*** Contains images of baby loss that some may find distressing***

Baby loss awareness week is so important because it is a time to remember all of the babies gone too soon. I wanted to remember these special babies this week and allow their stories to be told.

I think in the moment, you know, that moment when people find out that their friend or family members baby has died, most people can understand how hard and absolutely horrific it must be. They can imagine the nightmare those parents are having to live. But, with the passing of time, and as the bereaved parents adjust to a new normal, I believe we are not always so acutely aware of the long term effects that baby loss has on individuals and families.

This post came about as I wanted to highlight that for you all, during this years Baby loss awareness week. It is called “My loss Then & Now” and I have decided to try something new – I wanted to share with you some of my friends stories and loss experiences who I know from the baby loss community, and allow them to share with you how their loss/grief was back then, compared to how it is now so you can see and be aware of the long term.

The Loss of a Baby…

Loss, and its subsequent grief affects us all in different ways. Men and women grieve differently, and different personalities grieve differently. Loss affects people so differently, and where for some It can enable and motivate them to change the world,  for others it can disable them in all the try to do. Grief can be triggered by lots of things and then triggered by nothing. For some it can come in waves and for others they can feel like they are constantly drowning. Some remember with fondness where others see only pain and sadness.

There is no right or wrong way –  no time scale – baby loss is personal and people respond to it in their own personal ways.

The loss of baby is such a foreign thing for those who face it though – it is a living nightmare and it goes against the grain and what we know to be the circle of life! With the death of a baby, death comes before life has even been experienced and as such it is a unique loss in comparison to others. That joy of a new baby and parenthood isn’t just lost and tarnished, but a whole life time or hopes and dreams are gone. I think that wherever we  are at in life, and however we grieve this loss, we cannot deny that those who have been touched by the loss of a baby are never the same again. And yet whilst we are changed, we also evolve, and with that so does our grief. We are not forever stuck in that debilitating rawness forever (though at the time it may feel so), as grief changes over the years, so do we in how we carry it.

I have been thinking about the shift in grief over time and our ability to evolve and learn how to carry it. It was all of this that made me decide to highlight the effects of baby loss through others stories, because I know from years of attending SANDS and my own experiences, that grief does change and we do gain the strength to carry our loss in a more confident way, but does it ever really leave us?

I know that Some would believe so as I often hear the old favourite of “time is a healer” which often falls so easily from peoples lips, but is it really?Or does time only enable you to carry your loss in a less awkward and upsetting way?

Is it always going to be there and do we just know how to handle and live with it better through the years?

Please read on and meet some of my lovely baby loss friends and hear for yourself their honest and raw experiences as they illustrate this. We hope that if you are going through loss it will be a support and bring hope in some way, and if you havent, that you will gain a little more insight into the long term effects of losing a baby.

This year I wanted some  awareness of how much baby loss really affects us. I want you to be aware that whilst grief shifts, and people seem to be doing well; the pain, memories and longings for your child as a result of losing a baby will never really leave you. You are changed forever, and a part of them is always going to be with you. These stories are evidence of that…evidence that however good life seems, it’s like there is always something (or someone) missing – and that hurts!

My Loss Then & Now 

Chris Binnie – Henry’s Dad  

Our son Henry was stillborn at 38 weeks on Friday 2nd May, 2014 at 9:05pm. He had a full head of hair and very big feet. He was small, at 4lb 13.5oz, but perfectly formed. In the early days, weeks, and months, our grief was very raw. I had some really dark days – days where I didn’t think we could survive, and days where I didn’t want to survive any longer. As a bereaved dad, I especially wrestled with the sense that so many people overlooked my grief, thinking that as a man I’d be strong and just ‘get over it’. You don’t ever ‘get over’ the loss of your child though. Over time, while our grief has never gone away, we’ve learnt to live with it as a part of our lives every day. One thing I’ve realised over the years is that grief is not a straight-line progression. The whole thing is an absolute rollercoaster, and it’s okay to have bad days. It’s okay not to be okay. If you have days where all you do is survive, that’s okay too. Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day that whispers “I will come again tomorrow”.

