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Oh, the guilt!

Could I actually feel guiltier than I do?

Pregnancy is full of amazing moments, watching your baby move in your stomach, mum looking “blooming” lovely, hair and skin glowing, energy to carry on going to the gym, eating healthier etc. etc.…

Actually, no. My experience is the complete opposite

Being totally honest, I cannot stand being pregnant. People often presume that being pregnant especially after child loss should automatically mean that you would enjoy every second of the pregnancy and treasure everything that is happening, that you should be grateful that you have the opportunity to have another child again and be thankful for being able to have this experience again.

That’s exactly why I feel so bloody guilty. I lost Millie and had a not very enjoyable pregnancy with Leo, alongside the crappy physical experience that I had with nausea, sciatica, iron problems and exhaustion; I also had an awful time with my mental health and struggled to bond with the little man Leo growing inside me because of our previous loss of Millie. I couldn’t wait to just have Leo in my arms, to not only stop all the physical pain I was in but also because I knew that my mental health would be so much better once he arrived.

Then there was the miscarriage. Sadly, 12 weeks into my third pregnancy last November, I suffered a missed miscarriage that was not only physically hard but affected my mental health yet again. I was extremely embarrassed that my husband was watching me miscarry in the bathroom (I don’t even pee in front of him) but I needed him more than anything by my side, I couldn’t have gotten through it without him. It felt demeaning, I felt useless that I couldn’t protect my baby again and I was also filled with so much sadness that my husband was watching me lose his child.

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Then I got pregnant again earlier this year – and the cycle began again. I was diagnosed with HG, it turned out that I had huge problems with my iron that meant my body wasn’t doing what it should be with it and that was causing exhaustion. You might think here, she was just a little tired. It wasn’t that. I physically did not have any energy. I couldn’t shower, I couldn’t get dressed, I couldn’t come down the stairs and some days I couldn’t even lift my arms. Eventually after a few months, I was put on some medication that took a few weeks to work but my energy started to come back and I began to function again. I was so glad because I felt so guilty that I couldn’t play with my little boy Leo, he spent weeks seeing me laid up in bed or with my head down the loo, some days he even learnt to hold my hair back whilst I was throwing up. This type of illness played havoc with my mental health, it took a huge nose dive and some days I just didn’t want to wake up (when I did sleep) because I felt such a burden to my little family.

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My hair comes out when I brush it when I’m pregnant, I can’t stand my skin, I can only eat certain foods and then the heartburn kicks in. I honestly feel like I am genuinely keeping Gaviscon in business and have been for the past few months. The hospital has given me tablets for the heartburn, they were great; for the first two weeks. Unfortunately now, they seem to wear off pretty much as soon as I have taken them; not fun.

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Then there is the bladder jumping. Yes, this little man seems to like partying on my bladder during the early hours of the morning, pretty much every day. This was okay in my last pregnancies, as I could get to the bathroom pretty quickly but now, I’m on crutches.

Did I not tell you that bit? No, well, just to add to the fun, my body is trying to wear me down even more by adding Sciatica and SPD to my list of pregnancy problems. Again something I was coping with until recently when my legs starting to go from underneath me, in particular if I had been asleep in bed during the night. It soon became where I couldn’t walk to the bathroom without having to hold on to pieces of furniture or the walls to get there. After a very quick referral (thank you NHS and Wythenshawe Midwife/Consultancy Teams) to a physiotherapist, I had a few sessions and was straight away given a support belt for my stomach (I really wish that I had the nerve to put a photo of it here – but believe me, it is the least sexy thing that you have ever seen. Think Tubi-Grip that you have when you sprain your wrist, except this one is big enough to go all the way from your boobs, across your stomach and to your hips).

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Dan just laughed. I don’t blame him. I look ridiculous.

Then came the crutches. Well this is lots of fun, with a toddler. Not.

I also have to use them every day even if I have no pain, so I don’t counter-act the benefit on good days. I feel like a total spanner. 8 months pregnant with this huge bump and on crutches – no wonder people are looking at me in sympathy.

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Chester Zoo was fun this week on my birthday. Dan hired me a mobility scooter. Oh the humiliation I was thinking … but actually it was a great idea and we got around so many more animals than if I would have been hobbling around on crutches. Leo thought it was hilarious and he got to have a little sit on it before we left.


The physical pain that I am in though isn’t a laughing matter. It’s excruciating some days and it makes me cry. It makes me really sad that I can’t play with Leo like I want to.

