Today you should be four months old. I’m managing not to count the weeks, I’m managing not to think so much now about the things you should be doing. For me you are frozen in time now, that little boy of 0 to 11 days old. A little boy who I only really know in my imagination and only by extrapolating what I saw of you, what I felt of you in the short time we had together. Today you should have been alive for nearly half a pregnancy but I am beginning to accept that you are not and that you simply will never be.
It has been a very difficult month. Already new babies have been born and tonight, with luck, another family baby will come into being. Since I last wrote a letter, the family has a new little boy, the first one to really live. Your little cousin. Kit, who has more days to his name than you ever did and yet is forever older and younger than you. A strange thing. Your names would have sounded lovely together, those two little boys at the end of the family – Kit and Freddie, Freddie and Kit. It isn’t fair that it never will be so.
We’ve done difficult things this month, gone places and been with people without you, places where everyone knows you aren’t with us and where everyone feels your space. We’ve played with people who should have been your friends, your extended family, your older not-siblings and the families who would have been there to stand as extra parents at times and extra homes at others. We all feel the space I know, those people are kind enough to let it be felt. There is nothing worse than hearing people gloss over you and so much to be said for the friends and family who don’t do that.
I ache in some ways for those first few days, when my breasts were full and the wound was bleeding and shock held off the pain. My milk – your milk – is almost gone now and I mourn its end even while I hope that it going gives me a chance to hope for the future. I ache for being able to sit in shocked and stunned silence and think over and over again “my baby died, my little boy died”. I could feel you, I knew you still, I could sense you. Now I look down at my tummy sometimes and think “but where did you go?” I just, physically, don’t yet understand. Other days you shrink away to the tiniest memory, an unbelief, a non-truth. This cannot have happened so you cannot have been. It is not possible that this has occurred.
I ache for when it was still okay to just sit and cry and no one would expect more of me.
But 4 months, in a family of this size and age, is long. Your sisters have moved on, though they cry for you still at times. But their scars are beginning to be pink and shiny; gaping no more.Â Mine are too flimsy to call healed. I miss you so much. I miss the promise of you. I miss knowing that I was going to be mummy to a boy and the joy of watching you be so the same but so different.
I miss being able to say, without anyone flinching “and Freddie is like Daddy but also like Josie – the perfect mix of me and Max.”
Freddie, I hate that I don’t know why you went. I wonder over and over again if you opened your eyes to say goodbye or if you opened them to tell me you were in there and to fight for you. I worry that I got it wrong, that I let you go when I should have fought. I worry I was selfish and didn’t give you enough of a chance.
I miss you when I sleep comfortably at night, not worrying about the duvet covering the space in the middle of the bed. I wish I had known earlier how much your daddy was looking forward to you. I wish I had written more about you when I was pregnant and frozen moments of joy in time. I wish I had expected you.
But I can find positives. We had you, Freddie to celebrate that Daddy and I had found common ground and had made things work. If there is nothing else to draw from your life, it is that that is true. We didn’t have you to fix us, but you did prove to us that we are fixed. Finally, without doubt, we know we want the same things, have the same goals, wish for the same future. We’ve discovered our strength in your life; it’s tough and it is not enough, but it is your gift.