In 1998 the Goo Goo Dolls released a song called “Iris” – it was used on the film “City of Angels” and with the angelic connection I think that maybe that’s why I have been listening to it a lot recently because it really makes me think of Poppy and everything that has happened. The chorus “I dont want the world to see me cause I don’t think that they’d understand” is the best way to describe how I feel at this stage of my grief and also how I felt when I was suffering years ago with PND/PPD.

I have a very blessed life; a great husband, children, big families with loads of laughs and excellent friends. We own our home, drive a car, take the occasional holiday and eat delicious food. What does someone like me with my lovely life have to be sad about? on the outside, other than a few extra quid, life couldn’t get much better – but wise people know “not to judge a book by its cover” as often what appears on the surface isn’t the true picture.
Not everyone in my life or the people I meet and see daily know that inside i’m treading water and if I stop I may sink because I am in a state of grief following the stillbirth of my 3rd child. Less people in my life knew 4 years ago, after the birth of little E my dreamy life was tarnished with an illness commonly known as PND – it was a dark period where to see myself made me angry, to hear my baby cry made me cry, to feed made me cringe and to feel happiness seemed impossible, I detached from things I enjoyed and cried A LOT! I became obsessed with cleaning my home and never went out without make up on, all to prove I could cope when in reality I was broken and life felt chaotic.

ethan 4m
Look at him a beautiful and content little boy – what did I have to be sad about? If only they knew – It was such a difficult time and something I have a fear of returning because of grief. Yes I worry if I cry too much it may turn into PND once again, you see I have days where I don’t want to go out, where I cry so much – to the midwife/health visitor classic PND signs, but I am learning whilst it feels familiar it is not because when the tears fall they are not because I am depressed but overcome with grief, my heart is broken and my arms empty. I stay in or live as a hermit at times because I don’t want to explain myself, I dont’t want to feel alone when surrounded by so many people and I know wherever I go something will remind me of my loss and those around wont  know the grief, pain and emptiness I feel, in some ways like I did 4 years ago when everyone I met cooed over my new baby not knowing the battle I was fighting.

Ive thought about this a lot recently and thought of how my experience of Post natal depression compares to my experience of grief:

  • Both began with a birth but instead of new life and joy – pain, struggling and loneliness were born into my life
  • Both are emotional battles that only those who have experienced it can understand
  • Both take time to heal from
  • Because only a few people know it, grief and PND are very isolating and a very lonely place to be
  • Both put me in a state of auto pilot and only doing the absolute essentials
  • Both made it difficult to rest/take time out because someone was dependent on me
  • Both are taboo subjects that people close up and switch off from, making you feel awkward and wondering why you ever mentioned it

My daughter Poppy is something I want to remember, PND is something I want to forget and with remembering comes all of the emotions. I will always talk about her and I will always be reminded of her, it’s something I can’t always avoid nor want to but that doesn’t take away the initial and very present struggle I have. Often I DONT cover up my feelings with make up because I learnt 4 years ago to accept in difficulty that this is who I am right now and people probably think I look pretty rough some days but I know like with every other struggle it wont dominate forever and I’ll again have energy to care!

Whilst I healed from PND,and life went back to normal and I did become happy again (you will too) which in turn released me from it to move forward in my role as mother and get back to normal, I have learnt from others that I will never heal from this loss. I do have moments of joy, and periods where I can laugh (like I said I am blessed) but the reality of grief as oppose to my PND is that whilst I one day will be able to be in control of grief, the feelings from infant loss will always be carried with me, I will always have a hole in my heart as its not something I can leave behind when I have found happiness again because a part of me has left this earth and emotions may surface at any point whether it be in 2 yrs or 20 yrs. PND has left me being a little more protective over Ethan, perhaps even giving into him a little more than I probs should because of the guilt of it all but I can truthfully say my mind is healed.

There are people all around us suffering like me when on the surface their lives seem mint! Some battle health problems and disease, infertility or PND – the new mother in your class may not be as happy as she would have you believe, her life may be crumbling around her and I don’t know how many other women I cross paths with that know the heartache of infant loss…probably most of them “don’t want the world to see them” because they don’t think the world understands. There are those that do understand, whose heart connects instantly because of your loss or because you both climbed and conquered PND but the majority won’t understand, and may never, it doesn’t mean they cant support, can send you a love note, chocolate, flowers, go on a walk and listen to your madness and let you know you are loved and it will all be alright in the end. These things to me were and now during this difficulty are, a silver lining or a little ray of sunshine to this huge, no MASSIVE thunderstorm that will not disperse!

