Early last year in January 2018, I found out that I was pregnant.
We weren’t really planning for a second child but this New Year surprise was simply perfect! We had a son aged two at the time, and another child would be absolutely precious.
Our next weeks and months passed quickly. Everything seemed to be going well the pregnancy. My blood pressure was perfect, my test results were good, and the baby was growing perfectly.
Around 20 weeks, we learned that we were going to have a girl. Wow! Everybody in the family couldn’t be happier. We have mostly boys in our family, and having this little princess would be divine.
Time was passing quickly in the usual grind – managing work and home and caring for a busy toddler. I was now only 8 weeks away from my due date.
We had sent on our papers at the hospital where I would give birth. Clothes were neatly stacked and sorted by size in individual bags tenderly waiting to be worn. Baby swing and bassinet provided much amusement to our little son as he practiced looking after a baby doll.
My day time would be crazy. I looked forward to night time when I could finally rest and feel our baby kicking. That used to be my one-on-one time with her, so I loved it.
I would be super exhausted by the time I hit bed though, that I would fall asleep in minutes, only to wake up 4-5 times at night to go to the toilet. One night though, I slept really well. I didn’t feel those kicks and a sleepy tired me didn’t realize that something was wrong, something was really wrong!
I called up the hospital the next morning and I was asked to come in straight to the hospital. After examination, I heard the words that no parent wants to hear, “I’m sorry. There is no heartbeat.”
We were to learn later that due to an internal injury in the placenta, our baby lost blood and passed away. There is probably no way I would have sensed that something was wrong. And even if I did, everything would have happened in minutes, before we could have gotten to the hospital.
The Next Days
The next few days were one of the hardest in our lives. Those moments are forever etched in my memory as if my conscious mind has held onto what it couldn’t really hold.
I remember getting into the hospital the next morning to give birth. The doctors induced me twice for contractions, but my body wasn’t ready to let go. Finally, they induced me a third time and drugged me to sleep. Ayana arrived in this world soon after.
It was unreal to hold her.
Here she was – 1.5 kilos of perfectly formed little being, born sleeping. Her tiny hand and feet and little hair, everything was absolutely perfect.
I marveled at the beauty of God’s creation. And I was devastated at the loss of it.
If she could have grown up – How would her voice sound like? What would her laughter have been like? Would she be bossy? Would she tap to music like her brother?
Just for one minute, could she be alive, please? Somehow, some miracle, please.
Dealing With Ayana’s Loss
Your life is shorter than you think. Live it up.
Coming back home felt absolutely empty. The crib and toys and clothes served as reminders of her absence. Frankly, I just wanted to crawl into bed and never get up.
But we had to keep life going on.
Our little two-year-old son was too little to understand what had happened. He still needed to be fed and looked after at all times, and mummy was his big comfort. I would be sobbing and then he’d look at my face. So I’d wipe my tears and try to fake interest in whatever he was doing.
As tough as it was, I’m also really thankful that I had my little son to care for at this desperate time. At least he was alive, living life.
My son was showing me that life is short and we should enjoy it however we can. From the moment he woke up till the moment he went to bed, his focus would be wholly and solely having fun.
When we would be in the playground, he would enjoy till his last ride on the slide. He wouldn’t worry because mummy had told him he would go home after this last one.
Ayana’s life was far shorter than I could have ever imagined. If I’d known, I would have spoken with her far more while she was in my tummy.
Life is such a gift, for us and for those around us. We shouldn’t waste it.
Even if my life was hard, these were also memories I was creating for my child or husband and other loved ones. I couldn’t mourn one child’s death while ignoring another child’s life. Getting out of bed was the only answer.
Declutter. Give away what you can.
After I came home from the hospital, I boxed away all of Ayana’s items because I simply couldn’t handle seeing them. A few months later though, after a friend’s suggestion, I posted an ad online and gave away all her things to another expecting mother.
As I let go of all her stuff that I held back, it felt as if I opened a valve to let out all of the boxed up emotions inside me. I cried my heart out as I let go but felt much better and lighter after giving away her belongings.
It felt good to know that some girl would be dancing around in those clothes and playing with those little toys. Everything had been purchased with much love and thought, at least the items wouldn’t be wasted.
All the stuff that we have around us carries energy. If we want to bring fresh new vibrancy in, we have to let go of the past.
I have to confess that it took me some time to get ready to say goodbye to these items. Somehow it felt that letting go of stuff would mean that I have let go of whatever physical memories I have of her.
But in reality, nothing can be further from the truth. I wasn’t saying goodbye to Ayana’s presence. Quite the contrary.
I was only bidding goodbye to my pain and sadness, and by letting go I was making peace with the presence of Ayana’s thoughts.
From then on, whenever my thoughts ran to how Ayana would have been as a baby, I directed my love and wishes to that child. It has been really comforting.
It helps to remember that we are souls with bodies and not the other way around.
Dealing with Ayana’s passing has been one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. In fact, when I got the news, I never thought I could ever cope with it.
Times and again, this quote has really helped me.
We are a soul with a body.
Most of us have lived many many times before too, and this is just one that we’ve chosen to experience now. As a spirit, Ayana still exists. All that is lost is only her body.
For a mourning mother, this is a very very comforting statement.
But do I believe this? Well, let me share something that happened with me time and again.
My deepest pain was not having my darling to hold and cuddle, not having her around to say how much I loved her. So I got a sparkly pink diary and started writing to her, whenever and whatever I wanted to.
No matter how desperate I would be feeling before I started writing, by the end of my letter, I would always end up saying that it is ok, that I’m her strong mum and that I’ll survive and be happy.
I could feel Ayana’s guidance coming through to support me.
So I hadn’t really lost her. I had only lost her body. My spirit connection with her will always be there.
They say that kids come in our life to teach us some life lessons. Mine surely did. I’ve come to think of Ayana as my spiritual teacher. I believe that she came in so that I could take a good hard re-look at my life and change it for the better. She continues to teach me every day to live my life to the fullest each day and every moment.
Of course, I miss her all the time, I always will, but I’m coming to accept life for what it is, and choosing to live while I can/
I’ll leave with you some parting words from Gibran
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
PS: I’m hoping this post can help other parents and loved ones passing through a tough time. Please consider sharing this article with anybody that comes to your mind.
Thank you very much.
Dear beautiful people, thank you for your love and support and words of encouragement. I haven’t spoken with many of you for years, but I feel your love coming through and I remember our times together with much fondness. Thank you for your hugs and wishes.
You remind me that I’m blessed to have so much love around me in all corners of the world. You remind me that this world is kind and compassionate, and amidst the loss of love, I am also finding love. Thank you deeply.