Tis the season to be jolly

Well not for lots of people it isn’t. People who are alone, homeless, financially struggling, have mental health issues or who have lost someone dear to them it’s often a time of year they dread.

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Violet’s one and only Christmas morning

For us we face another Christmas without our little girl who’d be an excitable 3 year old this year and our little boy for whom it’d be a first Christmas. My husband will experience another year without his beloved father who died just before becoming a grandpa, a role we know he’d have excelled at. This year however, unlike the last two years, will be bittersweet for us as we now have our gorgeous little rainbow baby Aurora who will be 5 months old.

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Violet in her Christmas jumper and matching trousers!

The first year after we lost Violet we actually couldn’t face Christmas at all so a lovely friends parents’ leant us their holiday home in the Caribbean and my mum treated us to flights so we could escape the whole season for 2 weeks. We were very fortunate to have such wonderful friends and family that could afford to help us escape in this way. I know others often aren’t as lucky and may choose to escape through shutting the world out at home. Or maybe their escape is immersing themselves in other people and going through the motions of Christmas, perhaps if they have other children then they have no choice.

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Me with Violet this time 3 years ago.  Photo taken by the amazing @hollygoeslightly

Last Christmas we spent with family who happened to also be going through a hard time, albeit for a different reason, as we wanted to do what families should do and be there for one another. Although we did escape for New Years and what should have been our Arthur’s due date, as we couldn’t face that so we booked cheap flights and headed off to Morocco.

This year will be the first year we don’t escape Christmas or New Years, instead we are inviting family to spend it with us. We will wake up with an excitable 4 year old niece on Christmas morning and it will be a first Christmas for our littlest nephew as well as our daughter. The fact that we can help to make it a magical day for my niece and nephew, I think will help us to get through it.

What’s sad is this year the kind family who helped us to escape that first Christmas have just suffered a devastating loss themselves so this festive time will now be especially hard for them. Our hearts go out to them this year.

Our motto is that if you are able to celebrate Christmas this year then embrace your family or loved ones. Make the most of every second because you have no idea what the future holds. Also if you can help to make someone else’s Christmas better or easier this year then do it. Whether you donate to a local food bank, drop Christmas presents into a charity looking after disadvantaged children or just invite your elderly neighbours round for Christmas dinner, nothing says Christmas like looking after those who are suffering by easing their pain or helping them to also have a nice experience, even if for one day only.

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Me & Violet with my brother & sister with their little ones 3 years ago

I can’t wait to hear all your lovely stories of goodwill and sharing. I’ve heard lots already, as I’m blessed with lots of amazingly kind people in my life. So far there are tales of people stocking food banks with so much food they can feed many families over the 3 days of Christmas. Those who fundraise and collect donations for presents for underprivileged children. Some have collected blankets for the homeless.  Keep up the good work. They say money is like manure; it’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around well I say the same can be said for kindness.

Sending big hugs to you all and I can’t wait to hear more heartwarming stories.

Love

Sarah x

The real American meaning of Mother’s Day

I recently discovered through joining an online support group called the Tigerlily Trust that, whilst Mothering Sunday as a concept in UK came from an 16th century English tradition of annually honouring your mother in church the more widely known Mother’s Day was founded in America in 1907 by a lady called Anna Jarvis, who wanted to do something to honour her mother who had lost 7 babies.  The original version of Mother’s Day was created to remember and honour a grieving mother.

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Anna wanted to create a day where people could honour and treat grieving mothers to actually recognise their pain and suffering in a day of remembrance. It took only a few years before this day that was associated with deep emotions and grieving mothers was hijacked by commercial organisations in the US that saw it as an opportunity to sell gifts and greetings cards to all mothers. It was then that the Mother’s Day as we currently know it was born.

Now it is with deep irony that those women who are suffering the grief of losing a child or perhaps not being able to conceive one are no longer recognised by this day, instead they often feel even more isolated and upset by the commercialisation and celebration of motherhood. A motherhood they are grieving the loss of and maybe struggling to come to terms with not having.

