Babyloss · faith · life

At a loss

We are imminently expecting a new baby at the Rectory. It’s our ‘5th’ Child and despite being ‘old hands’ (with a little too much emphasis on old) its as an exciting event for us as number 1 was.

But in that statement lies the dilemma I have felt since we were pregnant with our 3rd Child.  When we were in theological college, we were excitedly expecting the arrival of a wee lad. Then 17 weeks in for no reason we can find, his heart stopped beating.  We found out a few weeks later when a worried midwife couldn’t find a trace on her doppler, confirmed the next day by a sonar-graph – our lives quite simply fell apart.

The years have gone by and Daniel would have been nearly five, the immediate hurt and pain has gone, but there is still a Daniel shaped hole in our lives.  Often I find myself thinking a child is missing when out on a walk,  I count again and realise that yes there is, and no there isn’t.

I realise that we are fortunate, unlike thousands of couples who have experienced a similar loss, we do have other children. We have a lovely family and look forward to growing just a bit bigger next month. Of course our sense of loss is no less because of that – but we do have a comfort in our family that is not possible for many.

I feel it most when I have to tell people about the family.

How many Children do you have?

The conventional answer at the moment is 4 or perhaps given the expected arrival 4½. Yet all the time my brain is screaming “FIVE YOU HAVE FIVE CHILDREN”

Yet its not fair to say that to people, to say five and then explain when I only tell them about four of them.  And how does that conversation go anyway? ‘Yeah, I have five children, but Daniel, well, he’s dead…..’  It’s not fair to whoever you are talking with, it’s not fair to the other children and frankly it’s not something I’d want to say anyway.

Perhaps I should bring Daniel up more, perhaps I should be braver, challenge  people’s taboos about infant death – but I’m not sure I’m up to it. And besides Daniel’s loss shouldn’t be the thing that defines me – wearing it on my sleeve for so I become “the guy who lost  a baby”.

I can’t help think that there is some way of not ignoring Daniel’s short but very real presence on this earth while not making uncomfortable or inappropriate statements about him.

I just wish I knew what that way might be.

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4 thoughts on “At a loss

  1. I keep starting comments on this and then deleting them as they don't really say anything helpful – except that I do know exactly what you mean.Do I admit to 9 children (which seems excessive)? or just the 3 who fill me with joy, anxiety and and wonder day by day?During training we had a very powerful Holy Week, leading to a Good Friday on which it suddenly became very important to me to acknowledge every one of my own lost babes and articulate my certainty that they are in God's arms. It was (in some quite literal ways) a water-shed…They now come into conversation far more, though only one of them is named…and I know that THEY know their parents do not discount them.Love and blessings to all of you as you await the new arrival and remember the one who left too soon.xxx

  2. I just wanted to say that I'm another that understands the dilemma too, 8 pregnancies of various lengths, 9 babies, 4 living children. I find I talk about the twins most – in physical and emotional ways perhaps their loss was the one that touched and shaped me most. Thank you both for talking about it 🙂

  3. Thank you both for your comments. The pain of losing a baby in pregnancy is one that I never understood till it happened to us. and of course one that is even harder for the mum involved. Thank you for being willing to share on here.

  4. This comment got missed when this blog was imprted, so I am reposting it here manually: sh52mjh said… Like you, we have four children but, no, no more anticipated, planned or hoped for. Again, like you, there has been one more pregnancy, which ended prematurely. At 15 weeks, we lost our Adam. We were offered a post-mortem, which identified that Adam had been severely affected by Downs Syndrome. The miscarriage occurred just a week or so before I would have been offered the regular blood test for indications of Downs, which would have been followed by amniocentesis and a very hard decision – this was our fourth pregnancy. God was good to us – the miscarriage saved us from a choice that I don't know if I could have lived with either way: with three healthy and active sons, could I bring a severely disabled child into to the family? How could I not? We have been blessed with our fifth child, a daughter, but none of us forget that there is another member of our family. More than 14 years on. 30 January 2011 09:12

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