WARNING: This post contains themes and photographs that may be upsetting.
As a mother, the most beautiful days of your life are the days on which you welcome your children into the world. There is no feeling more overwhelming or more awe-inspiring than the moment you set eyes on your child for the very first time. Your heart swells with love you never knew you had and you know in that moment that your life has been irrevocably changed.
But what about those mothers who never get to bring their babies home? What about those mothers who go into hospital with a full belly and leave with an empty heart?
One year ago, I was more terrified, more upset and more heartbroken than I had ever been before. As I made my way to hospital to give birth, I couldn’t comprehend how meeting my daughter for the first time could be wonderful when I knew as soon as she was born, she would be gone.
Just one week earlier, we had walked into our 19-week ultrasound full of excited anticipation to see our daughter on the screen, and walked out with our hearts breaking. That day the doctor uttered six words that would change my life forever “honey, she’s not going to survive”.
Our daughter was diagnosed with Thanataphoric Dysplasia, a fatal form of dwarfism. We were told that it was very unlikely our daughter would survive the rest of the pregnancy, and even if she did, she wouldn’t survive very long, if at all, once she was born.
In the days that followed we had to make the decision no parents should ever have to make, did we continue the pregnancy, knowing our daughter could pass at any stage? Or did we choose to let her go now so she never had to suffer? We had to make the decision but what other decision was there? It wasn’t a matter of if our daughter would die, it was a matter of when.
So many stories you read of loss are sad, they’re gut wrenching, they pull at your heart strings. I’m not saying my story isn’t sad, it is, but the story of my daughter’s birth is one of pure joy and elation.