Last year the topic was split into 'What to say' and 'What not to say'. They were 2 very tough ones on days 6 and 7.
Myths is similar. There are lots of myths surrounding baby loss but I chose this one -
Now you have a rainbow baby, the pain will go away
In all honesty, I barely have time to think about Isla as much now I have Caleigh. So I make time. I go to her burial site with flowers or look through her photos on my phone. At the start of this project I went through her memory box and cried fresh tears for her. That pain is certainly still there.
I wrote about Caleigh being my wooden leg the other day and that analogy strikes me as so fitting for this myth. Just because I have Caleigh doesn't mean I no longer grieve for Isla. It's just different. There will always be part of me missing.
Here's what C. S, Lewis wrote on grief —
“Getting over it so soon? But the words are ambiguous. To say the patient is getting over it after an operation for appendicitis is one thing; after he’s had his leg off is quite another. After that operation either the wounded stump heals or the man dies. If it heals, the fierce, continuous pain will stop. Presently he’ll get back his strength and be able to stump about on his wooden leg. He has ‘got over it.’ But he will probably have recurrent pains in the stump all his life, and perhaps pretty bad ones; and he will always be a one-legged man. There will be hardly any moment when he forgets it. Bathing, dressing, sitting down and getting up again, even lying in bed, will all be different. His whole way of life will be changed. All sorts of pleasures and activities that he once took for granted will have to be simply written off. Duties too. At present I am learning to get about on crutches. Perhaps I shall presently be given a wooden leg. But I shall never be a biped again.”
Caleigh is my wooden leg!
Other myths include:
It happens for a reason
Does it? Does there have to be a reason for such pain? I do now see what Isla has changed positively in my life. But that has taken a year and even so, I would certainly have rather learned those things a different way. I don't believe a baby has to die for anything to happen.
Time is a great healer
In a way, this is true, but it is linked to the wooden leg quote above too. Dan got his wooden leg a lot earlier than I did, and his wooden leg looks very different to mine, even now. Time has changed how we feel about our grief, but, certainly for me anyway, the loss of Isla will never be completely healed. I'm not explaining this one very well... It does heal to a degree, but never completely, and who's to say if it takes 1 year or a million?
You will 'get over it' one day
As above really. I once wrote about this journey being like climbing a mountain. You've still got to traverse the foothills and navigate windy trails to the summit before you can get over the mountain. But you never lose sight of the mountain.
She wasn't meant to be
What?! How can a gorgeous human being like her not meant to be on this earth? It's not her fault she caught a virus from me. She should have breathed, cried, walked, lived. That was all stolen from her, but it doesn't mean it shouldn't have happened.
Best just get back into the swing of things
Fair enough I guess. Yes, in fact I am one for doing just this. But then I broke. I ended up signed off work for 2 months to let myself 'heal' a bit better. It worked because I allowed myself the space and time to do so. Other peoples' lives go on and you have to move with them to a degree. And it does take your mind 'off things' to get back into normality. But you've got to grieve. And sometimes that means not getting back into things so quickly and just going with the grief.
Day 3 of Capture Your Grief and it's After Loss Self-Portrait today. It's hard to choose to be honest, so again I've chosen a main one - the most treasured and personal photo ever taken of me - and then added some extras that show different aspects of the last almost-3 months of my life.
My beautiful baby girl and I, the night she was born sleeping
Even though it was the saddest moment of my life, I couldn't help but smile when I looked at her. She was so beautiful - just what I'd always wanted! A little bundle of perfection and she was all mine (and Dan's!). She didn't need to see me crying, I wanted her to feel happiness around her not feel tears. Yes, I know she was already gone, but she still needed hugs and joy. How could I not look at her wonderful face and smile through the pain?
I wish I had more photos of me holding her, but the ones I have are perfect nonetheless. Some other self-portraits since this moment are:
In France, after getting out of hospital but before Isla's funeral - smiling through the pain but usually breaking down shortly after
Bought a new car on a whim - this colour/make but a brand new one! How tiny and impractical could I go?!
Me and my daughter in her beautiful resting place
With my Aching Arms bear at the Angel of the North