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.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Enders' of a Saga

"There is nothing that makes you fight harder, 
love harder, hurt harder than losing a kid, 
and I will do anything, anything...."  Kat Slater, Eastenders. 

I made myself do it. I'd seen in the TV magazine that the Eastenders baby swapping saga was being bought to a close over the last couple of episodes. So after convincing myself that I needed to see it I've just sat and cried silently through two episodes. Last Friday's and Monday's. 

As I anticipated there was Ronnie being portrayed as complete unhinged loon. But all credit to the acting of Jessie Wallace (Kat). I thought the acting through of grief and bewilderment in those two episodes was excellent and very much spot on. 

Four things in particular stuck out to me. 

1. The conversation between Jean and Kat in the Vic's kitchen. Or at least what Jean had to say. "One day these sad thoughts will be so small you will hardly notice they are there."  Really Eastenders? Really?  I thought that one small scene highlighted the ignorance in our mainstream society, or the need to brush our grief under a carpet. 

No world, despite the education you are getting from the esteemed Eastenders; we as bereaved mummy's are never hardly going to notice our 'sad thoughts' - these thoughts are our children's memory. We will never hardly notice their absence from our families. That there should be one baby instead of none, two babies instead of one, three babies instead of two that the outside world notices and sees. Our babies deaths and absence are a big gaping hole in our lives that can absolutely never be filled, ever.  

2. The grief and bewilderment of Kat and Alfie in the car park outside the hospital. The utter disbelief that after everything that had lived through, holding their dead child in their arms, burying him and counting the 37 longest steps of their life down the aisle of the church. The absolute truth of the anguish and pain of seeing other women still having their babies with them while 'hers' had been placed in a coffin. Having what she/we no longer have. The rawness of reliving those memories in their heads amidst being told that they'd lived all of it for someone else's baby. 

3. The words that Kat was so desperately saying to the social worker before she was reunited with her son. That nothing else can make you fight harder, love harder or hurt harder than the loss of your child and that she would do anything.... There is so much truth in that one sentence. The love and hurt we feel for and surrounding Anabelle is beyond any words we could ever put down on paper. Our beautiful girl who never got the chance to grow and us the chance to be the Mummy and Daddy we wanted to be. The fight we would give to do anything at all, if there was even the slightest chance somehow Belle could come back to earth and come back to us. There is nothing we would not do for our baby if only it were possible. 

4.  and finally, the re-welcoming of their baby into their lives. The confusion but ultimately joy that it had all been a nightmare and had never really happened at all. That their son was alive and they would be allowed to love him and watch him grow up after all. Oh how I wish so hard that somebody would turn around and say to us "but here Anabelle is, she was never really gone at all." But in real life it doesn't work out that way. 

This story line was never going to end perfectly, how could it - the damage was done as soon as they conceived the idea to air it in the first place. But now, as well as hurt caused by portraying a bereaved mother as a crazy person in the first place the hurt is now compounded by the happily ever after of the reunion. As pleased as I am that in soap land the baby is back where he always belonged, here in real life thousands upon thousands of families live a life where that can never happen. A storyline that could've done an enormous amount of raising awareness just ended as it started; sensationalised and unrealistic. 

Our babies, my baby, is never coming home. 


Anonymous said...

Your words say it all my friend.....and very, very sadly you are right when you say 'Our babies, my boys are never coming home.' They are 'home' in my heart, my mind and in everything I do everyday - but I wish with every part of me that they could be physically home.

Love, Shabbs xxx

Waiting for Stanley and Lucy said...

Another heartbreaking post to read. xxxx

Anonymous said...

This Eastenders storyline has made me beyond furious, lots of things make me angry these days, it doens't take much to light the touch paper but this appalling portrayal of a bereaved parents behaviour makes me incandescent with rage. As you say this could at the very least done a lot to highlight the pain and isolation of bereaved parents but instead its portrayed us as loons who'd be happy another baby as a replacement. I cannot even look at a baby or even a picture of a baby, I turn my head away when I pass a pram, I ran out of the supermarket crying when there was a baby boy in a supermaket trolly baby seat next to the till I was using 2 weeks weeks ago. Shame on you BBC.

MmeLindt said...

Great post, Caz. We have been away so did not see the episode (I don't watch Eastenders anyway) or the publicity around it, but I am glad that the storyline has closed.

I just wish that they had never thought of this ridiculous idea, that has hurt so many vulnerable people.

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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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