Look around you, you may not understand their journey but you can support & help them to find joy again in life.

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This week has been more about the inches and not the pounds!  Its been one of those weeks when I just wanted to chuck the ruddy scales out of the window when they revealed I’d lost nothing..yup still the same…a big fat zero off my weight..pffffttttt

I admit when I started out on this crusade to battle the baby bulge that I failed to remember getting trim and loosing fat doesn’t always mean loosing pounds straight away. I remembered a great piece I read on my sister in laws blog a while back that not only summed up my own feelings of baby weight generally but also some interesting points on fat and weight loss. My weekly box fit class includes cardio and free weights and lots of belly laughs at my lack of ability in some areas, and whilst I come out hardly being able to move I can see the difference it is already beginning to make at toning up the bulge.

I know I can deffs be improving on my eating habits, turning 30 hasn’t helped -we all want some guilt free treats on our birthdays right?? Well I probably took it to the extreme as I usually do when it comes to food; several meals out, birthday cake and chocolate galore but thankfully my non maternity jeans are still more comfortable & my belly flatter. I hope this week I can do better with healthy eating now my birthday is over…

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I’m not the best poet, I don’t pretend to be, but I couldn’t let remembrance day pass, surrounded by Poppies and not recognize my own little Poppy. I didn’t realise when she was born, when we named her that every November we would have such a massive reminder of our little lady – So here is a poem I wrote (not very eloquently) but sums up this remembrance day for me…

POPPY

A little paper poppy – I’ve worn one for years;
But never have I felt such immense pain and tears.
In gratitude I bow my head, thankful to all who fought & fell; Remembered now by a flower of red.

But there are those who came & left silently, who fought for their life & battled non-violently.
Victims to a rare defect & illness, but then suddenly gone in a moment of stillness.
My own poppy is one of these& I choose to always remember;
Fought but born sleeping, a memory to pain me every November…
Every November where we think of those in war, but what about the ones who battled that the world never saw?

I wear a paper poppy, I’ve worn for one years but with a poppy in my heart there’s never been such pain & tears.

By Mary Smith Nov 2014 in memory of Poppy Quinn Smith ~ born sleeping September 2014
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I previously blogged about my goal of 30 goals before 30, in order to enhance life and enjoy the last year of my 20’s! Well here I am hrs away from being 30 and nothing really went to plan how I had hoped! I am beginning to think that perhaps goals and planning ahead isn’t how I am supposed to live my life. If theres one thing I am learning from loosing Poppy it is to live more in the moment and enjoy what life gives us that day, each day will then mold me and take me where I am destined…happiness (eventually)!

I started this week off feeling pretty naff, the car was broken (again), I was overwhelmed with life and I felt far from excited about my birthday approaching. Not because of turning 30, I have accepted that, but rather because I wanted to have fun in my last week of my 20’s and didn’t know how I would accomplish that with so much grief I was carrying. As I looked over the sea at Brid it came to me – do as many joyful things as you can and go out with a bang!!! The more I thought about it the more excited I became, I can do all of the things I love and though life is far from joyful I can have some joyful moments, my sister instantly helped me put it into action and off we went for an afternoon of fun!

I aimed for 30 joyful things this week before I turned 30 and here is what I did –

