Posted in parenting

Baby Loss Awareness Week 2020

For 5 years I have supported BLAW, or tried to. I have a habit of getting very overwhelmed with the things others do to raise awareness and end up feeling like I haven’t done enough, like once again I’ve failed Jason for not doing “more” and I end up giving up and really only remembering to do the Wave of Light.

This year I took a step back, reminded myself that by taking part in BLAW and sharing our story that is enough, I know Jason would be proud of his Mum for talking about him and making sure the world knows he existed. I know I do “enough” because living through this hell is enough. I jotted down some ideas, planned my social media content and I survived the week sharing my story and getting people to talk about a topic that nobody wants to talk about let alone have to survive through.

I then decided I would share the posts here, in one post, for myself to look back upon but also for anyone trying to navigate the world of baby loss and wanting to know they are not alone. If this is you, I promise you, you are not alone and you will “survive” you will feel happiness again and sometimes you will still cry. Remember, my inbox is ALWAYS open!

Day 1

💙𝘽𝙖𝙗𝙮 𝙇𝙤𝙨𝙨 𝘼𝙬𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙨 𝙒𝙚𝙚𝙠💙
Today marks the beginning of baby loss awareness week – something I knew absolutely nothing about. This week I’d like to share our journey, Jason and the love I have for the boy who made me a Mummy. I appreciate that for a lot of people the thought of losing their baby/child is one they don’t want to imagine but for me and thousands more it’s a reality we live with every day. I talk about Jason because he existed, he grew inside me, he was born and he lived. He deserves to be remembered, loved and shared with the world. I hope you stick around and please be kind. There will be lots of mums grieving this week, some openly, some in secret.

If you’re thinking of a baby gone too soon, whether it’s your own or a loved one – please share their name below ❤️

Day 2

💙𝘽𝙖𝙗𝙮 𝙇𝙤𝙨𝙨 𝘼𝙬𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙨 𝙒𝙚𝙚𝙠💙
𝑃𝑟𝑒𝑔𝑛𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑦
I found out I was pregnant just a few weeks after we’d got married – meaning I was already pregnant when we got married. It came as a huge shock as we hadn’t planned on trying so soon but was over the moon to be starting our family. Honestly, my pregnancy was pretty standard, no morning sickness, no health issues and little man was growing perfectly (or so we were led to believe). Looking back, I can see things were so perfect and wish I wasn’t so naive. This picture was taken hours before Jason was born – the last bump pic, a very spontaneous one just because but I’m so glad I did as this was the last moment everything felt perfect 💕

Day 3

💙𝘽𝙖𝙗𝙮 𝙇𝙤𝙨𝙨 𝘼𝙬𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙨 𝙒𝙚𝙚𝙠💙
𝐵𝑖𝑟𝑡ℎ
I’ve written Jason’s birth story down so many times but it doesn’t get any easier. Jason was born during an unexpected homebirth at 35 weeks. I was under the impression that we’d made it through the danger zone and at 35 weeks it would all be okay. Of cause it wasn’t. There is no safe zone in pregnancy no matter what you are told. My boy lived for 37 minutes and I am so proud of how much of a fighter he was. Jason’s story is written in full on my blog if anyone wants to read it – it’s too much to write on a caption but I also wouldn’t want to upset anyone or trigger anyones grief.

Day 4

💙𝘽𝙖𝙗𝙮 𝙇𝙤𝙨𝙨 𝘼𝙬𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙨 𝙒𝙚𝙚𝙠💙
𝐹𝑢𝑛𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑙
We weren’t prepared for planning a funeral. Wed prepared ourselves for dirty nappies, sleepless nights and bottle making. We didn’t know the first thing about planning a funeral.

We didn’t allow people to attend, close family was it. I knew it would be hard for me not to put on a brave face if others were there. It was a simple ceremony, no words were spoken – how do you talk about someone whose life barely began? Standing watching his tiny coffin disappear behind the curtain, wondering whether we made the right choice, wondering whether any choice was the right choice. Those who have always been the strongest crumbled, I hated that I couldn’t protect them from the pain. I hated that I couldn’t just pick him up and take him away from it all. I felt so helpless.

Day 5

💙𝘽𝙖𝙗𝙮 𝙇𝙤𝙨𝙨 𝘼𝙬𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙨 𝙒𝙚𝙚𝙠💙
𝐿𝑖𝑓𝑒 𝑎𝑓𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝑙𝑜𝑠𝑠
I’m sure you can imagine, our lives changed so much after Jason’s death. We couldn’t stay in the house we loved so much, it was tarnished by his death, the room where all his things were kept was empty and echoed with the loss we faced. We moved; we adopted Luke’s nans cat in the move and I hated the thought of having a pet – I was meant to have a baby not a pet. However that little ginger furball saved me more than I ever thought he would. He gave me a reason to get up and function and without that I’m not sure I’d have “coped” through the first year without Jason. Misty became part of our family and was so protective over my Ellie bump before he died. Ellie’s birth gave us so much happiness, I feel so privileged to be her mummy and I don’t take any moment with her for granted. I know how short life can be and I know the way I parent has been tainted by the thought that anything could happen and I could still lose her. That’s how a grieving parents mind works. Life after loss seems fairly “normal” to the outside world, we function just like we would if Jason hadn’t have died or if he hadn’t existed but inside we are still grieving and will always grieve for the boy he should have been.

