This an open letter to you and to any other new-mum friends or pregnant friends that have a friend that has experienced the trauma and sadness of losing a child.
I remember the day you told me you were pregnant Lynsey, I was sat in my room and I was around 16 weeks pregnant, completely unaware of what Dave and I were going to suffer. It was still early days for you but you and I were both so excited, I was over the moon knowing that just 10 or so weeks after me you’d be on maternity leave and our babies would have been growing up as great friends and you and I would be able to support each other as we navigated our way through the early days of motherhood.
Would we have gone to a baby group together? Would we have met for a coffee and a cry together while we tried to figure this thing out? Would we have been messaging in the early hours as we were both up feeding/winding/nappy changing? Sadly, we’ll never know.
I cannot imagine how it must have been for you when I lost Dexter. The mix of emotions. You were so kind to me at a time when you could have quite easily walked away because it was too much to cope with. I’d heard stories from friends that had lost babies and how their pregnant friends had found it too hard to cope with so left the friendship. I think in some way I would have understood if you felt you’d had to; surrounded by all the grief and the sadness of us losing our baby while you continued growing your beautiful girl.
But you didn’t. You put all of your feelings aside and I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for not leaving me. Thank you for caring about me. Thank you for trying. Thank you for getting it. I know this can’t have been easy for you but your support has been unwavering. You have shown such kindness, whether it was trying to hide your bump from me in the early days, not talking about your pregnancy unless I asked about it or coming to my house so soon after losing Dexter and asking me to tell you our story and see pictures of Dexter. You were so sensitive in talking to me about your pregnancy but you also understood why it was so important for me to know that you and the baby were ok, that I couldn’t bear for anyone else to go through what we were going through and it brought me such relief knowing that you were both well. You’ll never know how much this has meant and I will always be eternally grateful.
Today I got to meet your week-old daughter Tilly and how beautiful she is. I am so unbelievably pleased for you and your family and I know you are going to make such a wonderful mummy. I know I cried today when I held Tilly (as did you) but I want you to know this; the tears didn’t come from me being angry, bitter, jealous or resentful for what you have – it was for a whole host of reasons I think. The first being pure joy for you, you deserve to have all the happiness and I am so thrilled for you. But honestly and I don’t really know but as I sit and think about it, I think I also had tears for my own longing. Longing to be able to hold my own newborn baby, broken because our opportunity was taken so cruelly away but this should in no way take any shine off you and your baby. I am so very thankful that you could bring your baby home.
It’s been a really difficult 6 months and I’ve written this letter as I feel like I need to justify myself – I don’t really know who to – not to you, possibly not to anyone but maybe just to silence my own thoughts. I have often felt ashamed, embarrassed, guilty about losing Dexter. Guilty for the ripple effect it’s caused. Guilty because other pregnant friends have said it’s too much reading my posts about stillbirth whilst they are still pregnant. Guilty for not being strong enough to not always be able to celebrate friends’ pregnancies by attending their baby showers. Guilty for not wanting to hear birth stories from friends who have been able to take their babies home.
But Lynsey, know this – you have never made me feel like this. You have made it so easy for me, you have been so kind, caring and compassionate and you will never know how much it has meant. That is why I was able to come and see you today, to meet your beautiful girl, to celebrate your daughter.
So I guess what I am trying to say is thank you.
What a wonderful human being you are.