The following letter was written by Michelle whose blog Dear Orla is dedicated to letters written to her daughter Orla who heartbreakingly was born still at 37 weeks in May 2016. Michelle started writing letters to Orla as a way of navigating through the grief and as a way of making sense of the thoughts and feelings that come with this devastating loss.
Michelle is currently pregnant with her second child and due to give birth any day now. She wrote this poignant letter to mark a significant point of her pregnancy and to capture her thoughts to share with her baby.
The letter is part one of a pair and you can read the first letter to Orla here.
My second born child. Today is the day that you have reached full term and you have been growing inside of me for 37 whole weeks. This was how long your older sister lived inside of me for too, and for that reason, we are going to be encouraging you into the world a little earlier than maybe you would have chosen. We hope that this isn’t too much of a shock for you and have done everything we can to ensure it is as smooth a transition as possible. We are doing this to keep you safe, whilst also helping us to be in the best position we can to look after you when you’re here.
Although we hope that your arrival will in some way help to heal our broken hearts, please know that this is not your job or purpose. It is for us to learn how to heal, for us to piece together the shattered shards of our hearts and for us to grow into the people that we now are, following the loss of your sister. We know that having you here in our arms will bring so many complex emotions and thoughts, but these are for us to manage. All that you need to understand is that you being here, safe and well, will bring us nothing but joy and happiness. All other feelings are for, and about, circumstances separate from you.
Please always know that you are as loved and as wanted as your older sister. Your arrival may be earlier than it would have been if Orla had lived, but you would certainly have arrived very soon nonetheless. You are not here to replace anyone – you are you and I cannot wait to meet and get to know who that little person is. I look forward to seeing your unique features and personality develop and to continue learning about who you are and who you want to be.
Although my pregnancy has been fraught with worry, please believe that I have done everything I can to keep you safe and well. Since my heart has been hurting, and part of my attention has been focussed on grieving for your sister, I have slowed down in other ways. I have taken time to just be with you; to feel your kicks, to listen to your heart, to get to understand your unique likes and dislikes. You have already shown us that you are your own individual being and I feel so incredibly excited to meet you in the outside world. Although at first I was scared to love you, through fear of losing you too, I remember that overwhelming love hitting me when we saw you at your 28-week scan. There was no denying then that you too had captured my heart in equal measure to Orla, and although this exacerbated my fear, it was a moment that I will never forget.
I cannot wait to share the story of your sister and her legacy with you; to show you what impact she has had on other people’s lives and what other people have done in her name. Equally, I cannot wait to tell Orla about you in our letters to her; to describe the ways in which you are similar and different and to imagine how you would have played and grown together. It hurts to know that you will never meet in person. Yet I know that her presence in your life will be equally special.
We are so excited to meet you little one and we feel so very close now. Stay safe and warm until we can wrap you in our arms.
All my love for always,