Nine months was all the time required to make 7 pounds 2 ounces of perfect baby girl from scratch. Nine months to form a heart that should have continued to beat for decades. To grow the lungs that should have inhaled and exhaled hundreds of millions of times. To make the eyes that should have seen all the wonders of the world. To create the eggs that would have sparked new life and the uterus where my grandchildren should have grown. Nine months was all the time required to make Isobel.
Nine months was more than sufficient to make me a mother, and Simon the father of my child. To let us joyfully wave goodbye to the fertility problems and the uncertainty of whether or not we would have children, to know that our struggles in that regard were finished – the hard part was over. Nine months to plan the rest of our lives together as parents, as a family. To create a thousand day dreams about our baby and the life we would have together.
How can it be then, that nine months is not remotely enough time to accept that Isobel is gone and our dreams of her are lost? Not nearly enough time to accept that her heart is not beating, her lungs are not breathing, her eyes are not seeing and that unknowable generations of people will not exist because she is not here.
It is not enough time to understand either how this happened, or why. In nine months, I haven’t been able to stop my mind from returning to the thought that I am responsible.
Nine months is not long enough that the waves of grief are not still overwhelming, that the sadness is not still profound, that the hopelessness that comes with having a problem than can never be solved, is not still absolute.
Nine months has not been enough time to stop the spontaneous flashbacks of ‘that’ moment and all the horrors that followed. Not enough time to settle the nightmares about destruction and death.
The nine months that have passed have not softened the pain of pregnancy and baby triggers, of seeing mothers and daughters, of hearing a little girl say “Mummy”; of being left out in the cold, looking in at the warmth of the life I should be living.
These nine months have not allowed me to find the parts of myself that I lost; my naivety, my optimism, my easy confidence. Nor have they been long enough to let me leave behind the unwanted traits that I gained; my resentment for the happiness of others, my disdain for non ‘life or death’ struggles, my irritability and quick temper.
How can it be that nine months, such a finite amount of time, allows for the creation of something so perfect and the formation of a bond so strong, that – from what I read – no amount of time exists that can fully erase the pain of losing it?