I thought I’d be sharing my news by now. I thought I’d be planning a very different kind of year. I thought this time would be different, but it wasn’t. And here I am, once again, with emotional whiplash as I recover from the abrupt change of direction which you would think I’d be used to by now.
I’m telling you this because of the book launch.
Luke and I are heading down to Sydney tomorrow for the launch of Zoe Taylor’s book, Pregnancy Loss: Surviving Miscarriage and Stillbirth. A couple of years after I lost Sienna, a fellow babylost mama told me that a journo was writing a book and maybe I should check it out. I wrote to Zoe telling my story. I’m in the book. This is part of what I wrote and which Zoe has kindly included:
“The baby was born and I asked what it was. “It’s a little girl,” the midwife whispered. Alone in the room with the midwife I didn’t have to be the brave wife or mother or sister or daughter or daughter-in-law or party guest or employee. I had my longed-for daughter and I would never really get to have her. I screamed from the depths of my heart.”
I don’t know how many miscarriages I’d had when she first started writing. Maybe three. This last one was my fifth.
At the end of last year when I was pregnant I tried to work out my dates. How pregnant would I be when the launch came around? Would I be telling people by then? I think I would have been 16 weeks this week. I would have had to wear a different dress to the launch.
But I’m not pregnant. I lost this baby – number five since Sienna – on the fourth anniversary of her birth. Nine days before Christmas last year.
There’s a longer story, but time has run out to tell it today.
But, because I’m not pregnant, my New Year’s resolutions are different to what I thought they’d be.
I was going to quit my job when my due date came near. Then, when baby came along I was going to write my novel while the little one napped. I was going to breastfeed. I was going to buy new finger-paints. There would be fresh Play-Doh in our cupboard.
But no. This year I will keep nurturing my ‘baby substitute’: the magazine I edit; my writing. I am doing my Masters. Because I can, dammit.
My gorgeous kids will keep reminding me how lucky I am. My son, fast turning into a technogeek newsmonger looks set to follow in my footsteps. I adore that. My daughter, on the other hand, is the dreamiest child a mother could ask for. The fact that I have them still takes my breath away at times. I’m blessed.
So here I am. Off to the book launch. I’ll be wearing a dress which hugs my body because I have no baby bump. I’ve had my hair done. I want to look nice. It’s something to look forward to. Something.
Last night as I read through Zoe’s book in readiness for the launch, my throat ached with the pain of the experiences – including mine – she has documented. It’s the same pain I feel when I see babies. But I’m going tomorrow to celebrate the spirit of women and men who have survived this hell. It’s the club for which I have a lifetime membership, and I will not hang my head as I walk into that room. I will be standing up, ready to be counted.
Read about our night at the launch here.