Creating content

Grieving for two

Laila Faisal
3 min readJan 16, 2023

When I was pregnant with my daughter and then later when I was breastfeeding her, I was told I could eat for two. All the nutrients that I was eating was being converted into nutrients for her in the womb through the umbilical cord. Later when I was breastfeeding these nutrients were transformed into breastmilk.

Ultrasounds at trimester 1 (left) and trimester 2 (right)

I loved breastfeeding. Not only because I got to eat anything I wanted and not gain any weight, but also because the oxytocin I got from holding her in my arms and looking into her eyes or examining every single inch of her being while she suckled.

Fourteen years later, eating for two became grieving for two. When her dad died in August 2022, I was dealing with my grief and all the administrative things that needed to be dealt with after a death. We may have been separated for more than seven years before he died, but we remained good friends and we were also co-parenting.

Getting a letter from the bank about an arrears payment saying “Please get in touch with us immediately if you have good reasons for not being able to pay this bill” had a different ring to it.

While I was going through the grieving process myself, I also needed to be available for my daughter. Some days I’d feel completely fine, and then she comes home from school recounting how all her friends were talking about what they did with their dads on father’s day around her; seemingly oblivious of her loss less than a month before father’s day.

Or she’d be fine and then excitedly tells me about Billie Eilish’s new song The 30th.

I listened to it and completely disintegrated at:

In a hospital bed
I remember you said you were scared
And so was I

It reminded me of the time when he was in hospice and had an assessment from the end of life doctor from SCENZ (Support and Consultation for End of Life in New Zealand). The doctor explained the process of the assessment for assisted dying and described the two options for assisted dying. After she left, we just sat there quietly.

“Do you want a hug?” I asked him after a few minutes of silence.

“Yes… let’s,” he replied.

Billie’s line reminded me of that specific place in time.

I am grateful that we have each other. I let her self-ween from breast feeding. One night when she was three and a half, she said “There’s no more milk in the booby, mummy.” She clipped the bra cover back on and patted the breast affectionately.

“That’s OK darling, I’ll still hug you to sleep without booby.”

Now there are nights when she can’t go to sleep. She’d stand next to my bed with her favourite soft toys and whisper “mummy, I can’t go to sleep.” I’d lift the edges of my blanket up like opening embracing wings. She’d nestle in and I’d wrap my wings around her.

“I like going to sleep when I can hear your heart, mummy,” she’d say as she lay in my arms.

And I found comfort in her weight in my arms.

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Laila Faisal

Hi all, I am mum and BFF to a gorgeous girl. I'm exploring content creation and mid-way through an EdD. I'm reflecting on death since my ex-husband died.