Someone said to me the first Mother’s Day after Violet died that I wasn’t to let the day upset me as she was sure I would no doubt become a mum again in the future. I was devastated and not strong enough to reply that I will always be a mother however it’s just my child is no longer here with us. I still think like a mother, feel like a mother and to a certain extent act like a mother because deep down I am one!

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Me & Violet on holiday in Cyprus she was 10 months old

Anyway to all those grieving mums out there please remember this day was created exactly for women like us who have to deal with the pain of losing or not having their babies with them every day, so don’t let other people make that pain worse or commercial organisations make you feel bad as they’re just doing it to make money.

To all the mother’s out there who have their babies please remember that this day was created for grieving mothers, who are exactly like you, who through no fault of their own unfortunately lost their children. Please do us grieving mothers or “wish we were mothers” all a favour, celebrate Mother’s Day and your wonderful children, hug them close, love them and appreciate all the little moments, remembering that some of us aren’t as lucky. You are blessed not because of the gifts of flowers, chocolates and handmade cards but because of the little people you have in your lives that others would happily give anything to have.

Big love, Sarah x

Count your blessings

It’s not all doom and gloom when you’re grieving the death of your child strangely enough there are lots of positives.

The main positive to come out of it is that you really appreciate the good in life and the usual things that would have brought you down really don’t matter anymore. So what you get a parking ticket, ladder your tights or forget to take an umbrella out with you, so you get drenched in that sudden rain shower.

All these things at one time would have stressed me out but now I simply shake things like that off, as in the grand scheme of things unless someone has died or been told they have something incurable then it isn’t really bad news compared to your child dying?

We’d happily give up anything to get our daughter back. If someone wanted me to sign over everything I own to live on the streets or to kill myself in order to get her back then I would do in a heartbeat.

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Violet loved playing with her drum & other instruments

The only issue with not being as fazed with day-to-day incidents is that it reduces my ability to sympathise or empathise with others. If someone has also lost a child, found out they have cancer or face losing a loved one then I know how to relate to them. I understand totally how to empathise with that situation. However if I meet someone who tells me what a nightmare week they have had because they broke a heel on their favourite pair of shoes, had something go wrong with a client at work or have a child that’s teething, so haven’t gotten any sleep, then I really find it difficult to sympathise with this. In fact it often irritates me and makes me annoyed that to some people this is the extent of their bad week. I would love for that to be the worst thing that has ever happened to me!

I feel myself having to practise saying “oh dear I’m sorry to hear that. Poor you” without sounding sarcastic; when I really want to say “pull yourself together”, “get a grip” and “worse things have happened, man up would you!” “You could be like me and have a child die now that’s a bad week!”

I find it so hard to tolerate drama queens too and we all know some, where chipping their nail varnish is a disastrous day and their boyfriend or husband working late is a nightmare. I simply try to avoid these people now, as they have no idea about the normal world and yes there’s sometimes a sweet innocence about them that you have to love but currently I find them so frustrating that I almost have to resist the urge to shake them.

So if you need a shoulder to cry on or a friendly ear for a “real” problem then I’m all ears with tea and sympathy but if your problem isn’t life threatening and to do with not being able to find the right dress, then please forgive me if I don’t sound sincere when I say “poor you how awful”.

Love, Sarah x

The Small Things

I used to be a self-confessed shopaholic before I had Violet I loved nothing more than a shopping spree round town getting a new dress, looking at the sales, maybe some new shoes, new toiletries etc. Now I hardly ever shop.

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Violet wearing a new pretty dress in May 2016 & it always cheered her up

Instead losing my children has taught me to appreciate the experiences life has to offer, rather than simply buying stuff. So now we’d rather spend our money on dinner out or save for a holiday somewhere or spend time in the outdoors.

It has also made us more grateful for our friends and family who have been so supportive, throughout these last few years. Yes we have had good friends fall by the way side but many more that have stepped right up to the plate to hold our hands during our lowest ebbs. We are so appreciative of these people, as it makes us realise that as cruel and evil as the world sometimes seems there are good, kind people out there.

