Baby Number 3, Babyloss, Life, parenting

Mother’s Day approaches.

Mother’s Day is this Sunday, in case you haven’t noticed. I’ve looked forward to it every year since becoming a mother. Even though my first Mother’s Day was spent with empty arms. Even though last Mother’s Day, Matt and I had only recently separated, and he’s not a terribly thoughtful person to begin with. Even though this year, while it’s off to a better start than previous years, is probably set to end in a similar way. Me feeling sad, under-appreciated, but also strangely re-affirmed in my role as a mother.

My first Mother’s Day I remember I wanted so badly for other’s to recognise that it was my Mother’s Day too. My sons may not have been there, but I was still a mother. Matt wished me a happy Mother’s Day and gave me a quick hug as I got out of bed that morning, and that made me feel pretty great despite the sadness hiding within the hug. But what followed was a completely average day. There was no breakfast in bed, no barbecue in my honour, no cards, no cute home-made gifts, and most importantly no babies to hug. Getting back into bed that night, I cried thinking of what my first Mother’s Day should have been. Even if I hadn’t received anything else, I should have had two little boys to hold tight and make me feel grateful to be a mother. Instead what I had was emptiness. But as I pulled my blankets up, I looked out at the stars, and thought of my sons and how they wouldn’t want me to be sad – especially on Mother’s Day. I was their mother, after all.

Last Mother’s Day was, as a mentioned before, not long after Matthew and I separated. It wasn’t the best day. I spent it with Matt, I’m not even sure why considering I’d just left him. We invited his parents down to the local pub, ate pizza, and drank vodka (or at least, I did). At the end of the day, I was still pretty sad, but I had Charlie to cuddle and I felt pretty damn grateful for that.

This Mother’s Day I’m not sure what I’m hoping for. The truth is, every holiday sucks a little when you’re a bereaved parent. Even on the happy days, if there’s not at least tiny bit of sadness then there’s guilt for not feeling sad.

Anyway, happy Mother’s Day everyone! Whether you’re a new mum, a single mum, an empty-nester, or a mum with empty arms. Whatever kind of mum you are, happy Mother’s Day.

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?

Baby Number 3, Babyloss, Cooking, Life, parenting

Not Winning Today

I feel like I’m failing at being a mum today. My little girl is upset and clingy and has been from the moment she woke up. I understand that it’s tough being a toddler so I’m trying to be gentle, I wish she could understand that it’s tough being a mum sometimes too.

It’s lunchtime and so far she’s not eaten more than a few slices of apple all day. I feel like a failure for not being able to get her to eat some more, she must be hungry but she won’t let any food pass her lips (she did happily munch on some cardboard though – babies, huh?).

Her nap time has come and gone, and she’s still not asleep. I feel like a failure for not being able to get her to sleep even though I know she’s tired. I know this will make her day even harder. But she just won’t sleep.

Every little cry or whinge makes me feel like a failure because I don’t know what’s wrong and none of my cuddles are making her feel better. My one job is to keep my babe healthy and happy and the happy part just isn’t happening today! 

I feel like a failure of a housewife too because I’m focusing all my attention on my poor babe. The dishes still aren’t done. Floors haven’t been vacuumed. Laundry hasn’t been hung on the line. 

I guess you can’t win every day.

Friends, Life

Season 7, time for a wedding!

On 2/1/15 Charlie & I attended the wedding of a good friend.

I actually know said friend through our babyloss journey. She lost her son a month or two before I lost mine and was one of the first people to offer real support to me, and now we have our rainbows together – her little boy is 5 weeks younger than Charlie.

The wedding was truly, truly beautiful. Her little boy was honoured in so many ways on the day, and her earthside baby looked adorable in his little bow tie and suspenders. The groom even scrubbed up well and my friend, the beautiful bride, looked absolutely amazing in her gown!

There are just no words for how happy I am for this couple. They’re such an inspiration to me. To have been through so much and to still be so strong together, and such wonderful parents to both their angel and their rainbow baby, is just humbling. And I feel so incredibly honoured to have been invited to their wedding.

I wish them both so much happiness – they deserve it!

Baby Number 3, Babyloss, Life, parenting

Another year of firsts.

My adorable rainbow baby is almost 1. (Her brothers should be almost 2).

This past year we have had many firsts. Charlie is our first baby to make it home. We celebrated her first Easter, Christmas, and New Years. We helped her struggle through her first tooth cutting, we struggled ourselves during our first sleepless night. We just missed seeing her first ever roll (cheeky!), delighted at seeing her crawl for the first time and at the moment we’re eagerly awaiting her first steps, which we anticipate any day now. And now to end our year of firsts we have her first birthday in 2 weeks time.