This journey is your journey and yours alone. There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to live this. You just do whatever you need to do to survive. For me, it’s been charity work and trying to support others through it, or better still, improve care so that less families walk this path in the first place. Find what works for you. You’ve got this. Remember one thing though: however isolated you feel, you don’t have to walk this path alone. I will walk it with you.

Chris works for the Yorkshire charity “Our Angels” and speaks at many trainings and events to help improve care. He also blogs about he and his wife Briony’s loss journey at pinecones and study days and has recently been nominated for “Inspirational father” at this years butterfly awards

Emma – Charlie’s Mum 

Our precious boy was born on the 19th April 2008 at 4.15pm, a moment in time that changed my life forever. He was our much wanted 3rd child but for reasons unbeknown to us he didn’t get to stay here and grow up as part of our family.

Losing our boy is the single most painful moment in my life and in the early days I was not sure I would ever smile or laugh again. I’m glad to say I was wrong. Slowly, life began to take on a “new normal “ – a life I never expected but one that I had to learn to survive. I live everyday carrying around my grief. I think of my grief as a huge, heavy, invisible backpack. I wear it on my back every single day and even though no one can see it, I feel it’s heavy burden. Over time this backpack has not got any smaller or lighter, my grief is still all there but what has changed is me. I have become stronger, I have learned how best to carry my grief so although I still carry it everyday it doesn’t seem so heavy now and I am used to carrying this load.

The loss I feel at living everyday without my son has not lessened but I know that I am strong enough to carry it with me and in some ways I now find comfort in this. Charlie is with me every step of my life, he lives in my heart, my constant companion and the reason I am who I am today.

Emma set up “Our Angels” charity in January 2009 – a support group for those affected by the loss of a baby in Harrogate and surrounding areas. In 2012 Our Angels won the nhs Best improvement in patient experience and in October 2015  and Emma won the Harrogate and district volunteer of the year – this award then lead to her getting an invite to the Queens garden party at Buckingham palace in May 2016 – all in Charlie’s memory. 

Claire – Alexandra’s Mum 

Then:

Alexandra was my first pregnancy. My first baby. My first daughter. She was the first grandchild to my parents and my in-laws. She was everything we had hoped and planned for however; our plans went somewhat awry.

My pregnancy lasted 42 weeks. We’ve since found out that my first midwife hadn’t followed the up-to-date guidelines regarding induction and had miscounted the days and booked me over the limit by a day. Not that that day mattered to our outcome. At some point in the last 4 weeks of pregnancy my placenta had stopped working properly and I didn’t know. No-one would’ve known really. The only tangible reason (that was still a maybe in our report) was VUE (villitis of unknown etymology). Had Alexandra been born at 38 weeks; odds on she would’ve been ok.

I’ve written about my pregnancy and what happened during her short life before (https://afteralexandra.co.uk/2018/05/25/the-story-of-alexandra/) however I’ve never really compare my then (when we lost her) to now: a family of 4 but without our 1.

I was utterly shell-shocked. Some days I couldn’t believe I’d woken up each morning. I honestly thought my heart would stop. I was broken. Bringing home my baby should’ve been the easiest thing to do – after all I was low risk and my pregnancy had basically been fine. I was astounded that this should happen to me. I was even more compounded that we didn’t have a definitive reason. I was terrified of having a post-mortem in case that they could prove it was my fault. I truly believed it was my fault even though I had followed all the advice to the letter.

When we left hospital the Indian summer was in full swing. I was waiting at the entrance for Andrew to bring the car round to pick me up and I was angry that the sun shining; surely it should be raining and thundering and lightning. Pathetic fallacy right? I felt pathetic; empty and as if I would fall off the earth at any moment. How dare the world carry on and look so beautiful?

