Being Away.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

https://www.fairoakfarm.co.uk/

Fair Oak Farm
Fair Oak Farm
Our first holiday!

I was so kindly invited to stay at Fair Oak Farm – thanks to Hanna for arranging.  However, it took me a relatively long time to say yes. I mean, let's face it, it was two nights away in a really lovely country estate. Acres of land, unspoiled countryside, a farmhouse, a cinema, a bar. It sounds great, doesn't it? It's a perfect venue for a party or a wedding.

We stayed in the farmhouse, which had five bedrooms, sleeps twelve or so. We were in the attic room with a friend of mine, which had a double bed and an adjoining room with a small double – perfect for a small family with a child. There was also two more double rooms, and two more family rooms. There's a couple of treehouses, a few single shepherds barn things. Basically, there's a lot of accommodation.

As many of you will have read, we were not at home when Ezra passed away, he and I were at my mum's house. The idea of being away from our usual environment gave me the willies. I realise that the two things were unrelated but there is never a moment where doubt doesn't cross my mind, I wonder if what happened would have happened if we'd just stayed home, if I had done one thing instead of another.

WOKEMAMAS - Why you really need to just Not Care.

Sunday, 25 March 2018


I’m a single parent. And I’m twenty-four. This always seems to be a bit of a surprise to people because I seem to have my head above water.
People often comment on how laid back I am, especially about things to do with parenting. The fact of the matter is that there is so much out there to make a mother feel guilty about her choices, which is unsurprising.
We, as women, are judged on every aspect of our lives: if we wear makeup, if we don’t, if we are skinny, or fat, or in the middle, if we’re happy with ourselves, if we’re critical of ourselves. Everything is judged.
There lies a problem, however, in parenting. Because what you’re doing affects a child and so the judgment is harsher and can absolutely make you feel like the pits.
I don’t like to toot my own horn, but after a bachelors degree, three babies, two births, one funeral, and one miscarriage, I’ve got laissez-faire down to an art. And I’m going to tell you how to get there too.

HUFFPOSTUK - Why Instagram Was An Unlikely Saviour Through Grief

Saturday, 24 March 2018

The internet, as with all new things (and let us not forget that while we have had a seismic growth in technology over the last decade, it is still new), receives a lot of criticism. From online bullying, trolls, racism, sexism, revenge porn, and all sorts of other things, it can be a true cesspit. What we forget, however, is that it is also used simply as a tool to bring together like-minded individuals, and those who have shared experiences.

In my case it was experiencing the death of a child. I documented my pregnancy with my son on Instagram, as well as his birth. When he died, I withdrew, but I wrote about it on Instagram - at the time a private account. But somebody reached out. Our experiences were not identical but it seems that when it comes to the death of a baby there are so many ways it can happen that mirror accounts are a rarity.

When I was ready, I went public with it, and I found a community of people who were not afraid to speak about the realities of grief. It was not the following I had had before, it was not friends or family, but a whole new world of people. I found that in the early days, speaking to anyone about my grief was a waste of time because there was no way that any of them would understand it, so when I found the baby loss community on Instagram it felt as if I was finally being understood and that my grief was validated. Strange, isn’t it? That one grieving for their child needs to feel validated. It seems peculiar to me that the death of the child should be forgotten about quicker than the death of a parent, but that is how many think. I think that is in part due to the fact that we don’t talk about the fact that children die but also in part due to the fact that “you can just have another” (one of the many, gut-wrenchingly cruel things to have been said in the aftermath).

#BabyLoss and #InfantLoss led me to a plethora of (mostly) women, all of whom had experienced the loss of a baby, often stillbirth or neonatal loss. Admittedly, neonatal loss was less common, so our experiences did differ, but they understood what it was like to come home from the hospital, see all their baby’s belongings and know there was no baby; they knew what it was like to have to arrange a funeral for your child, how there was nothing to be said in their eulogy because they had hardly lived. You’re, instead, only able to talk about what you wish they would have experienced, and nice as that is it’s hardly comforting.

When the exhaustion of being asked if your child is your first baby multiple times a day hits, they understood. I couldn’t just say yes, as you often think or are told to do, because the feeling of betraying my first born was too strong. They understood how tiring it is to constantly bare yourself to strangers. The awkwardness and the lull in conversation after revealing that your baby has died, they understood.

Instagram became a safe haven where I wasn’t judged for hating pregnant women (even though my sons death and my subsequent miscarriage was far from their fault), for wishing I had died instead, for wanting another baby. These women became friends. Actual, real life friends. I could text one of them with a thought that would likely make a normal person think I needed professional help or maybe that I was beyond it. When I fell pregnant for the second time and miscarried, it was them that understood exactly how that felt, and then with the third, it was them that cheered me on, genuinely pleased.

As good as the Lullaby Trust, Tommy’s and SANDS are for the bereaved parent, you can’t choose who you talk to, and more often than not they are people whose losses happened years ago. Their situations are not the same as your own, and to really see any light at the end of that tunnel you need to be able to imagine yourself. Seeing people like you who seem to be on the “other side” of that situation, whose lives don’t seem to have ended. You need to see people just like you who have managed to somehow muddy through the swamps.

