I have talked a little on Instagram about how I have started a new job recently and I have been working on setting aside time to myself to keep up with my blog.
I’m hoping that I have found the right amount of time to keep this up so that I can become a more frequent poster.
We passed 4 months since Riley’s birth on Saturday and I thought a lot about how much has changed in my life compared to where I was before he died. Like any new mum, I have noticed a change in myself that I didn’t think would happen. I have noticed a change in other’s behaviour towards me as well.
Hear is what I have learnt about myself, 4 months into becoming a mum to an angel.
1. It’s okay to cut people off.
I have cut friends off and I have stopped replying to family and you know what? I am absolutely fine with it. Within the first few weeks of losing Riley, I made excuses for people’s ignorance. If they said the wrong thing, I would think to myself, “oh they just don’t know what to say” or “they feel uncomfortable”. Now I have come to realise that I don’t have to put up with it anymore. I have realised that if people want to ignore the fact that I have a son who died then I can ignore their existence completely, and that’s okay.
2. True friends are there.
Along with cutting friends off, I have also realised who my true friends are. I found that the friends who are either mums themselves or are on the track to becoming a mum were the ones who felt the hurt and pain just like me and cried with me, not for me. My single friends can’t quite put themselves in my shoes now and that’s not their fault; being surrounded by the girls that understand me is what I need.
I have also met some amazing online friends! It’s so unfortunate that we have met through my blog. It sucks that I write it in the first place when I should be a sleep deprived mother wanting nothing more than time to sit down and go online. But I am thankful to have connected to some strong and caring women all over the world.
3. Mental health is real.
Before this, I never had any mental health problems. I never had anxiety or depression and honestly, I thought people would use their mental health to deflect underlining issues. Now I realise that depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar etc. is so real and so raw. I think now, I suffer from all of these things. I am so much more understanding of people in my life who have mental health issues. I get that not every day is a good day and I get that it’s hard to control. Mental health is real and it’s a monster. I encourage my friends (and you) to seek help as I do.
4. I am strong, no matter how much I tell myself I’m not.
This is one thing I have struggled with. I get told all the time that I am strong. I don’t like to believe this because I don’t feel that I am. I didn’t choose to be strong -I was thrown into this position. It’s something that only loss parents can understand or explain. I found it hard to hear at first because I didn’t want to be called strong for living through something that I didn’t get a choice in. But once I started listening to people I started to believe it and feel it.
5. Stillbirth is so common.
I was one of those oblivious pregnant ladies who thought that nothing would happen after the “12 week mark”. I had absolutely no idea what stillbirth was and when I was told that Riley had died; I had no clue what was to come next. In Australia, six babies are born a day still and yet up until that last ultra sound, I knew no one whose baby was stillborn. It wasn’t until I started talking about my experience that people in my life told me about their experiences with stillbirth. Of course I understand when you have a happily pregnant friend, you don’t want to go up to them and be like “hey, your baby might die” but it should be something that a health professional should tell you about. I am not a doctor or a midwife/nurse so I cant make that change. The only thing I can do is sit behind my laptop and write about my experience.
6. Pregnancy is never going to be a fun experience for me.
For me, pregnancy = trauma. Pregnancy is pain, heartache, depression, grief and loss. I didn’t get to experience pregnancy with the joy of a healthy living baby at the end. Like most loss mothers, I will never be able to be pregnant and enjoy myself. I will have a constant worry for my baby’s life inside me and then with their life outside of me. I have been asked a few times about having a baby shower for the next baby. Right now, the answer is no. I feel that my future pregnancies will not be celebrated. Of course this doesn’t mean I won’t be excited, I just don’t want to jinx anything. I’ll celebrate when they’re born.
7. Riley will shape my future children’s lives.
I don’t know what type of parent I will be. Having studied childcare, I always planned to be a parent who let their children discover and learn on their own. Becoming a parent to a child who has died might have changed my style of parenting. The only parenting I know is how to parent an angel and that’s by talking about him and continuously keeping his memory alive. It’s terrifying to think of having a child that I will have to keep alive, compared to the parent I am now to my one baby who never got to take a breath.