Flowers speak so many things don’t they? They are a gift of love, of appreciation, of condolences and comfort, of congratulations, and generally just to make a room more pretty. I love receiving flowers because they make me feel thought of and always look so lovely and they never fail to make me smile however big or small!

But for me having fresh flowers in my life and home are more than just something I hope for on special occasions, rather they are one of my must haves for a feeling of joy and well being in daily life! They are a weekly (or fortnightly) gift to myself to brighten my home and lift my mood. I have my favourites (Tulips), but whatever flowers they are, provided they are fresh, they bring much loved colours and happiness to any corner of my home and life.

I often get messages from people asking what they can do for Mothers who sadly have lost their babies. I always find it so touching that they want to do something (anything), just to let them know they are thought of and loved at such an awful time! Whilst I have a whole post worth of ideas for this (yet to be published), I often want to also remind the friends and family of bereaved parents that help initially is always there in abundance, but it’s as time moves on that it’s also important you reach out. It’s a journey that you need to be in for the long run, because often as time passes, naturally people begin to forget that year after year there are certain dates that just make it all raw again. They forget that one of the “biggies” each year where support is needed is always Mother’s day!

Mother’s day is such a lovely day when you have kids around you or in your life. It’s so exciting to get the homemade cards, the bunches of flowers, chocolates, smellies, treats or Jewellery. It’s a beautiful, heartwarming thing to be remembered and shown appreciation for the love and work you put into raising a family and keeping a home.

But what about the mothers without their kids? The ones that never got to bring their babies home? Where is their acknowledgement and appreciation on a day dedicated to Mothers?

Give the Gift of Flowers

Flowers are a great gift at any time of year, they are a fantastic gift for our mothers, and especially as a gift to a mother without her child on Mother’s day. This date in the year for bereaved mothers is one of dread and anxiousness. Its another reminder of what they are missing, and it’s a day that feels really hard. Yes they are a mother…deep in their hearts every single day, but on the surface to the world they are seemingly not. It’s a day that screams to them “you have no child here… you don’t get to mother that baby”! For them mothers day lacks the hand drawn pictures and cards from your child, the scribbling name next to the others and the lovely treats chosen by the little ones. For them there is no acknowledgement of what it means to be a mother.

They miss out on the gifts, the cards and the brunch. But most importantly they are missing out on the little hands around their necks and gentle kisses on their cheeks – they are missing every tear, “I love you”, and cuddle that comes with being a mother.

My suggestion to anyone reading this, that knows of a mother that is facing mother’s day without their baby, is to send them something. Yes…why not send them a gift? And something so easy is a gift of flowers. You can order from the comfort of your home, with a personalised message and send them anywhere in the country or world even!

By sending a gift of flowers to a mother on Mother’s day you are acknowledging who she is on a day that seems more than ever to remind her of what she has lost. You are sending colour to her life and a vase of happiness to her home. It shows her that she is thought of, and her child is remembered! It brightens her home and lifts her heart, and helps her to take comfort in the knowledge that she and her child are not far from thoughts of others (as is sometimes the case in everyday life).

They are gift that will instantly lift the mood of the person you have sent them to, and bring positive emotional feelings to their day as you say “I remember who you are – Happy Mother’s day”!

Prestige Flowers have as many varieties of Mother’s day bouquets as there are mothers, so you are bound to find the perfect thing for that special mummy! They can be ordered in advance or last minute, and my favourite thing – they have some great offers on including Free Vases or Chocolates with some of their bouquets, and £10 -15 off some of them too.

So whether it is for your own mother, the mother of your kids, or a friend or relative that might be struggling this Mothers day because of loss – Why not send them a bright and beautiful gift of flowers right to their door. Let them know they are remembered this year, and help them feel acknowledged as a mother this mother’s day!

I am still very much enjoying the stunning bouquet that was sent to me last week with a few additions of a bear, vase and chocolates! When I saw them sat on my front step it was such a joyful delivery and has brought a lot of happiness to my home each time I see them – it made me think of all of those mother’s that might not get this this year!

*In Collaboration with Prestige Flowers

Follow:

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!

Follow:

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:

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: