I am determined never to leave Brenna out. The very few times I have, I've felt so blergh for doing so... So I decided when we conceived this Little Boy, that in answer to the above question, I was always going to answer 'five' - it just took me a while to work out how to answer that this Bub will be our fifth, but at the same time to say it so people don't think there are four living children at home... because I don't want it to seem... a misrepresentation I guess - people spin out if you say this is your fifth and in that sense, the way most people assume it, well, she's not at home, I don't have to do all those things for her although I wish I did need to... and the few times (I think all three of them) that I've said oh we have three at home and just not mentioned that we lost Brenna, I have not felt good about it. The times I haven't mentioned it have been for their benefit and I think after, well why should she miss out on being acknowledged just so someone doesn't 'not know what to say'..?
NB I love this picture - 'peekaboo!'... I see pictures or drawings or anythings of little angel girls with dark hair and wonder. I know I've seen her once and that was so precious and so amazing...
Anyway, to 'what to say'... I did say for a while 'this is my fifth, we have three at home and lost our daughter/fourth last year' and then I found a better way to say it... how many people lay awake at night thinking of this exact thing?... something along the lines of
Them: 'is this your first?'
Me: 'no, we have one daughter who we lost last year, and 2 sons and a daughter at home'... the more I say it the better I get at saying it.
it helps having it in my mind in advance. And yes maybe I don't get to do things for her like I do the others, washing clothes, baking and so on, but I am a Mum to her every single day, every single hour in the best way I possibly can be - remembering her and not letting the world forget her.
As well as that, Brooke Jake and Zeke don't let anyone forget her either and for that I am very proud of them - they are as protective of her as they are of each other. Brooke misses her still so much... I hope at least they get to 'see' each other when she dreams. Jake is still quite practical and asks the 'matter-of-fact' type questions, but she's still very much in his mind as well. Zeke, well I think even though he knows her name, and knows the plants that are hers in the garden, he doesn't really understand it of his own accord and will learn it as he grows I guess. He does ask often about this Baby Boy though. And every time I go to the Birth Centre or need anything done relating to the Baby, one of the kids is sure to ask 'is the Baby okay?'... unfortunately these guys know all too well the realities of life and that it isn't all smooth sailing.
Every now and then I still set one extra plate before I've even realised, or get out one extra cup... I still wonder why she couldn't stay... what happened... why she was fine and heart beating at ten weeks and then nothing later... why she was born at sixteen weeks and not later on, when even if she was early she could still be here with us... I guess I'll always wonder.
Another thing is how people feel it's their place to decide whether she is worth being counted or not. From the medical world to just people in general. The latter maybe not to your face, but definately otherwise. And I think, well you know what - what does it matter to you? It changes nothing in your life and means everything to us. I birthed her, we marvelled at her tiny fingers and tiny toes, her Brothers and Sister and Nanna got to meet her, even though her heart had stopped - WE love her... So you don't get to make that decision. I am so pleased when people we know include Brenna, either by numbers count of children, or by name. It really is true for me that
The mention of our child's name may bring tears to our eyes
but if never fails to bring music to our ears
Friends please don't keep us from hearing the beautifuil music
It soothes our broken hearts and fills our souls with love
As I said to someone else before, I look back now, this path I'm on and can't believe how far we've come since losing Brenna. How I never thought I'd ever see the day that wasn't filled with tears from wake until sleep... I wondered how on earth I'd function in everyone else's world again... and how anything could ever make me smile... and here I am. Still an endless path in front of me but so far that we've come already, if that makes sense - and we've come that far without even realising it. When people talk about grief they talk about 'time' as in it being a healer... and I find that very hard to hear, I'm not sure why exactly - time doesn't fix things. But, going gradually down the path you find yourself on, means that at times you will have come further in your 'journey'... things will change as you walk that path, things will evolve - your grief will evolve and grow with you as you move down the path... I can't think of a better way to explain it. And even though people tell you this will happen, and you know it's happened for other people - you can't ever ever imagine it for yourself...
until one day... you look back and realise how far you've come...