Thursday, 24 September 2015

Pro life? I call it lack of empathy

For some reason, recently I've had quite a few ''pro-life'' things pop up around me. On Facebook, Twitter, media reports, even messages from people who have read this blog. With the exception of the direct messages it has to be coincidence, right? Or is it just I'm noticing them more? Have they always been there and I just scrolled past with no thought to how it may one day affect me....because now it does. 

I truly believe one of the main ingredients of being a good person is empathy. Having the ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes, to understand the way they feel and reasons for their actions. I don't believe anyone ''pro-life'' has that ability. 

I know it's hard, if not impossible to change the mind of someone that is so adamant that what they believe is right. And if I'm honest, in this case, I can't be bothered to try. I read these posts/articles and I try to understand why they feel the need to make women in such a heartbreaking situation feel like what they are doing is wrong. 

In some ways I get it. I understand the reason behind their logic. But it's not as simple as 1+1=2. There are hundreds and hundreds of reasons behind abortion. I've lived through one myself, my son was incompatible with life. He had so many anomalies he would not have survived. What about the ladies who themselves wouldn't survive the pregnancy? Or ladies who have been raped? Or ladies who are in no way financially stable to bring up a child? It's not just a case of that woman doesn't care. She cares!! She is doing what is best. In many cases (especially with the late abortions) the baby was very much wanted. That decision is not one to be taken lightly. 

Why not look around you, outside the box. The care system is over loaded with children that deserve to be loved and to have a happy home, should that really be added too? To the ladies who felt they were unable to bring up a child for whatever reason, you made the right decision for you. 

I pity these ''pro life'' people with the inability to feel for another human being. Empathy can heal people, it can create lasting relationships and make existing relationships stronger. I hope none of these people find themselves in a situation where they have to make this choice, but if they ever do, I believe the majority of those people would change their mind. 

For me personally, I accept that there will always be divide in the world. I accept the belief of these people. What I don't accept is the belittling, the name calling and the harassing. It disgusts me that human beings can be so vile towards one another. These ladies, me included, did what was right for them. Their own bodies. Their own families. 

To anyone ''pro life'' reading this why not just try to have some empathy. Why not try reading or listening to other people's situations and reasons and just try to understand why. 

To all the ladies who, for whatever reason, ended a pregnancy, you have nothing to be ashamed of. You did what you felt was best. Don't let others who just don't understand put you down. You made one of the hardest decisions, you are strong. X 

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

A stronger love

Our journey of heartache is a bittersweet one. 

We have, on one hand, the pain, the heartbreak, the loss. However, on the other hand we have strength, unity, love. 

Brent and I have worked hard at our relationship. It's not been easy. There have been so many times where it would have been justified if we'd have fallen apart. After all, our world was broken, we'd been through so much, who would have blamed us? 

That's never been an option for me. This man, this perfect, strong man has kept me going. Don't get me wrong, he drives me insane sometimes with his snoring that could burst an eardrum, his irritatingly loud eating habits, and his stinky feet, to name just a few. Despite this I wouldn't change that man for the world. 

He's strong. He's understanding. He's sensitive. He's caring and kind. He worships the ground I walk on and he loves me. He loves me more than I could ever wish for. 

This is why I decided that we needed counselling. 

I didn't want to loose that man. Loose him in the heartache and the pain. I couldn't bare the thought of him looking at me and wishing he'd chosen a different path. We couldn't change what had happened to us but we couldn't let it break us. 

I contacted a lot of councillors before we found the right one. A lovely lady who used to be a midwife. 
We've been seeing her now for quite a few months. At the beginning it was really hard. Hard to talk about how we felt, hard to deal with what had happened and hard to see that it was helping us. 
We have said some things in that room that I will never repeat. Things that we didn't necessarily mean, things that we'd never told anyone before, things that have upset each other. But they needed to be said. We needed to get those thoughts out of our heads in order to move on. In order to carry on living. 

It's not always been bad. As we learned to deal with our emotions and find ways of helping each other we talked more about our future, how proud we are of each other, how much we care for each other. 

