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!

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Twilight books were a big part of our newly married life and whilst not a natural lover of fiction, I did enjoy them (a lot). Back in the day I would read them on a night when first married, whilst Nathan went to play football. It was a great balance for us to “do our own thing”! I thoroughly enjoyed each one and fell in love with the characters the anticipation of it all…the fight, power, love story/triangles, and then finally each of the films too!

These days Twilight may seem like a such an immature interest for a now 30 something mother – and it certainly feels like a lifetime ago that my thoughts were taken away to the land of Vampires, werewolves and romance with the Twilight books. But, with no WI-FI still here at the new house (BT issues!), I have resorted to watching films out of our DVD collection, and decided a couple of weeks ago that to re-watch the Twilight saga again would be both nostalgic and joyful!

One thing I failed to account for however is how different my life is now, and how emotional it would leave me feeling for days after. I never anticipated it would, and then it did! As a result I find myself in this frustrating cycle of being annoyed and sad all at the same time. Sad for how it leaves me, annoyed that there isn’t the same joy in the things that I once loved so much!! It, to me, is one of the most frustrating things about life after loss; it’s this feeling that things just aren’t the same anymore…simple things like a film I loved and made me so happy, suddenly becomes tarnished because they hold triggers and reminders of what I have lost and how much pain lies beneath the surface. I suddenly see them from a new angle…read deeper into them or are more easily overcome with emotion.

Almost 3 years on I mostly know my triggers and know the what to expect in certain situations. I know how to protect myself and when I need more strength for things ahead. I know when not to shy away so much, and just ride the waves of grief that will inevitably come, because it is what it is – my baby died and as a result I feel sad at certain things more than others. The hardest part though are these random and annoying moments…the one’s where I am unprepared, and especially when it is with things I felt safe with and once loved so much that are the trigger of all that reflection and sadness. Like I say, I really do find it to be one of the most frustrating and hardest things about life after loss. Its like trying to walk but always tripping. It’s learning to walk through life again!

I never imagined “The Twilight Saga” to one of these triggers though!! I never Imagined Twilight of all things to remind me so much that my baby died and life will never look or feel the same again!

I forgot that the song “1,000 years” was part of the finale – the same song we chose to carry our daughter out to at her funeral.

I never imagined I’d feel a connection to Bella fighting for the life of her unborn child.. and then wondering again if I did enough?

I didn’t think fictional tales of death would have me balling, because I knew how they felt now. Or that the constant talk of “immortals” would leave me wondering where my daughter is and thoughts of life after death (Deep I know!).

I realise as I write this, and I say it often to Nathan too that even if I wanted to forget the fact my baby died (which I don’t) I couldn’t! It is actually impossible to “move on” from something so significant and even traumatic in your life, because somewhere down the line there is always going to be something to remind you of those days and moments when it was all so fresh and raw. I realise that time teaches you how to live and function normally with the pain of loss, but that it doesn’t completely erase it – to do so would erase the love and longing to be with them again.

I never anticipated a much loved film series would be the source of such great reflection and therefore become a trigger for my grief. I thought it was safe, but unfortunately this is one of the bigger frustrations and battles of life after loss and living with a new normal. You suddenly exist in a place where joy and sadness’s are suddenly intertwined and where your eyes see things, and you heart feels things, so very differently than before. I exist in a place where my daughter did die, and because of that loss in every fibre of being, something will always remind me and things will never be the same again, and that’s often a hard pill to swallow!

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I really thought I had another week before I would be publishing this post, and then yesterday I was reminded that in actual fact little Alice is 11 months old today – oh how my heart broke a little!

This milestone has crept up on me and I don’t think I am actually ready for the next 4 weeks, and subsequently the countdown to her turning 1. I suddenly feel at that stage where you look at your baby and realise they soon will no longer be a baby, but instead a toddler. I can’t believe how fast it has gone and especially with these last few days of sunny weather, it seems 2 minutes ago that it was July 2016 and we were having her. I am genuinely sad to be saying goodbye to having a “baby baby” and my baby becoming a tot.

These last few weeks Alice has really amazed me with her development and has made a lot of progress. On Saturday after lots of whining, she realised she did in fact love the beach and spent ages splashing with the kids and stomping in water with Grandma. It was such a beautiful day, and she was absolutely shattered after a day in the sun and playing on the beach with family, and I am so glad she finally chilled out!!!

This last week or so we have also witnessed her victory on several occasions of conquering the stairs, followed by signing “food”, “more” and “Mummy” on a regular basis, and now clapping of hands too. She is a speedy confident crawler and is constantly pulling up on things and taking the odd steps towards cruising around the furniture too. She is slowly getting better with Nathan and I leaving the room, when previously she would be almost sick with screaming and tears. But mostly it is a lot of whimpering and crying when either of us are out of sight, and we roll our eyes a little at her neediness (Sorry Alice).

I am trying to adapt to her more needy nature and snuggly personality, which for a while now has been at times wearing. I realise that breastfeeding and wearing her so much in her first 9 months have created a great bond and attachment, but I struggle with the fact she screams her head off and becomes distressed if she’s not next to Nathan or I. Grandma’s, Aunts and others have the same effect and its only ever us she wants, which of course makes it impossible to go anywhere or do anything without her right there next to you!

The other day she spent a good 20 minutes nestled down on my chest and cuddling, and it was lovely and really nice, it was also a moment I realised in that she is different to the others, and I shouldn’t try to change or fight that. Whilst she plays silly with them, she obviously needs more closeness and feels safer and more content snuggled (or at the very least close) with Mum and Dad! I do love that she loves us so much, and over her short life with us it has been most healing to have her gentle, loving personality in my life, but on the flip side it gets rather wearing too to not be able to just get on with things! I hope we can build her up to being okay left a little while with family at least for things like dates or even just a walk!

So yes – just 4 more weeks and our little rainbow will be a whole year old. It’s the first time we haven’t talked about another baby in the next few months and the first time I have really felt the sadness of losing these baby days with age. Usually I am excited for the next stage and looking forward to them getting bigger and finding independence, whilst developing their little personalities and loves in the world around them…and whilst I do look forward to all of this with Alice it almost opens that wound a little more that I don’t have a baby anymore. It feels very weird to let that go of that and allow her to grow up in to the toddler stage. She has papered over the cracks for so long that its hard to think of life without me having my little baby and instead one of chasing around a quickly growing tot called Alice!

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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
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