United we are 

The pure solidarity from the people of Manchester last night and today evidently shows what amazing people there are out there in the place that we all lovingly call home.

From the professionalism and passionate determination of the emergency services that took those first awful initial phone calls and that risked their lives to run straight in and began rescuing people; to the men and women on the street that provided first aid treatment to many strangers on the street that they had never come across before; to the taxi drivers that wavered their fees and travelled hundreds of miles to ensure people’s loved ones could get home and to the restaurants, shops, bar and hotels that have opened their doors free of charge to ensure that people could eat and have a safe place to rest whilst they waited to be reunited with their loved ones …. we stand united. 

Not just in Manchester, but the whole country.

As the day has gone on and the details have unfolded of what happened, the enormity of the tragedy coming to light and the lost loved ones photos have emerged slowly in the media , my mind is still completely astonished about the understanding of what cowards could do this, to target an innocent crowd … and more so, an innocent crowd full of children. 

Monsters. 

There is no other word for them. 

The grief of course is not confined to the Manchester community as people had travelled from hundreds of miles away for the concert, communities will be mourning all over the country when details of the further lost loved ones emerge. 

Lost brothers, sisters, parents, cousins, friends but most of all what hits me the hardest is the loss of sons and daughters – children to a mother and father somewhere, no matter what their age – still someone’s child – so many people still so young with their full life ahead of them. 

Many of us do not know these people personally but we have potentially lost future doctors, future fighters, future maths teachers or future (insert what comes to your mind here)…

…Or simply, future friends, future husbands and wives or that person across the street that just smiles at you at the right time when you are having a rough day and when you need it the most.

Today I have cried every time that I have seen a new photo of someone that has had their life confirmed lost because they are so young.

I cried for their parent’s pain.

I cried for the parents receiving that terrible news that their cherished child has lost their life.

I cried for the future that their child has lost.

I cried for the enormity of the grief and the challenges ahead for these parents of living their life without the child that they thought they would see receive their GCSE grades, the child that they thought they would walk down the aisle and the child who would give them beautiful grandchildren. 

I cried for them all, for all that they have lost and for all the future memories that have been taken from them in a split second. 

As a parent, the loss of a child is the hardest thing that you will ever go through, there is simply no comparison and I know that from my own experience. 

I looked at my 2 year old son today sat there laughing on the floor, so innocent and carefree and I was genuinely scared for the future of our children – the scale of the attacks and the technology and ideas in the weapons being used makes my blood run cold when I think about what it could be like for them in 20 years …. I wish the world was a better place for them. 

We could not attend the Manchester City Centre Vigil this evening but we have attended a local one to us earlier this evening and paid our respects. 

My heart stays with the families of the lost loved ones and the injured this evening x


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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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A little one on the way x 

Some of you know that I’ve been quite ill recently, I think this photo should explain it to you all, I don’t think it needs many words… 

Yep, another Baby Thompson is on the way … a little brother or sister for Millie and Leo xxx

Of course, following my miscarriage last November , we are very happy that I’m pregnant again but it’s been a rough first few months both physically and mentally but we can’t meet to wait our new Rainbow later this year.

I will be blogging throughout this pregnancy about pregnancy after loss, how I get on with this pregnancy in general and of course pregnancy with a toddler in tow! Follow my blog on Facebook to see my most recent ramblings first. Click here to follow 

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xxx

Read all about why I write this blog here

Without a Child – Mother’s Day 

In a perfect world this 2017 Mother’s Day, I would have my 5 year old daughter Millie running into our bedroom with a plate of toast that daddy made & a handmade card that she’d made at school with some flowers that she’d picked with her daddy; my crazy little whirlwind 2 year old son bringing me in whatever he came across as he ran from his bedroom to give me a kiss and I’d also be extremely tired after having a restless night because I’d be 6 months pregnant.

That’s how it should be, in a perfect world. But it’s not. And actually, not many people live in a perfect reality but many of us struggle to see that. 

In my reality. My lovely little whirlwind son will come bounding into our bedroom with a million books just as he does every morning and he’ll give me a big sloppy morning kiss and jump into bed with us. 

Later that morning, we’ll pay a visit to our daughter’s sleeping place and instead of her giving me flowers, I will give them to her and lay them on her resting place to keep it looking beautiful; this I find extremely hard on Mother’s Day but I still do it. 

The cemetery is always busy on Mother’s Day but with people laying flowers on their mother’s resting places – the way it should be. The reason we are visiting the cemetery places us in a minority group on this day, a group that we would give anything not to be in.

I won’t be tired because of a restless night being 6 months pregnant either because I sadly miscarried just before 12 weeks in November 2016. To read more about this click here 

We won’t go out for a meal or go somewhere fun like many families because four years after losing Millie and even after having Leo, I still struggle seeing families so happy on these certain days and I spend all day crying. Daft, I know – especially because many of these families probably have their own sad stories. I find it hard still being around families on these days that have these lovely big families – because we should be a noisy family of 4 (nearly 5) and we aren’t – our card has been dealt much differently through no fault of our own.  I’m not jealous, or angry – it just hurts, so much. 