As the days turned to weeks it was just survival. Get through an hour; a day; a week. The second half of 2015 was truly awful as I lost my Grandma then my baby girl and then my Grandad in the space of 3 months. It was ludicrous that so much heartache was deluged on me at once. I’m still amazed that somehow my body didn’t give out.

Our counselling in the community from Martin House Children’s Hospice was a major factor in keeping us afloat.

And Now?

We have another little girl called Ophelia who is about to turn 2. We talk about Alexandra regularly. I’ve been like a “normal” Mum and got their names mixed up sometimes. I’m practised at answering the small talk questions. I go to SANDs meetings when I need to and sometimes when I don’t because I may unknowingly need that top up a week down the line. I follow a lot of bloggers and have recently started my own. I read a lot about baby loss and realised that I wasn’t bonkers; others felt the same way.

The dark clouds have parted but it took a long time to do so. The shell-shock returned when not only was Ophelia born fine despite some jaundice but she actually came home. I didn’t know what to do. I was terrified of getting too close too quickly in case we had to go into crisis mode of deciding treatment levels, when to turn off machines etc. She looked so much like in Alexandra on her profile that sometimes I couldn’t bear to look at her. Other times I couldn’t put her down as the last baby I put down in a cot was for Alexandra when I had to leave her behind.

Again it was a case of time. No new Mum really knows what they’re doing and we all have to learn on the job. I just had another layer of fear. We survived that first year with Ophelia.

I’m better at recognising when the Black Dog is coming to town and acknowledging the visit and taking better care of myself. I’ve set ground rules for myself. If something is going to be too hard for me; then I will politely decline.

I’m not afraid of talking about Alexandra; I’m better at judging who deserves to hear about her. In some ways I’ve got thicker skin in the sense that things that used to bother me just don’t know. There are other things that will really upset me now; the assumption that I’m somehow fixed because we’ve had another baby. Or someone getting the glazed look when I talk about Alexandra. Or people not remembering Alexandra’s birthday or acknowledging her existence. Or someone not interacting with Ophelia when she’s a pretty awesome; happy; cheeky and fun kid to be around.

What I do find frustrating now is when I try to explain that something might still be challenging for me the  response is “oh well it’s better now.” I may be “better” in terms of not sobbing day after day; night after night; but I’ve never going to be fully healed: my baby still died in my arms. I still had to organise her funeral and I still have a child missing out on all that life has to offer. That child will always be missing from her cohort. I see the group that she should’ve been hanging out with and I see the gaping whole.

How is life different? I’m better at making decisions in terms of what I’ll put up with. I know how to remove myself from situations that will be upsetting (for the most part!) and this experience has probably made Andrew and I more honest with each other.

Alexandra made me a Mum. I’m Ophelia’s Mum too. I have to be their Mummy in very different ways but always being their biggest ally and biggest fan.

Claire is involved with Leeds Sands and writes about her journey at After Alexander

Jess – Leo’s Mum 

Leo died at 37+1, and was our first son. He had a head full of fair hair and really big feet. He should be here, with us now. But he isn’t. And that will always hurt.

I guess I would say that the acuteness of grief has softened but the confusion around it all absolutely comes in waves and still baffles me to this day. As he “gets older” I’m more longing to know what he would have been like, and can’t really relate the Leo that should be to the Leo that we knew – I think that makes me miss him more. The trauma of it all has absolutely been a particular challenge this year, and I think the distance allows me to not explain away or “Make okay” things that I did in the early days, and I am left questioning and repeating it all so much more.

Jess blogs at The Legacy of Leo and runs a twitter chat every Tuesday 8pm til 9pm via the #Babylosshour 

Shayen’s Mum

At the beginning, I honestly didn’t know how I was going to get to the next day. I didn’t see how life could carry on. Feeling suffocated by grief was an awful feeling. It doesn’t just go away. Like one day you don’t just wake up and feel better… it’s with you all the time. You just learn how to cope with it. People say that you become a different person and I think this it true. The person I was before Shayen has gone. I’m a new me because you cannot just get on with life in the sane way after a loss like this. Everything changes.