After all that – I’m not even sure that I have captured all the reasons that I don’t like pregnancy here – but you must get the idea.

To all you mums that completely adore being pregnant, I totally envy you – I really do. I wish I could enjoy my pregnancies; it would be great.

But to all those mums who feel even the slightest bit of guilt like myself, I’m with you, I feel your pain and it will all be over soon, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Bring on the Pink Botegga Prosecco and Camembert Cheese! I cannot wait. That’s all I can say!

Saturday 30 September is your last chance to purchase VAT free merchandise and Qualification Course places for Level 3 Paediatric First Aid and Emergency First Aid at work. You have until 9PM on this date to purchase VAT FREE. This includes are limited edition giraffes too, so please click here to purchase to save pennies before the increase.

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During October Stickerscape will be supporting Baby Loss Awareness UK 2017. Every sticker sold during this month we will donate £1 to the The Miscarriage Association (charity no. 1076829) and Millie’s Trust (charity no. 1151410).


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We are Seven

If many more people thought like the child in this poem, the world would be just a little lighter for many bereaved parents as the acknowledgment of every child they created and not just the ones that they still have with them everyday is something many of us crave. 
I’ll forever be a mum of every child I’ve held inside me, not just the ones I can hold tight every day. xxx

We are Seven – William Wordsworth 

—A simple child,That lightly draws its breath,

And feels its life in every limb,

What should it know of death?
I met a little cottage girl:

She was eight years old, she said;

Her hair was thick with many a curl

That clustered round her head.
She had a rustic, woodland air,

And she was wildly clad:

Her eyes were fair, and very fair;

—Her beauty made me glad.
“Sisters and brothers, little maid,

How many may you be?”

“How many? Seven in all,” she said,

And wondering looked at me.
“And where are they? I pray you tell.”

She answered, “Seven are we;

And two of us at Conway dwell,

And two are gone to sea.
“Two of us in the churchyard lie,

My sister and my brother;

And, in the churchyard cottage, I

Dwell near them with my mother.”
“You say that two at Conway dwell,

And two are gone to sea,

Yet ye are seven! I pray you tell,

Sweet maid, how this may be.”
Then did the little maid reply,

“Seven boys and girls are we;

Two of us in the churchyard lie,

Beneath the churchyard tree.”
“You run about, my little maid,

Your limbs they are alive;

If two are in the churchyard laid,

Then ye are only five.”
“Their graves are green, they may be seen,”

The little maid replied,

“Twelve steps or more from my mother’s door,

And they are side by side.
“My stockings there I often knit,

My kerchief there I hem;

And there upon the ground I sit,

And sing a song to them.
“And often after sunset, sir,

When it is light and fair,

I take my little porringer,

And eat my supper there.
“The first that died was sister Jane;

In bed she moaning lay,

Till God released her of her pain;

And then she went away.
“So in the churchyard she was laid;

And, when the grass was dry,

Together round her grave we played,

My brother John and I.
“And when the ground was white with snow

And I could run and slide,

My brother John was forced to go,

And he lies by her side.”
“How many are you, then,” said I,

“If they two are in heaven?”

Quick was the little maid’s reply,

“O master! we are seven.”
“But they are dead; those two are dead!

Their spirits are in heaven!”

‘Twas throwing words away; for still

The little maid would have her will,

And said, “Nay, we are seven!”

William Wordsworth

International Bereaved Mother’s Day Sunday 7th May 2017 – send a thought to those who pop into your mind, they’ll appreciate it xxx
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Never Ending Cycle of Life

There are so many special events throughout a lifetime for your children, the day they begin to talk, when they start school, move to high school, graduate university, get engaged, get married, have children; the list is literally endless but for Millie, she was never even given the chance to get started.

I am so proud of my little baby girl, I am so proud that she came into my life and I got to see her smile, I got to hear her laugh, I got to see her wiggle her little bum when she was dancing. I am so proud of everything that she was and I hate saying that as I want to still be saying that I am so proud of everything that she is, but I can’t because she is gone.

I am genuinely sat here in tears whilst I am writing this because as I am writing, I am flicking through video footage of Millie and once again I can her laugh, I can see her gorgeous smile appearing and I am watching her little bum wiggle and I miss every tiny cell of her body, it tears me apart that Dan and I created this amazing little human being and she was ripped from us in an instant and we never even got a chance to say goodbye.

