Baby Number 3, Babyloss, Life, parenting

Recap: April

I haven’t felt the urge to write much lately. I usually use writing as a bit of an outlet during bad times, so basically life has been treating me well recently. I’ve been feeling really good. Not a lot of down days – although even on a good day I still believe life is unfair – and lots to keep me busy.

Here’s a quick recap of my last 2 weeks:

  • My cuddle cot fundraiser has been featured in the newspaper, on the radio and on TV – The local news really jumped on it, and the response has been fantastic. Charlie, my boys & I featured front page on our local newspaper Tuesday morning and as a result we received a message from ABC Radio wanting an interview, our local Prime7 News followed not long after. I was pretty nervous about being interviewed, but I think I did okay. Check out the article here: ‘Gift offers time with lost babies’, or watch my nerve-wracking TV appearance: ‘Mum on a mission’.
  • My fundraiser is now at over $1,100 – As a result of the recent media coverage, we’ve now raised enough for 1/6th of a cuddle cot in only a month of fundraising. Which also translates to 22 Bears of Hope packages in honour of my boys (if enough money for a cuddle cot isn’t raised).
  • I got chickens – probably not an important point but I find it exciting. Six 6-week-old Isa Browns. Seriously looking forward to not having to buy eggs in the near future. Charlie also absolutely adores them, which is a nice little bonus. We spend probably half an hour with them every morning playing outside and it definitely makes the day seem shorter having so much fun.
  • I spent some time with my beautiful sister, and my brother also visited from Melbourne – Family is important. Mine may not be very functional at the best of times, but I love them all the same and Charlie spending time with my family is also very important to me. My sister’s visit meant non-stop giggles from Charlie, we’ve missed her while she’s been away at university.
  • We got out personalised child loss book in the mail yesterday – From the author of Sam and Finn, these books are ‘a story of hope created especially for you’. It’s going to be beautiful reading it to Charlie as she gets older – a special little story about her big brothers. We already have Someone Came Before You, and it’s lovely, but this book actually has Andrew & Eric’s name in it! You can buy your own here: Personalised Child Loss Book.

That’s pretty much it. Condensed into a list, none of that seems as big of a deal as it actually was – I feel like there’s been so much excitement here lately!

My laptop is officially up and running again by the way, so look forward to more frequent blog posts. Unfortunately there’s been a hiccup with our new internet installation, but hopefully that’ll be working soon too.

How have you all been while I’ve been gone?

Advertisements
Standard
Life

More tragedy…

Well, we said goodbye to 2014 with hopes that 2015 would be better. I still hope it will be better, but so far it’s not off to a great start…

3 days into the new year my partner went for a motorbike ride with one of his best mates – just down to the forest, something they did all the time. They were decked out in all their safety gear, like usual. It was just a normal day, I didn’t even say goodbye to them as they left. I barely noticed them leaving.

A little while later, I saw the first ambulance go by headed in their direction. I immediately grabbed my phone to call my partner and discovered he’d left his phone at home (they usually do, so their phones don’t get lost). So I tried to convince myself the ambulance could be for anyone. That they would be home soon.

But they didn’t come home. Instead, more emergency vehicles drove by, headed towards the forest. I think in total I saw 3 ambulances, 4 police cars and 1 SES vehicle. Two hours had passed since the first ambulance, and it hadn’t driven back past again, so I knew something had to be seriously wrong. By this point I was crying, I was trying not to freak out. I thought surely someone would call me? Surely someone would tell me if something had happened? I held on to a tiny bit of hope that the ambulance hadn’t been for them, because no one had come to tell me anything. Maybe my boys were just helping out the person who had been injured.

I sat out the front of the house waiting for something to happen. For them to come home, or for someone to tell me what was going on. Every time I heard a sound that sounded even remotely like a motorbike I thought “that’s them!”… It never was. Eventually my across-the-road neighbour noticed me sitting out the front and walked over. I cannot describe how I felt when I saw him walking over. I had to let go of the tiny bit of hope I still had that my boys were both okay. I knew if he was coming over, he had to be telling me something bad.

The first words out of his mouth were “Matt’s okay”. I was so relieved, so grateful for those words. I asked whether his mate was okay. My neighbour just shook his head. I didn’t ask anything more, I didn’t need to. I just cried.