I know that things will be different in a few years, especially when Leo is at school and he’ll make me things for these special days & he’ll come running out of school with for them, so proud of what he has made. He’ll suddenly one year be old enough to bring me breakfast in bed without daddy’s help & even pick his own card for me and choose where we should spend Mother’s Day together – I can’t wait for this; because it will make Leo happy and in turn it will make me smile and enjoy the day more. I genuinely am looking forward to this. 

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This year is my 5th Mother’s Day without Millie and my 3rd one with Leo. If you do the sums you will realise that I had 2 Mother’s Days being a mum but without a child in my arms. They were the hardest; being a mum but not feeling like one. 


This day is tough for so many who are thinking about their own lives right now and how different they would be if their children had survived, their pregnancy had continued or their infertility hadn’t stopped their dreams. 

Women who have lost children.

Women who can’t have children for medical reasons.

Women who have suffered pregnancy loss.

Women who want nothing more than to be a mum but it’s just not happening for them. 

A mother should never have to experience a Mother’s Day without their child, they should not have to wake up on this day feeling even less of a mother than they already do. I can say that from my heart because that’s honestly how I felt the first Mother’s Day after losing Millie and part of me still feels like that today even after having my gorgeous boy. A part of my being a mum will always be missing, no matter how hard I try. 

Mother’s Day is so commercialised that it is everywhere and you cannot avoid it even if you want to and for many that is tough. 

Think about those close to you this weekend that might be struggling a little not having a child with them for whatever reason that may be and drop them a quick text letting them know that you are thinking of them. 

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Choking Hazards for children 

I keep seeing all these various posts flying around Facebook at the moment about not letting your children eat certain foods because another child has choked on them and they are suddenly now deemed a complete danger to children.

Now, as a policy. On the Millie’s Trust page, we refuse to share anything that has not been officially recalled because if one of these posts just happened not to be true, it could potentially ruin the business of whatever product it was.

So, after seeing a few of these flying around social media this week, I decided to do a little experiment whilst I was doing my weekly shop today (much to Leo’s dismay having to spend 15 minutes back and forth on the sweet aisle). 

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I wanted to have a look at what confectionary products actually came with a choking warning on them because as you all know, certain sweets etc can be a certain type and shape and this may cause an obstruction much more easily. 

So my experiment went like this.

I picked up random sweets on the aisle that I considered to be a choking hazard to a child under the age of 3.

I’m sad to say that in those 15 minutes, I only actually found 4 items that had a hazardous notice on the back of them. Here is a photo below .. I haven’t used the brand names on here as it’s not fair on the manufacturers, some of them could be own supermarket brands and some of them could be nationally well known brands. 


Here are some of the hazard warnings and honestly, it really impressed me that the manufacturers had decided to put these warnings on.

Did you know that the small chocolate eggs had a warning for children under the age of 4? 


There is a reason for these warnings. It is to stop adults giving them to children when they are small. Be it because the actual sweet could cause a full blockage or the toy parts with the chocolate could be a choking hazard (see photo below)


The fact is, is that the manufacturer has put a warning on these products but I still see children under these ages time and time again being given these products, having their lives put at risk by the person who has given it to them because there is a clear warning on the packaging and they have chosen to ignore it. 

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Why? Why on earth would you give in and give a 2 year old a chocolate egg not meant for children under the age of 4.

I was actually shocked that I couldn’t find a marshmallow packet or a hard boiled sweet packet with a choking hazard warning on them – because these products due to the consistency and/or shape are up there on the high risk, just like grapes and sausages that haven’t been cut in the correct way before being given to children.

Then we have the other extreme though, check out the photo below, how many of these products have you happily given your 1 year old child? Don’t worry, it’s fine to do so. So don’t feel guilty when you look at the photo…


My point is, is that everything is a choking hazard to children. Just remember, our daughter choked on mash and passed away and she was an extremely competent eater. We were utterly shocked when we were told it was mash (I can’t stand writing/saying/hearing this word) that Millie had choked on as we had originally been told she had been eating Shepherd’s Pie, we were expecting to be told that she had choked on a piece of meat, but no, it was the mash from the meal. 

Grapes, sausages, toast, fruit, bacon etc etc etc 

A lot of the time, it’s not about the product. It’s about the preparation of the food, it’s about you spending the time to sit with your child and be there with them whilst they eat their meal. 

  • The emails can wait
  • The phone calls can wait 
  • The hoovering can wait
  • The doorbell can wait
  • The texts can wait 

Focus on your child. It is THAT SIMPLE.

  • Prepare food correctly
  • Cut it to the correct size
  • Cut it in the correct manner

Two of my biggest gripes. Now, some of you are going to hate me for saying this, some of you are going to be sat there saying “What is she going on about? I do that!” Maybe you won’t after reading a little further … my gripes are 

  • Giving children food in a forward facing pushchair 
  • Giving children food in the back of a car when there is no adult in the back seat with them. 

