I found myself using the analogy of a magnifying glass this week to try and help a friend see how Mother’s day felt for me since losing our daughter Poppy at term in 2014. I used to think as each date passed that it would feel like an accomplishment, that it would suddenly enable me to more easily face the next one, and one after that, and so on. But instead I find that the passage of time just magnifies the loss more and brings home to me the ripples of our loss for the remainder of our lives.

It is always the time of year where I am constantly reminded by other’s to “look at how blessed I am with my other children”, to which I want to just scream! Such a comment implies that because I grieve for my 3rd child on such occasions (and every day) that I am somewhow ungrateful for my living children? It’s such a ridiculous thing to say! It’s as if Ethan, Megan and Alice make up for the fact Poppy died… or that my love for Poppy isn’t valid and would be best shared amongst each of my living kids instead!!

The truth is that yes I am a mother to 3 living kids – I know that, because it is my life! I birthed them, adore them, and I am a stay at home mum to them. Each of my children is unique and special just as every child in the world is. But neither can replace or make up for the other because they are individuals, each with their own unique character and interests, each with their own place in my heart and in our family. And so Mother’s day isn’t a failure to see what is right in front of me, it is rather a magnification of what I have and have also lost.

This day, just as Poppy’s birthday and other significant dates, are bitter-sweet, and will forever be hard for me – not because I don’t see what I have, but because that doesn’t make up for what I have lost.

Mother’s day brings lovely moments where I sit sleepy eyed on the bed with my now 3 tiny gorgeous faces glaring at me in sheer delight. Handmade gifts, cards, flowers, chocolate and pictures; all eagerly handed over and each one excited to see my joy for all they have given me. I am showered in loved, but I am fighting and battling with the soul wrenching pain that another year has passed without knowing, raising and holding one of my precious little babies. I miss the cards from her, the pictures she might have drawn, the scribble of her 3.5 year old signature!

In short Mother’s day magnifies our blessings. But it equally magnifies our loss, and that is something no-one should be shamed over!

Magnified Blessings

Mother’s day is a great day to stand up and be proud that I am a mother! To relish in my motherhood and feel so immensely proud that I have 4 beautiful children. I am 33 and I have 4 kids – it’s nuts, but its brilliant too.

I love that Mother’s day is a great time to reflect on the excitement and anticipation we felt leading up to their arrival – the days we decided it was time to grow our family and how each one is such a lovely blessing in our lives. I love that I am their mother, and I love that I know them. I am forever changed for the better because of that. And so I love that on this day, out of all of the others, we get to be high-fived for our efforts and made to feel so special!

I love to think of how blessed we are with our own mothers and grandmothers and the amazingly strong women in generations before that too (that somehow impact me now as a mother), and I love to think of their sacrifices and examples to me of faith, courage, and strength.

Being able to be a mother, and know such great mothers is such a wonderful blessing in life, and I love how this day enlarges that reality and blessing. I love how I have time to be grateful in the fact that raising my kids, whilst challenging, is also a lot of fun!

Mother’s day is certainly a day to magnify our blessings and feel proud in what we do!

Magnified Loss 

But I am also a mother to a child that isn’t alive and that concept is something I can never get used to. I miss her everyday, and whilst some of those days are more gentle and I am able to function and feel great happiness and sunshine, on other days the storms rage and I can’t see for the fog!

I always find that Mothers day rolls around and magnifies these foggy feelings and our loss – It’s approach brings a lot of anxiety and sadness, and I find as it is a day that celebrates Mothers and Motherhood, what is to celebrate when the child isn’t here? When the world only chooses to see who is here and now, and not who has died and is missing from all of these moments, I find myself closing up and wondering how I make my motherhood to her a tangible and living thing still.

In a nutshell Mother’s day magnifies my loss because it suddenly reminds me of my own motherhood, and my inability to mother my 3rd child because she has passed away. It’s a day where it suddenly feels more intense, and the hole in my heart feels wider and bigger, the gap in our family is enlarged, and as I see pictures of other mother’s, with all of their children and celebrating their day, and my smiles are turned to stinging tears because my loss suddenly feels so huge and obvious again.

I become frustrated that I haven’t got those pictures of me grinning with my 4 beautiful kids, and I never will.

I haven’t nursed her, taught her, played with her or had the adventures and snuggles like I have with her siblings. I left  the hospital that Sunday night numb and heartbroken that she had gone before we could meet her, and I left that same hospital on her birthday empty handed and never to be the same again! I have carried that pain ever since, and no matter what I do it’s always there hovering beneath the surface.

And so now I look at Mother’s day, and whilst my blessings of 4 wonderful children are very apparent, and my love for them and hard work is acknowledged, I sit and wonder how the heck do I validate myself as her Mother when she isn’t here and few people even knew of her?

