Saturday was such a random and far from ordinary day for me, and yet when you look at it, it’s such an Ordinary moment in the calendar for many bloggers! I finally attended Britmum’s live (a parenting blogger conference) down in London, where I had the pleasure of meeting lots of new people, familiar people and even famous people! I travelled down on the 5.30am train, and whilst anxious, nervous and exhausted, I was also VERY excited to go to a blogging conference I have had on my goals now for a couple of years and be kid free in London (Thanks Nath)!

I sometimes feel scared to call myself “a blogger” (or maybe embarrassed?), and therefore admit to the world that this is what I do. And not just what I do, but that it’s something that I thoroughly enjoy doing and am very passionate about too! I think people who don’t get blogging or blogs will never get it, and that’s why ordinary moments like blogging conferences are so great – you get to meet and be with people who love what you love/do, and you get confidence to say “Yes I am a REAL blogger!!

I love blogging and being a blogger because I love to share our story and my view of life (with all of my pains, experiences, adventures, bargains and ordinary moments). I love to write about loss and grief and hit it head on in a hope to educate, inform and break the silence of stillbirth and life without one of your kids. I love to share things people might think are awkward as well as documenting the day to day with parenting wins and fails, life as mum and the moments that make us cry, laugh and feel proud. I love to share my style, my interests and what makes me, well me !

I am a blogger – it’s what I do and what I love, and there is nothing more empowering and joyful than taking a trip to the capital to be in the presence of so many wonderful and inspiring people I have admired and become friends with online. People like me that have a love or passion and want to share it with the world too. People who share their stories, their adventures, their beautiful families and their highs and lows in their own unique way. People I see as friends that I can finally grab and hug, laugh and chat with, and brainstorm with whilst putting the world to rights! Being at a blogger conference is more than learning the tecchy stuff or eating gorgeous food (it was lush!), its an opportunity to be with friends and like minded people. Its filled with moments that empower and motivate you, and fuel you to go for it (whatever “it” is to you).

I have in the past been mocked, degraded and criticised for my blog. People have opinions, and sadly some of them aren’t kind. I am at times a sensitive soul and so even though I knew they were just opinions, they still hurt me and made me question myself and what I was doing. But I quickly realised that that is a few small people with their own view points, and bringing another person down (for whatever reason) is nothing short of mean! I write to help others, and I write because it brings me joy to focus on the good things in life despite the rubbish. I am grateful that the majority of people who see that as a good thing and something to enjoy with me and celebrate for our family.

I am a blogger and its cool what I do. Its inspiring and its a wonderful thing to have a passion (especially one that comes with rewards beyond that of the joy of writing it). Its something that helps me, whilst helping others. It’s an outlet, a journal of our big moments and ordinary moments, and a log of our life’s adventures together! I learnt a lot at Britmum’s live from YouTube experts to big bloggers, but I learnt most of all that London is a beautifully quiet place early in the morning, and contentment and confidence in the fact that I am a Blogger – Yes a real blogger, that loves to blog, be online and work with brands. I absolutely love what I do, I loved being with the people who get it and I love those (near and far) who support me in it! Blogging is great and there’s room for all.

The Ordinary Moments
Follow:

I am kind of stuck at the moment. Stuck with knowing if Alice is our last baby, or if we will go on and have another one (or 2). If you ask Nathan he will irrevocably declare “yes she is and we are DONE”! But for me it doesn’t feel that clear or easy even…For someone that has spent so long longing for another baby it seems so odd to ever feel like I wouldn’t want more kids. I always imagined myself as a mum of 6 kids. I don’t know why 6, it seems like a crazy mad number, but its an even number, and a number big enough to justify driving a mini bus!

There really is no greater feeling than that of holding a precious new baby, but then you quickly realise that being a mother/parent is far more stressful, and much more hard work than cooing over your new born all day.

You never imagine when you say how many kids you would like that you may face child loss, illness, financial struggle, or just realise how blumming hard and soul destroying raising a family truly is.

Of course it is wonderful too and there are lessons I have learn’t that only my kids and being a mother could teach me, (and the highs most definitely outweigh the lows).

I am now 32. I am a healthy woman who has thankfully had no struggle with getting pregnant. But then on the flip side of that, pregnancy has always being a massive strain for me. I have had hyperemesis, diabetes and undiagnosed SPD, along with one c-section, 2 bouts of PND and then a stillbirth. The toll on my body and mental well being has being evident and I could quite easily say “I’m done now” for all of those reasons, but somehow I don’t feel it yet.

