Way back in March, whilst strolling through home bargains (of course) and minding my own business, a little frame caught my eye in the mother’s day section, and I completely fell in love. It’s hard to find gifts for bereaved mothers, and whilst I know I probably wasn’t their target group with this product, it just jumped out and spoke to me…I needed it for a special little picture of a special little girl!

I’ve never been a fan of scan pictures on display, but then there was something about this one that made me feel like I needed it in my life. I think it was a combination of the font and the crisp white frame, but something more, buying it was an opportunity to display a picture of my stillborn little one when she was alive. I see her features and feel the hope I had when she was safe inside of me. I see a baby, fully formed and looking like her Sisters.. I see life and another member of our family. I feel sad too that we don’t have what we have with her siblings or multiple pictures framed of her doing silly and cute things, but I love it because at last its a lovely way to have a picture of her alive and in our home.

I have put off having pictures in my home of Poppy, even though I have so desperately wanted to, because it makes me too sad to look at them and know she was dead when it was taken. Whilst my sister did a wonderful job of editing them and many may not even realise it’s her or that it is a photo of a dead baby I would know, and I’m not ready yet (and may never be) to have her up on the wall to be scrutinised!

Seeing her is a reminder of what I went through that day, along with all of aching, turmoil and general broken months that followed as a result of my little baby dying before birth. As beautiful and perfect as she was, seeing her dead honestly breaks my heart. I have wanted to, for so long, make a memory frame with all of her things in and have something tangible of her existence and her part in our family, but framing my loss is just too painful to do right now too. And so that day back in March, I reached to the shelf and paid the £1.49 for this frame, because this frame isn’t so sad. It holds a photograph taken at a time of hope and time when life was strong. It is an opportunity to have her to look at and acknowledged her as one of our babies… its a physical reminder we had a third child, not just a pregnancy that came and went with time, but a real life fully formed little girl that grew to term and was birthed. It gives my heart a tiny piece of joy to look at her and remember how hard it was but also how great it was to have hope for her.

It was not until we moved that I felt we would have a place to display this frame, but which place I wasn’t so sure of. Then this weekend we decorated our porch, and up on the shelf there was a space…a space that needed a special picture or quote maybe? And then I remembered how perfect my “Hello Little One” frame would look there next to our potted plants. As I placed it on the shelf it fitted in just right. I looked up and thought how perfect it looked there, that when we leave the house she will be with us, when we arrive home she will be there to see!

 

Life was taken, gone/died however you want to say it, it happened to our 3rd child. But I will never forget that a baby girl lived and grew inside of me back in 2014. She was number 3 in the Smith tribe, and now that she isn’t alive and here I am grateful to have a picture of her when she was. I am grateful that we have technology that captured her personality and can help us remember her being alive.

Hello little one – it’s nice to have you to look at here in our home!

Follow:

Every year people all over the world light a candle at 7pm on the last day of Baby loss awareness week to remember babies everywhere taken too soon – it’s known as “The Wave of Light”! This year however I wanted to do something different… I wanted to light up the sky for our little girl and all of the babies gone too soon, and so on Sunday we had a little trek over some local fields and let off Chinese lanterns with my family at dusk.

As we let each lantern off I thought of Poppy (of course), and then my thoughts turned to each baby I know because of their wonderful parents that in some small way have played a part in our journey. I looked up at that dusky sky and its vastness and how small that little lantern seemed in all of it … how symbolic of each little baby in the world gone too soon, and easily overlooked with such a big world and busy lives, and yet we remember each day who we carried and who is missing from life.

I love the wave of light. Its a very reflective moment with deep meaning, and yet a moment that fills me with strength to know that people all over, in each of their lives are lighting up life together in remembrance of their babies. Its quite amazing that something so small can have such meaning – each light briefly piercing through the darkness of loss and showing each little brief life worldwide!

I never imagined my life to be what it is, I mean why would you? But baby loss, awareness and the wave of light has very quickly become my ordinary and an ordinary moment in our life each year. I was so grateful that whilst I wasn’t able to let off lanterns with my good friend as we had hoped, my family were willing to come and join in remembering Poppy and babies everywhere gone too soon. 

We had a lovely family walk and some really good laughs in the process (Sorry for the scorched field Mr Farmer) and it was a lovely family moment to come together and light up the sky for the Wave of light and our little Pops! 

The Ordinary Moments
Follow:

This week has been, and currently is 2017 Baby loss awareness week! MP’s have been discussing it in parliament (massive), parents have been sharing their stories in the media, and charities all over the UK continue to campaign and raise awareness of the effects of baby loss and the need for improved bereavement care in every hospital!

And me? Well I am ashamed to say that I have at present done nothing to acknowledge it or try to raise awareness. I haven’t contacted local media to share my story, I haven’t raised money for the charities that helped us. I haven’t stood and handed out stuff to the public letting them know the reality of baby loss in the UK and the lives of those affected.

