Anniversary (noun): The date on which an event took place in a previous year
I cannot believe that this website has been running for one whole year – woah!
I wanted to come up with something pun-tastic for the one year anniversary blog title, but I have failed terribly. I think I must have peaked, coming up with the name Mumoirs and it’s been downhill ever since. Well, that’s not true. The numerous loyal followers of this blog, know that is has been a complete grief rollercoaster; back and forth, up, down and around the stages of grief – “they” weren’t lying when they said grief wasn’t linear. If only.
I know this all sounds vaguely upbeat, I would like this to be a largely upbeat blog today, but that would be disingenuous to the daily act of living with grief. It’s exactly one year since I launched this blog (exactly 15 months since Summer died) and yet I still found myself crying myself to sleep on Monday night, heck, I started crying over lunch with a friend a few weekends ago, because a song came on the radio, in the café we were in. It was this song actually. The bruth is:
Some things are still hard and might always be.
A classic example, pregnancy announcements. They make me cry, now, more than ever. But crying myself to sleep, is much less a frequent occurrence, than it once was. Some of the hurt is not as raw, but some of it will stay with us forever. We know that now. You don’t miraculously get better – we will always be the couple whose first three babies died. That’s an unalterable fact, much like my grief. But living with grief does – for want of a better word – become “easier”.
So today is as good a time as any, to reflect on the past year, to write the upbeat blog, I intended. Because tonight I will be celebrating the Mumoirs journey with a friend, my friend Kim, the main source of encouragement for this entire website and quite simply, one of my favourite people. Fact.
It is surreal to reread my launch day blog. Due to the groundhog day nature of covid, though so much feels like it was only yesterday, writing this blog does not. It feels like a lifetime ago. And that’s a good thing, because I really can see – and also feel – how far I’ve come. How this website, initially a small outlet for my grief, turned into a huge life raft. How it opened up a new world and community of people I never knew existed. How it brought about new friends, in place of old. How it has played a pivotal role in learning to live with our three losses and how – because of it – I will always consider this year of writing, to have been one well spent. This might sound dramatic and I am prone to hyperbole, but this blog has changed my life. I am a different (and I think, better) person for it.
To recap my launch blog, I wrote:
My greatest hope: that it touches and helps a stranger
My greatest fear: that it inadvertently offends someone who’s been through it
Bruthfully, I have done both. But thankfully, I believe it has been a lot more of the former (more on this later), and one (that I know of) of the latter!
My greatest hope: That I can enjoy the things I used to
My greatest fear: That some things will now be lost to me forever
I’ll be honest, when I launched this blog, I thought / hoped I would have been pregnant again by now, but it has been a medical whirlwind. First awaiting the post mortem results for Summer, then finding an adhesion in my womb, next abnormal blood tests and then the icing on the sh1t cake? Pre-cancerous womb cells. I still have not been given the green light to try to conceive again.
The present is a gift, apparently – but at times, it really hasn’t felt like it.
But this blog has been a constant companion and a continual source of comfort. When I launched this website, I would have given ANYTHING for a stranger to read it. And then, so many of you kind strangers DID. And you continue to do so?! Wow. And thank you.
The present is a gift, apparently – and you gift me your presence daily.
Most of you can only see a few comments on the blog or Instagram, but I can see bits and pieces in the background, and the statistics blow my mind. At this moment in time, this blog has been read by people in 127 countries and territories around the world. One hundred and twenty seven.
Though I am just little old me, as of last month, this blog has been read more in the US than in the UK. I know that the US has a much larger population than the UK, so statistically this makes sense, but guys, I’m just a British person typing from my spare room! I wanted just one stranger to read my blog and people, the world over, have done just that. Mumoirs has been visited by thousands of people in the US, UK, France, Germany and Canada – that is insane! Most days, regardless of whether I publish new content or not, more than a hundred people will visit this website.
I repeat, THAT IS INSANE. I cannot tell you how much this means to me, the thought that people know Summer’s name and that she/we may have helped them in some way, brings so much joy. One year on, this blog has truly exceeded all expectation.
I have never known where this blog was going to go. One day, I just started writing and I never stopped. I didn’t ever think about where it would end, but now I do. I truly think that the best blogs are behind me and yet, my journey is not over.
Is this a baby loss blog? Or is this a fertility journey one? In all honesty, I set it up as the former. I quickly wanted it to be a space for people in the same boat. There are lots of people who get their ‘rainbows’, but I have not been one of them. Bruthfully, other people’s success stories do not give me hope, so this has been a space for others who have thought like me.
