In the end.

In the end, it all comes back to one simple thing. I was one person and then my world fell apart. I put it back together and it fell apart all over again when my son died. Putting it back together again, trying to pick up the reins of a life that ran away from me 6 years ago, I find that the pieces no longer fit.

I'm not the person I was when I knew I wanted another baby six years ago. Six years is a long time to wait. I'm older, infinitely wearier and just much further away from the mindset of the person I was then.

I adore Bene. I love being an older mum, with patience, time and just enough unselfishness to devote my time to him being happy and content. Everything about having him is perfect. Our family is relishing the joy of having him.


He's going to need some sort of life. I'm a first time mum for the second time, conscious that I wanted to do baby massage and baby gym and baby swimming and nct and all those things, which I can do now. No toddler girls in tow, no frantic parcelling, enough money to manage.

I find doing them really hard. Leaving the house is really hard. Even leaving the house to be with people I do know is tricky, though getting better, but being with new people who ask 'how many' and look askance at 6 and dumbstruck at dead, is really hard. Today I nearly said he was my only one, just to feel less of a freak.

I came home from holiday full of inspiration to move, be better, be excited by life. But today made me feel small, weird, odd, unlikeable. I feel stifled by where we live and throttled by my history. No one wants to know the woman with the dead baby. I'm no fun at the baby group. Actually, I only want to talk to people who know this awful grief, not ones who say 'oh, but you have another now' brightly, moving on.

Last week someone asked me if I would go for the round half dozen. Someone who knows I have six. The world forgets so quickly. The world doesn't really want to know.

And here's me, playing along at being a baby mum again, knowing I have to go out, meet people, give him a little life – and knowing I want that too. It's damn scary though. As scary as the first time.

I'm the freaky mum who might infect people with dead-baby-itis. The one who thinks Bene is too precious for nursery. The one who knows tragedies happen. A bit odd. A bit too crunchy, without the personality to carry it off.

I want to live deep in a forest, in a beautiful house and never speak face to face with anyone again. I don't want to answer those questions, see those looks.

First you lose your baby and then you lose everything else. I'm not losing myself again though. I'm not. And I'm not losing this time with Bene but the last few weeks, with time to start remember who I was, what I used to be, how good I once was and what I can do when not weighed down by grief and wanting and anger and bitterness – I've also seen more clearly how many bits of me have gone missing.

Most of those pieces went missing before Freddie. Waking up now, coming to, I am reminded again of Frodo the hobbit. I am a little too wounded, a little too broken. What I really want now, more than anything, is a safe place to be. Anchored, safe harbour. Not a freak, not trying to fit in. Just me, just us. Somewhere peaceful. Less a fresh start, more a comfortable ending.

This tear in my soul is taking some living with. I'm okay with this place, this mellow light at the end of the tunnel. But being okay with it, living in it always, takes all my energy. Contentment as an act of will.


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  1. Jax Haskell says

    Beautiful writing Merry, and quite understandable feelings. Many people are so shallow, say stupid things without thinking, etc. and that is so hard for you to have to put up with, yet so unfair if it becomes easier to lie than to have to yet again answer it.
    Sending lots of “calm place” vibes.

  2. says

    Such a beautiful post. I won’t say I understand because how can i? I just wanted to let you know I understand where ur coming from. After luka was born the hardest comments were always the ones like “well af least he’s here!” Because yes, obviously, I was glad about that but it didn’t change what had happened. Time does not heal, it simply puts more distance between you and what happened. I hope that you do find peace one day bit please know thy there are so many who do understand the reasons why u can’t do that every day. I thinly you r amazing and wonderful for keeping Freddie’s memory alive. He is your son, do not worry about how others might react to that.


  3. says

    Can I please come and stay in the forest with you? We don’t have to speak, I’ll just be wandering around somewhere close by.

    I tried. I really tried with Jessica and, for me, that included leaving the house. But I found it really hard to deal with the whole either staring and not saying anything at all or WHAT is that? questions about the oxygen cylinders and tubes. And then even a basic question like ‘is she your first?’ or ‘how old is she? Gosh she’s really tiny.’ would set off a whole chain of questions leading directly to what remains the single most painful experience of my life. And one that I’m afraid that I can’t make light of or make palatable although I have tried and tried.

