Like a lot of other people seem to have, I’ve struggled with today’s prompt. I could say that now when I come up against challenges I tell myself that I’ve been through giving birth to my dead baby, and the challenge suddenly doesn’t seem so difficult. I could say that I have a greater understanding of real pain and how to be with someone who is suffering and this will help me in my personal life as well as in my career. I could say that I’ve learned more about looking after mental health through this experience, than in my years of training and work as a psychologist. I could say that I’ve become more confident in speaking my mind and less concerned with what other people think of me. I could say that I appreciate my family more than previously for all their support over the past 16 months. I could say that I have seen the depth of my husband’s love and am more thankful than ever for him. I could say that I’m more grateful for my rainbow baby and less likely to take motherhood for granted. I could say that I now have a powerful connection with a community of inspirational women all over the world.
All of these things may be true and no doubt there are more ostensible positives that have come or may yet come from my experience of losing Isobel. However it remains that for each of these signs of what could be termed post-traumatic growth, there is an accompanying negative impact of this trauma and loss that has demolished a part of my mind and the person I used to be, the things that I could easily do and the relationships I had. The latter still feels so much bigger than the former. More lemons than I could hope to transform to lemonade with a lifetime of squeezing.
And so while I could say the statements above, I won’t. I don’t want to talk about growth and positive changes. I don’t want anyone to think that Isobel dying has in any way had a purpose in my life; that she has been more valuable to me in her absence than she would have been in her presence. I fully believe that being Isobel’s mother in normal terms would have improved me infinitely more than mothering her memory has. No good could ever come from surviving losing a child that would negate the awfulness of the loss. I would choose Isobel over all of it, a million times over.
All that being said, I do like the above quote! Mess of contradictions that I am!