Happy Single

It’s taken a long time and a lot of fails to come to this realisation, but maybe it’s something I always knew deep down – I’m happy single. Better off single.

I’ve always liked my own company, never one to seek out others. Relationships make me uncomfortable, yeah cuddles on the sofa are lovely, but having them about 24/7? Telling them everything? Compromise? Maybe I’ve just been single for too long and am too set in my ways, but whatever the reason I’m happy with the outcome.

This is not all to say that if Mr Right walked headfirst into me that I’d send him away again, but I’m not looking, definitely not settling and I shall live my life to the fullest and if I never meet someone I shall die knowing I enjoyed my life and made the right choice.

Advertisements

Happy

I think I’ve forgotten what it is to be truly happy. To have no worries, nothing hanging over my shoulder waiting until I start to feel happy to loom out of the dark. No niggling fears. It’s been so long.

Honestly I think the last time I was truly happy was before I got pregnant with Effy. As soon as I got pregnant with her there was the panic of what I was going to do, how would I cope, then I lost her and I knew from then that I would never be completely happy again. Something broke or shut down or stopped feeling I can’t describe it but it’s almost like I go headfirst into situations now with the attitude, what’s the worst that can happen when the worst already has? Now a little bit of this attitude has to be good, but I can feel it taking over more and more. Obviously I won’t do anything life threatening because I still have Jackson, but I throw my emotions under the bus on a regular basis only for them to be cut up and handed back but apart from getting a bit grumpy and shedding a few tears about it all I don’t feel it. It’s like my emotions have been desensitised!

I have a sense of perspective that I guess most people will never have, that the trivial stuff doesn’t really matter. But what if I’m trivialising stuff that really does matter? What if things that look unimportant to me now really are and I’ll realise that down the line? What if I’m missing out on bits of life because I can’t be bothered to deal with people’s crap any more?

A colleague at work said to me the other day he admires how I always come into work with a smile on my face and just deal with whatever happens and not let it get to me. Well I never used to be like that! I used to let every little thing get to  me but again it must be down to a shifted perspective.

But to be truly happy? I’m not sure I know how. Sure I have moments of pure bliss, watching Jackson doing something or just marvelling at him, us, or our life, but then reality comes crashing down and nothing seems so stable and sure any more.

What I wouldn’t give to have one day, just one day of pure, unadulterated happiness again.

Decorating a Grave

I started off not wanting to do anything to my daughters grave, I barely even visited for the first few months, I couldn’t bring myself to. It seemed so final, like not admitting that I had a grave to visit and decorate and not a daughter to dress up was the final thing keeping myself together in those early months.

I feel bad that I didn’t make more of her funeral, not being religious we didn’t want anything remotely prayery, and we didn’t want to make it too big, just parents and grandparents. Maybe in hindsight we should have invited uncles, but only one of my brothers would have been able to, or even wanted to come and I’m pretty sure her dads brothers weren’t really interested. We stood in silence around the tiny hole and watched her lowered in. No words were said, no readings, nothing. I couldn’t find the words, let alone the voice to say them.
We also went low key on decorations, very low key having seen the babies buried since – they have massive floral arrangements laid at their grave, their name in flowers, teddies, toy cars. My baby girl? I bought a small bunch of pink carnations from a supermarket, tied them up with a pink ribbon and laid them at her grave.

I returned a few weeks later with a single pink rose that I tied the same ribbon around, and a few weeks after that to lay my bridesmaids bouquet from my friends wedding. I slowly started adding bits to decorate her grave, an ornament, a vase for her flowers, a small bunch of artificial flowers so she always had colour, it wasn’t until after her first birthday that I really went to town decorating. By then I was heavily pregnant with Jackson and it felt like I needed to show my affection for my daughter too.

Since her headstone was fitted I have had to reign in my decorations a little bit as there are rules about only keeping things on the base of the stone, but I try to visit an absolute minimum of once a month with fresh flowers to keep it looking nice, but normally manage once a week, being so close to my parents house, luckily it’s not a massive trek for me.

I didn’t love my daughter any less when I bought her that single bunch of carnations as to when I buy her massive bright pink bouquets, which got me thinking, who do I decorate her grave for?

I feel closest to her when I’m at home, in my own space, I talk to her, but at her grave, I decorate it and leave, I don’t feel like she’s there. I decorate her grave like a shop window, I don’t want her to look unkempt and unloved like some of the babies nearby do, I buy things I think my pretty girly girl would like, butterflies and flowers, all pink, always pink, it’s become like a signature now, so pink you can’t miss her! But I don’t feel like I do it for her, I feel like I do it for other people to see how much I loved her, to show she’s not forgotten. I write this blog to record my feelings and to help other parents going through similar, I support KicksCount.org both with money and awareness in her name because I want to stop other parents feeling this, I buy stuff to go on her shelf at home to help me remember her.

