“I want to write something really profound”

“I want to write something really profound” I tell my husband. What I think I mean is that I want to write something that will make people understand exactly what it’s like to have a stillborn daughter. Not just what it’s like to have found out she was dead, or what it was like to give birth to my dead baby, or what it was like to bury her; but what it is like to be the mother of a dead child every single day for two years now. And then to know that tomorrow you will still be the mother of a dead child. To know that every day that comes, for weeks, for months, for years, for the rest of your life, that you will always be the mother of a dead child. That you will forever have a break that can’t be repaired – a weight that can’t be set down, only endlessly borne. 

I want to write something that could let people see how Isobel’s death was not an event that occurred in the past  but instead is a never ending process of loss that happens to me over and over, again and again, day after day, night after night. What could I write that would explain that feeling of having left the real me in hospital on 24th June, still sitting in the scan room waiting for a doctor to come in and check on my baby? How can I describe the sense of living life and having to function while only ever being partially, superficially present? Would people be able to understand when I say that I’m so detached at times that internally I have to remind myself to join in interactions? It’s like being a cardboard cut out of a person who looks normal from the front but on closer inspection is only propped up by a flimsy piece of cardboard. Or like being a derelict building that has been covered with a fake shop front to hide the decay inside. 

I keep thinking I want to make a list of all the times I lose Isobel in a typical day, just to demonstrate the daily impact of her absence. The times my mind returns to pregnancy or the days before she died, running and rerunning scenarios where I did something different and she was saved. How I hate myself when I return to what really happened. The times I could vomit when I think of her body rotting in a coffin. The people I see in work and still now my first thought after tens of encounters is how they didn’t acknowledge her death when I came back. The colleagues who are innocently talking about what a nightmare teenage daughters are. Listening to the parents of clients talk about their mourning and grief of having a gender diverse child. The babies that are the same age as Isobel on my Facebook newsfeed that I don’t know whether to hide or not. The questions from strangers about the make up of my family. Baby girl clothes with flamingos on them. Questioning my parenting of Theo. Sometimes loving him with a desperate neediness, sometimes resenting him because he is not her. Not knowing if it’s ok to admit that or not. Feeling guilty for feeling sad around Theo. Feeling guilty for feeling happy with Theo. Being challenged by my husband about any aspect of mothering and my mind hearing “how can I trust you with Theo when you let Isobel die?”. Not trusting my instincts anymore. Never knowing where and when or how I’ll be faced with a trigger. TV, radio, books, and conversations all being laced with danger. This is a window to a typical day’s content. If I made a tally of every moment that is affected by Isobel’s death would one go past without a mark being made? 

If I said that a part of me longs to go back to the immediate aftermath of losing Isobel would people find that strange? That if I could, I would willingly revisit that raw, uncomplicated grief – a time when there were no expectations to function, and nothing to do but sit in despair and feel how close to Isobel I could be. I remember the times I screamed, the times I cried so hard I thought I would shatter and I miss that. I need it but I don’t know how to make it come back. Crying now is brief, and unsatisfying. 

I don’t know why I feel this need to try and make people understand. Who even are people? I don’t know if it would be the same if Isobel had died after living outside my body. The belief that it’s ‘worse’ to lose an older child is one I find difficult to tolerate. Maybe I feel like I need to validate my own grief? 

I like to think that all I want as I write this is to make Isobel exist in someone else’s mind for a little while, but maybe I want sympathy or just any kind of attention? What good does it do though if I were to share what I’ve written here on my Facebook page and get some ‘likes’ and comments. Realistically 90% of them would be from friends who have also lost babies who already live everything I’ve said themselves. 

How would life be different if everyone in the world could know what it is like to be the mother of a dead child? Would it make this life easier? 

I’m still debating posting this, or a version of this on my personal Facebook page so I think I’ll sleep on it! Meanwhile I’ll leave it here. My soundtrack has been Radiohead at Glastonbury (on TV). Amazing. Epic. My spiritual home. Gutted I’m not there. 

Today you are nine months old

Dear Theo,

today on Monday the 13th of February 2017, you are nine months old. 

