The Way Forward

Welcome to the new home of The Hesitant Housewife. Thank you for embarking on this journey with me. I have been simultaneously excited and terrified of launching my own blog, on my own website.

First and foremost, I must pay credit where credit is due ~ to Michelle from Little Hero Hosting, who fixed my blog, after I broke it within 24 hours of signing up, and over a long weekend. I kid you not. I am that bad at this!

To Kristy, from Kristy Gray Designs, who designed my logo for the header on my website and the profile pic. for my Facebook page. She did such an amazing job. Especially considering she created four different profile pictures, only to have me change my mind, and settle for the first! She also designs gorgeous invitations, party packs and birth announcements. She  designed my daughters naming day invites, first birthday/(wedding!) invites, and thank-you cards. Kristy is so easy to work with, creative and open to any design ideas. She is also very affordable.

(The above are in no way paid endorsements, simply a grateful acknowledgment and a personal recommendation based on my experience.)

As some of you may know, I have no experience in building a website, or any of the jargon that goes with it. Zip. Zilch. Nada. In fact I am so useless with technology, that I spent an hour tonight trying to figure out how to download the episode of Glee I missed last night. To no avail. So, needless to say, there have been much tears and frustration whilst putting this site together. My poor hubby has copped so many tantrums, so many screeching’s of “I CAN’T DO THIS!!!”  and throwing things around. So many declarations of “I will sell my soul to pay a designer to do this!!!!” And the tears. So. Many. Tears.  I do not understand HTML. I do not understand CCS.  I have had no idea what I’m doing. Yet here we are.

I did it. I know it’s not perfect. I worried about it not being perfect. However, I realised, that it doesn’t have to be perfect. It is a work in progress. And isn’t that what The Hesitant Housewife is all about? This blog is a work in progress. My posts will never be perfect. I am not the perfect writer. Nothing about my life is perfect, without flaw. Yet here I am. Writing this blog, on this site. That I did all on my own. (Well, apart from the help of my new best friend, Google!) I am a work in progress.  We are all works in progress. Let’s embrace our imperfection, as an opportunity to grow. As an opportunity to explore, to reach for new goals, to achieve. As long as we don’t forget to look behind us, from where we have come, at the path we have already traveled, and think, “I am here. What a damn good job I have done to come this far already.”

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“Success is not a place at which one arrives but rather the spirit with which one undertakes and continues the journey.”  Alex Noble

Bears of Hope.

In 2007, my whole world changed forever when my first pregnancy ended in miscarriage, made even more traumatic with the discovery that I was carrying twins.
For 12 months, I suffered in silence, not understanding my grief, thinking I should be ‘over it’. Crying every day, in secret, trying to ignore the ache in me that just wouldn’t go away. Then one day, I stumbled across a facebook page called ‘Bears of Hope’.  I visited the website, joined the online forum, and finally began to heal. I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for the Bears of Hope, I think I would have eventually had some kind of breakdown. I was carrying so much grief, and guilt, and felt so alone, until I met these beautiful, amazing Angel Mummies, who have become lifelong friends. I was sent two beautiful bears from another mother, who had also lost twins, Jacinta and Madelin. I treasure these bears, and like to think Jacinta and Madelin are playing with my girls, up in the clouds, and looking after them.

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Bears of Hope do so much fantastic work for bereaved parents. The website has a wealth of information and support, not just for parents, but also for friends and family. There are also links to forums for parents to connect online, as well as a number of  ‘in person’ support groups in NSW.
Bears of Hope work tirelessly to raise funds, so they can continue to donate bears to families who have experienced loss.  (From their website): “Through the donation of a bear of hope, parents are provided with the comfort of knowing they are not alone from the very beginning, and offered significant ongoing support to heal their broken hearts. This includes support for all parents who experience miscarriage, genetic interruption, multiple loss, stillbirth, neo-natal & infant death throughout Australia.”

How can you help this amazing organisation continue with their fabulous work?

Firstly, please help raise awareness by ‘liking’ their facebook page, and sharing it amongst your friends. You just never know who is out there, suffering in silence like I was.

You can donate a bear or a care package, with the option of doing so in honor of your own or a loved ones angel baby.

For all my Sydney followers, Bears of Hope are holding their annual Benefit Ball on the 28th of July. This is a fabulous night, where not only are you contributing to an incredible cause, but you will also have a blast! Ticket includes canapes and drinks on arrival, beer, red, white & sparkling wine, and soft drink, 3 course alternate serve meal, dancing, candle lighting, prizes & auctions. As an extra incentive, Bears of Hope are offering an amazing prize, drawn at random, from all persons purchasing tickets by the 31st of March ~

One Lucky attendee will win the Cinderella Treatment for the night. Prize includes:

  • 1 Night acccommodation at Novotel Sydney Olympic Park,
  • Have your hair done in the privacy of your room by Treuly Inspired Hair & Makeup
  • $200 StyleTread Gift Voucher to purchase your very own Cinderella shoes for the Ball.

