Occasionally, it rains.

I made it through the storm of depression. The winds were strong and the waves were high. My boat was rocked, it took on water, heck, it even capsized at points. But I made it out the other side.  I found land and my family is happy. I am happy. 

I now say things like “I suffered with awful Post Natal Depression when I had my first child” and “I’m so lucky that this time around I’ve been well”.  I am well.  I am no longer depressed.  The sun shines and I have been happy for a long time. 

But, occasionally, it rains. Like all habitable climates my mood experiences the odd scattering of clouds. Sometimes the sky is a bit darker and, yes, occasionally it rains. 

Rain is not depression.  Rain is a bad day. Actually rain allows the flowers to grow, in turn making the sunnier days more attractive and more appreciated. The bad days allow us to cherish the better days with more passion and more love. 

Rain is real life.  Rain is an inevitable, unavoidable part of life. Noone wants the sun to shine all the time.  It would be too warm, too bright, too dry.  We wouldn’t appreciate it.  It only takes a week of sun for people to complain, but, let that sun break through a dreary, wet weekend, and it is loved with more passion than cake at a party.

I will say it again because it’s important: rain is not depression.  
A bad day is not a storm. 

The sun shines, the sky is bright, the breeze cools us and yes, occasionally, it rains. 

The morning rush. 

Daddy left for work an hour ago.  We have snoozed and snuggled in the big bed too long.  You watching cartoons on the tablet, me drifting between sleep and feeding your sister.

We have to get up.  Now.  Get up, get dressed, have breakfast, get in the car and drive to nursery.  

Our morning is routine only in it’s lack of one.  I rush you into your bedroom to get dressed.  You get distracted; by a new Christmas gift, a sticker that has made its way upstairs on someone’s sock, by a dragon, a dinosaur, a teeeny tiny fairy, by your own imagination.  

I shout.  I shouldn’t shout but I do.  Eventually you are dressed, your sister has her nappy changed and she too is dressed.  Somewhere in this I have, miraculously, manage to dress myself, and, with me still nagging, we make it downstairs. 

You are telling me a story, about a game you want to play, I have to ask three times what you would like for breakfast. Your sister plays on her mat, watching you, with those wide eyes and the smile that she reserves only for you. Breakfast is on the table while I stick washing in the machine, pack bags and de-ice the car. I’m ready to load the last two things into the car. My children.  But you haven’t touched breakfast, instead you are deciding which of your toys you would like to take to nursery today.  Which item will receive the honour of being shown to your friends.

You have no concept of time, my increasingly more frantic and pleading voice means nothing to you.  So what if we are late?  What does late mean anyway? 

Nothing.  It means nothing.  

You teach me so much. There is plenty of time for rushing later.  There are alarms and clocks and deadlines galore in your future.  Now, this small window, of no work, no school, no expectations, this is our chance to slow down.

Slow down. Lie on the play mat.  Fight the dragons.  Tell the story.  Play. Laugh. Love.

Time: right now we have it.  Let’s not rush it. 

To a new big sister… 

Life changed 7 weeks ago.  For all of us. But, I now realise, the change was biggest for you. 

You’ve been poorly this weekend,  and as I lie in bed, feeding your sister, I am reminded of the times this used to be you and I. When your feeds were not on the sofa as they now are, but snuggled up in bed until you fell asleep.  

A weekend with a sick bucket has reminded me of how much you still need me.  Your energy and wisdom beyond your years makes it easy to expect too much from you, to forget that just 8 weeks ago you were all I had to worry about. 

You still need me.  And I still need you.   I’m sorry. 

Tomorrow will be different.  I will put the phone away.  I will leave the washing up. We will play. We will read that book. (as many times as you want!).  I will be Sula, or Ryder, or Marshall, or even Mummy Pig if that’s what you would like.  When you don’t eat lunch I will keep my temper.  I will not shout at you.  When you make a mess (on purpose!) I will stay calm and encourage you to help me clean up. When you make mistakes (as three year olds are inclined to do) I will help you learn. I will hold you and help you.

