This isn’t a post about how my life is ruled by the typical parenting frustrations: not being able to wee alone; lack of sleep; poonamis and projectile vomit and the like.
I would love to be writing about these things.
I am a frustrated parent, but not for the reason you may imagine.
I am an empty-armed mother. A parent, but with no child to parent.
One of the dictionary definitions of ‘frustrated’ is “a feeling or expressing distress and annoyance resulting from an inability to change or achieve something“.
Yep, with bells on.
There’s nothing I can change about Hugo not being in my arms. If there was, I would be doing it. The inability I have to change the situation is a constant source of distress and annoyance, to put it mildly.
And the inability to achieve: Hugo was a much-wanted baby. I was so looking forward to watching my baby grow and develop. The flip side to not having poonamis and projectile vomit to clean up is not having the wonderful moments to enjoy. No milestones, no first smiles, giggles, crawling, first steps. Or anything else.
When you lose a child you also lose your future with that child. Hopes, dreams, aspirations, the future you had planned with them is all gone. I miss what I should have been doing with Hugo. I am always Hugo’s mummy, of course, but I miss being his mummy. Doing the normal, routine, mundane yet special mummy things for him every day.
I am of the age where the majority of my friends have at least one child. I share an important thing in common with the other mothers: our babies grew in our wombs, we felt their kicks, we looked forward to their birth.
That is where the similarity ends. Their lives are full of all the usual parenting trials and tribulations. Social media is often full of parenting chatter. I don’t mind admitting I am jealous of the chatter. It would probably be more noteworthy if I wasn’t jealous.
I am a mummy. I am a proud member of the mummy/parenting blog community. I am so grateful for all my wonderful, loving, supportive friends, blogging and non-blogging alike. Not being able to get involved in the parenting chatter can feel a little isolating, though. I have nothing to contribute to those conversations.
Believe it or not, I would love to have a poonami to tweet about. Or sick to clear up.
More than anything, I would love to be talking about my seven month old (the age Hugo would be if he was born on his due date) and all the cute things he is doing. How quickly he is growing up.
Hugo lived for 35 precious days. I did all the mummy things I was able to do for him: expressed my breast milk, changed his nappy, helped wash him, read to him, sang to him, cuddled him as much as I was able. I am grateful for all of these moments. I am grateful especially as there was a 50% chance that Hugo would have died during or shortly after birth.
Those memories, that knowledge does not diminish the pain, or the longing though. They do not stop me thinking how bloody unfair it all is.
I am bereft.
While I am jealous of the chatter, (I know they are usually observations, statements of fact, not complaints) I am not begrudging it, nor am I trying to make other parents feel guilty or bad. I am saying how it feels to be an empty-armed mother. And for me that involves being jealous of mothers who have been up in the night cleaning up sick and poo.
Crazy world, isn’t it?