I have brought 4 babies into this world, my body is not what it once was and with the cheek of my now 6 year old, I don’t know if I could cope with any more. But then there comes the growing up of number 4 and the packing away of baby things… the moments when there is so much joy and harmony in our family and I wonder – Could I do it again? Should I do it again? Another son would be nice… a little playmate for Alice would be lovely.

I seem to have had so many conversations and read a lot of blogs recently about “The final member of the family” as being the phase people all around me are in… its the “now our family is complete” phase, and planning the future minus babies, and every time I hear it, I ask myself “how did they know?”, “When will I know?”!!

The A-Z of being done!

I know that having a family is a very personal choice and between each couple. The number sometimes is as much a surprise for some as it is a choice for others, but thankfully some of my fellow bloggers have kindly shared their experiences of family planning and together we have come up with an A – Z of knowing when you’re done!! (Its a bit of fun really so hope you enjoy!).

 

A is for “Age” and realising that your child bearing years are a thing of the past!

Deborah from Country, heart and home

“We had six before deciding we were finished and after having really bad SPD with my last 3 we realised that hitting 40 meant it was time to call time on the baby factory!”

B is for Broody and not feeling it anymore

Chelle from chellemccann.com

“I knew after Jude – I’m so over babies and don’t coo at all anymore!”

C is is for “Complete” and knowing your family is just that

Zoe from Mama Geek

“When we had Lydia we just knew that our family was complete, and we haven’t changed our mind since. No regrets! I always wanted three but just had an overwhelming gut feeling that we were done once we took Lydia home. Both Georgie & Lydia’s pregnancies and births were difficult and the problems would likely to reoccur (and be worse) with a third pregnancy so it’s probably for the best anyway! My husband said he couldn’t face seeing me go through another pregnancy & labour”

D is for  “Doctors” and them advising it

Jen from Mum in the Mad House

“We were forced to be done due to a medical issue. We wanted four – ended up with two and those two took ten years, 3 miscarriages (twins at 20 weeks which was horrible) and a molar pregnancy.
There are only 14 months between the boys so it can be challenging and more children would have helped with their dynamic. I see this more and more as my best friend has four boys.
I have to say that there are days when I long for another child, however, realistically it will never happen. The husbeast is now in his 50’s and he would hate to go back to the baby stage.”

E is for “Everything baby” is now sold/gotten rid of and you are okay with that
F is for “Fate” and it deciding more or less than you planned/hoped for

Collette from We’re Going on an Adventure

“Dave wanted three until we’d had one and then decided we’d stick at two>
Fate won out in the end”

G I thought would naturally be a “Gut Feeling” (Which is covered in J&K) so another that came up was  “Guilt” & “Gratitude for Gods Blessings”

Lizzie from The Mother Diaries 

“I personally would love to have another but the biggest reason I wouldn’t is because I don’t want to upset the apple cart. God blessed us with two healthy babies and I feel lucky enough to have these two. My second reason is because whenever we consider it I feel guilty to the two we already have. My final reason is cost. Children are so freaking expensive! We want to tour the world with our babies and if we had any more children, it’d fill our hearts of course but it’d empty our pockets and our dreams to travel may not be possible”

H is for “Health” reason which are numerous (Physical or Mental)

Lucy from Real mum reviews 

“I know that my second baby will be my last baby. Before she was born I would’ve quite happily had more, but after getting Sepsis after her birth and being in hospital for 4 weeks I have decided I can’t risk my health again and need to be here for the two I’ve got!”

Kate from Family Fever 

“After 4 very difficult pregnancies and 4 C sections, my body is definitely done with growing babies. To have more would be risking my health, and that isn’t fair on the children we have already. My youngest was the only one of my babies who wasn’t whisked away to SCBU at birth, and that helped me to feel ‘complete’ and come to terms with the fact there would be no more babies.”

I is for “IVF” and not wanting to do it again…or not being able to afford that road

Amber from Meet The Wildes  

“We’ve had four so far – two sets of twins within two years. I don’t think we’ll ever be ‘done’ but we’re going in for one last baby this summer and then we’re going to focus our hard-earned pennies on something other than IVF for a bit; we just can’t afford more than five.”

