Anger – I always found that my anger would be directed at the things I least expected. I would be angry over people announcing that they are expecting or if I was eating out I would be this miserable person tutting at a child being noisy in a restaurant or in a shop but I realised that is was just because I was angry at the fact that Dexy would never be that child.
Bottling up – Soon after we left the hospital and left Dexy in there I shut down. I didn’t want to talk to anyone and I didn’t want to talk about how I was feeling. I was in so much emotional agony that even mentioning his name or the fact he died was excruciating. I didn’t even want to talk to Phil about it. I soon learned that not talking about my emotions and what I was going through was doing the complete opposite of what I wanted. I kept it all in until I couldn’t anymore and just broke down.
Confidence – How do you feel confident after your baby dies? You feel like your body has failed you and you no longer have an identity, so what do you do?
Disbelief – I couldn’t believe that my baby had died. I couldn’t believe that on New Years Day my child died. I couldn’t believe that a Dr asked if he was moving normally right before I gave birth even though she got told he had died. I couldn’t believe a midwife came to my parents house and after I told her I only came home with his “Stillbirth” certificate she then proceeded to ask to see the baby. I couldn’t believe how many of my “friends” vanished but then I couldn’t believe people would want to be around me.
Excitement – People who haven’t gone through any form of baby loss or know someone who has always find it hard to understand that even though I knew my baby was dead I was still excited and happy to meet them. I got asked by a woman a couple of months ago about how I could smile at my dead son because if she ever lost a baby she would never be able to smile again. To be honest, I thought like that too before Dexy. But when he was born I was so excited to meet the little chap who had been punching me in my ribs and giving me heartburn for so many months but also I was just really excited to meet our son. A part of both of us.
Fathers – When Dexy died I turned to social media and I noticed that it was mainly Mums posting and running blogs. I found a few dads who were blogging but I really found that most of the care, help and support was aimed at the mums. I know Phil was just as heartbroken as I was and probably struggling even more than me as he didn’t have a safety net around him and he also witnessed me nearly dying after giving birth. I always struggled with the support aimed at me and not him. We have therapy with my therapist and it is beneficial to us both as it is a space for him to also talk about how he is coping and feeling. If you know someone going through baby loss please make sure you focus on the Dads too. They matter just as much as the Mums.
Grief – This isn’t just being sad and crying loads. Grief has affected every part of my life. I hate my body because in a sense it let my son and I down. I push people away because I don’t want to be close to people. I get anxious over the thought that anyone I know can die at any time without any warning. My thought process has completely changed since Dexy. I worry over the smallest things and don’t give a shit over stuff I probably should and I’ve learnt that whatever I need to do I can do. I need to put myself first.
Happiness – I remember the first time I laughed after Dexy died, my first proper laugh. I was having a bottle of wine with Phil and my friend Natalie and for that moment in time I wasn’t going through hell. I was able to laugh and I’ve never missed the sound of my laugh so much. I realised that it’s okay to laugh and be happy. I felt fucking guilty at first because how could I be happy when my son has died? But I couldn’t let myself be gone. I couldn’t vanish I still needed to be happy and I need to learn that it is okay to piss myself laughing after a bottle or two of wine.
Isolation – Baby loss is isolating, people don’t know how to be around you. They watch what they say because they don’t want to upset you and they never bring up Dexy because it makes them uncomfortable or thinks it will make you uncomfortable. You don’t fit in anywhere because you can’t go and meet up mum who have babies at a mum and baby group, you’re on maternity leave without a child and you just spend most of the time by yourself or with the same people. You just feel so lonely in this world, it feels like you’re from another planet and it’s hard.
Jealousy – OVER EVERYTHING. I get jealous over everything. People posting their happy news, seeing babies in public, hearing a child calling mummy, a baby and a dog together, pregnant people who don’t know how their world could be turned upside down at any point. If my skin colour changed it would be green 24/7. I’ve always been so open about my jealousy as it can literally drive you to the point of madness. I even get jealous that I might be able to do everything with this baby and I didn’t with Dexy.
