"Edited to Add"....

This started as a pregnancy blog when I fell pregnant in May 2009 after four years of finding a donor, doing all the counselling / paperwork / tests and trying.

And now, thanks to a 4WD which skidded onto our side of the road, killing our baby daughter at 34w and injuring me, my partner and two of my stepdaughters on 27 December 2009, it has turned into something else. We didn't want this something else, but apparently it is all we've got to go on with.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

On being "brave"

Our gorgeous baby girl made the news again yesterday. I knew there would be some media, but I didn't realise that it was unusual for people to read their own victim's impact statements. And I didn't mean to make the judge cry.

It certainly didn't feel "brave". It felt like the relief when your ears pop as the plane goes up and the pressure equalises in your head. The main difference is that for one day the sadness was not just in our heads, but everyone else could feel it too. It meant that right in the moment when the cameras were turned on me to document my sadness, I momentarily felt better - so much better that I felt like a bit of a fraud for making such a fuss. But I held her photo in an envelope in my hand and thought, she's worth making a fuss over. Indulge me as a mum and let me make a fuss about her, because, god knows, we won't get to do that in the future. I guess this is why I preferred to speak for myself rather than just be the silent victim (not that I would judge anyone who makes a different decision - this was just what I preferred in our particular situation)- because I didn't want us to be painted into a stereotype and have others put their "tragic" gloss on our situation.

I know so many babylost mamas don't get this kind of acknowledgment, and I feel kind of greedy for hogging the limelight like that, but part of my reason for speaking was that I wanted to make Z visible and to make it clear that while stillbirth is an awful thing to happen, it is not unspeakable. Like Sally, it irks me that the media often seem squeamish about talking about stillbirth, which leaves families who experience it feeling like freaks, because everyone thinks that (as Ceil Drucker put it so well) stillbirths "went out with hoop skirts".

People want to respect your privacy, which is a kind thing, but for me, I want everyone in the world to be aware of what happened, because, yes, it is horrific, but it is such a huge part of our lives. She's our baby, and even if she's not here, we're so proud of her. To me, it is important that people get some idea of this grief - that it is enormous and crushing, but also really ordinary and everyday for us - that we fold it up with our washing and rinse it out when we brush our teeth. When we laugh, I want to know that her little cells are laughing within mine, and that when I see something beautiful, it is all the more beautiful because it feels like she is a part of it, and all the more heartbreaking because she is not here to see it.

What I don't want to get drawn into is investing too much in the particular sentence dished out to the accused. We made a deliberate choice while I was still in the ICU not to put any energy into getting angry at him, but to focus on us getting better, taking care of our girls and remembering Z. I've spent enough years as a lawyer to know that there is no point expecting a court outcome to "fix" things. He is being held accountable for his actions, and after yesterday I feel like he has some idea of what impact his actions caused.

We've felt a huge wave of love in the last 24 hours from family & friends and from so many people who've seen the news. She's made her mark, our gorgeous girl.




(Oh, I'm so nervous about putting her picture up here! But you are all lovely and deserve to see her.)

28 comments:

  1. You know, I don't think I knew if you guys had pictures or not untilyou mentioned it above. But thank you, thank you so much for sharing her with us. She is gorgeous, and you should be proud mamas. I only wish she could be here physically to show you how much you are loved.

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  2. Oh Hanen, she is so very beautiful. Thank you so much for trusting us enough to share her with us.

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  3. oh hanen, thanks so much for being brave and sharing your beautiful daughter with us. she is just so gorgeous and it is all just so sad. sending loads of love xxx anne

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  4. Thanks so much - we love her to bits. xxxh

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  5. Oh, she's such a beautiful little girl - and so lucky to have you as her mama.

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  6. She's beautiful. Thank you for sharing something so very sacred.
    Hugs. Many many hugs.

