Thoughts on Rainbow Baby Day…

Firstly this post isn’t me wallowing about not having a rainbow baby as in fact I have three – Toby technically is a rainbow baby as he came after years of IVF treatments, Rory can still be counted as a rainbow as he was also an IVF baby and Henry was a rainbow in the traditional sense as he came after Rory.

I’m also not begrudging anyone with a rainbow and those trying for a rainbow. Life is tough enough and I’m not here to say how unfair life is for me as it’s unfair for everyone depending on their circumstances.

What I am here to talk/moan about some of the language used, especially that aimed at those either trying for their rainbow or those with no prospect of a rainbow.

One post said we (parents with no rainbow) we’re ‘still worthy’. My first reaction was don’t bloody patronise me! I know I’m still worthy of a happy fulfilled life and I worked really hard to get to that point. I didn’t need someone else to give me permission to do so.

Rainbow-less parents are not weak, we are not second class or unworthy. We are fucking strong! Stop for one second and imagine feeling lost and empty and not having a new baby in your arms. That is our reality every single day and for some it is like that for the rest of our lives.

I’m one of the lucky ones, I do get to parent a living child born before our losses. I’m sure he brings similar parenting dilemmas to those who have a living baby born after loss. He feels the pain of loss too. Toby would be an excellent big brother to a living sibling, instead he’s an ace big bro to his baby brothers. It shouldn’t be this way but it is and we make the best of it. Does not having living siblings make him less worthy, his life less fulfilling? What he does get is our undivided love and attention which isn’t a bad thing!

Then I read posts about lost babies delivering rainbows. Did Rory get lost, fired by the stalk? Did Henry not try hard enough to stay? Did I not try hard enough to keep them safe? All of my babies are magnificent gifts in their own way. Toby made me a mother which, even on bad days I’m incredibly grateful for. Rory taught me the strength to carry on and not take things for granted. Henry, well he nearly broke me but his gift was accepting life as it is, healing deep wounds and a different type of resilience that I never knew I had.

Every baby is a gift, we don’t need a divisive day to celebrate one small group – we should celebrate each baby and their gift every single day!

For every happy post on Thursday there was someone else feeling shit. That’s not right. The isolation I felt in the loss world after Henry died was overwhelming. Days like rainbow baby day add to this isolation. As parents we should be supporting each other rather than (unintentionally) isolating our friends.

Next year on rainbow baby day I’m sharing a picture of all three of my babies and I’m going to tell everyone how fucking fabulous they are! 😃

#rainbowbabyday #babyloss #infertility #ivf #everybabyisagift #grief #healing #siblings

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Closed (of sorts)

I’ve not posted in a long time. Topics keep popping into my head but they don’t feel good enough. I started this blog so that people knew about Rory. It was an outlet, somewhere where I was me but not really me. Then Henry happened and I wrote more, I had more to say. Then I wrote about my path to healing. I finished EMDR in January and whilst I am still a work in progress I can feel the old me coming back. I still love my baby boys, I still want the world to know their names and their faces but our books project (Butterfly Books for Baby Loss) and Instagram just fulfil this need to share and comment on life after loss a little better. I’m not closing my wordpress account but at the same time didn’t want to leave it hanging.

If you want to follow my journey (or look at random photos of my cat), you can find me on Instagram at @beingmyownrainbow

All about the Dads

The baby loss world (unsurprisingly) is full of mums, moms, mamas and mummies. We don’t often hear about the dads though. It’s Father’s Day today in the UK and I’d like to take a moment to honour the dads, dadas, papas and daddies who are parents to babies who couldn’t stay.

These men are the glue to baby loss families and the rock to the mums living without their babies. These men often go back to work after a few days, these men register their babies birth and death, these men watch their parter crumble and feel helpless, these men are asked how their wife is doing but nobody asks them.

All dads are amazing, loss dads have super powers! Wishing you all a gentle day x

Matt – Toby, Rory and Henry’s Daddy

Chris – Henry’s Daddy

Lee – Luna’s Daddy

Rich – Joshua and Imogen’s Daddy

Lee – Thea’s Daddy

Rob Lock – Jacob’s Daddy

Toby – Evelyn’s Daddy

Mark – Oscar’s Daddy

Martin – Kitty’s Daddy

Matt – Baby Matthew Robert’s Daddy

Matt Jarvis – Jack’s Daddy

Ryan Whitcher – Albie Jack’s Daddy

Scott Martin – Ava-Joy’s Daddy

Scott – Grace Maria’s Daddy

Steve – Reggie’s Daddy

James – Alana and Gabriella’s Daddy

Stuart Winner – Tommy’s Daddy

Simon – Sutton Twins’ Daddy

Dave – Henry’s Daddy

Alistair – Harrison Elliot George Smith’s Daddy

Paul – Baby Brock’s Daddy

Luke – Jason’s Daddy

Ross – Daniel’s Daddy

Scott – Ameila’s Daddy

Liam – Layla-Jean’s Daddy

Martin – Our Little Angel’s Daddy

Dave – Joshua’s Daddy

Archie – Charlotte Grace’s Daddy

Gavin – Imogen Ruby’s Daddy

Fabio – Alina’s Babbo

Mark Carter – Daisy’s Daddy

Pete Goodchild – Baby Poppy’s Daddy

Glen Britton – Baby Eli’s Daddy

Matt – Temperance’s Daddy

Hope

#hope #31may #mwah2018 #mayweallheal

Hope. You need some sort of hope to carry on. For a long time I thought that having hope meant the sort of hope associated with a baby after loss – because everyone hopes for one and everyone gets one. WRONG!

