Babyloss, Life

Stillbirth: A Feminist Issue

I have never thought of stillbirth as a feminist issue before today, after reading an article by Kristina Keneally. But it makes so. much. sense.

Stillbirth doesn’t happen to men the same way it happens to women. It would be wrong to say it doesn’t happen to men at all, of course, they are losing their children too. But for women, it doesn’t just happen to us, it happens inside us. We are the unwilling accomplices in our children’s deaths. It is so much more than something that happens to us.

And in a world run by men, it makes sense that the rate of stillborn births has literally not changed for decades. In Australia, 6 babies die every day in their mother’s womb. That is 2,200 mothers every year suffering the loss of their baby (the figures are much higher in America, where 26,000 babies are stillborn every year). Of course their families cannot be forgotten, there are fathers, brothers, sisters, suffering the loss too. But none of them are as intrinsically involved in the loss like the mothers are. None of them are forced to physically take part. Giving birth to a baby that has already passed is something that only women experience.

Historically, stillbirth was a shameful experience, and blamed on the mother. In modern times, while this has somewhat changed, women can still be marginalised in their own stillbirth experience. I could not count the amount of male medical professionals who told me things along the lines of “sometimes these things just happen”, or even the occasional one who implied that the blame laid with me. The fact of the matter is that healthy babies do not just die. But there hasn’t been enough research into the incidence of stillbirth to even scratch the surface of why it happens, and this is probably because most of the researchers and medical professionals are male. Most of the people funding the research are male. We are living in a male-dominated world, and the finer points of women’s rights often don’t get a look in.

The medical profession is male-dominated. Women in the profession earn less then men. These are important feminist issues, no doubt about it, and apply to many other professions. But when it comes to the silence surrounding stillbirth, something must be done. Men aren’t speaking for us, because quite frankly a man has never truly experienced stillbirth. Feminists need to realise that stillbirth is their problem. Even if it has never happened to you, you are a woman, and we are a sisterhood where 6 of us (in Australia) lose our loved children every day. Just like even if you have never experienced gender-discrimination, as a feminist woman, it is still your responsibility to fight against it.

So many women before have fought for us not to experience the things that they had to. I fight today so the women who come after me might not have to experience the loss of their child through stillbirth.

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Life

Spiralling

I’m in a downward spiral towards depression, again.

I might as well be blunt about it. I feel like crap. I’m having trouble sleeping. I’m exhausted all the time. I’ve lost most of my motivation. And I’ve cried far too often in the last week. I feel like I’m not being the best mother to Charlie right now.

I need to head to the GP. I just have to bring myself to do it.

 

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Life

Life is a busy mess…

Life has been pretty busy lately. I know I said I’d write more, but writing is a bit of an indulgence when you’ve got so much going on.

I’m studying right now, for the first time since I left school 5 years ago. It’s hard. I’m struggling with it a little bit. I’m insanely excited about it all, but I’m not entirely sure I’ll succeed. I can barely get through the reading material – the language is heavy! – and I’m a big reader, so that took me by surprise.

Speaking of reading, I just bought a fascinating book – Mother’s Who Can’t Love: A Healing Guide for Daughters by Susan Forward, PhD. I’ve barely cracked the cover but I can’t wait to read it. My relationship with my mother has always had ups and downs, but lately the downs are getting to me more than ever before.

I’ve recently joined a support group for people with parents like my mother, and it’s been immensely helpful. Honestly, just being able to put a name to what she is has really helped. But right now I’m just moving forward and trying to figure out ways to heal without getting closure; because I know my mother will never accept nor apologise for what she has said and done. This has always been my reality, a mother who can’t love, who uses fear, obligation and guilt to manipulate the people she “loves”. I’m not expecting her to change. But I hope I can finally learn how to cope with it all.

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Babyloss, Friends, Life

Why you didn’t see a heartfelt post from me this Mother’s Day | Surviving Narcissistic Abuse

I wrote this 8 months ago – on the 11th of May to precise – and never had the guts to publish it. But I finally thought I’d share my story of surviving narcissistic abuse. This was written before I had a name for what my mother is, but it begins to describe how she’s affected me over the years. 

