bereavement · Childbirth · childloss · grief · infantloss · Labour · miscarriage · pregnancy · stillbirth · Uncategorized

I found the words you sent to me.

cropped-natalie_oldham_otis_cullen_0051When my little boy was stillborn 15 months ago, I had no idea how I would go on to ‘mother’ him. I was terrified that the outside world wouldn’t perceive me to be a mother to him, because I couldn’t do all those things that ‘mums do’ …

I cannot bathe him, hold him, kiss him, or cuddle him. I cannot read to him, sing to him, or pick him up when he falls. I cannot teach him how to walk. I cannot teach him how to talk. I don’t go shopping for his food, nor new toys for him when he outgrows his old ones. I don’t have to worry about what nursery or school to sign him up for. So what could I do, as his mum, to make other people realise I AM still his mummy and I WILL still always be his mummy?

I decided to live on his behalf.

There was once a day where I genuinely believed that simply surviving my child dying was impossible. I woke up after falling asleep through sheer exhaustion the night he was born, and I wondered how I had woken up, knowing my son never would.

And somehow, I mustered the strength to survive.

And somehow, I mustered the strength to LIVE.

I wasn’t just living for me anymore; my son is living through me too – anything he does here on Earth, he has to do through me. I didn’t want to let him down.

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

‘I need you to find your way back to me’, she said. ‘Whether it’s a butterfly appearing on my windowsill in the cold of Winter, or the wind gently kissing my cheek; be it through a gentle touch on the palm of my hand, or a rainbow when I need to feel you close … please, just find your way back to me.’

The day I was born, on the 3rd of June 2016, I turned my mummy’s world upside down. I took her soul and wiped it clean; changing the entire course of her life in an instant. I was born, just as the sun was rising, at 4:19am. Mummy thought I was perfect – I was born with jet black, thick and curly hair; my big sister’s lips; daddy’s ears; and mummy’s chunky thighs.

‘You are perfect’, she said. ‘But please, please open your eyes.’

I never did. I was born with my eyes closed. I was born silent, and still.

For weeks after my birth my mummy fought hard to ensure I wasn’t forgotten in our home. She spoke my name daily and made sure to let people around her know that I am important. That I matter. When we were in the hospital, mummy promised me that she wouldn’t let my memory die alongside me. She promised me that I would live through her, for as long as she lives. She pondered for a while about how she could ensure she keeps that promise to me.

She shared my story on her Facebook page. A lot of people commented, telling her that her braveness to share me and my journey comforted them as they had experienced a baby dying too. Others told her that she had empowered them to share their baby’s names and faces with the world. That day, upon knowing the words she wrote could bring such comfort to people, she opened a page dedicated just to me and reaching out to people in the ‘babyloss community’ …

AfterOtis happened.

Day 1 – post reached 1 person.
Day 7 – post reached 200 people.
Day 19 – post reached 5000 people.
Day 24 – post has been viewed in America.
Day 26 – post has reached 40,000 people.
Day 40 – post has been read in 63 countries around the world.

Day 364.
My mummy’s blog has been read by hundreds of thousands of people.
My mummy’s blog has been read by midwives, doctors, and students.
My mummy’s blog has been used to educate student midwives on bereavement.
My mummy’s blog has helped countless families make memories with their baby who was stillborn.
My mummy’s blog has been read in 183 countries.
My NAME has been read in 183 countries.
183 countries in which my feet will never feel the Earth beneath them.
183 countries I will never see with my own eyes.
But she took me there.

Day 365.
She’s near.
I can feel her presence near.
She’s walking towards me.
I see her.
She’s here, beside me.
I look up at her, she looks down to me.

For the first time since Day 1, I see a smile slowly form on her face.
She leans forward, rests her hand on the headstone erected with my name etched on the front, and she says those words I’ve been waiting a whole year to hear her say …

‘Otis, baby, I found the words you sent to me.’

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

I feel so privileged to be shortlisted for 3 awards at The Butterfly Awards this year. Please don’t feel obligated to, but it would mean the world to me if you could visit my profiles and ‘vote’ for me. It would be amazing to be able to add one of these awards to Otis’ memory box. Also, now the profiles are live and it’s attached to two of mine, I may as well share a video of a little something I’ve quietly been working on (please excuse the man voice in the video, ta)

Author/Blogger –
https://babylossstar.co.uk/NatalieOldham17

UK Support Organisation –
https://babylossstar.co.uk/OtisAndFriends17

Thank you 

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