And finding ways to cope was key for me. Meditation, Reiki, aromatherapy, yoga… all of these things became my coping mechanism.

Shayen’s parents recently featured with me on Channel 5’s “Stillbirth – Still a taboo”    

 

*Thank you so much to all of these brave parents for sharing their beautiful babies, their personal stories and emotions, and for their continued efforts to make a change for the future! I am so grateful for each of you and incredibly humbled by your journeys and part in ours! 

If you are affected by anything in this post please contact do me or your local Sands / Sands.co.uk – there are many sources of help and support from people who know how you feel following the loss of a baby.

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This week is no ordinary week. Today marks the beginning of “Baby Loss Awareness Week” (ending on the 15th with the wave of light) and all over the world people are speaking out more. They are talking more, remembering more, and doing more to raise awareness of the impact of baby loss – at any stage. It is a week where we can stand up and say “that was me – I am the 1 in however many whose baby never came home”. It is a week where it is more seemingly okay than ever to talk about baby loss and the changes it brings to a person’s life/future.

This week people pledge to do more and want to make a change – all in a hope that another family doesn’t have to face the debilitating grief of losing a baby in the future!

Each year baby loss awareness week brings moments of both deep reflection (and regrets too) for me. I reflect on the fact that I am the 1. I reflect on the fact that this week dedicated to loss, actually means something to me now, and I reflect on how massively different our lives are because one our babies died 2 days before her due date. I also reflect on the regrets I have – regrets I haven’t done more to make a difference and regrets I have that I haven’t yet changed the world in her memory (the latter of which I know now is completely okay!).

Baby loss awareness week is also a time of year when social media is filled with so much about losing babies, and people sharing their stories, that I cannot help but talk too; or at least think about our experience. This post however isn’t one of those of retelling my story again – I said in the Summer that I was stepping away from that, and I also realise that it doesn’t particularly help to make a difference when I am only telling others what they already know. Yes it sheds light on something horrendous that we went through, and at the time telling my story certainly helped others to see our journey of loss and grief, as well as helping me to make sense of it. But I am aware too that those reading this already know the story. I am sure that you don’t just forget that someone had a stillbirth, or their baby died in hospital, or that they miscarried between their other 2 kids? Those of you who want to help your friends, colleagues, neighbours or family member following the loss of their baby know the story. So in this post, I will spare you the details. Rather I want to write about things related to loss that really mean you can act – do something other than being aware, and help them or talk to them and love them even more. I want you to know this week how it feels when people do that. How it feels when they remember the story, or remember your babies name, however long it was and then they let you know that.

I want to create some awareness on your part of how you can make someone else feel loved and acknowledged in their loss, simply by remembering and then letting them know that you did!

When Others Remember 

I recently had 2 experiences that highlighted the importance of this simple act for me. It came about by the kindness of 2 strangers – Two separate individuals that I know online because we all happened to use the same # of babyloss.

Basically I was on Instagram and 2 other baby loss parents within a week or so sent me a photograph on Instagram that had on it a little tag that read Poppy’s name . Assuming their message was from one of my stories I casually opened it, only to be completely taken aback that someone I have never met and that never knew of Poppy until now, had taken time out of their day to remember my baby girl! One of the messages said that she was remembered all the way in Croatia! And the other that she was remembered at their daughters party (their baby also passed away)!

It was so incredibly kind and thoughtful and it made me feel so good inside for the next day or so.

You see, when others remember her name it fills me with pride. The mothers pride I feel daily from my other children is ignited in that moment for her. When I hear or read the name we lovingly picked out, spoken with ease by others, or written like that to remember, it feels wonderful – our little girl is remembered and acknowledged in this world. She is counted and not forgotten.

