Monthly Archives: August 2016

Please Help Me To Understand

In the grand scheme of things,I’m new to all this, it may be four years, and five months since our daughter died.
But death lasts forever,it happened before her and of course since. So, in the scheme of being a bereaved mum I am four years and five months old. An infant.

I struggle to make sense of how society is around baby (child loss) bereavement. The poor support, the boredom from people who move on, the minimal time scale a grieving parent should have.
If I were to say to a widow, “Isn’t it about time you were over all that now.” Or if someone had said to me “At least you have your mother,she can always marry again.” In response to the death of my dad, I’d most likely have shouted them down.
Disrespectful, downright rude.
Yet if you lose a baby, particularly through miscarriage, babies who never come home.
The times I heard “at least she didn’t come home”. Or being called a miscarriage because nobody had met her.
People can be unkind.

When did it all become such a taboo?
Acceptable to essentially attack a grieving parent?

As history had it, the dead,particularly lost children were respected. Staged photos with the dead children,to make memories,a way of respect, back then infant mortality was much higher then,than it is now.
But why they change?
I’ve had friends share babies who’ve never taken a breath, photos are all they have,but then have gone on to get abused in the most vile way.
But society often deems this acceptable. An attitude of ” Well, we don’t need to see that”. That sentence in itself is harmful.
I’ve donated to many a charity in the past, health related ones,animal welfare, refugees. If I can I will.
The community spirit in all of the above is how it should be.

You mention baby loss people may as well run for the hills, just yesterday,one of my lovely team members had a lip curl and snarl because she mentioned baby loss.
Mentioning baby loss noy only makes parents feel less alone,but it brings awareness, can ultimately save babies lives.

Millie’s Trust came about because Millie died,her parents with her memory have gone on to save others the heart ache.

Maisons Memory another because of an accident, works closely with safety measures to keep other babies safe.

Towards Tomorrow Together came because a baby died, and now his parents help support others.

Baby loss should never ever be a taboo.
I know people get pissed off with me speaking openly about my girl, about her death.
It is because she’s MY GIRL.
She has actually, herself changed a procedure at the hospital. ROP testing.

So,please tell me.
Why is it so disgusting to speak about?
Why are people so insensitive to bereaved parents?
If you don’t find it acceptable to question a widow, or someone who has lost a parent or even a pet, then please note.
It isn’t acceptable to do it to a bereaved parent either.

We need to break this taboo.
We need to keep talking.
It isn’t catching,but it will save a life.

It wasn’t meant to be like this..

She was supposed to be our honeymoon baby.
She was meant to the rainbow baby who heals the wounds from our early miscarriages.

 She should have been starting school next week. A milestone,for most children a significant one especially for micro preemies.

Going into our 5th year of this, surreal experience. An experience everyone has opinion on,yet has no room to talk.
I’m being hit hard.
Five years ago this weekend we conceived her.
September we discovered her,
October we thought we were losing her,
November we saw her chilling on the screen.
December we were excited, for the following Christmas, you know, baby’s first one.
January she crossed her legs all shy.
February she was here. All feisty, our cheeky monkey.
March she kicked the nurses (and the doctor’s) asses.
April she was gone.

Tonight I’m feeling the heavy heart,the missing beat.
Writing my Butterfly Awards Profile. Putting together a presentation, my three year old, our baby who arrived after Melody sits next to me,watches as I go through photos of the girl she’ll never meet,her sister she’ll never kiss.

“I love my sister, Melody lives in the garden.”

An understanding that Melody isn’t here. Her beautiful innocence. An innocence I couldn’t protect their older siblings from. Her brother being the same age as our “rainbow” is now,when Melody died.
I couldn’t protect.

“Aw,she’s so beautiful.” She adds,she sees pictures of her all the time,there’s one on our wall.

It just makes the pinch harder.
I don’t look at her photos very often these days, not because I don’t love her, or don’t miss her.
I know it is assumed most bereaved parents sit and cry over photos on a daily basis.
I sometimes want to forget, return to innocence.
Days like today,when I’m working on such things, it beats me,holds me in a way it is hard to breathe.
From vent to just O2 nasal in a matter of days.
Her face,her hair,the one smile we had.
It seems impossible that she is our baby,and this is our story.

It feels like a lifetime ago since I held her.

I miss her.
But I’m OK. I need to be.

Just a wobble.

A Day Of Hope 2016

This is the 4th Prayer Flag project I’ve joined in with.
Four years since I last ruffled her hair,smelt her newborn skin,felt her warm breath against my cheek.
Four years.

This year I decided I wouldn’t sew,or write on the fabric,but simply place her name and some butterflies.
The pieces of fabric this year is uniform themed,so not to permanently mark them, as they’ll be placed inside her memory box.
She doesn’t of course physically have these memories, but it’s the only way we can do something for her.
It’ll be an odd concept to anyone lucky enough never to go through this to understand.
But to us as her parents,buying a touch of uniform “helps”.

