Sharing Raw Loss

Friday, 6 July 2018

I share, I believe, quite openly about my losses. I also believe that words very much have a sort of healing power, and ridding yourself of them can be therapeutic. However, sharing raw loss, sharing thoughts and feelings so soon after a loss, I believe, can have a detrimental effect. 

In the first weeks after I lose Ezra I wrote a lot. I wrote constantly. It was a way for me to get down in black and white what I was feeling, to get it out of myself and launch it into the world, but it was less about into the world and more about out of me. I had thoughts and I had feelings and experiences that I didn’t want to have, and by putting it down I could see what was going on and I work out what it was I was feeling and fuck it off. I could stop thinking about that particular thing because by the time I’d worked through it enough to write coherently about it it was done with.

I did not get a huge amount of responses to these things and, in all honesty, responses were not what I wanted. Responses and interaction and understanding were not what I wanted. I wanted relief. 


Friday, 8 June 2018

Let's start this with one fact. A very true fact, not a "off the internet" fact, but an indisputable, black and white fact:


Suffocation is death via asphyxiation. Blankets, pillows, clothes, muslin, duvets, caught under a parent, between bed and wall, and so on. This kind of death is preventable, that much should be common sense to everyone. Don't use blankets and nobody will suffocate underneath one, don't put baby in your bed and you can't roll over onto them, don't use a pillow and it can't cover their face, don't use a sleeping bag that's too big and they won't get stuck in it.

SIDS is not preventable. I know that we talk about the "risks of SIDS" being bed sharing and so on, as if by not doing those you are safe, but that's not the case.

Being Away.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

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.

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.