J  is for when you “Just Know”

Jade From Raising the Rings

“I’ve had two and I just know I’m not done. I’ve always said I’d love three so I think mentally I’d feel like I was finished then although Jamie would be happy to have no more children. It’s one of those things when you ‘just know’ “

K is like J – you “KNOW”

Angela from Adventures in Websterland  

“You just know it in your heart I think. I had a 12 year age gap between having my 2nd and 3rd because I knew deep down I wasn’t done. After my 4th I just knew he would be the last it’s hard to describe the feeling.”

L is for “Limit” and reaching it (mentally/physically).

Hannah from Budding Smiles

“Essentially Toby destroyed my soul and Martha destroyed my body, but on a serious note, I look at photos of the four of us and I know that this is us, forever more. I love that.”

Louise from A Strong Coffee to Go 

“To be brutally honest if we had waited longer to have our third, we may have come to the conclusion we were done at two! I know some people find it easy, but I find three draining and expensive. I am too tired and broke to want anymore and I am happy with my little of band of boys and feel very lucky to have them.”

M  is for “Money” and feeling the burden of the cost of raising them

Mary- Kate from mummymemories

“I know that we are finished having children because we simply could’nt afford to have anymore, we want to be able to give the two children we do have the best possible life that we can afford to and treat them to football, ju jitsu, cricket clubs, ballet tap dance ect. If we had a third we would need a bigger house, a bigger car and we couldnt afford to do any extras, to be honest we couldnt afford a bigger house!!. I feel very lucky to have two children and even luckier to have 1 of each. Plus its hard having kids, my mum had 8 so I think that put me off having a big family. Second labour went all wrong with a cord prolapse and its not something I would want to do ever again. We have just got married and if one more person asks me if Im having another child I may scream at them. Its a stupid question that shouldnt be asked. Im looking forward to others having babies I can cuddle and give back!”

N is for when you get to your “Number”. Be it 1,2,3 or 10. You always just know that is the number you want and will feel complete at.

Colette (Again from Going on an Adventure blog ) 

“I always knew I was going to be mum to three but my husband wasn’t convinced. I never felt “done” after we had our second and though our third wasn’t planned and it took us a while to get used to the idea, I knew it was right. When she was born I just knew I was done, it was like someone flicked a switch. I don’t get broody any more, I love other people’s babies but have no desire to add anymore to our family. Three is our number.”

O is for your “order” is now complete

Beth from Twinderelmo  

“We always wanted three so after one boy – we had twins! This definitely signalled the end of our baby days!”

P is for when your “Partner” says no, and so unless you have one with someone else, it looks like your “done”!

Katie from Mummydaddyme

“I said that my second baby would be my last baby. She wasn’t. I said my third baby would be my last baby. Sadly I think he is going to be unless we a} win the lottery or b) I have one with someone else according to my husband.”

Clare from Mudpie Fridays

“I would love one but hubby is not keen now we have two (plus I have an auto immune disease which makes it difficult to conceive leaving to miscarriage and a whole host of issues in my last pregnancy). So despite being desperate for a little girl its not going to happen… sob.”

Q is for when you no longer “Question” it

Chermaine from Chammy IRL

“I didn’t expect to be done at one. I originally planned two or three and we tried for almost 5 years for a second. I then realised I was content with what I had, I didn’t NEED another and we worked well as a family of three.”

R is for Risk and not wanting to take it again (usually after a loss, complication or health issue)

Laura from Five little doves

“We knew that our last was our last, because although my family would never be complete, I knew that I couldn’t put my family, or my body, through the risk of having another”

S is for knowing it is “Sensible” to stop at where you are at

Chloe from Sorry About the Mess

“I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to tell when I’m truly ‘done’. I’ve called my third baby our final baby since the early days of pregnancy with him, because that is what my partner and I agreed. That was the plan. But I know in my heart I could always have space for more children, and I feel gutted to think that he is the last baby. We just had to draw a line under it, according to what was most sensible for our family”.

T is for Time… You’re in a new time and phase of life now

Mandi from Hex mum Blog

“I knew about six months ago that we were done, there has been 2-3 years between each of our seven children, so this is now the longest time I haven’t been pregnant in nearly 20 years! Our eldest is about to venture off to university and the youngest will be 4 in September, so no longer needs mum as much, our life stage has moved on and I certainly don’t miss the sleepless nights!”

U is for “uno” and that been your world

Rosie from Mummy and Boo

“I often get lynched for this but… I knew I was done the minute I had Boo, people often assume that because I have one child that I must want more – but the truth is I can’t imagine it ever being anything more or less than me and Boo”

V is for the “void” and knowing it has been filled

Hannah from The Simple Things 

“We have four little ones aged between 7 and (almost) 2 and when we had three I felt like a part of me was missing, even straight after our third Amy arrived. Now we have Ava I don’t feel like that anymore, I feel like our family is complete (that or I know I just couldn’t cope with any more chaos!)”