That might not seem like a long existence but already you have taught me a great deal about myself, what I am capable of, and how to deal with life’s challenges. 
Being pregnant with you was the scariest time of my whole life, I was so worried we would lose you. I had to learn how to be scared – every minute of every day – but still carry on with life, go to work, see friends and cook dinner, when all I really wanted to do was hibernate and hope the weeks would pass. I learned how important it is to keep active, to exercise and to always have lovely treats to look forward to! Every Monday, Daddy and I would go and see the doctor for a scan to see how you were doing. Every week we were sure that this would be the week we were told you were either dead or dying. We used to sit in the waiting room feeling sick, with our hearts racing, holding each other’s sweaty hands. I learned that no matter how scared I was, it didn’t have to stop me from doing something, I could be scared and still do whatever it was that was terrifying me, like going back to the maternity hospital or to pregnancy yoga. Often it actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, the power of my imagination worse than the reality. Now I can’t imagine being too scared to do anything that’s important to me; I know I can face any fear. You taught me that.

When you were born, you were so small and perfect. New to the world, you had everything to learn. I’ve watched how you’ve grown and changed, how every day you manage something that just yesterday you couldn’t do. I’ve seen that growth doesn’t happen by accident, you work so hard for every ounce of development you achieve. I watch you try to do something tricky, you can’t do it and yet you try again and again, sometimes falling over and getting hurt (when I am too slow to stop you!) and other times frustrating yourself. I think “That baby is crazy, why doesn’t he realise he can’t do it, and give up?”  But you are so determined. Every attempt leaves you that tiniest bit stronger – it’s such slow progress it’s imperceptible. But then one day you are strong enough and you manage it. Lifting your head up, rolling over, sitting up, feeding yourself, crawling, these are all skills that didn’t just arrive fully formed, you worked hard for them, day after day. I’ve realised there isn’t really a first time for rolling over, or sitting up or crawling – there are hundreds of attempts that get closer and closer and then evolve in to the realisation of the milestone. I see this is the same for me and the things I want to achieve, the ways I want to grow and change. Instead of thinking of failed attempts and giving up, I need to think of practice, and getting stronger over time until it comes with the ease you now have with rolling and sitting, as if they were things you could always do. 

Right now you are trying to walk. All you want to do is stand up and be walked around the room. You are so unsteady and need a lot of support. You keep taking massive steps that unbalance you! It’s hard to imagine how you will ever be able to balance and take those steps on your own. But I know that you will keep trying until you master it and that some day you will be walking and running and jumping as if you were never nine months old and unable to stand unaided. You are my inspiration little one. 

You are so good at living in the moment baba. This is mostly a helpful skill to keep. When something unpleasant is over and you are distracted, it is instantly forgotten, the perpetrator immediately forgiven and all is right with the world. It always amazes me how quickly you go from crying to laughing. Your little face that was so sad lights up, and the eyes that were wet with tears are now crinkled with mirth. Something I need to work on is letting hurtful things go, not holding on to resentments, and enjoying the good moments without always feeling a tinge of sadness for what has gone before. 

Sometimes though I wish you could understand that your hard times won’t last too long. You hate getting your nappy changed – especially when it’s dirty as it takes a bit longer! You hate having to lie down as you like to be sitting up and seeing what is going on! If you only knew that it would only take a minute or two I think you would find it easier. It makes me think of how the same is true for me. Often when I’m struggling with something hard like feeling sad, or worried or guilty, part of the problem is that I think I might always feel that way. I am trying to think of your nappy changes and that “this too shall pass”. I can cope better with hard things when I stay in the present and remember that I won’t always feel that way. I think of how sometimes you are so cross with being changed that you try to wriggle away, bat your arms and kick your legs! It actually makes the nappy change take longer than if you just lay there still (also it can get poo everywhere!). I think sometimes I fight back with my emotions and can make things worse than if I just accepted them for what they are and dealt with them. 

Daddy and I are learning to be playful again. That is something we lost when Isobel was born asleep. Once we thought we might never laugh again, but you are so funny though wee Theo that you make us laugh every single day. We don’t care how silly we look or how awful our singing is, if it makes you laugh we will look like fools! Your little giggle is so infectious and it’s without a doubt my favourite sound in the world. 

Already we know you are a very clever boy little monkey. Another thing you are very good at is seeking help. If you can’t do something or get somewhere you want to get, if you’re hurt or upset, you cry out straight away. Now you also know to lift your arms up and yell when you want to be picked up. I don’t know why we lose that skill as we get older. Sometimes I’m so sad or lonely and all I want is to let someone know that I need help, what I should do is cry out straight away like you do, and lift up my arms to the people that I know are there. For some reason I stop myself from doing this, maybe because I don’t want people to think I’m not coping. I think I should take my lead from you and call for help at the first sign of trouble! I love that you are so confident that someone will come when you cry. I hope you always know that I and others will drop everything to help you when you need it, all you need to do is shout. 

