Posted in Women Made of Fire

Finbar: the child not born



One in four women experiences domestic abuse or domestic violence at some point in their lives. This may be physical, sexual, emotional or psychological abuse. More than 30% of this abuse starts in pregnancy, and existing abuse may get worse during pregnancy or after giving birth.

Domestic abuse during pregnancy puts you and your unborn child in danger. It increases the risk of miscarriage, infection, premature birth, and injury or death to the baby.  NHS website


In my book WITNESS  Sarah shares her experience of early miscarriage, and a missed abortion at 16 weeks, which was most devastating of all. I wrote this poem hoping to describe Sarah’s thoughts and feelings about this great loss.

I called you Finbar from the very beginning, not knowing if you were a boy or a girl, and Finbar you remain to this day. Your sister was eleven weeks old when you planted yourself in my womb. Around that time, she began sleeping right through the night. You’d like your sister and sometimes you wouldn’t. She is beautiful, bright, intelligent, articulate;
she always has the last word! She writes evocative stories and loves to draw and paint.
Then after you came your brother. You’d be great friends. He is funny and loyal, compassionate and protective. He is wise and messy, tells jokes, sings songs, plays music, and climbs mountains.

But your dad, he’s not safe. He hurts with words and fists. Like all mums to be, when you planted yourself in me, I was tired, but weary too, and worried.
He’d punched me before, but now his anger was ever present. He loved being with your sister but didn’t like me. Did you know? Is that why you didn’t stay?

At twelve weeks, I felt you begin to fade. At sixteen weeks, no heartbeat. The scan showed no movement, but still you stayed. Was I keeping you here? 

Then came the blood and the surgeon and the
long cold silence. Your dad hugged me in the hospital and then didn’t speak to me for days.
I was alone in my grief, empty.


Your sister kept me going and then your brother. When he planted himself in me, he clung on despite the blows and the anger and my fear.

Have I been angry at you for leaving? Yes. Should you have left? Yes. You are safer where you are. You began a journey into this world and chose to leave for a better one. Our world is better now, too. Your dad has gone. Your sister and brother have grown. Maybe from the place where you are, you can help them move on – forgive but not forget. You have moved on but will never be forgotten,


©  Kitty Nolan




I am a writer and activist in the campaign to end violence against women and girls, often referred to as Gender Based Violence, or GBV. My book WITNESS was published in November 2016 and is available from,,, and all good bookshops. WITNESS tells Sarah's account of domestic violence together with the accounts and reactions of family, friends and professionals involved with her and her children. Extracts from WITNESS are published here. I live in a coastal village in the east of Scotland where I enjoy my glorious surroundings regardless of weather - Scotland is famous for having four seasons in one day! I love exploring ideas and beliefs, singing, reading and family & friends gatherings.

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