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So I have a question. Do you all think it would be weird to bake a cake to commemorate the one year anniversary of our 1st baby’s due date?

Last year was fucking awful, to put it bluntly, as evidenced by my broken ass poems (you can read them here if you feel like indulging in a little angst, pain, frustration, anger etc). I stayed up till about 3am the night before reading blogs, crying and eventually wrote the series of poems and then thankfully I fell asleep. Although they were somewhat cathartic, the staying up very late didn’t help my ability to cope the next day.

Which started miserably when I had to drive to the nearest town to be at a lab by 9am getting Day 3 bloods to try and work out why I kept miscarrying. I’ve got difficult veins at the best of times.

For the rest of the day I suppose we just tried to carry on as usual. We ran into a friend of my sister in law who spoke to me at length on how excited she was about my SIL giving birth in the next week and all the things she would experience as a new mum. I felt so sad and so desperate for someone other than Toku and I to know what the day meant to us.

This year we have the due date on Friday then Mothers’ Day on Sunday. The following weekend we have our nieces 1st birthday celebration, and with family visiting from overseas, my SIL’s family staying from out of town and both sets of grandparents arriving, it will be hard to avoid the joyful occasion.

I feel our loss will be forgotten amongst all of this and I want to remember and acknowledge our babies. I can’t see us doing it every year, or even on both due dates. But this one is a significant and still raw anniversary. One that is so impossible to overlook with my adorable niece here as a vivid reminder of the empty space that exists for us. This year I feel we should do something.

So I’m going to bake my favourite birthday cake, a pineapple caramel upside sponge cake. Perhaps we’ll light one candle and send a wish to our much missed babies. We’ll go to the tree where we buried them and place some flowers and stand quietly holding each other.

Perhaps we’ll invite my parents for the cake. I wonder if we should invite my brother and SIL too?

The miscarriages, and being unable to conceive again since, have been an immense strain on our formerly extremely close relationship. Sometimes I think that if I let them in on how we are feeling maybe they would understand us better. I feel they have distanced themselves as they know it’s hard for us to see their baby. But then it’s equally hard not seeing them as well. Ahhh it is such a complicated thing.

I just wish they, (or my parents), would acknowledge the missing part of the equation on some of our special family days. My family is so open usually. But when it comes to our dead babies and their live one, well I guess no one knows what to say. My ideal would be if my brother or sister in law said something at the 1st birthday, to everyone. Something like ‘I wish ******’s cousin was here to share her birthday.’ A statement like that would acknowledge our loss and our baby like nothing else. But it will never happen. As I wrote in a comment the other day, people seem scared that if they mention it somehow it may remind you of your loss. As if we forget for a second on occasions like that.

I wish we could all move on from all of this. But the reality is that as much as I love seeing our niece, the second they leave I get hit by an attack of the ‘what if’s’ and the ‘it’s not fair’s’. I guess I’ll get used to it eventually. But I think we all know that until we have a live baby in our arms, it will always linger on some level.

On my birthday we went to a bookshop and saw the sweetest child’s picture book about death. It was a story of a bear whose best friend is a bird, but she dies. So he carries her around in a box and shows her to other animals so they can grieve with him. But they think he’s weird. Eventually he makes a new friend and realizes it’s time to lay down the box which he does. I found such a profound sense of relief when I read this. Suddenly knowing that I’d recently laid down my own babies’ ‘box’. I’m going to order the book as a present to myself.

Overall I feel that in the last few months I have really healed and my grief is so much less now. However I know that I am really sentimental and think that this date will hit me hard this year. Especially given the fact that Manaaki has just left.

Anyway, I worry that if we invite my family for the cake thing they will think it’s weird (like carrying round a dead bird in a box kinda way), or over the top or attention seeking. Should I care? Am I being self indulgent and wallowing in my grief by anticipating that it may be a time of acute sadness? Or should I just lock it up, put my chin up and grin and bear it. I wouldn’t normally shut down my emotions like this, but is enough enough?

What do you think?

PS: Here’s the book if you are curious. The illustrations are beautiful and the story is lovely I think.