Daddy and I are not the Mummy and Daddy we would have been to Isobel if she were here. We are different in some bad ways but maybe in some good ways too. We try and appreciate every moment with you little one, even when you are being a little terror or it’s 5am and we still haven’t been to sleep! We know we are so lucky to have you. 

We love you so much precious Theo, not just for coming along at a time we were sad and bringing us joy, but for your smiley sweet stubborn snuggley little self. 

You are now crying upstairs as Daddy is putting you to bed so I better go and help!!!!

All my love,

Mummy. 

P.S you’ve been saying ‘dada’ for months now, I think it’s time to say ‘mama’! 

Facing Fears

Like every parent, I have a fear of something bad happening to my child. Isobel was my first baby so I don’t know how strong those fears are in normal circumstances, compared to mine in a world where my daughter dying was an actual reality. While I do freak out at times, and picture Theo’s death or shake him a little to check he’s still alive, I know that I haven’t been as anxious about him dying since he was born as I was during his pregnancy. The Snuza breathing monitor that I thought I wouldn’t be able to do without, remains unopened. I leave him upstairs asleep for brief times without even a regular baby monitor, knowing I will hear him if he cries. I have left him overnight with my parents on two occasions and have also let my friend babysit him for a few hours. I have moved on from purées and given him foods that I know he could conceivably choke on and watched him gag as he tries to manoeuvre it around his mouth. 

New Year’s Eve however was the most challenging experience yet when Simon and I took Theo up a mountain (Cavehill in Belfast)! Simon was wearing Theo in the baby carrier and obviously was very careful with his footing but I was really terrified that he was going to fall with the mud, or be knocked over by one of the mountain bikers that were whizzing down the mountain, or equally by one of the joyful dogs bounding around, or even that I would fall and knock Simon down! On the way up, approaching a narrow ledge that wound around the hill (this part is called The Devil’s Punchbowl, you can kind of see in the picture below – but I swear it seems worse in person!) I told Simon I was too anxious, I couldn’t do it and that we would have to go back.

 

Simon pretty much ignored me and kept on going! Cue lots of deep breathing and practicing of repeatedly bringing my mind back to the present moment every time it ran away to the most catastrophic of scenarios. Every now and again, Simon would turn and smile reassuringly and say we were nearly at the top. I would thank him and tell him to turn the fuck around and watch where he was going! 

We have climbed so many metaphorical mountains since finding out that Isobel had died that day in June 2015. Putting one foot in front of the other again and again even when we wanted to give up, treading as carefully as we can, but still taking risky chances, knowing that is the only way of moving forward and living the kind of life that we want to live. On New Year’s Eve the mountain was real, the ache was in our legs rather than our hearts, the fear of falling, of something bad happening to our baby, enough to make me want to turn back. But with encouragement and a reminder of the reward, I kept going and eventually we made it to the top! 


Was it worth it? Well it was bloody feeezing and so windy! But there was a good sense of achievement that was pretty sweet and some justification for all the chocolate consumption later that night! 

The big difference between Cavehill and my metaphorical mountain is that in the world of life after the loss of a child, I don’t imagine there is ever a top to my metaphorical mountain. Maybe plateaus and times of easier terrain or rest. But there won’t ever be a sense of being done with the struggle, taking a pitcure, saying we made it, it’s all downhill from here. 

That’s the thing that I don’t think anyone except another bereaved parent understands. To more or less of an extent, every day for the rest of our lives, we will be trekking up that mountain of life without Isobel. 

Lost Levity 

Simon and I took Theo to a ‘Baby’s First Christmas’ baby sensory class at the weekend which was lots of fun.

At one point, a couple beside us were playing with a balloon. The dad bopped the mum on the head with the balloon and laughing, she grabbed it and bopped him back. Something I really notice when we’re out with (what I perceive to be) normal/non-loss parents is that Simon and I have lost a lot of our lightness and playfulness that we once had with each other. 

Although we really try to interact with Theo in a fun and joyful way – Simon is a lot better at this than me – I don’t think we make the same effort with each other anymore. Silly things like play fighting, tickling or teasing each other which we used to do would just seem really alien now. I feel like we’ve become an old married couple years and years before our time because of the weight of grief and everything we’ve been through. Sometimes Simon makes me laugh and I notice how strange it seems and unusual even though I laugh at Theo all the time. 

I don’t really have anything profound to say on this topic! It’s just something I’ve noticed and I wonder if our levity is something we can ever get back?  

