Living With Grief

Identity Theft

Reminder (noun): A thing that causes someone to remember something

I’d like to try to explain something, it’s something that I think people who have been reading my Mumoirs (all 100+ of them – eek!) throughout understand, but those who dip in and out may not yet have grasped.

When you lose a baby, or any loved one, unfortunately you have to grieve more than just that one person, you have to reassess every relationship; because you soon learn who was there and who was not. It’s likely something we all learn in life, at some point, but baby loss and bereavement expedite the lesson. This happened to me, when my dad died (when I was 11) and it’s happened again, now that Summer has. I held it together for the first two miscarriages, but this third, has shattered my heart. I have also lost myself.

When you’re left alone – because people don’t know what to say, or what to do, because they might be giving you space, or thinking you’re doing ok or ‘over it now’, because we’re in a pandemic, or living in a building site, or whatever reason – it can leave you feeling so worthless. In fact, the one word I keep coming back to is pathetic. Pathetic for having to vie for attention, asking people to care about me or explicitly say what I need. That is the reason why I am still having counselling twice a week, even though my baby died in March and it is now December.

So, in this year, I don’t want to put everyone else’s feeling first. Because I am trying to recover myself. Call that selfish, unrealistic, narcissistic – fine. But I now call it common sense. And I ask people for the forgiveness and grace to accept that. If you don’t understand this, please just be grateful for that: to not have to walk in these shoes.

I often think about how baby loss has stolen my identity. I hate not recognising myself, I’m continually surprised. It’s disconcerting, foreign, uncomfortable: it’s completely heart-over-head.

Who the heck am I now?

I know that friends who’ve seen me, will say that I’m not as changed as I think I am. Granted, I’m still good in company. I’ve always been someone to perk up around other people. I’m terrible on my own. Usual extrovert quirks, I guess. But here’s what’s different:


I’m not the same as they think I am. I’ve had a really hard few days. Nights where I’ve again gone to bed, hoping I don’t wake up. Nights where I’ve again had to question everything. Nights where I’ve just felt so misunderstood and (there it is again)… pathetic.

I know that I say brutally harsh things, I warned that this may be the case here. I’ve explained this a few times by eventually recognising that grief manifests in so many ways, but most frequently for me, as all-out rage. If people still don’t get it, I don’t know what more I can do. So I’d like to offer a reminder: this is a baby loss awareness blog. It’s the main thing that’s helped me deal with my grief this year and incredibly, it has helped others too.

I have repeatedly said that if I have to go through this, some good must come from it. Helping others in the same stormy weather, is one of my priorities. I have not felt a priority to so many, in real life. Now complete strangers, who I will never meet, are mine. That may not make sense to you – my old self might not understand that either –  but it does to me now.

This has been the worst year of my life, and I have to be my own priority. Who else is going to put me first? So please cut me some slack. If you can’t, then perhaps you have to cut the old-me loose. For she is gone, altered, changed. I keep waking up every day, but it’s this new version of me that has survived.

This is my corner of the internet, my source of comfort. I have said many things, which many do not agree with, but it’s also the reason why this blog has any credibility: because it is a raw depiction from the perspective of someone living through recurrent baby loss. So, as a final reminder:

Who should be reading this blog:

  • People who have been through it
  • People who want an insight into baby loss
  • People with an open mind / heart
  • People who care about me

Who should not be reading this blog:

  • People who want a bit of gossip
  • People who want to make my year more difficult

To one friend and one brother, in particular, who have read through these blogs (and my uncomfortable truths – stories entirely from my one-sided perspective) and stuck by me regardless, well, I really do thank you for that. It’s a learning curve during a time when my judgement has been challenged, so I have to figure out how to be bruthful, but ultimately, tactful. It’s not a strength I’ve frequently possessed, but it’s something for me to remember and to be mindful of, also.

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(3) Comments

  1. Karen Palmer says:

    so sorry that these days are particularly hard. Hoping for you that gentler, kinder days are coming.
    What you say is true – your beautiful, intelligent, honest
    and brave way with words expresses thoughts which many others identify with and which help many people feel less alone.
    One of Summer’s impacts is the light that you, her mother, shine on the truth of baby loss xxx

  2. Rhi says:

    Still here, still reading, still love you. Keep it up, and you will find a way eventually to be more tactful but you’re still in that survival stage, and you’re right, the instincts you have are to protect yourself, not anyone else. It’s ok by me, and it should be ok by anyone who loves you and have done their best to help you through this. Xxx

  3. I feel quite upset (angry?) reading this post, that you feel the need to post it. I understand that everyone is on a journey with baby-loss, and that nobody has walked in another person’s shoes. But nobody who has been through what you have been through should feel the need either to censor what you’ve written, or to have to write a post asking for kindness and patience.

    Anyone who knows you knows that you are the sort of person who questions herself and is generally open for challenge, but who has been through a lot. The potential pain others might be feeling at reading what you write, or being asked things like not to share a scan photo, or to reframe one’s idea about what Christmas is about, or to say sorry for a past comment that may have been thoughtless rather than malicious but nonetheless hurt, is a fraction of what you have experienced. They say good relationships are built on compromise but really I think they are built on sacrifice, and I feel like the fact that you felt the need to say some of this indicates that some sacrifice is needed from others right now. And sacrifice isn’t walking alongside someone until she says something that offends/puts you out; it means sticking with you even if it makes you a bit upset because you really wanted everyone to look at your scan photo and be as excited as you are, because you know that she probably would love to have that excitement but right now just can’t.

    I am sure you have lots of lovely friends doing just that – just wanted to say you should feel no need to justify yourself.

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