I’ve mentioned before that I worried about having a baby shower during my pregnancy with Lentil. I was scared that it would be tempting fate. I had planned to have a big party once he safely arrived instead. Then when Lentil died during the delivery I regretted not celebrating him while he was here, being so scared that I would lose him that I wouldn’t allow myself to celebrate his existence. When I fell pregnant with Pip I was quite sure that I would have a baby shower. I wanted to celebrate the fact that she was here with us but the timing just never seemed quite right. Bleeds, a diagnosis of an underactive thyroid and then gestational diabetes just kept making me worry more and more and I just couldn’t bring myself to have a baby shower, I was too scared and my emotions were still too raw from losing Lentil.
Finally the time to celebrate arrived. Juniper is here, safe and sound and I’m pretty well recovered from the c-section. We were very keen to have a non-religious naming ceremony at the natural burial ground where Lentil is buried as we wanted Lentil to be involved in his sister’s big day. Lentil is of course always with us in our hearts but we feel closer to him there. We also wanted the celebrant who conducted Lentil’s funeral to be the one to conduct the naming ceremony. Just after Lentil’s funeral we made her promise that she would be the one to help us celebrate when Lentil’s sibling arrived.
We decided to make a day of it, we arranged for a catholic christening in the early afternoon with a party straight after and then a naming ceremony late afternoon / early evening at the burial ground.
The christening took place in the church where Paul and I got married. After some initial teething problems (the priest forgot to unlock the church and everyone got soaked), the service was lovely.
We then headed to a local hall for tea and cake. We had arranged a bouncy castle and ball pool for the children who were coming and it was really lovely to see so many children having so much fun. I invited friends who I had met during pregnancy yoga when I was pregnant with Lentil. It was so good to see all the babies but sad to think that Lentil should be growing up with them.
Unfortunately it poured with rain on the day so our plans had to change and we were unable to get to the burial ground. I did feel sad that we were unable to go but glad that we had included Lentil in the day in other ways.
We stayed in the hall for the naming ceremony and it was just beautiful. We chose four ‘fairy godmothers’ for Juniper and they each said something during the service. Promising to be there for her, giving her advice and sharing beautiful poems. My sister read an Apache blessing. This seemed really appropriate as we included an Apache blessing in our wedding and at Lentil’s funeral so it seemed appropriate to share one at Juniper’s special day too.
It was such a lovely day and it was so wonderful to finally be able to celebrate with family and friends but I have to admit to finding elements of the day hard. While planning the day almost every time I thought about it my brain used the word funeral instead of christening. I guess that was maybe because a funeral was the only thing I had planned for one of our children before this, or maybe because we were using the same celebrant or because we were planning to have it at the burial ground. I had to make sure that my filter was well and truly on before speaking to anyone about our plans as I didn’t want to slip up and call it a funeral in front of anyone. I don’t know why but the poem I wrote also made me really emotional and I couldn’t hold back the tears when it was read aloud. I think it was possibly because as Juniper grows and develops each day I realise more and more what I have missed out on with Lentil.
We tried really hard to strike a balance for the Celebration day. Including Lentil without making it all about him, we had considered asking for donations towards our fundraising in memory of Lentil rather than gifts for Juniper but as we had already had so many gifts for Juniper we didn’t think that we’d get any more (and we didn’t want Lentil to overshadow Juniper on her big day). How wrong we were! I’m still working my way through the thank you cards!