“Hi, how are you?” is probably one of the most simple and common things people first say to one another.
Before Rebecca was a part of our lives I would easily be able to honestly answer this question. Whether I was behind my desk at work, on the school run, catching up with friends or during a conversation with my husband in the evening over dinner… I was able to be honest, open up, spill the beans and always thought ‘a problem shared was a problem halved’ (if I had one!)
Now my whole world is different, it’s nearly been five months since my world changed, nearly five months since I held a real angel in my arms, nearly five months since Rebecca was cruelly taken away from us and nearly five months I have being living my new life.
Now when people approach me with a cheerful “Hi, how are you?” I wonder if it’s right to answer openly and honestly, whether it’s right to spill the beans and whether it would even help by sharing my problems.
If I were to be honest, would people want to hear it? Would they regret asking me? Would they never ask again out of fear for what they might hear? Or a fear of upsetting me? But people can’t upset me, I reached the limit of sadness and pain and crossed over it nearly five months ago.
My honest answer would be the same everyday;
“No, I’m not ok. My world now consists of dreaded fear, horrendous guilt, sadness which can ache right through to my bones and the most gut-wrenching pain that fills my body, mind and soul.
This is me, this is it. From the moment I open my eyes to the moment I lay them to rest again.
For I have buried my daughter, my beautiful precious daughter who should be alive, growing and thriving with each day. I gave birth to a sleeping angel who was taken from a family who longed for her and loved her so much already. I have watched my husband struggle each day with the loss of his little girl, I have seen his world crash down, I witnessed his heart shatter in that hospital room. I broke my living children’s hearts by telling them their baby sister couldn’t come home.
My days now consist of waking up to the fear of walking amongst pregnant women or seeing pushchairs passby with tiny bundles of joy inside. I watch new mothers coo over their babies and show them off proudly to the world… I have extreme jealously that eats me up inside, jealousy that comes with a side order of knives through my heart – For I long to push Rebecca in her pushchair in the fresh air, to see the sun shine on her pretty face, to hold her close to my chest in her carrier as we explore on a family walk, to refresh her nappy bag with her essentials each morning and to look in my rear-view mirror to see ALL my children sitting safely in the back of the car. To hear Rebecca’s cute noises, to hear her cry, to smell her skin, to see her eyes looking up at me – these are the fantasies that now fill my mind.
I feel so alone, even when surrounded by a supportive husband, friends and family, I’m so alone. I feel the whole world is against me, staring at me, like I caused this, like I am bad luck, like stillbirth could be contagious. I feel like I have been punished but with no idea what crime I could have possibly commited to have this life sentence placed upon me. At times I feel Rebecca is ignored. Like I should have ‘gotten over it by now’ This will never happen. Only the parents who share this pain know how it changes your life, how you’ll never be the same again.
Yes, nearly five months down the road into this ‘new life’ you may see me looking like I’m having a ‘better’/ ‘easier’/ ‘gentle’ days, but please don’t be fooled. This calm is shortlived. A gentle way the human body takes over and allows you to have a peaceful moment. Respite for a moment to regain a little strength. The pain is still there. Still raw and as fresh as the day Rebecca left us.”
Fortunately for those who approach me with “Hi, how are you?” get a standard, pleasent, albeit pessimistic “I’m ok thanks” or “Taking each day as it comes” – for that moment in time I may be ok, but mostly I am pardoning you from being kept there for hours detailing how I really feel!
There are only a select few who now know the new me. Only those select few know not to ask how I am, for they already know the answer.
“If you are my friend and you’re worried about mentioning my baby, for fear of reminding me that they died.
Don’t worry I remember that every single day.
To mention them is to remind me that they were here and that’s a wonderful thing.”