I am a mummy.

If anyone had told me that I would have all this free time on my hands when everything was ok, I’d have been stupefied with joy.  But now that I have it, I am not joyous.  I wondered whether I would be on maternity, or on sick.  As it turns out, because Freddie was born in the 25th week, I am entitled to maternity.  Work were very eager for this to be the case, so that I would be entitled to a full year off work without being pressured to come back.  Unfortunately, you don’t get paid very much on maternity leave, so I would have to go back in September whether on sick or maternity, to get back on a full wage.  As it is, I think I can choose to be on sick, which means that I won’t lose money whilst I’m off.  It’s strange – I’m off work not because I have a baby to look after, but because I don’t.  Which means that being off sick makes more sense.  I’m not at work, not because I have a baby to breastfeed and take care of and spend time with, but because of my emotional state because I do not have to do those things.  What I have is grief to spend time with, and loss that is mine.  I feel like I’m sort of rolling along at the moment.  Yesterday I decided to make biscuits at about 6pm, I think because it would feel like an extra achievement for the day.  That and I was peckish for something sugary.

What I feel most of the time is ensnared by the situation I’m in.  Nothing ever seems quite ‘right’, as if a strange haze has been placed over everything I experience.  Nothing seems to register in the way it ought to – the weather, some new clothes, something funny.  Sometimes I laugh and then it catches in my throat, ‘how can you laugh?’ I ask myself.   At the nucleus of my ensnaring, are the babies I’ve lost, and the baby I so, so want to have.  I have been so close to what I want, but unable to have it.

I seem to switch between feeling my own grief and loss and that of Freddie’s – I have not been able to build a relationship with my baby, I have not been able to hear him cry, I have not been able to feed him, I have not, I have not, I have not I, I, I, I… and then I think of him, Freddie, and what he has lost.  And the only comfort I can take is that he never knew what to expect anyway.

I imagine conversations where people ask me if I have children, and I don’t know what I would say.  I know that I am a mummy, but I do not have any children, not any that I need to be a mummy for, anyway.

So, when I wake up in the morning, what I do not feel is happy about the day ahead, that I have free to fill with activities of my choosing.  What I feel is repetitive deliberation about whether I ought to bother getting out of bed at all.  But I do, because I feel that I owe it to myself, to do what I need to do to move my life along, and at least retain what little control I can, and I owe it to my husband and to my family and friends, who are all willing me to be ok.  ‘I am a mummy’, I tell myself, ‘and mummies get on with it’.



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