Led in front of me right now, is our newest little addition, little Leo and he is fast asleep and I can hear him breathing and every breath I hear come from him is a treasure to me, only a parent who has lost a child will understand that. I want all the things for Leo that I wanted for Millie, that has not changed, what has changed is how I think. I try not to imagine Leo growing up and experiencing all these things that Millie missed out on because , for my own sanity, I have to concentrate on one day at a time and cherish whatever Leo is doing on each and every separate day.

For 2 years, Dan and I haven’t done birthdays or Christmas, we couldn’t face it. I couldn’t face going out and looking for presents for my family and friends, especially the children. The pull from my heart to my eyes strengthened so much if I even thought about trying to shop for child; my heart made my thoughts turn into tears. This wasn’t just for the younger children, this was for the older ones too – I couldn’t face looking at things that I was never going to be able to buy for my daughter, toys that I would never be able to see my daughter play with or clothes that she could never wear.

This year though, we are attempting it, for Leo’s sake – to ensure his normality of life is there as he grows up. We seem to be doing ok so far. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t easy, I still cry, I still come home with headaches because I have tried to buy someone something and it has stressed me out so much because my head has been in a totally different place. This week it has been a set of twin relatives eighteenth birthday , two absolutely gorgeous, articulate and intelligent girls and we went to their 18th birthday party. Looking at them hurts, it hurts that I will never ever see my little girl turn into this beautiful woman who is so excited for her 18th birthday party, a party that I can never throw for her. It hurts that I can’t see her get excited about passing her driving test or take her to look around universities (that’s if she wanted to go), see that’s the thing , I will never know if she wanted to go into further academia, she might have just wanted to throw a rucksack on an go travelling and to be honest , she could have done exactly as she had pleased and I wouldn’t have tried to stop her, because all I wanted for her was to be happy and enjoy her life.

Then it comes to the dad’s to look so proud – hearing their dad talk about them with so much pride in his voice , so ecstatic that his daughter’s have grown up to be polite, stunning and amazing human beings. You don’t know how much that hurts me as a mum, it hurts me because I know it hurts Millie’s daddy, I can see the pain in his eyes when he sees things like this, I know that his heart is breaking and all he wants to do is stand there and cry, just like I do. I detest the fact that I cannot do anything to ease my husband’s broken heart, to stop him feeling this excruciating pain. We have sadly learnt how to keep our poker face on now in the moment, the tears stay put until we get home. Mine came in the shower later.

Just over 12 months ago, one of my truly best friend’s got married, I’ve known her for close to 20 years and when I have needed her, she has been there supporting me every step of the way. At her wedding I was one of her bridesmaids and I was genuinely honoured to have been asked by her, as (I don’t actually know if she knows this) I have never been a bridesmaid before. When she asked me, of course I said yes, there was nothing to even think about. Later that night, I cried, I cried so many tears because I knew that my daughter would have taken my place if she was still here, I know she would have been a little flower girl/bridesmaid tottering down the aisle, stealing my place of a bridesmaid from me, but that would have been OK, she would have been entitled to steal it from me and I would gladly have let her. It was me though as a bridesmaid that day, it was I that was the bridesmaid because my little girl had left us way before her time, before her mummy. It hurt that day, it really did.

HB Wedding Me as a bridesmaid with Dan, (the eyes say more than the smile here)

But back to proud dads. My friend kept completely to tradition that day and kept her dad away until she was ready, until she was ready to show him what a beautiful bride she was (she really was).

He walked through the door; the look on his face when he looked at her, the look that he couldn’t believe that this stunning bride was his daughter, his little girl – that it probably didn’t feel like two minutes ago that he was teaching her to read, to ride a bike and to tie her shoelaces. But here she was, all grown up, ready to create this whole little new family and become someone’s wife.  It’s really funny because this was such a lovely moment, it really was and I will never forget that split second look on his face as he beamed his “proud dad” smile for the first time at seeing his daughter in her wedding dress. The reason it’s funny? Because this was like a dagger to my heart for Dan, it didn’t affect me as much when the mother of the bride was in the room, it was the dad. All I could think about was how Dan was never ever going to get this moment with his precious daughter, how he was never ever going to do that “proud dad” smile as he saw his daughter in her wedding dress for the first time. It hurts me more when I know Dan is suffering because we lost Millie. I blame myself, I know I shouldn’t because it wasn’t my fault but your head does crazy things to you, my head makes me think, well if Dan had never met me or married me then he would never have had to go through this pain. I know, it’s stupid because we could never in our wildest nightmares have predicted what happened to Millie but it doesn’t stop your brain thinking it.

