Monthly Archives: September 2015

Security, Sun and Celebrations 

Taking a trip through security at Manchester Airport and one of the security girls remarks, “I follow your page on Facebook, good job” – enough to make smile for just a few seconds longer in my day. Thanks lady, I needed the little perk up at that time.

You see, we were on our way for my 30th birthday treat, a week in Cape Verde. Never been there before, wanted somewhere hot, wanted somewhere peaceful, wanted somewhere new. Pretty much fit the bill.

Now this trip, we booked when I was about 8 months pregnant, not long after I booked Tough Mudder 😂. I have no idea what possessed me to book a holiday so close to the day I was doing Tough Mudder, ok I am totally guessing here that I was thinking that I was going to need the break after completing TM… I certainly wasn’t thinking about the bruises that my body would be covered in (check out the pic below) … So for anyone that may have seen me on holiday or out and about at home, no one did this to me, no one gave me these bruises other than them being self inflicted via Tough Mudder. I’m not kidding when I say this, some of them were (and still are) tennis ball sized. In fact, now they are a couple of weeks old, the colouring of the bruises are more consistent with the colouring of a standard yellow tennis ball ….. 😁 

 
On this note, thank you to everyone who sponsored me for Tough Mudder and if you think after seeing one of my bruise pics above I deserve any extra few pennies, you can still donate by clicking here.

I still struggle doing things of enjoyment that Millie should be taking part in, particular big events such as my 30th birthday celebrations. I had a few moments at home before I left, one being 2 hours before needing to be at the airport, I just needed to go and visit Millie at her resting place and talk to her before we left, it didn’t feel right not to … Once I’d been and had a chat with her , I left her resting place crying but I felt a tiny bit better.

The trip to Cape Verde was what we needed this week, a break away from everything and everyone. Weirdest part of the week … Sitting enjoy some food and a young woman constantly starting at me and then we realised she was googling me and showing her other half photos of me and it was really clear that they were trying to work out if we were who she thought we were … I facebooked a status about this on Millie’s Trust page to remind people that we are just normal and totally approachable .. It’s quite intimidating when people do things like this and just stare at us.. Just come and say hi, we’ll always say hi back. 

 

I never want to be away from Millie on special days like my birthday and certainly not this one, my 30th. So I planned our holiday to ensure that we were back the day before (today, 24th Sept)  so I could go visit our girlie on my birthday – if wouldn’t have felt right otherwise. I know some of you are reading this now and thinking “that’s a little strange, why does she have to do that?” – 

Thing is, is that I just do. I like to feel near my baby girl at special times and the nearest I feel to her is when I visit her sleeping place – you really will not understand this unless you have lost a child but I don’t actually want you to understand if you don’t already do so, because that would mean you losing a child and I certainly don’t want that. 

So today (the day before my birthday) will be spent with one of my besties, who just happens to also be my hairdresser, having my hair done and then my nails in preparation for my birthday party. This has actually now turned into a double celebration now though because it was announced this week whilst we were away that we had won a Pride of Britian Award. Full story here   

We managed to get online in Cape Verde after the announcement and we were honestly overwhelmed by the response from the public on both our website, social media and newspaper websites, you guys are so kind to us. So, when I manage to work out where I have some free time today I will attempt to find a dress for the awards ceremony next week. It always makes me laugh when we end up amazingly busy as everything has a habit of pouring into a few days once we end up with events on that we need to attend. I’m not the best of shoppers, I’m one of those women that just go into a shop when I need something in particular and I know where I will get it from,  so I guarantee I will be stressed by the end of today! Haha. 

In fact, I remember when Dan and I first went to the Trafford Centre to have a look around before a film, he said to me “I’ve never been around the Trafford Centre that fast!” 

Back to my 30th. Yes, so this is it. My last post in my twenties and Dan can no longer say he he has a wife in her twenties, haha!

See you on the other side …. x

Follow me on Twitter @joannet1985

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About to turn thirty …

Some weeks are so harder than others and this week is proving to be one of them. 