I am at present in 2 camps…1 where I want to be campaigning and talking to make a change. And the the second camp where I stand, I stand with feeling of “what’s the point?”.

 I want to make a difference for other women faced with a Trisomy 18 diagnosis, I want to make a change and raise awareness of stillbirth and what life is like weeks, months and even years down the line. I want to be the one talking to the world, doing fundraisers and finding sponsorship opportunities to raise much needed funds for the charities that helped us so much … but I’m too tired and honestly with just getting through the events of September – it all feels too much to go to that place so soon!

I have my other kids that bring blessings and joy, but I still face storms, and I wonder…should I keep trying to talk to make a difference only to feel like what is the point? Am I really making a difference? Who even cares?

 And then I remember that that mentality isn’t right! How can changes take place if we don’t , in our corner of life stand up and break the silence? Yes it isn’t easy to keep revisiting, and progress can be slow, but does that mean we shouldn’t try? We shouldn’t write about it again?

Because it feels like a huge task, does it mean I shouldn’t talk about it again, and continue to tell people about Trisomy 18 and Stillbirth? And then what life feels like with out your child year after year?

There is always a point to sharing things, even if it makes the difference to just one woman…one family…

I know that for some, they want us to be silent. There are some that want us to put it in the past and leave it there, so they don’t have to hear it all again, see it all again and act interested! Some people want us to “get over it” so that they can too!

It’s exhausting to live with some days. Its easy to feel Im failing at raising awareness and making a difference and its hard to have Baby loss Awareness the month right after the anniversaries. But silence isn’t an option, and silence isn’t me!

We need to break the silence, we need things to change. In this day and age 15 babies a day shouldn’t be dying. In this day and age, women who suffer miscarriage (early or late), Stillbirth or infant loss should feel okay to talk about it if they want to. They should be allowed to talk about the impact of loss in their life and family without judgement on how they choose to feel and behave as a result of that loss.

There are mothers and fathers all around us that for one reason or another have lost their precious son or daughter too soon… they shouldn’t be silent and nor should I. I am one of those mothers, who makes a decision every day to be happy despite my loss. Most days I succeed, but some I don’t!

Baby loss is crap! Its hard to say goodbye to the life that never lived. It was hard to be told our baby would die and they wouldn’t help us! It was then even harder to birth a dead baby and see her beautiful little body and face. It was incredibly hard to bury her, and in the beginning life just feels impossible. And then its hard to let the world know how you feel and what you need. You soon realise how quickly people move on and you are stuck with the pain, and you realise how hard it is to walk through life with more fear, and being more broken and emotional with out them in it.

I guess I want people to be aware of that fact – to know that for some it lives with them forever and is hard. Know that what they need is love, friendship, compassion and empathy. A woman who has lost a baby doesn’t need to be told she can just try again, or that she needs to have more faith, or that she needs to get over it. She doesn’t need silencing or being made to feel awkward when she speaks out. She shouldn’t be told ever that in your opinion she isn’t dealing with her loss in a way you see fit… She doesn’t need limitations on support or time frames of when she should be over it. Please just love them and listen to them…acknowledge their child and be grateful it wasn’t you!

I am hormonal, I don’t want to do a whole lot this year for baby loss awareness (other than this post evidently and the wave of light!). And yes it’s hard to keep remembering in full all I lost and went through with my 3rd pregnancy and birth,  but I will always tell anyone who will listen that I had her. A beautiful little girl called Poppy Quinn. I have 4 kids not 3 and that some days I might need a little more love and less judgement.

I lost a baby at full term due to Trisomy 18, and I carry that with me through my journey of life. I love my kids, I count my blessings, I love and have joy… but baby loss is crap and doesn’t just go away because of those things!

Follow:

Last week a tsunami of grief washed over me and left me gasping for air. I couldn’t sleep, barely breathe, function properly, or be me in my everyday life.

I cried for what seemed like hours over several days … sobbing to Nathan, sobbing to the night, sobbing on my knees. I was desperate for some relief from this familiar pain that had returned (or rather resurfaced) to my soul and each day I woke up with that same heavy feeling in my heart, I wondered why?

Isn’t it supposed to get better with time? Aren’t I supposed to feel better about it … with Time? Shouldn’t I be on my way to “getting over this” and dealing with it? That’s what people keep saying or implying why isn’t it true for me?!

It’s been almost 3 years since our daughter passed away and was subsequently stillborn. 3 years. That’s over 1,000 days and I don’t know how many hours, and guess what? I still get sad about it, and I still find the week or 2 before her anniversaries to be the worst time of year. I hate the change in seasons, and find that even if I wanted to never think of it again, that’s actually not even possible. I feel in my soul and I know what’s coming.