Tickets are selling fast, so book your tickets here to go into the draw for the Cinderella Treatment

It’s such an honor for me to be able to share my experience and how Bears of Hope have helped me, and to hopefully raise awareness about all the work they do. I encourage all my fellow bloggers to please share this on your blog/facebook page. You really never know what pain people may be harboring around the loss of a pregnancy, and like in my experience, not know where to turn for help. Thank you  xx

Missing “ME”.

I want to preface this post, with the fact that I love my daughter and husband more than anything in the world. Would die for them, either of them, in a second. I know how blessed I am to have them, not for one day do I forget that. But still. Tonight, this Friday night, I miss ‘Me’.

There is a reason why I named my blog ‘The Hesitant Housewife’. Because I want to be that person, so badly. I want to be the housewife, the stay at home mother. I want to completely rock it, to be honest. I want this life, to be me. But, just quietly, I wonder if I will always be hesitant. I wonder if it will ever come naturally to me, whether I can 100% commit to the person I want to be. Because tonight, I miss “Me”. I miss the person that wasn’t my daughters mother, my husbands wife.

I miss the ‘Me’ that could be ridiculously irresponsible, and the only person who would pay would be me.

I miss the ‘Me’ that didn’t wake up every morning, and have to be responsible for a whole other life.

I miss the ‘Me’ that was fun, and crazy, and spontaneous.

I miss the ‘Me’ that put make up on, straightened her hair, wore clothes other than singlets and shorts/tracksuit pants.

I miss the ‘Me’ that left the house, and went to work. Chatted and joked with people, adult people.

I miss the ‘Me’ that was a coordinator, that demanded respect from people. People who didn’t giggle, and laugh, and run across the room. People that listened, because they had to. People who, though I didn’t realise it at the time, validated me, and what I had to say.

I miss the ‘Me’ that cares. Cares that I hadn’t shaved my legs, cares that I am wearing the same maternity shorts that I’ve worn for the last 3 days. Cares that I really don’t care anymore.

As much that I have wanted this, to be a mum, to be a wife, for my whole life, surely, I must be more? Surely I have not been dissolved by all that I have attained to be?

I love my daughter. I love my husband. I want to be everything to them. But, I want to be ‘Me’ too.

If only I knew who ‘Me’ was.

Am I the only one that feels this? Or are other “Mummies’ fumbling their way back to “Me” too? xx

One Pink Line.

I have an issue. It started just over 4 years ago. After I lost my twins. I became addicted to home pregnancy tests. From that day on, I became obsessed with carrying life. I’m ashamed to say, it didn’t matter what circumstance I was in, I just wanted to see two pink lines. I did use birth control, but nothing is 100%, and as it approached ‘that time of the month’, there was alway a part of me that wondered, (hoped?) if I was pregnant. So I would pee on a stick. And see one pink line. And would feel disappointed, despite knowing that I was nowhere near a situation that bringing a child into would enhance. But damn. I wanted to feel that life again.

So, three years later, with my boyfriend of three months (who turned out to be my soulmate, thankfully!) imagine my shock, when I finally saw those two pink lines! (I think this was the 3rd test into our relationship. I told you, I have a problem!) 32 weeks later (!) I gave birth to our darling premature daughter. She is now a healthy 16 month old, and I am married to her fabulous father. I am also nearly blind. The combination of my pregnancy and my diabetes have caused a condition in my eyes, which, according to my specialist, if I hadn’t have given birth 8 weeks early, I would have gone blind. I am still undergoing treatment, in the hope that I will regain enough sight to be able to drive again.

Here’s the thing. I have started peeing on sticks again. Despite being blessed with my beautiful daughter, I want to have another baby. I have always wanted a big family. My husband is one of seven. I want to feel life in me again.

I had an ‘anterior’ placenta last pregnancy, which meant I didn’t feel movement until late in my pregnancy (about 28 weeks) My waters broke at 31.5 weeks. A week before my baby shower. My daughter was born at 32 weeks, by emergency cesarean, after her heart rate dropped, and didn’t come back up. I wish I could say it was the best day of my life, but in reality, it was the most terrifying. I thought my baby was going to die. My daughter is now 16 months old, and is doing fabulously. And I am peeing on sticks.

