Yesterday I was scrolling through photographs on my phone, and went right back to 2019/2020, before Ollie was stillborn and our nightmare began. I look the same, except with lighter hair and a little chunkier (post partum tummy) but on the outside of things I am the same to look at. Same features, same clothes, same makeup…but I’m a completely different person. I looked at the photograph and felt sorry for the person I used to be, innocent of this loss and not knowing what was about to befall us. I was carefree essentially, problems weren’t really problems, of course life had given us bad luck with my mum being unwell for many years, losing my Nanna and other problems life tends to throw at you but in essence I was innocent. I was able to sleep without nightmares, laugh without feeling guilty, see a baby and not cry, congratulate pregnant women without secretly praying that their baby makes it home, drive past a hospital without a panic attack. The old me.
When my son died, a part of me died with him, he was a part of me and I was a part of him. From that second when we heard the words ‘I’m sorry there is no heartbeat’, I am no longer who I was before and I will never be her again.
Now when I look in the mirror I see lines where there were no lines before, a constant tensing of my jaw and muscles, broken skin on my lips where I’ve somehow developed a nervous chewing tic, the dark line on my stomach that never faded, a deadness to my eyes because I am constantly sad. Even when I appear not to be, I am always, always sad. A part of me is always looking for him, in everything I do. For a feather, a robin, a rainbow. I am desperate, and that desperation is echoed in my appearance. I no longer care as much what I look like on the outside, because on the inside I am tortured. The guilt is crippling, the absence of him is almost a physical pain that I am never free from.
Bereaved parents are reborn in the most cruellest of circumstances one can imagine, I am a mother without a child present, with a post partum body and hormones and emotions with no baby in my arms. I am now my sons eyes, ears and senses, he lives inside my soul and I have to live for him because he did not get that opportunity. Petty things no longer matter, certain relationships with people who were never really present or reliable no longer matter, what matters is my sons legacy.
I feel so sorry for my former self, because she did not know what to come. If only I had known….I torture myself with that constantly. What if I just knew and I could have done something to stop it?
To who I was before I’m glad I managed 33 years without this pain because the rest of my life I will live with it, but actually despite this I am a mother and not even death can take that from me. It is my instinct to protect my child’s memory and I will not rest until that is fulfilled, it may never be fulfilled, but I will spend every day trying. I would not take a single day that I had with him back, not a single solitary second, even of this agonising life I now live because it led me to him.
The impact his short life has already had on people is so inspiring, he inspires me, and his legacy will live on through his friends, family and mummy and daddy forever.