Welcome to our world.
It's been nearly 7 months since our world changed irrevocably, since our daughter who was beautiful and perfect, finished her womb life. I held her but I'll never hear her, I kissed her but she'll never kiss me back, I drank in her every detail but I'll never know the colour of her eyes. And when I think of these things, the maelstrom tugs at my soul.
There are moments where life is just life and the seas are calm, and moments (such as when your program is trending on the iPlayer favourites list) that joy forces your spirit to erupt in triumphal arcs.
It is with all this in mind that we announce we are pregnant again, 16 weeks into our new baby's womb life.
And we don't know how to feel.
It is interesting and understandable that many people don't know how to approach the subject of stillbirth. I suppose they don't want to make us sad. Unfortunately as I said above, our world has changed irrevocably, and our days are spent trying to work out how to live in this 'new normal'. The truth is, you cannot make us sad because we are already sad, every day, all the time. Talking about it actually helps. It reminds us that Grace was real, it allows us to validate her existence. This is not to say we are not happy. We laugh and joke, we enjoy movies and tv, we love spending time with friends. We enjoy life, but the nature of bereavement means that everything is slightly tainted.
This new baby is a joy for us but it highlights Grace's absence. This little life brings wonder when we consider the complexities of its development but there is the fear of 'something bad' happening again. The likelihood is extremely small but so was the likelihood of what happened to Grace. We were always aware that bad things can happen but now we 'know' that the worst can happen. There is a subtle difference.
Fear is a part of me now. I fear that when I go to work I won't return to my family, or that when Alannah goes to nursery 'something' will happen or I wonder why Siobhan has been gone so long. Nothing is as simple as it was.
However we have made a very deliberate decision to prepare for a happy outcome, we have decided to not let fear rule our decisions even though it is an ever present force.
This child will soothe our desire for a baby. but make no mistake, it WIlL NOT soothe our desire for Grace.
We compare Alannah's development to our youngest daughter's imagined growth, we miss her as much as we love Alannah, as much as we love the embryonic life in Siobhan's womb.
We wait, we pray, we consult.
We embrace the joy, we rest in the calm and we weep into the maelstrom.
Are we happy?
Yes we are but it's a new happy, part of the new normal and that's ok.
Welcome to our world.