When I was younger, Valentine’s Day filled me with dread. I was a very shy, angst ridden teenager and the only card I ever got was from my Dad. As I got older and found myself in a relationship it was a day to celebrate but generally I felt a bit awkward about the whole cheesiness of the day. Mr S and I do occasionally get romantic and celebrate our special anniversaries but not so much Valentine’s Day until 2009, when the significance of the day changed. Valentines is no longer a romantic festival for us but a day to cherish our family.
Valentine’s Day 2009 was supposed to be the best day of my life. After years of fertility treatments I was pregnant and the due date was February 14th, as we shared our news, we were all so excited by the date, a Valentines baby, I had it all planned the little heart coming home outfit, announcement cards adorned with hearts. At last Valentine’s Day was going to be one of my favourite days of the year. And then tragedy struck during the pregnancy and our darling baby boy died in the womb, it was discovered that he had a condition ‘incompatible with life’ For me now, Valentine’s Day is a very sad reminder of the hope and excitement we once held for the date.
The first Valentine’s Day was horrendous coming so soon after our tragic loss. I walked up to the beautiful place where we had scattered our baby’s ashes and it did give me some peace. Mr S had decided that distraction was the best idea and he had booked a Valentine’s dinner in one of the most exclusive restaurants in our county, it should have been amazing but of course we were both grieving too much to appreciate the fine food and stunning venue. I remember sitting at my dressing table and putting on my make up, it simply felt like a mask and no make up could disguise my sadness. We both agreeed after that first Valentine’s Day that a quiet Valentine’s Day was the way forward.
Over the years, I am more at peace with Valentine’s Day, I still get a sick feeling in my stomach when I see my first Valentine’s card of the year and it is always a time of the year when I think more of our son. However Mr S has started a new family tradition since adopting our children. We now mark Valentine’s day as a family and often go out for lunch to a nice restaurant, it is no longer a day simply to mourn, but to celebrate the family we have because of the loss of a very special little boy.