W is for “Work” and wanting to progress careers?

Laura from WaffleMamma

Whilst Laura still isn’t sure something she said stood out to me –
“There are so many reasons to draw a line under our baby days and move on as a family of four, like my bad back, anxiety, not being able to buy a bigger house, wanting to progress our careers again, start our own business and get some us time back. But then there are all the things we could have again like that exciting feeling of knowing you are creating a whole new person.”

X is for the years of  seeing a “X” telling you you aren’t pregnant and it just being too hard

Victoria from Verily Victoria Vocalises  

“I don’t think I will ever be done wanting babies but the one I am pregnant with now is definitely my last as I cannot see any other way. It has taken us nearly 4 years, 2 losses and 2 rounds of IVF to be able to complete our family plus I am nearly 46. Another one is so very unlikely.” 

Y is  “You” – You hate pregnancy and you aint doing that no more! Or like some of my friends maybe you want “you” back.

Michaela from Adventures of A Yorkshire Mum 

“After having my third baby (and also two miscarriages), I just couldn’t do it anymore. All of my pregnancies were horrendous – I hated every minute of being pregnant as I suffered with HG most of the way through each one. I ended up in hospital a lot due to dehydration and high blood pressure too. So for us we just knew that we didn’t want any more”

Z – zzzz You get used to sleep at night and never wish to go back to anything else

I have heard this said amongst other mum’s before and thought of it again with Mandi’s comment for “T”.

So there you have it. Where are you on the scale?

I would say that I am possibly at “P” but then who knows with time how either of us will feel. I don’t like to think that this is it but then like I say, some days I am at my limit! One thing that did stand out to me and resonated was that a lot of the mum’s I spoke to said that they don’t think they will ever be done, and some, although they had many reasons to be done, they couldn’t quite accept that either. I suppose health and Age will play a huge part for us all?

I also realised that with reading Gemma’s blog “Somewhere after the Rainbow” and Laura’s comment from Fivelittledoves (A couple of my faves), that in all of this that I could quite easily reach any number of these points and never feel my family is complete or ” done” because there will always be a member of our family missing from our home, pictures, and life.

Nathan says “No more” but I am not so sure. I am hoping that like the way I have always “felt” something about big choices, that with this one too I will just know!!!

How did you know?

 

My Petit Canard
Follow:

I began blogging about 2.5 years ago as a form of therapy and as an outlet. It was during in our 3rd pregnancy when we not only found out we were having another girl, but that she also had a serious form of congenital heart disease. Half of what we were told I had never even heard of and I could barely make sense of what was going on, let alone reiterate it to friends and family. I also found that life suddenly was heavy and the foreseeable future would be spent in hospital with major surgeries, followed by a life of uncertainty. It was awful, it was hard, it was nothing a pregnancy should be, and it was just all emotional.

It seemed to be a natural time to begin blogging as I needed a place to tell the details concisely to everyone without always having to repeat it, (and a place to let it all out). It was to be my space to share the highs and lows of life, and something to ensure I drew the positives from family life to maintain a sense of normality and balance – And so “The Hearty Life” was born.

It was less about image quality and more about just getting it all out. It created a channel of communication, but also as a way of focusing on our blessings despite the trial we were facing. It was a way to say how I felt when I couldn’t vocalise that to the people around me, and it was a way to release the ever building pains of our life! Sometimes it was the trigger for a day out instead of staying in, and sometimes it was just my journal.

 

header

As things progressed, and she was later diagnosed with a life limiting syndrome (Trisomy 18), and then later born sleeping, my world as I knew it began to collapse and was changed forever. My blog was now my life line.

I began to look for positives to write about…the beams between the clouds, but I mostly wrote about the pain of losing a baby at term; the darkness and loneliness of grief, and the struggles of never meeting her alive or getting to raise her with my other kids.

There were angry posts, desperate posts, raising awareness posts and down right sad posts.