It's helped us in more ways that I think we'll ever know. We bicker less, we can take time out from conversations when we feel they are becoming too heated, we care more about how each other feels and we respect that sometimes we get sad and that's okay. We've found ways to support each other in that sadness and to help one another through. 

We have nothing to be ashamed of. We go to counselling and it's helped us. We never went because our relationship was failing, we went to help us understand each other and to help and support each other through the loss of our children. 

We are parents who have so much love. What's happened to us is unfair and soul destroying but we owe it to Lily and Albie (and the other 2 little beans) to keep this love going. If anything good has come out of all this it is that we are stronger people, independently and together. Our love only grows and I'm not ashamed that we had help in doing that. 

After all, life goes on. 

Monday, 14 September 2015

My pain is no different just because I'm young

Yes I'm only 23! Yes I am a mother! Yes I am a bereaved parent! And that makes me no different than any other bereaved parent!

Since starting my blog I've had so much response. I've had messages from people that support me, I've had messages from people who say I have helped them, I've had messages from people who understand, and messages from people who don't but who want too. 
I've also been introduced to pages and forums with other bereaved parents, under an array of different circumstances. 

This is great. I love that people can come together in a time of grief to help others. But one of the main things that keeps popping up is age. Don't get me wrong I haven't seen anyone out right say, 

''I hurt more than you because I'm older.''

But often I get the feeling that this is what people imply. 

I understand, I really, really do. I know the pain and upset, I know how unfair it all is. I know the feeling of wanting a baby so much and seeing all these people around you getting pregnant and having babies with no problems at all and it's just not fair. But I also know that the majority of those people deserve to make a family as much as anyone else. Regardless of age. 

I often see posts from bereaved parents stating that a family member/friend has announced their pregnancy. This will often be followed with how unfair it is. I've posted similar myself. Yes it is unfair and that's a perfectly normal part of grief and a perfectly normal feeling. What I struggle with is the reasons why it is unfair. 

''This person has only been with their partner 1 year!'' 

''This person isn't even married'' 

''This person is younger than me!'' 

''This person is only 21!''

''This person shouldn't be having children!''

The only valid reason for being upset about it is because this person is having a baby, and it should be you. That's fine. Envy is a part of grief but that doesn't mean because they have a different life than you that it means they shouldn't be able to start a family. 

This is where I come in. 

These type of ''so and so is pregnant and they shouldn't be'' posts get under my skin. They really upset me. The reason being I'm a young mum. I had Lily at 18 and I hadn't been with her dad very long. I hadn't even been with Brent a year when I fell pregnant the first time with the ectopic. It had only been just over a year when I fell with Albie and under 2 years when I feel with the next little bean. 

But I am a good mum! Regardless of my age! And I deserve to have a healthy baby just as much as anyone else. These comments make me feel I don't deserve it. The fact that someone has been married 10 years, they're 30+ and desperate for children makes me feel unworthy of children at 23. 

I've seen comments saying that these bereaved women were too young and they should try again when they are older and more settled, when they have a better career and own their own house. People say, ''It was for the best.''
Like they wouldn't have been a good parent anyway and therefore don't deserve to grieve for their child as much as someone older who has all these things. 

Ive had similar comments said to me.  And it makes me feel like shit. I'm am no less deserving of a child than someone else because of my age, where I live, who I live with and how good of a job I have. I have provided for Lily, and albie to some extent and I will provide for any other children I may have in the future. 

So please please think before you speak. Wether you have no idea how we feel or wether you've unfairly been through it before, Just because a person is younger, less experienced than you it doesn't mean they are less deserving. And it doesn't mean their loss doesn't hurt as much as anyone else's. 

It is unfair but after all, Life goes on. 

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

The first funeral I ever attended - and I had to arrange it

I recently got asked about Albie's funeral. I haven't really thought about it since. At the time I just got on with it, never really thinking about how it was affecting me. 

I had never been to a funeral before, which is clearly a good thing, but it meant I had no idea what to expect. I just kind assumed it was a one size fits all kind of thing and you had no choice in what happens. 

