I’m having a difficult time at the moment processing my feelings about the way Ripley came into the world. I keep thinking that it’s in the past and I should be over it, but every time someone I know has a baby, I slip back into those moments.
I feel so robbed of that magic experience when a newborn arrives. I thought I’d be inundated with visitors and flowers and be just worrying about sleep. But my life was consumed with moving hospitals, trying to move around with stitches and catching 30 mins of sleep whenever I could. Trying to learn everything I could about Respiratory Distress Syndrome and Meningitis, and then trying to cope when he didn’t get better as quickly as the doctors had expected.
I was so relieved when we did bring him home but also so shell shocked and it felt like a clinical and cold experience rather than what I knew it could have been. So now, whenever a friend has a baby, I feel so jealous that they get to go home soon, that they spend every minute with the baby, that they receive flowers and gifts, and that the special moment they’ve had is something I’ve missed.
I know that hopefully with subsequent babies I will avoid this but I’ll never have my first child again so I’ll never have the opportunity to feel those special things. Because we were in shock, even the feelings we did have were strange. Our parents visited us in hospital about 12 hours after he was born, but he’d already left for hospital no 2 (of 4 in total) and we were parents with no baby. It was like it never happened.
How I move past these feelings I don’t know. So many people say, ‘oh well he’s healthy now’ but that doesn’t detract from what we went through. I know people are trying to be kind and often don’t know what to say, but a simple ‘it’s not fair that you went through that’ would be so much more helpful. I’m so aware now of what I say to people who are going through something difficult, whether it’s a premmie baby or an illness, I have that mentality of a survivor now and I know what people need because it’s what I needed. That helps, in those moments where I am helping someone else, it makes me feel like at least something good came of my experience. But I still wish I’d had that person who understood and supported me in the way I needed (beyond Ben who of course was amazing). But such is life, I didn’t, and so I have to carry on, with these heavy feelings in my heart. At least, every time Ripley smiles or laughs, I’m living in the moment and able to forget what’s passed.
Such heavy thoughts for a Sunday afternoon.