I want more than anything on these days for everyone to know I have had 4 kids, and that my amazing body made, carried and birthed each of my precious babies. I want them to see and know that even though there seems to be 3, there are in fact 4. But somehow stillbirth still creates an awkward barrier to that truth, and I back away and feel like I am weird or something. That feeling then feels like a scream that I want to shout out and tell the world that I am a mother to 4, proud of each one. I want to shout out and say that whilst I grieve I am strong, because life is incredibly hard to live without one of your kids. And yes, even though the others make it a happy and fun journey, full of wonderful and blessed moments – it is hard to have number 3 missing from them. And it’s hard to always fight for them all to be remembered, and for me to be validated as a mother of 4!

So how do I feel about my 4th Mother’s day after loss? Well I welcome the day to feel treasured by my little family, and look upon my blessing to hold the title of “Mother”, but I also dread the day because it hurts and enlarges all I have lost in our precious Poppy – another reminder of the ripples of loss!

There are mother’s all over the world that will be reading this and know exactly what I am saying. But there are also the mothers who unlike me, don’t have other kids to celebrate their motherhood with on this day. They don’t have the “other kids” to bring smiles and soften the blow of a painful reminder of loss. These Mothers need the acknowledgement more than ever – the chocolate, the flowers, the “thinking of you” momentos to say “YOU ARE A MOTHER TOO”!! But more so what they need, and what we all need, is some acknowledgement – Acknowledgement of our missing child. It is one of the greatest gifts one can receive and they need that often because they are mothers, and their children are real. They now have so much love and longing that can never leave, and it will always hurt. Yet despite that, they/we are still standing strong and surviving every single day without our beautiful babies here!

So “HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY” to all of you Mothers – may the day be gentle and kind!


I wasn’t planning on a post today – or tonight even. I was yesterday, about something completely different, but I was far too busy to do anything about that. And so, here we are tonight.. alone in the kitchen with my thoughts, and making a sneaky snack whilst the house is silent (there’s a first!). And so of course I’ve reached for the laptop to blog, and well… basically brain dump to you all!

I don’t really know where I am going with this, other than to share with you all that I have felt troubled for the last few days. Yes troubled and weighed down (and a little heavy too). I have felt overwhelmed with all I am doing and are responsible for, and just generally in need of a mega rest. Subsequently I have spent many moments questioning what my priorities need to be and if I need to cut something out? or of it will even make a difference?

I still don’t know the answer to that, or if it really is the solution to what I feel. You see I think I know why I am so melancholy and irritable. It’s the same reason it always is – the fact that I feel this way comes down to, and always seems to come back to, the fact that I carry a burden daily of loss. Yes some days I carry that better than others (with ease really) but still it is a daily thing and some day’s it’s far from easy!

I feel at the moment that I am in a place where I wonder where the peace is? Where did the ease go that I felt a few weeks ago with this? and why do I feel this torture more so some days? why can’t I get a grip or rather just a break from it all?

I do not get how you heal when a part of you is missing? It just doesn’t make sense, and as much as I try, and seem to make progress, something happens and I am right back to “poor old me” and feeling the strain and unfairness of it all again.

I don’t want to get over “it” and move on, because to me it means we move on from her and that isn’t really an option! You cannot possibly move on in life from someone you love. But I do want to feel lighter, and I don’t want to keep feeling weak, and feeling like a missing part in life. I don’t want to keep pretending on days I feel rotten, and I am tired of feeling vulnerable and tender on a regular basis because we are bombarded with one trigger or reminder after another.

Some days I feel great and life feels almost normal to me, and then on others I feel so tender, delicate and generally overwhelmed so easily by the things I once bore with ease.

I want to remember her – our 3rd little girl. But I don’t want to accept this, by putting on a headstone to see for reals that in there is my daughters body. The body I grew and fought so hard to save, but that I failed at! The body I only held briefly and never kissed enough. I don’t want to see the name we never get to speak without awkwardness, but then I want to acknowledge her existence and reality to us!

I don’t want to acknowledge it, but then I do.

I want to talk about her and remember her, and I want to forget the trauma of it all.

I want to remember she existed and what she brought to our life and family. But I want to forget how she never took a breath, and how I had to birth her body with no life.

I want to remember how she looked so similar to Megan, and yet I want to forget that I will never know if she would have the same characteristics.

I want to remember her every day, but I want to forget the pain that that brings.

I want to remember the facts of her life, her illness and condition. And of course I want to forget how poorly we were treated and how she was never given a chance!

But I cannot forget any of it. Because I want to remember. And this – every painful part, is her story, and therefore our story. It is what makes me me now. I have hard days. I have overwhelming days. And days I cannot bear to remember what I saw and went through. And whilst I may never be able to accept and be okay with the fact my daughter died, I love her and so I live each day, as best as I can with that missing part. I have hope there is a purpose in it. I hope there will be far more days of Joy and peace to come to us and return as they have done, to give us a rest. But mostly I hope we never forget, because I want there to be purpose in the pain and I want to remember that I birthed an Angel!

I want to remember, but for the sheer overwhelming feelings of pain and grief that that brings, some days I just want to forget!