  1.  Played arcade games – from as long as I can remember I loved going to Bridlington and playing in the arcades and going on the rides, it was the highlight of our holiday with the cousins! As I grew up it was fun to have dates racing and now taking the kids too for some cheap competitive fun and laughs.. who doesn’t like pretending they’re driving an F50!?
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  2. The dance machine – WHAT A LAUGH we used to spend hrs on this as teenagers; one of my school friends was the bomb.com at it and I couldn’t believe the speed he would conquer it at. My cousins always loved it too when they visited and for 50p you can’t go wrong! 12yrs away from it though certainly showed with an “E” average and panting for breath!
  3. dance machineWent out for breakfast – Im not really a breakfast person, and Macd’s wouldn’t be my first option, but Megs and I enjoyed a bagel each and hot choc and I loved I didn’t have to make it
  4. WP_20141104_09_51_09_ProTook flowers to Poppy – it might not sound very joyful but it was nice to go visit her and lay some fresh flowers, the sun was shining like the day of her funeral and I felt the warmth of love in my heart. Yes its sad, but it brought me some joy as her mother to be able to do something for. I chose the winter bouquet because it had a pine cone and I know how kids love to collect them at this time of year.
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  5. A trip to the Museum – I took Megan and one of my nieces, with my mum to the maratime museum in Hull. I love museums and love to see and learn of the past! I would have liked to have read more but Megs and her cousin seemed to think it was a playground and legged it all over!!!
  6. Left the kids at my sisters – no not on purpose but I knew I needed a rest and family were willing. I felt some guilt but overall it brought me joy to lie in, only think of me for a bit and not to worry about trying to fill the day.
  7. A walk round Oakwell hall – The sun was shining and I had a wonderful morning walking around, chatting to a friend, definitely a place to take the kids for muddy walks and exploring!
  8. Lunch at Bella Italia – after our walk we enjoyed a delic meal and more chats, it was just what I needed.
  9. Supped a can of cold root beer – I lived in America for a while and this is one of my fave drinks…not widely available here but my lovely husband bought me a can of “A&W” and I sat in bed, in peace and savoured every mouthful
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  10. Box Fit – always a laugh with one of my friends, burnt some calories and got rid of some anger – JOYF!
  11. Facial &
  12. Massage – these were a gift from my sister in laws for my birthday! It was SO nice to take time for me and be pampered and relieve some stress, perfect pre birthday treat
  13. Had my eyebrows shaped – it really is the small things, ive not had them done since the summer and boy did they need it! I feel happy now that when I look in the mirror I’m a little more feminine!
  14. Dyed my hair – needed doing for ages but not had the time or energy – feeling so much happier now that its done – TADA instant joy!
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  15. Watched Les Mis – haven’t seen it for ages and loved sat uninterrupted watch a musical..and yes I sang along and best of all it was a joyful couple of hours
  16. Pizza hut buffet – one of my faves, carb overload and comfort food – LOVE IT!
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  17. A trip to the temple – Im a Mormon and this is my sanctuary, it reminds me ill always be Poppys mummy and it was nice to visit with friends
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  18. Starbucks for a hot choc – what a treat!
  19. Viewed a house  – not because we are moving but just because it looked nice and wanted to see what was on the market! It was fun
  20. Spa with Nath
  21. Dinner out with Nath – mmmmm Nandos! Its so joyful to go for dinner and talk without kids throwing food, tugging on you and nicking ya drink!
  22. Check into a lush hotel – A night away in luxury – it doesn’t get more joyful than that?!Ok so not quite 30 (no surprise there) but I have accomplished more this week than I originally thought and best of all I have actually had a wonderful week and lots of fun, made possible by the wonderful friends and family I am blessed to have!
    I haven’t accomplished everything I set out to do before turning 30 but I have done a lot and I have enjoyed my life so far; I have a brilliant husband of 5 years, mother to 3 children, I have traveled a bit, lived in another country, being on all sorts of adventures and met lots of amazing people, learnt a lot and taken a bunch of random courses, some complete some not, but life is for living and though things don’t go to plan we can still find joy in it. The path we set out on may not be the one we end up on but thats not always a bad thing, it can be sad and it can knock us for a long time but as I approach the next chapter I choose to not focus on what I didn’t do or mistakes I made and not feel like a failure for not reaching goals I set out to do. How can I be disappointed with where I am at when I have had so many great times, have so many wonderful blessings and learnt so much over the last 30 years? Yes my baby died and turned my life upside down, I dont know when I will feel a relief from this grief, its certainly not where I imagined I would be at 30, but this week has shown me the sunshine through the clouds and that the only goal I want have for now is to do things that bring or will lead to JOY , with this I am attracted to the idea of being a little more spontaneous, enjoying today and making the most of it… as I turn 30 tomorrow I am looking forward to what adventures are created in my future.

    Try it, live a little more for today and making the best of it!

 

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