A poem by Vanessa Gebbbie for baby Loss awareness week

Today’s picture is a nest of baby rabbits. They’re my rabbits. I have a LOT of animals at my house: a dog; Toby, a cat; Elvis and seven rabbits; Mymbles, Little My, Petre, snowy, Betty, Boo, Thing one and Thing Two. I started out with two girl rabbits who, seven months in, became a boy and a girl. They had a litter of babies, I separated mum and dad immediately but Daddy bun had been busy and we had another litter four weeks later! The babies came just after the last failed IVF cycle. I remember being so excited, but also sad because it seemed even the animals got lucky where I didn’t. But I also thought, through the panic of suddenly having nine rabbits that I couldn’t very well complain as I had asked the universe for babies and had got a whole bucket of velveteen sausages. They actually really helped me get over that cycle and I had something to nurture and mother. Two have gone to new homes, the others are with me still. One of my greatest loves is the joy that pets can bring, and although I am now officially the crazy rabbit lady, I don’t regret it. They have all filled a hole in my life and Toby the dog got me out of the house after we lost Matilda and was always there for cuddles and love with such immeasurable joy. There is nothing quite as wonderful as the joy that a dog takes in the world and I think he passed that on to me, even in the dark. I love being out in the countryside, I love the autumn weather and the way the seasons turn. There is sadness, yes, because I remember the nature walks my mum and I used to go on, and I wish I was doing that with my little girl; discovering the world again with her, but I have a house full of warmth and furry bodies (husband included) and for that I feel incredibly lucky.

Today’s organisation is Tommy’s. Tommy’s are a brilliant organisation that help develop research into stillbirth, miscarriage and neonatal loss. Their website is a wealth of information for pregnancy and birth and a resource that I think is invaluable. They are an incredibly hard working organisation and they work alongside other organisations which I think is key in moving forward from a research point of view.

Today’s poem is by Vanessa Gebbie. Venice has suffered loss herself, but her beautiful poem is written in response to the loss of a baby by a close family member. People forget the impact that baby loss has on the larger family. I can’t remember my mum being as devastated as when we lost Matilda, I think in a way it has brought us closer together. The details in Vanessa’s poem really ground it. Stunning.

For a Child Gone in September

It was windy here when the call came.

I could hardly hear for

it’s howling there

imagined my son

hunched in an office doorway,

to find somewhere quiet enough

for this news.

After,

I laid my mobile on the sill

and watch the birch trees tossing their hair.

Yesterday they forecast high winds, storms-

-an end to summer –

and here they are.

Maybe, littlest one, you tried to stay

the wind, to hold

the seasons

with an unformed fist,

and lost

the day.

Did no one tell you

there is as much love in the fall

of leaves

as in their bright beginnings?

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