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.)
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