Keepsakes – I have various boxes of bits that belong to Dexy. I have his little memory box that was donated by a charity at the hospital. I have his blanket and teddy in a vacuum bag that keeps his smell in. I have his baby book with a lock of his hair, his nail clippings and even a bit of his skin haha.
Living – Living after your child is hard. Everything you do from that point you realise they will never be able to do it. But I always try to remind myself even if I don’t want to live I need to live for him. His life now lives with his Dad and me. It’s so important to keep going so he can.
Me – I am still myself. A changed version of myself but somewhere deep down I am exactly the same! I still love the same things, I still have the same humour (just a little darker now). I know that so much of myself and my life has changed but really I am me. People don’t always see that now and it is so upsetting. I’ve claimed this identity of Hannah with the dead baby but really I’m just Hannah still.
Naive – What I would give to be naive about this side of life. I would love to wake up everyday excited and counting down the days till my due date full of hope that this baby is definitely coming home with us. This baby is definitely going to use that pram. But it isn’t like that anymore. I know lack of movements doesn’t mean the baby is sleeping or ran out of room. It means the baby is possibly dead. I wake up everyday to my son on my shelf and hoping that the baby doesn’t die today. Oh the sweet pregnancy naivety I miss you.
Offended – This both goes for me and other people. I don’t want to offended people by what I write, posting photos of my son or just being a bereaved mother but it happens. I have lost people over it. I have offended people over all of this and you realise that people who are offended and disgruntled by what you put really don’t get it. They don’t get how you feel and 9/10 they are not worth having in your life. I don’t really get offended that easily unless it is about my son or my blog. They are the only two things they generally offend me and the majority of the time it is by the people in the first part of this paragraph.
Petrified – I’m petrified that Phil is going to die. My parents are going to die. I obviously know that they will one day but all I ever think about is that it is going to happen unexpectedly and soon. I live my life preparing for people to now leave me and I constantly prepare for myself to be alone because everyone I know will die.
Quiet Time – To gather my thoughts, to pamper myself, to remind myself I’ve got this. They are all so important. If you have 20 mins a day where you can just sit by yourself I highly recommend it. Think about what you love, think about memories and remind yourself that you are still here and you are going through shit but you are okay.
Realisation – When it hits that goodbye is goodbye it’s fucking awful. I remember Dexy funeral it hit me that my son’s body is no longer here. I drowned myself in wine and self-pity because I couldn’t cope. I wanted all of this to be over. Even now I still find it hard to realise that this baby might come home and Dexy never did (unless you count him coming home in a box). When you see babies around you and pregnant people and you feel so alone because yours isn’t here. the realisation that your baby or child has died is gut wrenching. The moment it all hits you, you just want to stop living.
Sensitive – I find myself being more sensitive about others than they are for me. I find I monitor what I say to pregnant people or new Mums. I’m probably more sensitive to people than they are to me.
Thankful – There are so many things I am thankful for. I’m thankful that I could cuddle and hold my son. I’m thankful I got to spend 36 weeks and 5 days with him alive. I’m thankful I have photos of him and us. I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for finding the courage to start my blog. I’m thankful to still being here.
Understanding – Understanding when to shut up about Dexy is something I have mastered. When I see people s expressions change or they wince I know that it is time to not talk about him anymore. I know that I can’t post certain photos because in them he looks too dead and I understand that people can’t cope with that. Does it upset me? Yes. But I understand if you haven’t been through it that it can be hard.
Vulnerable – When everything is ripped from you it is like you have nothing to protect you anymore. After Dexy died both Phil and I were like children. We needed to be looked after. We needed extra care. We needed extra love. We moved into my parents for a couple of weeks because we just needed to be cared for.
Wishful – I wish I get to bring this baby home. I wish no one ever loses a child and I wish Dexy was here. Being wishful is great but it isn’t a reality. It just hurts more. I would rather be frank and say it how it is. But I still close my eyes and make a wish.
X-Double-Minus – I had to google words beginning with “x” and this work here means something terrible and I think that sums up baby loss.
Yearning – To hold him, to hear him cry, to see him grow up. I need him here. How can I function without him?
Zero Fucks – Learning to not give a shit about people who are not worth it or what you can’t control. Everything you do is for you now. No one else.