I wrote this a year to the day we went into hospital to be induced with Aneurin. I wasn’t sure I wanted to publish it because I wanted Aneurin’s anniversary week to be positive, which is why I wrote his birth story. However, grief isn’t positive and that week was incredibly emotional, raw and difficult. This post reminds me of the early ones I wrote in the weeks after Aneurin died and I realised that’s why I want to share it. It might be a year later, but this grief that lives with me never goes away. I will carry it forever and no matter how much time passes, it will always take my breath away.
A year ago today we walked onto the labour ward clutching onto eachother for dear life feeling so overwhelmed with what was about to happen.
I don’t really know how it’s been an entire year. Time in grief is very strange. It goes incredibly quickly when all you’re doing day to day is surviving with no real purpose inbetween. We’re both very aware of how despite the enormous anxiety of being pregnant again, it has given us a reason to put one foot infront of the other. In some ways it’s made this year go even quicker because we are constantly looking to the next day. Another day that we’ve survived without Aneurin, another day our Poglet has survived.
How has it been a year? How have we survived? How has it been that long since our lives changed so drastically? It makes no sense to me. I know time is irrelevant really but when it comes to your child, it isn’t. Parents measure everything in time. Weeks pregnant, length of labour, sleeping times, feeding times, milestones. Birthdays.
We should be planning a first birthday with our beautiful little boy at the centre and it is so incredibly unfair that we aren’t. We are planning a pleasant day with things to make us feel close to him but it isn’t the same. I want to buy toys I know he’ll like, clothes in his size, things with his favourite characters on. I want to spend hours perfecting his birthday cake, planning a party for our family and friends, wrapping presents excitedly. But I’m not. And I don’t even know what size clothes he would be wearing. Would his growth have slowed like the doctors told me babies with Down’s syndrome would? Or would he be on target with his birth weight and full of rolls and dimples. What milestones would he have reached by now? Would he only just be sitting up or would he be taking his first steps? Would he be able to gurgle mama and dada at us yet? I hate not knowing these things. A mum should know.
Nothing will ever be as bad as those first few weeks in the after part of our lives but these last few weeks come close. My grief feels so fresh, so raw and so unbearable. I cry at the drop of a hat, sometimes not even realising I am. I want to hibernate because the effort of having to make conversation that isn’t about my baby seems so insignificant. I have that lead weight in my chest again, the permanent sting of emotion in my throat and physical ache in my heart.
I feel guilty for feeling the way I do when my second child, my daughter, wriggles and stretches inside me. Mr D says he loves watching me when she’s moving because I look so content. She is the only thing that makes my heart feel lighter at the minute but I’m sad that I feel so bereft, so broken at the same time. We went to the seaside last weekend and watched a dad dangle his child’s feet in the sea. I cried. Half with heartbreak because we will never do that with Aneurin and half with joy because I cannot wait to do that with Poglet. This is what it will be like now, half in one world and half in another. Another confusing, conflicting emotion to adjust to.
This renewed grief has made me realise how strong my gratitude is. How blessed I feel to be feeling it because it’s real and fierce. I can live with the grief when it’s echoed with so much love. I would live it all again for the time we had with him. I would choose him again and again no matter how broken I feel.
What I wouldn’t give to wake up on Sunday, hear our son gurgling and chattering away in the next room and see his beautiful big smile greeting us on his first birthday.
I miss you, Aneurin. You are missing from me.