Over the past couple of weeks, a few people have mentioned that I seem to be grieving over the loss of my friends baby Melinda, more than I did my own Charlie earlier this year.
They are right.
I am grieving more. Harder. Longer.
This is not to say I don't still miss my Charlie. Everyday I think of how he should be here, with us, joining in on fun swims in the pool, snuggling in bed late at night, tucked up in the pram as I go out and about for a walk or to the shops, having cuddles with with his Poppy, his Gran and Pa.
He isn't here, and it hurts.
And there is an emptiness that is never going to go away. I understand this emptiness now. I have lived with it everyday since losing my Mum. It's a different kind of emptiness, but essentially, for me, still the same.
So why then do I grieve even more for a baby that wasn't even mine? A baby that I didn't grow in my womb, that wasn't even a blood relative?
I'm going to try and explain this, and I hope it makes sense without upsetting anyone or diminishing anyone's grief. That is not my intention at all.
Melinda was a baby. She was full term. She had beautiful blue eyes, rosy round soft little cheeks, gorgeous rose bud lips. She long fingers and long little eye lashes. She had beautiful dark hair on her perfect little head. You could see her big sister in her features. Her Mum and her Dad.
Had she been born the day before, she could have been fine. She was perfect in every way.
Had she been born the day before she died, had she even taken just one breath after her birth, then people would view her loss very differently.
And that, for me, is the difference.
Charlie, while loved from the very beginning, while I was immediately filled with love and hopes and dreams and excitement when I discovered I was carrying him, Charlie was not yet a baby. There is no way he could have survived. He was MY baby, but he wasn't yet a physical baby.
He was a spirit, a soul, but not of this world. He was not yet made for earth.
I know. I held him in my hands after 10 days of bleeding and cramping. I held him and I cried. I sobbed from the very depth of my soul at this precious little bundle of hope and love and dreams and "what ifs" no bigger than the palm of my hand. My heart broke in that very instant. But I was only holding what could have been. Dreams.
I got to touch her rosy little cheeks. I had to resist the urge, from the very pit of my soul to pick her up, to squeeze her, to try and breathe life into her somehow. I looked at her and knew, that despite the fact that she was perfect, she was a baby, she wasn't here. She was already in heaven. But she had her earthly body. It was whole. Her earthly body was ready.
I am not trying to diminish any loss. The loss of a baby, any baby, regardless of the number of weeks gestation, is more than anyone should have to bear, ever. Period. I am not trying to say that the loss of a baby before term is not heart wrenching, its not life changing. No matter at what stage of pregnancy you are at, it hurts like hell. It changes you, your perspective on life. Suddenly everything is a little darker. Suddenly there is always something missing. It's the loss of so many hopes and dreams. I know, I have been there.
I am there.
But Melinda was different. A baby lost at full term IS different. Because if you put her side by side with a newborn, there was no difference. They would both look like healthy normal babies. Except Melinda never got to take a breath of our very own air.
And so yes, I do grieve more for Melinda. I will continue to grieve for her. I feel her loss greatly, as I would any baby who I had held in my arms, or in my heart and loved.
It's been over 6 years since I lost my Mum and I still cry, I still feel it. I still grieve. Nobody questions that, they accept it, they agree, they sympathize.
So if I am still grieving for Melinda in 6 years from now, if I still cry at the unfairness of it, if I still cry as I realise she should be starting school, if I still grieve and remember her on certain days, then I would hope that people would be the same. Not question it, accept it, sympathize.....understand.
After all she was a person I loved too.