I’m saddened now that I have not been as patient as you deserve.  I understand now. You are learning, exploring, adjusting and accepting the new life we have given you.  Big sister.  A role you have embraced with full valour. 
Your love for your sister is entire. Complete.  Overwhelming.  You too cried with joy at her arrival. You too sob at the idea of her growing. And each day, you too show new amazement at her very existence. “mummy, she’s so cute.”.

She has a wide eyed look reserved only for you. She watches you, and learns from you.  She is already keen, it seems, to join in your games, to play with you, chat with you and grow to be like you. And if she does, I will be a very, very lucky mummy indeed.  

To have two such wonderful girls. 

My world. 

The Rainbow

What a year.  

Last year I lost what would have been my second child.  And now, I hold my third child in my arms at just a week old. 

She’s here. My rainbow.  Already brightening every single second of every day. Her big sister the sunshine and her lost sibling the storm that allowed the rainbow to shine.  She is here. She is safe.  Her existence helping to bring colour to the grey world.  Her birth healing my perceived feelings of failure at her sister’s labor.  Her willingness and ease at breastfeeding undoing the pain of her sister’s tongue tie.  

Her big sister, so proud of her new sister, so loving and gentle, that every day I fall in love with her all over again. I watch the two of then hold hands as I tandem feed and my heart melts. 

I am 8 days post partum and my hormones cause a river to run,to wash away the hurt, wash away the pain amd wash away the guilt.  We are a family. Our lost child will never be forgotten. Our Peter Pan.  The lost boy, the boy who never grew up. But he has allowed our rainbow, and for that we thank him.  He has allowed life to be perfect again.  

The light.

The chink of light that breaks through the curtains…

The torch that is turned on in the dark…

The pregnancy following the loss.

I am pregnant.

I am pregnant with a baby that has made it to the womb. I am pregnant with a baby, who, at 13 weeks looks to be doing well on the scan.

The light is shining again and my heart has hope.

This does not mean I no longer mourn my lost baby. The sibling we never met will always be with me.

But for the first time since the pain of loss there is hope.

I was lost.

I have found a map and I am on my way home.

Pregnancy loss cost me more than “just” my baby.

Taboo is being challenged and people are starting to talk about miscarriage and other infant loss. (in my case an ectopic pregnancy)

But, the life of a child isn’t all you lose. (And I mean no flippancy with the use of the word all)

Here are just some of the things my pregnancy loss has taken from me.

Hope
I have none. Well, not for long. Every small moment of hope is dashed, each time it happens taking me just a little further down the path of hopelessness.

Confidence
The me I was before. The me who knew I could do it. Now I doubt myself. About everything. Am I doing my job OK? Is my daughter OK? Is she happy? Do my friends like me? Do my colleagues respect me? Do my family love me? Is everyone laughing at me when I leave the room?

Patience
I’ve never had much. I now have none. With anything. My temper is short and I am irritated beyond measure by things that would have had no impact on me before.
Cycle after cycle my second child fails to come. I fail to make them.

Empathy
I pride myself on how much I care. On how much I will do to make others happy and be there for them in their time of need.
Not anymore.
Now I want to shake them. To tell them to get a grip. To tell them “at least your baby didn’t die.”

Time
Time I could be enjoying. Time I could be celebrating. Time I could be living.

Instead this time is pent counting days. Marking calendars and measuring signs.

And the worst thing I’ve lost? The thing that I had relied on staying with me? The thing I was not ready to let go of….?

Friends
Some friends just weren’t meant to be.

The ones that haven’t been there. Their lack of presence speaking louder than any action.

The ones that are pregnant. The ones whose baby would have been younger than mine.

The ones who, knowing what I am going through, do not think to speak to me sensitivly about their own pregnancy, but instead to drop it casually into conversation. “By the way, I think I’m pregnant”.

The ones who are sensitive. The ones who warn me first. Who say they “know it will be hard” for me. (although these friends I know will be there when I am ready again. These friends rock!!)

The ones trying to conceive. The ones who, at any moment, could drop the B-bomb on me and stop my heart.

I can face none of them.