Today’s photo is of the Mother’s day card that my wonderful husband gave me while I was pregnant with Matilda. There is some hesitancy in what he writes. We were both afraid of jinxing the pregnancy as we’d tried for such a long time to get pregnant in the first place. I’d wanted to buy a Christmas tree ornament with her name on it, but we didn’t, we didn’t buy anything until we reached the golden milestone of twenty four weeks. In the Mother’s day card, Chris writes:
Happy Mother’s day to a wonderful mother & wife, this time next year, two cards.
He didn’t write it from Matilda, because we were almost afraid to admit that we were going to be parents. We’d come up against so many obstacles to get there and it had taken six years to finally become pregnant, we didn’t want to jinx it. Magical thinking, I think that’s called, something we’ve struggled with since, looking for signs and counting magpies. I wish we had embraced the pregnancy, it didn’t matter, at the end of the day, whether we did the nursery out or not, as we lost her after the ‘safe point’ anyway. I tried very hard to have the next two pregnancies stress free and to just feel complete love and acceptance of what might be, but those miscarriages were crucifying, I felt hollowed out and deadened by them. But evidently not enough to stop trying, stop risking. One more go, and then I am walking away and accepting my lot and nothing will change the love I have for my daughter, or how happy I was when I found I was pregnant the next two times. This month of writing about it is really helping me sort out some of the feelings that have been building around it. It’s hard to talk to people about it, friends have their own problems, of course, and after twelve years I think there is a great deal of emotional apathy, they just don’t know what to say anymore. I feel quite mad with grief because it just doesn’t stop. My friends, they want me to be happy. I want me to be happy. And to be fair 90% of the time I am a very positive person, I love life and love my life. But I haven’t got to a point of closure, yet. Because we haven’t stopped trying, yet.
Today’s organisation is very close to my heart. I spent a few years as a moderator on the pregnancy and loss boards there, being a friendly face and a bit of support for the ladies who had suffered miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal loss. It’s one of my most treasured experiences, that strangers would allow me to share their grief and share the memories of their babies. I have now stepped away from my role as moderator, but I do still visit the site regularly as it is an incredible recourse for information and support if you have struggled to conceive. This is the website Fertility Friends. If you are struggling to conceive, pop in and look around, I’ve made so many friends there and it’s such a welcoming environment.
And so, to today’s poems. Two today as I missed yesterday’s post. I’m full of cold, as is Chris, so everything is being done at a snail’s pace. Anyway, here are two poems by the very talented Charlotte Ansell. Charlotte has an impressive publication history and books out here: Flipped eye. Go and check her out!
I didn’t feel you slip away,
cocooned I waited
for proof on the screen.
You were there alright,
my nearly child
but the probe
was as silent as snow
no heartbeat thrum
of horses hooves
leaving me to face alone
of the nurse who
shouted at me
for my emerald toes
that apparently I should
before the surgeon in the
ice white box of theatre
scraped me clean of you.
I left numb, vacuumed;
nothing to show or keep,
no fuzzy blizzard shot
of obscured head and tiny feet,
no blood stained sheets,
to stave off the aftermath,
and your dad’s sister
with her usual tact
saying a fortune teller told her
you would have been a boy.
In the middle of the gunnel of the boat,
more turquoise than blue,
a moor hen vainly tries to build a nest,
but all her eggs are strewn along the edge,
vulnerable, too cold.
That foolish bird sat statuesque, immovable
for more than a week
as if there might be hope.
we were cruel, laughing at her attempt
to coax her babies back from death.
I left my tears in the hospital chapel.
The nurse patted my
arm and said she couldn’t find a heartbeat.
a week later no blood, I understood
what no mother could, ever, willingly accept.