"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.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

No More / More

After Z died, once the reality started closing in and I was able to start understanding her death distinct from all the trauma of the accident, the thing that made me choke with fear and sadness the most was this idea of no more Z. I thought, that's it. My whole relationship with my daughter was over and done with before it had hardly started. 37 photos, some inky foot and handprints, a tiny amount of ashes and a drop of her blood on a blanket made by my mum - the count-able, finite remains of my child. It wasn't enough, it would never be enough. It was such a sad, awful, unfillable hole of 'no more' that to live in this world, I felt like I had to close that drawer, to look elsewhere for the 'more' that I needed.

Specifically, the 'more' that I was looking for was to get pregnant again. I was so sure it would happen - to be honest, I don't think I had really let go of feeling pregnant. This was my pregnancy and I would finish it, even if I had to mourn Z along the way. When I lost our first ivf pregnancy in March, all those self-delusions fell away, and I was left wondering, what if Z was my only child? Just even having to think about that question made me want to leap under a train, but with the molar pregnancy scare, I had plenty of time to think about it. I was scared that if really looked hard at my grief for Z, if I opened that drawer, the big sad black hole of 'no more' would suck me in and swallow me whole. Because there was no solution to it, there was no way my logical brain could think a way around the big stark reality of no more Z. I kind of lost my shit for a while there - as explained in this post. And then, exhausted with my own drama, me and all that sadness just lay on the floor, and breathed and looked at one another.

And I thought to Z, "Well, my love. I wish you hadn't gone and died. But there's not much you can do about it now." And in the spirit of parents whose kids have been conscripted to the army, I thought, "I wish you didn't have this job (being dead / being "one with the universe" or whatever it is that baby souls do after they die) but I still love you and I wish you'd send me a postcard or call me sometimes". And then I felt silly, because there was her star, which is always there twinkling at us, and the camellia tree which burst into bloom just when my heart was breaking, and her pomegranate tree, and her roses, and leaves in the river in Cairns, and clouds, and the sea at Somers, and the bird noises in the bush chapel where her ashes are, and I realised I really was being a pretty demanding mama. And I realised, I actually know Z better now than when she was born. And if somehow my knowledge of her and love for her has expanded, then there is more Z. She is still growing, she's finding her feet in the world, even if we have to guess about what exactly she's doing, even if I don't (in the way of all parents) really understand what her job entails. It's not how I wanted my daughter to be in the world, but I know now that whatever she is doing is important, because it is important to her, and therefore to me. If I just keep demanding her to fit in with what I need (which I know she can't do anymore) then we both feel awful, and maybe I'll miss seeing what she can do. I wish we'd had more time together in the conventional sense, but I can't be churlish about it because it's not her fault. And if I want to love her exactly as she is, then I have to be open to getting her little hippy-style postcards in brightly coloured leaves and odd cloud formations. I think she's also fond of slugs. Not sure why, but if she loves slugs, then I love them too.

Just when I was starting to get my brain around all of the above, I got an email from Angie attaching a mizuko jizo painting she has done for me - and there was Z, peeking out. And it all made sense - slowly my sadness for no more Z in my arms, and in our house in her fleshy, nearly 18 month old realness, is mingling with a wonder that I can still get little peeks of her. I was walking to the shops the other day and it hit me that she might have been walking with me by now (perhaps that shows how little I know about the energy levels of nearly 18 month olds) - but I suddenly thought, here, this is where her little hand would be, tight in my hand. Walking together. And I could just about feel her chubby fingers, the softness of her skin, and could suddenly feel both the no more and the more at the same time. I love you exactly as you are, my darling girl.

Painting by Angie Yingst, reproduced with permission.


  1. What a touching post.

    I hope this cycle is your magic one!

  2. Hanen, this is very beautiful. I love this, "And if somehow my knowledge of her and love for her has expanded, then there is more Z" What a wonderful way of looking at how your love for your daughter gives her life.

  3. So touching, so beautiful Hanen. I love seeing Z peeking out like that - so true, she is always with you.

    And for helping me to see or remember that Otis is always with me, and that my love for him *does* continue to grow, and my knowledge of him continues to evolve...what a much needed gift for me to read today. Thank you.

    with love. xo

  4. A beautiful post thank you so much for sharing your perspective, it has opened my eyes to see and recognise the full worth of the life around me - thank you so very much

  5. Hanen, this post made me cry and made me smile, thank you, so much of what you say here rings true with me.
    The mizuko jizo is lovely. Angie is a star.

  6. Incredible post. And Angie's work is beautiful. Thinking of you and remembering beautiful baby Z always.

  7. Beautiful. To be loved exactly as you are. Who can ask for more than that? And I feel there is, simultaneously, more and yet no more of G. I am grateful for the more aspects and still devastated over the no mores.

    I do dearly wish our girls didn't have 'this job' but I am glad that you felt so close to your dear Z. Angie's painting is beautiful.

  8. Oh Hanen, what a beautiful, magical post. I am sure your little Z is right there with you and the mizuko jizo painting from Angie is just gorgeous.

  9. I am overwhelmed by the beauty of this post, and of your love for Z.

  10. I love this post, your thoughts, and that painting-- all are filled with love and reflection and insight.

  11. This is such a beautiful post. I feel like I understand the feelings I had of Lucy more now than when she was alive. I thought she was holy inside of me, but I quelled those thoughts. Now that she is dead, I understand those feelings were feelings of peace and serenity. Anyway, sending you love. XO

  12. this really is such a beautiful post hannah, you capture exactly what it is to love a child that doesn't live on this plane with us but is still all around us, i love you idea of acceptance xxx anne