August 19th is Project Heal’s Day of Hope. You can read the details on the site but basically it’s about making and hanging a flag both to commemorate your baby and to raise awareness of infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss.
A friend had pointed me to Project Heal soon after Isobel was born. I loved the idea of making something for Isobel every year and having another special day to remember her in a positive way, so I decided to take part. Of course I left it to the last minute to make something and having little creativity, my flag reflected more love than it did artistic talent! It’s all about the process I told myself as I put on my mellow birthing playlist and lit a candle.
Initially I debated using the bib that was part of the set of clothes Isobel was dressed in as part of the flag. When it came to it though, I didn’t want to cut up the bib, or anything of hers. Maybe another year. My flag was pretty simple as I couldn’t face anything too complicated or challenging just now. Maybe by next year I’ll have learned to sew!
It was lovely to see on the event Facebook page all the flags made by mummies and other family members all over the world but sad too to witness so many grieving families!
As far as the ‘hope’ from the Day of Hope goes, if only that was as easy to create as a flag! At the moment I don’t even know what to be hopeful for. I know no amount of hope can bring Isobel back and right now that’s all I want. According to Wikipedia, hope is “an optimistic attitude of mind based on an expectation of positive outcomes… to expect with confidence…to cherish a desire with anticipation”. I can safely say that none of my present thoughts or feelings fit that definition. As a typically optimistic person it never crossed my mind that anything would go wrong with my pregnancy. I wonder if I will ever be naively optimistic again. The last thing I ‘expected with confidence’ was my baby. The last desire I ‘cherished with anticipation’ was my desire to be a mother, to have a family. The listed opposites of hope – dejection, hopelessness and despair are much more in keeping with my present mental state.
If I could even hope that one day I’ll be happy again that would be progress, but it’s just so hard to imagine now. Hoping to be happy again seems just as impossible as hoping that I can go back in time and keep my baby alive.
I wish I could fast forward the grieving process, even as part of me knows (fears?) it will never be over. I wish I could have a glimpse of the future me that will be making Isobel’s flag next year, in five years, in 10 years. Will that me be happy? Will she be hopeful? I want to hope so. Maybe really hoping is too much just now so wanting to hope will do…