The closest we ever got to seeing Millie in anything remotely similar to a wedding dress was at her christening and I am so glad that her great-granny bought her this amazing gown, she looked absolutely gorgeous in it, I am sure that you will agree.


I know that this is going to be a never ending cycle, there will always be something that will be coming up that Millie should be involved in or that Millie should be doing. People like to say that “it must get easier” – for your information it doesn’t get easier in the slightest, you just learn to live with it. The pain is still exactly the same, the same as what is was on 23rd October 2012, just after 1pm when I found out Millie had passed but there are tricks that you learn, tricks that you learn to use to in front of other people and to be honest, a lot of the time, the tricks are to benefit you, not us …..

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Happy 6th Birthday Millie

Dear Millie,

Happy birthday darling, today you should be 6.

We wish that you could taste your birthday cake.

We wish that you could play with the doll that we would have bought you.

We wish that could chase the balloons around like your crazy brother does.

We wish that we could dress you in a little party dress for your birthday party.

We wish that we could invite all your school friends around to our house to spend your special day with you.

We wish that you could read to us what we have written in your birthday card.

We wish that we could see your excited face when you jump out of bed on your birthday and realise that it’s your birthday and you have got even more presents, even though Christmas was only a few weeks ago.

Millie, our darling Millie, We cannot wish anymore, it hurts too much when they don’t come true.

Love you forever and a day, happy birthday little lady,

Love your broken hearted mummy and daddy xxx

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It’s here again

I’ve had a cracking headache for three days now, it just won’t go away.

I know why I’ve got it. It’s Millie’s birthday tomorrow. She should be 6…

Sometimes I think that the day before is almost harder than the actual day itself.

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It absolutely breaks my heart to be running around buying things for her birthday, things that we don’t want to buy her but do.

Flowers, so many flowers. I don’t know what else to get. At least we can make her sleeping place extra pretty for her.

Stressing out if people have remembered our baby girl’s birthday or whether she’s become a fading memory to people and nobody will visit her except us tomorrow.

I stood in Clinton’s today for the 6th year running, crying trying to pick her birthday card.

We choose teddies that are wrapped in cellophane to keep the rain out.

I picked up balloons that she’s never going to get to run around playing with in front of us like Leo does, laughing and smiling.

My heart is broken this evening.

I’m broken.

Give your babies an extra hug this evening.


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A trip to Dunham Massey

Okay, so you know those days were they don’t exactly go to plan, today has been exactly one of those. 😝

So, my mum was planning on coming over today, so I asked her to come over for about 10am and that would just give me time for me to give Asher a bottle and then we could go out. She arrived just after 10.. so far, so good. Well, actually no…

Dan and I are trying to get Asher used to his big cot during the day in his room to get him ready for when he goes in there full time, just like we did with our other kids. Up until today he hasn’t gone down for longer than 15/20 mins so far, so I put him down before my mum came, thinking he’d be awake in time for my Mum arriving and so that he could have a bottle straight away whilst I was getting Leo ready to go out … nope, not a chance, delay number 1, he slept for nearly 50 minutes!!! 😂 Now you know what it’s like when you are trying to get a child to do something, you certainly don’t want to disturb them when they are doing something as you want, so we waited and waited … eventually he woke up and had half a bottle, not what I had presumed he would do.

Next stop was to daddy. I had asked Dan the previous evening to raise Leo’s seat on his balance bike as it it was too low for him now … except then I remembered that he had taken his tool box to work to fit some blinds, so this led to me having to take his bike to Dan at the shop where his tools were … delay number 2… the funniest thing about this, is that we didn’t actually need to go because we discovered that it was just a little latch that you pulled up to raise the seat … if only I’d have checked 🙄.