When others remember It makes me happy and I feel loved by them. Both of these emotions are feelings that are contrary to those of the grief that come with losing a baby. Therefore when your baby is remembered you get a burst of feelings that combat the draining emotions of grief and loss and you can so easily say; “That really made my day”!

When others remember I am touched beyond measure. I am touched that they see our baby/her memory as important as we do, and I am touched that they took the time to say so. Baby loss is something that is carried throughout life and whilst life moves on for others, and us to an extent, it is something that never leaves or “goes away”, so when another person can take time out of their day to remember and talk it is a wonderful feeling. I always value the time that others can give to talk and remember with me and all of those who have lost babies, know that it’s not easy to bring it up or to know what to say, but recognising that a possible few awkward minutes can change how someone feels is surely worth opening your mouth (or a new message/text)? When you remember and when you talk, it is a warm fuzzy feeling and relief to be able to share our baby!

When others remember I am reminded that she has impacted others and her life meant something more than “Stillbirth”!

Life after loss is a constant battle to live a new normal where the loss doesn’t trip you over all the time, whilst maintaining the memory of your child and doing things to fill the void. It isn’t an easy thing to do, as both impact the other. But, when your child is remembered it suddenly normalises life and both living in the new normal and keeping their memory alive, align on equal par to sit just right. I am always reminded that despite not being able to do all I have wanted to (and still hope to do) in her memory, its really okay, because when others remember her, I am reminded that those tiny feet that never walked the earth, have still made an imprint in it, and that thought right there brings a lot of peace, happiness, and balance on the other side of loss.

I have said before to not be afraid to speak about a baby who has died, or ask someone about their story and life now. I hope that this week especially you will be more aware of how powerful and touching doing so can be. I hope you can take some time to overcome the awkwardness and let that person in your life (who is one of the stats being discussed this week), know that they are loved and remembered and that their baby too is remembered and loved in this fast moving world. I have tried to move on from not being hurt when people don’t remember because that has been destructive. So, when people do, it somehow feels so much more special.

Never underestimate the power of the simple act of remembering. And Never underestimate how it feels to hear your babies name who never made it home. Lets talk more and remember all those gone too soon.

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Last weekend we passed the 4th Anniversary and Birthday of our sleeping baby Poppy. It’s hard to believe that we would now have a newly turned 4 year old in the mix of madness that is our family, and that visually, and day to day we would be a family of 6! I find it hard still that I have had 4 kids but only get to raise 3 of them, and whilst I feel better than I have in a long while, I still very much wish on a daily basis that our child could have lived and we could have our family together here like others do.

With each passing year though, aside from this daily battle, I really struggle with the fact that I do not know my own child and it is always at her birthday (and christmas) that this feeling most dominant!

I don’t know if she would prefer Peppa pig or Paw Patrol, or if she would be shy or extrovert. I don’t know her eye colour, or whether she would be blonde or dark and what her favourite birthday tea would be. It is a peculiar feeling and one that makes me feel somewhat lost at this time of year, because things that are so natural for us as mothers, is so very far away for me!

In past Septembers the anniversary of losing our daughter, along with the day she was born, have been incredibly hard. Her birthday is always tarnished by the underlying emotions and memories that she was not born living, and therefore there is much grief intertwined with the desire to want to celebrate the precious life and birth of our baby girl. I have therefore in the past retreated to our home and spent days on end crying, anxious and struggling with these memories and the concept of having a baby but never bringing her home and seeing her grow. I dreaded September the 14th for the day we were told her heart had stopped, and I dreaded the 16th for a Birthday with no child here to spoil and celebrate. September has always filled me with anguish and It has always felt almost too much to even bare. I resonated greatly with Green Day’s “wake me up when September ends“, because it has certainly made me an emotional wreck each year!