There have also been near strangers and distant friends who have been so kind and gone out of their way to help us in small ways that mean much more because of the thought that goes with it.

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From the last party Violet ever went to and she loved a good party!

Some people have gone out of their way to remember our daughter by doing Iron Man contests, swimming Windermere, organising events and other challenges to raise money for her fund helping us to create that lasting legacy for Violet we so crave.

There have been lots of moments of kindness from people that have reduced us both to tears and we love you all so thank you!

Love, Sarah x

p.s. if anyone wants to donate to her fund click here  and tickets for the Violet ball on 29th September 2018 can be reserved here

 

When baby news upsets me

I was so excited to meet my brand new nephew yesterday who is absolutely gorgeous and I’m so pleased to see my beautiful sister healthy too, but friends I spoke to afterwards were concerned about it upsetting me and contacted me to check I was ok, which is lovely of them to care but prompted me to write this…

After having lost my little girl at 15 months and then a baby boy that never made it to full term, bless him, people seem to think that because of this I’ll get upset if they dare to announce a pregnancy or if they announce the birth of their new baby.

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Violet at approx 10 weeks old

I have gotten upset occasionally, usually if the baby boy was born close to Arthur’s due date and/or been given the same name but even this doesn’t last very long at all.

I’m always happy whenever someone announces a pregnancy that’s healthy and the birth of a new baby, especially if it’s a close friend or family member, as I love to see other people happy and there are always baby cuddles available.

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Arthur at 16 weeks of pregnancy

What really upsets me is when I watch the news and hear of a baby or child that has been abused or murdered by their parents or family? That is what I find really upsetting, as we’d give anything to have our daughter or son healthy and with us, so when I read that someone has actually intentionally injured or killed his or her own child I find it abhorrent. That is the baby news that really upsets me and makes me so angry.

Our daughter was so well looked after yet she still got sick and died, from we think a lung disease, and my son had severe brain damage, yet I looked after myself in pregnancy, didn’t drink, smoke or do any drugs other than a pregnancy multivitamin! When I see pregnant women smoking and drinking alcohol that upsets me or women chain smoking blowing smoke over a pram and toddler that angers me too. Violet was never exposed to cigarette smoke. I feel sorry for children that are and want to shake their parents to say “do you know what it would be like if your child died?” That is when I get upset about someone else’s baby or child.

Thanks for caring about us though and we really appreciate it when people are so thoughtful to let us know about pregnancies, new babies etc before they then announce it to anyone else or put it onto social media, as it is lovely to know you all care and are still thinking of us.  Thank you.

Love Sarah x

Tantrums & wishes

Lots of mums and dads dread going out to the shops or to restaurants with their children in case they throw a tantrum or cry, creating a scene in front of others.  I know this as I used to be one of these women, although thankfully Violet was pretty easy going most of the time, preferring to people watch or read books.

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As a parent if your baby cries or throws a tantrum you look around to see other people staring over and you imagine them tutting thinking you’re a bad mother or that you are doing something wrong.  Often you don’t get to finish your lunch and you have to ask the wait staff to wrap it up to take it home with you to join the other half dozen half eaten lunches in your fridge, that you promise yourself you will eat just as soon as baby/toddler goes down for a nap but you’re so busy you never do get round to eating it.

I remember cringing when my baby projectile vomited everywhere in a cafe.  I was mortified.  Now I’d take that any day of the week!

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Now I know, if the other people looking over at you are anything like me today, then they will be looking over not in annoyance or pity but longingly wishing they were sat there with a child that was crying, throwing food all over the restaurant or indeed creating a scene screaming, rolling around on the floor.  I’d happily change places, rather than be sat there having a quiet peaceful lunch on my own or chatting with a friend.

Never imagine you know what someone else is thinking.  You have no idea what they think or indeed what they have been through so next time your baby makes a scene smile at those looking over and I bet like me they will smile back or even help to distract your little one, snapping them out of it.

Love Sarah x