The Old and The New You
I have talked a little previously about the old you and the new you when you have gone through the death of your baby; I felt like two completely different people in the early days but over time I am seeing parts of the old me slipping back into my new life. A big part of the healing process is allowing the old you and the new you reconnect and merge as you take the next steps into moving forwards with your life following the death of your baby. But it is certainly not easy.
The old me was so carefree and what I thought were ‘problems’ were really insignificant things in the grand scheme of things. I was fun, enthusiastic, a good laugh and didn’t take myself or life too seriously. I had a serious ASOS addiction and loved to travel and we would usually go on two really amazing holidays a year that we would work hard to pay for and be grateful for our lot. We were happy. We had great friends and we were (and still are) a great team. People have even described us as relationship goals! Yay to us.
And then our son died and I thought life would never be the same again and we would never enjoy life the way we’d used to. That was our lot; the party was over and now we were Hannah and Daz; the dead baby parents.
But neither of us wanted to be defined in a negative way by the death of our son but at times we just couldn’t see how this could not shape our lives negatively. We both agreed early on that we would use this tragic deck of cards we’d been dealt in a positive way- writing, fundraising, supporting others; whatever we could do we would in the name of Billy to honour his short life, we would make it count. But we both felt a little lost and weren’t sure we’d ever feel normal again.
And there it is. Normal is no more. Instead you will navigate and learn to accept your new normal. I am still learning to juggle and accept this new normal but it has definitely become easier over time. I feel more like the old me but the new me really takes over a lot, but that is okay, I am learning to like her a little more now that she isn’t throwing herself on the floor wailing like a banshee as often!
The death of your baby really gives you some perspective into what real struggles are and what the important things in life are. I would say one of the positive things I have taken from all of this is that I truly don’t sweat the small stuff anymore; having gone through something so tragic that turns your life upside down will really put things into perspective.
Life changing events such as baby loss do just that, they change your life. So how do you go forwards once those early stages of all consuming grief have moved on a little? It is all about letting part of your old self back in. I must admit I was really relieved that I still had a sense of humour after all of this; it is truly something that has helped me to heal.
The first time myself and my husband felt like we had let a little of the old us back in was when we took a trip to New York not long after Billy’s death. We had spent three long months feeling devastated, bleak and not knowing how we would go on and with an impending big birthday for Mr Protein we decided that we needed something to look forwards to and booked a trip to the big apple.
I can honestly say neither of us were really looking forwards to it as much as we would normally look forward to a holiday but planning it did help to take my mind off things slightly. Once we arrived there though things started looking up for us. We laughed; for the first time in months we actually had a laugh together and started enjoying life again. It was such a relief! We were still in there, the old us was still present! We would enjoy life again, we would have fun and we still had our sense of humour, and I could still shop till I dropped… after months of eating little but soup I ate EVERYTHING in sight, it was a delicious time. But goodbye to the sculpted cheekbones that had started popping through!
It was a real light bulb moment for us both, we were still the same people, and we still had so many blessings to count, we just had this heavy anchor now that would weigh us down as we carried around this deep hurt and pain. But the old us was in there and the new us would need to learn to merge these two personalities and learn to live together.
This merging of the two sides of you is not easy at times but once you accept that your life has changed now and that you will always carry this with you, it becomes easier. Billy will always be a huge important part of our family and we will take him with us. Learning to accept that this is my journey of motherhood has been challenging but I have accepted this now, at first I simply couldn’t accept that Billy was dead and I struggled with being a mother to a dead child.
I feel more positive these days and I am trying my best to enjoy life and look forwards to things. It is a relief, in those early days I thought we would never really enjoy anything ever again, but I am pleased to say we do.
Old me and new me are learning to live together and I am excited to see what the future holds for us both.
Love Hannah x