Please, still say congratulations
Since I became a parent, most of the conversations I have had, have not been the ones I expected, and other mum chats no longer include me. However, what has remained is an odd form of consultancy. I am the mum others associate to tragedy because I experienced bereavement as a young mum.
The conversation that inspired this blog, held right in front of me began ‘you’re the mum whose babies died right?’, to which I answered ‘I am Airley, Freddy and Thomas’s mum and yes they died, but I am still their mum’. They met my response with a long pause and then ‘Great, one of my friends had a still birth this morning, I don’t know what to say, but you can help, you must be an expert with words’.
People are strange creatures and I have long since given up trying to understand them, but it is no secret that pregnancy, baby or child loss leave people tongue tied or gibbering messes. Over the years, I have thought of far too many theories for this but I stand by that sometimes the best thing to say, is the most natural, not over thought simple thing. For me, particular when it comes to pregnancy or baby loss my advice is to always give an acknowledgment of that tiny life changing person, however small. So I wrote a letter to the world to try to help those looking for the words or to remind parents like me who’ve been through bereavement as a young mum, and who are still waiting for so many words to be said, you are not alone.
My letter to the world
Still say congratulations please. A birth still took place. I still experienced a life-changing moment. A parent was still born and I still felt the most incredible, time-stopping, primal instantaneous love. My labours were still long and my fears of all of those post birth first, women know only too well were still felt. I still gave birth. The first time I was still a terrified new mum and the second time, even more.
Please still say congratulations. It might seem uncomfortable for you, but what else is there to be said? Please think of me. A baby, a child, a tiny perfect human was still born. We still counted 10 fingers and 10 toes. Still in the silence came those first precious skin-to-skin cuddles. I still cried tears of pain, of fear, of joy. And although I knew in my heart it would never come, I still waited, my breath held for my babies to cry, protesting as they entered the world.
Please still say congratulations
My pregnancies, although they ended early, were still pregnancies. Already, I had planned and dreamed of a million moments and seen a lifetime stretching before my eyes. I still had already seen every Christmas, every birthday. I had still imagined first loves, first days of school, first steps, wedding days and graduations. And I still knew every detail of the tiny beautiful invaders within my bump. I still already felt a mum. I am still a mum.
Please still say congratulations. My babies still entered this world. My babies were still born into this world. And my little family still became always a little bigger. Two years later I am still waiting for someone, anyone to say congratulations. Still sometimes it is what you don’t say that hurts the most.
Please still say congratulations.
Airley, Freddy and Thomas’ mummy xxx
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