I had a comment from a friend today: “I finally looked at your blog. I was too scared to before.”
I totally get it.
I often feel that – not towards this blog (for obvious reasons), but towards other blogs and articles.
A title like “My Experience of Miscarriage” or “Seven Things Not to Say To Someone Who has Experienced a Stillbirth” can have a rather stressful affect on me. I don’t know what is written in the article. I don’t know if it will hit an extra raw part of me. Maybe it will just make my heartache intensify. Maybe it will just be annoying.
I also remember the fear I had of looking at Theodore the morning after I had birthed him. I remember I spent quite some time preparing myself and steeling myself. I didn’t know what to expect. Was he going to be shrivelled up? Grey or blue in colour? Would his cheeks have sunken in?
It was really quite stressful.
Then I finally looked at him. What a huge relief!
He was beautiful. More beautiful than I could have imagined. The purple tone his skin had when he was warm and just born had changed to a soft pink. He was still but looked so peaceful. He looked like he was sleeping.
I know other friends were nervous to look at him. Some have shared how they were so filled with fear that they were scared to look at him, but then they did see him, and their fear dissipated.
I remember how I was too nervous to kiss him, because I didn’t know what his cold, immature skin would feel like against my lips. When a friend visited, and cuddled him, and then kissed him before putting him back in the cooling crib (which was keeping his body cold so he wouldn’t deteriorate quickly), I was watching very closely to see her reaction. She gave me the courage I needed so I could be brave enough to kiss my very own and very loved baby. I wasn’t brave enough before.
It makes me cry so much to even write that. I feel perhaps I ought to be ashamed because I wasn’t brave enough, but the truth is I am not, because it isn’t something to be ashamed about. Sometimes things can just be too much, and we need someone to help us. I am relieved beyond measure that one of my friends was brave enough and could, unknowingly, give me the courage and strength I needed to do something so simple and also so incredibly profound. Without her, I may never have kissed my son, and I would likely be struggling with regret over it the rest of my life.
Because of my friend, I don’t have that. I have treasured memories and beautiful photographs instead.
So don’t think that I don’t understand if you have been afraid to read what I write, or if you were afraid to look at my tiny son. I do understand. And I am glad you found the strength you needed.