As I sat in church on Christmas eve (morning), singing back to back carol’s and hymns, my heart began to ache and I felt tears well up into my eyes! I had to stop, as I knew that if I sung one more word about Angels and such, that I would quite possibly lose it, and I wasn’t ready to do that!

I said in my December family update that I had been grateful for the busyness of the season and our involvement with “Light The World” because it had kept me distracted from my own pains and grief that naturally come from having one less child with us at Christmas time! I felt like this year I was very much on autopilot with our stuff, and kept busy with everything I had filled my days with, that I rarely let myself think of the “What if’s” and “Should be’s”, and really feel anything about the fact we had another Christmas with out her!

All of those things that dull the sparkle of Christmas because of the death of one of our kids, were pushed into the back of my mind and I was determined that this year would be different. But it wasn’t really, because then when my guard was down on Christmas eve, and in a moment when everything was bought and wrapped, and projects complete, my heart had time to feel it, and my mind time to reflect on what another Christmas without her (our little girl) really meant.

And it was hard. Really hard. All too much you could say!

I guess at the time it was a good strategy to keep preoccupied and caught up in giving to others. And I loved it. Every moment… I was all for giving of myself to others and the Joy that I knew would come from giving, and I know it did a lot of good. I felt so joyful, and it was lovely!

But then there were moments that my temper became frayed and things felt a bit too much. Days when I felt fragile and done in, and days I had to take a deep breath and really prepare myself to get through it! There were moments when my mind reflected on Poppy and that it was another Christmas with out her, and then moments when I felt annoyed at myself and Nathan that we hadn’t made time sooner to go decorate her grave, and I realised (whether consciously or not,  that I was merely doing a good job of pasting over the cracks and “getting on with it”!

This year we opted for some gold butterflies on her grave. I spent ages in the Christmas section of “The Range” that day, trying to find the perfect decoration, but all I felt was irritation that what I was buying for my third child this Christmas was some naff decoration to put in a cemetery to be weather worn! I felt anxiety that it had to be right, and nothing quite was!

And so Nathan’s mum bought me 2 hooks and we settled on some sparkly gold butterflies…. because technically they weren’t on the grave at all but gave a feeling of life above it! I tried to make an arrangement, but that too didn’t feel good enough, and It was in these moments that I realised that another Christmas without her was just as hard as the others. Just as unfair and sad!

We had hung her decorations on the tree, bought some little Angel wings to add to them, and decorated her grave, and with that it was all we could do. No Christmas stories snuggled in bed, no madness with her siblings, and no gifts with her name on… all small and little private moments in a desperation to include her in our Christmas, that just felt sad and somewhat unfair! We had gone through the motions and as I stood to leave her graveside I again wondered how the heck did we become the ones with a baby in there and not here!

When you have lost a child, Christmas leaves you feeling divided. In one moment you want to be excited, and we very much were, but then in others you feel incredibly sad and lost again, and it feels unfair they are not here making memories with you. You wonder as you watch your other kids in excitement – “What would Poppy have loved?”. And it is moments and thoughts like that, and moments where we sing of Angels and little babies on silent nights, that make me so annoyed. Annoyed that I don’t know her in that way, and annoyed my baby was born dead…and I never had any of what I wanted with my sweet little baby! I missed opportunities over and over again to celebrate Christmas, and see her enjoying the lights and festivities of the season! I missed her 1st, 2nd and now 3rd visit to see Santa, and missed knowing what she would most wish for under the tree on Christmas morning!

And yet even with all of that in my soul, we just carry on as normal as we can, because that’s all we know how to do. And also because I know that if I didn’t, I think I would break some days!

Christmas affected me quite a bit more than I thought it would when I was in the highs of the season (for there were still many). And then it also caught me again as we welcomed in a new year. It was that turning point (and it always is)… the moment where the memories you made, the things you bought to remember, or the feelings you felt, are all now gone and wrapped up in another year. Any progress you made is almost irrelevant because you move forward like everyone else and you find that you are another year away from them, and that in itself is a hard pill to swallow!

Yes another year closer to seeing them again, but another year away from when you last held them, saw them, and had them here. And I have always found New Years rather tough for that feeling!

With a new year comes new opportunities, and fresh starts but it also brings anxieties and fears where great loss is. The dread of another 12 months of anniversaries to navigate. Another year of family things without them here. Another year with new triggers and reminders, and more time passing and life moving on from when you last saw them.

And this year – A 4th birthday and talks of school next year that are all gone too.

On Christmas day I shed some tears in frustration that you were not here again. I gazed out of the window and wished with all my heart I could have felt you closer. I shared some moments of reflection with other family members about your brief life and how some days I have to remind myself because it feels like a bad dream and I am scared to forget. But mostly it was that all familiar feeling of a missing piece of our family when paper was ripped from gifts, and when the kids table was set. The familiar gap only we notice when we posed for family pictures.

Yes we survived and even celebrated with great joy another Christmas without you, and in some ways it was easier with the eagerness of your siblings. But in many other ways it was just as hard and heart wrenching to not see your smile, hear your voice, see your excitement, and have you here with us!


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!