The guilt of parenthood #19

I have spoken a few times before about the guilt of parenthood, be it regarding Betty, Archie or Sunshine I have felt guilt when it comes to all my children. I feel guilt for Betty’s death, I have not spoken much about this – I feel it was my fault. I know it wasn’t but I feel that and there’s no shying away from it. Last summer I felt guilty for not being able to run around after Archie playing with him like I wanted, having the energy I required to entertain a lively 4 year old. But, I got through the summer telling myself that the summer of 2016 would be the best one yet, with our big boy and baby girl, a no doubt lively 9 month old and doting 5 year old and we would do all the things the 3 of us that mummy had been unable to muster up the energy to do last year. 

To no avail – I am in fact 6 and a half months pregnant again with no energy once again feeling the guilt of the summer before, preparing for a holiday that would of been our first as a family of 4. I feel such mixed emotions – I am so grateful to be able to be at home with my son, spend the summer with him, take him out, entertain him as best I can (although to be honest he’s very good at entertaining himself) I am thankful we are able to have a holiday, but it feels somewhat tainted with a story that never quite happened. It’s tricky. 

I have a suitcase full of gorgeous swimming costumes and summer dresses all bought with this summer in mind because the last thing I thought was going to happen was Betty would be dead. Never in a million years did I think it wasn’t ok to dream of this summer with her in it – now that’s all I do, dream. In fact I don’t. I find it odd I don’t dream about her – EVER. Sometimes I wish I would so I could see her, speak to her, but it never happens. Maybe it will, maybe she wasn’t here long enough to escape into that part of my brain, to be honest I rarely dream about Archie and I know him! Odd. 

Anyway the summer. It’s so hard when human nature allows us to plan our lives in our heads, to then have to stop yourself doing it isn’t easy – poor Sunshine, (more guilt) I have to stop myself thinking of what life will be like with them here, I don’t want to get too excited only to be disappointed at the end of it. I think this is normal. I think most of us would react in the same way if faced with a similar situation, but I then feel guilty for almost putting them to the back of my mind even tho they are very much there – I am of course reminded of that everyday. So really I think no matter what way you look at it as a parent you will feel guilt on all levels regardless, this is only natural. But I suppose you just have to do your best and that is all you can do! 

Last week Archie had a week with his Nanny and Grandad – it was a co-incidence that I was ill so actually ended up being timed perfectly, but all week I felt a little bit guilty that I was missing seeing him and doing things with him for the first week of his summer hols. But at the same time had he been here I would of felt guilty because not only could I not talk for the best part of the week but I would have been of no use to him whatsoever. Thus proving either way I would have felt the guilt! 

He has started a summer holiday journal! Tonight we caught up with the weekend as he didn’t write in it then – Saturday’s entry was about him coming home on the ferry (they live on the Isle of Wight) after he’s done a few sentences he draws a picture! His picture was him on the ferry with the 3 of us above and next to it he had written ‘hape’ (happy) and he said I wrote happy mummy because when I’m with you, you always make me feel happy. It got me thinking that he probably doesn’t actually care that I can’t run after him (anyone who knows me knows actually I’m not a runner at the best of times so I don’t think pregnancy would make much of a difference on this front) but he feels happy at home with me, and that was the best thing I could of heard today because for that one spilt second I didn’t feel guilt I too felt ‘happy’ something I am learning to feel more and more each time I think of his siblings rather than all that surrounds their existence. Because after all if we don’t have happiness what is there? 


When memories fade and photos are all you have #18

Every day that passes is another day I get older, another day Archie gets taller and another day further to leaving Betty in our past. When you leave hospital without your baby all you have are the memories you hold in your head (which lets face it at that point are pretty messed up) and a handful of photos and small mementos that right now just don’t seem enough. But they are my most precious possessions.

The weekend marked 9 months since our beautiful girl came and went in the blink of an eye. I really do miss her. Every day I wake up and the first thing I think about is her. I long to hold her, cuddle her, be her mummy. It really is just such a sad deep harrowing feeling that some days is easier to accept than others. With each day passing as sunshine grows and gets stronger, I have to find every bit of courage I have inside to not think about the fact that I won’t have to live without them. I pray I don’t, I don’t know how I will cope if life gets any crueler for us. I have to push the thoughts away but it’s so hard. 

This year feels like de ja vu to me. I am after all only 2 weeks behind in this pregnancy than I was with Betty and I’m scared. Scared to make plans with people I meet that are pregnant or friends who are due the same time as me, I think that once again they will get their babies and I will be left empty handed. I don’t think anyone can comprehend how much energy it takes to walk into a room, a playground, a coffee shop when there is a baby there after you have lost one. Even after the months pass, it is still hard, I didn’t break a nail I LOST MY BABY, she died! People who have no concept of this or a pure disregard for it are quite frankly abysmal. Fortunately not many will ever have to experience such a tragedy. How do you measure the amount of ‘time’ it should take you to feel ‘OK’ to mix with those who have the thing you lost? The answer to this is there is in fact no answer. How long is a piece of string? 

