Where do I fit Henry? As a mother I mean, I’m not sure I do. In our day to day lives, I don’t fit, I’m the square peg trying to be placed in to the round hole. We have so many friends that had their babies around the same time either a little before or a little after you, I see them Henry as they tag each other in the funny memes on Facebook about how they kept their children alive today or about the funny conversations you have at playgroup, that will never be me Henry not now as your mum and not even if we have siblings for you.
I can’t joke about ‘at least I kept the kids alive’ as you died, I won’t be able to join in all those funny awkward conversations about labour and birth at a playgroup when your sibling is here as the near mention of the fact you died people instantly freeze, they don’t know what to say and I stick out like a sore thumb that people then avoid talking too.
I see our friends all sit around and talk about how hard it was they haven’t been getting any sleep at night due to their babies not settling, teething or crying, they don’t know I lose sleep too, I don’t sleep because of the thoughts of what happened with you come creeping in, I lose sleep because missing you just hurts so much sometimes, I lose sleep because my body still physically after 10 months doesn’t compute and looks for the baby it’s supposed to be nurturing and looking after, but I can’t join in the conversation with that. They have every right to be able to talk about these things Henry don’t get me wrong I am not saying that, I just wonder how do I fit? when I can’t join in.
We run in to our friends with children around your age, they are polite and smile I ask about their little ones ‘how are they going?’, ‘how was their first birthday party’ you see their eyes light up as they talk about the joy of their lives, they tell us about how they enjoyed their party or are now walking, we listen I comment on what they have to say, what they don’t know is I long to talk about you too, about how much I love you, about how incredibly beautiful you are to us, about how when we first saw your face, about anything…. after they finish talking though there’s usually silence for a second and then they quickly say they think of us and you all the time and make an excuse about how they quickly need to go. I don’t fit Henry, as a mother, I’m the puzzle on the shelf that’s always missing a piece and will never be complete.
I have wondered if I’ll ever fit? The truth is I won’t, when we have a sibling for you yes for the first time I’ll be able to join in conversations about nappy rashes, about teething and breastfeeding, but the fact will still remain, they’ll ask ‘is this your first?’ And I’ll reply no and talk about you, they’ll ask ‘how many children do you have?’ and even if I said ‘two’ it leads to ‘how old is your other child?’ Or ‘where are they today?’ and I’ll answer honestly and watch for a reaction hoping it won’t end the conversation.
I’ll never be able to post a meme about ‘keeping children alive’ I know it’s meant as harmless fun and I don’t want to take that away from anyone, but to me I can’t see the humour in that when my baby, when you died Henry. I won’t be able to say how much your sibling is like you as I never got to watch you grow to see what you were like. I will never completely fit Henry, it’s like trying to squeeze in to the jeans a size too small, the button no matter how much I pull will never be able to be done up.
So here I am your mum, but not seen as a mother. Here I am wanting to talk about you but in person, but not many are able to, ask about you or want to listen and I feel awkward just bringing you up as I don’t want to make others feel out-of-place so I don’t. I save it all in my thoughts you are on my mind every second of the day.
Your Dad and I recently Henry, we were out and about doing some things we needed to do and decided to go get some rice paper rolls for lunch, we ordered them and well I’ve never seen anything like it Henry, what we got wasn’t a rice paper roll it was a rice paper log, they were huge!!! We took them in the car to go sit by the river to eat… as we drove along we both commented on the size of them.. “I didn’t order a hipanonymous” your Dad said to me and I started to laugh “A hipanonymous?” I asked “don’t you mean hippopotamus” your Dad laughed and then looked over at me “no-no I meant hipanonymous its an anonymous hippo, no one knows that hippo” he said “you do know it’s anonymous that doesn’t mean it’s invisible” I replied, “it’s the hippo with no name at hippo school it can’t get it to trouble as it’s anonymous so the teacher doesn’t know its name” your Dad said so matter of factly “I’d be the naughty hippo he said “that’s always getting in to trouble with no name, they won’t write books about me” I laughed and laughed Henry as we continued the most ridiculous conversation, but we were both laughing which was so nice to share that laughter together in that moment.
