7:22 am

I'm feeling sad, I know I'm always going to feel sad, even when I'm happy. I know that's my life now and forever. I accept that.
I knew having another baby wasn't going to fix everything, I knew it was going to be hard. I've always known Ernest was never going to be Florence.They are two very seperate little people, and having Ernest here reminds me every day of everything I didn't know about Florence, everything I will never know.
I still feel such guilt and shame that Florence died, that somehow I let her down. I know logically that's not true, but I feel it. She grew inside me, I birthed her, and that's just how I feel.
Then there is the guilt that Ernest was birthed too soon, that because no one could guarantee he'd be born healthy if he went to term that it was safer to evict him three weeks early. That being early meant his jaundice was so bad and that he's struggled with breastfeeding.
He's gaining weight now, I can see him filling out, growing out of his first clothes, but that doesn't stop my mind occasionally wandering off. I catch myself wondering what clothes we'd bury him in if we had to, which toy we'd choose to put in his coffin....I guess that's normal for a babylost parent?
I've had moments where I've been convinced that Mother Nature/the universe/whatever was trying to take him away, why else would he be struggling so with breastfeeding?
I think I sound like a crazy lady. I met my health visitor a week or so ago, and she has that head tilt and look in her eyes like she thinks I'm crazy too, and I'm even careful what I say to her.
Maybe I sound ungrateful. I'm not, I'm very aware of just how lucky we are to have Ernest. He is a joy.
I'm just so scared for him. I'm not alone either. I wake up sometimes and Woody is leaning over Ernest and I, "just checking". Even the children worry. They ask questions I'm certain children who haven't cradled their dead sister in their arms don't ask.
I hold Ernest in my arms, or in the sling and I breath in his delicious scent, as deep as I can, trying to hold onto it. Florence never had time to smell so divine. I tried to smell her,but she was gone.
I can imagine the non babylost reading this and thinking poor Ernest is in the shadow of his dead sister. I guess he is, and will always be. There will always be his birthday followed by hers.This time of year will always be full of ghosts. I will always be sad. Ernest will only know the bereaved me, not the Mummy I was before.
I hope he'll always know just how precious he is to all of us though. I hope he'll know how special he is, and how loved he is for him.

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22 comments

  1. Oh,this just breaks my heart - for all of you. I very, very much hope and wish that you will still grow happy together. I know that you are happy with your Ernest, but - it's hard to express what I mean, but I want to send you hugs and happy thoughts, anyway.

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  2. I also want to send a hug a big big hug. I don't think you sound crazy at all. These are your feelings and there is no way back. As someone who has not experienced the loss of a child I can only tell you that what your describe seems so understandable, so legitimate and so terribly hard. I think that you will always be both mommies the happy one and the bereaved one. Both not one rather then the other. My mother is a child after loss. She has never felt in the shadow of her dead sister, but she has felt with a great intensity her specialness, the joy of her being healthy and well. She has been her whole life a bit of a survivor and that made her very strong.... a happy strong.
    Love to you and your family.

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  3. ((hugs)) you dont sound ungrateful or crazy. I would never have expected you to try and replace Florence with Ernest but I do know that it must be so hard right now to be dealing with the ongoing pain you feel at losing Florence and all of the hard work and emotions that go with having a new baby to look after. That is an awful lot for anyone to cope with and you are doing an amazing job. What a crazy, horrible, amazing, sad, and Happy mix of emotions to have to deal with, the exhaustion must be relentless. Try and take it easy on yourself xx

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  4. Grief is so powerful, so is the joy of Ernest but the grief of Florence..I just cant imagine. Not crazy, grieving yes, crazy no.
    xx

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  5. I wish I could give you a big hug right now.

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  6. there is no right or wrong way to feel - it is just the jeanette way of feeling in the way that a caroline one would be her way (or whoever). Each day is a new step forward and try and rejoice in small steps and tiny gains and changes.

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  7. "I can imagine the non babylost reading this and thinking poor Ernest is in the shadow of his dead sister."