This year, next month on 5th September, we should have been walking our most likely eager 4year old through the wooden gate, across the playground,up the steps to what should have been the start of her school journey.
The photographs in her jumper,shirt and tie, (although ties aren’t compulsory until year three, she’d have still worn one). I’m not sure if she’d have worn trousers, a skirt or pinafore. Her shiny patent Clarks.
But.
Her feet were never measured.
She’ll never fight to put her uniform on,or sulk because mummy wants to put pig tails,but she wanted ” Elsa” hair.
Would she have been wearing glasses? Would they have magnified, how beautiful the colour could have been?
Still,not knowing her eye colour bothers me.
Even the tiny things like which lunch box she would have had,colour of drink bottle?
Are huge things when you know they should have been done. But aren’t.

This year’s Day of Hope Brings a pinch,that I was expecting.
This year our baby girl is missing a huge milestone, this year is more obvious that she isn’t here.
Missing uniform, missing shoes,a missing argument,even a missing baton on the shelf.

(The 4 butterflies represent, 
the ones who never made it passed 12 weeks).
Broken but not beaten.  
Melody, she lived for five weeks.
She mattered. 
Forever our baby she’ll be. 

Previous Year’s.
2013
2014
2015

It is as if it never happens

I sit and listen to anyone. About their every day lives. The loss of family members, how things after their deaths have changed, makes them wish for different things, more photos,more memories, more time.
I’ve often joined in, I can relate when someone mentions their grandparent. I can understand when their dead parent is mentioned. Swap stories people are keen to hear.
But then something they say triggers a thought to losing our daughter, I bring her to the conversation too.
And yet still 4 years and 4 months later people get awkward. You can see in their faces they’re uncomfortable, the squirming of their bodies, wishing I’d stop,that I’d change the subject or better still disappear.
The disgust in their face,that they hope I didn’t notice.
Makes me feel awkward and uneasy. Because I mentioned her.
Because I dare to speak of her name or share a happy memory of her.

People don’t seem to realise the way attitudes are,are really hurtful.
My few minutes of talking to their few minutes of awkwardness is engraved into my memory.
Their painful facial expression, isn’t that of pain, but of disgust.
Don’t think that bereaved parents don’t notice these things. We do.
The taboo that is darker than most.
Nobody wants to hear it,to talk about it.
It is as if it never happens.
I don’t talk about my child to make anyone feel awkward,embarrassed.
I don’t talk about my child for drama or an attention seeking activity.
I don’t have to justify myself to anyone,not really.
I talk about my child because she lived,she was here,may have only been for five weeks, four years ago,but she is still my third born.
She breathed,she fed burped too.
I cannot just throw her away.

I’m told I won’t forget.
But there are days where I feel my memory of her life slipping away. I fear I’m going to forget something about her being.
But also I don’t think about her daily either.
I’m not alone in these thoughts.
I’m not alone in wanting to speak about my precious baby.
Please, stop the awkward fidgeting, the worry about over sharing. The obvious eye rolling.

We’re not blind or contagious.
If it is okay to speak of your dead parent, the loss of your grandparent twenty years ago.
Then it is acceptable for me to mention my child.

Short listing and Releasing

Although I’d published A Mayflower’s Rainbow in 2014,it was just something put together, “in print” looked better than scrap pieces of paper, or the journal I’d once penned my early thoughts,sat in a waiting room for visitors, for a breather or to express.
The copy arrived,I briefly read it once, then I put it away,on the book shelf,hidden from view, hidden from my mind. Packed away with that elephant in the room.
Too painful to read it myself.
It wasn’t really something I was looking in to advertising. People knew but that was it.
Tucked away. Like her.

Then a nomination for the Butterfly Awards arrived. A wonderful occasion raising much needed awareness for such a taboo subject. I’ve never been,but have nominated in passed years.
Never in a million years did I expect to get shortlisted. I never thought I’d be good enough.
I still don’t.
So,when the news filtered through about the shortlisting, after some thought, I agreed to release the little corner of my brain into the big wide world.
So,far it has been an amazing experience.
Surreal but amazing. Terrifying but excited.
I worry I’ve made the right decision.
I’ll make a mistake and let everyone down.

When I talk about Melody, I can tell some people think it’s an attention thing.
It isn’t the attention I’d have chosen.
I talk about her because she’s my little girl,the same as I’d mention my others.
I’m actually nervous of the attention from the book, the shortlisting,but it has given me the boost to write more,even if no one reads it,through the opportunity that the awards and A Mayflower’s Rainbow have given me,it’ll be a fantastic attempt at my dream.

My three year daughter, Melody’s little sister, carries the book around proudly stating it’s her mummy’s book. Pointing to it as she passes the book shop.
For this reason, one of many to why I decided that now is an OK time to share the book. To raise the awareness, that babies do die.
Some are preventable, of course some aren’t.
But to show more does need to be done about saving little lives.
For my daughters and maybe my son’s wife, to never go through the heartache of burying their precious baby. But to know if they were,then I can stand by them,and not stand above them.

I really hope the book,reads OK as I say I can’t read it,and it is in its raw form,unedited.
But then,there is nothing unedited about baby loss.

I am overwhelmed by the kind thoughts, and wishes regarding.
Thank you for the support,for reading.
To the opportunity given by Amanda,book selling and papers.
The work of Towards Tomorrow Together for their support with the support group I run.

Of course John, there aren’t enough words to thank him in everything.
Children and Friends. I’m lucky. So lucky.

As I write this I’ve just been informed that BBC Somerset would like to speak to me this coming week.
We also have a fundraising event in February, so watch this space.

Keep Breathing. 
Thank you if you’ve gotten this far.