The measure of our happiness

Today marks ten months since we said hello and good bye to our beautiful boy and I miss him more than ever.

They say time is a healer, but the truth is, I feel it is getting harder, not easier. To most of the outside world it hasn’t been visible, but I’ve cried more tears in the last month than I had done in quite some time and there has been a heavy cloud or maybe even a fog that has been lingering over me. This wave of grief suddenly and unexpectedly hit me on Jasper’s nine months anniversary, and it has stayed with me for much of this month. The nine months anniversary was a strange milestone. I couldn’t help but notice that in the time he had been gone, a new life could have been conceived and been born, and with that a torrent of emotions came to suffocate me.

In the months following Jasper’s death, I was often surprised at my own optimism and strange sense of hope that had blossomed within me despite the devastating loss we had experienced. I feel that since the New Year things seemed to gradually diminish, then in the last month, I’ve often felt like I’ve been running on nothing. My broken heart seems increasingly delicate, and feels like it could crumble at any minute. In fact, some days it has felt like nothing but a little pile of rubble with no means of repairing it. Fortunately, that state of disrepair has not been permanent, but even on the better days I don’t feel like the person I was, maybe four or five months ago. I look back at things I had been strong enough to do and wonder how I ever managed it, as now, on some days, I seem to be finding the very same things near impossible. I’m finding being around babies and pregnant women increasingly difficult. It has never been easy but it was something I felt strong enough to bare in the past, yet lately there have been occasions where I’ve had to run away from it. I’ve even had to cancel social events because I haven’t been able to face being around people. Looking at pictures of Jasper has always filled me with pride, and it still does, but I find that those emotions are increasingly tinged with a painful sadness. That fact in itself makes me sad as I don’t want the sadness I feel to overshadow the pride and joy I feel of being Jasper’s mum. I wonder whether despite what happened, we were drunk on the joys of finally becoming parents and as the dust settles, the effect of that magic is wearing off.

One of the reasons and I think perhaps the biggest reason for my recent struggles stems from my desperate desire to be pregnant again. Actually, it’s not pregnancy that I long for as the thought of it terrifies me, but I do long for a ‘rainbow baby’; a baby that we get to bring home. I’m finding the longing I feel for having a child to be nearly as painful as the pain of losing Jasper, and dealing with the two together seems unbearable. That together with the mixture of joy and fear I feel towards the prospect of being pregnant makes for a tiring and bumpy ride. I had been quite laid back about the thought of trying for another baby (or so I thought) and at first felt that ‘if it happened, it happened.’ But the honest truth is that I was naïve in thinking I would be pregnant by now. It’s not that I’ve ever been under the illusion that being pregnant again would in any way cancel out the loss of Jasper. I know that would never be the case, but as a couple with no living children, the prospect of never having any is a scarily real one. Now I find myself in this vicious cycle each month of preparing myself for the possibility that I might be pregnant, and just as I’ve talked myself into the idea of being pregnant and that it will be OK,  I then have to deal with the disappointment of not being pregnant and with it I miss Jasper even more.

When you have experienced ongoing issue like we have, it’s hard not to let the quest of having children take over your life. The last three and a bit years have either been about trying for a baby, being pregnant or recovering from a loss. Don’t get me wrong, we have been extremely lucky to have had some fantastic experiences in between it all but on the bad days it’s hard to see past the fog at the happier memories. It’s also hard not to plan your future around possible pregnancies when you have had so many issues. It may be because I’ve felt hopeful, but I’ve felt unable to plan anything too far ahead in case I fall pregnant. It sounds silly I know, but having experienced so many different issues throughout pregnancy, it is going to be difficult to live life as we normally do if I should fall pregnant. I’m just a bit tired of feeling like I’m putting my life on hold for the sake of something that may or may not happen. It’s not that I’ve lost all hope; one of the things Jasper has taught me is how good it feels to have a bit of hope. I just feel like now, I need to strike a balance between staying hopeful and living my life and enjoying what it has to offer. Like most other parents who have experienced a loss, having a rainbow baby is something we strive for and aspire to. Despite knowing that another baby would never replace Jasper, I feel like it has become a measure of my happiness. I know we are very lucky that it is still something we are able to hope for, as for some, there is no option for that hope. I just feel like I can’t let it be something that my happiness depends on. I don’t want to lose hope, but equally I don’t want to rely on it to be happy. It’s not something that is going to come easily, and I think I need to allow myself the time but I almost feel like a weight has been lifted in realising it.

Someone said to me recently that I’ve done so well in ‘just getting on with things.’ I thought I was dealing with things and surprised myself in how well I seemed to be doing at times. Now I wonder whether what I was doing was not facing up to reality. I’m not really sure, but what I do know is, rather than wonder why I’m feeling like this now or feeling like I should be doing better, I need to give myself more credit for surviving the last ten months. When I look back, I don’t know how I managed some of the things I’ve done. It’s only now as the dust settles and perhaps I become more aware of my emotions that I realise how well we have both done. When I consider that, I feel it’s no wonder I’m now suddenly feeling rundown and exhausted. For now, I’m going to allow myself to feel sorry for myself, try and be kind to myself, look after my health and try to find ways to enjoy life for what it is. After all, I have so much to live for and be thankful for. 



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