Here is a photo of some playful bubbles my sister blew for my precious little girl, as we marked her 3rd birthday at her memorial picnic on July 1st. Which 3 year-old wouldn’t be fascinated by bubbles? When it comes to honouring my baby’s memory, even the smallest acts such as blowing bubbles count… I generally don’t share much about my daughter Robyn publicly, in fact, this is the most I’ve said on a public forum in the 3 years since her transition. I make exceptions around her birthday for 3 reasons:
- Although Robyn is no longer on this earth, I realise I’m no different from any proud mother who likes to talk about their child. I embrace that, and I still honour the very real relationship I had with my baby.
- To help eliminate the silence and shame associated with baby loss, as well as the cultural confusion and discomfort that often surrounds a mother’s grieving process.
- To encourage survivors (who really want to) to speak openly and guilt-free to friends and families about their beloved little ones who have gone before them, while finding the most beautiful ways to mark the milestones and keep their memories alive.
In my experience, being able to talk about Robyn has been hugely beneficial to my healing process. It’s shocking how many women I already knew, had suffered miscarriages/stillbirths but I had no idea because they kept it a deep dark secret. What’s even more shocking is that many of them have kept it a secret, not because they really want to, but because they worried about how people would react to them talking about their child who is no longer alive. One of my deepest fears was that everyone would forget my baby, and I unashamedly confess, that my friends and family haven’t really been given the option of forgetting little Robyn because I really just can’t shut up about her. I’m now forever grateful that I have the most supportive and understanding family and friends, who have openly expressed that they have no desire to forget.
Now, it’s not all doom and gloom, I often have pleasant conversations about my daughter too. My precious girl filled me with a love I never knew existed from the moment I learned I was carrying her, and that love has only intensified since. So it’s probably not surprising that I still think about what she may have been like at different ages and stages of her life, which personality traits she may have adopted, which toy we might have had to buy in multiples because ‘all hell would break loose’ if it mistakenly got left behind at Grandma’s house, and even the foods she may have liked or disliked very much growing up. I don’t know whether there’s a connection here, but I shockingly lost my obsession with cake during the early stages of pregnancy, and it never returned since. Meanwhile, my tolerance for pepper and spicy foods skyrocketed…it was already VERY high to begin with! I remember having high hopes of her being an exceptionally well-behaved baby, just like her Auntie Toni (my sister, 16 years my junior, deserved Best Behaved Baby of the Millennium Award, if ever there was one), and to this very day I wonder whether that would have been the case.
There is no greater love than the love I feel for my daughter. I’ve accepted that my life is now changed forever. To anyone who have experienced baby loss or child loss, never feel afraid to celebrate your child’s life, regardless of how short it was. If it’s helpful to you, then share your thoughts and memories with your loved ones who want to be involved in preserving your child’s memory, keep a journal, write poems, or even write letters to your child. Honour your child in a way that makes you happy. My little Robyn was born on July 1st, but this year I’ve chosen to celebrate her short life for the entire month of July, because it just feels right.
I’m doing this in a number of ways, but here are a few of the many things I’ve done which may inspire you to do something special for your dear child too:
- A colourful picnic by her side on her 3rd birthday followed by the release of 3 gorgeous pink balloons.
- Lighting candles to mark other special and important dates surrounding my loss – It’s 3 years today since I saw my baby girl for the very last time, and took her to her final resting place. These are small details many won’t remember, but it helps me to mark this day too.
- I’ve decorated a special space at home with little mementos, making it the perfect place to sit and write to her, while I reflect on the best memories of the experience of carrying her.
- All year round, there’s also a shelf dedicated to Robyn in my home. It always has the letter R, some flowers and something pretty girly with a bit of sparkle.
- I’ve created a memory box for Robyn. It holds photos and other items belonging to her, cards/letters of support I’ve receive over the years, dried pressed petals from the flowers from her funeral and anniversaries and a myriad of other keepsakes.
I find living without Robyn immensely painful, but there’s still a sense of beauty shining through in her memory, so I continue to mark the precious milestones in the most meaningful and beautiful ways I can, and I keep a record of it all so she too has a legacy. For me, it’s about preserving her memory in a way that brings me even the tiniest moments of joy, despite how deeply unhappy I am that she’s no longer physically here. Although little Robyn was stillborn, there’s no denying nor forgetting that she was still born. She was born silent, perfect and beautiful.
©ALL CONTENTS OF THIS BLOG ARE ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BY ME, NOVA WILLIAMS OF 18 CHELSEA MEWS LTD, AND ARE MY PERSONAL OPINIONS AND VIEWS, UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED.