I am the mother of three boys. Luis is six, Jude is four, and I was 28 weeks pregnant when Rafael died. I am usually a very private person, so I guess it is out of character that I want to share my feelings and our story. However, it’s also very important that I do this because firstly I do not want Rafael to be forgotten, but also because there’s a huge need to raise awareness about stillbirth. It’s a real taboo and if I at least try to start the conversation, I know that I have done something for Rafael and for the thousands of other Australian families who have been through it.
My son, at 28 weeks, was a person, and part of our family. We discussed the idea of having another baby with the boys many times, even before we conceived Rafael. While I was pregnant I spoke to him every day, many times a day. The boys always spoke to him or kissed or touched my tummy. We spoke about what we would do once he was born. He was also part of our wider family. He was a grandson, a nephew, and a cousin, and we were all planning for his arrival, and planning our lives around his arrival. His death has affected many people. The bottom line is that he lived inside me for 28 weeks, and the idea of him was conceived long before he was physically conceived.
I think about Rafael all the time. I can honestly say that I don’t go for more than a few minutes without thinking of him. He is always with me. My sleep is light and restless and my thoughts are about Rafael. The boys speak of him and mention him nearly every day — not because I have raised the topic but because they too feel this profound and overwhelming loss of their brother.
This week, as part of Never Forgotten: Mamamia’s Pregnancy Loss Awareness Week we’re remembering the babies we’ve lost. Post continues below.
For me, there’s loss and grief on so many levels, and I alternate between them daily. There are also a multitude of questions that I will never have answered. I am sad for Rafael. He never got to experience life. I am sad for us, that we know this life, that this is our life, and that we are no longer innocent or maybe ignorant about stillbirth. We know what this crippling sadness feels like.
We will never know the colour of his eyes or the colour of his hair. Would he have been fair like Luis or have had olive skin like Jude? We will never know his personality or how he would have fitted into our family. Who would he have grown up to be? I am sad for my sons, that they do not have the baby brother they were looking forward to. I am sad for my husband. I met and married a really optimistic and carefree man, who did not know this pain. I don't want him to change. I am sad that he did not get to be a father to Rafael, to rock him to sleep or to teach him to kick a football.