For the past few weeks I have heard the kids frequently yell “look how far we’ve come mummy”! Walking along walls, climbing up parks, walks up hills and general journeys spark the excitement of the accomplishment they can physically see.
I love to hear it – the pride in their voices as well as see them bouncing and pointing at really how high they climbed or how far they made it without falling off. I often think when I hear them cheer “look how far we’ve come” that I too should jump for joy and celebrate my own hills Iv’e climbed and cheer for the walls in life Iv’e tackled. They say that kids often teach us and I really feel with this that they are certainly teaching me, because as I have paused occasionally to reflect on this journey of loss and grief, as I think of the daily battle I must endure I realise I have come a long way and yes I should feel good. People would proabs think i’m nuts but yes I should shout from the top of the climbing frame and hills “look how far iv’e come” because whilst it all very much occupies my thoughts and whilst I still frequently have periods of utter heartbreak and tears and no desire to socialise or be around people generally, I have come a blooming long way. I still have a fair way to trek, I don’t deny that, in fact my original 6 month goal is now more realistically 18 months after speaking to some mums at SANDS this week!! But how far I have or how long it takes is irrelevant because I have already come a long way from where I was 8 months ago.
I have said it before, that if someone had have told me that I would be one of the 1 in 4000 that would have a baby with Trisomy 18…that that baby also would have a very rare form of CHD and because of how sick she was she would die BEFORE she was born and that then I would have to deliver a sleeping baby and a few days later put her in a coffin in the ground – I firstly wouldn’t believe it, and secondly wouldn’t think I would survive it. Id certainly think it was something that would kill me or send me over the edge. But that did happen, there are no “what ifs” or a nightmare scenario of possibilities, it was a reality and it is something I am surviving. Yes I am a still birth survivor, I haven’t lost my mind (yet), I can get up and face the majority of days and I can have fun and laugh. I do things I enjoy and actually enjoy them, I see friends and have a grand old time, I take the kids to a whole host of places and love it. So for a few moments I want to cheer that things are good though they often feel bad, life is happy thought it often feels sad and I am blessed in many ways, though at times it feels the world is against us.
So lets have a fist punch in the air and just look at a few of the things that are significant and show me how far Iv’e come:
– I can tell our story with out becoming overly emotional – sometimes of course I well up still but mostly I am happy to have the opportunity to talk about her.
– I can keep on top of the house and feed us all without needing help from others – In the beginning many friends cleaned for us and provided meals, now I just get on with it and on the odd day I can’t we know where Domino’s is!!
– I can menu plan and food shop – something I avoided in the beginning because it was too many decisions and she passed away the day I did the food shopping!
– I can go to the SANDS meeting and not cry every time – Its such an emotional setting, so many heartbroken people, so many sad stories and my heart still aches so bad each time but instead of crying so much now I feel a little stronger and I have more acceptance of my situation and that this is just how our lives are. Its nice to laugh and appreciate our babies sometimes.
-I don’t have to look at her pictures or hold her blanket to remember – my biggest fear was forgetting and would do physical things to remember and see her but now I dont feel the need for that. I do occasionally look at her pics but I know I’ll never forget her and I know I will love her for the rest of my life.
– I can look at and hold a baby – NOT A NEW BORN (ill just emphasise that) that’s one I still need to overcome in my own time but I can hold older babies and enjoy it and I can look at them and talk to them. Initially any baby filled me with anxiety and was just too much pain to see, let alone hold!
– I can walk down baby aisles & look at baby stuff – In the begining this too was VERY hard to do and very painful, whilst is still aches to see baby girls stuff, I do find them cute and I don’t avoid aisles in the supermarkets or shops with baby stuff in.
– I can be in a group of people and not feel vulnerable (as much) – I found it hard to go out in the beginning; people made me nervous, people moving on with life upset me, being in social groups made me feel so vulnerable and the sensitive one…now I am emotional but I know its part of the package, people get on with life but I can still carry her memory and hold her in my heart, I can remember her even if others dont. Birth announcements and baby talk still cause me to feel the need to put up a defence, put on a smile and tug on the heart – A LOT #vulnerable
At times it feels like I’m stuck, you probably have moments in life too like that; you want to move forward but don’t know how or something so massive has happened to you that you don’t know how to pick yourself up, which way to go, how to keep going. Grief is so tiring, so hard, just so draining, life isn’t the same, my mind isn’t the same, my viewpoint isn’t the same, my understanding of things – not much is the same to me any more BUT I have a rest day every so often and I take some time out and then I move (at a snails pace) a little further forward. I look back and I know im not really stuck or sick, that nothing is wrong with me but that I am just carrying on with life after loss. I am finding my way along a very long and at times steep road and learning every step of the way both about myself and the world, but the greatest part is I can still see Joy in life and every week and month that passes whilst it still hurts unbelievably bad, it doesn’t hurt as often and I can see how far I have already come.