Posted in baby loss, grief, life after loss, mental health, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, Neonatal Loss, parenting, parenting after loss

Breakdown

Do you ever feel like the world is spinning so fast and you start to feel so dizzy and there’s no way of slowly it down?

As much as I am putting in to life and being present, my own mental health is taking a huge bashing. I am constantly worried about everyone else, about work, about everything that my head feels like it is going to explode. I am usually quite good at sensing when I need to try and rest, I can feel my body become exhausted and drained. I know that carrying around so much extra baggage isn’t good and for my own sake and my families sake I should take a step back, let someone else deal with it for a change but that’s not who I am. I have spent my entire life focusing on someone else and I am a parent and focusing on someone else is so much more important.

I am not proud of myself, I am not really sure how I feel or even who I am sometimes. Today I had a meltdown, a screaming, toddler-like tantrum over a pair of trousers. I could see the wrong; I wanted to stop, hug E and take a step back but I couldn’t. I could see the rage inside me and I hated myself. I would NEVER hurt her, I know that much, but in that moment I really scared myself. There were lots of tears, mostly from me and it wasn’t even 7:30am!

I don’t want to be that parent, the one of shouts at the smallest things. I don’t want E growing up to resent/hate me. I don’t want her to feel like I have failed as her mum but right now that is exactly how I feel. I am so scared of losing her, of something happening to her that the guilt is immense. I should be more easy-going, able to just be in the moment and remember the heartache we went through to have a living child but this is so difficult sometimes. I often wonder whether I get like this because of Jason’s death, could it be linked to grief, PTSD, losing a baby fucks things up, or am I really this bad of a mum? Would I be struggling this much if Jason had lived? His needs would have been much more demanding, I’d have needed far more patience and I wonder whether I’d have coped with him. I just don’t know. I hate thinking I’d be better for Jason because that makes it sound like Ellie isnt as important but that couldn’t be further than the truth. Everything I do is for her, I want her to grow up with the childhood I never had, to choose who she wants to be and to have the relationship with her to spend time together and have fun.

I have no idea what’s going on right now, hormones, grief, I’ve even questioned whether I have PTSD or postnatal depression, I am unsure of whether after 4 years of trying to be strong and hold it all together that Jason’s death is actually hitting me like a tonne of bricks and I am finally feeling like Luke does. I’m scared that if I talk to someone they are going to prescribe and that’s it. I don’t want to forget the pain or never feel it again because that’s the only way I know to be his mum and parent him. The grief and the sadness is a huge part of remembering him and as horrible as that is to endure that is parenting a baby who isn’t here.

I’m not sure whether I’m looking for clues or answers here just hope that in time I will reread this and see how far I have come.

Posted in 2 years old, Gifted, Instrument Play, Instruments, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, Music, parenting, Play, product review, Sensory, Sensory Play, Toddler Development, Toddler Play

The Percussion Box – Review (Gifted)

Recently I have been so excited for the launch of a new small business on Instagram, The Little Sensory Box, a sensory box designed mainly for babies up to the age of 12 months. Or I was excited until I realised Ellie was quite a bit older than 12 months! I love supporting small businesses though, it is something I have wanted to do for some time and never had the confidence to even think about setting up. I am a firm believer in sensory play and that it gives babies (toddlers and those with additional needs!) a fantastic way to boost their own development which has meant I have been keen to support Dee and her new business.

Ellie (and Mummy!) was so excited when our box arrived!

Dee, the creator of The Little Sensory Box, contacted me as she was hoping to make these boxes as toddler-friendly as possible, offering parents of toddlers the option to still create the magic of sensory play at home and so sent us one of her Percussion Boxes to test out and review. 

Before I continue I must tell you this was a gifted collaboration
with the Little Sensory Box however this 
review is completely my own thoughts and opinions based on 
Ellie’s play/enjoyment.

The Percussion Box (which is specified as being suitable for up to 18 months however Ellie is 27 months old and loves it!) has a variety of items which dominantly develops hand-eye coordination, sense of rhythm and listening skills. For Ellie, this was definitely true, she loved dancing around and making her own music with the large Handbell and even recreated her favourite songs from our local Hartbeeps class with the Egg Shaker.

We experimented with different sounds, the handbell is much louder than the maracas which meant we could play around and encourage/teach Ellie the idea of loud and quiet using the instruments. Of cause she much preferred the louder sounds but focused so well on listening for the quietness of the maracas.

Baby Shark is much more exciting when you are dancing along with maracas!