I nipped into Subway in Secret whilst Dan had Leo to get some dinner to take with us because if Leo had have seen me,he would’ve wanted to eat it there and then and I can guarantee that he would’ve pinned himself to the floor exactly where he would have been stood to try and get me to give him the food… so I quickly ran to the car and got my Mum to hide it…then i reclaimed Leo again and got him back into the car. (After he insisted on riding his balance bike back along all the fancy brickwork pattern in the Precinct, not just you’re standard route, haha). So off we set, to what should have been a quick 25 minute journey to Dunham Massey, a route that I have done quite a few times before and had absolutely no problems with. Not today though, here comes delay number 3…

The bloody road!! The new one. If you live in the area, you will know where I mean, the one that is all shiny and white! An hour, nearly an hour it took me to do this journey … you know why? The Sat Nav. The Sat Nav in my car didn’t want to play ball, it sent me every which way possible except down this new road! I could’ve cried when after about the fifth time that it had re-routed me (to nowhere I might add), I was on an adjacent road to the junction that I needed to come off at: and I could see it, I just couldn’t bleeding get to it! Then I realised I was on a road where I actually felt like I was driving the wrong way. The way this New Road has been built makes you feel at this certain point that you are actually driving head on into traffic 😱! I actually slowed down to about 10 miles an hour because it looked like the traffic was about to drive into me and I decided to concentrate on the signs to make sure that they were actually facing me … they were … phew, relieved, I carried on … only to be re-routed again!!’ Aaagggh the stupid Sat Nav, I could’ve punched it! This time we ended up at Tatton Park … wrong National Trust Park and we didn’t want there, we wanted to see the Deer and walk the route at Dunham.

At this point, about 50 minutes into our 25 minute journey, I pulled over and put it into good old Google Maps, 8 minutes later we were at Dunham Massey! Really should have used that in the first place.

Due to us being soooo delayed, we decided to eat our dinner in the car, This was probably the quickest thing of the day so far!

Next up, we had to get us all ready. Mum got Leo sorted, went a little like this …

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Grandma” Shoes off, wellies on”

Leo “nooooo, shoes on!!’

Grandma “‘Leo, shoes off” (they came off eventually) “nooooooo Boots”

…. luckily Grandma Jackie has had three kids of her own and soon cracked on and got him sorted, not without a lot of reluctance from Leo though!

Asher, he was the easy bit. He was still fast asleep but we had to get his coat on because he can’t wear it in his car seat … this was pretty quick and didn’t really disturb him much, he’s a good sleeper.

Bags packed, potty under the buggy, all wrapped up, Leo on his balance bike and off we set.

Nope. Go back Joanne, you’ve not convinced yourself that the car is locked … it was, of course it was. Off we set again, nearly at the entrance “aagggh, I’ve forgotten Leo’s helmet” and because he had his big winter hat on, I hadn’t noticed… off back to the car I ran! 5 minutes later, his winter hat was off and his helmet was on his head.

We’ve crossed the door, woohoo! About to go outside “wee wee … poo poo”- I thought he was messing around but he carried on saying it, so off I went with him to the toilet … delay number 4…

Off came all Grandma’s work, his big coat, helmet,gloves, woolly hat, all in one rain suit, underpants, jeans …. oh and he wasn’t joking, he did need the toilet 😬.

Then to get him fully dressed again … underpants, jeans, all in one rain suit, woolly hat, gloves, helmet and his big coat … and off we could go again!

Finally made it… 2 hours AFTER we had left Dan at the shop! We had a lovely walk around, Leo actually did amazing, I only picked him up and put him on my shoulders once for 5 minutes, the rest of the time he was either on his balance bike, running around, walking looking at twigs, kicking his ball, jumping in puddles or flicking mud at grandma!

Leaving Dunham Massey, it was actually dark! Hadn’t planned on that and you know what, Google Maps took 5 minutes to get us to the motorway, 30 minutes later we were home , in rush hour traffic!

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After a couple of hours playing at home, it was bedtime! Grandma Jackie read him a book then he wanted me, he did used to sleep after we left the room, but recently he’s wanted us in there (I know, we are working on it). So I’m currently sat on the floor, writing this blog just about to get up after being in here for over an hour listening to Leo pointing to the ceiling whispering all the colours that he knows to it … we had lots of “go to sleep Leo’s” this evening… then he started to talk to his City Bear, this is the little culprit below…

He was counting to him, he was starting to tell him the alphabet, he was talking to him about Mummy and Daddy, it went on and on… eventually I told him to say Night Night (why I didn’t try this earlier, is beyond me) to City Bear and tucked him in .. hey presto, he’s asleep …

Although it has been a fun day and one that I won’t easily forget, I am soooo tired!

