My Musings


  • (Adjective): Excellent or much better than average
  • (Adjective): Good enough
  • (Noun): Sum to be paid as a punishment.

Hi, this is not Anjulie. This is James.

First off, apologies. People often seem to comment on Anj’s flair for writing, but I have no comparable grace on the page.

But maybe a different perspective will be adequate compensation.


I made the mistake of telling Anjulie that I was tentatively contemplating whether she might like the idea of me possibly considering writing a guest blog entry… maybe.

To be honest (which if you’ve been reading the blog seems to be mandatory), I didn’t want to write anything. But I thought it was something that would make Anjulie happy and I’m often pretty keen in that regard. It is my way of being objectively supportive. It’s too easy, and not necessarily convincing, to just say I support it.

And of course, Anjulie jumped right on this notion of an idea. And suggested a deadline. That deadline was today. Summer’s due date.

Classic Anj.

And I’ve been writing this blog right up to the deadline.

Classic James.

Now I’m not without my concerns about this blog:

I don’t necessarily agree with everything Anjulie has written on here. But she doesn’t expect people to. Extrapolating our experience to inform others is wrought with risks. We have neither the exclusive insight into this trauma nor the unique answers as to how people should act.

With a scientific hat on, if you gave me a study, where n=3, was pontificating about y, I wouldn’t read it. I’d probably have some pretty forthright views on its inadequacies.

We are not experts. But we do have insight that others do not. If it helps, great. Don’t take it as a diktat for how you should act. The same person reacts differently to the same question, from the same person at different times. So of course different people will act and feel differently. All I would ask is that you take advantage of Anjulie’s thoughts to gain insight into how someone might be feeling. And then act as you think best. I really struggle to get mad at people who considered their actions, their intent was good, but they just made a ‘mistake’.

I do worry about the lack of privacy. I worry every time Anj puts up a photo or shares a previously private moment. That I/we have given something up that I treasure in the service of this blog. The only way to reconcile this in my mind: Is this beneficial to Anjulie? I appreciate the wider benefits that it can have, but truthfully, I’m not really looking so far afield at this moment in time.

I don’t see that Anjulie’s mood has magically lifted through this process. Though I am comforted by the pockets of joy (not sure that’s the right word) she visibly exhibits with a grateful message from someone she has reached.

Sometimes at work, I read one of her more melancholic or punchy blogs and know that it’s been a particularly bad day. Thanks for the heads up, blog, but are you helping to process and progress? Or just fuelling the fire? The grief, the blog, the community of support. Is it an albatross? Is it a benefit? What is the extrication process? Is there one? What happens if/when….

Does it stop? Do people want to hear your views at that point? What is the right balance for all of this? Honouring our child’s memory but not torturing yourself?

It all feels a bit negative. Sorry, it’s not meant to be. Just my worries on a page.

Now how am I doing?

How am I? (Sorry Anj!)

The truth is…

The truth is, I’m fine. I am.

Anj says I usually function between a three and seven out of ten for emotions. She says I never exhibit despair or elation. Which I contest. I think I was content and full of appreciation for everything I had. My life has been truly amazing, full of joys and envy-invoking experiences. It has been a fine, fine life. I think Anj was just misjudging my consistency of satisfaction. But if it is true, if my emotions were only a three to seven, I’m certainly closer to a three than a seven these days. Because there’s just something missing. There’s an emptiness that wasn’t there before. Things are not great anymore. They’re just okay. They’re fine.

Summer was potential. Many of my/our dreams in a tiny little bundle. But it pains me to say it, I didn’t know her. She never talked to me. Never laughed. Never even saw me. I had such hopes of what she could be. And those hopes are gone.

Sometimes I feel like I’m primarily grieving for my and Anjulie’s loss, and not Summer herself. It makes me feel guilty and selfish, and I’m not sure I’ve worked that out fully yet. But I know that these complicated feelings are not uncommon. And I’m not going to give myself a hard time about it. I’ll work through it in time.

