A Mothers Grief: due dates and anniversaries.

This week is Zachary's due date and my mind is full of what-ifs, it is also our wedding anniversary. As we drove to church on Sunday I felt an extraordinary wave of grief fall over me as I looked in my rear-view mirror at the empty backseat. I'd realised at that moment that we should have a car seat ready and I'd lost the memory already of having him with us in the flesh.

I always try to instil hope with my posts and this is no different but as we come up to his due date I want to let you know what it is like to be parents that are grieving and for those that are those parents, I hope that this resonates with you.

My husband is truly one of the best people alive. I know I'm biased because I'm married to him but he really is such a treasure.

I'll never forget the evening that we went for a private scan. The sonographer went totally quiet after laughing and smiling at our baby wiggling around on the screen. The whole mood of the room changed as she concentrated in on his head. A silence that was defeaning overtook the entire room. No words were said, measurements were recorded and at that moment, I was sure that he had died. We left the room with a medical statement full of terminology which would roll off my tongue in the next coming weeks, repeating things to friends like 'agenesis of the corpus collosum' and 'he has problems with his cerebellum', words and phrases that I hadn't heard just 16 weeks prior.

We sat, trauma able to be read all over our faces by other expecting parents in the waiting room as they heard healthy heartbeats and walked out with gender balloons, we were unable to move. Paralysed by fear and grief and stuck to our plastic waiting room chairs. The receptionist asks us which photos we would like to take home. I am unable to choose, how can I look at my baby again knowing that he was incredibly sick? The same joy couldn't flood my heart when I looked at them. I said 'please just choose some' and we walked to our car in silence.

We sat and looked at each other. There was quiet for a moment and then tears, tears from both of us as I repeated the words out loud that had been rolling around my brain since the moment the sonographer stopped 'He's going to die'. We sit in our car for a good twenty minutes not knowing where to go, what to do, who to call or even how to carry on living. It sounds dramatic, I know but we were about to start decorating the nursery, we thought we were in the all-clear.

I turned to my husband and explain that I can't see my family yet, I don't want to worry them but we need support, we decide to call to our friend's house. The kettle is on, worship music in the background, makeup halfway down my face... we are in complete and utter shock. As we recount the situation again to them, my friend cries with me as I share his name. We pray together while holding my tummy, read scriptures and believe in full that he would be okay.

I don't know how we made it to their house that day. My husband driving through tears clouding his view.

The next day, we saw the consultant and the worst was confirmed. After braving
an amniocentesis and yet another blood test we were sent on our way. I called in at work to explain my upcoming absence, I could barely walk, my stomach was incredibly sore, my eyes were puffy. We made it home somehow, my husband brought the duvet downstairs, brought painkillers and we awaited the flurry of family visitors bringing bouquets and food.

As the time approaches towards his due date I am flooded by memories I will never get. I will never hear him cry, see his first steps, hear his first word, take him to school, see him play with our husky, meet our family and friends and so much more. I am still heartbroken that there weren't more people that could have met Zachary, people like our friends who were Aunties and Uncles without the 'official' title.

My hope has certainly been shaken in this season, but it is still rooted. Some days it's like a giant oak tree that cannot be moved in the storm and other times it's a singular root that's clinging on by a thread but the hope is always present. As much as what-ifs flood my daily thoughts, so does love. A love that I never knew to be possible. Unconditional love for someone that I met so briefly and in such traumatic circumstances. Oh, how thankful I am that he made me a Mama and my husband a father. Though we may not parent on earth, I love my Mother title and I pray that I will one day be able to have it once again.

So as his due date approaches and so does our anniversary, I am thankful for love. Deep-rooted love that can survive the stormiest of seasons.


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