I’d write more but I’m exhausted and could do with a drink and some food! (And I’ve now got to think of a quick Slimming World meal at this time of night – Follow my Slimming World journey and other antics that we get up to on Instagram here)

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Night All, here’s a clip of him to make you smile xxx (oh and I hope all your children are fast asleep right now 💙💕💙)


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Christmas 2017

I cannot believe that Christmas is over for another year. Our tree is already down, I’m not a Scrooge, honestly, as soon as the day is over, I’m always ready to take it down.

The only part of the decorations that I do smile at is of course our special little star…

Christmas is still always really hard for us for obvious reasons but Leo was amazed by everything this year and that really helped us. He started to understand whom Father Christmas is and that he brought presents (although he didn’t understand the nice and naughty explanation that we kept giving him 😂). Leo also managed to leave Father Christmas his yearly Amaretto this year, he also got chocolate cake and a carrot for Rudolph!

Leo left him a special key to get in our house as we don’t have a chimney for him to come down. Do many people have chimneys for the big man himself to get down? < i>< i> Little man was a extremely excited when he woke up and opened his stocking in our bedroom and then he couldn’t wait to get downstairs. It was really hard watching him run in the living getting all excited as I was so happy watching him but so sad that we never got to see Millie get that excited, or for that matter, even experience her first Christmas.

I think it’s always going to be like that, it’s definitely different now we have Leo to watch and in the coming years, Asher too. (By the way, it’s seriously hard to shop for presents for a 9 week old baby – especially when they have a big brother who has everything to hand down to him 😒, I did feel a little guilty).

But Asher seemed to enjoy the day too …

We even managed to get a half decent photo of us all (thanks to a fancy new gadget that Dan and I got for Christmas) and of course it featured all 5 of us.

Asher’s leg is not on a funny angle by the way, it’s an optical illusion (zoom in). 😀

Leo was so excited and didn’t know which toy to play with next. He literally flitted from jigsaw to book to his new pencils all day and didn’t stop. One of the hardest things I find at Christmas is not being able to shop and buy for Millie’s presents, well not presents that she should be getting at her age, instead her presents are flowers and candles for her resting place. These aren’t presents for a 5 year old.

We decided to have beef this year as an alternative as neither Dan or myself actually like turkey and I don’t understand why we even feel pressured to eat it, it’s not like anyone is watching us 🙈! Anyway… the beef was AMAZING, it fell to pieces after leaving it in the slow cooker on high for 6 and a half hours cooling in Diet Coke, (I know, sounds odd – but honestly, give it a try) accompanied by the usual veg and some cracking Yorkshire Puddings (thanks Vikki for the recipe and method for these, best I’ve ever made!) This was All eaten with some lovely Slimming World Gravy that I made using Sweet Potatoes! Apart from the Yorkshire Puddings, it was all Syn Free 😀😀😀! If you want to follow my Slimming World journey that I’ve started, follow me here on Instagram.

Then there is the other side to what should be our happy times. Here is our alternative Christmas photograph, the one that no parent wants…

This is the sixth year that we’ve spent part of our day with our Millie at her sleeping place. We always make it look beautiful and appreciate everyone that visits our baby girl at this special time of the year. The lovely Jay at B for Balloons did Mills a special Father Christmas balloon that matched the one that Leo & Asher had at home. We duplicated a couple of other things too that we had at home, it makes us feel like we are together even more.

As you can see, over the past 6 Christmas Days, we have found certain ways to include and honour Millie as it’s what she deserves. I am sure that many others of you who have lost children do many similar things and every one is special and unique to you.

I’ve yet to find the best way for us to remember the baby that we miscarried last year on special days, I’ve not quite figured that one out yet. If you have sadly lost a pregnancy and you do special things on special days, let me know in the comments section and maybe I can get some ideas.

We truly hope that you have enjoyed your Christmas and our hearts are truly with those who have a similar empty chair to ours at Christmas xxx

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Christmas Eve

Twas the night before Christmas …

Presents wrapped, Reindeer dust scattered, vegetables peeled, meat ready for the slow cooker and a key left for Father Christmas to be able to get into our house.

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Candles lit, decorations left and flowers ready for Millie’s resting place tomorrow.

Always two sides to our Christmas…

And Mummy daddy are absolutely shattered and on the Amaretto and Quality Street already!

Merry Christmas everyone 🤣

Let’s see what tomorrow brings, x

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Six, that many?

Looking back now, it’s hard to believe that we are just around the corner from our sixth Christmas without our little girl.

