I realised this week that my issue with babies is a bit like my phobia of spiders. To the untrained eye it may seem odd that I cannot cope being around a baby in my in-laws garden but I can go to a local family theme park and be ok with the numerous bumps and babies there. I wondered why I could be able to cope with one scenario but the other turned me into a sobbing mess which lasted well into the week that followed.
Where do the spiders come in? I hear you ask. Those who know me will be aware of my immense and totally irrational fear of spiders, if I see one my initial reaction is to run and hide, my heart pumps and I feel giddy at the sight of even a small spider and faced with a biggun I’m a gibbering idiot. But given my fear, if I see a spider in the garden I’m ok with it being there. The reason? I’m in the open, I can move away and it won’t hide in a corner and catch me unawares. In the garden I expect to see spiders and can cope – I wouldn’t be running over to touch or hold a spider but I can accept their presence and whilst it is annoying it’s ok.
I realised this is where my problem with babies is the same. Put in a fairly confined space with a tiny baby, or seeing one where I least expect it to be sends me into a spiral and the anxiety, sadness, fear and stress kicks in and the tears flow thick and fast. But, put me in a situation where I expect babies to be and I can move away easily and I can cope. Again I won’t be running over to hold a baby or start a conversation with their parent but I can cope long enough to extract myself from the situation. Interestingly when I was pregnant with Henry my feelings about bumps and babies didn’t change, I still wanted to run for the hills when confronted with one – totally bonkers but that’s how I felt/feel.
I realise that it makes no sense as a baby is a baby regardless of the location but in my head there is a difference with having to be in the same room/place as a baby with few people around versus being in a public place with people I can ignore or move away from if it all gets too much.
So for me, babies are like spiders!
I saw this link on Facebook this morning and it got me thinking. http://stillstandingmag.com/2016/08/beforeafter/
At the weekend I had to deal with being around a baby for some family photos and I cried a lot, until there was nothing left. That evening Matt and I talked and I said that the old me was probably never coming back but I’m ok with that. When some one dies the world is split into before and after that moment.
After Rory died I spent a lot of time trying really hard to be normal and like I was before; that probably didn’t help me or anyone else as I was putting on a front of being ok, of being normal. The truth is you can’t be normal after your baby has died as you know too much, you’ve been through unimaginable trauma and pain, the magnitude of which is life changing and the old you from before is never really going to come back.
Henry was all part of my ‘I just want to be normal’ plan; I just wanted us to be a normal family of 4 who just happened to have a bit of sadness in the middle and a massive happy ending in the shape of an alive and well baby. But Henry didn’t happen as we’d hoped and with his loss I entered version 2.1 phase. Double loss equals double the trauma and there is definitely no old me coming back in her entirety.
When I think about it, do I want version 1 back? This would be the naive, IVF babies don’t die Naomi who didn’t really understand or know how to deal with loss, never knew what to say if someone cried and had the compassion of a rock at times (well maybe I am still a bit rock like). My boys (all three of them) have changed me and taught me how to love deeply, care more and fight for myself – that isn’t a bad thing.
Yes there are still tears, sad moments and times I just want to get off the rollercoaster for a lie down but I am ok, yes a bit battered and bruised, but still getting though each day even when sometimes the days are so very hard.
I’m learning to live with and appreciate version 2.1 of me, now it’s time for everyone else to learn to love her as much as I do.
My copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child arrived on Sunday and it was finished by Sunday night. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a book which wasn’t actually a book but a script from two plays; it was a good story and it was lovely to be reading a new Harry Potter book!
I won’t reveal the plot but the story involves a lot of time travel thanks to a contraband time turner. This is where things get sticky as I couldn’t shake off the overwhelming wish to turn back time and experience another life, a life where Rory lived and Henry was still just an embryo in the freezer. But then logic kicked in and I realised that if I had gone back in time and we were given a different egg donor then yes we may have had a living baby but he or she would not have been Rory and that made me sadder as I’d never have seen his face or experienced the deepest most inexplicable love imaginable. Yes I would be happier and more tired and slightly stressed but there would be no Rory, no Sands friends, no deeper understanding of loss. Even with all the pain I am glad he happened to us and changed us.
Then I wondered about Henry, what would life be like if I’d gone back and told us to leave him in the freezer and think carefully about how things may pan out? We’d still have an element of hope that’s for certain.
What if we’d decided to use a surrogate, would she be pregnant with Henry, would we be excited that we were approaching 30 weeks? Would we have finally started getting the nursery ready and sorting through the baby items in the loft? I’d be worrying about the prospect of having to hold and care for a baby boy that’s for sure. I’m also not sure I’d be happy.
Of course it’s all hypothetical as time travel is impossible but for a few minutes I wondered and my brain hurt nearly as much as my heart on Sunday night. I cried, I cried a lot and I felt stupid for crying over a book about wizards and magic as they are not real but my boys were real and really all I want is to hold them again, just for a minute.
Rory and Henry happened, I can’t change that and I’m not sure I want to; I can’t go back, only forward with them firmly in my heart. Sleep tight my precious boys.