There are so many facets to my relationship with my little girl that her grave is only a small part of and is, to me, just a shop window displaying my love for my lost little girl.

emgs

The Right Thing to Say

I’ve always struggled knowing what to say when people are upset or in difficult situations, but you’d think that after losing a baby I’d be better but honestly I’m still just as likely to say the wrong thing or clam up!

I know how it feels and I know saying nothing is worse than saying the wrong thing, but I’m terrible when I’m put on the spot. I’m actually quite a cold person, I’m not a fan of hugs (apart from from my son with whom I welcome hugs and kisses any time of day or night) and being able to offer comforting words without sounding patronising is best done after some thought in a carefully composed message, put me on the spot and I’ll probably stand there awkwardly, come out with all the cliches they tell you not to say and then beat myself up for months after about how I handled it!

When someone mentions my little girl to me in person they act like I should get upset, but I don’t. I smile and tell them it’s fine, it’s not, it’s far from it, but my way of coping is a brave face and then the occasional day on the sofa in a zombie like state unable to smile. People seem confused that I talk about her all the time on social media but never in person, well that’s more to do with the fact people get uncomfortable when I talk about her in person and I find myself comforting them, which doesn’t help anyone!

So these posts where people complain about the wrong things to say, just spare a thought for those of us who have probably at one point or another, actually said those things, not because we are horrible people, or even that we don’t necessarily ‘get it’ but because we suffer from foot in mouth syndrome where our mouth knows we should say something and our brain doesn’t think fast enough so something terrible comes out!

Preparing to Deliver a Sleeping Baby

If you’ve just heard those life changing words ‘there’s no heartbeat’ or another circumstance leading to you having to deliver a sleeping baby and have found this post at the start of your journey then I am so sorry for your loss. Let me start by telling you as someone who’s been there that it does get easier, I promise. But it’s shit now and I’m so sorry you’re going through this.

I’ve decided to write this post as there are a lot of things I wish I had known when I lost my little girl, and many things I regret. I don’t want you to have to live with any more regrets than you already will.

Meet your little one. For me this was a no-brainer, I’d been growing her inside me for the last 21weeks, of course I wanted to see her, but I know that for others, facing their baby can be hard, but you’ll almost certainly regret it if you don’t. Up until around 30weeks your baby won’t look like the newborn you were planning on meeting, the word ‘alien’ crossed my mind when I met my daughter, be prepared for that, and depending how long ago your baby passed away there may be signs of this, however as much as you have to be prepared for that, please don’t let it put you off. Your baby is going to be beautiful, with little hands and feet, perfectly formed nails on their fingers and little lips. You will be blown away with how your body created all of this.

Take photos. Even if you choose not to see your baby, PLEASE get someone to take photos for you, even if you don’t think you’ll ever want to see them, it’s better to have those photos sealed in a box and never look at them than it is to want to see them and not have them. You only get one chance. There is a charity called Remember My Baby who have volunteer photographers all over the country to take professional quality photos of your baby just contact them and if they can help you they will. As I said, you only get one chance at this so a professional photographer will create you lasting memories. If they are unable to help you try and get a private  professional photographer to come and take some, and I mean a professional not a friend with a good camera. There’s a big difference and you only get one chance at this. But equally, take your own. Professional photographs are lovely, but there’s feeling in photos you take yourself. Think of poses you want to have a photo of. Wedding rings on toes taking inspiration from Kim and Kanye, or hands clutching a necklace or a finger. I regret not having a photo of my little girls feet. They were so perfect.

Hand and Footprints. Nothing preserves their perfect little size better than prints. I was lucky that my hospital offered this service, I hadn’t thought about anything before I went into the hospital, so was very grateful that after she was taken from me the hospital made these and provided them for me, but yours may not, so if you get a chance, preferably take an inkless kit, or some ink and paper. If you are able to, a casting kit may be nice to enable you to have plaster casts of their limbs, but I don’t think my little girls skin would have been strong enough to withstand this, so be prepared that it may not be possible.

A Teddy. Choose your baby a teddy. Do some research into what size your baby will be by the gestation you are so you don’t get a teddy too big. Buy two. This may sound silly but you will want to keep one in a memory box, you can cuddle yours to feel close to your little one, and it will be a connection. I didn’t think to buy a second at the time but went back to the shop by chance a few months later and found an exact copy at the back of the shelf. I nearly burst into tears in relief there in the shop.

