Losing my husband taught me a great deal about loss.
In those early days, all I could feel was total loss, because I had lost so much. In fact I truly thought I’d lost everything. After Craig’s death, about the only thing that remained the same in my life was our child, and my work. Everything else ceased to exist.
One aspect of my loss that I completely underestimated though was my ability to have another child.
In the days that followed Craig’s death, I was feeling all the hurt of the losses that had transpired simply because he’d died. I’d lost a husband, a father, a best friend, sounding board, a protector. I lost my home, financial security, trust and confidence. But a few days after Craig died, I recall sitting in my lounge room, covered in a woolen shawl, when I suddenly realised it’s incredibly likely I will never have another child.
Craig and I had been seriously discussing having a second child. For some time we had really only thought we would ever have one child and we were very content it just being the three of us. But as time went on, it became obvious to us that we wanted another child. Why had we left such a large gap? I experienced a fairly traumatic birth with Heidi, so there was definitely a sense of reluctance to go back there again. But as time went on, we felt it was something we wanted to do.
Due to the nature of my work as a marriage celebrant, I can become booked up very fast with weddings and quite far in advance. But I had stopped taking as many bookings for 2018 in readiness for the baby I hoped would come our way. We planned to start trying around August/September 2017 though these plans came to a halt one Sunday. On a family trip to Bunnings, of all places.
As we wandered around the outdoor setting area of Bunnings for some reason discussion turned to the year after and having a second baby. Craig had been incredibly busy with work and was stressed about some upcoming jobs, so he turned to me and said “I don’t want to start trying for a baby now, I’d like to wait until early 2018 when I’ve had a break and I’m more certain of where I’m at with work”. I agreed, but something ached in my heart that day and I began to cry. It was really unlike me because I don’t think I’d realised how strongly I felt about that second baby. Craig quickly comforted me and said he definitely wanted a second baby, but could we just wait. Of course I agreed. Not even three weeks later he would be dead.
I have two very different feelings about this.
Mostly I am incredibly relieved. Relieved that we hadn’t started trying because imagine if I had of been pregnant when Craig had died. Firstly, I would have been worried about the outcome for a baby when a mother has endured so much stress while in those early stages of pregnancy. Secondly, single parenting is tough. It’s tough with one child, and I can only imagine it is even tougher with two.
But there’s a big sense of loss too.
I will never have another baby with Craig.
I will never be able to give Heidi a full brother or sister.
And the baby we thought we would have together will never eventuate, and that really hurts.
My beautiful nephew arrived into the world in early January 2019 and while I felt full elation, I also cried for much of the day. A wave of grief fully washed over me. It was just another reminder of hopes being dashed and how much my future has changed and the loss I have felt. I felt a deep sense of sadness for Heidi, for Craig and myself. It all seems so unfair.
I’m not saying that I will never have another baby. The world is a funny place, and I know more than anyone that you can never say never.
However, my age is hardly in my favour and in all honesty, I’m very happy with Heidi – my family feels complete.
I also feel incredibly grateful to even have one child. I know how many people struggle with infertility.
As always though, I do look for those positives and silver linings and in all honesty I am the luckiest mother in the world. Craig gifted me with the most incredible child who can I put all my hope, love and energy into.
He left me with a little piece of him in Heidi, and my goodness, she is a little ripper.