We Keep This Love In A Photograph 


These are some of the photographs of Isobel that we have in our living room, there is another single one on the TV unit and another in the hall. So far, we don’t actually have any pictures of Theo printed out or on display! 

My mum asked me recently if I could print her this picture of Theo as the ones she has up in her house aren’t her favourites and she liked this one. I found myself feeling really angry, and not understanding why until I thought about it later. My mum and dad only have one picture of Isobel in their house and mum deliberately picked the one below that you can’t really see Isobel in. My dad has said before that he doesn’t feel comfortable seeing pictures of Isobel so I think mum has avoided putting one up because of him and maybe other visitors too. 


Even though I understand why, I am cross that one of my children is good enough to be displayed by their grandparents and one of them is not. To me, they are equal, but this photograph issue and so many other things remind me constantly that to the eyes of others, Theo matters and Isobel does not. 

I feel angry and sad that we don’t have more pictures of Isobel. Even though we took literally hundreds of pictures in the four days we had with her, if there aren’t already more pictures of Theo, there soon will be. Our house will be filled with images of Theo, in different poses and clothes, different places and seasons, getting older and older (I hope!), but there will never, ever, be any more pictures of Isobel. Those hospital photos, that one babygrow, that look of pure trauma on our faces, are all we will ever have. I think I’ve resisted putting up pictures of Theo because I don’t want him to overtake Isobel on our walls, in the same way a mother with two living children wouldn’t have significantly more pictures of one than the other. I also have more of a need to see Isobel’s face in pictures, as I can see Theo’s adorable wee face any time. 

We are moving house soon, we are buying our first house (how I feel about moving from this one may be another post). I am definitely going to put up some pictures of Theo when we move. I just don’t know how I will feel when we have more of Theo than of Isobel. 

Capture Your Grief: Day 7 – Myths

The myth of the rainbow baby.

This day last year, I found out that I was pregnant with Theo. Even though it was just three months after losing Isobel, and I was nothing but terrified that I would lose another baby, I noticed that other people expected my new pregnancy to change how I felt about Isobel. The relief when I told people was apparent, they seemed to think that now I was going to be ok, now that I wouldn’t have to wait too long to be a parent in the normal sense. It seemed to be expected that I would suddenly be fine with pregnancy announcements and babies. This wholly inaccurate view of the power of a rainbow baby to rectify the previous loss has only become more apparent since Theo arrived safely in May. 

Theo is the most incredible blessing and I recognise that I am beyond lucky to have been able to have another baby after losing Isobel. He is the cutest boy in existence, his smile melts my heart, I can’t help but laugh when he laughs, and the weight and warmth of him falling asleep in my arms brings me so much contentment. He is perfectly himself. But he is not Isobel. His presence does not negate the fact that I had a little girl, that she died, that I had to watch her turn blue and then bury her in a grave. Having Theo does not take away the thoughts of how my daughter, Isobel, should be here, how old she should be, what milestones she should be achieving now. That I have had two pregnancies and two babies, but I will only ever get to see one grow. 

I would never expect Theo to heal my grief – what a terribly unfair and weighty expectation to place on a little baby who should only be cherished for himself, and not what he can do for me. In some ways, having him, has actually unearthed new aspects of grief I could only have previously imagined. When you experience the wonder of having a living child, it only makes you feel all the more deeply for the one that you have lost. When I see Theo being so adored by his Daddy, when I see him enthralled with a toy, smiling at a silly face or laughing at being thrown in the air, I feel so sad that Isobel missed out on a whole life full of love and joy. Before having Theo, my grief was mainly for myself and what I had been through, and missed out on. Now my grief has expanded to feel such sorrow that Isobel’s experience of life was so brief and incomplete. She was alive, and then she wasn’t, and that is still heartbreaking, it always will be, despite the fact that she has a living sibling.  

Capture Your Grief: Day 5 – The Unspoken

I’m sure most people fantasise about a world in which their baby didn’t die, but I think I might be the only person that lets myself day dream every now and then about a life in which Isobel never existed. I pretend to myself that Theo is my first baby. I imagine that I never went through the trauma of having a stillborn baby girl, that I am a normal happy mother of one, that there isn’t a big part of my heart missing. It’s like a little taster of a normal life. It can never last long, but the more interesting question is if I would want it to. Would I erase her existence just so that I could save myself from missing her? My heretofore unspoken is that sometimes, I think I would. 

Falling In Love Again 


I was thinking of how to describe how I feel about Theo and the above quote from one of my favourite books ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ came to mind (if you haven’t read it, please do!). 

