In 2017, in the Netherlands, 773 children were born still after a pregnancy of 22 weeks or more.
That’s what I read in the newspaper. Amanda is one of them. I read the article. My child is one of seven hundred and seventy-three. She was born after she passed away, just as seven hundred seventy-two other children.
Of course it makes no sense at all to think about that. But it still haunts my mind today. All over the world babies die. In the Netherlands in the year of Amanda’s death 773 babies died before their birth. And of those who were born alive, another 502 died. I know the names and parents of some of these babies, because we got to know each other via a bereaved parent’s group.
I read the numbers in the newspaper. They are too big to really grasp. But I carry Amanda in my heart. A small individual who was so clearly one of us. Part of me, part of our family – which became so movingly clear when I asked one of my children what she thought about me buying lilies to express the feeling of Amanda being there on a birthday. Her answer: ‘I don’t care, because Amanda is always there for me anyway.’ I was so glad she said that and bought a bunch of flowers with lilies in it, but without the feeling that I have to do it.
She’s one of us. Not one of many. She is one. The one child who is always missing. Of who we don’t know if she would have just as dark hair and blue eyes as her siblings. Invisibly present, as I wrote before.
But she is also one of seven hundred seventy-three children who went from Mummy’s belly directly to their Heavenly Father.
I am speechless.
First published in Dutch on September 10, 2019