For Tommy’s

Tommy’s (charity): The largest charity in the UK carrying out research into the causes of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth

After tagging the baby loss charity, Tommy’s, on Instagram about this blog (our friend’s fundraising run in memory of Summer), they read some of my Mumoirs and decided to get in touch. Tommy’s kindly asked whether I would consider sharing our story by writing a new blog for their website. I, of course, jumped at the opportunity.

I’ve always hugely valued the work that Tommy’s have done and continue to do, and recalling how two years ago I would have given absolutely anything for just one stranger to read this blog and perhaps find something useful or comforting in it, writing for them was like a baby loss dream come true (yes I know, that’s a bizarre sentence, if ever there were one!). Better still, and I still can’t believe I’m typing this, Tommy’s now list Mumoirs on their official website as a baby loss resource! You can see it listed here. I’m still rather speechless about this. The largest baby loss charity in the UK, now includes a link to Mumoirs?! This feels like such a meaningful silver lining and a huge legacy for our three little babies: BoC (pronounced Bock), My Baby and Summer. I have always said that since we’ve had to go through this, I’ve wanted some good to come from it and their short time here, so I hope this goes some way towards achieving that aim.

So here is it. The full, formatted and edited blog that I wrote, complete with lots of helpful links can be found on the Tommy’s website HERE. But for posterity, for all Mumoirs readers, here’s the original version (with relevant Mumoirs blog links), pasted below.

I don’t know what to say, “enjoy”? You know what I mean.

Everyone has their breaking point – for me, it was three pregnancy losses.

Three consecutive years and three consecutive losses; the first in 2018 (a missed miscarriage at 7 weeks), the second in 2019 (a miscarriage at home, at 11 weeks) and the third in 2020 (the neonatal death of our daughter, Summer, born at 19 weeks and 5 days – living for just over an hour and dying in my arms). That was my personal breaking point. I had seen and been through too much, to cope with it all alone, again.

For me, they were never just cells, they were my babies from the moment I saw those two little pink lines on a test and wow did my imagination go into overdrive – I’d been making plans for them, long before they were conceived! I was finally able to start browsing maternity websites, mentally planning outfits for all the events we had in the months ahead. I was googling every single food item that I put into my mouth. I was talking to them all from day one, even though my husband (a medic) would remind me that the baby probably didn’t have ears yet (yeah right, what did he know?!) I was babbling away to my heart’s content, with my own running commentary on absolutely everything, and James would smile to hear it. But then when they died, everything went quiet.

I was given my medical options about what to do physically, but not a single bit of information about where I could go for support, mentally. I genuinely believe that the neglect in addressing this aspect, prevented me from fully emotionally acknowledging what had happened. I felt stupid, for feeling sad. I felt like I had got carried away and that other women weren’t so badly affected by this. Silly me, it was “common” after all – wasn’t that supposed to make it easier? I put my head down, sported my British stiff upper lip and went back to work. The second time round, it was the same. By the third time, enough was enough. I couldn’t just pretend that everything was normal. At that point, I had been pregnant for five months and suddenly, I’d given birth and I wasn’t anymore; what was I supposed to do with all the love and all the hope that had been created?

Two weeks after Summer died, we found ourselves in a UK lockdown. James, a keyworker, went back to his job, working all hours. Three months later, heartbroken and isolated, it felt as if everyone thought I was “over it” – another miscarriage, that old chestnut (!), but a third loss doesn’t make it any easier – quite the opposite, it brings it all back: all the upset, all the trauma, all the cumulative loss.

I couldn’t distract myself or ignore it anymore, so I did something new: I started to write, I started my Mumoirs baby loss blog – and I haven’t stopped writing since. In the last two years, I’ve written hundreds of blogs, bad poems, repurposed song lyrics, written short stories, long lists, letters and get this; I even put together a baby loss bingo board! I wrote absolutely anything that helped me, in the moment, to process what I was going through. I didn’t have any big plans for it, I just needed to get all of my thoughts out of my head. I wanted to speak completely honestly (James called it my “brutal truth” AKA “bruth”) and let people know that I was not okay – and why they shouldn’t expect me to be either, perhaps ever.

I’ve written about it all, in ‘bruthful’ detail about all of my losses – how miscarriage is physically and mentally horrific, how so many people wrongly choose silence, how I lost my best friends as well as my babies, how pregnancy announcements are brutal, how birthdays and Christmas are painful when childless, how medical professionals can inadvertently make it worse, how cremations for your babies are never something you ever thought you’d do, how infertility compounds the grief, how this hurt never goes away.

But I’ve written about the positives too – how some people step up to hold your hand, how it’s possible for others to deliver their happy news delicately, how there can be a lot of unexpected kindness, how strangers and baby loss charities (like Tommy’s) have become my unexpected lifeline, how we now celebrate our daughter, how so much good can come from one little life, however short lived.

When launching my blog, I would have given anything for just one stranger to read it. Incredibly, hundreds of people now have, from all over the world too. It blows my mind that what was initially my coping mechanism, my utter incomprehensible ramblings (much like this one!), has now been of use to other people. I cannot tell you the joy that brings – finding and interacting with the baby loss community, helpful charities and counselling services, has been the single most important aspect of all this – the part I’m most grateful for. Finding people who just get it, those who stand up and say “it happened to me too”; I cannot convey the relief it brings.

The other thing writing has enabled me to do, is to truly embrace and embed Summer and our babies into our family. They may have passed, but they’re not in my past. They are very much a part of our ongoing story, which I continue to blog about.

To this day, we still have some friends and family members who have never uttered Summer’s name or acknowledged her dying. On the other hand, we now have hundreds of people who are comfortable using it. One such person, is our amazing friend Matthew. Having previously experienced a miscarriage with his wife, Matt left us lost for words when he told us that he would be running the Great North Run, this September, fundraising for Tommy’s (here’s his link) and asking if he could run it for us, in memory of Summer. We are so incredibly touched and cannot wait to cheer him along the route. Since our babies died, all we have ever wanted, was some good things to have come about from their short time here and Matthew is enabling us to do just that, by supporting a charity which has done so much for so many families – and one that means so very much to us personally too.

Everyone has their breaking point – for me, it was three pregnancy losses – but I wish I had sought help and reached out to the baby loss community sooner. One loss, two, three, four or five, we all belong here. Every life lost is precious and you are not alone. Tommy’s know that, I hope that reading this, you do too.

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(2) Comments

  1. Hi, I found your blog some time ago when I was looking for resources to cope with my TFMR. I just wanted to say congrats on being affiliated with Tommy’s – it’s so well deserved.

    Our situations are different but our feelings (especially the anger or irritation with others, the asynchronous grief) are very similar. Your words helped me cope, and to make peace with it on the days I couldn’t cope – I just wanted to tell you and thank you.

    All the best.

    1. Anjulie says:

      Dear A, I am so sorry that you have been in the heartbreaking position of TFMR. My heart hurts for every parent who has had to go through it. I hope you’re doing “okay”.

      It has meant so much to wake up to your incredibly kind comment this morning and it is so humbling to read that the blog has helped you in some way. Thank you so much, for reading and taking the time to message too – I really appreciate it. Xx

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