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.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Choose Your Breath

This post might need a deep breath. 

I'm supposed to explore where I really am with my grief right now. Pay attention to my inner thought patterns. Pay attention to what is tugging at me. Explore how I'm feeling and where I want to go with it. 

Largely I'm in a familiar annual pattern now. Life is a rollercoaster could not be truer. The inevitable meltdown towards and through June is a given. Worryingly each year seems harder. I react violently to Anabelle's birthday, I struggle to keep my composure. My heart breaks all over again. Flashbacks and a life stuck in June 2010. Remembering each dates of that month and what it meant and what it could've meant. 

And then July arrives and I start healing again. This year has been the best, most quick recovery from June in the five years we've been living this. This summer, this autumn has been good and I've been good. I've felt the most emotionally strong I've felt maybe since she died. 

But I know the next low is coming. 

Traditionally my Christmas low really hits on Boxing Day. Boxing Day I want to hide away from the world. Even though we have the boys, Anabelle missing on Christmas Day painful. We have our Christmas ritual of visiting her garden late morning and leaving Christmas flowers and the boys opening some gifts for her. She is included in our dinner time with a special candle lit for her and a personalised Christmas Cracker, her cracker. But it is exhausting. Even when we're happy, there is sadness. This sadness waits for Boxing Day, but on Boxing Day I need space. Quietness and space.

Then there is Mother's Day. Mother's Day that has a new plan. Now there is Mother's Day weekend; Saturday which I give to Belle and give to my grief and Sunday that I'm giving to my rainbow boys. 

Then there are all the unexpected days, events, moments in-between that catch you off guard and leave you wobbling.  

I decided to join in Capture Your Grief this year because I realised I hadn't made time for my grief for such a long time. Naturally most posts are written on a low, because on a low I need to process so much more. But sometimes I need to write and don't make the time, I internally process, but interally processing doesn't always leave it dealt with. So I decided for Babyloss Awareness Month of October I would join this project and use the workshop to consciously explore grief using the prompt title it gave me. Because grief is ever evolving, ever moving and I'll only be healthy if I try moving with it. Conscious grief work and reflection is so necessary. 

This workshop has given me the space so far to re-visit places in my grief I haven't explored for such a long time. It has felt weight-lifting to work through these titles and allow my mind the time to see where it takes me. All these posts have been important. 

But today, this title, I think is much harder; if I am to really to Choose My Breath and be true.

Some things are not easy to explore, or even to admit. 

Here goes. Please be gentle with me. 

By far the greatest trigger for me has been, and continues to be baby girls. 

Other's baby girls. My lack of baby girl. 

Oh how I'm filled with anxiety when someone announces they are having or have had a baby girl. These announcements are hard, not because of jealousy, not really, but because of sadness. Utter sadness that we don't have our baby girl. Haven't had a baby girl. 

Small baby girls fill me with anxiety. I'm nervous of my own feelings and reactions. Even though I have conquered many things I still haven't conquered my initial nerves around newborn baby girls. But once they are a bit older I'm fine. How ridiculous is that? 

Sometimes friends daughter's tug at me. Sometimes it can be as simple as how pretty their shoes or clothes are. A photo of them dressed in a ballerina costume, or dressed as Princess Belle. And I realise how much I want that too. I want Belle of course I do, but I want a girl too. 

I'm going to put this out there now even though I hope I don't have to say it really. I LOVE my boys. I love them absolutely, without measure. They've been my greatest healing.  

I was fearful how I would react to the news especially that Zac was a boy at that 20 week scan, and it turned out those fears were unfounded. He was mine, always mine, my Small and it didn't matter a jot what his gender was. I was in-love again. 

But I'm still there. What if we never have another daughter? 

I don't know how I will accept never having a daughter here at all. 

We're hoping to welcome our final baby into this family sometime in 2016. No this isn't a pregnancy announcement, but we're hoping one will be on the cards sometime soon. I'll admit Jon has taken some persuading to put ourselves through another pregnancy but I didn't feel 'done', I don't feel done. I realise I may never feel truly done when such a huge part is forever missing from this family. But Zachary's pregnancy never really felt like it was going to be the last one. He didn't feel like my last. This isn't because he was a boy. No, the feeling of 'knowing' I needed one more were there before we knew who and what he was. 

