Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Letter to Eleanor

To my beautiful girl,

I know you'll never read this, and part of me feels it's pointless writing it but I never got to tell you how I feel and you are central to this whole experience!

I loved you as soon as I discovered I was pregnant. This precious little, tiny being inside me! I loved to hold my not-yet-showing belly and think of you, and imagine what you were to grow up to be. As I knitted clothes for you, every stitch contained a daydream I had for you, or an imagining of how you would look. Would you look like me? Would you have your sisters huge smile? Or your brothers insane giggle? As the stitches continued I would fantasise about another perfect home birth and that moment I get to meet you. Casting off would send my imagination into a tailspin, picturing you in your beautiful clothes.

As the items for you accumulated, and my due date rapidly approached I could hardly contain my excitement and my impatience – I was desperate to see you face! I would stroke my bump, feeling you wriggle under my hands. I felt you stretch out your little home, twist and turn and sometimes even kick me back, acknowledging my presence.

That day you fell still, unmoving inside me, I noticed. You were no longer pushing my forearm off my stomach as I knitted – as you always used to. You no longer kicked and pushed when I lay on my side, cramping your style. You always liked your space and didn't like anything impeding it. I saw your little body inside me, as the doctor scanned us. It was so still. I knew you were gone. You had your back to us and your tiny little ribs were so still. Even though you were inside me, I was desperate to hug you, to hold you and say “it's all OK, I still love you”.

I have a confession to make. I was scared of meeting you. I was worried you would look foreign, or affected by being inside so long. I'm so sorry was afraid to meet you, may sweet little girl. Before that scan, my only fear was that you would be as big as your brother way, 9lb7! Now those fears were replaced with others and I'm sorry.

When I did finally meet you, I didn't scoop you up into my arms immediately, I waited. It hurts me to remember that I waited. I looked to your dad, and to Chris to get reassurance that you were to beautiful wee girl I was expecting. I'm sorry. But once I did see you, my heart overflowed with love for you and all I could say was “she IS beautiful”, and “oh my god, look at her! She's amazing!”. Do you know how painful it is to bond with someone, knowing that you'll have to say goodbye so soon? My heart was filling with love and breaking at the same time – how is that even possible? It's like we're designed to experience the most emotional pain possible, the heart repeatedly fills with love then is emptied by it breaking. This pain can go on forever, that's how we're designed.

This is where my brain started to protect me, otherwise I would have been destroyed. It allowed me to love you and bond with you how you were – still. You were cold and still. But we dressed you, held you, talked to you, kissed you and loved you. You were still my baby, just different to what I expected and I wasn't about to hold that against you. Even when saying my final goodbye, I couldn't fathom never seeing you again, so my brain protected me from the pain yet again.

But now... my brain is tired and it's defences are down. As I reknit your clothes into squares for a blanket, my mind wanders back to how you could have been. As I fantasised in pregnancy, I now fantasised in grief. What would you have looked like if you had been alive? What would your eyes have looked like open? I picture you alive, soft, warm and moving. It fills my heart with joy, then breaks it at the same time. That never ending cycle of filling with love, then breaking – loosing all that joy and replacing it with reality. You're gone. You are forever just outside my reach. I had a tast of what could have been, and have realised it never will be.

Ellie, I love you with all of my broken heart and I'm sorry, so sorry, that memories of you will always be partnered with pain.


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