Slept in with my eldest son last night who had been asking a lot of questions about his unborn brother and sister, and had become a little upset. I felt it important to be as honest and open with him, without giving him nightmares.
He has been so excited about this pregnancy, that he couldn’t wait to get home on Wednesday and find out how the scan went. It was his first, and second and constant question after he returned home. My husband and I decided to sit him down and tell him straight away, rather than fill him with false hope. Especially having lost a little brother or sister just 6 months ago.
You must understand that although my son is only 8 years old, he is wise beyond his years. His emotional intelligence astounds me sometimes, however he has a tendency to be over sensitive which is why we have to tackle subjects such as this as delicately and respectfully as possible.
He listened intently, and asked questions such as, “Can they not build baby a skull when they’re born?” We explained as gently as possible, that there were no options for baby, and that they could not survive after birth. Bless his beautiful and naïve mind. With tears in his eyes he asked,”Can you try for another baby straight away? Today?” He wants a little brother or sister so much.
We told him that the baby in Mummy’s tummy had to come out before another one could go in. He couldn’t quite grasp how if you could have twins in your tummy, that we couldn’t have another – now. With lots of delicate discussion we informed him at this stage of Mummy’s pregnancy, it wasn’t possible to “put another baby” in my tummy, but that after Mummy had delivered this baby and felt a lot better, we could possibly think about trying for another baby.
He has been requesting to see a photo of baby when they are born. I explained that although Mummy would be having photos taken, I would not show them to him until he was a little older. This wasn’t good enough for my stubborn little man who insisted upon why he could not see his little brother and sister, whom he loved. We had already discussed that baby’s head has not formed properly and therefore he doesn’t look like, what would be classed as, a normal baby. We didn’t want him to be scared or traumatised in any way by the long lasting image of his sibling like that. I’d already seen an illustrated picture of a baby with anencephaly which I felt was more appropriate to show him at his age and having studied it for a few moments, he turned to me and said gently, “I would still love them, Mummy.”
Since Wednesday, he has had bursts of sadness, followed by normality, laughing and playing or arguing with his younger brother. Typical for an 8 year old I guess.
However last night, it seemed to really hit him, and he cried as he lay his head on my belly and told me how much he loved the baby in there. He asked if we could bring the baby home after and bury it in the garden so we could always be close to them. Being so exposed to nature and wildlife, we decided that wouldn’t be a good idea, and as he quite brutally put it “ooh yeah, baby could be dug up (!)” So he asked could we have baby cremated so we could keep them in the house in a box. So many answers that I myself was not sure of the answer just yet. Following on from the idea of the garden, I suggested that maybe we plant something in memory of the baby, and that’s when my beautiful minded and sensitive son announced, “A tree!”
A tree. A fitting tribute to the perfect little person growing inside of me. Their roots would reach deep beneath the garden and house that they would have lived and played in. Their branches would grow and blossom with each year that passes, just as our little Angel would have done. We will proudly watch its fruits ripen and mature, and relish in the beauty of its colours and the safety of its shadow as we sit beneath it. As we grow older, so will the tree, and the precious memories of the much loved masterpiece it represents.
I would like to thank Nita Powell for sharing this heartfelt and very apt song with me. ‘Masterpiece’ by Danny Gokey. The words of this song sum up beautifully how I feel about the little masterpiece growing within me, but also, how this experience with all its pain and struggle but retrospect unconditional love and gratitude, is shaping the soul of me and in turn, making a masterpiece of me.