It was October 2015 when we lost our little girl, just as we had entered our second trimester, I didn’t realise it at the time but my life and the person I had been before, would change for ever.
There is general assumption that if you lose a child in those early weeks its some how less painful, less meaningful then if its much later, even I had probably been guilty of thinking this way in the past, you can dust yourself down, try again and just get on with daily life.
You feel you need to somehow apologise for grieving, to show grief is or any signs of sadness is a weakness, and you realise very quickly people don’t want to talk about it, so you hold it all in, and try to pick up where you left off before this terrible event happened, like it never happened.
And that is exactly what I did, came home from hospital, and the next day did the washing, cooked a casserole, and went back to work a week later, and life pretty much went back to normal, this had been nothing more then an awful moment in our lives that we had been through and now we could move on.
There was just one problem, inside I was falling apart, the pain I felt was over whelming, the guilt, the sense of loss suffocating, but I made sure no one knew, there has been plenty of nights where I have just sat in the bathroom sobbing while everyone else slept, not wanting to disturb anyone with my grief, occasionally my husband would find me, and bless him he did try to console me, but I just shut him out, envious and also resentful at the same time that he had managed to come to terms with what had happened, moved on, later I would realise that he too had been suffering in silence and that as people we all grieve in different ways. There is no right or wrong.
Over the next few years, I slowly fell a part, these feelings I had been holding on to so tightly, had chipped away at every part of my life, my ability to do my job, look after our home, be a wife, interact with my family, all had tried to help and support me. Most importantly of all, I felt I was unable to be a good mum to our two children, the guilt I felt for this just added to the sense of loss. I felt I didn’t deserve to be mum and eventually this led to me questioning whether I should even be here at all. I shut the world out, would avoid social events and made excuses not take part in anything that I didn’t have to attend, I lost my confidence and slowly my self esteem disappeared.
Deep down I knew I needed help, that this was something I couldn’t solve on my own, there were a few times that I did try to access help, but you had to phone or fill out forms, at this point I couldn’t even get the words out let alone write them down, so I carried on. Then one day I happened to have a routine GP appointment, the doctor I saw had read through my notes and asked me how I was getting on. I can’t explain why, plenty of people had asked me this over the last few years, friends, family, but I had always denied anything was wrong. This time it was different, it was like the flood gates opened, everything came out. I was actually shaking as I was talking and crying, I think it was just pure relief, finally I could say out loud how I felt.
My doctor was lovely, she listened, didn’t judge, she was honest and so supportive.
I explained that I had tried to find help, but just couldn’t get the words out, so, while I sat there at her desk, she contacted Time Norfolk for me, and organised my first meeting.
I remember the day I went to my first meeting like it was yesterday. My husband came with me, it was a rainy grey day, which just seemed to add to the sense of apprehension I had about starting this process. Talking to my GP had been spontaneous, this was different. I was going to have to go back to that painful place, even though the flood gates had opened, after four years of pushing those feelings as far down as they could go, allowing myself to bring them back to the surface was still so difficult.
The two ladies that greeted us were lovely, explained what Time Norfolk was all about, the process and how, if I wanted to, they could help me.
I had to complete a questionnaire, which asked questions about how you were feeling at the time, every question seemed to resonate with me, and I began to realise that I was not alone, I wasn’t going mad and losing my mind, there were other women just like me, feeling just like me.
I had to wait for a space to become available, and then I was able to start my counselling sessions.
The lady that supported me was lovely, caring, she didn’t say too much. They let you find your own way, but somehow I started to make sense of all what had happened. I can’t really describe how, it was hard, very hard and I would come out of each session in a daze, exhausted and emotionally drained most weeks. It would take a few days to process what we had talked about, naturally my husband would ask how I got on, but I would find that I needed a few days before I could discuss it with him, gradually I started to come to terms with what had happened. My husband and I were able to have long overdue conversations and we began to put our family back together.
I can’t thank Time Norfolk enough; I am not sure where I would be if I hadn’t had their help and support, they helped me find me again and they gave me hope, something I thought I would never feel again.
In 2015 I was training to take part in the Royal Parks Half marathon when I found out I was pregnant, obviously due to the events that unfolded I couldn’t participate, it’s something I have always wanted to do.
Feeling in a much better place now, I have signed up this year to take part in October and I am running in aid of Time Norfolk. Its my way of being able to help Time Norfolk continue to support people like me and help provide the recourses they need.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have bad days, but Time Norfolk have helped me find a way to cope with those bad days. Getting over the finish line will be a big achievement, both for me personally but also for the money I can hopefully raise for Time Norfolk and for my little girl Libby, who is and will always be a part of our family x