.
Everyone’s grief is different. In the early days, weeks, months and years, when my anxiety could be crippling, I had to divide my days into chunks just to get through each one. My life was planned so I worked within my comfort zone, no matter what I was doing. I feel like I have gently pushed out my comfort zone and now I have learnt to live my mental health challenges.
If I’m honest, much of the last 14 years is a bit of a blur – apart from my time with my girls which has given me my most precious memories. The bedtimes, the cuddles, the arguments, the car journeys, the holidays, the days on the beach, the laughter, the pride, the school performances – I have tried to make my time with them count as much as possible. I feel forever grateful that I have been able to have them and my time with them.
I rarely feel anxious now and life does feel pretty good. There is life after baby-loss but it has taken time and it is something I have learnt to live with – I think about him and miss him everyday.