Clothes. I chose not to dress my little girl, but I did knit her a blanket in the week between leaving her at the hospital and seeing her at the funeral director. Clothes are a tough one, finding something the right size could be tough, but there are charities out there that sew and knit clothes for little angels, so a bit of online research might come in handy, or dolls clothes may also work. Some research into what size your baby will be will help you choose what will fit. Try not to pick anything too tight fitting that needs to be pulled over heads and arms as their skin can be very fragile. I recommend a hat if nothing else. Many hospitals do provide these, but mine did not and I regret that I never got to see her swaddled up in a wooly hat like the newborn I should have had.

People. Decide who may want to see your baby and make sure they do get to meet your little one. I will always regret that my dad never got to see her the day she was born, he wasn’t at the birth and when he came to pick me up and asked if he could see her she had already been taken away. Unfortunately they change in the time before you see them again, so he did see her at the funeral directors, but she didn’t look like the baby I remembered by then.

Jewellery. This isn’t something I did personally, but I know some people get matching jewellery and give one to their baby and keep one themselves to wear, either that or something along the lines of a best friends necklace where you leave half with them and you keep half. Either idea is beautiful, I would just constantly worry about losing my half, but I can really see how it would bring massive comfort.

I think that is all for the day of the birth. I am aware that I was lucky in a sense that I had a few days to research and organise things, and that for some people they may not have seen this until after the birth, that maybe things were rushed and some things weren’t done. Most things can still be done up until the day of the funeral though, so if there is something you haven’t done, hand and footprints for example, you can always phone your funeral director and arrange to do this or for it to be done.

Then you have to decide whether or not to have a funeral at all, whether to bury or cremate, on their own or in with other babies from the hospital. There is no right or wrong answer here it is very personal to you. Normally this will be discussed with you at the hospital, but your mind can be changed right up to the last minute.

I decided on a funeral and a burial. Arranging the funeral was easy for me, my funeral directors were great, I chose the cemetery and they did the rest really. I chose a small funeral, just parents and grandparents, at the cemetery, nothing was said and only I bought flowers, and just a small bunch of carnations at that. At the time I couldn’t see past the fact that she hadn’t lived a life to be celebrated, and in my mind that was what funerals were about. I have since seen some amazing funerals for babies, teddy shaped wreaths, and lovely readings. Neither is right. Choose what feels right for you at the time. Decide who you want to come and where you want it to be. It is all very personal and you will know what works for you.

All that I can say now is stay strong and life does go on, I promise, however much it doesn’t seem like it now. Remember your little one however you need to, have days where you don’t get out of bed (5 years on I still need these days) talk about your little one as much or as little as you need to, and know there is a community of us out here, online and probably in your every day life who know exactly what you are going through and all you need to do is reach out and we will all be here for you.

Memories

I’m often coming up with things to keep and save to show to Jackson when he’s a bit older and when I mention them to people they tend to go ‘oh I hadn’t even thought of that’ so I thought I’d compile a list:

  • My pregnancy test! I just couldn’t bring myself to throw it away! The start of the journey.
  • The hat the hospital put him in – not that it stayed on for 5 mins, big head!
  • The sensors from the tests he had at the NICU that the nurse kindly gave to me.
  • His umbilical cord clip. I drew the line at the actual shrivelled cord and threw that out in disgust!
  • His first size nappy (unused!) even looking back now I cannot believe he was that small!
  • I wish I had managed to get a newspaper the day he was born but I only thought of this a week later and it was too late by then.
  • I saved the Argos catalogue from the season and year he was born (spring/summer 2014) so that when he is older he can look back at what was around when he was born, how old fashioned the people look, how low tech the toys are and LOOK at those phones, they’re huge!
  • His first size nappy (unused!) even looking back now I cannot believe he was that small!
  • His first shoes. Everyone does this right?
  • Any currency that disappears during his lifetime. I’m going to keep a purse filled with it, starting with the old paper £5 note. Otherwise when he’s a bit older he won’t believe that notes were once paper and we all hated the plastic replacements! And now I’m adding an old £1 coin, round and one colour? He will never believe it!

 

Have you kept anything else? I’d love to get more ideas, and I might add them to this list so please let me know!!

An Honest Dating Profile

On the evening I come off online dating for good I thought I’d post what my profile should really have said.

I’m a 25 year old single mum who’s body has seen better days and now harbours small, saggy boobs and a flabby tummy which is partially caused by pregnancy and partially because I eat anything that stays still long enough!

I’m not entirely sure what I’m looking for, maybe I don’t even want a relationship and I’m just lonely, I’m labouring under the illusion that when I meet the right person something will just click.

I want more kids, atleast one more, and I’m not talking in 20 years time!

I’m not a fan of travelling, and no this isn’t because I have a toddler that would make plane journeys a pain in the bum, I just like my home comforts so if you’re looking for an adventure buddy then keep looking.