But soon we may be able to start trying again, so what do I do? Do I keep blogging through it, or does that do a disservice to all the readers? At this point in time, I wish that my blog was anonymous, so that I could work through the next stages (i.e. hopefully at some point, a pregnancy after loss), but of course this blog has worked so well, precisely because it is not anonymous. I am a real person. I will have to give this some thought.
My greatest hope: To formally end this blog on a high, with a picture of a healthy, happy full-term baby.
My greatest fears: To have more pregnancy losses and that people will forget Summer.
The Top 10 most read blogs since launch:
- Facebook’s Mum Challenge
- My Best Friend
- 5 months in, 5 months out
- Our Summer’s Day
- Three Little Pigs
- My Baby – The Unfiltered View
- My Beautiful Bunch of Cells
This website has always served as a store of memory, so to finish up, I wanted to document just some of the incredible feedback I’ve received on it. Snippets and messages from complete strangers. Thank you all so much for reading, for your thoughts, for your support and encouragement. I really could not have got through this past year, without you.
With love, Anjulie xx
“I find your bruth posts really cathartic and a huge sense of relief from someone saying it all out loud”
“I’m so sorry for your losses. I wanted to thank you for writing and sharing your thoughts and blogs. We have recently experienced a heartbreaking miscarriage. I’ve found reading information, blogs and quotes really helpful- thank you for you sharing yours”
“Thank you for sharing. People like you have really helped people like me who have no other outlet.”
“Hi Anjulie. It’s a new year. Thanks for all your kindness last year and the blogs that just wanted me to underline everything in red. I am encouraged by your blogs. You are able to verbalise many thoughts I have. I met a loss mom recently and suggested that she follow you”
“Your blog and words speak volumes to me”
“I think Summer would be so proud of you. Your blog and your emails have helped me so much. Definitely on the joy list is getting an email from you. How weird is that! I love your honesty.”
“Thank YOU for doing this! I think it’s a wonderful thing to do. All I’ve wanted to do since my husband and I lost M is spread awareness. I’m honored to be a part of this. Always thinking of you, Summer, all of the loss parents and angel babies. Feeling so grateful to know you, Anjulie!”
“I just want to tell you that your blog has helped me heal tremendously. You helped me to be more gentle on myself and helped with many panic attacks, very grateful to be around beautiful mothers like yourself who understand!”
“Hi lovely, hope you don’t mind me messaging you. I sit outside and read your blog. Omg, your situation is somehow so similar to mine. So shit to be in the same club though. Beautiful blog, so open and probably controversial, but I like it when people say it as it is”
“I want to thank you for sharing your story, your page was actually one of first I came across and I really resonate with your writing. This journey isn’t easy at all, but knowing we are not alone softens it”
“Anjulie, you have helped me through my loss more than you will ever know. I hope you can really take some comfort in how much your blog helps others, I think you’ve reached so many women and showed them it’s ok to feel all the feelings. Your blog is really helping me see that even though my thoughts are irrational, they are valid and other people think this way too. A friend of mine was due her baby just 2 weeks after me and she miscarried too a week after I did. She randomly mentioned your page the other day, you’re helping so many people”
“I kind of love this post. Is it ok to say it made me laugh a little? Only because in a bit in the same mindset lately and I love love love that you used lustrum AND made a graph. I think it’s all the calculations that made me giggle… because I too have done the math… and I’m also into setting goals with timelines… keep writing, your posts are lovely”
“I’ve been reading lots of your blog this week. I’ve just read the newborns post and some bits I could really relate too.”
“It’s fantastic!!! Helping others to be seen & heard is a gift to the world!!! Well done!!”
“Enjoyed your misunderstood blog. Reading your blog and thoughts has been really valuable as I feel it’s helped educate me to be better / more considerate. The other day my very best friend had a miscarriage and I was so much better prepared to help her and be there for her. Thought you might like to know that”
“Beautifully written, beautifully drawn and incredibly powerful. It captures so eloquently all of our worst ‘pregnancy after loss’ fears, so many of which play out against the mundane backgrounds of offices and homes, bathrooms and public toilets. Blood on the toilet paper: Everybody’s worst fear. Thank you for this collaboration, and for sharing in this way”
“Can I just say your posts are so comforting I’ve been going through a very difficult time & plummeted into depression. Your posts gave me so much comfort to know I’m not alone”
“Your blog post really spoke to me today. It’s so easy to label it anger all the time. But grief and this path through it is so complex, there are so many feelings.”