    I tried again with Reuben and I signed up for Baby Sensory classes and so on but part of me loved it, relished being in with the ‘normals’ although I was still different as I was one of the few with an older child. I’m no fun and nobody knows about the dead baby. I don’t mention her hardly ever now. But I still feel just as freakish as when I did. Only now I feel like a fraud too. Sigh.

    Oh this is hard isn’t it? It just feel as though, due to some flaw in my personality or the way that I handle thing, that I will always be dealing with the fallout of this time of year, four years ago. Argh! So frustrating. Contentment as an act of will is a good place to be, no arguments. But it is exhausting always forcing everything down sometimes.

  4. Allie says

    The older I get the more I am aware of all the shades of grief that people carry. Yes, there are people young in terms of experience but many, many more I meet who have lived through times that have shadowed their soul or who carry their precious lost. So I try not to make assumptions or litter my chat with careless suppositions. No doubt I fail sometimes. But, I guess what I really want to say is that the world is a mass of people feeling like freaks. All any of us can do is try to find the places where we feel less alone. I think it’s worth changing almost anything to find those places. X

  5. says

    You are amazing Merry. I wish so much that there was a tiny minuscule of fragment of something I could do to make that contentment easier for you to find. Freddie was beautiful. Bene is beautiful. Don’t give up trying. And keep going to those classes – just focus on Bene’d face during it all. That will keep you going. xxx

  6. says

    I’m not in the same situation, so I don’t know if that makes it wrong for me to comment on the part which does resonate with me. I don’t want to be one of those annoying people who say they understand when they don’t. But I can relate to feeling out of place in baby and toddler groups, because I’m older/ have four children/ am home educating/ breastfeed my toddler in public, etc, etc. I really wanted to give my fourth baby the same opportunities as the first, but it’s basically impossible. I manage to do some things just with him, but never feel it’s enough. And it is almost all about him, and very little about me making friends because I feel so different to the first time mums and they don’t need me in their crowd and anyway I’m always rushing off to collect a child from somewhere.

    So that’s the bit I understand. And I know it is many times harder than that for you, so I think you are amazing for doing it at all. But if it’s too hard, then you can stop, and Bene will still be fine because he has you (and the rest of his family) which is all he wants and needs in the world right now, and there’s plenty of time for more adventures in the future. All he needs now is you.

    And if you do keep going, just tell them you have six children and talk about Freddie, and if they can’t handle it, that’s their problem not yours. But maybe there is someone who will listen and care and support you, but you won’t know if you don’t tell them. I hope you never stop talking about Freddie. I know someone (in the real world) who lost two babies over twenty years ago, and she still talks about them, not all the time, but often enough that if you know her even a little you will know about all four of her children and not just the two she still has with her. I always feel honoured if she wants to talk about them to me, and if you keep talking about Freddie there will be people who feel the same way.

    Sorry for the long comment as usual, really just want to give you a big hug xx

  7. says

    Oh Merry {{hugs}} The shock and trauma of having lost a child … It does not go away, or fade with time. Only, we learn to carry it. We learn to carry it, and it becomes a part of us in ways that are not always comfortable, or smooth, or easy. I will always be a rough-edged girl, missing my baby daughter something fierce, lo this quarter-century past, and all the wee babes miscarried too … Life is still beautiful and glorious, it is. Even from the couch at home. One needn’t leave the house to have a beautiful life. I am all but home-bound (due to physical disability) since the brain tumor (church, medical appointments, those I struggle and push and make my way out in the world for) …. Life is no less *good*, for being home. Bene with thrive, sheltered within the love of his family. In time, Merry, in time, the leaving will come easier.

  8. says

    I don’t know what to say, but I didn’t want to read and not comment. I cannot imagine what you have been through or how hard each day must be.

    You are amazing, an amazing person and an wonderful mum. Keep trying to leave the house, Bene is gorgeous and a lucky boy to have such a loving family. xx

  9. says

    I’ve just realised that I’ve promoted this post but not commented on it. It’s the most beautifully written piece Ive read in a while and incredibly moving. It’s stayed with me for two days now. I’m so sorry to read what you are going through. I don’t claim to understand how things are for you and I wish I could take it all away. I do know that life can be unimaginably painful at times, but the pain does lessen and the grief does get easier. Hugs. xx

  10. says

    This is a beautiful post. I just can’t imagine how you deal with this every day. You are very brave to have had Bene, it must have been frightening to have another little newborn again. They are all such beautiful children, all 6 of them.

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