One for sorrow, two for joy, 3 for a girl and 4 for a boy

I never thought of myself as a superstitious person but all that changed after Conor died. On the way to the hospital on that fateful day we saw a single magpie. Conor’s daddy and I looked at each other. Neither of us said a word but we both knew it wasn’t a good sign. We were about to hear our baby had died and we were falling into a deep pit of sorrow. 

That fateful day changed so much in my life. It was the first time where I realised what little control I had. I thought if I lived a healthy life all would be ok. Yet I had followed all the advice around pregnancy and my baby still died suddenly at 41 weeks. 

Conor’s death started a whole obsession with magpies in someone who would previously have been so skeptical of superstition. I noticed these beautiful birds everywhere. I was relieved to discover that if I salute a single magpie I could possibly fend off the bad luck and sorrow. I used to pause on walks until I saw the “friend” of a single magpie fly into view. I started blowing kisses at pairs of magpies willing them to bring me some joy. I took photos of groups of 3 or 4 magpies and shared these with friends who like me were trying to conceive rainbow babies. Magpies became little symbols of hope and despair. 8 years on since conor lived and died my obsession has waned but hasn’t gone. While my head knows that superstitions are just that, there’s a little voice that prompts me to keep saluting. Maybe this is what hope looks like.