Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Eating away at me.....

In this blog, I have touched on the impact of loss on parenting.

These last few months have been tough for me as Florence is learning to eat by herself.

Cue mother in a state of anxiety every meal time.
Heart racing.
Panic striken.
Reliving nightmares...

Why am I doing this to myself?

To begin with I would only feed Florence myself, food that was pureed into a pulp with absolutely no lumps. We were doing well. I started introducing lumpy food and would panic whenever she gagged, even the tiniest bit.

Finger food - oh my god. What a nightmare this is. She needs to learn, and she is absolutely an independant young lady, so she really wants to learn too.

Every single meal time I am on edge. Worrying about the worst case scenario.

At her nursery they are fully confident in her ability and she gets to explore all kinds of food.

I want to do this too.

I am trying....

We fed her the other night, she was eating some rice cakes, while I spoke to her dad. She has a really bad cough and cold at the moment as well, and I looked at her she had a massive piece of rice cake in her mouth. The next thing she starts coughing and suddenly the massive piece of rice cake has disappeared.

Inside my head:
Oh my god.... where has that gone???? She has swallowed it??! She's choking....!!!

I freak out, and start hitting her on the back.

She's fine, but my over zealous back patting has hurt her and she is crying.

She is fine.

I am an idiot.

Relief - she is fine.

What an idiot, she is crying.....

I burst into tears... why do I feel like this? I feel like this because I can't lose another one. My children mean so much to me, I love them dearly. I am also truly broken from having to bury one of them, and now my remaining children will always be watched like a hawk.

This is a shame. I don't want to suffocate their souls. I want to let them be free to grow into their own people.

I am trying so hard.... but I miss Harry so much, I don't want to miss another one........

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Darkest days...

One of the songs we played at Harry's funeral was "Everybody Hurts" by REM. An amazing song, that touches everyone who listens to it. I felt it was appropriate for Harry's funeral as it totally sums up dark feelings.

Not everyone knows this, but for years I have struggled with depression. I have days when I can be totally upbeat and for the most part that is who I am. But for a good couple chunks of my life I have had depression of varying kinds. When I was a teenager I struggled with a few issues in my life and found the need to control certain things helped me with my depression. As I got older I found losing control over certain things made me anxious, anxiety lead to darkness. I had some counselling to deal with these issues but I don't think it ever really goes away. I think some people are more prone to depression than others. After having William I was diagnosed with postnatal depression, and some of those days were days I never want to relive. When I was pregnant with Harry I was diagnosed with antenatal depression, something that upsets me massively now knowing the aftermath... why on earth was I depressed while I was carrying him? This depression made me unable to bond with Harry, which to me is a sign I knew something wasn't going to work out.

Since losing Harry, I wouldn't say I have been "depressed", but suffering with severe grief, alongside post-traumatic stress disorder. But as this grief and the PTSD have become part of my every day life I have been surprised to see days of my old "depression" sneaking back in. I have found a good way of controlling this is by keeping my mind busy. The busier and more occupied I am, the less time I have to think. I also have quite an addictive personality, which has got me into trouble in the past with various things and I need to be careful that keeping myself occupied doesn't lead to an addiction or an obsession (OCD).

The thing I have been most concerned about though is the "is it all worth it" thoughts. I used to think this pretty much every day after losing Harry and quite a bit during my various low spells. But if I find myself unoccupied or alone then these thoughts have started to come back to me again. I know most people would be totally shocked to hear this, as most days I paint on a happy face for people to see, and most of the time this is genuine, but not many people know the me behind the smile. I have thought about what would be the quickest and least gruesome way to do it, so it's over with fast. Some days I feel like I am done. I would like to just be reunited with my son. Not have to be in this dark place anymore.

But,  I will tell you why I haven't done it. My family. They would be the ones to find me... who wants that stuck in their mind forever? They would have to go on, wondering why I wasn't happy enough to carry on, and if it was their fault I felt the way I did. I can't do that to them. So, on I must go. Carry on through the darkness.

And as I think about these dark times, I remember the song...
When your day is long
And the night, the night is yours alone
When you're sure you've had enough
Of this life, well hang on
Don't let yourself go'

Cause everybody cries
And everybody hurts sometimes

Watch the video CLICK HERE

I am lucky that I have some really lovely friends and family who make the dark times easier. Catching up with a lovely friend or seeing my kids smiles make the world a brighter place. I hope one day the dark days disappear forever and leave my poor brain alone. For now, I will keep myself busy and keep my mind occupied with pretty things and happy thoughts :)

Friday, 16 May 2014

Living with a broken heart

After listening to many love songs about unrequited love, or love that could never be - and seeing the true similarities in grief and relationships ending I have decided that grief can be compared to having a broken heart.