I like to think I have done extremely well on this front – in the first few months I didn’t openly choose to surround myself with other people’s new babies but if I found myself in that situation even tho I panicked inside I rose above it, I held my head high and I did it, I was in their company. Now I have certain babies that I feel comfortable with, I still struggle with new babies and if they are girls I also find this even harder – but I’m ok, I don’t have a choice. I don’t intentionally put myself in situations where I know I may feel upset (why would I) why would anyone expect me to! I won’t go to the group counselling meetings for the pure reason that I am so worried I will upset someone else who has encountered a loss more recently than me – why on earth would they want to sit next to a fat pregnant woman (me) it would be the last thing they would want to do (I know it would be me) I constantly try to think of others. Sometimes it’s a shame others don’t always think of you, but perhaps more than often they are too wrapped up in their own lives to do so. (And let’s face it why should they) but I am also learning to be selfish now. I am trying to think of myself more for a change. Focusing closely to home and not much further. Not only because I am so busy working and looking after Archie I don’t have much time to spread myself any thinner, but also because you quickly see when something like this is put upon you who is true, It is such an eye opener. And when you are fragile it is vital that you immerse yourself in the company of those who make you feel good about yourself, bring positivity because it’s hard enough as it is without having to help everyone else around you. 

I digress from my initial point, when the memories fade, because they do – Betty will remain in my heart forever but my head struggles to process all of my memories of her right now, I know there are so many more things I want to know about her that I never thought to look at. I can’t easily remember what it felt like to touch her skin, what her hair felt like, my mementos that I keep in a little cardboard box don’t seem enough, my photos are not plentiful enough. If only I had known what her fate would be I could of planned better. My darling girl, you are never far from my mind, but I don’t get ‘signs’ you are there – I can only hope that our Sunshine is the one true sign you sent to show us that our hearts can mend a little and that your beautiful face can be seen in theirs – they will never replace you, they will be their own member of our family just like you – but right now we need something good to come out of all the pain of loosing you. We need our rainbow, I hope that day will come soon. 

Until then if you are watching please don’t let anything happen to our Sunshine. Betty Dora Burborough, you are my sunshine, my precious sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey you’ll never know darling just how much I love you, I will never know why you couldn’t stay. 


We’re all goin’ on a summer holiday… #17

I can’t quite believe that Friday marked a whole academic year that my lovely Archie has been at primary school! Where does the time go! This time last year I was in fact pregnant AGAIN.. with Betty and we were about to embark on our last summer holiday before he started school. Today I should be sat with my 9 month old daughter (she would be 9 months today) wondering how I am going to juggle 5 year old activities with that of a baby. Obviously I’m not. I am however spending another summer holiday pregnant (which I am very greatful for) but this time I can’t visualise next summer, in fact I don’t really want to think about it. After all I never thought what would happen to Betty did, I hope this time next year we will have Sunshine but there’s no guarantee. 

I never in a million years imagined that my son would have to go through one of the biggest stages in his life (starting school) coupled with the loss and coping with the death of his sister. But wow how he has coped! He has been truly amazing, I know children are resilient – but his attitude towards what has happened and I don’t believe he’s too young to understand he knows exactly what happened to us and he has been fantastic. He has taken everything in his stride, never kicked up a fuss, never played up, still as loveable as ever. Perhaps a credit to us but proof at just how amazing his school and teachers really are. 

His teachers have supported him through this year incredibly, whilst looking after 29 other children which can’t be an easy job – this time last year all I was worried about was wether he would wear the uniform, the shoes. Now I know I have so much more that I could be worrying about, but with his school behind him, I don’t worry when I drop him off – I know he is safe, I know he is loved and I know that they are mindful of his feelings and will deal with his questions and thoughts. He wrote all the people in our family the other day at school, Betty was there. In his head she is firmly his sister, a part of our family. It makes me happy to know he thinks like this. I don’t think it’s unhealthy to talk about the dead – Infact I think it should be embraced in our situation. I have talked many times before about showing him pictures and I don’t think the time is right for that now, but when he’s older I will show him her little box of footprints, her lock of hair, all her pictures, when I know he’s old enough to take it all in and appreciate it. Right now I am just enjoying the fact that he is ok – he has embraced school life, he loves it. He has lovely friends and has learnt so much in what seems like such a short space of time. 

So as we begin 7 weeks together, I look forward to spending some quality time with my first baby, whilst I try and look after my other baby Sunshine and remember my second one. I will treasure every moment we share and try and make it special for him as it could be the last one just the two of us and next summer we could have another little one to enjoy the fun we have together. No one said life was easy, but I know I have to focus on what I do have and not dwell on negativity thinking about what I don’t have but want. There’s no bringing her back but there’s no forgetting her either. I know for me one of the hardest things is Archie not having the chance to be the big brother I know he will be so good at! But I can only hope in time he will get this chance, he deserves it so much.