People in relationships talk about loving someone and being in love as two different things. I think I experienced that with Theo too. I know I loved him before he was born. Despite my best efforts through pregnancy not to get attached in case the worst should happen again, I did grow to love the little bundle growing inside me as time passed and I talked to him, sang to him and felt his movements. I definitely loved him when he was born. I felt protective over him, it pained me when he cried, I enjoyed looking at him and felt content when he fell asleep on me. But I don’t think I was in love with him then. 


I will freely admit that I had some really hard times in Theo’s first two months of life. There were times when I was so sad, and felt so inadequate to the task of being his Mummy that I fantasised about running away and leaving him with his Daddy. When I felt so broken by not being able to exclusively breastfeed him, that I actually wanted to not be alive anymore and fantasised about dying in a car crash. Times when I resented Theo for needing formula and thought how Isobel would have been the perfect baby and would have breastfed successfully. I am pretty sure I cried at some point every day for the first six weeks or so! When I thought things were getting better, Isobel’s first birthday came along, bringing with it head colds for Theo and I with even less sleep, and even more misery. I was telling myself to get through one more day but then despairing that after that day there would be another day to get through. It wasn’t that bad all day every day, and there were lovely times too, but the dark times were very dark. It was like I couldn’t win, when I felt happy, I felt guilty for being happy despite missing Isobel. When I felt sad, I felt guilty for not enjoying Theo fully.  

The usual things eventually helped as they always will, talking to Simon, being really honest with friends and demanding they come and see me more often, getting support from my Mum, being told and telling myself that it was ok to feel the way I felt, that it was normal in the circumstances, that it would pass. I started to exercise again, walking and running on the tow path – exercise, fresh air and a little time away from the baby, a winning combination. I took Theo to some activities, baby yoga, a circuits class, and baby swimming. I spoke to other mums who admitted finding things hard even in somewhat easier ‘normal’ circumstances. 


During my first baby yoga class, I was singing to Theo and making him do the movements to the song and it was so cute I started to laugh. I realised I felt joy. I wondered why I hadn’t interacted with Theo in such a playful way until then. I realised that I could have fun with Theo as well as just feeding, cleaning and changing him! I don’t know if that was a turning point or just a symptom of the turning point, but my mood has gotten significantly better over the past three weeks. I am enjoying this gorgeous little boy so much more. I look at his funny little face and feel delight. I laugh at his big burps and explosive farts! I work my hardest to get smiles and my heart warms when I’m rewarded with a little grin – still quite rare at this stage!
I feel like I don’t just love Theo, but I’m in love with him and falling harder every day. It’s scary, but wonderful!

Four Weeks On and a Big Thank You


I really want to say thank you sincerely to everyone who commented on my last demented post! I didn’t get a chance to reply to the comments but I read them all at the time and was so appreciative of all the empathy and support. I also read them a number of further times when things were challenging again and I imagine I will continue to do so!

I’m so glad to say that things are approximately one million times better now than when I wrote that post. The hormonal onslaught has settled and physically my recovery from the section has been much easier than I anticipated. I feel so much more confident with Theo, changing nappies and dressing him has become second nature. I’ve survived two weeks of Simon being back at work and doing all the night time feeds on my own. Most days I manage to get dressed even if I might stink a bit! I’ve been getting out more, I’ve been for walks, meals out and even to the shopping centre. The feeding situation is still a whole palaver although I’m more relaxed about it generally. I’m currently being a total desperate weirdo and formula feeding Theo through a ‘boob tube’ to try and increase my milk supply (not me in the pic by the way!). 


My quite unsupportive midwife in week one told me I was “flogging a dead horse” trying to breastfeed, well lady, I’m still flogging it and it remains to be seen whether it’s dead or not! At least Theo is getting some breast milk still and we get the closeness of breastfeeding. I’m hopeful that I can reduce the formula at some point and have some feeds just my milk but we’ll see! I’m happy to know that I’m trying my very best anyway, what more can one do?

Emotionally, about 90% of the time I feel positive and like I’m coping. The other 10% of the time I do feel overwhelmed and worry that I’m not being a good enough mummy to Theo. Or I get caught up with thoughts about Isobel and feeling sad that she is not here too. I know that had Isobel lived it’s very unlikely that we would have Theo but it doesn’t stop me from wanting them both. This little brother should have his big sister here. Next week we should be celebrating a birthday not remembering an anniversary. 