    No, absolutely not!
    All I read is you being afraid something might happen again, which is perfectly understandable!

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  8. I still check Willow is breathing every night when I go up to bed. We can be quietly crazy together.

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  9. you can't change the mum you are now any more than you can change the mum you were when each if your children were born. Ernest will not have anything to compare, he'll only know the mum you are now. Being a mum is fraught with guilt even when things are going well, I can't even begin to imagine the complexity of what you're feeling now (((hugs)))

    you're not crazy, you're grieving

    xxx

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  10. What Tulip said.

    And I'm sure you know that non-babylost parents have those 'what-if' thoughts from time to time. I check on both my children every night before I go to bed - lean over and kiss them...it's got so that I can't NOT do it.... just in case...

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  11. Not sure what to say, Jeanette, but didn't want to say nothing.
    Because of Florence, Ernest exists, because of Florence (and my own lost babies) I look at my children every day and am grateful for what I have.
    So long as all our children know how much they are treasured, our duties as mothers are fulfilled.
    (((hugs)))

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  13. I think what you are feeling is totally understandable, and your feelings will be so heightened by the intensity of being a new mum, being so tired, constant pumping and worry.I feel for you so much and hope it all starts to become less acute and frightening and a bit more relaxed and normal, as soon as possible xxx sending love

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  14. Ernest will not doubt the love you all have for him, it takes true courage to try again after such a terrible loss. Florence will never be forgotten neither. Wish I could make the pain go away but sadly I can't.
    I'm sure your HV does not think you are mad, she would be very unkind if she did, mind you I have met some HV's who are definitely not right!!
    With much love San xx

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  15. I don't think you sound crazy, I think you sound like a grieving mother. I can't imagine what you are going through, and frankly, even trying to makes me want to curl up into a little ball.

    Also, you need to remember that there is a roller coaster of emotions that come after giving birth, courtesy of the crazy hormones. I would cry because it was raining after Maya was born.

    Billy said it best, "you will always be both mommies, the happy one and the bereaved one." And that is ok. And, of course having Ernest so close to Florence's b-day must be terribly hard and stir up all sorts of what-ifs. But please, do not spend another moment feeling guilty (easier said than done, I know). It is clear to anyone who reads your blog that you are a great mom, and I know you did your best for her and all of your children.

    None of your babies would even want you to feel like you let them down. I am sure that she felt the strength of your love, I did and I am half a world away.

    And take it from a mama who struggled with breastfeeding, it is not all there is to mothering. I feel in my heart that you and Ernest will work it out. But any way you feed him, will, because of who you are, be a function of love and nurtuting.

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  16. J, this is just how I feel right now. I dont know what normal is anymore, and my husband tells me that I bring Henry up in conversation constantly with other people, that I ignore that they are ignoring the fact that I've brung him up. Maybe this is the new normal, this feeling? I so wish we could meet up, talk about all of this, I have a feeling we are treading the same waters...
    Much love,
    Mindy

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  17. You're definitely not crazy Jeanette. You are amazing, carrying your grief and your joy, hope and love side by side. It would be nice to be able to pack them into separate bags but it's like you're returning from your holidays with everything stuffed into one enormous suitcase...Life's never neat and tidy is it? I really hope this gets easier for you. XXX

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  18. big hugs jeanette, i can't even begin to imagine what you are going thru but the way you describe your feelings, it all seems so understandable, even to those of us who have never been mummys. your words are very well written and real, hold on to your feelings, you aren't cracking up or going mad, you have been thru something that most of us can't even comprehend, give yourself a break. and even tho you will never forget florence, hug your new boy tight, he will love you whatever mummy you are x x x

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  19. The loss of Florence breaks my heart for your family. You have beautifully articulated your grief. I think you are a beautiful mummy. You will teach your children to appreciate each other so much <3

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  20. I absolutely understand this post - every single word, thought and feeling.
    You are not alone.
    xo

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