His brother was six. He had been asking for a sibling for more years than I could count. That year, I finally got to tell him I was pregnant. On New Year’s Eve, we had made a joke about no siblings that year and he had wept. He didn’t yet fully realize the year would be over in four hours.
I was under terrible stress. Medical examinations all the time, no answers, and I didn’t even realize I had no period when I should have. Then, out of a joke to my husband, I counted back and it came to me. I had an important delay.
That pregnancy was like a wonderful dream come true. Unlike his brother, he wasn’t born preterm. I was overdue! My labour was amazing. Wonderful. Painless. I’ve always taken that as a gift for me. A goodbye present, maybe? Then, after a whole wonderful day labouring, I lay down for the doctors to check on the progress. His heartbeats went crazy, c-section, and I entered this world.
- The world in which a wonderful day discloses into an endless night.
- A world in which a six-year-old will be told his long wished sibling won’t go home to play with him.
- A world in which people stop you on the street to ask about the birth and get what happened with a glance.
- A world in which people insist on saying you have only one child, though you gave birth to two.
- A world in which you have no heart to get into your house while the baby stroller is there, ready for a baby who won’t ever use it.
And I’ve coped with so many comments. Comments from people who never got near this world. Comments from people who never knew such a world could exist. And to this day, after five years, I still talk about him. He will always be my precious second born.
There are people who don’t want to hear about him. People who take it as a personal offence to the world (they live in) if I publish his photo on my social profile. People who get their maths wrong with how many kids I have. But there are also people who watch this world with due respect. People who say his name with no fear. People who don’t take it as a contagious disease if I speak about him.
He lives through me, my every breath, my every heartbeat. He lives through my words and my thoughts. He lives through his brother who is now eleven. He lives through his sister, born exactly three years after he was born. He lives through my laughter and my tears. And he always will.
Image: Handlettering and artwork by Nathalie Himmelrich