But it seems bittersweet that this is actually our second year of firsts, vastly different from the one before. The year of firsts without our beautiful boys. My firstborns. The first time I held their beautiful, still bodies. The first night home from hospital without them, then the first funeral my partner ever attended and the first time I had seen him cry. The first day I didn’t shed a single tear over their loss. The first Easter, Christmas and New Years with empty arms. Their first birthday card, completely empty, sitting in their memory box.

This year of firsts has been so much happier than the last, but the last holds so many important memories too. My boys should be 2 in 8 short days. We’re marking the day the same way we did last year – a trip to the national park with their urn, a cake, and a peaceful afternoon by ourselves as a family. It’ll be a far cry from Charlie’s first birthday barbecue the following week.

I feel like my boys are being a little bit forgotten amongst the excitement for their little sister’s birthday. I understand, I’m terribly excited for her birthday too; it’s such a joyous, celebratory occasion. But the week before is going to be tough.

 I miss you Andrew & Eric x

Baby Number 3, Babyloss, Life

Grief at Christmastime

Christmas is fast approaching. It somehow manages to sneak up on me every year. Not one ounce of Christmas shopping has been done – except for my rainbow babe’s gifts, which I laybyed back in June (thank you Big W and your no deposit Christmas toy layby!).

I think when you’re missing someone important at your Christmas dinner table, Christmas sneaks up all that much faster. Just yesterday it was February and now I have to face another major holiday without my boys. It’s really hit me hard.

Last Christmas we didn’t have a lot of money (huge understatement). I had all these plans to make Christmas special – I felt like we had to try extra hard at that, for our boys, even though they weren’t here or perhaps because they weren’t here – but none of those plans eventuated because we were so broke. It ended up being a Christmas just like any other, just like our sons had never been here. It was sad.

This year we already have gifts under the trees for our boys, and a gift for our little girl from them. I know it might seem silly for our boys to have a gift each, but they will sit with their urn and perhaps Charlie will play with them one day.

I also took Charlie to have Santa photos done. It was a disaster, somehow, despite going reasonably well (from a normal person’s point of view). Let me explain:

  • My partner had to leave me alone in line to get something before the shops closed. No biggie, I guess, but I didn’t want him to leave. I do have severe anxiety, so in general I don’t like being in social situations alone, although I have been very good recently. He also manages to get Charlie to smile with just a look. I just wanted him to stay.
  • I had my boys’ urn with me. Santa was not very receptive of the idea of having them in the photo. He told me it wasn’t a good idea to have “that thing” in the photo. He didn’t say it rudely, and he may not have realised it was an urn (doubtful) but it stung.
  • Charlie would not smile at all. Here I was, with someone I knew in line behind me, and my normally crazily-happy baby would not put a smile on her face. And I tried to make her smile, but I suppose my anxiety may have held me back a little there. She just stared blankly. So I paid $50 for a full pack of photos where she wasn’t smiling. This also made me upset all over again that Matt had left because I knew he would’ve been able to get her to smile.

All of those are really silly thing things to be upset over. But I just wanted to cry. I guess I was feeling extra weighed down by another Christmas without our boys’, even though their little sister is here. I also thought back to last Christmas – I didn’t get a Santa photo for our boys’ first Christmas. I see so many loss mums doing it, and I kind of wanted to, but I was too afraid of what people might think. Then to have Santa this year tell me point-blank that having their urn in the photo wasn’t a good idea. I don’t even know how that made me feel.

So I sat there for 30 minutes, waiting for Matt to get back, trying not to cry – and finally just cried into his shoulder when he got there. I just miss my boys so much and Christmastime is hard without them.

Baby Number 3, Babyloss

how many children do you have?

In my babyloss circles, I’m always hearing people talk about the question ‘how many children do you have?’. I have never denied my boys, I’ve always said I have 3, and sometimes awkwardly explained that my sons’ aren’t here anymore. That is until last week.

I was down the street and an old man stopped to coo over my daughter (as the older generation often do). He asked if she was my only child. Now, I knew this man, and I had actually been asked this before by him and explained about my sons. I didn’t feel like explaining it again, I was in a rush and my daughter was a little grizzly and quite frankly I didn’t feel like receiving those pity eyes I usually get; not twice from the same person. So I said yes. Instantly I felt terrible.

Every day, I feel further away from my sons. Saying yes seemed to ricochet them even further. It wasn’t right. I wanted to correct myself, to let this man know that my sons did exist. But it was too late, I had said it and the conversation was basically over.

I guess this incident has just reaffirmed why I always tell people about them. My sons were here. Explaining to people that they’re not any more is always awkward, I haven’t quite figured out how to do it. But that awkwardness is better than the knot in my stomach when I deny them.

Do you tell people about your lost little one? Does it make you feel conflicted?