Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

What Makes a Mother?

I wasn’t supposed to be blogging. I was supposed to be going to bed and having an early night. Tomorrow is going to be a difficult day. But I found myself here anyway.
I wanted to share my daughter with you a little bit more. You might remember in my first ever post (Life) I talked about the album of Belle I have on my facebook page, and how I considered that a brave moment. I felt it was about time that my daughter was given a face on my blog – the real little person I pour my heart out about. So her photo is now here, in the column to your right. Another brave moment.  I’m so proud of her. I sometimes sit looking at Anabelle’s pictures and cannot believe that Jon and I could produce something so perfect and beautiful. I cannot believe she belongs to me.  Sometimes it all feels very surreal.
I am a mother, I have a baby.
What sort of mother am I though? How do I identify myself?  I struggle with this. It is so difficult to be one thing in my heart and another in the devastating reality that is now my life. I sometimes feel a fraud when it comes to the word and notion of mother.
There is a poem called “What makes a Mother” -  it’s a poem written for Mummies without their babies. Mummies like me. The final verse of the poem reads like this; So now you see, What makes a Mother, It's the feeling in your heart, It's the love you had so much of, Right from the very start.
Anabelle was so very much loved right from the start. Our start was the 2nd December 2009 when we found I was pregnant. We were SO excited! I did the test when I woke up that morning at 6.00. Poor Jon has never woken up with such a start as he did that day – me screaming, jumping up and down, and shoving a positive stick in his face. We were expecting a baby, we were expecting Anabelle. Jon took a picture of the stick which said pregnant, Anabelle’s test.
We were very lucky to catch quickly. I fully appreciate how fortunate we are that we created Anabelle with such ease. We’d been married for only 4 months when I did that test, and it was only our 2nd proper go at trying. Expecting Anabelle was like an early Christmas present, the best ever and the perfect end to what had been a wonderful year.
Quite frankly life couldn’t have got better at that moment.
Anabelle was never an embryo or a foetus to me. She was always my baby, right from the word go. My tiny little person who I was going to love and nurture, she was never going to want for anything.  If what makes a mother is love then I have that in abundance for my daughter.
But it breaks my heart that I failed her in the worst possible way. I feel so guilty that I didn’t keep her safe enough. Her death remains unexplained and it is very difficult not to blame myself, because keeping her safe was my job. I have a tough time letting that feeling go. Maybe it will never go.  
At the moment I’m waiting on blood results. Tests are being done to explore a whole range of blood disorders. If they find a disorder, it is likely it will have been a high contributing factor to Anabelle’s death. To me, if they find something, it will be evidence that my body failed my baby.
It is a long process. We had to wait until 12 weeks after Belle’s birth before these tests could be done, so no pregnancy hormones would be left in my system at all. They are such fragile and complex tests they have to be repeated 12 weeks apart to ensure a consistent result so I’m told. So they’ll be repeated at the start of the December. We’re looking into the new year sometime before all results are back from both sets of tests and we have a definitive answer.
The answer after all this time and waiting, could very well still be ‘unexplained’ – a non-answer.   I don’t know what’s worse in all honesty, unexplained or my body’s failure?  I suppose a result would help Dr’s to stop my body being a failure again. But how do I live with that confirmation that I, her mother, didn’t keep her safe instead of just feeling it the way I do now?
This new life I live is a minefield – something ready to blow up and break you a little bit more all the time. That is Anabelle's mother's reality. My reality. Maybe resiliance and strength will eventually come, but what I need more than anything is some peace.

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Caz
After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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