Some posts offended people. Some posts helped and inspired people. And some posts seemed to be an invitation to people to tell me how I should I be handling my loss…

But as much as it upset me to have negativity and nasty comments, I didn’t care really because it was helping me to survive my loss. Writing it all down gave me a voice and a place to express it. It helped me, not only to show people what life after loss was and is like, but it helped me to try and make sense of what was going on in life. The loss of a baby cannot be fluffed up, and unfortunately that isn’t always easy for people to read. Grief has many elements aside from sadness, and that isn’t easy for people to read, but its not easy to live through it either, and unless you have experienced such a raw grief as that of burying your baby the week after their birth, I believe you have no authority to judge another’s journey or how they handle it. To not write it at fear of upsetting the people around me, and to not get that out would have certainly killed me.

WP_20150630_15_10_38_Pro
My blog helped me through the worst experience of my life, and each passing week and month it helped to navigate me slowly through the foreign lands of baby loss. It helped me to function as it was a place to focus my depleting energies into something I enjoyed – writing and taking pictures! Grief stripped me of everything yet my blogging helped me cling onto my passions and beliefs… it helped me to stay afloat by sharing the moments of joy we were still able to enjoy as family despite the crippling pain we were carrying. In a strange way it all made me feel a little better and see my healing journey, and yet it confused me that people were sure I shouldn’t be writing it?! Surly the benefits far outweighed the clumsy or angry words of a grieving mother?

From therapy to hobby…to passion

Blogging now is less focus about awareness and more about sharing my life and our family as a whole. Writing our story is one of my favourite hobbies, and the longest journal I have ever kept! Working with brands and online work, most certainly is a fabulous job and I have realised over the last couple of years that I just love to write; be it about emotions or our family life, a product, place or our adventures. I truly love it.

My blog has given me a way to really identify what my passions in life are, and to gain joy from experiencing and sharing them with others. Yes whilst it still includes a chunk about baby loss, grief and parenting after loss, (because this is still a major thing in my life), it is also a place to share my life as a mother and individual, my personal loves of theatre, food, style, bargains and just all of the little joys along the way that make life great (“hearty”!). To remove any of those would remove its roots, my beginnings, my journey and my life now.

I enjoy my connections with other bloggers and I have developed great joy in photographing and capturing moments and the things in life that make me smile! I adore reviewing places and products and working on campaigns with brands. I love it all from my musings to my reviews, because the bottom line is that through writing I have found myself in the darkest chapter of my life. I have gone from having a blog for therapy and in 2.5 years become a passionate blogger and content creator very much aware and confident in what in life make me happy and creates “The Hearty Life” for us!

20161230_164936

So everyday that an email drops into my inbox with an opportunity, or a fellow blogger or reader comments or tweets me, my soul does a little skip and happy dance because I am just so incredibly grateful for my blog and my life as a blogger. It is never something I saw myself doing, but it is something I now love and am very passionate about. I am especially grateful for my daughter Poppy, because having her meant that I chose to start it, and whilst her life is a tragedy in our history, this is her legacy…the way I keep her memory alive to the world. It is a good thing that has come from her brief life, to not only save me, help others and raise awareness of loss, but I see it as her gift to me and our family through the beautiful moments we can remember and the simply wonderful things we get to work on and experience together!

20160806_204122

Blogging in 2017

As I stand at the start of the road that is 2017, I am hoping to stop faffing with my ever changing header and colour scheme, and rather channel my efforts into improving my photography (and hopefully invest in camera)! I need to be better with my time management so that I can read more books on an evening (another goal I have) and not feel stressed over something I love so much. Oh, and I wouldn’t mind a dabble in video and vlogging too (though I cringe at myself with this one).

I wish for a year of more adventures, more fabulous opportunities (and little ones too) in the areas I love, and more connections in the blogging community. I have several specific blog goals regarding my stats and social presence, and some personal one too about travel, reading, being more stylish (ha), but overall from 2017 I want to feel this continued joy and satisfaction from my life as a mother, and of course a writer and blogger. I want to relish in the fact that something wonderful for me and my family grew out of something so devastating, and I would hope that the people that love us, see what a huge blessing that is.

I dont think I will ever (at least for the foreseeable future) stop blogging, tweeting, and writing about my life, our adventures and our loss…it is my passion now, and it is my life. This is me! Blogging is something that makes me smile and brings me a lot of joy, it reminds me who I am and what I love in life, and it is very special as it is a legacy to my daughter. I like that for the first time in my life that the majority of my personal, and “work” goals all intertwine in the same thing and can be accomplished by that same medium – My blog!

I am, for the first new year since she left, excited to see what 2017 brings to us and creates for us.

20161230_164805 (1)

 

Run Jump Scrap!
Follow: