Grieving for my final baby – an honest reflection
Grief hits me like a ton of bricks
We were rudely awaken by G at 5:45 this morning. Notified by the thud of tiny little footsteps down the hallway, the slow creaking of the bedroom door. Then a cheerful ‘hai dad, hai mam’ as he clambered on top of us to get a space between us. He’s been doing this for a few weeks now. Wriggling like a squirmy worm. Asking for ‘poo-tayo’ which is his word for watching Netflix on my partners phone. Sometimes everything will be a no. But sometimes, he will put his cool pudgy little hand on my cheek and look at me in a way that melts my heart. This is when I find myself grieving.
It does hit me like a ton of bricks. What seems like two seconds ago, I was getting up for feeds at 2:15am, lazily looking for breast-pads which had slid down somewhere past my kidney warmer knickers. Half comatose, running purely on sugar and adrenaline. But those hours spent, staring into little sleepy eyes of a being who was in the still of the night, completely mine. Well – apart from the marauding cat who tried to intrude and make himself known at every moment.
These early moment were absolute bliss. Feeding in half light, no interruptions, his warm skin and fuzzy baby smelling hair on my shoulder. His little fingers wound around mine so tight I never wanted him to let go. So many moments to cherish that are countless, but now, that’s all they are. Memories.
From baby to toddler
The last few months have seen a number of developmental leaps for G. For those of you who don’t know what leaps are, they’re changes in babies brains that make them see the world a bit differently. He’s just had a massive growth spurt too which means his legs are almost as long as mine. Ok maybe I’ve exaggerated a bit there. So there’s been a lot of new words. First sentences. He’s decided he doesn’t want to sit in his pram any more. He prefers exploring in his harness.I can’t remember when I stopped buying breast pads. Didn’t even notice the final night feed. I don’t remember not sterilizing his final bottle, only noticing that the expensive sterilize which was gifted to us was sitting in the kitchen gathering dust. I really can’t recall what his first solid meal was, or when. But it all makes me sad that time has just passed me by, and I’ve been ignorantly part of his life and haven’t recorded these monumental changes. Makes me feel guilty and a bit stupid.
Does it make me a bad mum? Because now, when he leaps over the side of his cot in the morning – I know the last night in his first safe place is heading my way, and that his first night in a big bed is coming.
Greiving? Or afraid to let go?
This feeling welling up inside me is a sense of grief and loss. But also excitement at seeing him develop. I never thought I would be doing this again at 40. My middle son, Ellis is 10. He was my last baby. Not for one second did I think I’d be blessed again. Ten years ago, I had pretty invasive surgery and treatment which should have left my partner and I childless. I thought I’d done my bit for the human race, and made what I thought was an easy choice, which should have ended my child-bearing days. And then along came G.
I can’t ever remember feeling this sense of loss (personally I’d call it something closer to hiraeth than loss) with Ellis. But at that point in time, when he was going through all these changes, I was busy holding down a full-time job and being a single supermum. I’ve had more time at home with G than I ever had with the other two. To be fair, I’ve taken my time and grown with him. Appreciated every change in him. Seen how flipping brilliant the whole human body is in developing an alien in my tummy to a walking, talking chatterbox who smiles cheekily, and holds full-blown conversations with his tractor collection.
It feels like an odd kind of longing pull, knowing that this might be the last time we get woken up at 5:45am and greeted so warmly by a little being who wants nothing more in the morning than the reassurance of his parents, cuddles and his favourite cartoon on the phone. Am I trying to hold on too hard? Fighting change? Is it too much to ask for these moments of still, when I can actually still call him my baby?
What are your feelings on this – let me know in your comments – I look forward to hearing from you!
About the author
Mum to 3, journalist, blogger and passionate Welsh girl. Well travelled and powered by caffine