I realised though over this Summer that things didn’t feel right, and I wasn’t bouncing back after these emotional periods, rather I seemed to be getting worse – Things everywhere were triggering my anxiety about our loss and about the “dreaded month of September”!!  After a diagnosis of PTSD and further NLP therapy a few months ago, I have become a more empowered and happier person and I have felt a huge weight from our loss lifted – the weight of trauma! With that gone, this year felt different, it felt easier to face and easier to want to celebrate because I wasn’t battling trauma on top of grief – just my grief. I realised that the teary mornings and desire to take it easy were just normal grief and that once released I felt okay again. I noticed I felt stronger to face the day and more able to do what I wanted to for her without crippling emotion and anxiety. I didn’t feel crushed by it, but rather felt what I had heard (and wanted to feel myself) at so many SANDS meetings: “It was hard with them not here, but it was peaceful and nice to be able to celebrate”.

This year, if she had of lived then we would have being offering her the choice of a party (like with her siblings). This was important to me this year, as I do often look at the children in the village and in the family that are 4 and wonder who her best friends would be and who she would be inviting to that party and playing with. But unfortunately that isn’t our reality and is just a simple day dream! I was sure though that this year I wanted to make it feel like a little girls birthday party, and I wanted to do something that would just help me to feel semi normal as a mother to a 4 year old. And so on Saturday, aside from making a #4 flower arrangement for her grave, I went into town and bought princess bowls and napkins, lots of treats, and several balloons, and I invited family to gather in her remembrance to enjoy an “ice cream party” with cake!

The cake thankfully wasn’t my usual shambles and depression trigger, but rather it turned out tasty and mostly satisfactory (let’s call it “rustic”!).

Prior to getting the kids high on sugar and bellies full of ice cream, we met at my favourite place to reflect on her – Flamborough lighthouse. Here (despite much opposition about not being environmentally friendly) we released a few balloons with the family that could make it, up to heaven. It was such a beautiful Sunday evening and a lovely way to remember our little girl in heaven!

Something else I did this year that helped me significantly to feel better about it all, was that I arranged a date for Nathan and I to go to the theatre of Friday 14th. We saw a play all out depression and emotions and I loved it. We laughed together, and had time to reflect on emotional difficulty too. We both agreed that it was lovely to have some time away from the house to be able to talk together on such a poignant date – just us as her parents and as best friends – about how we feel, how far we’ve come, how much we struggle still and how much of that play we could relate to! We had a great date out and it was nice to laugh together on a day that has always been so heavy and unbearable.

I realise now upon reflection after 4 years without our daughter here, that it will never be fine or feel fine in September and I am okay with that. I have also realised that for 3 years I have been unwell too – my mind was injured by what I went through, and now with the right therapy I can see that despite it being a hard anniversary to go through each year, it can also be a peaceful one and reflective. It can be what the kids love most – a chance to celebrate a life that was so briefly lived and means so much to us. I realise that I can do things to feel more motherly and I can do things that mean a lot to us as her family and as a couple…things that are special and things that help us feel close at a tender time. I don’t have to hide away and be sad and lonely.  Yes I naturally felt sadness for her not being here, but there was also peace and hope that there is more to all of this than I can comprehend and the thought of that makes me think I am stronger to face each year that lies ahead now. I know it will be a sad and reflective time of year, but we also know how to make it a special time between us to feel close and to feel heaven closer.

I do feel after all of this rushing and planning (and with her funeral anniversary approaching), that I do need to just have a good cry to let it out and maybe a big choc bar, but I can honestly say this year that I feel okay so soon after – it has been hard but manageable!

H A P P Y     4TH      B I R T H D A Y    P O P P Y – we love you fiercely and miss you greatly!

Next year we will try to be more environmentally friendly! 

