Through all of this craziness the only moments of calm I had were when I was holding Benjamin. I had looked forward to holding him for so long but I had never thought for one minute that he wouldn’t be alive when it finally happened. When the nurse rolled him into our room I couldn’t believe how perfect he was, it took my breath away. He just looked like he was sleeping. I thought that holding him would be strange and unnatural but it was quite the opposite. My heart was bursting with love for him. He was where he belonged, with his Mummy and Daddy. I think that is where the calmness came from – it is the most natural thing in the world to hold your newborn baby. It just so happened that ours had already left this world for the next.
The weeks that followed were the worst of my life. I would wake up at 5am every morning and wonder how I would make it through to that evening. Every minute felt like an eternity. After saying goodbye to Benjamin for the last time at his funeral the desperate longing to hold him again tortured me each day. The tears would not stop and yet I had this strange yearning to be pregnant again. Nothing made sense. Nothing made me happy. My life felt like nothing. I had no idea how to live in this new world where I carried my baby in my heart instead of in my arms. All I wanted was for someone to tell me how to get through the days and how to re-integrate back into life.
I had no structure to my day and I had no interest in doing anything but I needed to start somewhere. So I started with small wins. Each day I would try to do something small. It started with getting out of bed and having a shower and progressed to blow-drying my hair and even cooking a meal. At the start it was hard for me to do this. I was so used to my big job and being busy, busy, busy that the small wins seemed silly and trivial. I had gone from managing the finances for a billionaire dollar business to celebrating blow-drying my hair. An important thing that I have learnt on this journey, however, is that I need to be kind to myself and I need to be patient with myself. Most people will never go through as traumatic an event as losing their baby. Whether we like it or not it takes time to heal.
I am now 5 months on from losing Benjamin and the small wins have snowballed into big wins and dare I say it a new life. A life that is very different from what I had imagined but still worth fighting for. I have good days and I have bad days. I still cry all the time and I miss my boy desperately. But I think that by trying to live life again I have found hope again. I have found an amazing love in this world and the knowledge that my son is always and forever in my heart keeps me going each day.
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Catherine was born in Ireland but moved to Perth, Western Australia with her husband almost 10 years ago. She is mum to baby Benjamin, who was born sleeping in April 2017. Since losing Benjamin she has taken a keen interest in raising awareness for stillbirth and trying to help those who follow in her footsteps of loss. Catherine blogs about her experiences of stillbirth and grief at 'Benjamin's Light' and through her Facebook page