Ellie is keen to make music and is always running around with her flute (which is loud, plastic, blue and REALLY annoying!) so I loved that these were beautifully decorated with bright colours and I can control the volume by encouraging quiet play which I can’t do with the flute. I also liked that each instrument was wooden and not plastic, they are robust so I know Ellie isn’t going to break them easily.



The Percussion Box is just £8.99 which in my opinion is a great price for the items we received and will continue to entertain Ellie for a long time.

You can purchase The Percussion Box from here
Or you could have a look at the other two boxes available to buy, although we haven’t tested out The Ultimate Box or The Look and Feel Sensory Box, I am sure both have items that would still be suitable for toddlers too

The Little Sensory Box is also on Instagramand Facebook

Posted in Gifted, Isabella And Us, motherhood, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, parenting, parenting after loss, Positive Wellbeing, product review, Rainbow Mummy, Self Care, telford, zine for mums

Positive Wellbeing – Review (Gifted)

I was overjoyed when I received an email from the wonderful Emma asking me to review her new ‘zine in return for a free copy to read. Mainly because I have followed Isabella & Us since their early days and have loved the products Emma has worked so hard to create. This is a small business I am proud to have made purchases with, Emma is approachable and kind; in the past she has helped contribute to the raffle I did last year to celebrate Jason’s 3rd birthday (more on his 4th birthday plans soon!) by donating her fantastic Mummy cards.

I’m not good at self-care, I find it difficult to MAKE time for myself since Ellie was born; before I would use the playstation to escape and have some “me-time” but that isn’t really an option; I would rather be playing and creating memories than sitting and taking time for me yet I know just how important being able to switch off and take that time is.

Positive Wellbeing Zine For Mums ❤

I knew by reviewing the zine it would give me the perfect excuse to leave Luke in charge and have the time I never allow for myself but am so quick to give Luke and I was definitely NOT disappointed at all.

The Positive Wellbeing ‘Zine for Mums does exactly what Emma envisaged, it promotes positivity in a world that can be extremely hard for new mums, actually on all mums! We are constantly filled with guilt and doubt over whether we are doing the best. This magazine takes away the negativity and reminds you that you are not alone in your journey. Following Emma for such a long time I admire her ability to share not only her own motherhood journey but also raises awareness of maternal mental health through her #winningasamummy campaign which can be seen throughout her website and social media accounts.

Emma doesn’t just use the ‘zine to promote her own business, she supports other small independent businesses that offer support and services to parents or children. Issue 2 is full of positive self-care ideas, affirmations and the best illustrations from such artists like Sketchy Mama and Helene The Illustrator.


“Stop. Breathe and Remember how far you’ve come.”



It is compact (A5) and is the perfect size to fit in your handbag, changing bag, glove compartment, drawer…anywhere you might find yourself craving 5 minutes of self-care or even when the little ones evidently fall asleep in the car (don’t they always?) and you just want something to read. It uplifts your mood which as a parent will take a beating from time to time; you are not alone in these times!

Social media can be great but it can also makes us feel very alone in our dark times; life is not perfect but people only ever feel like they can share the perfect times; I always try to share the good, the bad and the truly magical moments of being a parent and there is always lots to tell. Emma too is very open and honest which I love and that shows throughout the zine. Her passion for being Isabella’s mummy shines throughout!

Compact and ideal for times where you just want 5 minutes to yourself.

I would encourage anyone to purchase this little bit of self-care or even gift one to a new mum so they don’t feel like they are in this motherhood journey alone.

You can purchase the zine here

or follow Isabella and Us on social media!
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

#WinningAsAMummy Self-Care on a Friday Night ❤

For anyone wanting to purchase from Isabella & Us then feel free to use my exclusive discount code for 15% off til the end of MAY!
Just quote AMY when checking out!

Posted in 2 years old, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, parenting, parenting after loss, product review, telford

Matching Games

I got this Peppa Pig matching game for 50p in Tesco a few months ago, the box said 3+ but I knew I would find a use for them, even if it was just recognising the characters.

Ellie confidently matches the character and likes pretending to get them wrong 😂. I don’t use all the characters as she gets bored easily and her attention span wouldn’t handle sitting for that long but that’s okay. I love games like these as there is so much you can do with them. They have so many benefits that helps support a toddlers development.

Matching games:
*Improve concentration
*increases short term memory
*trains visual memory
*improves vocabulary

Being a teaching/support assistant means education is so important to me and I want to give Ellie the best start to her learning as possible. Games such as these are great and they come in so many of kids favourite characters which also helps!

Posted in baby loss, baby loss awareness, grief, life after loss, motherhood, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, Neonatal Loss, parenting, parenting after loss, pregnancy and infant loss, stillbirth, telford

Gone Too Soon

Not a day goes by

That I don’t think of you

I’m always asking why

This crazy world had to lose

Such a ray of light we never know

Gone too soon

Whenever I use the laptop to do some blogging I always find myself listening to the same songs. Sad songs. Ones that make me think about grief and death and everything that has happened to my family.