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Last week I decided to have a social media fast! Aside from Facebook messenger to communicate with the youth I work with at church (and Nath at work), I abstained from Twitter, Blogging, Instagram and Facebook for a full week – It felt mint! Initially this was hard, but after realising how often I go on it for the sake of it, and after realising how much thought I gave to others lives as a result, I suddenly became more refreshed and free! I felt grateful for the time I had to live my life in the moment without feeling the obligation to share every moment.

During all of this I began to reflect on how I could have a better balance in my life and what changes I could make to ensure the therapy I was doing would have optimum effect in my life and healing from the trauma of loss. I wondered how I could find more peace and how I could break the cycle of reliving the trauma so much. I love social media, photography and blogging and see a lot of goodness in it, but I also became aware of things I could change to remove triggers and toxic experiences online.

The answer that came to me (and that felt right) was to stop blogging about my loss.

A scripture I have always loved since Poppy entered our lives is the one in Ecclesiastes 3 – it begins with “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven“.. it goes on to read…”A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance”. 

I love it…And I love how all things have a purpose, but sometimes only for a season. I love how birth and death are described as being moments that come at the right time, and whilst this is hard sometimes, there is purpose beyond what we understand at why these seasons come when they do! I really love that there are seasons in life that are filled with sadness and mourning and that that’s okay – because there will be other seasons of laughter and joy.

For the last 4 years I have been in a season of life that has been incredibly hard and painful. I felt inspired at the start of it to blog – write it out and share what was going on. It was cathartic and helped me write the words I could not speak. It helped others too, and connected me to people that got it. I found angels all over the world that could have those difficult conversations and they helped me through. I found and loved that the focus of living a “hearty life” and looking for “hearty moments” in the days and weeks that only felt bleak, helped me massively to survive and stay afloat – they helped me to see the hand of God in each day. And, even though I had no idea (and still don’t) as to why he needed my child home so soon blogging has helped me navigate through it.

But now I feel I have come to the end of the line. I feel like that season and chapter of my life has been written and I am entering a new season – one where I don’t need to write about my loss any more. One where mourning will be lessened and her memory and place will be treasured within our family. A season where the things I have learnt from losing her, will be used to bless people through my work and maybe even a book one day!! But her legacy and influence, I am seeing now, lives through us and how we choose to remember her. Her story is told in each sacred moment we have, and each memory and story the kids share with her name in it. We will continue to talk of her, remember and think of her, and we will continue to celebrate her birthday each year and send her balloons to heaven. We will hang a special decoration and keep the traditions we have forged to include her in our family moments and celebrations.

But now, as I look to heal from PTSD and as I hope to gain all I can from my therapy, it feels right to no longer write of the grief, the mourning and the imagery of losing a baby and having a stillbirth. It feels right to share of the things that bring me joy and create and build memories of cheer. As a result I have removed the “Baby loss” section from my header menu (it can still be found in “blog categories” in the sidebar) and from now my blog will be purely family and lifestyle – our adventures and travels, my thrifty loves and passions and my semi-cool modest style!

I love blogging and wouldn’t want to get rid of something that means so much and tells our story/journey, but now I want my writing to be focussed on something else. I want it to be fun and chilled and reflect my loves and passions.

I am moving forward from the person that needed to write and let it out – not forgetting but remembering – in a way that is more healthy and gentle on my mind. And in that “The Hearty Life” takes on new meaning – The Hearty Life is wholesome, Jovial and filled with vigour, cheer and devotion. I look and I think “Oh what a life to live and love! Oh what a life we embrace and seek for daily”!

It is that which now becomes our story and blogs! A new season…a new road…a new chapter to write!

Please note I am always happy to talk to and listen to anyone who has experienced baby loss at any stage – just drop me an email or message in social media. I will always talk to you and I will always acknowledge and count your baby, just as I do and will do with Poppy in our family. I will continue to talk of her periodically I am sure (it’s only natural). But blogging about it all has come to an end and this is simply a step to healing and gaining balance as I enter a different chapter of my life! 

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