Life Is Tough Darling But So Are You
I started this blog to fill my days and process my feelings and try to help other people who found themselves in this unfortunate situation, because being a mother on maternity leave without a baby is possibly the cruellest oxymoron of all time and well, a bit fucking shit really.
However, what started as nothing more than a hobby to give me a reason to drag myself out of bed on even my darkest of days, has become so much more to me than I ever imagined. I honestly thought that I would have a loyal circle of perhaps ten people who would read my blog posts and that would be it and that was okay! My Mom, sister, husband, a few of my besties, loyal cousin, favourite aunty and my sister-in-law who would cheer me on and read my musings, feeling sad about the cruel twist our pregnancy had taken but proud of me channelling mine and Billy’s story in a positive way.
What my blog has actually done is connect me with the most loving, supportive and amazing community of broken hearted but immensely strong baby loss mamas (and some daddy’s too!). Every day I speak to so many people from the baby loss community who DM me, or reply to my Instagram stories or blog posts and it truly helps me ride out this tough road. I feel like we’re all in this together. Grieving for our babies together, we understand each other, the heartbreak, the frustration, the emptiness, the anger – all of it. Every emotion is shared, we all know that grief is not something that goes away in a couple of months, in fact that we will never really fully heal from the tragic loss of our beautiful little babies but it does get a little easier as you learn to live with the loss.
When I started blogging, I really only considered stillbirth as that is how I lost Billy. My eyes are truly opened now to the plethora of reasons people can lose a baby. I have learned so much about conditions that have affected babies once born, genetic conditions, the magnitude of neo-natal death causes, I feel like a walking talking baby loss fact sheet sometimes! I was so naïve to it all, I had no idea how many babies die each day in the UK alone within the first few weeks of being born or about how the process for dealing with SIDS deaths involves a police investigation which I cannot even begin to imagine how terrifying that must be.
With that I also had no idea that this incredible community existed; until I needed it.
Catapulted into the world of baby loss has been a lot of things, but if I had to draw one positive from it is how bloody amazing the baby loss community is. How even with a heart that is completely shattered into a million pieces, knowing it will never really fully be healed, seeing this incredible group of people support and care for one another is truly inspiring. I have honestly spoken to so many people and in the early days especially it threw me a real lifeline at a time when I was thrust into a very dark and isolating world.
I will never forget the support I was given from total strangers whose names I only knew through a username on a support forum. It is a place where you feel less alone and speak to other people who just get it. Some of those people have now become friends now and I speak to them regularly through WhatsApp or Instagram, we are the class of summer 2018. Woo fucking hoo! A summer we will never forget and not because of the lovely weather.
I have moved on from the forums now, I think those places have a time and place but eventually begin to lower your mood as there is so much raw hurt on there every day; just proving how very real and frequent baby loss actually is. Something you aren’t really aware of until you are thrust as a very unwilling member of the club that no one wants to join.
However, whilst I have moved on from the forums, Instagram has connected me with so many loss parents and that is a really uplifting and supportive place where you see the journey of baby loss but in a much less raw state. An insight into how people begin to rebuild their lives following the death of their baby and that is where the real inspiration comes from; the ‘ah, maybe I will actually somehow get through this’ lightbulb moments. It has been very positive for me at the start of my loss to see people who are further along in their journey and just see a slight glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
I try and offer the same insight to anyone who has newly lost their baby who might read my blog or follow me on Instagram. I understand that you feel broken and devastated and you aren’t sure how you will ever go on or get back to normal again.
Well, normal has changed now. But you will become familiar with your new normal. And I promise you, you will laugh again and the old you is still in there. The days do become a little bit lighter with time. You are so much stronger than you ever imagined. That has been the real eye opener for me. I am not afraid to blow my own horn here and say that I am strong AF! We all are. We keep going and have a determination to honour our babies and keep going for them. For our partners, our family and our friends too.
Baby loss is something that we never think will happen to us, or anyone we know for that matter so when it does, it really turns your life upside down. There are times when you just don’t believe you will ever feel normal again, there are nights where you do not get a minute of sleep and there are so many tears you wonder how your tear ducts haven’t dried up. But there is also strength, love and determination to not let this beat you. To not let the death of your baby define you in a negative way; instead to let it define you positively.
As Billy’s mother, I am going to make his life count. I am going to use my voice to raise awareness for baby loss so that we do not feel uncomfortable talking about them. I never thought I would be here, and I am sure you didn’t either. We would do absolutely anything to have our babies here and be naïve to the world of baby loss. But we aren’t, so we have to make the most of the cards we have been dealt.
I see so many similarities between myself and the would-be strangers I speak to. I feel like I understand them and they get me. We know that grief will take a long time, but hopefully one day we will not hurt so much. One thing I know is true for all of us, is that no matter how much time passes by, how much lighter the days do eventually become, we will always miss our babies as much as we do now and we will always love them to the moon and back and wish that they were here.
Baby loss is life changing and you may lose people along the way, you will feel let down by people you love, feel that friends could have been better, family members may shock you in their behaviour. But you’ll get through all of that, nothing will ever be as hard to get over as the death of your child, you will learn to no longer sweat the small stuff and your priorities have changed forever. In some ways your new perspective on life will be refreshing, but you will always wish you could get het up by the small stuff and have your baby with you and be a normal mother, not a baby loss mama.
We are strong, we are tough but we are broken at the same time. We are the warrior mamas who share our journey, the good, the bad and the ugly. This is who we are now, it isn’t right that our babies are gone, it will never be okay and we will always miss them but we will be thankful of the strength they gave us that we never even knew we had.
I don’t share my story for any other reason really than to raise awareness and offer help and support to people who find themselves catapulted without a parachute into this world. A world than can be so isolating and scary. It is refreshing to speak to people who understand how you feel. I hope that people who aren’t as far along in their journey see a glimmer of hope that life has changed but it does go on and that there is still some positivity along the way - finding light through darkness. I have tried to explain things to friends (all of whom are totes amazeballs btw) at times and know they do not really get it, how could they? My fears for future pregnancy (as much as anyone can try and reassure you that any pregnancy can be scary, trust me when you know your body will absolutely have it in for you the minute you conceive, these words offer little comfort albeit it said with the best of intentions), the rollercoaster of grief, the gaping hole in my heart…. I am glad no one can truly understand this because it means they haven’t suffered the way that we have. The baby loss crew though, we do understand each other. it is refreshing to speak to people who absolutely do understand. The highs and the lows - we still have fun, we still laugh and we help each other through the bleaker moments. I am so grateful to everyone I have connected with over these last six months. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to speak to me in whatever way - there are way too many people to mention! I hope I offer a little support right back to you as you have done me.
I hope you all have a wonderful Easter break. Mine has got off to a shit start when I woke up to find ZERO Easter eggs. WTF Mr Protein? I have sent a strongly worded text message and we will see what happens next…. :) If I don’t end up with a chocolate orange egg though…….
Sending you so much love