We were at Millie’s resting place yesterday and a lovely lady came to talk to me who recognised me from a newspaper. We got chatting and she told me that she was visiting her son who has in grieving terms, not long been buried, she was so sad. It hurt me to see her in so much pain and knowing that there’s nothing that you can do to take it away. Her son was a lot older than Millie, in his twenties but still no age to lose your life and a parent should never have to go through the indescribable pain of losing a child, no matter how old or young they are or in fact, you are.

Instead of preparing ourselves for Christmas by hunting out the latest gifts that our children want, an extremely large number of us are hunting out flowers or plants that might just last outside over Christmas a little longer than usual, we are placing little Christmas Trees and outdoor lights around our children’s resting places and we are laminating cards to last in the rain or laying them down knowing that within 24 hours they will be destroyed but hoping that our children will have read our words in them, in some strange and mysterious way that they are involved with our lives.

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For the first three years after we lost Millie, we didn’t celebrate Christmas. We didn’t put a tree up, we didn’t see any family or friends or exchange gifts or cards. We didn’t acknowledge it, it was just another day to Dan and I.

I don’t ever think Christmas will be a huge thing for us, it hurts too much. It’s hard to make plans with other people as I can’t predict how many times each of us will break down and cry and many people (thankfully) cannot understand why this happens. We’re more comfortable just having our own little Christmas in our own home.

The fourth year was different, we put a tree up and did a little bit of Christmas because we now had Leo. We couldn’t not do it for him. We’ve always said that we don’t want Leo’s (and now Asher’s) lives to be any different or miss out on on things because of what happened to Millie.

Christmas is something that Leo and Asher’s friends will celebrate and take part in and we don’t want our children to feel left out and not to be able to enjoy this time of year, especially as they get older.

I’m not religious, not at all. I did wonder,like many of us do and we had Millie christened but once she passed away, that was it for me. I couldn’t believe in something so cruel, something that could take away a child from loving parents, so as you can imagine Christmas will never be associated with religion in our house.

There will never be any Christmas scenes, any prayers and certainly no bibles. It will always just be a fun day for our children where they get some presents and are allowed to eat more chocolate than usual!

It’s extremely hard that first Christmas after you lose a child. Everything you see or hear, tears your heart out. Children getting excited looking at toys or coming out from visiting Santa, families enjoying big family Christmas meals and songs on the radio that can make you spontaneously burst out crying in the middle of a supermarket after playing just a few notes or words.

Waking up on Christmas morning, there are lots of tears before any of the fun. The tears fall as soon as we wake up for the missing part of our family, our precious daughter. We cannot help but think about how we won’t see her face running smiling into our bedroom, or the shock on her face when she sees that Father Christmas has been or how happy she realises she can be when she can have chocolate for breakfast. None of it. We never got to see it, we never will and we still miss it like it’s an existing memory. That’s the thing with us though, we don’t have any Christmas memories with Millie because we never got to see her first one. All we know, is everything that she will miss out on, everything she will never get to see or experience and although these thoughts are with us every day in everything that we do, they became ever so more prominent at special times of the year.

We’ll visit Millie a couple of times on Christmas Day, normally in the morning and then in the evening to light some candles. She’ll be left a card and lots of gorgeous flowers from us and at home, she’ll have a Christmas Stocking, just like we all will. Although it won’t be filled with special treats like all the other ones, it’s still hers and it will still be there.

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We’ve also got our other little star, the baby I miscarried in November 2016. I love my family so much, but it’s hard not to see what should have been, that we should have 4 children all laughing around the table with us, that there should be twice as many presents in our living room from Father Christmas and that there should be twice as much mess as there will be. I’d love to see twice as much mess and twice as much chaos in our home at any time because that would mean that we wouldn’t have any sad memories from the past and that all our children would be here with us.

If you are lucky enough to be able to celebrate Christmas with all your children around you, send a little love to the people that can’t. Christmas is an emotional time for anyone who has lost a loved one but a Christmas without a child that should be there is unbearable as you think about all the missing futures that they should have and even just the missing smile from around the table.

As much as we will laugh, smile and play with our little ones on the day, a piece of us will be with our missing children and there’ll always be a part of us that can’t quite get to that happy place that we all crave to get to, that perfect life that we all want.

I sign Christmas cards (any cards) off with Millie’s name in them, she’s a huge part of our family and always will be. Some people might find that odd and think that we shouldn’t do it, but I don’t care. Unless you have lost a child, I don’t care for your opinion when it comes to how we should we grieve or how we should act. Losing a child, is not the same as any other type of loss or any other type of grief, far from it.

