So what hasn’t changed? My son is still dead. That looks bald, harsh on the page. But my grief is harsh, it’s bald fact that never changes. He’ll always have died, I’ll always have lost him. I said in my first post that life goes on, but so does death, and this still rings true for me. Although I can now think of him and smile, and reflect how blessed I was to have him at all, sometimes my grief is so deep, so all-encompassing that I feel like I’m drowning in it. The missing him, the longing for my boy can never be satisfied, can never stop.
But what has changed? I am so grateful to be able to say that I sit typing this with my beautiful rainbow baby Barney sitting next to me, on his dad’s knee. He was born, safely, on the 6th March this year. He is beautiful, and crazy, and hard work, and just the most wonderful thing I’ve ever seen. Sometimes I look at him and can’t believe we created something so amazing.
But of course my love for Barney doesn’t stop my grief for Xander – in many ways, having him makes me realise even more what I missed with my first boy. And people really don’t get it. Like the woman who said ‘yes, but you’ve got Barney now, so everything’s okay, isn’t it?’ or the card we got that said ‘congratulations, now your family is complete!’. I don’t know whether this is ignorance, or innocence, or both. It’s certainly a lack of understanding - brushing our loss under the carpet, like my son never existed. And as wonderful as having my lovely second boy is, lots of things still trouble me.
Like I think: Barney will never know his older brother. But is Xander his older brother? Barney was older than Xander will ever be from the moment he was born. Xander was my first, but he isn’t the elder, is he?
Then: How do I show my love for my boys equally? Putting photos up of Barney was wonderful but tough – how could I do it when I didn’t have pictures of Xander to go up?
Also: Barney was born by caesarean section. This was planned – I couldn’t face the thought of a lengthy induction, and the medical team agreed that it wasn’t wise to let me go past my due date. When he was born, it was discovered that he had a true knot in his cord, as well as the cord wrapped round his neck. A vaginal delivery could have meant a very different outcome. I found this really hard to handle, and very few people understand why, saying I should forget it. But why did Xander (perfectly healthy with no reason for him to die) leave us, but Barney (with two complications that could have killed him) survive?
And: If Xander had been alive, would we have still had Barney? Is wishing Xander was here like wishing Barney wasn’t (a thought I can’t even contemplate).
So, where am I right now? I am unlucky, and lucky. I am a bereaved mother, and a mother to a living boy. I am the saddest I could possibly be, and the happiest I’ve ever been. Part of me died the day we lost Xander, and I am learning to live again.