On Mother’s Day I experienced an explosion of posts on my Facebook newsfeed. Lovely, heartfelt posts from daughters to their mothers; “happy Mother’s Day to the best mum ever”, “I couldn’t have done it without you”, “thanks for everything you’ve done for me”.

I didn’t join in. I simply can’t say things like that with a clean conscience, because I don’t mean them. Don’t get me wrong, my mother can be a really lovely person. Even extremely generous. Unfortunately those moments are few and far between – at least for me.

My childhood was filled with emotional abuse, made worse by the fact that I didn’t realise that’s what it was. I genuinely thought I was just a disappointment of a daughter, a bitch, selfish, because that’s all my mother ever really told me. She also tried to divide the family in a way – she’d tell me my dad wanted to disinherit me, my brother didn’t want me at his wedding, etc etc. Almost all of what she said was a lie. The most concerning part is that she genuinely seems to believe her lies. She could tell you the sky is green and scream at you for being a horrible, deceitful person by saying it’s actually blue.

She’s always been this way, although it could be said that she’s gotten progressively worse in recent years. As I got older it dawned on me that her behaviour wasn’t normal. Eventually, when I was just shy of 17 years old, it all got too much and I moved out. This was followed by a whole heap of extra abuse from my mum, ranging from begging me to stay , “you’re tearing this family apart”, to “go be a slut and live with your boyfriend then”. She would leave voicemail after voicemail, especially when she’d been drinking, basically just telling me how awful I was and how I owed her everything and should treat her accordingly.

Then my sons died. You’d think maybe that might’ve made my mum lay off me a bit, but you’d be dead wrong. There was so much drama from her after we lost our sons, I’d be here for a week if I tried to write it all down, so I’ll just tell you some snippets.

Mum caused a whole lot of problems with the funeral “guest list” – she told several people it was a public funeral, when in fact it was a very private one, while also telling some of my closest friends they weren’t invited and that I didn’t want to see them. It was stressful dealing with upset friends, and also having to tell upset acquaintances that they actually weren’t invited.

Mum also took it upon herself to tell the funeral director “our” plans – plans that we had definitely not discussed with her and that contradicted what we actually wanted to do. It was confusing trying to resurrect our sons’ funeral from the mess my mother made of it.

After the funeral, my mum left us voicemail after voicemail just yelling at us about crap.

Some of it included how she had more rights as a grandparent because she was the maternal grandmother, so we shouldn’t show Matt’s mother any photos of our sons. She berated us for not thanking her for planning the funeral for us. She yelled at us because Matt’s grandparents were at the funeral and mine weren’t, despite the fact that 3/4 of my grandparents weren’t even living, and the remaining one was in no state to travel 5 hours down for the funeral of two great-grandsons that she didn’t even remember she had. She called us selfish for not letting her invite friends of hers – some of whom we’d barely met – to our very private, family and closest-friends only, funeral. She bought a new outfit for the funeral apparently, so we owed her money for said outfit…

She just wouldn’t stop calling.

Her most memorable voicemail lines were “my grandsons have just died, give me some sympathy” and “I’m a mother, and that’s the most important job of all”, the latter said rather scathingly, like she knew that statement would hurt and intended it that way.

Matt had to physically take my phone off me. I was ending up in tears every time she called, yet I kept answering the phone because she was my mum – I felt like she deserved the benefit of doubt. By March though, I’d decided I couldn’t keep putting myself through that. I blocked her number and stopped talking to her completely for at least 12 months. Charlie being born changed that all a little – but that’s a story for another day.

The thing about my mum is that she can seem extremely loving looking from the outside in. It’s very hard to explain just what she’s like. There is definitely something very wrong there though, I’m not sure she even remembers when she abuses you, because she then goes on to act like it never happened and swears that it didn’t. I also know my sweet little sister doesn’t see the negative side of our mother as much – not like my brother and I have. I try not to discuss my mother with her, because she can form her own opinions based own her own experiences, it’s just so strange that her experiences are so different from mine. I know this post will probably be read by her, and I’m sorry little sister for darkening your view of our mum.

I guess there’s also the possibility that my mother could read this. Maybe there’s a tiny chance that she might finally see herself as the rest of us see her – someone who needs help. The abuse has got to stop. But more likely, she will blame the rest of us as she always has, and deny everything.

