See rejection as redirection

Quote Anon

This post may be triggering for some as it includes references to silent miscarriage and neonatal death. * I do however use the word sparkle.

A year a go I went to my first scan, my only concerns that the photo taken may be too alien and freak me out (am I the only one who thinks they aren’t cute?) moments later the sonographs voice echoed words that meant my unborn babies journey was over. My heart shattered into pieces and I left the hospital held up by the Mr as the world felt like it might be ending. You can read more here.

However, time flies when you’re in a pandemic and I learnt a lot about how awesome my body was, I left the experience with a new high five for my physical attributes, that like most women I’ve been slating since the dawn of crop tops.

I truly believe that reframing can increase our well being, this doesn’t involve painting the world like it’s perfect (remember lockdown?) but acknowledging our thoughts and choosing to see the sparkle. It broke my heart to see that my unborn babies heart has stopped, it was painful to heal from physically and it felt like the natural process took forever and I felt at times Mother Nature was mocking me.

I was reflecting with a friend on how I was feeling a year on from my miscarriage and I can confidently say I’m at peace with it, do I understand it ,no. But for me, I don’t think I need to.

I do know, due to my daughters complex birth and subsequent death in 2009 that for me to have had to go to scans alone, to potentially give birth without my partner due to COVID restrictions would of broken me. I know my limits, I know I would of got through it, but I also feel blessed that I didn’t have those extra worries during 2020. To those parents who did, I salute you.

Reframing my silent miscarriage and being grateful for avoiding pregnancy during the most bizarre year of every bodies lives gives me comfort. Knowing that my body healed, that I’m back to full strength and that I’m a better, more empathetic individual for the experience gives me hope.

In case you have a very different experience, please know that this is just how I feel.

Lockdown also gave me time to reflect on my career, it enabled me to step up and go for new opportunities and I’m loving it. Had the pregnancy of continued I wouldn’t have found this pathway due to having maternity leave.

I truly feel like 2020 has been a year of redirection for me, nothing like what I planned and certainly contains elements of rejection. Perhaps my grass isn’t greener for our pregnancy loss – I’ll never know, but I do know that I’m happy in my now, I’m watering this new direction and if I’ve got anything to do with it, the grass will grow taller, thicker and wider than I could imagine.

When life gives you Monday, dip it in glitter and sparkle all day

Quote by Ella Woodward

Recently I wrote about a Plot twist that life provided, however new roads are often unpredictable and direction can change in a heart beat, in our case is was due to a lack of a heart beat. * Trigger warning: this post contains my experience of a silent miscarriage.

Several weeks a go myself and the Mr went for our thirteen week scan. As I looked at the screen to our perfectly formed little foetus the Sonographer explained that a lack of growth (baby was only measuring ten weeks) and without a heart beat meant I was experiencing a silent miscarriage. Within seconds my world as I knew it, my hopes for our future family and my past experiences came to haunt me. It was like a unexpected tsunami consumed us. We didn’t have time to grab loved ones, reach for safety or batten down the hatches, we were exposed and out at sea with no warning.

Unlike a conventional miscarriage (if such a thing exists) a silent miscarriage meant I didn’t have any signs or symptoms. My bump was growing, my body thought I was pregnant, but our little munchkin was still.

The Mr carried me home in fragmented pieces, I was broken.

Days became weeks and nothing physically changed. Life felt like somebody else had set it on pause. I’m a tiny package so there was no way I could of hide my bump from people around us, the nurse gave us three horrendous options and while I waited for my surgery date I had another scan to double check for any changes.

This scan gave me so much serenity and peace. The first scan felt like a tsunami; it was fast, destructive and unpredictable…the second scan erased any future fears of being scanned. It was the calm after the storm. Sadly, nothing had changed, baby was still measuring ten weeks and was snug in my first class accommodation but I had time to ask the millions of questions my brain had created in the previous weeks, erase any worries and come to terms with my bodies situation.

Then, Mother Nature woke up (perhaps she takes a break over the Halloween period?) and one night I began to feel cramps, these became painful contractions and a tornado whirled inside me. I was mentally exhausted and it’s hard to let go of your baby when you know the ending isn’t happy ever after. But I did it. We did it. We had prepared for a holistic/natural approach should it occur and we battled the storm.

