I suffered from insomnia in the last months of pregnancy with Isobel, so even though I knew sleep wouldn’t be abundant with a newborn, I was looking forward to being able to sleep again. Little did I know that after my baby was born, my few hours of sleep would be filled with the most intricate and terrifying nightmares I have ever experienced. I had constant nightmares for about three months. Nightmares not about Isobel specifically, but about threat, danger and always death. I had a recurrent nightmare where I was slowly drowning. I think this was my brain trying to process my thoughts about what it felt like for Isobel to be starved of oxygen. Did she feel like she was drowning? It seemed only fair that I should have to experience what my body put her through, even if only in my imagination.
Now, four months on, I have started to have some normal dreams again and the nightmares are not every night. If I could choose my dreams I would love to have dreams of Isobel, alive – to have a brief holiday from reality, even though it would make waking up even harder. If my subconscious can create the most complex of horror plots surely it could bring a little girl back to life. So far it has not been compliant.
Neither can rituals bring Isobel back to life, but maybe as time goes on we will develop rituals to help us honour her memory. We intend to always celebrate her birthday, there will be no birthday girl but there will be a family, love, and cake. Instead of presents there will be fundraising and charity donations. There might not be party games but there could be random acts of kindness, little good deeds done in her name. It’s definitely not what I had planned or wanted, but it’s something.
(Genuine sleeping photo taken by my creepy husband!)