When I knew the outcome of our pregnancy with Albie and we had decided to end that pregnancy I asked the question, 

''What will happen to my baby when he's born?''

It was explained to me that the hospital had services that would organise a ceremony, cremation, whatever I wanted. But it seemed so impersonal. A close friend of mine (Katy) was friends with a funeral director (Jay). I had met him before and he always seemed like a lovely, caring man. It made me feel better knowing he would be looked after properly. So we got in touch. 

Speaking to a funeral director about the death of your baby before he's even been born is indescribable. I just couldn't do it. Katy had filled him in on our situation and my mum rung him to find out the details. You see, Albie had to travel all the way to St George's hospital in London for his post mortem and then he would need to travel back down here again to end up with Jay so he could get him ready for his funeral. I wanted to know the details were sorted and he was going to be alright on his journey. 

After I had Albie and we had spent some time with him and said our goodbyes, he was taken away by a midwife. I didn't see him again until his funeral on 12th March. 

I wanted his funeral to be sorted before he came back from the post mortem so the was less time waiting around. 
Like I said, I'd never been to a funeral before let alone organised one so I had no idea what to expect. Jay was lovely and talked us through the options. 

The main thing I knew I wanted was to put some special things in with Albie. This was non-negotiable. We all wrote him a letter, I can't speak for anyone else but I just wanted him to know how much I loved him. I wrote and wrote about my love for him and how he would always be a part of me. Katy bought him a St Christopher to keep him safe on his journeys along with a teddy. But the most important thing to me was his bunny. We had two. I kept one and he kept one. And Lily had the same when she was born (although hers is a lot bigger). Lily drew some lovely pictures and she wanted to send him her hand and foot prints just like he'd given us his, so Brent, Lily and I all got out the paint and printed out hands and feet for Albie to keep forever. 

When it came to the actual funeral we knew we wanted something really little, just me and Brent. We also knew from the beginning we wanted him cremated. It's hard to talk about someone nobody but us really knew so we decided against anyone speaking and we wanted it to be a time to reflect and say goodbye so we didn't want any music. Brent wanted to carry him in and we wanted to keep the curtains open while we left rather than them closing. It felt too final and I wasn't ready for this all to end yet. The rest was down to me. 
We chose a single flower, a yellow gerbra, to place on his white casket. I made a frame to put up next to him with a short poem and two pictures of him. It was lovely to read and remember him. Brent and I also decided to write each other a letter to read quietly to ourselves. It was lovely to know that we both still felt so strongly about our relationship. How much we loved one another and I knew we'd be ok. We were strong. We had already been through so much and we were now at the funeral of our son who we loved more than anything, but we were here together, supporting each other, loving each other. 

After a while we decided it was time to say our last goodbye. We left the chapel, and we left our baby, safe in his tiny bed surrounded by love. 
We walked through the cemetery for a while, it was comforting and peaceful and that's when we decided that we wanted to bury Albie's ashes. We hadn't been sure what to do with them before but we decided that this was best for us. 

We had attached messages onto balloons so we set off up too beachy head to let them go. We thought they would fly off over the sea...the wind was blowing the wrong direction and they blew over the fields instead but it was still lovely. We watched them for ages just holding each other's hand, not saying a word. A few people had gathered round to watch but we felt so alone in the world. I'll never forget that feeling. 

We then set off again. We had booked a table at a quiet pub for lunch. There, we raised a glass to our beautiful son. Our son we would never see grow up but our son that we loved with all our broken hearts. 

And that was that. The day I had dreaded. The day that I though would be the hardest day of my life. It wasn't! It was lovely. It was just how we wanted it. It was our chance to send our love to the sky. And somehow I felt lighter. I felt a sense of relief. I felt thankful. Thankful for Brent, thankful for Lily and thankful that for only a short time I felt my son, full of life, inside me. Thankful I had saved him. 

