The Shadow Life

People so often tell me that I look as if I'm not sleeping, that I have shadows under my eyes.

Deadbaby mum's so often live shadow lives. We are shadow's of ourselves, we are shadowed by grief, our babies are shadowed memories.

Indeed, to many, my baby is a shadow - not recognized, not spoken of. We had a department meeting last, and they were talking about baby gifts - and I just wanted so badly to mention that I received none. I got an arrangement of flowers when I was admitted to the hospital. Nothing for Gabriel's birth. A few co-workers came to his funeral, but many have never acknowledged I was pregnant, said they were sorry.

The lady who gave me Noel, she sent a card congratulating us on the birth of our son. She knew he died, but more than his death, she knew he lived. And she wanted to say congratulations, because we had a baby. She's the only one who sent a baby card - everyone else sent sympathy cards. I am thankful for those who realize that Gabriel is more than his death, and that I am more than the mother of a dead baby.

I came into work yesterday, and expressed the usual morning pleasantries with the person who sits next to me. We talked about the weather, and she mentioned what she had done that weekend. She asked me if I was feeling better.

I'm thankful for a manager that was able to just say I was sick. But, what do I say? That another baby went home to heaven? That it might have been great timing, but it was still another loss? Do I tell her that I spent the weekend alone, with a child bleeding out of me, and Mr. Spit forced to be out of town, and friends too busy to care (Or, perhaps I have worn out my allotment of comfort?)

It seems almost easier to not mention Gabriel. I find, as time goes by, that I try not to mention Gabe to everyone. I have begun to realize that there are whole groups of people in my life that are not aware of Gabriel. I find it tiring at times, to be so sad, all the time. To be so discouraged, to be so lost. To have little things like the dentist's throw me so off my game. To have careless words wound me to my marrow. To be unable to cope with Gabriel's death and a miscarriage, but know that I have no choice.

It isn't that I spend each day crying, rather I am always aware of Gabe's absence. It is that great sorrow. I am tired of my inability to concentrate. My frustration and my forgetfulness. And on days like these, that have been difficult, in which my loss and pain are very acute, I am tired. And I want respite. Peace. A chance for a long, deep breath. A break from relentless sorrow and grief.

I have days when I don't want to be the mum of a dead baby. I don't want to talk about it, think about it. I don't want to look at parents screaming at their children, and wonder: if they met the family in our support group who lost their son suddenly, in an afternoon nap, would they still scream at their children?If they truly knew what it was like to be me, would they still complain about their children to me? Would they be so incessantly negative about their children? Would they truly complain about their children not sleeping if they understood what it was like to have your children no more?

I live in a shadow world. I must function in the other world, the 'real world', get up, do my job, go to meetings, garden, cook supper, buy clothes. But each of these things, they are a reminder that I am not in the world I want. I am not in the world of a mum with a new baby. I'm not on Maternity Leave, I garden without a baby to listen for, the play pen with its sunshade was never even taken out of the box. I cook supper, and do not to think of baby food or bottles or breast feeding. I buy clothes that are suitable for the life of a banker, not a stay at home mum.

No situation, no comment, no thought escapes with out the filter of my grief and sorrow. I remember: I live a shadow life. A life with the shadows of grief and loss and sorrow. A life that is a shadow of what it should have been. A life covered by the shadow of our missing son. A life with a shadow baby who is not here.

Really, are the shadows under my eyes any wonder?