I am TERRIBLE at asking for help. People try, but I don’t really invite it. Because I don’t need it. It’s not an ego or manly thing. Trust me, I’m not an alpha male. I have the kindest, wisest friends available to me should I need them. And that’s a comfort in itself.

But what I really need, they can’t provide.

What I would really really like is to be the same type of mourner as Anj. A crier. Someone I know is heartbroken because they are drenched in tears. Because sometimes they can’t function.

What I would really really like is to be sad at the same time as Anj. Because the hurt of asynchronous grief feels like a cruel unnecessary punishment. It’s already taken so much from us. And this is another fine that we’ve been asked to pay.

I think Anj would like that too. We are such a team. United.

But there is something so painful when you want to feel pure unadulterated sorrow at that moment, and your unbroken ally is just that. Unbroken. Showing no visible signs of trauma. Even levity, every now and then.

There is pain on both sides.

Luckily, we have strong foundations. We have a long history, and we have faith in each other. In each other’s ‘goodness’.

But it still takes effort. Particularly when we are living out of increasingly claustrophobic spaces due to our building work. And of course, getting out of the house has been somewhat restricted of late.

Don’t worry, anyone, we’ll be fine! I’m just saying, it’s been a tough time. Obviously.

Anj sometimes asks me if I think things will work out. And I guess I do.

I think that’s a big reason why I’m managing. If I was without hope, I might be dealing differently.

I consider why things may work out differently in the future.

After three pregnancy losses, the medical input will increase. We won’t be doing exactly the same thing and just hoping for a different outcome. Though not insane, as per the oft misattributed quote, I’d be much more pessimistic if it was just rolling the same dice on the same board.

And things have progressed further each time. There’s not this insurmountable fixed obstacle in time that commands we shall not pass. Scientifically reassuring or not, it helps. And at this point, I’ll happily accept any psychological tricks that I can play on myself.

I even have moments where I’m so optimistic, that I think about after carrying a child to term, would we go through the torture of deciding if we want to go through the possible heartache again, or whether we should stick. Lots of people just need to decide yay or nay. Would we twist, get punished again and again and concede defeat?

I guess it will depend on the situation at the time of course.

But I’d really like to finish with a win.


(4) Comments

  1. Melanie Shaw says:

    James, this guest blog entry was a pleasant surprise! And you write very well – your entry is so eloquent. I think what you had to say about asynchronous guilt is insightful. Most of all, I am heartened to hear that you have hope, as you absolutely must. Xx

    1. Karen Palmer says:

      Really interesting post, thank you. You ask really important questions. There’s a danger of feelings of guilt or disloyalty, preventing someone taking a needed break from a blog or being online sometimes, I think. I’m aware of that in myself at times. And of the negative effect on my mood of I don’t take a break. It’s definitely worth watching out for.
      I think, in terms of honouring our children’s memories, it’s important to hold everything lightly, not lay things down rigidly that become heavy burdens to carry through life. If that in any way makes sense. We won’t forget them, whatever happens, and that’s what’s most important.
      And in terms of grieving the loss itself ( as distinct from the particular child). Yes. We all do that at some point in the process. And when the loss of what we hope for collides with the loss of our own particular child, we’re grieving two losses all at once which is confusing and complicated.

  2. Kim Nurse says:

    I disagree with you regarding your “lack of flare” for writing. This was so well written and so incredibly powerful. What an amazing couple you are!! ❤️

  3. Rhi says:

    Beautifully written Jamie and so good (for me) to hear how you’re doing – which I think is amazing. We all go through grief so differently, your experience of it is unique as is Anj’s. The insight into your own feelings that you have demonstrated in your writing is encouraging. If you know how you’re feeling, in my opinion you’re much better equipped to deal with the ups and downs of it, and to realise which coping mechanisms you need to employ. It’s an important step to finding your way forward, and life inevitably moves in that direction so it’s helpful to feel like you can keep up, or it was/is to me!

    It is hard, it’s pretty sh1t and there are a million things you would wish were different, but you do sound like you’re doing just fine xxx

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