I think I have a "Stop Me" sign on my back. In England everytime you go into a town centre, people stop you, to give to charity, to buy something, to sign up for a catologue. Some people manage to sail past these people. Not me. "Stop Me" I'll talk to you, I'll possibly even sign up for something.
When you have a baby, in a sense, you become public property and my "Stop Me" factor has got worse! Add a cute baby, and I become irresistable!!!
One day at a bus stop, a lovely old lady was playing with Joseph. He was grinning (he hadn't been smiling long) and he was enjoying the game. The lady looked at me a bit sadly and said "I have a new great niece but I am so frightened, she was born at 27 weeks and is still in hospital. I think she'll die, no one that small could possibly survive". I nearly fell over, she had no idea!
"How big is she?" I asked. "Oh only 2lb 1oz at birth". I smiled and gently said "Joseph was 1lb 7oz and he was born at 27 weeks". I even found a picture of him. We ended up having a long conversation about the power of being and staying positive, of overcoming adversity, and of faith. It was quite bizarre. But lovely.
I've met so many people like this during our journey, particularly older ladies who either had pregnancy losses, or have been unable to have children. We so take our modern world for granted. Now we have a website and a forum for anything. Bliss has been instrumental in supporting me, and Joseph. I know if I have any concerns or worries I can get answers or at least guidance. And there is SANDS, the amazing support group for stillbirth and neonatal death.
But thirty, forty years ago, there was nothing. And you would not believe the large numbers of older ladies (and men I am sure too) who are walking around with such pain in their hearts, carrying huge burdens of loss that they have been unable to speak about. They've just "kept calm and carried on" for years.
There were days, after Joseph came home, where I thought I would drown under all this sadness and loss. It appeared sometimes everyone had a sad story to share with me. I felt enormous guilt that I had a well baby, and sometimes I was made to feel that I didn't really deserve it. Perhaps it was all in my head, but sometimes people would say "well when I had a premature baby they said there was nothing they could do...."
Sometimes I wish there was more I could do for older people carrying the hurt of loss, who can't access the internet, who have no outlet for their mourning or grief. I always put my arm around little old ladies and say "your baby was real to you, and now your baby is real to me".