Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Guest Post: Right Where I Am - 4 months, 2 weeks

Fliss and her husband found out following the 20 week scan that their daughter had Edwards syndrome and was destined not to stay with us. "It felt like it was presumed we would go down the alternative route, which for some is the right option, but my husband and I could not be the ones to stop her heart and we both felt we had to give her a chance. The rest of the pregnancy was hard to say the least but I don't regret it," shares Fliss. Ayla Hope was born 40+6 on 1st February 2012. As she goes on to say, "We were able to spend time with her and bring her home, she took her last breath in my arms on 4th February at 9:10pm. My heart broke never to be mended. We have a son who is 2 1/2 and he is the only reason I have managed to get up every morning, him and my husband, my rock. "

Where am I now? I don’t know, to be honest.  A state of confusion, loneliness and fear, occasionally hope and positivism.  Desperately trying to maintain the positive persona that I often feel I am.  The person who has energy, wants to make a difference in the world because of our beautiful daughter, who can play with my son without a wedge of unhappiness stopping me from connecting with him completely.  Does he know I’m not completely there when we play? Can he sense that Mummy’s heart is not completely in it? I don’t know, I hope not.  I feel like I’m a worse mother because of my loss, not a better one.  A more grateful, less na├»ve mother but my patience isn’t what it was, my energy levels shocking and my ability to cry at the drop of a hat quite immense.  My boy wipes my tears away for me now and fetches a tissue, he’s so used to Mummy crying he knows what to do, normally a little dance or something that will make me smile or laugh again.  My heart bursts with love when I think of him and screams in agony when I think of my girl. She should be here with us.

People have told me how ‘brave’ I am, what an ‘inspiration’, so ‘strong’.  Like I’ve chosen to walk this path, suffer this pain and forever have a hole in our family where Ayla should be.  I’m not any of these things, I have no intention of inspiring others, I often hide from the world; that’s not brave or strong.  I am simply a Mummy.  A Mummy who loves her children more than words can ever describe.  I remember when I was pregnant and we knew our daughter was destined to leave us I had to go into hospital with a suspected blood clot (I knew it wasn’t, funny how carrying a baby destined to die but not knowing when can leave you a little breathless at times) a paediatrician saying to me what a brave thing I was doing, I simply looked at her and said ‘I don’t really have a choice do I?’ and she replied ‘There’s always a choice’.  How was there? A choice on how soon she leaves us or how she leaves us, maybe, but the outcome would be the same.  For me, giving her a chance was all I could do; we have memories, photographs and videos of her, mementoes that have to last us forever now, they are all we have.

I feel like a kite, attached to the world by a string. I float above everyone, watching them carrying on with their lives, moving forward and I’m there, watching, I’ll sometimes swoop forward, looking like I’m going somewhere and then a gust of wind grabs me and pushes me back, sometimes I let it, sometimes I try and fight it and I can push against it for so long and it may ease or it can slam me down so hard, so fast I can barely catch my breath.  Then I have to get back up again but I’m not allowed to find my feet, I’m back up into the air to watch and continue my slow, painful, spiralling journey.  What of the people on the ground? Some are desperately clinging to my string so I don’t go too far, keeping me as lifted as they can, calling messages of love and support, but not truly understanding.  Others scuttle by, their heads bowed low so they can’t see me, they don’t want to look up, face the pain, it’s too much for them.  There are other kites too.  Some just bob past, on their own journeys, others become entangled with me and we are bonded through our tragedy, our heartache, our children.  All of them bring comfort for just being there, as much as I hate that any of us are here it is always a comfort knowing we are not alone.  The strength, understanding and support gained from baby loss Mummies is a force so truly immense I often find myself in awe of it all.  How can so much love, friendship, understanding and support come from such pain? How? Our children, that’s how.  Their love for us is all consuming, just as much as if they were in our arms like they should be. As is our love for them.  That love has to continue somehow and we humans have to do something practical, so we extend our love for our babies, our children into other baby loss parents, to reassure they are not alone, what they are feeling is ok and that we are there to support each other whenever that wind of grief slams us so hard we struggle to get back up.  My daughter has taught me so much and brought so many wonderful people into my life, it is an honour to be her Mummy, I just wish she were here with me.


  1. I wish she was here with you, too.
    Sending much love.

  2. Your loss is so new and the feelings must be raw and overwhelming. I'm so sorry she is not here with you.

  3. Your kite metaphor is perfect. My second daughter was stillborn in January and I was most certainly a worse mother after her death. I was, sometimes, a terrible mother, I think. But things are a little better now and some of the pressure has lifted. The agony is more of a moan and whimper than a scream, and I am becoming a better mother again - and, perhaps, a better mother than I was before. There is so much love, just as you say. For Ayla, for you, for all the babies. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Fliss, I'm so sorry for the loss of your precious girl. I, too, love the kite fitting.

    Hugs to you, from one kite to another...

  5. Fliss - I am so sorry that Ayla died (her name is gorgeous) and your kite metaphor is spot on. You write beautifully.

    I found the time frame you are in now so hard and yes, I wanted so badly to be a better parent to my two living children but, in reality, I was exhausted and cranky and grieving. That bit does get easier - gradually.

  6. I'm so deeply sorry for the loss of your daughter, Ayla Hope.

    I lost one of twins from my first pregnancy and I raised my daughter, mourning her sister. But I think that grief is more compatible with a newborn than a toddler? So much that I feel a little sheepish comparing the experiences. But so much of what you have written about sounds familiar. The strange feeling of bursting with love and screaming in agony, both at once. That wedge of unhappiness pushing its way in.

    I know that sometimes I have less patience, less energy. But, I hope, I have more love. And I hope that is what my living children will remember. The love.

    I think that tangling of the kite strings is an immensely powerful thing. Whenever there are 'gatherings' of the baby lost, I feel that love. It is palpable, I feel it here. In your writing. I wish that Ayla were here with you x

  7. Fliss, I'm so sorry your Ayla isn't with you. Your metaphor of the kite is so powerful and apt. I love the idea of love moving back and forth between us and our babies.

    So much love to you.

  8. Fliss, I'm so sorry your precious Ayla is not in your arms. 4 months and 2 weeks seem like an eternity when you're missing your baby, but at the same time it's just a millisecond on the path towards healing, or that's how I remember it anyway; the wound was still so fresh and raw that it would burst open and bleed without explanation all the time. Not As though an explanation should be required mind you, other than that one has been forced to bury a piece of one's heart, but when it rips open now, there's usually a trigger which can be easily identified. "time heals all wounds." is such a cliche and, I don't know that it does, but it helps to ease the pain. Sending you strength and light in this very difficult time.

  9. Sending lots of love. Ayla is such a beautiful name. I wish she was in your arms, too. xo


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