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  7. She is so lovely. And oh, it is so not fair :(

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  8. Hi again Hanen, May I just add my good wishes to the other comments? You have certainly been much braver than I would have been - I shrank from media interest when my girl was stillborn (with some controversy). I guess this is one of the few chances we get to share our child with the world. It might help in a bizarre kind of way that more people now know she existed, because the worst feeling over the ensuing years is that most people have no idea that she ever was. And thank you for letting us see her - she was beautiful and sweet. So very sorry for your ongoing pain - Love, Alison

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  9. Hanen, I can barely type through my tears, this post is beautiful, Z would be so proud of you, and she is so beautiful.
    x

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  10. You are one amazing woman. Your daughter is beautiful. You handle your grief so graciously and with such so wisdom. I think what you have done to celebrate your beloved Z is going to change the world.

    Much love
    Owlie

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  11. Ohh she was so beautiful. This is so so sad and you are such an incredible person to not be consumed by anger, it is very very humbling.

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  12. This photo made my cry too. She's absolutely beautiful. I love her full lips and her head of wild dark curly hair (I love a hairy baby!). I would love to see more photos and talk more about her, if you ever want to and if we can ever find time in the rather raucous nature of visits to our house.

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  13. [in tears] oh yes, she deserves the fuss. I can't even imagine the sorrow and grief you have sustained. Just looking at her gorgeous face makes me yearn to know her. You were robbed of such a beautiful future with her.

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  14. She indeed deserves the fuss, as do you. You are both amazing. Thank you for sharing your story with us all.

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  15. Thank you for sharing the photograph of your beautiful daughter. It's heartbreaking that she hasn't had the chance to grow up, but I think the way you communicated that unimaginable loss, both in court and in this blog, has been so courageous and moving.

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  16. Z is beautiful! Thank you for sharing her photo with us. I think it's part of making stillbirth less "unspeakable." I saw your victim's statement on Bean's FB wall. Very courageous, in my opinion...

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  17. xxxxx to all of you. I love it so much to hear people say that she's beautiful. Am trying to work out how to force blogger to do threaded comments.

    @alison reid - I think shrinking from the media is a perfectly good thing to do if that is what is right for you. It's just that I'm a big old media whore :-) and find it very validating to know that all kinds of people picked up the paper and thought about our beautiful girl for a moment or two. And I guess I've now had a taste of the lull when people forget about the tragedy and move on (although those close to us haven't forgotten at all), so I'm happy to grab a moment when others remember her too.

    @owlie - thank you - I hope so - she changed our world so much.

    @sorensen - oh yes, you should have seen her shoulders- such a hairy baby! Will bring the album around one day.

    @schro - sorry to make you cry - and yep - that is exactly what gets me - I wish I knew so much more about her.

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  18. I thought I had left a comment the other day but I guess it didn't go through.

    I wanted to say thank you for sharing with us the photograph of your daughter. She is very beautiful.

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  19. little Haloumi. She is so lovely. little cheeks.
    i am so happy to see her wee face - and you are right!- a fantastic frown.
    xxx

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  20. Oh she is quite the breathtaking little one isnt she? What a honey. And all that hair!
    Congratulations on standing up and sharing her with the world (both through your statement and this photo).

    So much love to you all, she brought a tear to my eye too. What an amazing little baby. I wish she were here with you.

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  21. thank you for sharing her photo - she looks darling.

    I think (hope?) you reading your statement will have more effect on the driver than his sentence...

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  22. You are so inspiring. Thank you for sharing the picture of your beautiful baby girl. Loss is so rarely given a voice, and so when you talk of your journey, your daughter, your lost moments - you have given validation to so many people who feel unheard. You're wonderful. Love and strength to you and your partner.

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  23. She's breathtakingly beautiful. I love her precious button nose. Please fuss, celebrate and remind us all of her.

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  24. Oh but she is beautiful. What lovely hair.

    I really don't know what to say. You might not have felt brave but I think you showed great courage. You did your sweet Z proud and I'm sure you made many more people than just the judge of the case cry with you. I know I'm crying now. xo

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  25. Oh - thank you so so much!

    I was so surprised and delighted by her hair too - I had hoped for a hairy baby, but she surpassed all my expectations in that respect.

    so much love xxxxh

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  26. Hannen

    She is beautiful!!!

    And about the news it is just a little piece of what you guys deserve. I am glad to hear she was a hit in the news. I hope one day Ines' story can go out in the news too because she also died in a terrible accident, a medical one. I think of you often.

    XOXOXOX

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