I didn’t manage to make a blog post last week. I had intended to, but a quick onset bout of stomach flu pretty much took care of my entire week and it wasn’t a pleasant experience.
Looking back to last week I’m a bit shocked at how quickly I deteriorated; I had just come back from the gym and was waxing lyrical about how great I was feeling; in fact I did a video upload all about it to our You Tube Channel – but only a scant 4 hours later I was bed bound and felt like my very life force was ebbing from me at warp speed!
And isn’t life just a bit like that? Wham! Out of no where, you can be going through your life, planning and worrying, only to have it suddenly scuppered from under you – out of the blue and everything is changed.
I’m not a good patient – I complain. A lot! And I get miserable quite quickly.
It wasn’t helped by the fact that this week was also my birthday. Who wants a sickly birthday?
These days I don’t need much excuse to be contemplative and just a tiny bit melancholy on my birthday. I’m not entirely sure when this started happening – maybe it has been a slow dawning – every year is another year to add to the tally and as those years progress I have just that little bit more to recall, and events to dwell on.
Don’t we all love it when a new baby arrives? It really should be a universally joyous time – but alas that isn’t always the case. You can’t take it for granted that every little life that struggles in to this world is eagerly anticipated or greeted with pleasure. But on the whole, in my universe anyway, it is something to be celebrated – a birthday, the new dawning of a little life so full of possibility.
And then our lives tick along and Birthdays come and go – presents and cards and everyone smiling at you. It’s your day.
My Day is October 15th.
For me, once the leaves on the trees start to turn and the wind gets just that hint of a sharp chilled edged to it and frosts start to appear, I can feel a real sense of birthdayness just around the corner. It’s always felt uniquely mine.
But whereas when I was younger, when the day was imbued with magic almost – it now arrives with much less fanfare and often it’s tinged with something that leaves me almost glad when it is all over.
In the USA in 1988 the whole month of October was designated to raise awareness of Pregnancy and Infant Loss by then President, Ronald Reagan – and over time an official day in October was given over to observe this particular type of bereavement. This awareness day, has since been adopted too by Canada, Australia, Italy and the UK.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day is October 15th.
It’s true to say that you are more likely to hear Katy and I discussing menopause and empty nesting type issues than anything directly pregnancy orientated these days; lets face facts, we are more grand parent material than young mum! However we have trod that path, been there, done that and have very well worn, jammy fingered T shirts to prove it.
I have 3 babies. They will be 28, 25 and 12 years old respectively by the end of this year and as babies go, I suppose I am stretching it somewhat – but they are and forever will be my babies whether they like it or not.
But there was another baby.
An unnamed, unknown baby. One I never got to know. One who was a little treasure tucked under my heart who I spoke to and planned for.
On 15th October 1989 my young daughter gave me two birthday presents, wrapped in blue polka dot paper – a full set of knitting needles from her and one from her as yet unknown brother or sister. It came with a little card that said – ‘to Mummy. Happy Birthday. Love from little bump xx’
It was a knitting basket – and I still have it and use it to this day.
But we never met little bump – because that night. October 15th 1989 – I lost him or her.
There were no scan photos in those days, nothing I have that proves they were ever there – except a pregnancy test which still has the faintest of blue lines on it, an old knitting basket and a shared day in the calendar of birth and death.
Birth and Death. Joy and Sadness. Love gained and love lost. Flip sides of the same coin of life. But then a Mother’s love isn’t something lost easily – and whilst I can be sad as I look over birthdays gone by – I can’t help but marvel that I have had the greatest privilege on earth – to be some ones Mother.
I love my children dearly, even one who could never express that love for themselves – and I believe fervently that whilst my little lost being doesn’t need a special day for me to remember them – it is still something we should observe as silent testimony to a life cut short.
And I am very pleased that such a personally auspicious day was chosen to remember all those little beings who touched us – albeit so briefly, with love.