It makes me sad, angry, confused but it makes me feel closer to Jason somehow, like by listening to sad songs it reminds me that it is okay to not feel okay. It’s okay that I’ve felt so low and confused but I’ve lashed out at those I love for no reason and I don’t know why.

You are my one and only

You can wrap your fingers round my thumb

And hold me tight.

And you’ll be alright.

Maybe you were needed up there

But we’re still unaware as why.

Lyrics are incredibly powerful, you can feel so much just by really listening to lyrics. Sometimes the happiest sounding songs are the ones filled with the most unhappy memories. For a long time after Jason died I couldn’t listen to music. I remembered spending hours and hours searching for the perfect songs to play at our wedding, each one linking in someway to our relationship, our love and I remembered the joy it gave me.

Like a shooting star
Flying across the room
So fast so far
You were gone too soon
You’re a part of me
And I’ll never be the same here without you
You were gone too soon

The next time I researched the perfect music was for my son’s funeral. Can you imagine how that feels? Finding the perfect music knowing you will never be able to listen to that song in the same way? Knowing that the next time you will have to listen to it is when you are standing looking at that tiny coffin that is holding the baby you longed for so much.

Music was no longer my safe place, it was there reminding me that I was going through the worst and it didn’t matter how happy the music sounded, each one made me miss him so much. Like I said, it took me a long time to find joy in listening to lyrics again but sometimes you need to wallow in your own grief, find those sad songs and sing them as loud (in your head in my case!) as you can and belt out those feelings. For me, this is as much a type of therapy as if I was actually having counselling; it’s a way for me to remember that my life turned upside down, I didn’t know how I was going to make it to the next day, I couldn’t imagine a life without Jason. I didn’t want to imagine a life without him. Sometimes I still wonder whether I’ll wake up one morning and he’d be here, sometimes my mind wanders to a life with him in and it hurts so much knowing i’ll never know what that life could have been like.

Lately I have been struggling balancing life, work and everything in between. I have no patience, I am cranky and frankly a bitch. I don’t really understand why Luke stays with me, I put him through so much and I’ll never forgive myself for making him go through all of this. To the outside world I have dealt with Jason’s death with strength but inside that’s so not true. I am not strong, I’m just good at showing people what they want to see. Society wants us to “get over it” “move on” and although I am open in talking about Jason, every time I have to explain his death my heart breaks once again.

Posted in 2 years old, baby loss, Health Review, health visitor, life after loss, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, parenting, parenting after loss, rainbow baby, telford

Health Review

This morning we took Ellie for her 2 year health review at the local baby clinic, ever since she’s been born I have had awful feelings about health visitors.

When Ellie was first born we saw 4 different health visitors in the first week, none of them knew our background and I felt myself explaining Jason’s death over and over again and as any bereaved parent would tell you it is so hard when you bring your rainbow baby home finally that reliving those moments for strangers is too much. I must say the majority were sympathetic, offered support etc but one HV really got to me and even with knowing our story I still felt as though Ellie was going to die too as they were so rude and abrupt, I remember sobbing over the fact that she was jaundiced slightly and that HV had convinced me death was inevitable.

You could say since then I have felt very wary and apprehensive whenever health visitors are mentioned.

Ellie’s 2 year review went well, the health visitor was lovely and although again she didn’t know Jason’s story I chose not to tell her as I didn’t want it to become a battle of whether we needed more support or not. Ellie was great and stood proudly to be measured and weighed, we talked through her development which isn’t a concern at all however she did focus on Ellie not being able to jump yet… She does jump but isn’t confident taking her feet off the ground, I know this will come with time and that she doesn’t take steps one foot on each step but again she is quite small for her age and the steps seem pretty big in comparison.

I’m afraid that she is going to end up short and dumpy like her mama 😂 Ellie is on the 75th centile line for her weight and is a healthy 2stone now however her height is only on the 25th centile line. I never expect her to be tall, myself and her Daddy are only just 5ft and a half really so genetically she will need help getting things off the top shelf lol.