Every day this week seems to have gotten that little bit harder. It’s becoming a year on year occurrence now that around this time (a few weeks before Millie’s anniversary) that I start to discover I have less patience, my sleep becomes interrupted, my emotions sky rocket, tears fall a lot easier and in general, I just don’t feel myself. Writing that doesn’t even feel right because “feeling myself”, I haven’t felt like that since losing Millie, as my blog name states; I’m a same person, different me, just like many of you out there who have been through life changing situations that have transformed you into someone that you never thought you could be.

It seems to have started to appear earlier this year, I think it may be because I’m turning 30 next week and my head has been doing a lot of pondering recently, completely unintentionally. 

It’s not that I’m having an early mid-life crisis because I’m about to hit 30 or the fact that I will be 30, not that at all. I think it’s more that I have been through so much in the past few years that a lot of the time I feel much older than that. 

If you’d have asked me at 20 where I saw myself in 10 years, it would have been in a great career that I studied at university to be qualified for, maybe in a serious relationship, possibly getting married and with children on the horizon.

Things didn’t quite turn out that way. It was never a plan that I wanted to stick to, just more where my head seemed to be going when I was finishing university.

Then I met Dan. We became a couple pretty quickly and married within 9 months of our first date. I never thought I would do things that fast. We knew we wanted children and I knew that I wanted to be married before we had any children and not long after, I was pregnant and Millie was born when I was 26, I don’t think that is young in any terms in today’s day and age but it was a lot younger that I had ever envisioned for myself in prior years – I didn’t think I would have children until after I’d turned 30 … But next week, I turn 30 and I have already had 2 children and I’ve no idea whether that’s it or whether we will have more in the future. 

Three years ago, we thought we had everything mapped out. We had a house that we owned together that we knew we wanted to sell once I’d sat my professional exams and then move into what was to be known as our “forever home”. We had our gorgeous little girl, I had completed my masters degree whilst pregnant with Millie and I was about to go back to work and sit my professional exams.

As it turns out. Life decided to throw us the the ultimate curve ball in taking our daughter away from us. 

We lost Millie. 

Then we sold our house very quickly because it was too close to where we lost Millie (literally backed onto their playing fields) and we couldn’t face living there watching other children playing on the field where we should have been watching Millie. It was too traumatising. 

I suffered badly from PTSD, anxiety and Depression and made the decision with Dan that I couldn’t go back to my job after trying on two separate occasions and falling to pieces. I was there the day Millie passed away and I suffered from horrendous flashbacks whenever I was near the place, it’s a shame as I have never been back there to see anyone either since I left. The company we worked for were fantastic with us, they really were. Dan and I were talking about it a few weeks ago and now we can look back and reflect, we realise that we would have lost everything financially if our company hadn’t have  stood by our side like they did. We can never thank them enough for what they did for us because as disgusting as it is, there was absolutely no financial assistance at all for us from the government for parents in our situation. 

This is the one time in our life that we needed financial assistance from the government and we were not entitled to even a penny to help us at the worst point in our lives.

We nearly lost each other, there were numerous occasions that we could have done because of mental health problems that we were suffering from. 

So in a few months, our whole world had fallen apart.

Our honeymoon period of marriage was over and we were facing the harshest possible reality we could have been given in life. 

We had to leave our beautiful home because we couldn’t face being there anymore and we moved into another house that we are still in now because we aren’t in a situation where we could move into our “forever home”. I know some of you will find this really sad but we don’t really refer to where we live as “home” because we have never really thought or felt as it like that, we always refer to as our “stepping stone house” because it’s just something we need to use for the time being before we get to our “forever home” in about 20 years at this rate; in our previous plans, we would already have been there with Millie and have our lovely decorated rooms with our lovely homely little bits and pieces. One of the reasons for me that it has never felt like “home” is because at the time when we had to move we were in the worst stages of grief and I don’t even remember viewing houses that we were looking at, I don’t remember choosing the house, purchasing it or even moving in. It is all one complete blur to me and it’s not nice to think of it like that.

I’m sure one day we will be somewhere that we want to call home, somewhere that will feel like home. 

We are in completely different jobs than we were in 3 years ago, jobs that we never planned or forso in our future and a job where we had to teach ourself so much in order for it to work. 

And now we have Leo. He is of course, our shining little light to come out of all this heartache and blurry years. 

So 30, new chapter? I think so.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen next. 

I’m not sure where we will be in 5 years or whether Millie and Leo will be our only children? I’m not sure where life will take me after I hit this huge milestone age and that’s ok. I’m ok with that.

