Martha Lane has written this beautiful piece for Let’s Talk About Loss to help us mark Baby Loss Awareness Week, which is 9th – 15th October every year. If you would like to find out more about Baby Loss Awareness Week, and specific support available, you can click here to be taken to the website.
In a room designed for someone else, she took up crafts in the dark. Told to take up a hobby, to distract her. Sitting through long nights with her back against white painted bars. Humming wordless lullabies, she used glue. Sticking not fixing. Bits of nothing pieced together refusing to make something, anything. Refusing to be anything more than nobody.
She roared at the nightlight shaped like the moon. Shredded cotton blankets, a breaststroke of fury through pastel fibres. She wrenched the bars from the bed and snapped them to splinters. Picked up two sticks, started to knit. Trying to give form to the shapeless. She spent her hours entwining threads. Not sure what she was making. Trying to get it just right, even though she didn’t know what that was. When the thoughts grew too large, she rested her head on still-furled balls of yarn.
The room’s heartbeat was wooden – clack clack, clack clack, clack clack. The blood drawn from her fingers its food. She couldn’t pinpoint when it happened, but one day she looked up and the doorway was blocked. She was woven into the lumpy wool bodies she’d tried to create, unable to stand. Still she knitted. Searching for that shape that was just for her. That fit perfectly in her palm, against her collar bone, under her cheek.
Her knitting needles wore down to stumps and her fingers seized into branches. She couldn’t knit any more. She lay back on the cascade of discarded dolls and closed her eyes. She dreamt of milk breath and wisps of curls, flat soft feet and fingernails sharp like sparrow beaks. She dreamt of trees taking root, splitting the Earth from beneath. Of Lava bubbling, flowing red, slowly turning black. Of the sun setting and forgetting to rise, a hollow purple spot in its place in an overstretched sky.
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