Browsing Tag

Letters

Loss

Dear courageous mama….

A letter to the woman who has just been told that her baby has died

As I prepare to give birth again, I look back to just ten and a half months ago and wonder what advice I would give to myself now.  The person who had just been told that her baby had died at 37 weeks gestation, without any warning.  Her baby who was healthy and perfect in every way, who she had seen wriggling around at the 36 week scan just five days before.  Whose heartbeat she had heard just two days earlier. 
That woman, who lying on the triage room bed, had just seen her baby’s still heart on the ultrasound screen.  Who was surrounded by doctors and midwives, being told that she had no choice but to labour and give birth, that she had to start the process that evening; that all she was allowed to do was to go home and pack a bag before returning for induction.  The woman who wanted to be put to sleep and never wake up, who couldn’t fathom that she had to go through the process of birthing, something she had so lovingly prepared for, knowing that the outcome would be silence and leaving the hospital empty handed.  Knowing that she had to break the news to her family and friends that she had let them down in the worst way possible.  That she had failed to protect her much loved and longed for baby.
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Mental health and wellbeing

Dear Orla: Two hundred and sixty-five letters of love

“There is something very sensual about a letter.
The physical contact of pen to paper, the time set aside to form thoughts,
the folding of the paper into the envelope, licking it closed, addressing it, a chosen stamp, and then the release of the letter to the mailbox—are all acts of tenderness.  Once opened, a connection is made. We are not alone in the world.”

—Tempest Williams (1991, p. 84)

Monday saw us write our two hundred and sixty fifth letter to Orla.  Although not necessarily a significant number, it is one that marks a countdown of 100 days until her first birthday and that this is now into double instead of triple figures.  It marks two hundred and sixty-five days since the day that she was born; the day that we officially became parents and met the most precious and beautiful little girl we had ever seen.  Two hundred and sixty-five days of breathing, surviving and navigating life without Orla; of being bereaved parents and finding a way of parenting without our child.  Developing an identity that acknowledges the gravity of what we have lived through, and continue to live through, whilst also looking to develop a narrative of hope, optimism and meaning. Continue Reading