A Life Less Ordinary
I often find myself wondering, how did we get here? And more importantly, how on earth do we get through this?
From the moment you have the positive pregnancy test, you are filled with excitement and anticipation for your growing family. Sure, for the first trimester you have the normal hesitation to not get too excited until you pass the ‘safe point’ but we all assume that we are on track to having our perfect little family.
However, those of us who suffered the death of our baby know that there really is no safe point of pregnancy now. That is just one of the many life lessons we have learned the hard way.
No one ever expects their baby to die. Throughout your pregnancy (before entering the world of baby loss), you are blissfully ignorant and believe that just like most people, you will have your baby here in no time and your biggest worry will be all of the normal new mum gripes; sleepless nights, colic, nappy rash, sore nipples etc. Oh how you would do absolutely anything to be dealing with those things instead of trying to re-piece your life following the death of your baby.
Losing a baby, no matter at what gestation is life changing and heart breaking. But losing your baby so close to the finish line as I did has really left me feeling quite perplexed at how close I was to having our perfect family; for nine blissfully ignorant months I really thought I would. In a flash it was all taken away from us and now we have to carry on as normal, as we were before when it was just the two of us.
But nothing feels normal anymore.
Life has changed forever now. We are parents to a beautiful son but he lives in the stars. His memory lives on but his soul is somewhere else. I wish I knew where, I wish I knew what it is like for him. Sometimes I think I can feel his presence, like someone is watching me but not in a scary way. Was that shooting star I saw you? I think it was.
Billy will always be a part of our family and will never be forgotten. The soul crushing desire for him to be here will never go away but I know that we need to learn to accept that it is just not possible to have our beautiful boy here with us and we need to find ways to have Billy be a part of our family in different ways.
I love writing Billy’s name down, I never miss an opportunity to do this. This is our way of making new memories with our son as our time together was so short. Whether it is in the sand, the snow, the condensation on the windows, the dirt on our car, hey, I even wrote it in the dust on my dressing table the other day! (Note to self, please clean your house more. Note to husband, please wash the car!).
Our family is different to how we had hoped but we do still have a child, a son. It is just not in the ordinary way that most people do, yet I am learning to live with this new-normal and appreciate our little family and make as many new memories as we can. We talk about Billy every day and sometimes it isn’t in the heartbroken, shell shocked way it was to begin with. As time goes by we are learning to navigate our new life and take Billy along with us. That is all we can do. Our family has grown and we definitely feel like parents now, we understand the unconditional love you really do hold for your children, but you can’t see our child and neither can we. But we feel him and hold him in our hearts.
Our life is not how we had planned when we thought about having children. We thought Billy would be here, we thought we would get to hold him and comfort him when he fell off his scooter or when he got stung by a wasp. We thought we would get to have those proud moments when he took his first steps or spoke his first words. We thought we would get to see him off on his first day of school, proudly fighting the tears wondering where the time had gone. And we thought we’d get to be a part of all of the milestones of his life and love him more than anything else in the world. One part of that is true, we really do love him more than anything else in the world.
I cannot believe how strong these feelings are, I don’t think I have ever felt anything close to this before in my life. The love I have for Billy hugely outweighs the heartbreak I feel for losing him. Sometimes I think it would have been easier to have never met him but I wouldn’t change that for the world. Even though our time together was so unfairly short, it has defined and shaped me in a positive way.
I take less for granted now. I am grateful for the smaller things. I appreciate people and simple things more. That is because of Billy and this new life I find myself in.
Everyone else goes back to living life and the world keeps on turning whilst we feel stuck on an endless merry-go-round of heartache that we can’t get off. The desire for our children to be with us so strong and taking over every thought.
We all have to move forwards and navigate our new lives following the death of our baby. It is unprecedented and so difficult, but what choice do we have? Let this beat us and sit from the side lines watching everyone else enjoy life, or accept the cruel cards we have been dealt and try to rebuild our lives, learning to accept this new normal, this life less ordinary and hopefully grow from it and do a little good in our lost children’s names.
Nothing about this is fair, all of it was so unexpected and whilst everyone around you carries on with their lives it feels almost impossible for you to do the same. The operative word there is almost, because you can because you have to. We take our little ones into our new life, the old us are in there somewhere but the new us leads the way. We’re perhaps a little wiser, we’ve seen some people for who they truly are, we’ve felt hurt like we never thought possible, a longing for things to be different that takes over our whole emotions, confusion and perplexity; the list of what we’ve learned endless.
But the strongest thing I will take with me into this new life, is the power of love. A love that has made me grow, that knows no bounds and will help me to heal as I navigate and process my new life that sees me have a son who cannot be here.
Who knows what the future for us holds, I have learned to expect the unexpected now but Billy will be with us no matter what paths our lives take from here. Our forever baby. Our angel baby. Our brightest star in the sky. Our Billy.