In the summer of 2012 I took Toby to a baby massage class in town. Before the first session us waiting mums were talking in the cafe area. A mum pulled out a bottle, I instantly liked her as felt guilty about bottle feeding so always appreciated seeing someone else doing the same. The same mum explained that she’d had a c-section at 36 weeks and the midwives had told her it was too traumatic for her to breastfeed her baby girl. The reason for the c-section? Her first baby girl had been stillborn near term and there was no reason for her death.
I remember everyone’s reaction – shock, silence and awkwardness. We were soon called in and the lesson started. It was fun, I remember the other mummy said she was here to help her colicky baby – she seemed a bit frustrated. She came back the following week and there was still an awkwardness. She didn’t come back for the last two sessions, I always wondered if it was because of our awkwardness or just that it wasn’t the class she was expecting. Even before Rory and Henry died she would sometimes pop into my head and I’d wonder how she was doing. I’ve been thinking about her again the past few days, I feel guilty about my reaction to her talking about her precious first daughter.
To the mummy at baby massage, I don’t know your name but I’m sorry if we treated you badly, the thing is nobody knows what to say to you when your baby has died. We didn’t mean to be awkward and I feel bad about that.
I realise now that it took so much courage to talk about your precious baby girl. The thing is, when I’m with a group of people I don’t know I try my best not to engage in small talk. I’m frightened to mention my babies, it stops the conversation dead in its tracks and I hate seeing the pity in their eyes. This makes me sad as I love talking about my boys as that’s what keeps their memory alive, it makes them real rather than a day dream about what might have been.
I’m sorry too that we never asked her name, I bet you really wanted to tell us, to shout it out so we didn’t forget.
To the lady at baby massage, you’ll probably never read this but I’m sorry we didn’t honour your baby like we should have.