Standard
Babyloss

Christmas was hard.

My emotions kept yo-yoing back and forth in the lead up to Christmas. I had no idea what to expect on the day. In the end, I was okay.

I was sad, don’t get me wrong. It didn’t escape my notice that we should have had two 11-month-olds tearing open gifts on Christmas morning, and it made me even sadder that it did seem to escape everyone else’s. My partner said they probably just didn’t know what to say. But anything is better than silence.

There was a particularly poignant moment when I unwrapped a gift I received from hubby’s grandparents – a white photo frame. I opened it and immediately starting thinking to myself about which photo of our sons I would put in there. His grandmother then interrupted my thoughts to say “that’s for a photo of the new baby”. It made me feel strange. Sad. I can’t explain it.

My mother-in-law did acknowledge our sons in a tiny way. She bought them a gift. She gave it to us in secret, after mouthing to us at the end of the gift-unwrapping session to go outside and meet her by our car. Again this made me feel strange, I was so saddened by the way she kept it a secret from everyone else. The fact that she felt she had to hide it away, that she couldn’t acknowledge them publicly. If I let myself dwell on that though I would probably just get angry, so instead I would like to think only of how nice it was that she actually bought them something in the first place.

It wasn’t the day I wanted it to be. I wanted it to be special, but in the lead up I just started thinking, how could I make Christmas special without my boys here?

I’m okay. It was okay. It just wasn’t how I wanted it, but I guess I’m not even sure how I wanted it to begin with.

Standard
Baby Number 3, Babyloss

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day, Oct. 15th

Yesterday was Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I was almost too busy to think about it, but it was on my mind all day.

Yesterday I also had an obstetrician appointment. My little girl is 100% okay, I know some of you will understand why I find that to be a miracle. We’re over halfway now. It seems to have gone so fast. In 4 months she will be here, and our arms will be a tiny little bit less empty. I don’t feel like she’ll fill the gap left by her big brothers. But maybe she’ll make that hole seem not quite as big.

As I said before, the significance of yesterday’s date was on my mind all day. And at 7pm, my Facebook newsfeed filled up with candles. It was so lovely to see. But besides that, it really did feel like any other day. I missed my boys just as much as every day before – the only difference was that people seemed to accept that and liked my “I miss you” post rather than commenting about how I can’t let their loss ‘define the rest of my life’.

I guess I almost ended the day on a sad note, because I thought, why should my grief only be recognised on this one day? I do love that we have a day for everybody to remember our babies, but for my friends that aren’t a part of the baby-loss community it seemed to mean that today was the only day I should remember my sons.

Anyway, I’ll end my post on a happier note. Yesterday, seeing my little baby-loss community come together was lovely. Seeing other people, who don’t know our grief, remember our babies was also beautiful. My Facebook newsfeed really was a wave of light. And I did feel my sons’ presence quite heavily yesterday – I felt like they were watching over us. I’m proud that my little girl has such wonderful angels to look after her, even though I’d rather they be here to grow up with her instead.


Standard
Babyloss

Friends of bereaved parents:

It’s not about you.

This is the most important piece of advice I could possibly give anyone who wants to be there for their friends during moments of grief. There is so much more I could tell you, but you could easily find a hundred other blog posts out there if you want a list. But to me, personally, the most important advice for you to have is that it’s just not about you.

I’m not being selfish when I say this. And you’d be surprised at the amount of people who just don’t understand. But if you want to be there for you friend, you have to remember that this is about them. This is something that is happening to them. You are there in a supporting role, you are not the star. Your friend does not have the strength to care about you at the moment. That may sound harsh, but they’re not being selfish – they are just grieving.

You honestly should not burden your friend at this time with having to worry about you as well. They’re trying to figure out how to go on living, they really don’t need anything else on their shoulders.

You should keep an open line of communication, but remember, that is on you. You can’t chuck a hissy-fit because your friend isn’t being as receptive as you’d like them to be. You can’t get personally offended that they might take days to reply. You can’t get jealous if they would rather speak to someone else. This is not about you. This is about your friend. And if you truly want to be supportive, you won’t burden them with your hurt feelings – you will at least try to understand, and you will continue to try and support them.

