Wednesday 25 April 2012

Birthdays, Milestones and Memories

These days, for the most part, I don't really think of Joseph's time in hospital, or even that he was premature. It bubbles underneath the surface, and at times comes to mind if I need it. "Oh, Joseph seems a little small" "Joseph doesn't run like the other kids", and its there, in his defence. But, quite often it's all in a box, neatly packaged up.

In the lead up to Joseph's first birthday I played the game....."this time last year". It was horrendous but I couldn't stop it, reliving every moment, every conversation, every sight and smell. I could remember conversations like they were yesterday. And that's trauma. In times of trauma and stress your senses do that to protect you. The inability to turn that off can become post traumatic stress disorder.

At the time of Joseph's first birthday the stuff was everywhere, I don't think I even owned a box. The memories, the fear, the anger, the resentment was there for the world to see. I felt enormous guilt, friend after friend managed fat termies, why did I fail my son?  Everyone was telling me it was over, that I had a perfect little man, slowly emerging from the coccoon of prematurity and becoming a beautiful, strong boy. But I couldn't really see it for all the mess. My mind was plagued by the fact he was so far behind all the other kids I knew, and it was all my fault.

By the time Joseph's second birthday came around, the box was there, and most of the stuff was packed. There was still a bit overflowing, and the lid didn't quite fit, but things were better, and I enjoyed his birthday a lot more than his first. The fear was still there, the late walking, the concerns about his speech and development. Deep down I knew he was fine, but that didn't stop it. The guilt was still there, but not nearly as strong. I was starting to get more perspective.

This year, coming up to his third birthday, I thought I was ok, but I am finding that the lid isn't as tight as I thought, and the tape is getting a little stretched. I am a little more alert than usual, a little more worried, the nightmares are floating at the edge of my subconcious, and the flashbacks are rearing their head again. The birth and death of Luna Bliss Boon has hit me hard, that could have been us. And I am trying not to go there, because there is no good in that - the what ifs, the whys, why not us? And the guilt. Survivor guilt. No longer do I feel guilty for Joseph's prematurity. I have moved on, if I blame myself, then I am blaming any mother who got pre eclampsia, that it's their fault, and that's just stupid.

To a lesser extent its threatening again, the negative emotional build up that occured at Joseph's first and second birthday. I have better control and more mental resources to deal with it, but it's still hard.  I have to keep concious of my thoughts, and follow them, and lead them to logical thought, away from negativity, away from the past, and into our very bright future.

It will always be there, Joseph's prematurity, and that's ok. But it must, for the most part, be kept in the box, safely tucked away.


  1. I too found Samuel's 2nd birthday very hard. I could remember every detail of his delivery - all my emotions which were not good - and how I felt in the weeks/months following his birth with my PND. I had so much regret that I did not enjoy his early days and that as he will be our only child I will never have the opportunity to live those days again. I'm hoping his third birthday will be better but I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Sending hugs to you and your gorgeous boy xxx

  2. I'm sorry you're still experiencing all these feelings but it is good to know there are other people out there feeling that way and its probably quite normal. For me, I had an iron clad box with a very secure lid at the time which was hidden at the bottom of the ocean. It was only 6-9 months on that I dared to retrieve that box, take a peep inside and allow myself to feel many of the emotions for the first time. Isabella is now approaching 18 months and its still so fresh in my mind. I too was quite emotional around her 1st birthday. I was also affected by the sad news about baby Luna this weekend and full of 'what ifs'. I often feel guilty for feeling any thing other than gratitude for what I have and how things turned out for me, especially when I meet so many others who've suffered worse. So thanks once again for sharing and helping me to appreciate that my feelings are valid. I hope you and Joseph can enjoy his birthday and you find things are a little easier this year xx

  3. I'm no expert, but I imagine such a shocking, emotional and traumatic experience never really "leaves" you. Hoping you're OK and are dealing with it. And it's good to talk and write about it. Always more preferable than trying to bottle it away and hide it. x

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