I have found that whilst time has made it easier to live with (most days), some days it all just gets too much again. Some days I just become too tired of being strong, I become tired of being the one missing out on so many things because she never lived, and I get tired of pretending that i’m okay with that. I get tired of painting on a smile and not being able to have her in our life. And then, with all of that, something so small comes along and sweeps me over. It leaves me lost and feeling like there’s something wrong with me, and I get cross… why am I still feeling all of this? Why at 3 years is her birthday still so hard?

But you see there isn’t anything wrong with me, and I didn’t do anything wrong either. It’s not my fault that she died (though I have wondered this) and there isn’t anything mentally wrong with me either because I am still sad at certain points of my life as a result of that. I feel all of this every September because it is the natural result of carrying a child to term and then them dying before being born and really having life with you. It doesn’t mean i’m ill, lacking in faith, ungrateful for my other kids, miserable, or have a poor relationship with Jesus – it means I am human, and a mother living in a world with out my child!

But its easy to think there is something wrong with me, or maybe I am lacking something, when people tell you so much that “time is a healer”, or “I hope you can get over this and be okay”, and all along it still hurts… it still causes pain to remember. And then I find that to remember is also seen as a negative thing? Why wouldn’t I want to remember her?

It’s easy for me to think and even feel that I am lacking in something or not good enough because people avoid me or avoid asking how I am around this time of year and then wonder how after 3 long years and 1,000’s of days I am still not over it and still not “healed”.

But please tell me how you can get over your child dying and missing from everyday family life?

Please tell me how you can look at each passing year and birthday without a member of your family there to celebrate it, and then be okay about it?

Please tell me how is remembering them a weakness or a bad thing?

How is making them a part of our family so weird?

How is bringing them up in conversation so blumming awkward?

Please enlighten me on how it is such a weakness to cry and be sad occasionally about the fact my daughter was dead when I gave birth to her? And with that to know you missed a million things and more?

Please tell me why am I lacking in faith because I cried last week for days that she wasn’t starting nursery and her birthday is over looked?

What I wish people would say (or preach) to the bereaved is actually that time is not a healer at all, and that the truth is you won’t ever really get over it, but rather you WILL learn how to live with it. You will (and can) learn how to lead a happy and joyful life despite the pain of them not being in it. You will lead a new normal on a new path, that is filled with triggers of your loss and days of darkness all over again, but you will learn how to survive them and return to a functioning happy place once they pass. You will learn to see goodness in life and count your blessings despite the pain in your heart from one of your greatest blessings not being here. There will be days when the pain is barely noticeable, and people will breath a sigh of relief that perhaps we’re over it now and time has healed us, but with in a matter of days it can be all consuming again and a stark reminder that that isn’t true. That’s okay, there is nothing wrong with you.

I often want to ask “Isn’t my all functioning life, happy kids, adventures, poser pics, deep faith and joyful moments a testament that I am surviving and living a good life despite being sad?”

I wish people would realise that life isn’t easy to live with a piece of you missing, and yet I still do.

I wished they could see that however small they see a trigger of grief to be, it isn’t small at all. If its enough to make someone broken hearted all over again and sobbing, then that’s a big deal! They just need more love, more understanding, a listening ear and patience. The triggers are irrelevant, it’s not a problem to be fixed or solved because often you don’t expect them at all and so can’t help how you feel in any given moment or situation… we don’t need analysing, we just need love and compassion, and an understanding that any trigger is just more evidence, and a tell tale sign that the loss of a baby ripples into life for many years to come, therefore there is no quick fix for baby loss. We will not get over it, but with a good support system, we can learn how to live with it – through the highs and lows of life.

It doesn’t matter how many times we do the whole anniversary thing, the whole starting back at school thing, Christmas, family holidays, days out …. it doesn’t make it easier to know she’s not here with us. Time doesn’t make it easier to have a birthday and no child here to celebrate with. Time doesn’t make it easier to know that each year that passes so do so many days of no milestones or proud parent pics!

Time doesn’t erase that there are still so many unbought gifts, unwritten cards, uneaten cakes. It doesn’t erase having her not start school, or no presents under the tree for her at Christmas. Time cannot change the fact that we own a grave where she rests.

There are things I will never know about my 3rd daughter and things I will never get to experience with her, and because of that, I don’t know how I can ever get over those things? Each new year and chapter brings a minefield of emotions and triggers, and whilst I can see how I can learn to live with it in each moment, how I can lead a hearty life despite it being a part of our journey it’s still a struggle some days to have to pass through and tackle each one.

Yes I can see now how I can survive the waves of grief, however big and painful they are. But I am sorry, I cannot “get over” my child dying, and I don’t think I ever will or want to. I want to remember her, celebrate her if I can, and hold to the few memories we have of her being in our family.

One thing I have learnt from women far older and wiser than me, is that to have a happy life, you have to embrace that fact that you will never get over this, but you can learn to live with it!

Follow: