I recently had my first sess of bereavement counselling at the hospice..whilst difficult to talk about everything it was also great to understand a few things, know I’m not a nutter and of course be at a place that makes me feel closer to poppy. Every time I step foot there, there is such peace and a lovely feeling and the staff are always so happy and welcoming, in some ways its like going home!

Whilst Nath and I sat talking with the lovely Lisa, Ethan and Megs were busy playing and making Spiders:
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I’ve always found counselling helpful whenever iv’e had a rough spot in my life, I like to talk and make sense of things and whilst not for everyone I know, for me I always learn things about myself and the situation , I think that’s why I enjoy having good long chats with family and friends too, I can organize everything going on in my mind by expressing it and learn and understand things better…so what did I learn from this session?

Firtly that I am in a World of my own; a world where there are lots of women that have experienced infant loss and understand it, where we talk about our babies and troubles and where its not awkward but everyone gets it..this world is built on a foundation of facebook groups, people on twitter and Sands help group. I have created this by seeking and connecting with those in the same boat as I have longed to make sense of everything…But sadly in reality and out in the real world what I’m experiencing isn’t as common as my world would suggest. The things I talk about to online friends are like a foreign language to many in real life and this is where I struggle. I talk as if many know when really they dont, they try to but I know from experience, as much as you imagine the pain of infant loss, the feeling when it happens is far more cutting, far deeper and heartbreaking, more empty than one could have ever imagined. I often expect people to get it and they dont, it is a language you can’t truely master unless you’ve been unlucky enough to speak it firsthand. So here I am, 2 worlds crossing over and creating confusion, I walk around in the real world like a robot wondering why everyone seems to be getting on – the truth is infant loss is rare, it isn’t common to have a baby with CHD, CDH, Trisomy 18 and then be born still at term and how can anyone possibly get that?

The second thing I learnt is that I need to be kinder to myself! Its quite natural for women to be hard on themselves, we can be strong for so long that when a crisis hits, strong is the only option, how can I be “weak” when people depend on me? how can I not make dinner when I’ve 2 kids and a husband at work that needs to eat? we all need a clean home? clean clothes? kids need to get out..right?
Of course all of these things need to happen for a family to run but grief is not a weakness, its not weak to mourn the loss of our daughter and be sad about all of the things we lost with her passing. It isn’t weak to not be able to cope with “normal” things and nor is it strong to try to do everything “normal” when life is far from that.. Is it ok that we order in because I can’t cook something that day? that I don’t get dressed because its too much effort? of course it is, because how can I possibly manage to do normal things in an abnormal situation without the frustration that I can’t cope, its too much or I am literally too sad to function?

I am working on understanding grief and being assured I am not depressed; its a scary thing and can grab hold at any time and control you and Im not yet okay with crying in such a heart wrenching way that I have no control so instead I keep busy at the fear of its dominating power  all whilst attempting to make sense of everything thats happened, trying to live in our normal routine and wondering “where do I go from here”? as I remember it’s never going to be normal – Is it any wonder I’m exhausted?
But as hard as it is not to try to plan too far ahead, I am working on taking it a day at a time, taking it a bit more easy and  knowing that I don’t need to put on a “brave face”! Whilst not everyone in my world can understand fully, they can lift the burden and to be kind to myself I need to seek that help and respite when I need it…

When did you last take time for you and how has it helped your life?

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Since when did I become the bright red, unfit, wobbly mother I used to laugh at as a Teenager? Karma is bad!!!

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Last Wednesday I dusted off my trainers (literally they’ve been under the bed for a yr) and hit a ‘Box fit’ class with my friend! OH.MY.GOODNESS I thought I might ACTUALLY collapse! I am embarrassed to say I haven’t properly exercised in well over a year and it definitely showed. I couldn’t even do a flipping sit up! I just kept laughing my head off whilst having a sweat fest – who knows what the instructor was thinking! I ached for days after but it was totally worth it and I am feeling motivated with my new “fitness and swim” membership, and so I should with less treats this week and upping the work out I am pleased to announce I have lost 1.5lbs hahaha well its still a loss isn’t it so can’t complain!

