Today is a sad day in the world of parent bloggers. Today marks two years since our fellow blogger Jennie @ Edspire lost her beautiful daughter Matilda Mae.
Matilda was a beautiful, chubby, happy and healthy baby. On the day she turned 9 months, she was taken from the world. Matilda died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, otherwise known as SIDS. She went to sleep and never woke up.
I discovered the tragic story of Tilda through the Mamascarf company. Matilda had been set to be a model for them the very next week and it was their post on facebook announcing the devastating loss of this beautiful little girl that made me aware of the news and I cried. I went to Twitter to discover what had happened and was simply heartbroken. My little man was 3 months old at the time and it really hit home as to how fragile and precious these little people are. How we should never take them for granted because despite us thinking we have them forever, life doesn’t always go the way we planned. Tilda’s story hit me harder than I could ever imagine and I have spent the last two years regularly thinking of her.
It is because of Matilda that we discovered sleeping bags, for I was so paranoid about Zach crawling under blankets.
It is because of Matilda that I forever have my eye on Zach. I watch his monitor continuously throughout the evening and check on him before I go to bed. He has only recently come out of sleeping bags and into a duvet and I have been paranoid about it; at the beginning, waking up several times in the night to make sure his head was still poking out and that he was still breathing. For when you know of a story like Tilda’s, you can never be too careful.
Matilda left behind her older twin brother and sister who were toddlers at the time. I remember Jennie describing how hard it was for them to understand what had happened. How do you explain to toddlers that their little baby sister is never coming back? Now, the twins have a new baby sister and I know that they have posed the question of whether the same will happen to her.
I know that nobody who hasn’t been through a horrendous loss like this can even begin to imagine the pain of this entire family. We can pretend that we can put ourselves in the position, that we can imagine what it would be like if our little ones were suddenly and so unfairly taken away from us, but the reality of that pain, of the day to day dealing with it, none of us can imagine that. Jennie talks openly and emotionally on her blog about their loss, about their other children and about how they remember Baby Tilda on the anniversary of her death. It is because of this that we are all so familiar with the little girl most of us never met. It is why for the second year running, Twitter is awash with messages for Jennie, with remembrances of Matilda, with the Matilda Mae logo appearing as their profile pictures. I have sent my message to Jennie directly but I also wanted to write this post. For Tilda’s isn’t the only story I know of a family who have lost their little baby to SIDS. I know of another equally sad story of loss.
I’m not sure that people are aware that SIDS still happens. Parents are, obviously; we have it drummed into us about how to let our babies sleep, what kind of sleepwear to use, sleeping bags, blankets, duvets; each comes with rules that we are taught as new parents. But despite this, despite us parents being so careful, this kind of loss still happens. Around 270 babies and toddlers still die every year of SIDS in the UK which is a shocking statistic. Of course, it used to be much worse and all of the rules and information have drastically reduced the number of deaths. But 270 is still far too many.
The Lullaby Trust is a charity that provides specialist support for bereaved families, promotes expert advice on safer baby sleep and raises awareness on sudden infant death. They have a wealth of information on their website regarding children and sleep; it is a must visit for any parent or parent to be. Jennie has worked tirelessly supporting this charity and raising money so that other families don’t have to go through what hers went and are still going through. Raising awareness in memory of her daughter and making a positive light out of a horrendous situation.
On this two year anniversary, I know that there are many, many people looking up to the sky to find Matilda Mae’s shining star.
Tonight I shall go home and blow bubbles with my little boy in memory of Tilda, something the family do regularly – blowing bubbles up to their little girl. I shall kiss him goodnight and together we will send a kiss up to Matilda. The little girl that should be running around like he does, who should be forming sentences, cuddling and kissing all those that she loves and having the typical toddler tantrums.
Tonight that little girl has been sleeping for two years.
Sweet dreams baby girl. Your star will be forever shining brightly.
For more information about SIDS, and safer baby sleeping you can visit The Lullaby Trust at http://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/LThome
You can see all about Matilda Mae and her wonderful family at www.edspire.co.uk.