This Time Last Year

Content warning: miscarriage

Dear precious baby boy,

This time last year, your younger sibling left us before we had a chance to meet them. I’ve never experienced heartbreak like it. My almost-lifelong dream of being someone’s mummy lasted a matter of days, and I never got to hold them in my arms as I do with you now.

I convinced myself that my one and only chance had been and gone, but then you held on and decided that we would have the indescribable privilege of being your parents. The journey to meet you was permanently laced with anxiety: a panic attack before our first scan, tears of relief when we saw your tiny heart beating. I felt jealous seeing others confidently announce their pregnancies to the world, feeling safe to immediately start buying tiny clothes and decorate nurseries. I didn’t dare jinx our miracle; instead, I talked to a therapist, I practised meditation for the first time in my life, and I willed you to grow strong – it’s the closest I’ve ever got to praying.

Months growing you, weeks overdue, days in the hospital, hours in labour; all that time waiting, but now you’re here and time has no meaning at all. Somehow we’re already over a month into our life together and it has been so much harder than I could have ever imagined, but I remember what the alternative would be, and that would be so much worse. A life without you in it makes no sense.

You are not a replacement or ‘something that happens for a reason.’ I won’t hear the words ‘at least’ or ‘what’s meant to be’. Our first baby was real, they were loved and they existed – even if only two of us knew it at the time. I haven’t spoken about our loss much because it still hurts and I think it always will; it was my first experience of the immeasurable love you feel as a parent, and I feel it again now with you.

So today, every time I sniff your beautiful newborn head, hold you to my breast to feed you, and dodge a fountain of wee as you smile with glee at being nappy-free, I’m reminded of how I never thought this day would come. I remember your sibling, and tell them that wherever they are now, mummy, daddy and their little brother will always love them.


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