Twelve months ago, I was still saying that I didn’t want to celebrate my 30th with a party. But now I will be doing with my family and friends because on our darkest days in the past nearly three years, I really thought I would never even be here to see my 30th birthday, but I am going to be and that’s something to celebrate in itself. 

Follow me on Twitter @joannet1985

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08/09/10 – a date to remember 

Five years.

Five Whole Years since we got married in Seattle.

Happy Wedding Anniversary to us 😀

Sometimes I honestly wonder how we made it. 

 We’ll openly admit it. Losing Millie nearly broke us. It really did. How could it not? Losing a child could break anyone. 

Technically I believe we should have still been in the “Honeymoon” period of our marriage.

  
We were told very early on after losing Millie that over 80% of couples split up in the first year after losing a child together.  We decided that we were not going to be one of the couples in these statistics. 

I’m not surprised though that the figure is so high, I am not surprised at all.

When you get married, you don’t sign up for things like this. You sign up for what you think is going to make you happy. You get married, you have a family, they grow up, you get old, then you get grandchildren. 

Simple isn’t it. 

Er no.

Not for some people, certainly not for us. 

When we lost Millie, we had only just been married for 2 years. So this is our 3rd anniversary without our little girl, to be honest, sometimes we wondered if we’d make it to 3 and 4, never mind 5. Now we are at 5, we are determined to make it to take it as far as possible. Even on the toughest days, it’s too hard to walk away.

We’ve cried, we’ve screamed, we’ve shouted, we’ve argued, we’ve both walked out, we’ve spent hours not taking, we’ve spent hours being horrible to one another. We’ve sniped, we’ve called each other names, we’ve been nasty to one another. 

This isn’t how our marriage was before, not at all. Losing Millie had this devastating effect on our marriage but … We’ve climbed out of the other side and here we are celebrating 5 years together and to top that, we’ve now had our (not so) little Leo. 

We still argue, of course we do. All married couples argue (I’m pretty sure no one is sat here right now reading this thinking, “we don’t”  because we all know that we do, even if it’s just over not picking clothes up! 😀

I’m not sugar coating it all and pretending that we have had the perfect marriage since we lost Millie because we haven’t and I’m extemley doubtful that many people have after they’ve lost a child – hence the 80% split mentioned earlier that is reported and I don’t want anyone who unfortunately finds theirselves in our situation to think that it will be easy to stay together, because it’s not, it’s hard work. 

I know that some days, I have had a bad night and I’ve woken up and just not wanted to talk. This has irritated Dan because he has thought I was in a bad mood, when really all it was, was that I didn’t want to talk about anything. I wouldn’t speak, Dan would get upset that he had done something wrong and keep asking me if I was alright and then I’d snap and bite his head off. Poor Dan. That’s not being sarcastic. That’s real empathy. I do really feel sorry for him because I know how hard I have been to put up when I have had my bad days. But Dan has been the same with me. 

When you wake up like this, there’s nothing you can do to change it. You just have to get through the day and start again the day after – and that’s what we did. What we still do and I think it’s what we will always do.

Unfortunately because Dan and I are so close, it’s those closest to you that you take it out on and that’s what has happened. 

But… We have still had our good days too. Which is why we are still married today.

Maybe some of you think that it may have been easier to walk away because there have been more hard times than good. But on the other side of the coin, I can’t understand how somebody else could understand the pain of losing your child? How would someone else understand why you wake up and don’t want to talk to anyone all day? How someone else would know how to handle you when you see a little girl playing on the park or running around smiling in a cute little dress and all you do is cry? 

Obviously this does happen because so many people break up after child loss and move on with other people but I just couldn’t imagine sharing this horrific journey with anyone else other than Dan. 

For all that hurt, pain and million arguments there have been between us; even more hugs, nights where we have talked each other to sleep and millions of shared tears have happened and I am sure there will plenty more arguments -v- hugs for the rest of our lives. 

So how did we spend today? Our 5th anniversary? Do we still celebrate? Of course we do, because it’s about us today and that is how it should be. 