So what did I learn? That my body is smart and powerful. That it’s a place where miracles are born and that I underestimated its talents. Modern medicine has its place, but during my two previous pregnancies I was told by doctors my baby was a healthy seven and a half pounds…both babies arrived at five pounds nine ounces. However, at ten weeks my body knew that there was a chromosomal issue with this baby. So it stopped it. It turned out the light for us. For it…I realise that the process of a miscarriage is different for everyone but I felt empowered that my body took control, that it slowed everything down and gave me time to let go naturally. That I got to keep that bump for a little bit longer, that I once again was supported by my awesome loved ones…that I am loved.

I learnt that this was only part of our journey, that we will grow from it, reflect on the experience and that it doesn’t have to consume or destroy us.

When you look in the mirror and criticise your size, your shape or the spot that temporarily sits on your face, take a second to look again. You may just see a glimpse of an amazing human who is full of life, who is imperfectly perfect, who is stronger than she/he thinks, who can battle storms and who’s body is full of unappreciative talents. We are all blessed much more than we realise.

*if you’ve been through / are going through a similar issue and need support please see your GP, or contact a charity such as Sands UK (0808 164 3332).

Hope is being able to see the light despite all of the darkness

Quote from Desmond Tutu

The journey of life often brings uncertainty and darkness. One minute life is lit up like a joyful Christmas tree, the next an unexpected power cut plummets you into darkness.

Darkness can often be uncertain and you bump into things. I’d suggest anyone who finds themselves in the dark reaches for the light switch as soon as possible, call me the health and safety police but I’m not into bumping my head. If you are currently living in the shadows or grasp of darkness then you might think ‘easy for her to type’ and so I’d like you to know that darkness has knocked on my door, circumstances out of my control mean I’ve lived more of my nightmares than I’d care to mention and Ive also supported many young people in the most tragic of circumstances. However, this doesn’t make me a darkness expert; Ive learnt that each individuals darkness is unique to them.

My most recent darkness was my silent miscarriage, after a quick survey of the darkness I decided not to stay there. I reached for the light switch of hope. It’s not particularly stable and somedays it’s just out of my clutches, although I may not have much choice about the darkness I do have a choice about how I look at the dark.

It reminded me of a children’s book I enjoyed as a child and have shared with my son. ‘The owl who was afraid of the dark’ through the story the baby owl who fears the dark learns the joy of fireworks who’s beauty can’t be appreciated in full light. In my favourite chapter the owl learns to see and appreciate the stars. Then I remembered that if I looked outside of my initial darkness…the stars would light my way. Small beams of appreciation, hope allows me to see the light. Perhaps your dark past increases your empathy to others, a better listener or generally a kinder soul. 

At other times when I hear of other peoples darkness it makes mine seem more like i’ve got life on a dimmer switch. Of course, one persons tragedy doesn’t diminish somebody else’s feelings but I do think it sometimes gives situations a clearer perspective. 

Noted below are a few things that can make the light switch a little easier to find, most of them are free and I’m sure you’ve heard of them all before.

  • Keep a gratitude diary
  • Volunteer and help somebody else
  • pop on some music
  • go for a walk 
  • declutter a draw – my personal favourite it the cutlery draw, takes 2 minutes to wipe around yet every time I open the draw I feel like I’m winning
  • write down how you are feeling and then shred it or burn it. 
  • drink more water – we are after all complex plants with emotions
  • fake a smile – apparently the brain can tell the difference and the happy hormones will be released. 
  • Make a plan for tomorrow. This doesn’t need to be huge like a holiday (although they can be fun) 
  • try and get a good night sleep (I know this ones tricky)
  • practise self care: this doesn’t need to be a full facial and luxury bubble bath, just having a wash and brushing teeth is a good starting point 
  • Make your bed – this will require you to leave it 
  • remember that before you can step out of the tunnel, the light gradually increases with small bursts of light…so be kind to yourself. You’re doing the best you can.

If the darkness persists and you feel like you’re in the longest night of your life, make an appointment to see your GP or check out this link with helpful numbers and website for you to look at. Best wishes in finding a little more light.