I felt myself fighting over our bedtime routine, mainly because I know what we do currently works to a certain degree, Ellie has a bath, watches In The Night Garden and cbeebies Bedtime Story (or The Simpsons), we read a couple of stories and then we sit in her room and wait for her to fall asleep. It’s not ideal at all but it works. She still doesn’t sleep through the night but has stopped waking up crying she knows she can come in to us and she settles instantly. I never wanted to co-sleep, I know the risks and the debate that goes on and I am still very against the idea however you do what you can to ensure you get sleep and Ellie simply misses us and wants cuddles in the night, it is a natural instinct as a parent to hold your children close; even more so when you had to leave one of your children in a hospital and watch as they lay in a wooden box unable to hold, unable to see or hear them cry. I believe if things were different I would be a different kind of parent but seeing as this is the life I’ve been dealt I will never give up a chance to hold Ellie and soothe her when she needs me.

I am proud of my girl and the milestones she has achieved already, I love watching her grow and develop, I love her personality and her independence even if that does mean she is stubborn and has a temper to match her fiery hair. She is my reason for breathing, she saved me in ways she will never know and she is perfect.

Whether she can jump or not!

Posted in baby loss, baby loss awareness, Christmas, grief, life after loss, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, parenting, parenting after loss, rainbow baby

December

December has been a busy month and I decided at the beginning of the month that I wouldn’t blog but focus on family, work and life in general as December is always so busy.

December meant the start of this year’s #AdventForJason which has helped create so many memories and given me something to focus on. When Jess (The Legacy Of Leo) set up #Adventtoremember I knew it would grow and that it would be a way of making our own babies legacy known over the Christmas period. For me Christmas has never been hard, as I know it is for so many parents in the loss community, however I do find my desire to make the world remember Jason is heightened over any celebration like Christmas and Advent To Remember certainly helps me fulfil that need.

This December has seen us make lots of memories as a family; visits to see Santa, random acts of kindness in Jason’s memory, donations to different charities and a special Polar Express ride.

This December also gave us illness, with all 3 of us feeling so bad that we didn’t even have Christmas dinner! I pigged out on sausage rolls while Luke and Ellie barely ate anything, we spent Christmas day in our pyjamas resting and just feeling crap. It certainly wasn’t the perfect Christmas I had hoped for but actually it was nice just being the 3 of us and not worrying about having to be sociable or even dressed!

December was as busy as I had anticipated but the memories we made have been worth the rushing around (I was still buying gifts on 23rd December!!)

I know Christmas is a difficult time for most and I really hope it was as gentle as it needed to be for those who do find it a tough time for whatever reason.

Posted in life after loss, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, parenting, parenting after loss

The Step.

Ellie’s behaviour has been a true description of the terrible twos lately; she is quickly becoming more independent and as a result of this she is definitely testing the boundaries (and our patience!) on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis.  

Both myself and hubby work with children/young adults with extra needs and deal with the same sorts of toddler-like behaviour at work, so it feels like such a challenge to stay calm and composed at home when we’ve had to do it all day at work. I would say my patience is much shorter at home than at work and I wish it wasn’t. It isn’t Ellie’s fault at all and I know she is just learning how to deal with her emotions and her new found desire to be independent and her behaviour is quite normal.

But how do you try to nip it in the bud before it gets too difficult?

I’ve never been good at the cry-it-out method, I can’t sit and listen to her cry no matter how many people tell me “it’s worth it in the long run”. If she is crying I know there is a reason for it and I won’t let her grow up thinking I’m not there for her when she needs me. 

We started counting to three when she does something she shouldn’t do and then when she carried on we would carry her up to her bedroom and close the stair gate, sometimes I would leave her and come downstairs for two minutes and sometimes I would sit in her room while she screamed it out of her. However I don’t think this is really the best way to teach her that her behaviour isn’t good and I don’t want it to have a counter effect and she learns that her bedroom is a punishment, she barely sleeps in there as it is so I want her room to be her calm space, HERS, where we read stories, play and hopefully one day sleep through the night in her own bed. 

This is where “the step” comes in to play. I HATE the phrase “naughty step” as I feel the word naughty describes the child and not the behaviour, Ellie is not naughty, she is exploring the boundaries and seeing how far she can go, she is learning and I don’t want her to believe she is a naughty child. I know that this is thinking too deeply and a 2 year old isn’t going to be thinking this but I am always thinking of her future too. I’ve started calling it “the step” and putting her on it whenever counting to three doesn’t work. We seem to be using it more at tea times as Ellie doesn’t sit at a table or high chair and can be a little madam. I have found having the step keeps me calm, I put her on the bottom step, explain to her why she is there (she doesn’t really understand but I tell her anyway) and tell her to come back in when she is ready. Usually she waits for me to sit down and strides in with a big smile on her face (rolls eyes!!) and we end up repeating the process at least three times before she says sorry and we move on.  

I know there are lots of pros and cons to using a time out like the step or a corner and I realise there are more cons than pros but for now it seems to be helping defuse the situation before it becomes a full on tantrum. I must say Ellie has had less tantrums in the past few days than she’s had in months.