Two years ago today I hoped that our 20 week scan would show a healthy baby, I hoped that baby was a girl, I hoped I’d get to bring that baby home. My hopes were dashed on all three counts. Our very small baby boy didn’t make it.

For a long time after losing Henry I had no hope. I couldn’t work out how to find hope after a second baby boy had died, and there was no hope for another pregnancy. IVF babies weren’t supposed to die, we were supposed to have two children like everyone else, every other loss parent has a baby after loss*, I couldn’t see myself ever being truly happy again unless I had a living baby to complete me. With all that, how the fuck was I going to find my way out? (*that bit is not true but it felt like it at the time).

This time last year I started EMDR therapy and it helped me to find myself again. It helped me to see through the fog. It was the flick to that first domino of having the confidence to start repairing myself. The dominoes continued to fall as I tested myself and confronted triggers and out myself in situations I’d previously have run away from.

I’m still a work in progress, there are still things I can’t do, I still get sad and anxious and I still miss my baby boys like crazy, but I have HOPE.

I have hope that I can be truly happy.

I have hope that I can heal myself.

I have hope that I can face my fears.

I have hope that we can be a happy family of 3 (5 counting the boys).

I like having hope.

PS some will not the lack of #mwah2018 posts, a holiday away with friends scuppered my postings and I never quite got my mojo back. However I couldn’t not do this one as having hope without the possibility of a living baby after loss is something that I’m ridiculously proud of and it’s something to shout about!

May

May has felt like a long month but finally the end of May is approaching which means we are nearly at two years since Henry’s 20 week scan. The scan which showed things were not great (that’s the understatement of the century, Henry was two weeks behind in his size for dates, that my friends is really fucking bad for a 20 week scan).

I desperately wanted to go into that scan and have some good news but we didn’t. It is playing over in my head. Memories keep popping up when I’m not expecting them.

I can feel Henry’s dates looming over me. I’m nodding at them in acknowledgment, I’m noticing how I feel, I feel twitchy. Bloggers who gush over their rainbow baby, bloggers who say how much having a rainbow has healed them, those who are just a bit too much with their poems and words that I can’t relate to have been taken off Instagram for now. They were making me twitchy and twitchy is not good.

Today I saw a post about how hard a rainbow pregnancy is, the amount of strength that is needed was celebrated. I’ve been there, and it IS hard but I had to comment to say that a rainbow pregnancy with no happy outcome is hard to carry too and you need a different strength for that. Posts about rainbow pregnancies are upsetting at the moment. I’m not talking about friends’ posts, more the faceless social media posts full platitudes and prayers and no understanding or awareness of my truth. I’ve tried commenting on a few but it’s sapping my energy to find the (polite) words.

May into June and on to July, just like March into April are months where sometimes I just need to retreat. Social media is silenced in places – people are unfollowed, group notifications are switched off and I keep scrolling. I feel guilty for switching off but there’s not much else I can do and I’m just sorry that it’s all I can do.

I realised today that for 5 months a year it is really just about self preservation and that’s ok because it means that I can get through.

Memory

Day 10 of #mayweallheal #shareyourgrief

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#memory

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Some dates I remember, others are sketchy. #facebook has an ‘on this day’ function where it helpfully tells you everything you posted on that day over the years. It’s a double edged sword full of happy and sad memories along with things I’d forgotten or wasn’t expecting. Some days I can look, other days I can’t as I know what will be there. Some memories are lovely, others are just really bloody painful. #pregnancyloss #babyloss

Anger and Forgiveness

Day 8&9 of #mayweallheal #shareyourgrief

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#anger and #forgiveness

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I wasn’t in the mood to talk about anger and being angry last night so I’ve combined it with today’s post.

I was so very angry at the world for a long time, angry that my body failed, angry that my babies died and others lived, angry at the blissful pregnant ladies, angry at the pregnant smokers*, angry at people who didn’t get us, and angry at the friends we lost but now I’m not. It’s such a release not to be using so much energy being cross at EVERYONE.

I have EMDR to thank for much of this, it helped me to find a better way of being. I know that it was nobody’s fault that Rory and Henry died, shit happens and we just got a big dollop of it. I cannot change what happened but I can change what I do. I wouldn’t say I’m now ecstatically happy for those with bumps and new babies but I feel (in the words of Jarna the therapist) neutral – neither happy, sad, angry or anything else. It’s weird feeling nothing much but it’s certainly better than feeling angry!

This leads me on to the next prompt – forgiveness. To those I have been angry towards, I hope you can forgive me just a little. It’s been a hard few years.

*I still get angry about pregnant smokers but I think that’s ok!

#babyloss #pregnancyloss #grief #ptsd