So another baby, one that will be the last.  I will be done. Four babies and three c-sections is enough. I'm ready for that to be enough. 

But my last baby. 

What if my fears of Zac's gender were unconsciously unfounded because he never felt like my last, that there still felt a chance for a girl? 

I know more than most that the gender doesn't matter, it isn't what is really important. But and I'm hesitant with that but, it would be so incredibly magical to be blessed with a girl. Magical and terrifying in equal measure. I would love to have a girl but more terrified than possibly ever before of the pregnancy. So much would be riding on a successful outcome either way, but a girl outcome. I don't know my body can do that. 

What if I can't carry girls, keep girls alive? 

And this is it. If our last baby is not a girl then we will never have a girl. I do not know how to begin to make my peace with that, how to process what that really means. The pain that would invoke. To never raise a girl; another secondary loss to add to the list there might be. 

But a girl. I cannot imagine the rest of my life without a girl. I'm not ready to let it go. 

It would be healing.  I hope it would wash away all the feelings that surround other peoples girls. I hope it would heal my sadness and anxiety around other girl gender or birth announcements. Because my own life wouldn't be so empty of girl anymore. 

There is this chaos in my heart and mind between accepting what is and what might be. 

I know, I know I need to find healing over other's baby girls regardless of the gender of my final child. 

I feel horrible for these thoughts and so awfully guilty. Guilty and fearful that I'm being 'greedy' and that I should feel done already. Guilty, because I don't want any of my children, the boys or a hoped for future child to feel like they were not enough, or that I hoped they were something or someone else. I would hate for them to read this and accuse me of wishing they were girls. 

That is genuinely not the case. 

They are who they are and I've only ever wanted them to be who they are, from the moment they were named. My boys, beautiful precious boys. 

They need to know I accept them for who they are, love them for exactly who they are. My boys. Without question. I love being a mother of sons. Without question, regardless of gender, our hoped for third rainbow baby would be so incredibly precious, loved. And I know raising boys, raising boys is a beautiful experience, those beautiful boys who fill my life with love. I know a third boy would be no different and would add extra love, sparkle and colour to this family. He would be loved without question as much as Alexander and Zachary are.  

But a girl. Someone tell me how I would feel peace if we were not to have a girl. Am I allowed to love the life of boys I have been blessed with but remain feeling robbed of raising a girl? 

Above all else I want just a baby. Another baby to come home and fill this house some more, add to the noise, the chaos, the love. A baby that doesn't yet exist that we would be so desperate to bring home safely like their brothers. A baby that would have all our familiar hopes and ultimate fears wrapped around it. Fears. 

We're either very brave or very stupid to consider embarking on this again. I know that. But I also know we'll only ever regret the babies we could've had and didn't try for, we'll never ever regret the child that comes along, our last child, boy or girl.  

Day 25. Capture Your Grief. Choose Your Breath. 


Life, Loss and Little Things said...

Catching up on your blog! Oh lovely, your boys are adorable and magical, but my heart hurts for you thinking about those horrible trigger moments when you see tiny baby girls. I have a girl and lost a girl, and can imagine how much sharper those feelings must be for you.

For me, my trigger is sisters, sister duos. Young or old. Little girls two years apart holding hands, even my adult friends who are close to their sisters. I feel so guilty my eldest can't experience that. I know, realistically, she never will because there'll be at least a five year gap if/when we have another. It will be a different dynamic, but hopefully still a lovely one.

Sometimes just close-in-age siblings of either gender sets me off. I guess we are all pining the things we were supposed to have...

Know that it is an amazing gift you've given your boys- another little person who they'll always have in their life. A brother and confidante. That is precious.

Wish you well in your TTC. We have tentatively started and I'm a bundle of nerves. Need to let go and let things happen as they should. Desperate not to become crazy OPK lady I was with my eldest!! Lots of love, Cx

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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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