Other times when thinking of Isobel and last year, I start to imagine Theo dying. I picture that phone call to tell people he has died. I see his funeral in my mind. It’s horrible. Sometimes when he sleeps he is so still and with his mouth open can look dead (to me, having seen a dead baby – probably to others he looks perfectly peaceful). I have to give him a wee poke at these times just to check. The thought of something happening to him is unbearable. Although I know from non loss mothers that they have similar thoughts and worries at times too so it’s not completely beyond the realm of normal experience. 

That’s all for today. I will hopefully get writing some more next week for Isobel’s birthday as I’m sure I’ll be an emotional wreck and will need the outlet! For now, Theo is currently sleeping on my chest and the weight and warmth of him feels like heaven. 

A Lack of Mother’s Milk

Firstly thanks to everyone for the lovely congratulations and best wishes on the arrival of little Theo (we finally decided on his name!). 

I wish I could write a beautifully positive and upbeat post about how well everything is going. I want to say that I’m Mother Earth, a natural at parenting and that Theo is thriving. The reality is sadly worlds away from that desired scenario. 
Theo had a bit of a tricky start – he had jaundice and had to go under a photo therapy light in an incubator for 24 hours. I was advised that he would process the jaundice better the more hydrated he was and so was told to formula feed him. I was really devestated by this, as he was breast feeding well until that point. I felt like I couldn’t argue with the paediatrician and I was so tired and overwhelmed that I capitulated and started forumula. Of course the breast feeding since then hasn’t been going well. We got home from hospital on Tuesday and since then I have been trying to feed and also expressing with a double pump around the clock. The milk however is just not flowing. Little Theo has lost too much weight, mummy and daddy are exhausted and we’ve decided to stop trying to breast feed although I will still express for a while and see if anything changes. 

This decision has not been taken lightly. Breast feeding is something that is very important to me, for the benefits for the baby, for the bonding experience between mum and baby, and for the sense of doing something for your baby that no one else can do. I was prepared for cracked and bleeding nipples, for pain and for a baby who needed me all the time. I was not prepared that I just wouldn’t be producing milk despite regular stimulation. I have been feeling so sad and so disappointed by this situation that if I’m honest it has really ruined my enjoyment of Theo’s first week in the outside world and especially his first few days at home. 

I feel so let down by my body. I don’t understand why it won’t do what Theo and I need it to. It has compounded my feelings of worthlessness as a pregnant woman that I developed after Isobel and now as a mummy. My body couldn’t keep Isobel safe, and now Theo is here, it can’t feed him sufficiently. I keep thinking of how I took medication after Isobel to stop my milk production. Then I had the milk but no baby – now I have the baby but no milk. If I can’t do anything for Theo that someone else isn’t able to do, then how I am any more important to him than anyone else? How am I his mummy? I’ve been in floods of tears every single day, sad about the situation and then guilty for feeling sad and not enjoying this precious time with this beautiful new baby boy. 

Since losing Isobel, I thought I would have more perspective, to know that at the end of the day it doesn’t matter how a baby is fed, just that they are alive to be fed! However I have still gotten caught up with thoughts of being a failure as a mummy, with being useless and worthless, with thoughts that Simon and Theo would be better off without me and even with thoughts that it was easier dealing with the loss of Isobel than it is being a mummy to Theo. I hope anyone reading this will realise how much it pains me to have these thoughts, how much I know on a rational level that they are not true and how much I wish I didn’t feel the way I do. 

On top of the distress about the feeding situation, I am simply missing my daughter too.

Our lovely midwife asked me today how I normally deal with overwhelming negative emotions, which prompted me to realise that I haven’t been using any of my helpful coping strategies. I’ve avoided writing about my feelings, I haven’t spoken to my friends, I haven’t been out of the house (or even gotten dressed) and I haven’t even allowed anyone to visit the baby get except my mum and Simon’s mum. I haven’t wanted anyone to know that this has not been the joyous time they all want it to be for me. I am ashamed by how much I am struggling and it’s made me withdraw from people which is just making things worse. 

Writing this post has been the first part of my plan to process some of these thoughts and emotions. I also plan to post on the Pregnancy After Loss Facebook page to get some support from other mummies. I am going to eat my first meal for days. I am going to have a shower, shave my legs, do my hair and put some make up on for the first time in a week. After Theo’s next bottle we are going to put him in his pram for the first time and go for a walk. I am going to do skin to skin after every bottle feed so I still have close time with my beautiful baby. That’s the plan so far. I hope my next update will be a little more positive but if it’s not, if the reality is still painful and hard, then I hope I have the ability to be brave and face it and share that too.