There are some weird and worrying thoughts that cross your mind when you’re walking towards losing a baby. Some things are just plain awful to think about, others trivial but necessary. Some of these points may seem callous to you if you’re not in the midst of it, but what we’ve realised is that sometimes you actually have to laugh at the things that enter your head, the situations you get placed in, and the reactions of others. Because honestly, that’s all you can do sometimes.
The top 5 crazy thoughts of late…
1. To get nesty or not?
Do you prep yourself for bringing home a baby? You’ve been told there’s a 1-2% chance your baby may live (but because there are only seven recorded cases of this chromosome issue in the world, the geneticists have said those odds may be quite a bit higher).
So how do you prepare for that? Do we buy bunks for the other two and move them in together? Do you bother setting up a cot? Or even bother buying clothes? Baby could come at any moment, so the likelihood of getting her size right is about zero to none.
It’s an odd one. Preparing seems like over-assuming she’ll live.
My thoughts are, let’s play it as things come. We’ve had a boy and a girl before, surely we can scrape together some clothes and a cot if it comes to that!
2. What’s in a name?
Do you use your favourite name on your baby that will die – or do you save it in case you have another?! A baby that’ll actually get to use it. Sounds rather hard-hearted right? But it’s been through my head. Always has been, as I’ve known this kind of scenario is on the cards with every pregnancy.
In this case, I battled for a good two years to even get a shot at a third kid, so any subsequent children are a no-go zone in our family. And that pretty much solves the name problem!
3. Why haven’t they said anything?
Awkward. Yep, it definitely is when nothing is ever mentioned about being pregnant or how you’re doing when you cross paths with a person regularly, and they know the full story. There’s like this 6-month no go zone, despite the glaringly obvious elephant in the womb.
The thing I’ve realised though, is some people don’t know what to say. They don’t know how to approach it or they’re just scared. Often because they’ve never been through hurt or heartache before and they’re unsure of what the parameters are. ‘What if I upset them?’ ‘What if they don’t want to talk about it?’
From my experience, and that of others who have walked through pretty tough times, if someone’s genuinely asking how you are, we’re happy to talk. And if we’re not, we’ll say so.
Don’t be scared of upsetting someone. Tears can be good. If you ask, it actually shows you care rather than never broaching the subject, sweeping it under the carpet, and starting the conversation again once a person’s all well and good. The thing is, I’m not sure you ever get back to all well and good after losing someone – yep, life can be fine 99% of the time, but the emotion of it is still ready to surface whenever it gets a chance.
No matter how long you avoid it, the fact that they’ve lost someone doesn’t go away. And the longer you avoid mentioning it, the more awkward things become! Be brave and ask that someone how they’re going.
4. Um, how do we tell the kids?
To put it morbidly, death’s always been a topic of conversation in our house, pretty much from when the kids were born. My Dad died of cancer when Brooklyn was 2 and Jake was 7 months, so the concept of dying and where you go after death is a familiar one.
The hard part is grasping just how much they really understand. We have told them all along that they were going to have a baby sister, but she may not be alive for long, or may die in mummy’s tummy – we just don’t know what will happen.
The grasp of a 5.5-year-old indicates she understands the baby will go to heaven and be with God… and her Grandad, and other friends’ children who have also passed away. At the same time, she’s very hopeful too that all will be fine, and animatedly asked me after last scan whether the baby was all OK now.
The 4-year-old, well he’s very vocal about telling his friends in a concerned tone, ‘I think our baby is going to die’! He’s very sentimental about it all, but realistically doesn’t have a clue! His concept of a baby dying is that it might fall on its head… I think that stems from being told to be careful when holding little ones.
But as we get closer the questions are coming thick and fast, so I guess their concept of what might happen is widening.
5. To have a funeral or not?
It’s an odd thing planning a funeral for someone who hasn’t even been alive yet. We went away for a bit of a babymoon last week and had the joyous task of thinking this all through while away.
I guess we’re fortunate that we do have time to think about this stuff before we actually have to make decisions. We’re not in shock. We’re not reeling from losing a baby yet. We have the headspace right now to do this. But it’s still a weird thing to have to do!
There are strange thoughts that come up… If the baby’s stillborn do you even have a funeral, especially when you knew this was probably going to happen all along? Am I making too big a thing of this? If the baby lives for a while, maybe then you have a funeral… Can I really be bothered having anyone and everyone there?! Where do you have it… how big do you make it… Honestly, stupid stuff.
We don’t know, we both have different ideas about it, but discussing it was good. And some things you just can’t plan until it plays out.
So those are some of the weird things my mind has been spending time on in the last few months. Sometimes a normal pregnancy seems very simple!