Days have been busy with work, house stuff and a few other things. Your Dad has had a little time off so he’s been getting out photographing the water and people.. it’s so good to see him doing what he enjoys. He just needs to learn a bit more about the business side of things, it’s still being set up but at the moment he’s had a few orders lately and hasn’t asked for deposits so we’ve been left funding it from our savings to get orders printed and framed then, still yet to be paid…. but you live and learn Henry, deposits from now on to at least cover costs of printing so we aren’t stuck funding it all ourselves. Either way I’m proud of your Dad Henry for giving it a go, as I know you would be proud of him too.
4am I woke the other morning Henry not feeling the best. After getting up with stomach pains I got back in to bed, my mind wandered to you, it wandered to how I wished I was getting up at 4am to feed you, how I wondered what you’d be like at almost ten months old “who would you be more like?”, “what would be your favourite things?”, I wondered if you would have kept your blue eyes and dark hair or would it have changed? I wondered whether you would have said Dad or Mum first?, would you like food or have been really fussy, I thought about it all. All the things we never get to know and my whole body felt this familiar ache and longing for a child it knows it should be holding, my eyes began to cry those familiar tears and quietly so I didn’t wake your Dad, my heart was full of love for you but mixed with the sadness that we don’t get to know.
I’ve felt it so much physically lately Henry, my physical body searches for you, it does so when I still at times get a hormone surge and even after ten months milk still leaks a little. It does so as my arms feel so incredibly empty and long to hold you, it does in a way my brain can’t comprehend still looks for you who as it knows you should be here. I didn’t know it could be this physical, I never knew a mother’s body has the capacity to respond in such a way that the physical body separates from the rest and looks for the child it’s supposed to have while the mind knows what’s happened the body doesn’t comprehend.
I remember being pregnant with you I think about 8 months along so my belly was quite big, it’s amazing what a woman’s body can do Henry, how all your organs on the inside move up to create space for the little human growing inside, well with everything moving and being squished it creates its own problems, your Dad and I were on an evening walk one night when unexpectedly I farted, all that pressure!!! I instantly felt embarrassed and apologised, your Dad being your Dad made a joke out of it and I laughed but then these small farts just kept coming in a row one after the other as we walked along, “geez” said your dad “you are going to power off in a minute you’ll be ahead of me down the street with so much power pushing you along” I started to laugh so much it was all too much I had to stop walking as the laughter caused more pressure I almost peed my pants which made me laugh even more, we stood in the middle of the street, me standing with my legs awkwardly pressed together, the more I laughed the more pressure but we couldn’t sop laughing, both so happy laughing about my farting and almost peeing my pants. Pregnancy, it certainly changes your body physically Henry but you are worth all of those changes, it’s just my body now expects to have you still here.
I get annoyed at myself Henry, I get annoyed that we still haven’t finished your garden, but we’ve been working, I’ve been unwell and our lives don’t stop like we would want them too at times. We have made a promise to you though, this will be done by the time your first birthday is here! So your Dad and I have decided we need to write a list. First thing on that list is to source the remaining old fence palings we need to finish the screen. I can’t wait to have it finished Henry to have the beautiful space created just for you.
Today Henry, today I don’t know what the day will bring, I know the sun is out shining, I also know your fur sisters need a bath, I know we need to go grocery shopping, but something I also know is your Dad and I need so more fun together too, the last few days we’ve both been snappy and it’s taken me by surprise, as we honestly are never usually that way with one another, we have both had a lot on our minds though, both had a lot going on, we’ve had letters to confirm action taken for complaints we made about circumstances surrounding you, and other things pop up. Things we don’t share and it’s occurred to me that with all that going on it brings up a lot of emotion for us both. So today Henry, your Dad and I need to have some fun! I hope you’ll be right there with us as we do.
We love you Henry, we say it everyday.