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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Epic love for family photographs

Many of you took a liking to my fabulous photograph that Sharon Wallis of Bramhall teased us with last week and now we have seen the final photos including an amazing one of Daddy and Asher, these are so special as we have similar ones with Leo and I regret so much not having them done with Millie – it never even crossed my mind to have professional shots done with Millie when she was born.

So, I’ll leave this one here.

Look how fabulous it is. We all go on about that mums should have their photos taken with with their children; but dads are equally as special and they should too.

To see my photograph click here

And if that wasn’t enough to melt your heart, check out the one below of big brother looking after little brother.

I’m so in love with all these amazing and special photographs. Sharon has a truly amazing talent to be able to capture images as stunning as these.

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Photo Credits: Sharon Wallis

Join us at our Children’s Christmas party where we have exclusive use of a play Centre.

Full details in the image below.

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Baby Room!

A while ago on my Facebook blog page, I was talking about how hard it is to decide on how to decorate a nursery. I’m not the most imaginative person when it comes to decoration but of course we wanted it to look lovely for our new arrival.

Many of you suggested lots of lovely ideas and we loved the idea of using animals in there. Millie had a Winnie The Pooh decorated nursery and Leo had stars – so we wanted a different theme and we had a blank canvas as at the end of last year we moved into a new home and luckily the room which was to become the baby’s new nursery was bright white when we moved in.

During these conversations on Facebook, a fabulous company called Stickerscape got in touch with me and suggested that we take a look at their website and see if anything caught our eye. We hadn’t even thought of using stickers instead of wallpaper but we were open to the idea.

On taking a look, we found some fabulous ideas and some amazing stickers. I had no idea how many we needed for the size of the room we have, so I sent a drawing with sizes of the room on to the lovely Fi and told her which stickers we liked and she worked out what we would need to make it look beautiful!

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A few days later … a well packaged delivery arrived and when we opened it,of course it had blue wrapping.

It was best if we painted the room and then tried to wait 2 weeks to attach the stickers to the wall, so Dan got painting (after I’d picked the colour).

We actually ended up waiting a little while longer than 2 weeks because Dan got Tonsillitis, twice in a row ( I have never known that to happen to anyone!) and we also had a new carpet installed and it turned out that there was a fault with it and we had to wait to get it replaced again. 🙈

Anyway, fast forward around 4 weeks from Dan originally painting and we could start getting the stickers on!

We read the instructions and we’d also been sent a YouTube link that showed how to apply them – This came in very handy as I myself don’t do very well reading instructions, I follow visual instructions much better. Check out the video here The stickers arrived in printed sheets and they only need a rough cut around the transfer, not a delicate time consuming cut which was good for us as neither of us have the patience for that. So we laid them out on the floor to see exactly what we had been sent and how big each sticker was.

Once we had taken a look, I started to cut all the stickers out into individual pieces as then you can put them exactly where you want on the walls. Whilst I did this, Dan and Leo prepared the walls and literally all this entailed was wiping the walls with a clean duster to get rid of anything that might be on the walls that could’ve shown through the stickers.

Next up Dan had to smooth over the back of the plastic with a card from his wallet to ensure that the sticker would come off correctly – this was a few seconds for each sticker at the most.

Next up, actually applying the stickers to the wall (this was definitely a Dan job as I have no patience, but to be honest as I was watching him put them on the wall, I realised that it was actually really simple). Leo of course wanted to be involved, so we gave him the job of collecting the excess cuttings from the stickers – despite the look on his face here, he was actually enjoying it!

The application of these stickers actually took a lot less time than we had originally thought. We thought it might be quite time consuming due to the detail of the stickers, but actually it wasn’t and only took a few hours from start to finish and the stickers look amazing! (You can see how big the tree sticker is by looking at the plug socket on the bottom of the wall)< <

They even got the approval of my granny last week when she visited and when I told her that I was writing a blog about them she said and I quote “Make sure that you tell them that your Granny said that I thought they looked like they were painted on, they are that good”. I think Granny approval says it all 😀.

There are lots of stickers to choose from including some fabulous In the Night Garden and Peppa Pig ones for little fans of those programmes.

Stickerscape also sent Leo a gift too, alongside wall stickers they do labels for children’s clothing/bags/shoes etc and they personalised some monster ones for him – which of course Leo loves!

Here are some in his wellies!

If you like the sound of using these stickers and other products that they sell, October is THE PERFECT time to purchase because they are donating £1 from every order to our Millie’s Trust Charity and to The Miscarriage Association as October is Baby/Infant Loss awareness month x

In conjunction with this, I’ve also written a blog for Stickerscape for a project they are supporting this month for baby loss awareness. Look out for that coming soon, as soon as it’s published, I’ll let you know!

