We’ve bee through such a tragedy, losing you. I cannot moralise it, it is the saddest thing that happened to me.
I am extremely gratified to have the life I do, and for your father, but your stillbirth was a tragedy unlike any other.
We were floating along, helping whoever asked, (you become popular, opening your door to strangers) riding our bicycles because we couldn’t afford a car (telling ourselves we were saving the environment) not establishing roots anywhere, (enjoying our youthful freedom) no structured boundaries and no organisation. And then you began to grow inside me, so I went into over-gear with trying to sort our family out, all the while lingering in my mind was the knowledge that it was probably too late, because a baby was coming and we were behind with planning a more comfortable, stable future. I went to the Job Centre because I was fed up of hearing that unemployment rates have dropped under the coalition government whilst I couldn’t find full time employment for a year after graduating. When I was in the last trimester of pregnancy, I still went to job interviews. I worked another internship and saved the £50 a week for you, to buy you a nice baby blanket and a baby bath. In that time, our floor began to show signs of leaky plumbing and the old, single-glazed windows rattled. Our flimsily-gathered ‘friends’ rang our doorbell at night and I cried. We struggled on, privately renting a first floor flat that wasn’t fit to raise a baby in, and saving nothing every month.
According to John Mirowsky, a sociologist at the University of Texas at Austin, biologically, having a baby is best early on, but the sociological impact is far from ideal.
‘At age 20 or younger, Mirowsky wrote, pregnancy is “more likely to happen out of wedlock, more likely to interfere with educational attainment, and more likely to crystallize a disadvantaged status.” https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cusp/201211/whats-the-best-age-have-baby
Your presence woke me up to the stark reality of how an impoverished background can crystallise a deprived future, what Russell Brand terms a ‘down-payment on a slow suicide’ http://www.russellbrand.com/death-takes-small-bites/
You woke me up to the life I wanted for my children, free from dependency on the council-housing waiting list I had been on my whole life. During labour, I thought about all this, I thought about struggling and never sending you forward to the education you should be able to access, to the beautiful life I would like to cultivate for you.
It turns out, you were not destined to inhale any beautiful air, because you came into this world born still, but you cultivated beauty in my life, rather than I cultivating it in yours.
I changed rapidly from the grief, I was no longer acquiescent to an unfulfilled existence. My father said the grief would be empowering, and it has been. In ways I will describe here in the future.