And if you decide that trying to maintain contact is too hard, that is also on you. Your friend will notice. They will remember that you stopped trying, or didn’t try at all; that you thought the relationship was not worth the trouble. And I have no sympathy for you. You have just lost a relationship that you probably didn’t deserve. If you don’t have the patience to deal with your friend’s grief you do not deserve to be there when they finally emerge from their dark hole and feel almost up to living again. You do not get to re-enter their life when the hard part is over. You don’t deserve to.

You need to understand that, during this time, you have to put your friend first. I can’t stress this enough. They may hurt your feelings. And supporting your friend can be exhausting. You also might feel like they don’t appreciate you, but believe me, they do, they just don’t have the energy to show it. In the months to come you will get your appreciation.  

You may have your own grief about their loss, but you need to find your own support for that – it is not up to your friend to support you. I’m not saying you don’t have a right to grieve. You are allowed to be sad as well. But it is ultimately your friend who has lost a child, not you.

This is not about you. You can’t make it about you. You have no right to demand support or care from your friend during this time – that’s what they need you for.

Standard
Babyloss

Stupid things that people say.

I know there are a million and one posts on the internet about what not to say to a bereaved parent. And I don’t have much more to offer, but I thought I would share my personal experiences. In no particular order:

How are you?
While the question itself really isn’t that bad – sometimes it’s actually quite nice when people ask such a simple question – nobody ever wanted to hear the answer, and this is why I couldn’t stand people asking. If I said I was anything worse than good, most people would just go silent and change the topic. Even just ‘okay’ was not an acceptable answer. Sometimes people would try to convince me that I was, in fact, good. Nobody wanted to actually talk about how I was feeling unless I was feeling great, which clearly I wasn’t. I ended up telling everyone not to ask unless they were prepared to hear that I wasn’t as great as they wanted me to be. I have been asked precisely twice since then.

You are so strong!
I’m really not. I have to go through this pain and survive somehow. Crumbling to pieces and refusing to function aren’t very appealing options, although I don’t feel like I’m doing much better than that anyway. Don’t marvel at how “strong” I am – I’m just trying to cope in any way I can.

You can still have more kids or Are you going to try again?
Yes, another baby would be a blessing – but it is not some sort of consolation prize for losing the ones I already had and so desperately wanted. Another baby will not replace my sons, and having another child will not make me suddenly forget my sons or feel better about losing them. Nothing will ever take away the pain of not being able to watch my sons grow up.

Everything happens for a reason.
No. Shut up. There is no acceptable reason for my sons to have had their lives taken from them. End of story.

They’re in a better place.
Personally, I believe the best place for my sons is probably here with me. I do like to believe they’re somewhere lovely, looking down on us and smiling. But I can’t believe that that place is better than getting to experience life and the love I have for them.

(Insert name here) just had their baby safely.
For some reason, everyone felt the need to inform me that their friends or relatives had just had a healthy baby. Why, thank you! Thank you for letting me know that someone I don’t know or care about now gets to experience everything I don’t. Thank you to my mother-in-law, for informing me that some cousin of yours that my partner and I had never met had just become a grandmother and her grandchild was born safely. Thanks dad, for letting me know that somebody in town had just had their seventh child, and then going on about how amazing it was that she had seven children; while I sat there with my own empty arms. I don’t even know these people, and I don’t really care to hear their good news when mine is nothing but sad.

 

 

Standard
Babyloss

Dear God,

Every night for the past two weeks I’ve spent crying, begging for you to give me my sons back. Or at least tell me why you took them from me.

Every night, my house is empty. Silent. And I get no response from you.

I know my sons are with you. And I know you’ll keep them safe. But what am I supposed to do now? I was meant to be looking after my babies. Raising my beautiful sons. Instead their cots are empty.

How am I supposed to go on, when my heart is broken like this? My hopes and dreams died with my sons. I would do anything for them to be able to live.

I wrote this on the 17th of February, a little over two weeks after my sons were born.
Now, I’ve had almost 7 months to “come to terms” with losing my sons, but I’m still struggling to make my peace with God. And over the past few months, the more I think about God, the less I trust him.
I used to be a religious person. I used to pray. Every now and again I still do. But now it feels like my prayers aren’t being listened to.
I don’t know I feel about you anymore, but please God, help me heal.

Standard