Click here to view all their products and rangesFull disclosure: I was sent the Stickers for the nursery as a gift from Stickerscape but was not asked to review or blog, I wrote this blog to show you all what we’ve been doing and wanted to mention the company and how fab their products are 😀.

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Poem for Leo 0316

Dear Leo,

This morning I’ve been sneezed on and generally covered in green snot,

But it doesn’t really matter as I love you such a lot.

You also threw your Weetabix across at me and smiled,

Now how can I resist that cheeky grin from my boy child,

You also gave me cuddles whilst sneakily pulling on my hair,

I think you really planned that, you cheeky little mare.

Then you shot a smile, a real big toothy grin,

My smile it came so quickly, I could barely keep it in.

You snuggled in my shoulder with your lovely soft brown hair,

You like to lay here soundly,it’s a comfort being there.

Whilst you lay there sleeping soundly I glanced around the room,

Rolled my eyes, had a laugh, toys everywhere like an explosion that’s gone boom.

But this mess I really love, along with little clothes out everywhere,

I missed this all so much, when your sister was no longer there.

So I’ll forget about the washing, the ironing and the sweeping,

Because today is just for us to play, of course when you’re not sleeping 😍

(Randomly just found this poem from

last year that I’d written on my phone, it made me smile, so I thought I’d share xxx)

Come along to our new venue opening day! See details here! Come and meet some of our team and take a look at our new training premises. Click here to see details of where and when.

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Read my previous blog, Oh The Guilt!

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   


 

Four years and counting 

As our darling daughter’s 4th anniversary draws to a close, it still feels like only yesterday when we last held her in our arms for the very last time.

TEXT MILL04 £4 to 70070 to help us reach our £4,000 target in Millie’s memory today. 

You cannot imagine the immeasurable pain that you feel when you lose a child, unless you have sadly been through this yourself and for those that haven’t, we would never even want you to try and imagine.

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The hardest part of Millie’s anniversary?
Time.

Every time we look at the clock we are right back in that day and we know exactly what we were doing and who we were with. As I write this now, I know that we were about to leave the hospital after being there for over 7 hours, knowing that instead of coming home with us, our daughter was about to be taken to the mortuary, which is where the next place we saw her would be. 

TEXT MILL04 £4 to 70070 to help us reach our £4,000 target in Millie’s memory today. 

At 12.30pm today, I was thinking about how I was being taken to hospital thinking that I was going to see my daughter sat up smiling at me when I walked in, how wrong was I? 

At the same time today, we were arriving at our daughter’s sleeping place with lots of lovely balloons that our lovely friend Jay had once again put together for us, some to stay at Millie’s sleeping place, the others to send to the clouds at the time that she officially passed away, so that Millie could play with them – Leo enjoyed releasing the balloons today and watching them float away.

Time. It doesn’t heal. It’s a lie. People say this to you because they aren’t sure what else to say. It doesn’t get easier and it doesn’t heal – nothing can heal this type of pain, nothing can ever heal the loss of a child. You learn to live with it. You learn to live with your new way of life. 

Our heart goes out to every parent who has ever lost a child, at whatever age.

TEXT MILL04 £4 to 70070 to help us reach our £4,000 target in Millie’s memory today. 

It’s very important to us that Leo, Millie’s little brother, grows up knowing everything about her and also that we still always smile so he does too. 


This was him today playing at the park just twenty minutes before we left to visit Millie and get through the saddest time of the day for us. He smiles, we smile; we smile, he smiles. It’s the way that it should be – even on our saddest days. 

To all the parents sadly starting out on this journey, or travelling through this journey a little way behind us; it’s ok to cry, it’s ok to smile, it’s ok to scream. 

In fact. It’s okay to do exactly what you want or need to, to help you along this tragic journey.

Kiss your child good morning, kiss your child goodnight,

We could never have truly guessed what was to come with such a fright.

I never would have thought my heart could break with such a pain,

I never could see through the storms and clouds and the never ending rain.

Four years since you were taken, cruelly snatched in just a minute,

We hugged and kissed and smiled and laughed, we never could have foreseen it.

You were stolen with no warning and taken from us so fast,

I never thought I would survive, I truly thought I wouldn’t last. 

Although we grieve through everyday and miss you with our heart,

We always know, that one day we’ll no longer be apart.

Love mummy, daddy and Leo on your 4th anniversary xxxxx

TEXT MILL04 £4 to 70070

To donate on Millie’s 4th anniversary.

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