Has the “naughty” step ever worked or not worked for you? Do you have another way of dealing with this type of behaviour in toddlers? I’d love to hear what you guys think too.

Posted in motherhood, mothering a rainbow, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, parenting, parenting after loss, rainbow baby, Rainbow Mummy, telford

On The Eve Of Your 2nd Birthday

Dear Ellie,

Tomorrow you turn 2 years old and I honestly don’t know where the last 2 years have gone, it feels like I blinked and you’ve suddenly become a real toddler. A walking, talking, shouting, opinionated toddler and I love you so much!

Ellie, you will never know how much you really saved me, before you were born I was stuck in a life of sadness and grief and I had very few reasons to feel genuine happiness. Now you are here there is light even in my darkest times; I have a reason to feel happy and that reason is you.

These last few months have contained lots of milestones and the terrible twos have definitely shown themselves in more ways than one. We have heard a lot of “no” and “mine” and you are so strong willed I had to spend 45 minutes on Sainsburys car park while you had a full-on meltdown over not wanting to sit in your car seat (thanks for that!) You throw yourself to the floor crying when you don’t get your own way and have started hitting/kicking out in anger. Let’s not even get started on nappy changing or feeding!

Bedtime is still a struggle however you have started sleeping through on the odd occasion for roughly 9-11 hours in your own bed in your own room! We have no sleep routine because you fight it so much and you always seem to be asleep when I finish work to pick you up. You do love bedtime stories, yours and Daddy’s record is 10 books in one sitting but you’re favourite seems to be “Where’s Tim’s Ted?” which I know off by heart. I love watching you reading because already you are showing such a great understanding of emotion, noticing when a character is sad. You love a bath before bed, splashing around and blowing bubbles, I just wish I knew how to wash your hair without it becoming world war 3 in the bathroom.

In the past month you have found a whole new word bank and new words are being said every day, I love the conversations we are having and I can’t believe how much you understand too. It’s taken a while to get to where we are with your speech, I think your cheekiness has meant you just couldn’t be bothered to do it whereas now you literally don’t stop. Last night you started singing “Baby Shark” at 6am while you were still fast asleep, it was so cute and so annoying all at the same time. You break my heart when you sing “Twinkle Twinkle” but it is one of your favourites so I have learnt how to sing it back to you without crying, one day you will be more aware of some of the things that trigger us but I never want to stop you from doing something just because your brother died.

You have the most cheeky smile and already know how to wrap us both around your finger. You make us laugh and smile with your amazing personality and I have loved watching the girl you have become. I can honestly say this time is my favourite so far, you are your own little person, with your own likes and dislikes, thoughts and you certainly know what you want. I love watching you play and you have such a caring nature that fills my heart with so much love.

I remember the day before you were born so clearly, feeling so nervous and scared that you wouldn’t make it and the days that followed became harder too. I have spent the last 2 years wondering whether that day would be my last day with you and I hate that this is the mother I am. I find being your Mama the most rewarding and also the hardest; I am filled with guilt every time I get annoyed or impatient with you which I know is part of parenting but knowing my time with you could be cut short at any moment makes it so much harder.

Ellie, you are quite frankly my ray of sunshine and also a total pain in my backside sometimes. You deserve to have the most wonderful life, filled with love, happiness and laughter and my promise to you is that I will do everything I can to make sure that happens. You are loved beyond measure and always will be my beautiful girl.

I’ll never know what I did but I do know I am so lucky to be your Mama! ❤

Happy 2nd birthday Ellie.

xXx

Posted in baby loss, baby loss awareness, Baby loss awareness week, Blaw2018, grief, life after loss, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, Neonatal Loss, parenting, parenting after loss, pregnancy after loss, pregnancy and infant loss, Pregnancy Loss

Dear Jason

Jason Phillips 💙

You are in my thoughts every hour of every day. I wish I remembered what it felt like holding you, I wish I remembered what you smelt like. I wish I knew what colour eyes you had or whether you had any birth marks. I wish I had taken more pictures, I wish I had one of us. I wish I had dressed you in one of those outfits I spent hours deciding on but would have been far too big for your tiny 3lbs 6ozs body. I wish I had a cast of your hands and toes to hold when I miss you a little too much. I wish you got to meet your little sister and I was able to have pictures of you both together, of our family complete. We will never be complete with you gone. I wish she knew her big brother is the best big brother ever.

 

Most of all I wish I didnt know about baby loss awareness week or that babies die even though everything seems fine because that would mean you were still here.

I would give my own life in a heartbeat so that you could live yours.