“You run a beautiful blog where you put into words a lot of my feelings. I think that is a gift! t is honest and witty. And you write positively even on a sad subject. You are very captivating to read, I will have you know. It may seem negative to you because you are invested in the feelings you write about. They are yours and they are private and there is the pressure of ‘getting better’ we all feel. But I don’t consider your Insta sad. It’s real and raw and funny and relatable”
“Just to say, I’m reading silently and sending you lots of good wishes”
“I’ve shared your Instagram with a few people at work and they have really felt it to be so insightful and helpful with friends going through similar experiences.”
“Thank you for writing it, it certainly has helped me when I felt lonely or worried I’m the “only one”. I am so sorry you’ve had the experiences which have led to your writing, but I am so grateful for your honesty. You must be helping so many women and families and that’s so powerful. Thank you for what you do”.
“I appreciate you Anjulie, you’re one of the only mams who understand the complex nature of grief and how it can have an affect on your mental health. You have done so well this year. I’ve only known you since around August when I ventured onto instagram and was instantly drawn to your blogs. I love your writing and your honesty.”
“So eloquently written, as always. Your blogs inspire me to be a better writer. Your journey gives me hope because you are so open and honest and say it how things are.”
“Thanks so much for your blog. I have just messaged my hairdresser who I’m seeing on Thursday to explain that I had lost my twins. You’ve saved me from crying at a virtual stranger & that gives me strength and control over my crying. Thank you so much”
“I just visited your blog and I love it! Thank you for sharing your story.”
“Have been following you for a little while and just wanted to say that your page is really helping me. I recently lost my son at 22 weeks pregnant, it’s such a hard thing for anyone to go through.”
“Your posts and blogs: so many ‘ME TOO!’ And ‘YES!!’ And ‘I NEED THIS ON A T-SHIRT!’ moments”
“Yes!!! Thank you for writing this. This is exactly how I feel but I couldn’t find the words so this is perfect to help me explain to other people how I’m feeling”
“I often read your blogs and can identify with so many of your thoughts”
“Great post, I feel every word. Grief has brought some feelings out that I don’t like and wish I could rise above. I get jealous and bitter, but I’m hurting.”
“I’m so sorry for your losses, your writing style is incredible and I can feel the pain as I read some of your articles, you write so eloquently.”
“Sorry for spamming you with likes. I’ve seen a lot of baby loss accounts but I love how honest yours is. I hope anyone that has been through the same follows you too as you make such a difference”
“I think you post some really thoughtful and relatable things, so thank you”
“Just read your new blog and wanted to comment on the “Who cares about cancer I just want a baby section”. Honestly this made me feel a bit more normal. I’ve had abnormal smear tests for the last few years and if I’m brutally honest… I don’t give a shit… the only part that bothers me is the slight increase of miscarriage or early labour if you have the procedure… I hope this makes you feel a bit more normal. Or maybe we are both nuts”.
“I’m truly thankful for your page and messages tonight. It’s really helped me and I look forward to speaking to you more.”
“I find it super tough to talk about it with strangers but who else to understand it better than the people who’ve been through the same? Your blog helped me when I thought I was dealing with it properly, but I actually was still in denial and that was not healthy.”
“Just wanted to tell you that a friend of mine unfortunately lost her baby boy two weeks ago. I showed her your blog and Instagram page and she said its helping her, so I just wanted you to know that you and Summer are helping someone else through their journey”
A published author: I’m so sorry that you lost your daughter. Every time I write the word Summer from now on I will think of her too, and I promise to put her name in every book. I’m a firm believer in these little messages we get from the universe, and I’m grateful you shared yours. It’s a real honor to have been a messenger! And you’re not crazy to grieve and remember however the heck you want, she was your child, and she will never be forgotten. By the way, I’m in the middle of a new book now, and her name already appears 15 times (it’s set in the summer). I’m going to see that as a lucky sign.
I was looking at your blog, btw, and you write beautifully and distinctively — is that your job? You have a real voice, which is a fortunate gift. Lots of people can write well, not so many can write uniquely. I encourage you to write more and maybe consider trying your hand at a book. Your children’s book idea about a child who accidentally made herself invisible — which on its own is a beautiful concept — would be lovely. You could keep it a simple book for little children, either for siblings who’ve lost someone, or for all kids who need to find meaning in inexplicable things (which are many, let’s face it). Or a book about baby loss, if you want. Or even fiction, because you’re clearly a writer and you might prefer writing fiction. I guess what I’m trying to say is that while right now you’re processing grief and working out how to proceed through trauma, your gift with language transcends this moment, so if it gives you pleasure, go for it.
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