People who know me, or have come to know me, will know that I am not one to hide my feelings, I wear my heart on my sleeve and I tell it how it is. Same for my relationships. I fall in love quickly, I express my feelings openly and I am really an all or nothing kind of girl. Sadly, when I was "dating" - being this way has meant I had my heart broken many times.  I will admit I was young and naive, I haven't had the best luck but am lucky to have found someone now that wants the same things I do, and while we have had our ups and downs as any couple do, we are both realists and we both live for the moment. But, some of the break ups looking back, were worse than others, but in hindsight there are a few times that stand out for me.

I adored these people and loved every second of being with them. Making me laugh, sharing stories, being silly together and enjoying each others company. I had let myself dream about the future. And then one day, suddenly it was all over. They had changed their mind, or some circumstance or another meant that what we had would no longer work.

The first time this happened, I was beside myself. I didn't know what I could do to make it right again.
The second time, I was confused and left wondering what I had done wrong.
The third time, I felt utterly let down and as though the person I thought I was in love with, wasn't that person at all.

I felt gutted, really sad and so disappointed.

I was certainly miserable afterwards, but after a period of time had passed, I thought I had better pick myself and move on. I would always feel sad that things hadn't worked out the way I had hoped but keeping busy would help me to stop thinking about what went wrong and focus on making myself stronger, better and happier.

This is kind of the same as to how I feel about losing Harry.

Losing Harry was obviously a total shock. The realisation that things weren't going to plan, and sat listening to the dear doctor delivering us the terrible news that Harry had suffered considerable trauma and the outlook was not good..... that was like sitting there and listening to your boyfriend telling you that things were no longer "working out". I remember wishing and hoping that this doctor had got it wrong and that somehow things would turn around and our little boy would be just fine.  Just like when I'd been "dumped" I was trying to figure out what I could do, to make it all go away.

When I got to meet Harry, I remember sitting next to his little bed. Staring at him, taking him in, the way that a new mother does. I was so confused. How had this happened? How is my baby so, so poorly? Did I do something to make him be born this way? So many questions, and no answers. Just like being heartbroken before, and wondering what I had done wrong for it to be all over.

After we said goodbye to Harry, I cried and cried. The baby that I had hopes and dreams for, so many plans... it was all over. I had gone into hospital to give birth, I had a bag full of clothes to dress my baby in. And yet, I was returning to the room with all his things, a new teddy, some babygros, a blanket.... and no baby. I felt emptiness. Such total sadness. This baby I had really loved for nine months, was gone. He would not be the baby we all wanted. Just like the last time I was heartbroken, and I sat feeling sadness and emptiness because the man I loved was not that man at all. It was all a fantasy. Just like the life I had planned for Harry.

I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. I have said this many times before.

All those sad times in my past have made me who I am today.

I believe every event in your life has a place on your "life path".

I know that losing Harry was the most terrible thing I have ever endured, and nothing for the rest of my days will ever compare to what happened with Harry. But do you know what? That knowledge gives me such strength. I have battled the worst, and came out the other side. So I feel like, bring on anything else. I can cope with it.

I said that after my heartbreaks, I would try really hard to focus on something and become stronger. Things like going to university far away from where he was, finding a new job in a different sector, or just focussing on a project to distract myself. This is the same way I have coped after losing Harry. Harry's Trust has been the thing that has carried me through all of this nightmare. I tried to find something that would keep my mind busy and it really has! The other side to Harry's Trust has been that his name and memory can live on to help others, and when things get really chaotic and crazy, it is that that keeps me going. I am doing this for Harry and for all the other families, who have sick babies, or babies that die or suffer with vasa praevia.

I was inspired to write this after singing along to a song today in the car (one of my favourite pastimes, but I can't sing too well, so it won't take me very far!) Paloma Faith's "Only love can hurt like this" and it reminded me of how rubbish I had felt when love had hurt me. Even though my life has moved on past those times, now and again I am reminded.

But, the deepest hurt I have ever felt is the sadness I carry for Harry.

And that is because I love him. I love him so much. A mother's love is greater than anything.

The difference between a relationship ending and the loss of your baby is that you might one day bump into your ex, or hear from them randomly, or have someone tell you all about their latest news. Sometimes, hearing certain things can be cutting. On the other hand, I have heard many interesting stories about relationships ending, even in the messiest of ways, and sometimes they get back together. They remember what they had was special. They had missed each other, and their company. I like stories like that as I am big old soppy romantic at heart. Especially stories about high school sweethearts who have been apart for years and years and one day the timing is right again. How lovely. (Awkward note: That is not to say I want to get back with my high school sweetheart, if he is reading this then I am so happy that you are happy!!! I am very happy with my life the way it is ;-) )

The loss of your baby is so final. You say goodbye and that is that. He is gone. I won't get the chance to ask Harry if he remembered "that time" or look through fun photos of us together. I won't get the chance to ask friends how he is getting on.  I hope that Harry will always remember that wonderful day we had together. I hope the love I gave him wraps him up like a great big hug, and keeps him feeling safe and secure and happy. I hope that he is watching over our little family, as we go about our days and how we all miss him so very much. And, just like I like the stories where love is reunited, I know that one day, me and my boy will be together again.

Like all wonderful things, it will be worth the wait. <3 xxx