Remembering my first baby during Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month
************* Trigger warning for pregnancy loss************
I’ve been putting together a playlist for the birth of my third child, who should be born during this month of October. Fitting that it’s Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness month, as I’ve also lost three pregnancies. One during this month last year, and my first baby, due on October 22nd, 2009. I wonder will this baby, my last, be born on that date.
Music is such an amazing tool for labour, because it has a powerful effect on our minds and, in turn, our bodies. Imagining a smell lights up the same areas of the brain as if you’ve actually smelled it and it’s the same with music – just hearing a song in my head can evoke such powerful emotion that I found myself in tears in the street, yet again, on playing a song in my imagination the other day.
The song is ‘One’ by U2 and it puts me back in a cafe in Barcelona, April 2009. I was 9 days post an ERPC procedure after a miscarriage had been diagnosed by scan. Barcelona was booked and I decided it would be good for me to go; I could be sad there just as well as at home and the change of scene would do me good. I did enjoy it, some of the time. There were laughs as well as tears. And then, that song came on, and I crumbled. My husband was across the table from me and couldn’t comfort me, although he did his best.
Something I found very difficult about miscarriage recovery was the feeling that my husband just didn’t understand. How could he? Yes, of course he was sad. Our baby may not have been as real for him, but he had been wanted and talked about and my husband felt the loss. But it wasn’t his body that had let him down. He hadn’t carried a dead baby around inside him for weeks in macabre and detestable innocence. It wasn’t he who woke up with a pad between his legs, an empty uterus and an aching chasm where his heart used to be. He didn’t have his guts pulled out and then put through a mincer, over and over, every time someone said the wrong thing or was the wrong thing, like pregnant. I’ve never felt so alone, which is why the line ‘We need to carry each other’ had such a profound effect, I suppose.
I did find others to carry me. I found a tribe of women online, women who had been there and who understood all of it. The grief, the rage, the fear. The horror at the violence of some of my own thoughts. The desperation to conceive again. The utter stripping of self-confidence. They helped me to get better. Part of the healing for me was also becoming pregnant again very quickly, so all of this was going on while I was dealing with the anxiety of another pregnancy. It was too much to handle alone. I’m glad I didn’t have to and I’m eternally grateful to those women, friends, for how they minded me.
It’s 6 and a half years on now, and when I hear that song and feel back to that day, I’m glad when I feel sadness and pain. I wonder sometimes have I forgotten how much I loved that baby. The loss became a huge part of me but the baby has become smaller and less real over time. I’m happy to have something that brings us back together. So I’ll include his song in my labour playlist and he can be with us on the big day, during his month. The month that remembers all of the babies, forgotten by most, but held forever in the hearts, souls and minds of their mothers.
On October 15th, at 7pm, there is a worldwide wave of light for our babies. I’ll be lighting my candle and thinking of all the women I know who have been to that dark place. We are too many, but we can carry each other.
GentleBirth mp3 – Healing After Pregnancy Loss
Miscarriage Association of Ireland – http://www.miscarriage.ie/
A Little Lifetime Foundation – http://www.isands.ie/
Feileacain – http://www.feileacain.ie/