I promise you that no matter what miracles life chooses to bestow upon us, you will always be my first daughter. You will always be in my heart, and in my words. I have realized, now, that I can say “I have two sons and a daughter”. Later, when they ask your ages, I clarify that actually, you died before you were born. Sometimes they don’t ask, and I feel a little sneaky. But if I don’t mention you at all, which has also happened, I feel like a liar. And angry. And sad.
I promise you that you will be in most photos. I mean, let’s face it, in as many as you would have been even if you had lived. I’m sorry, my darling, but you are the third child. No one will have as many photographs as the much obsessed-over first born. Honestly, that might be a good thing. First time parents can be nutty. But you are in so many of our family pictures. Even when we don’t purposefully include you, there you are: you are an extra magnificent ray of light, a pretty flower, a sneaky heart shape. You are Luna, our beautiful little moon. We find you everywhere. In our jewellery and in the beauty of nature.
I promise you that I will always be your mother. I will learn how to parent you as we grow. I don’t treat your brothers the same way now as I did when they were babies. I grow with them. You and I, my beautiful girl, we will too. The early obsession, the constant worrying and checking… that is slowly fading. I think of you even without realizing, even before words reach my brain, my heart has been cuddling with your love. Some of the urgency has passed. It’s not sad, like I thought it would be. I am no longer so scared you might slip away from me. I now know that you are a visceral part of everything that I am. I promise to keep up and grow with you.
I promise you that you will always be around. How could you not be? We speak of you every day. Your brothers bring you home with their drawings, their imagination games. If you had lived, they say, they would pick you up if you fell, they would get you a super fast flying horse so dragons couldn’t hurt you. They would get you a small puppy. And a ring of gold with many shiny things.
I promise you that we will eventually figure out what to do with our placenta, yours and mine, that wonderful organ you had my body create for us…still waiting in the freezer. It will be beautiful. We might plant it. We might make it into ash and mix it with the ashes from your body. Either way, it will be with love. And it will give us so much of you.
I promise you that if another baby does chose to grow inside me, s/he won’t be shoving you aside. Mothers have enough love for each child, whether they are living or dead. You lot don’t replace each other. I will love being pregnant again. What a special time, a child on each hand, one inside my body, one in my heart. If your baby sibling comes, or if he or she doesn’t… you are our only Luna.
I promise you this, the crafting and writing might stop, but the way you changed me, that can never go back. I will always speak of your life, and your death, and the beautiful way we chose to walk with you in both. I will continue to talk to other moms in your honour. I will keep trying to work with wonderful people and break down barriers and listen and educate those who take care of us but are still so afraid of dead babies. I will continue to hope that all families can have enough time to hold and take care of their child that died. I promise you to stay political, in this place of love and loss and healing and community.
But most of all, my girl, I promise you this: I promise to love you, with my whole mama heart, until the day I also die.
And after that, who knows… but I have a feeling, whatever comes, you and I are one.