I’m sorry, mum, but you’re just too stressful to have in my life. You can be in Charlie’s – as long as you don’t ever treat her the way you’ve treated me – but I don’t want to play happy families and be your friend, because the abuse isn’t worth it. I choose to believe I am more than the names you call me. I choose happiness. 

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Life

Back In Action!

If anyone out there actually follows my blog, you will have notice I have written anything in a long, long time. I have a few excuses: I’ve been really busy, my laptop has been broken, and my phone screen is smashed to pieces so blogging from my phone hasn’t been fun either.

BUT I’M BACK! I got my new laptop today. Just in time for me to blog about my sons’ upcoming 3rd birthday / ‘angelversary’ and my rainbow’s upcoming 2nd birthday. They’re 6 days apart. It’s an emotionally draining time. I’ll tell you all about it next week.

I’m also starting university next month, and I’m hoping my blogging will help me in that regard. Writing is an invaluable talent as a student and I’m afraid I’m a little bit out of practice. I am, however, incredibly excited to be studying again – it’s been so long since I’ve felt like I’ve done something productive (besides raising a child of course).

Let me know what you’ve been up to lately in the comments. I’ve missed you! Will be back soon.

 

*Quick footnote: we’ve raised $2,690 for a Cuddle Cot through Bears of Hope! You can donate here.

 

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Friends, Life

A Review: Jamberry Nail Lacquer

Let me preface this by saying that I’m a complete amateur when it comes to nails & makeup. But I’ve recently been branching out a little and I know I haven’t written much lately so I thought I would tell you about it.

I’ve tried Jamberry nail wraps twice, but I’m not so good at application. So when I noticed they also sell nail lacquer, and wanting to support my local Jamberry consultant, I thought I’d give it a shot – even though I’m probably equally bad at painting nails as I am at wrapping them.

I bought a lacquer called ‘Pink Lemonade’ for $22. My first impressions were that the bottle was a little small (admittedly I’m not super familiar with nail lacquer bottle sizes so I have no comparison for that) and that the colour wasn’t quite what I pictured from the catalogue, but it was pretty none-the-less.

As soon as I put it on I FELL IN LOVE. It applies so beautifully, and even though I did a pretty terrible job of it it dries to look almost perfect. I decided then and there I’d buy more.

But I’ve had them on now for less than a week. After 4 full days of wear there’s almost none left on my nails. Granted, I didn’t use a base or top coat lacquer. It applies so bloody beautifully that I AM buying more and to see how it fares with a top coat.

My nails after application.

My nails now – and this is the better hand.
Verdict: ⭐️⭐️⭐️/⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

I do love that it’s 5 free, and the application is to die for. Reserving the rest of my judgement for when I have a top coat lacquer. 

Check out Jamberry here: Delicious Digits Jamberry Shop.


Not a sponsored post.

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Babyloss, Life, parenting

Fundraising Update

Yesterday I received a phone call from my local hospital in regards to my Cuddle Cot fundraiser. 

It was a bit out of the blue. Obviously I have spoken to them before and when I first started fundraising actually received quite a few calls from them, but I couldn’t think of a reason why they would be calling yesterday. Except perhaps in regards to my upcoming community event. Nope.

They actually called me to let me know that someone from Newcastle had just contacted them, with 3 Cuddle Cots ready to go, wanting to donate one of them to Tamworth within the week. Which is fantastic news, really. But the hospital aren’t sure they’ll need another one – the one I’ve been fundraising for. I must admit I got off the phone and cried. 

It just meant so, so much to me to donate a Cuddle Cot in my sons’ names to the hospital they were born in. The people who would have used that Cuddle Cot might’ve recognised my boys names, knew their story. And I feel so connected to that place, I held my boys there, my boys existed in that hospital – sometimes it feels like it’s the only place they did exist. 

I’ve already raised $1,400, and my first community event is only weeks away. But now I’m not sure exactly where the money raised is actually going to go. I might have to find another home for my boys’ Cuddle Cot, and the community will then no longer get the satisfaction of knowing that their donations are actually going to help local families, which has honestly been a big driving point for my fundraiser.

Obviously I’m glad my local hospital is going to have a Cuddle Cot – and sooner rather than later means more families will be helped in the long run. I just can’t help but feel sad that my sons’ legacy might not get to live on in the local area.

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