My plan is box fit, pilates and a swim once a week MINIMUM! Skinny jeans here I come…although Saturday I turn 30 so who knows how many treats i’ll be chowing down on!

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More awkward than when people don’t know your baby died and ask you about it is when your GP doesn’t know and asks at your 6week check ..are you breastfeeding??? ERRRRMMMM Is this some kind of sick joke? First she asked why I was there, something I asked myself – the obvious answer: “My 6 week check” and now this???

I went to this appointment reluctantly, to me I feel its another cruelty of loosing your baby; going through all of the motions and appointments of a new mother without your baby. Its like a big slap in the face and pretty naff; answering questions about the birth, about if we are wanting to try again? Its all just another reminder of what you don’t have. Why when your heart is so broken do they then drag you through all of that? in answer to her question I just responded (surprisingly calm) “no my baby was still born” –  of course she was horrified, more so because she too had experienced such loss and knew straight away how I felt and that that was probs the last place I wanted to be on a wednesday morning…anyway after much apologizing and talking normally about the situation..one mother to another the awkwardness left.

I answered all of the usual questions and as I thought I’m fit and well and recovered from the birth..HA if only it took 6 weeks to recover from such a birth…so YES physically I am well recovered, mentally and emotionally this birth will always affect me and I doubt I will ever be fully healed from it.
I learnt during the appointment that because Poppy had Edwards apparently the hospital feel “no further appointments are necessary” – Oh right were here again are we? discriminating in life AND death – PFFFFTTTT! No follow up because she had Trisomy 18? No opportunity for us to talk about what happened? ask unanswered questions? I cannot believe after all we have been through we still have to fight for a certain level of care. Every parent I met at SANDS said they had had a follow up consultation to discuss it , yet apparently thats not necessary in this case?!Thankfully my GP was on it and said she will help me with this one as every parent that has had infant loss should be entitled to meet with Drs and talk about it all…Edwards or not! What a difference a DR with similar experiences makes.

After such a rubbish start to the day all I wanted to do was hide away again and have a good cry, but as in life it must go on and we had a couple of other things to do. We were however able to enjoy a lovely afternoon at Farmer Copley’s in Ponte! Im glad we made the effort to go and make the most of the the Autumn season, the kids enjoyed being with one of their cousins and had fun scrambling over hey bails, seeing all of the pumpkins, animals and a little tractor ride. But throughout it all my heart ached for my own little Pumpkin that isn’t here to do these things. How different this is from what 6 weeks postnatal was meant to be…

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Its not what you know but who you know and man do I know some flipping mint peeps! Always on hand with snacks, dinner and treats to lift the grieving soul! Iv’e received all sorts of delights from friends and family around the world and I could not be more grateful – well until I try to wear normal clothes then I wanna hunt them all down and add them to my blacklist!
Here are some of the delights I have enjoyed this week that have helped me cope – Yes incase you hadn’t realized I do eat my feelings!!!!

  • Almost the whole USA sized bag of peanut butter m&ms in bed the other night – No guilt only deliciousness!
  • Weds my friends brought “Brunch” – Pain au chocolat, croissants…no other words needed
  • Thursday a friend baked us some very delic choc chip cookies..2 each but Nath and I may have had 3 and only given the kids 1!
  • Friday a friend took me for hot choc – obviously WITH cream and marshmallows followed by a delic Korma with the hubs for date night
  • Sunday I was brought some M&S ice cream with homemade choc sauce

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Is it any wonder then that this weeks weigh in only puts me at  168lb  ive gained a ruddy pound!!!! I was tempted to weigh myself later in the day and see if it was lower if I went to the loo or not. That extra pound was potentially quite depressing but to be honest iv’e flipping loved everything Iv’e scoffed this week so I should be grateful it did no further damage and see if I can make more progress this next week.
I have my 6 week check tomorrow so I am hopeful that next week will be more of a party as I can start kicking my butt into shape and work off some serious L.Bs… Im not giving up hope just yet with my seemingly lofty weight loss goal!

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