We buried Albie's ashes in our local cemetery on 13th May. I chose the spot for his forever bed because it was calm, colourful and felt full of life. 
It's one of my favourite places to be. Somehow, It's not full of sadness, there feels no sense of loss, all that is felt is love. It radiates off every colourful bunch of flowers, every windmill blowing in the wind, every beautiful word written and every candle lit. All that is there is love. 

I miss my baby boy every day but I know he's always with me. His heart is embedded in mine forever and I will keep going for him, for Brent and for my amazing Lily. 

After all, life goes on. 

Friday, 4 September 2015

She doesn't know how special she is

Lily starts school tomorrow....

I've been the textbook mother these last few weeks getting Lily ready. I got her uniform weeks and weeks ago before the 'mad rush'. We've been shoe shopping, we've got book bags and PE bags, we've been doing extra reading and practicing writing and I've been telling her how amazing it's going to be. 

She's so excited.....but I'm terrified! 

I know she's going to be fine. I know she's going to enjoy it. I'm not worried about her. She's bright and bubbly. She's polite and kind. She will love every second. I'm worried because I'm loosing the only person in the whole world who truly knows how to make me feel normal. 

What am I going to do on my own? Yes, Lily has been to nursery since she was 6 months old but never all week and I've always either been at college or worked while she's been at nursery. She's my rock. She's helped me through it all, but she's growing up and she's becoming more and more independent.  

This is it, the end of just her and me. The end of our quiet days out, the end of our all day colouring and making dens and playing in puddles while the dog goes mad. 

The end of my stand-by cuddles when I'm sad, the end of our snuggles under the duvet for hours in the morning. 

I have to let her go I have to learn to do it by myself. She can't hold my hand forever. 

I'm dependant on her, I need her but I have to let her go. 

After all, life goes on 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Facts V feelings

I'm very good at telling people all the facts, but I'm rubbish at telling people how I feel. 

Facts are easy. They are easily explained and easily understood. Feelings however, are hard to explain and a lot of the time people don't understand them. 

Since Albie, my life has been a series of good days and bad days. I'll have weeks where the bad days are over and above then I'll start feeling good again and those days will become more frequent and it's a vicious circle. I guess that's how grief works. 

People think that the loss of a baby during pregnancy (especially due to medical termination) is not the same as the loss of a baby at or after birth. But it is. That baby was still their child. That baby was still loved. That baby was as important as any other baby born, alive or sleeping. That grief doesn't just go away. I'm sure with time it will become easier to live with but it will never go away completely. 

I don't tell people how I feel for a number of reasons. A lot of the time I think people just think 'oh just get over it'. I feel I annoy people when I'm upset so I tend to keep it to myself. I also think it makes them uncomfortable, they don't know what to say and how to make me feel better so again, I keep it to myself. 

Some days I cry so much my eyes get sore and my lips go puffy. Some days I can't even function, I'll go through the motions but I can't hold down a conversation. 
Some days I don't know what I want. Some days I need someone there and sometimes I'll tell everyone to go away even if that's not really what I want. 
It's easy to take the rejection of a grieving parent personally. But they need you really. Maybe not right at that second, but they need you.  

I've pushed people away and I've shouted at people. The feelings I've experienced over the last few months are completely new to me. It's like a heavy brick that I carry about in my stomach. It never goes away. It's eased slightly sometimes. When I'm happy or even when I cry. But it's always there. On the bad days I feel like I'm trapped in a small room, unable to escape. I tell everyone I'm fine. I won't tell people I'm not ok. 

Sometimes I want to feel sorry for myself.
Sometimes I want to be on my own  
Sometimes I want people to check I'm ok, because I'm not.  

I'm not ok! 

This is something I need to work on. I don't want people to avoid me. I don't want people to feel uncomfortable. I want people to understand. I want people to know that I miss my baby, that I feel it's just not fair. I want people to know how hard it is for me seeing so many others with their growing bumps or their new born babies. I want people to understand me, because this is my life now. I have to live with this brick, under this dark cloud. And if you can put up with me when I feel like that then know that you helped me. You've helped the sun push through those dark clouds. 

After all, life goes on.