Trigger warning: this blog post discusses baby loss.
On Monday 26th April 2021, my husband and I went for the 12 week scan for our second baby and our lives changed forever in the time it took for the sonographer to clear her throat and turn to us. We were given the news that the precious life we had just met for the very first time had an extremely low chance of survival.
Subsequent scans allowed us to see her tiny hands waving and her wriggly little nature but also gradually revealed the extent of her health issues. By the 7th of July, we had had so many scans that even these stress-filled, covid-masked experiences had become routine and somehow the expected, when it came, felt entirely unexpected.
Our little baby, my constant companion for 22 weeks, whose fragile stirrings had filled me with such bittersweet joy, was gone: and the tiny heart whose beat we had sought out so eagerly at every scan was still. My mum and I waited for the consultant to break the silence as my own heart thundered stubbornly on in my ears.
After she was born (those 4 simple words contain moments that I still don’t have words to describe), we named our daughter Theadora Joy and, without words to pray in the hospital room, reflected on Job 1:21 (a verse from the bible), relying on God’s strength when we had none. And so we began learning to live, not with the expected joyful chaos of 2 children under 2, but with the utter strangeness of a life in which very little was different and yet so much had changed.
The silence of baby loss
Grieving someone I never truly met was, and is, complicated and I have often found myself struggling with the silence that surrounds a subject which is so intensely personal and difficult. Even when given the opportunity to speak, language’s insufficiency and my own hesitancy sometimes left me feeling isolated and trapped. So, when the chance to participate in a writing challenge came along 18 months after we lost Thea, the title ‘Borne’ popped into my head almost immediately. At first, I hesitated, but, as I eventually wrote in the preface,
“it was my hesitation that became a motivation, in the end […] my hope was to put a little book out into the world that gives voice an often untold story and honours a life never lived.”
The power of writing through grief
As stipulated by the challenge, writing took place over the course of one month and was both cathartic and gruelling. I had been experiencing some flashbacks and these were conflicting; the worst moments of my life were also the only memories I had of my daughter and I tried to capture this tension as I wrote.
Writing in the first person felt most honest but also meant that I struggled with sleep as rhymes and rhythms swirled in my head alongside raw memories. And yet, giving myself the space to remember and reflect was a privilege and the moment I first held the paper copy of this little book was so very precious; it is difficult to describe how it felt to have gathered up my scattered thoughts and emotions together into something concrete to hold where I could not hold Thea.
Borne: a collection of poems
I hope that the resultant poems have a core of truth in them. My intention was to create a little book that breaks the silence that had weighed heavy on my tongue, gives an insight into what we went through, and (I truly hope) might go some way to helping those going through similar situations to feel less alone.
If you’re interested in reading this personal exploration of motherhood, love and loss, please find the links below –
Ebook – https://www.store.bookleafpub.com/product-page/borne (listed in rupees as it is an Indian Publishing house, it comes to just over £3 and is payable through RazorPay)
You are welcome to join one of our upcoming meet ups if you have experienced a loss and would like to talk about it. If you would like to share your grief journey for our blog, please email email@example.com.