One unexpected plan for today on our anniversary was that Leo and I did an interview on the Lorraine show to help launch the Inspirational Women of the Year  Award which I won in 2014. Please click the link here to see the interview (and please excuse Leo’s burp on live TV, haha, it could’ve been worse 😂)

I have to say, not many people can say they got to spend their anniversary with Lorraine Kelly! 

(LK is on the lookout for the new Inspirational Woman of the year  2015 in conjunction with Women of the Year – for full details on how to nominate someone who inspires you, CLICK HERE)

Whilst we were in the Green Room for the Lorraine show this morning, we met this lovely lady who I kept looking at thinking, I know I recognise her but I just can’t place her … And then I did!

Earlier this week, I was watching a YouTube video of the most fabulous baby announcement and this was the lady, Giovanni Fletcher who is married to Tom Fletcher of McBusted Fame! If you haven’t seen their baby announcement, check it out here, I promise it is worth the watch

Seriously though, she was such a lovely down to earth lady, I love it when I meet people and they are like that! Good luck to her for the rest of their pregnancy!  (Look at that guys who have followed our story from the beginning, see how far I have come, I couldn’t have said that 2 years ago could I?)

Then we had a (not) so romantic meal at Five Guys in Covent Garden, check out the burger 😁 – we’ve never been there before, but we will definitely go again. (I hope my Slimming World leader doesn’t see this photo, whoops)   

Then we headed back up North to put our feet up and watch a film, but that plan went out of the window when we put the film in the PS3 and realised the controller is broken and we can’t press play! How annoying is that … Hmm. So recorded TV it is then, lol! 

We have so far follows the traditional gift list for anniversaries which is below;

1. Paper

2. Cotton

3. Leather

4. Fruit or Flower

5. Wood

When you have to think about it like this, it’s actually really hard! 

I’m heading off now, the day is catching up with me, but thought I’d leave you with this photo to make you smile x

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Feeling Lost 

I feel a bit lost today. A bit empty. I’ve just nipped out to get some lunch on my dinner at work and I don’t even want to get out of the car, I feel like I can’t face the world today. I’m quite happy holed up in my office.

The reason. It’s the start of the school term and it’s photographs galore on Facebook of all this new kiddies starting school. Which is absolutely lovely of course and I completely understand why parents want to share these images of their children, it’s a proud moment in your child’s life. But it’s really hard when you have an Angel Child that’s never going to get to experience that.  

Oh I’m crying now, I can’t see the screen. 

(Tissues used, eyes wiped, tears cleared) 

I genuinely would love to sit and scroll through the, I am sure what are extremely lovely, photos of children in their brand new spanking clean uniforms. But I can’t. 

Everytime I accidentally see one, I close Facebook down – in fact, I think for the next few days the best thing to do is avoid my personal page altogether.

It’s particularly hard this year as Millie should be moving into Pre-School and she’d have her first little experience of some type of uniform and more routine to her life – but she isn’t and she won’t. 

And that makes me cry. 

It makes me cry a lot. 

I dread to think what I’m going to be like next year when she would have been starting primary school if I feel like this, this year. It’s one of those days that you never want to happen. 

I don’t even have any photographs for this post today, there’s nothing I can think of that would be appropriate.

I know some people will find this a selfish post, “she shouldn’t be saying that, it’s not fair on children who are going to school” etc etc. I know that’s what some of you will be thinking … But the thing is, is that it needs to be said. People in general need to gain an understanding of how Angel Parents feel and at which points in their lives they are gonna have that little bit of a harder day than usual … This is one of those times. 

And in a few years time when Leo starts school, I will be there posting his photos, showing you guys how proud we are but I also know that someone, somewhere will see my photos of Leo and they will be upset because unfortunately this will be a point in their life where they need to cry and get angry at the world for the same reasons as why I feel lost and empty today. 

It’s Thursday today. I very rarely do this, but I am going to hold back on publishing this blog until the weekend because I want all those people experiencing their first taste of letting a child go to school really enjoy it and I don’t want this post to put a downer on that – so I’m going to publish this on Sunday instead.  ( I apologise if your child/ren haven’t gone back to school yet).

But please do me a favour, if you’ve got an Angel Parent as a friend and this is possibly a time when they may be struggling, drop them a text, just say hi and tell them that you are thinking of them, I promise you that they will appreciate it. 
You can follow Joanne on Twitter @joannet1985