Think about this for a second. 

If your child went quiet in pushchair after eating some fruit for example, that you had given them, would your first thought be “they’re choking” … I am pretty confident that most of you would just think that they had fallen asleep… by the time you realise, it’s too late. 

And all because you wanted to keep them quiet for 5 minutes and food would be a distraction. 

When someone is choking and silent – it’s a full blockage, the worst kind. They need help. NOW.

Just as a side note here, Leo had a tantrum whilst in the supermarket today because I wouldn’t let him eat a cake whilst pushing him in the trolley. He literally screamed blue murder for 3 or 4 aisles in the supermarket, maybe less than 10 mins … did it bother me? No. Why? Because I wasn’t going to give in and let him eat something whilst I was distracted shopping. He could wait. He eventually got bored of screaming and started to point everything out in the supermarket. I could see the sympathy from other parents about my screaming child, which was great! These parents had all been there with a screaming child, it’s fine. It will be over soon, don’t give in. I didn’t, he didn’t get the cake. He got it, when we got home for after his dinner. 

Now let’s use the exact same theory in a car;

How long would it take you to pull over on the hard shoulder in moving traffic once you realise that your child was choking? Probably longer than the time needed for the damage already to be done. 

Many people are surprised to hear that Dan and I think like this after losing Millie. The fact is, is that anyone can choke on anything.

Preparation is key.

Take the time out not to rush food.

Learn what to do if the worst was to happen.

I hope that many of you reading this will now consider reading the back of food products before you give them to your small children. There’s nothing stopping you giving them to them but consider cutting them up, just like you would a grape. Consider whether the consistency of the product (particularly sticky) is appropriate for the age of your child. Consider the toy product that might come in a gift set with an Easter Egg.

It’s about thinking. It’s about common sense. It’s about prioritising.

To have a look for a family first aid course in your area, click here to visit Millie’s Trust, click here . If you can’t find one in your area, click here to let us know where you would like Millie’s Trust to visit.

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Thou must teach, but not laugh.

Leo has become such a character recently and trying to teach him right from wrong, I am actually finding quite hilarious. 

Of course, I want our boy to be well behaved, have manners and know what no means and what the repercussions of ignoring us or throwing a toy across the room when he is angry at us are (for one of a million toddler reasons) 😂. 

In the past week, we have taken the bars off Leo’s cot, so he’s now just in the bed part of the cotbed. To be honest, he’s been ready for it since we moved in December but we were decorating his bedroom, so it was far safer to keep him behind bars. 

We bought the obligatory bed guards but thought we would try him without and he’s actually doing that well that we have taken them back – the cot bed is extremely low to the floor and touchwood, he hasn’t fell out yet. He’s not much of a sleep wriggler any more now, like he used to be. 

So, he’s doing really well in the evening, in fact a lot better than we first imagined after all the horror stories we had heard, but Leo is keeping to his 12 hour sleeps with no get ups, like we haven’t changed anything (I apologise now to all the parents reading this cursing us that our child is a great sleeper)

His afternoon naps, well – he’s always been funny with me with them. Daddy has a knack of getting Leo to sleep when it’s a daddy day, but mummy- most days, not a chance. I don’t mind though, I love the extra cuddles and I certainly don’t mind if he sleeps all night anyway. 

I did try one day this week though and it’s resulted in this hilarious video, I’m pretty sure that this was about the 37th time he dove head first into the bed when he heard me coming. I gave up because I couldn’t stop giggling.

​

How do you tell a toddler off that makes you laugh so much? Seriously though, I will work on it! 

We don’t go to a lot of classes to be honest as I love spending time on my own with Leo but he has been going to Messy Monkeys for over a year now because he loves it and I chose it because I needed something to help me get over my anxieties of Leo picking things up and putting them in his mouth or chewing on them. Jo, the lady who runs this class has been fabulous for me and she really helped me out when she knew I was anxious about certain things. 

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Messy Monkeys was really fun this week, it made me laugh because a year ago today, we did the pancake class and Leo carried a lemon around the whole class, this time he brought his own little football and carried that around. Little big man has grown so much in the last year, the photo below is him this week playing with the amazing purple sand and the one below that shows the lemons last year. He also managed to drench lots of the mums this morning by stamping in the tubs of water and if any of the mums are reading this – I’m glad he made you laugh! (Don’t worry the mums and dad who’s go to this class expect to leave a little messy and/or wet) 



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If you have a place in the Manchester 10k or Half Marathon in May, or are thinking of doing it –  please think about choosing to run it for Millie’s Trust. We also have a couple of half marathon places left if you would like to run it for us. Drop us a message here if you’ve already got a place or would like one x 

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I’d just like to say a huge thank you to MUMSNET this week who have featured #Milliesmark as a guest campaign on their website this week – click here to view.

To read Millie Does It Again, click here