Day 6

💙𝘽𝙖𝙗𝙮 𝙇𝙤𝙨𝙨 𝘼𝙬𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙨 𝙒𝙚𝙚𝙠💙
𝐽𝑎𝑠𝑜𝑛’𝑠 𝐿𝑒𝑔𝑎𝑐𝑦
That is your legacy on this Earth when you leave this Earth: how many hearts you touched. To date we have raised nearly £4000 for different baby loss charities, all in Jason’s memory and created a library in our local hospital bereavement suite full of books and stories relating to loss and specifically baby loss which has already helped so many families in the early stages of loss. I feel incredibly proud to be the mummy of a boy who has touched so many lives without ever meeting anyone. In December we take part in #adventtoremember which is such a wonderful way of remembering loved ones throughout December in any way you see fit – we do family trips, Christmas themed activities and raok, I share Jason in as many ways as I can.
𝐈 𝐜𝐚𝐧’𝐭 𝐭𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐦𝐲 𝐬𝐨𝐧 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐈 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐭𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐦𝐲 𝐬𝐨𝐧, 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐣𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐬𝐞 𝐚𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬.

Day 7

💙𝘽𝙖𝙗𝙮 𝙇𝙤𝙨𝙨 𝘼𝙬𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙨 𝙒𝙚𝙚𝙠💙
𝑊𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑙𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡
For my son, the little fighter who made me a Mummy. The Little man who I was so lucky to have held and love with every part of my heart. For all the babies who have gone too soon, for all the ones we didn’t get to bring home.
I light my candle because I am 1 in 4.

Posted in parenting, parenting after loss, product review

Photographs

Ever since I was a teen I’ve loved taking pictures, I was always hiding in my bedroom trying to find new ways to take “the best selfie” or posing in some way. Yet actually, I hate having my picture taken, I get awkward and self-conscious and always feel like a whale. I remember when Luke and I would go on holidays (always a coach trip abroad and they were AMAZING!) I would take roughly 2000 pictures to remember every single detail of that trip. Of cause, I don’t even look at them and the thousands of scenic pictures mean nothing to me as I don’t remember half the places we visited. Yet, I still take them.

I remember not wanting to take any photos of Jason the day he was born. It felt wrong and insensitive somehow. He was dead. I didn’t hold him alive and I didn’t want to fake how I was feeling for a picture either. I was told that the midwives would take some photo’s of him so there would be some if we ever wanted them. I didn’t want anyone to meet him but allowed close family in to say hello and goodbye; I denied those who would have loved him so much that chance but I knew I’d have put on a brave face and pretended this was exactly what we were expecting if they had come. I wanted to be true to myself, I wanted to cry and grieve for the little boy in my arms who didn’t even get to meet his Mum.
Right before we said our final goodbyes to Jason I took one photograph on my phone. I placed him in the incubator/cot, wrapped his blue blanket around him (a hospital one as I couldn’t bear to see him with anything we had in our hospital bag…nothing would have fit any way) and took the only photograph I have in colour of my beautiful little boy. A decision I regret every day of my life. I wanted more. I need more and I can’t go back to take them. I’d give anything for one picture of the three of us. One moment where we could pretend our family was complete, regardless of whether we were happy or sad, just one photograph showing for a brief moment we were complete.

Since Ellie’s birth I have taken far too many lots of photos. I want as many pictures of her as I can possibly get because if ANYTHING was to happen to her at least I would have them to look back and remember that she is here. I know that sounds morbid but when you have lost a child you never fully believe any other children are here to stay either. I try to take as many family pictures as I can and i’m always asking Luke to take pictures of me and Ellie together. He doesn’t. He forgets. He’s not very good with photographs and the ones he does take seem forced because i’ve asked for them. I want those pictures where we are just being us, the pictures where we are playing…like I take of him and Ellie all the time.

What saddens me the most is that our family is complete. Not physically of course but complete all the same and I will never be able to have that family photo of the four of us together. However, I do have something pretty close and it means the world to me.

I have been Instagram friends with Nin for a while, our mutual loss of our children bringing two random strangers together and building a friendship. She has started her own small business creating beautiful family portraits so I messaged her to see if she could create something for me. We talked about what I wanted, we discussed whether I wanted Jason to be as he was born or as he should be now. I sent Nin pictures and she used what she knew about me and my little family to create something that is perfect. Every little detail was done with so much thought and care. Nin’s illustrations are stunning and she managed to get this drawn, coloured and sent all within the space of a few days! I was totally surprised when it arrived just 4 days after first talking through what I wanted.

Luke, Ellie, Jason, Me and Misty the Cat – Our family…finally complete in a picture.

If you are looking for something a little different, a bit more personal or even a way to make your family complete then please get in touch with her. These illustrations would make the PERFECT gift for any occasion and she isn’t afraid of a challenge either!

To see more of her work please head on over to her instagram page

Disclosure: this is NOT an ad, I paid for this illustration and just wanted to share how amazing it is!! All views and opinions are my own.