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/why-instagram-was-an-unlikely-saviour-through-grief_uk_5ab0088ae4b0d4ea9b7813d7


Getting my first smear test.

Friday, 23 March 2018

They don't give them out to people under 25 unless you've had a baby. Not that many people under 25 have babies and so it's more likely than not that you'll have a smear test before you have a baby. I'm doing it the other way around. 
My fanny has been through quite a rough ride. Before my first pregnancy I'd had a few internal ultrasounds for my PCOS. Then pregnancy, then birth, and a second degree internal tear. Then three more internal scans, a missed miscarriage, and surgery to deal with that (under general anaesthetic). And then pregnancy, birth, and a second degree external tear. Let’s not even begin to think about all the bleeding over the years, and the poking and prodding during ttc. Yikes.
Needless to say it feels a bit like it's been beaten up. 
When I got there the nurse asked if I had ever had encountered a speculum before. I had – when getting the internal examination after my waters broke with Ezra. She told me that this was the main part of the test that I’d feel.
I asked her if there would be any bleeding, as often internal examinations can irritate the cervix, but she said no. It was unlikely, she said, that there would be any bleeding as it was a small brush being used to gather a cell sample rather than anything else. I had, in my head, the idea of a little scraper thing, but no, small brush.
Off with the jeans and underwear, up on the table, and she was right, the speculum was the main invasion, as it were, and then the brush was a tiny scratch. I wondered for a minute if the brush was the speculum and the worst was still to come but that was it. A little discomfort and over.

As a parent (especially a single one, for me) these kinds of things are wildly important. Up on the list with checking your breasts, and keeping an eye on your skin, any moles, etcetera, because your life is responsible for another life. Why would you let a little fear stand in the way of making sure your children have a healthy mother?

After Jade Goody got cervical cancer and her illness and treatment were broadcast over the world's media there was a massive surge in women going to get themselves checked out because there was a very real image of what would happen if you didn't. However, the nurse explained to me today that this has died down significantly.
So I suggest you all pop down to your GP and get your bits out for the nurse because a minor discomfort once every three years is better than getting cervical cancer.

Multiverse, death, and grief.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Stephen Hawking talked often on the subject of multiverse theory – it was something that he said was a possibility. Multiverse is simply multiple universes. There may be one that exists where where I am smarter than he is. Infinite multiple universes, a theory believed by one of the smartest men ever to live. An absolute possibility. 


13.7 billion years ago, everything we knew was a singularity, a dot, a nothing, and an unknown trigger (according to the big bang theory) birthed what we now know, expansion in three-dimensional space. Small particles turned into planets, stars, etcetera.  


To be adamant in the belief that we are alone in our own universe seems, to me, a kind of ignorance. On our planet alone, there are 8.7 million different species of things, and so how can, in such an expanse of universe, this be it? Our planet contains intelligent life other than us.  


Woe Is A Tragic Backstory

Friday, 2 February 2018

This blog has lain bare for a while now. I feel as if I've almost run out of writing steam. Perhaps it's the anticipation of being critiqued again in a few months (as many of you know I have applied to start my masters degree). But it's also that I've simply been so busy. I've got three, sometimes four, days a week where I've something to do and that's a lot, actually I think it's too much. I probably class myself as an ambivert, but it's times like this when my introversion really shows. We're only four weeks into the new year and it feels like much longer, I'm exhausted already.

However, before I have a shower, and before Edith starts really having a go at me I wanted to try and type up one of my gripes. THE MEDIA. There's something about every kind of media that grinds my gears, but I'm talking about television and film in particular at this point. 
You won’t have noticed it before but pregnancy and babies are all over the place, from when you're out and about, to just trying to keep yourself busy with netflix, it's almost impossible to get away from. After losing Ezra, and my miscarriage, it was as if the world of pregnant women, and babies, and young children, were just out en force, out to get me, out to rub it in. Everywhere I looked there was something, a pregnant woman or a young baby that would make me think two things, one: enjoy it while it lasts Sweet Summer Children, and two: why are you here in my fucking face (because obviously they knew and were doing this on purpose). Pampers and aptamil adverts? A personal affront! Awful.



Sneaky grief

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

There is a misconception that, spread by proverb and wishfulness, time heals all wounds. In actuality this is, for the most part, untrue of emotional wounds. When it comes to bereavement there is no healing, there is only acceptance - and in the cases of the death of a child I believe that one never really reaches a place of true acceptance. I have said many times before that the word Surreal is the best explanation of the experience and I think with surrealism there is no acceptance as it doesn't feel real. There's no fully accepting the unreal. 
So grief comes in many forms and if we accept that there is no total healing then we accept that grief is a constant. It comes in ebbs and flows and some days are worse than others (hence the struggle of fleeting happiness discussed in a previous post). 
The last few weeks, as I'm sure is the case with many of you, I feel the grief has come more often and harder. It is in the lights, it seems, another Christmas without my son and yet a Christmas with his sister - who may or may not (likely not) be here if not for his absence. I have begun to experience her Christmas firsts where I never had the opportunity before.