My husband and I lost our first born daughter, Annabelle on 10 August 2012. She was stillborn, something that you just can not believe actually still happens in this day and age. You realise though as you learn of the secret world of bereaved parents that it happens much more often than you care to believe. It was a difficult and dark time when Annabelle passed and continued to be difficult and dark for many days, weeks and months afterwards.
Coming out of that haze, I realised that life continued for those around me. As I began to go back to “life”, it was hard to work out what to say to people when you saw them again. It was especially hard with those who expected me to have a baby in my arms and they are unaware of what tragically had happened. It’s that difficult circle of people: colleagues and acquaintances that aren’t close enough to be those friends who learnt straight away of our baby’s death, but were well aware that you were pregnant. Going back to “normal life”, meant having to interact with them and explain to them the trauma of our loss. As I found myself repeating the story of the lost of my beloved Annabelle that soothed me but brought such sorrow, I could not bring myself, at times, most times, to do it again tomorrow.
Although blessed with a subsequent pregnancy, it brought such anxiety as innocent questions from strangers abound about the number of children I had and what number pregnancy this might be. I might give an answer that doesn’t sit quite right, so the next time I gave another. As an overthinker, there is a whole lot of mental gymnastics to work out what to say. I wanted to make sure that I respected and honoured my child while managing the emotional turmoil and anxiety I had inside about what further questions may ensue from the answers that I gave.
In the end, I decided whatever answer I gave, they don’t remember it and I sit with the answer for what feels like forever because it doesn’t matter as much to them as it does to me and it just doesn’t seem to do my child justice.
But you know what?
As bereaved parents, we just do what we feel comfortable. There is no right or wrong way to answer such questions as time and life continues following the lost of our children. You navigate life as well as you can and do what you feel right to live and breathe the new normal that is your life without your beloved child. For me, to respect and honour my child, Annabelle is to continue to live my life and what it stands for.
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I am a mother to Annabelle, stillborn on 10 August 2012, BabySo, miscarried at 12 weeks on 20 June 2013 and Jema who was born in July 2014. I share my family's story to help honour the memory of Annabelle and BabySo so they can still make a difference to another family's journey on this path despite not having stepped a single foot on this earth.