The light.

The chink of light that breaks through the curtains…

The torch that is turned on in the dark…

The pregnancy following the loss.

I am pregnant.

I am pregnant with a baby that has made it to the womb. I am pregnant with a baby, who, at 13 weeks looks to be doing well on the scan.

The light is shining again and my heart has hope.

This does not mean I no longer mourn my lost baby. The sibling we never met will always be with me.

But for the first time since the pain of loss there is hope.

I was lost.

I have found a map and I am on my way home.

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Can everyone stop procreating please?

It’s everywhere.

As I scroll through my Facebook feed, as I drive down the road, as I walk through the supermarket.  There I am, surrounded by ultrasound pictures and bumps.

Each one reminding me how empty I am.

Each black white and grey ultrasound picture, taking me back to that room, to that moment, when the sonographer confirmed what we already knew. 

Each perfectly rounded bump making me feel small and flat.

Even at home. In the safety of my family, each time my darling daughter picks up her doll, and feeds it, lifting her top and proudly telling me, “baby wants boobie mummy”. Each time she baths it, pats it’s back as it rests on her shoulder and shushes for it to sleep.

I am reminded.

Reminded of that baby, the one that was lost, the one that should now be a 6 month sized bump.

And it hurts.

Everytime.

“at least you know you can get pregnant”

“at least you have one already”

“aren’t you going to have another one soon?”

“do you only want one child?”

I want, I need, to be pregnant again. To show that I can support and grow another life.

My lost baby will never be forgotten. 

And the reminders are everywhere.

And nowhere are they more powerful than in my heart.

The lost baby.

imageI never met you, you never really existed. Getting lost on your journey as you were formed and not making it to the womb you were not able to grow as you should.

No pictures of you were ever seen. The only evidence of your attempt to join us was in the form of lines on sticks, and of the words “Pregnant. 2-3 weeks” as they stared at me from that tiny screen. I think, deep down, I knew that we would not meet, but that does not remove my love for you.

Unable to understand what has happened to our family I turn to the dictionary for help. (The Cambridge Online English Dictionary to be precise.)

Lost: adjective (PLACE UNKNOWN)

…not knowing where you are and how to get to a place:

Place unknown, that very phrase so accurately describes you.  Pregnancy in unknown location, suspected ectopic. You did not know where you were, your journey was cut short and you never made it to your destination.

I wish I could have helped you.

Lost: adjective (PLACE UNKNOWN)

…if something is lost then no one knows where it is.

No one. Not the doctors, not the sonographers, not the nurses and not me.  Your mother.  The one person who should always know where you are.   They offered me surgery, to “bring the hormone level down “, but they, the professionals whose job it is to hunt you out, were not confident that they would find you. So lost were you, that you were only visible to us as levels on a blood test, levels that continued to increase, “but not as much as they should.

Lost: adjective (CONFUSED)

…not confident and not knowing what to do in a particular situation.

I have never felt so lost.  Perhaps in sympathy for you. No amount of talking, or reading, or listening, could help me to understand what I needed to do. Without your daddy and your sister I would not have searched for the way out of the dark maze I found myself in. I did not know what to do.

Lost: adjective (ATTENTION)

…be lost in something.

I was lost in you.  In the idea of you.  In the dream of you.  The complete family you would have created. The hole that you have left instead.

And then you left.  As quietly and as discreetly as you arrived. Apologetic in your departure as you were in your arrival. Saving mummy medical intervention you remained selfless to the end.

Lost.

I lost a baby.

My baby got lost.

A lost opportunity- a lost life, a lost sibling, a lost grandchild, a lost niece or nephew.  Who knows what you may have achieved had you have arrived to your destination.

Lost.

It’s time to find myself again.

How did I fall in love with boobs? How did I get from there to here?

How did I get here? How did I become the breastfeeding obsessed lady that I am today? When and where did it happen?

Let me paint you a picture.

As a child, like most, I bottle fed my dolls. I didn’t really think about breastfeeding so I didn’t have an opinion on it either way.

Until the early weeks of my own daughter’s life I had always assumed I was breastfed as a baby.It turns out that I wasn’t for long. (due to pain- as tongue ties are hereditary I suspect I also have one, but that’s another story.)

Fast forward a few years to teenagerdom. The arrival in my life of Little Britain’s “Bitty” and documentaries made to shock, showing fully grown children tearing at their mothers shirts for milk as soon as they leave the school gates. Again, I was relatively uneducated about breastfeeding, having had little experience or thoughts about it, so I remained fairly ambiguous in my feelings towards it. I suppose I thought it was a matter of choice but there were lots of “crazy hippies” who went “too far” and that was “gross”.

Skip ahead a few more years. Hormones and natural maternal instinct had completely overwhelmed me and I knew, that more than anything in the world, I had to be a Mum. And yet, still, breastfeeding hadn’t crossed my mind one way or the other.

Then, the time came when family and friends were having children and I watched them feed. I was alarmed by how restricted those who breastfed were and when one friend fed well into toddlerhood I was secretly horrified. I was very much of the opinion, sadly like most people, that once baby had teeth or could ask for the milk then it was well beyond time to stop.

I had mummy friends on Facebook who regularly posted about feeding. Always a believer in standing up for people’s rights I read with anger the stories of women who were asked to move or stop feeding, and I started to read and understand the health benefits of breastfeeding over formula feeding. I decided I would probably breastfeed my baby when it was little.

Finally my turn came. My husband and I were delighted to discover that we were expecting our baby so soon after getting married. We attended antenatal classes and prepared ourselves for the birth and beyond. At the start of my pregnancy I had to stop taking some medication as it was not tested during pregnancy or breastfeeding. I was managing the pregnancy OK but we knew that if it needed I may have to restart them after birth- meaning the choice to breastfeed may not be in my hands.

The day came and my happiness was born. And I hated breastfeeding. My breastfeeding journey has already been shared with you so I won’t repeat myself, but suffice to say, it wasn’t an easy path. It took a lot of work, and in those early days, (even weeks) I frequently wished that I did in fact need to restart my medication and felt betrayed by a body, that was finally being healthy, at the one time I wanted it not to be.

So how did I get here? I am positively boob obsessed. I am now the friend that won’t stop talking about my boobs, or indeed other people’s boobs. I am the hippy crazy mother who wants to feed beyond teeth and into toddlerdom. What has made me this way?

I think it’s the fact that it was difficult. Had I have found it easy I perhaps wouldn’t have valued it as much.

Perhaps it’s because I like to shock. I like to argue. I long for someone to tell me to cover up, but in reality this has never happened, but I can’t pretend that a small part of me doesn’t enjoy the opportunity to preach to the misinformed.

At the start, the insecure me really wanted other people to have problems too, I didn’t want to suffer alone and I assumed that everybody would be breastfeeding. I really didn’t want this to become yet another area that I was ashamed of.

The true picture is very different and I was surprised to learn how few people in this country do actually breastfeed for the initial six months and even less beyond. 

This gave my confidence a huge boost. I have succeeded at something that not many others do. (despite the struggles) And I guess that’s why. Why I want others to know that I breastfeed.

It makes me proud. I want a “well done”, a “congratulations”, hell, maybe even a “I admire you, I couldn’t do it.”

I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel just a little bit superior to those that don’t try to breastfeed, but more than that I want to teach them. I want to educate and inform and share my love of boobs.

But most of all, I’m obsessed because I know, that evidence has shown, I am doing the right thing for my daughter.