hello my little one, today it is nineteen years since you were born, I could not even give you a name you know, I didn't have time …
October has been the month dedicated to perinatal bereavement for some time now: not everyone knows it, but those like us remember it well. Those like us are women who have lost a child during pregnancy, who have gone from the immense joy of discovering a new life that grows, to the devastation of a heartbeat that stops.
It took a month dedicated to raising awareness of this mourning to try to educate people about this great pain, this pain that eats you from within, and that is often underestimated and not understood even by those around you.
Because the belly is yours, that belly that turns from a cradle into a grave, that feeling of emptiness that suddenly you carry around and accompanies the days, those boxes full of what could be and will never be, those pink shoes on the bedside table, which you would like to put away, but you can't, because they are the last piece of a happiness that no longer belongs to you.
Because when you look at them you remember exactly the day you bought them and you can even feel that joy for a moment, just one moment before everything disappears and the crying returns, those tears that fall silently and shake your body. And if it was you who decided to terminate that pregnancy after a diagnosis of incompatibility with life, in addition to the pain there is a sense of inadequacy, a sense of guilt, which will accompany you forever. Because you did not know how to protect your child from harm, you had to choose when to let him die and you can never forgive yourself for this. They are pains that no one knows.
"Hello my little one, today you weren't born for nineteen years, I couldn't even give you a name you know, I didn't have time, I was entering the fifth month and I didn't know you were going to be a baby, they told us all second level ultrasound, the one they did after they found something wrong with the first one. To think that that day we all went to the gynecologist together, there was also your little sister Donatella, she was one and a half years old, you would have liked her so much, you know? and she would have loved you as only she can, outside there was the sun, not a cloud, nothing, even the air smelled good, and we would have seen your face, and maybe we would have even discovered your sex.
And instead no. I remember the probe on your belly, my doctor who goes round and round on your head, calls a colleague, then another, and together they whisper, and I would have wanted to die there, in that precise moment, because in that absence of words there was everything that then became reality. I remember the term cystic hygroma, fetal hydrops, but let's do a CV to be sure, I was at the end of the fourth month. For two weeks I lived like an automaton, at night I caressed you before going to sleep and in the morning I spoke to you as soon as I woke up, because I hoped for it. I hoped they were wrong, but the diagnosis was correct, you had a 95% chance of dying in my belly, or just born, 5% of living on tubes. Your father and I talked about it a lot, but really, we evaluated every possibility, but I couldn't imagine your existence linked to machinery, without the possibility of interacting, without the possibility of choosing. Then I chose for you. I chose you to be free. Free from suffering, free from pain, free from a life that didn't deserve you. Because we already loved you so much, but we weren't strong enough to risk having you born and losing you soon after.
I went into the hospital with your dad who never left me alone, they gave me pills, put on a gel and left in a room. Every now and then I would look out and see the other women with the belly walking in the corridor and I just wanted to disappear, they were giving life, I would have given you death. At a certain point the contractions began, strong, stronger and stronger, and then I felt you go away, I really felt the detachment. Then I didn't hear anything anymore. For days. Months. Years. The midwife arrived, she picked you up and took you away from me in a cloth, I didn't even want to look at you, I don't even know whose eyes or lips would have been, what color you would have had your hair, not I'll never know if you could survive just to be hugged, or if my belly would have turned into your grave. I know that day I died with you, to be reborn without a piece, for the rest of my life.
Now I know, I would have called you Giulia, because all those I know and bear that name are wonderful and happy women.
Giulia, if you can, at least you forgive me.
Because I've never been able to do it. "