Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind

It never fails to leave me flabbergasted. How very short our memories are.
People who saw me weekly or even daily throughout my first pregnancy, who even bought gifts for Sophia and attended her baby shower, who saw us living through the devastating aftermath. These very same people will now jovially ask "So? When's it time for number two?"

I stare at them blankly. "You mean number three".

Averted gaze. Awkward moment. "Yes... er... three. Sorry."

I know they mean no harm. Of course I know that. But it's a little punch to the gut each time. A tattoo wasn't enough. Perhaps I should have had it emblazoned on my forehead instead.

The resounding ache of we sorry bunch of parents who've lost babies is that their personhood - and sometimes even their very existence - is not acknowledged. Sophia was here. She lived. She mattered. She's a soul, same as you and I. She's in Heaven. She is not merely an IUD - as the medical charts reduce her to. She was not simply a pregnancy. She was (is) a PERSON, with a character, with preferences. Do you know that babies even DREAM in the womb? As fully formed and decisive and complete as Tandi was at birth, Sophia was a week moreso when she died (37 weeks vs 36 weeks).

I have grace for people. Really I do. I don't set about trying to make people feel awkward. But once in a while it would be great if they honoured my girl. If they acknowledged her. If they asked.

Out with friends the other night - their son was born just days after Sophia - and they asked about number 3. Just like that. So naturally. They asked whether we prefer to speak about Sophia or not. They asked whether Tandi looks like her. They asked if it is hard for me to see their son. As they asked these things my throat closed and tears streamed down my cheeks in the middle of the restaurant and I ached. But I was filled with such gratitude and relief. The dam that fills and fills and fills way past capacity is allowed some respite in these moments as the sluice gate is opened a bit.

If you ask, you are not making me cry, you are allowing me the relief of crying.


acidicice said...

I understand it from both perspectives. I feel I have healed a lot since we lost Jamie. I feel that Babyice has filled a few gaps (not replaced) that she left. I understand that other people very quickly forget your pain and sometimes I will feel hurt by a statement like this, sometimes I won't.

I also know that what you went through with Sophia was very different from what I went through with Jamie.

I hope you can find peace.

Joanne said...

I am so happy that those friends 'allowed' you to cry damn that must be irritating when people wont talk about Sophie.

Human beings are strange creatures I am a bit weird I can soooo relate to a primate carrying around a dead baby for days/weeks after it has passed, it just makes sense to me.

Oh I have a half finished knitted jacket I made for Thandi, I obviously have stretched myself too far ;) is there anything here in the UK that you cant get there that you would like for her? It would make me very happy to send it to you. xxx

Lotus07 said...

It makes me wonder.....what would Sophie have dreamed?

Kez said...

Caz, as always your post leaves me with a lump in my throat. I wish people would realise the power of their words. It is people's ignorance that leads them to say such insensitive things. Miss seeing you at the gym (not because you're not there but because I have been too busy to get myself to Virgin Active) Hope your family is well!

Anonymous said...

So much truth in this post. People who skip over your daughter and others who have room in their happiness (and yours) for your grief too.

Treasure the sun and the rain, the joy and the pain


Angel said...

Oh Caz, I can't imagine what you go through when people ask what they probably think is a funny or inane question.