Six Christmases down the line since we lost Millie and we are still trying to figure out what and how we want to do things without Millie here.

My heart is with all those parents right now who are experiencing their first Christmas without their child. The pain of all those firsts is a pain that will never leave me and will always hurt. I wish that I could tell these parents that the pain will go away but it doesn’t,not at all.

You learn to live with the pain and your life is built around it. You learn how to deal with your pain to get you through these special days and you will discover what is the right thing for you to do on these days and whatever you decide that is, is perfect – for you and always will be.

If I could line you all up and give each and every one of you a hug this Christmas, I would … I feel your pain, I feel your miss.

From one grieving parent to another xxx

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Millie’s Trust is 5!

Five years ago this weekend, we were two grieving parents sat at home with our lives torn apart. It was less than 8 weeks since we had lost our only child, we couldn’t function, we couldn’t sleep, we couldn’t work but we needed to do something. We needed to do something to ensure that our daughter’s legacy lived on.

Our daughter 😀

We set up a charity to help parents in Stockport learn first aid. (We never imagined that we would be teaching all over the UK so soon afterwards).

We had absolutely no idea where to start, we didn’t know what we needed to do but the first thing that we did was come up with a name. After trying a few things, Millie’s Trust was born.

Step 2 was of course to set up a Facebook Page and Twitter! (Easy part)

Step 3 Research and learn how to run a charity (this was the hardest part) 

We found that some people were very supportive and others unfortunately were not. Someone told us that “only people with money run charities so it’s not going to work, why don’t you just do a charity run?”

Hmmm, probably not the best thing to say to us. We knew that what we wanted to do, didn’t exist and we knew that our idea had the potential to work.

Now even more determined to prove these pessimists wrong, we spent hours during the evening when we couldn’t sleep researching what we needed to do to make it work and how to become a registered charity.

Fast forward to March 2013 and we had raised the funds and made the application and been approved to be a charity.

It wasn’t easy though, far from it.

Setting up a charity is not something that you can do overnight and you need to be determined to make it work and you need to work hard, extremely hard.

We had Millie behind us, we knew it would work.

Something that has become extremely  special to us is the communication from the public. Your support, the way that you talk to us, the way that you have helped us. Through those nights when our sleep was so bad that we thought we were going crazy, we could turn the FB Page on and someone would be there to talk to. We could write about what a bad night we were having and it would be 3am in the morning and hundreds of people from the other side of the world would reply as they would be on their lunch or parents that were up with their newborns would be there to talk to. You honestly saved us.
We have just opened up our second venue and we teach all over the UK and have the most amazing team of trainers/staff and trustees, they could not be more supportive. We have trained over 16,000 people and now teach qualification courses, families and one of my personal favourites, children!

We had so much knowledge that we wanted to pass on and we know that some people have used it and saved lives after attending our courses, you cannot imagine how this makes Dan and I feel after hearing the stories.

Then there is Millie’s Mark!

You all helped to make this happen; 103,000 people signed our online petition to support 100% trained Paediatric First Aid staff and this is what Millie’s Mark is all about and we are so, so proud that this is part of our daughter’s legacy.

Text MILL05 £5 to 70070 to support our anniversary project.

Over a year later from the official launch, 160 nurseries/pre schools have been awarded this mark and that is an amazing achievement for all involved. There are many more currently going through the process, which takes 3-6 months to get through; it’s that rigorous. It’s so much more than just having the staff trained, it’s about the safety aspects in the nursery, risk assessments, embedding practices into the establishments and ensuring that staff have the confidence to use their first aid training. It’s giving confidence to parents in the people looking after their children.

There is more amazing news coming early next year from Millie’s Mark and we know that it is going to please so many of you 😀. Look out on our social media and websites early next year to find out what is happening with Millie’s Mark in 2018! 💕💕💕💕💕

What I have written about is only a small insight into the development of the charity, there is much more that I could tell you but you’d be reading for the next hour.

My final words for today will be of thanks.

Thank you for your support.

Thank you believing in what we do.

Thank you for making Millie’s Legacy amazing.

Love to you all xxx

Find out what our 5th anniversary project is and donate here.

Or Text MILL05 £5 to 70070

(£5 can be changed from anything from £1 to £10).

Last chance to get your soft toys for Christmas this weekend. The website will close at midnight on Sunday 17th for orders. Click here to purchase. Now Available In 3 colours.