I started a new job last week. You may have noticed the radio silence in place of a 22 week update – exhaustion hit me hard. The job itself is a relief, easing the pressure of finances and offering some security for the future, and so far it’s been going well. But it’s been an adjustment and brought up more emotion than I was expecting.

I’ve spent the last seven months on maternity leave, without my baby.

My world has been limited to my home, my husband, my dog, and whatever I could find to watch on TV. It’s a privilege that I’ve been able to do this, to exist inside my bubble and nurse my grief without the pressures of the outside world. But the bubble had to burst eventually.

The first few days of work were hard, as I knew they would be, but not in the ways I expected. I thought I would sit in my new workplace and think only of my baby, longing to be back in the safety of home where I could hide in bed and give into the despair. In reality, it was almost refreshing to be out of the house, chatting with new colleagues, and feeling almost like a normal human again. I enjoyed it. And then the end of the day came; I made it home, and into pajamas, and curled up on the sofa while my husband cooked dinner, and I waited to feel relieved. Proud of myself. Optimistic about the future. Instead, I came home most days and cried. I felt fine at work, but when I came home, I suddenly felt like I was living a double life, acting normal during the day, then returning to the reality that my baby was still dead. I always planned to return to work after maternity leave but I imagined picking Dottie up from nursery on my way home, spending the evening sorting dinner, and bathtime and bedtime stories.

My grief bubble was safe.

All that existed to me was my sadness and anxiety, the outside world was irrelevant. I ignored responsibilities and tried to ignore the future. Losing a baby is all-encompassing. For a time, it’s all that exists, the defining feature of every day. And then the bubble bursts, you’ve discovered that you’re still living, and grief has to find a way to co-exist. It’s a hard transition. Breaking out of this bubble is essential for my future, my family’s future, my well-being and sanity. But this week, it’s been hard.

Baby outfit and ultrasound images - Issy's Bump Day Blog, Week 23: Bursting the Bubble

Author’s Personal Collection/Issy Jorden

We continue to make small steps. Last weekend, we went to visit prams in store, found one we liked, and hopefully will get to use one day. Sometimes I shy away from the baby clothes section when shopping, but sometimes I don’t, and pick up a sweet new outfit. Every purchase feels like an act of defiance, deliberately choosing hope over fear even if I don’t feel it. Returning to work feels like this too, choosing to live again, acknowledging that there is a future, and it might even hold good things. It’s hard, and I’ve needed lots of rest, allowed myself to be looked after, and not beaten myself up. Things will get easier, and it’s OK if that takes a while. There is a future; there are babies in heaven, and babies are still to come. Hope is defiant, hope is brave, hope can co-exist with grief.

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