Another royal baby is born! Beautiful news. The photos of the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and Prince William standing on the steps of the hospital with their brand new son wrapped up tightly in his bunny rug, just a few hours old, made me feel happy in the way I always do when I see a photo of a newborn. Except for those years when I felt gutted.
For a time, in the space between losing a baby halfway through my second pregnancy and then giving birth to my daughter many years later, I couldn’t look at photos of newborns. I couldn’t rejoice in the glow I saw in the exhausted, elated faces of their beaming mothers.
My heart was simply too broken, my grief too unresolved. All I could see in the new stories about yet another celebrity having a baby was my own failure, my own loss, my own inability to conceive, to carry and to safely deliver a newborn of my own.
A tribute to the babies we’ve lost. Post continues.
Grief shrinks your world into a tight knot that begins and ends very close to your heart and your head. It revolves around you in a way that may seem selfish but is in fact intensely lonely. It can make you shamefully jealous of the happiness and good fortune of others. It can twist you up into a tangle of bitter resentment that it’s not you beaming at the camera, not you holding a precious bundle, not you with the weight of a healthy baby nestled protectively in your arms.
There are thousands of women feeling that way today when they look at the wall-to-wall coverage of the Duchess of Cambridge and her new little prince heading home from the hospital, a new family of five.
I see you. I’ve been you. I know that the pain of your own loss is reflected and amplified in the way you hurriedly skip past stories about the newest royal baby, blinking back tears or just feeling a sinking emptiness in your heart. I understand that your pain is twinned by the guilt and shame that you can’t ‘just be happy for her’ as society would have you believe is the ‘right’ response to someone else’s baby news. It’s not a choice though, these feelings. They overtake you and settle heavily in your gut.
I get it.
There is nothing quite as lonely as feeling one way when it seems like the world is feeling another. Suffering – and yes it is suffering – the grief of pregnancy loss or infertility or even the loss of a child is never more acute than when it takes you by surprise. Anniversaries and significant dates you can prepare for. Mother’s Day. The day your baby should have been born. The day you found out there was no heartbeat. Your own birthday, a reminder that another year has passed and you’re still not a mother. But the news of other people getting pregnant and giving birth is always unexpected and can feel like a short, sharp blow to your heart. You cannot prepare for it and it can leave you reeling.
I know. I see you. I understand. And you’re not alone. Not even a little bit.
There are millions of women who have walked your path of grief or are walking it in parallel to you. Millions more will follow. It’s a very human, very understandable reaction.
So if you’re feeling bummed today, heavy with the burden of sadness when everyone else seems to be swimming in a sea of royal celebration, it’s OK. Be gentle with yourself and know that the silent, invisible arms of thousands of other women are holding you up. We’ve been there. We understand.