Tuesday, 4 November 2014
The Missing Child
Eleven years ago, around this time, we would have been meeting our very own little firework. Anticipated with excitement, this child was given to us and then, just as a firework disappears into a thin mist, was taken away again.
A cruel word that somehow denotes failure on the part of the mother. Did I carry the child wrongly? Did I make a mistake?
It's not a word that can ever convey the stomach punching, gasping for air shock when the sonographer looks at you over the top of her glasses and tells you that your baby has died.
It's not a word that explains the raw pain, like pouring vinegar on an open wound, as you come to terms with the fact that your child, safe and protected inside you is no longer safe.
It can never explain the sudden emptiness inside as you contemplate the fact that this life, once growing, has now gone.
This word cannot be weighted with the sadness that comes from knowing you will never hold your child, never rock them to sleep, never kiss the graze on their knee, never despair with their homework and never watch them grow taller than you.
It doesn't warn you of the sadness which lingers, years afterwards or of the confusion as you have other children and think of the 'what ifs'.
It doesn't tell of the empty space in your family, and it doesn't give you permission to include in your number of children another one you've never met.
The word doesn't alert you to the anxiety you will feel in subsequent pregnancies, obsessively checking to make sure this one is a keeper.
It doesn't allow you to grieve as you would for a child you had held, despite the fact that you already had given your heart in love to this tiny soul growing inside. Your private grief cannot be shared because no-one else loved your child yet.
This one word, used so often and sometimes so flippantly, will never sum up the devastating anguish which rips apart your world.
And yet, as time moves on in its frenetic way, the tenderness of the pain passes, becoming a sadness and then simply a hollowness. There is a space in our family and in my heart for this child, and I miss them.
And so, as I watch the fireworks I remember our other child, the one who is missing, and I am grateful. I'm thankful for all that has passed and for our boys, given to us in the here and now, for us to love, train and make happy memories with.