I have spent two years on these sites and have slowly lost the illusion that the right man is out there, my replies have got shorter and less interesting and I am aware this is reducing my chances even further of keeping ‘Mr Rights’ interest.

So if you’re after a girl who looks better in photos (choose the right angle and anyone can look hot) with a saggy body, a 9pm curfew, who gets broody at every baby, pregnant woman and bootie, who is completely disillusioned with men, here I am, come and get me!

Meant To Be

Me and my ex weren’t perfect. I’ll never pretend we were, but something was meant to be. After two months we had bought a ring and after 5 we were officially engaged. After 8 months we were pregnant and just over a year in our lives fell apart.

All the parts were there for a perfect future, we had the same hopes and dreams, liked the same things. but after the devastation we picked up the wrong bits and it all fell apart.

We have spent three years coparenting our son and everything was ok, stable.

He moved on, met someone else, I floundered, failing at dating, at finding anyone, at knowing what I wanted.

Three years of getting over what happened, of picking up pieces and suddenly I feel like I’ve dropped them all again. I’ve known he’s with someone and I’ve stopped looking at him, stopped wondering; but then a few comments and it all comes flooding back.

I never saw us not ending up together. Even when I ended it I told my friends we would get back together that it would all work out in the end, but at the time he was such a mess and didn’t want help I couldn’t support him as well as bring a new baby into the world and give it all it needed, so I prioritised.

He drifted further away and into the arms of someone else and I couldn’t hate him for that, because I had let him go and he had every right to be happy, so I mentally let him go, I stopped expecting to end up together I moved on and threw myself into being a mum to our gorgeous son, the reason I get up in the morning, and everything was fine.

Then a few weird messages about how he still loved me and do I love him? And honestly I hadn’t even thought about him like that for so long I didn’t know how to reply, but opening old wounds when we had both moved on, wobbled my nice little stable life again, his world stayed untouched, in his happy little relationship he could shake my life til I couldn’t stand but he would remain standing.

I think I have got past that wobble now, re-closed old, confusing wounds that should never have been reopened in the first place and set my priorities in order again. But it did get me thinking, yet again about whether we were ‘meant to be’ and messed it up or whether we are better off how we are now.

Why Being A Single Parent Sucks

Often when I say I’m a single parent I get met with ‘oh that must be really hard for you’ and ‘doing it all on your own’ well yes, it is hard being a parent on your own, but possibly not why you’d think.

I’d like to say I didn’t set out to be a single parent, I was engaged to who I thought was the man of my dreams and we were starting our family together, but things didn’t work out and here I am. 

Now people often think it’s hard because you have to do all the parenting tasks by yourself, cooking, cleaning, washing up, bedtimes, bath times, mealtimes, but honestly, most mums will say that they end up stuck doing those tasks whilst dad is at work so to be honest in that respect I see it as no different to a ‘normal’ family. Maybe they get an extra bit of help at bath/bedtime, and maybe dad gets up early one day of the weekend to give mum a lie in, I said maybe! But honestly all of those things have now become every day to me, it’s not there that I miss having someone to do this with.

When I have had a rubbish day and Jackson’s kicked off or not eaten the meal I’d slaved over, I sit on the sofa and I’d love to turn to someone else and have a rant, a grumble, have someone to reassure me that dinner was lovely, or that it sounds like Jackson was just in a mood today and you’re not a rubbish mum because he kicked off. 

When we go out somewhere to have someone to share those moments with, when Jackson squeals at a seagull or runs along a beach, kisses a goat or jumps into my arms, I see it all alone, I can’t look to someone else with that ‘oh wow did he just do that’ look because there’s no one there and out of all of this, the loneliness and the long days, that’s the bit that sucks the most, that I don’t have someone to marvel at (and grumble about) this little human with me. 

Missing Her

How can you miss someone who was never there? Well, I guess it’s hard to understand from the outside, but from the inside it’s simple. 

I miss the fact she’s not there all day, every day, stealing my food and snuggling up in my bed, I miss her first tooth, first word, first step, first day of school… I miss everything. 

So when I say I miss her, I don’t mean it how you mean it when you miss someone you’ve known a long time, that knowledge they won’t call again, make you smile again, but I do miss her, I miss, and will continue to miss everything about her for the rest of my life.

  • An 'Angel Baby' is a baby lost during pregnancy or early childhood, who sleeps in the clouds instead of our arms.

    A 'Rainbow Baby' is a baby born following the loss of an 'Angel Baby', a beacon of hope after a storm, while not denying the storm happened.

  • Follow Trying To Be A Good Mummy on WordPress.com
  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: