A fleur de peau
Her heart stopped beating as it started: surprisingly.
I could not have imagined how much love one was able to feel deep in one’s flesh until she changed my world. She died in a deep silence — without me — her carrier — noticing. She was our everything and her little heart will always beat within us — no matter how bitter is the taste of cold blood. She is our baby girl and died before entering the world. Surprisingly. Without us noticing. No matter how much we love her. Life has bitten us right in the middle of our hearts by letting her heartbeat fade away. Death and life within one body what a disgusting image. She was our destiny, the miracle of life, a growing human body within mine. She was my everything and disappeared in silence letting us with heavy hearts. We are parents without a child.
Joy - ultrasound scan — is baby X a boy or a girl? — “I have an extremely sad news to tell you…” — an unprecedented pain settling in our chests — incomprehension — from that moment tears come out of our eyes — cycling — crying — cycling and crying — being together strong for three — three days in the Hospital — a night floating out of space in labour — finally the pain in my heart gets support from the pain felt in my body — blood — placenta — our baby girl — the three of us.
The sweet fruit of our love came out after a much needed painful labour — in a deep silence. She was beautiful and holding her on my breast with my heart beating for her was extraordinary. Her thin and fragile skin only held her beauty but could not protect her from the outside world. Our stillborn baby girl left home without a sound — no matter how much we love her. After 22 weeks of body transformation my pregnant body is empty like rotten and my heart is heavy like if I could drown in the water — at anytime. I am full of guilt, love and sadness knowing that soon my body will not feel pain anymore letting my mind alone — more than ever.
I feel bad as a father to observe that my pain would never be as deep as the one felt by my partner. My pain is what it is, and I try as much as I can not to influence it, to let it hit me in the Taoist manner, to absorb the whole of it and to appreciate what it has to offer: a precious link with the baby I sadly only could dream to bond with. I will try to describe it honestly. Yunnan, my baby girl, is a source of power for me — she was when growing calmly and safely in her mother’s uterus and still is through the feelings I have from her that emanated from her dead body. She came unexpected and welcomed in my life, she is able to push me in doing all the things I always said I would and never did, she made of me an adult and at the same time a kid eager to (re)learn evertyhing with her.
Here are a non comprehensive list of the things I wished to do with her:
Being the privileged white man part of our particular “métissage” I have been and still am in the process of (re)learning the world around me from an afro-feminist stand point and healing myself from those diseases lying within me that are white supremacy and patriarchy. Far from being done I hoped that we would have been able to co-shape a world where she would have been unique, respected, able to strive, to learn, to flourish, to love, to hate independently of which identities she would have chosen.
Being born in Europe, educated, aware of the consequences climate change will have on the countries my ancestor have and continue to plunder and rape I took the decision to grow my own food and in the same logic to try to be aware of the consequences of my actions before I intend them. This is a vision I would have loved to share with her, you can’t imagine how much I needed her critics, her to laugh on my inanities, on my contradictions, how much I would have learnt from her…
Spinning in my heads are walk in the parks, flower picking, dancing, screaming, reading, cooking, gardening, wildness exploring, sharing good happy moments, sad moments, growing together, laughing — a lot…
The feeling of absence, how can I feel so bad feeling the absence of my baby girl who was never alive in front of me, whom I could never take in my arms, cuddle, whisper to, kiss and joke too, bring up, read stories to. Her absence is sadly one of the only feeling of attachement I will have with her and certainly one of the most terrible feeling I ever had. It is not only our baby girl who died, it is all the future we could have had with her. I felt empty, useless and heartbroken with her dead body within my hands, dead before I could even think about saving her, what kind of daddy does that make of me? I love you Yunnan, I will always be! I will make sure to protect your image, your “what you could have been”. Missing you without knowing you is I guess one of the most difficult aspect of my grief, although the pain is still very fresh. I cannot help myself to think that I idealize you and distort the “memories” that I could have shared with you and this makes me even sadder.
The feeling of betrayal, how can I be faithful to the pain my partner, mother of our stillborn baby endures? Should I follow her in despair or be the emotional rock on which she can rest in the hardest time (not that I do not need her support as well)? It was hard for me to let it go: “you know Méli, I think I feel less pain than you do, I have never been sadder, but I can see that it is even harder for you”. I do feel guilty about it, but I guess being honest about the way we feel helps us build a kind of equilibrium, a “natural adaptation” to survive the storm that happened in our life.
Reading the experiences from other parents whom also experienced having a stillborn baby helped us a lot and I guess that’s part of what we intended to do here. Of course there is as well the curative part of sharing that equally helps us with this fresh and traumatic event, and with dealing with our extremely mixed up emotions. It is therefore important to state that this piece of writing is not a guide, it is simply the wailing of a mourning couple.
We are grateful for the precious moment we had with Yunnan — the three of us — as a family.