I want another baby. But it’s not that easy. I can’t just say ‘I want another baby’ and start trying. I am high risk. I have type one diabetes. High risk. I have a history of miscarriage. High risk. I have a history of twins. High risk. I have a history of prematurity. High risk. I could go blind, if I fall pregnant again. HIGH RISK.

There is really nothing in my favor. And I know, I KNOW, I should just be grateful for what I have. I am so blessed to have my daughter, to have a child. I know so many people who haven’t even had that opportunity. I know I am blessed.

But still. Still I pee on a stick, every freaking month, and I cry when I see that one pink line. At the same time, I am terrified that I will fall pregnant again, terrified of the threat that I could lose a baby. Terrified that I may go blind, and not be able to look after the baby that I have. Yet still, I want to see those two pink lines so badly. I suddenly feel myself back where I was before, tears welling at every new pregnancy announcement, every ultrasound picture, every new life, that I am not carrying. I have carried three lives, yet only can see one. I am selfish. I know of people that have carried more than I, and still have no children on earth.

Yet still. I am selfish. I want another child. I want it more than anything. I would have to risk everything, really, to have it. Could I risk that? Should I risk that? xx

How it feels.

Once again, I am down low. In the hole. In the jaws of the black dog.
How does it feel?
I feel like I don’t have the energy to exist. That functioning is just such hard work. If I stop for a moment, and think, I cry. I don’t know why. It feels like everything is just too hard, and I just don’t know why. Nothing has happened, there was no instigation.  No straw that broke the camels back. It just all got too hard. I want to crawl under my blanket and cry, and stay curled up in a ball until it all goes away.
I wake up in the morning, and have to make myself get up, get up, and function. Do what needs to be done, get from now, till I go back to bed, and not have a complete breakdown. Put one foot in front of the other, and just exist, until the end of the day. Then go to bed, and hope that when I wake up, the darkness will have lifted.

I know it will lift. It always does. For no reason that I can think of, I fall in these holes, I feel like I’m drowning, and then I get through it, because I have to, because I can. In my darkest days, I have to remember that this is not real. This is a trick, an alternate reality, that the imbalance of chemicals has created in my head. It will pass, and I will be able to breath again. Existing will become natural again, not something I have to force. I will smile, and mean it. There is always light at the end of the tunnel, just sometimes it takes a little longer to reach it. xx

This Blind Eye Can Finally See.

This is the first ever post, that I have spent days agonising over. Mulling it over in my head, thinking about what angles I’d take, what I want my message to be. Every other post I have ever written, I have just sat in front of the computer, written what’s in my heart, read it through once, then hit ‘post’. No time for second guessing, no regrets. Why is this post so different? Because it has really made me think about who I am, who I want to be, and what I want my blog to be about.
Lately there have been struggles I have been facing within my on-line community. Nasty words have been written, I have felt attacked and ostracized. Basically, I feel that I have been bullied, by people I once considered my friends. When this first all blew up, I had grand plans of writing a post about bullies, and people hiding behind computer screens, blah blah blah. But then I realised that is not what my blog is about. This blog is about me, about my experiences, and most importantly what I have learned and how I have moved on. I will not use it as a passive aggressive way to get back at people.

The truth is, this whole episode has actually lead me to think about my past actions, in questioning why some people can turn a blind eye to such attacks, I have realised that I have done the exact same thing, many many times. I am very ashamed to admit, that I have witnessed subtle attacks on people, nasty comments, little digs, I have witnessed these things and I have never spoken up, and at times have giggled along with the perpetrators behind the victims backs.

It hurts to have to admit this, to think that I am that kind of person. However, I really believe that I am not alone. That many people reading this have been guilty of the exact same thing. Knowing something was wrong, but keeping quiet all the same. Choosing to keep the peace with the ‘bully’ as opposed to standing up for someone who has found themselves on the outer.  But why? Why do good people choose the side of a person who is causing pain or humiliation to someone else?

When I think about it, this has been going on for so long, particularly in circles of women. Think back to high-school, and the popular or ‘cool’ group of girls- were they the nicest girls, the kindest girls, the girls who would do anything for anyone? Or were they the ‘bitchy’ girls, the girls that could cut a person down with one nasty comment? It seems, quite often, the latter.  How do they become so popular? Because everyone is scared to stand up to them. Because they know, if they stand up to these ‘bullies’ when they pick on someone else, then they will be the ones to be picked on. The ones called nasty names, lies spread around about them, ‘kicked out’ of the group, lose friends. So, of course it is easier to just stay quiet. Perhaps even feel smug that they are not the ones being picked on. That they are ‘friends’ with the bully, so therefore immune to such treatment.

Does this ring bells with anyone? And more disturbingly, can anyone identify with this situation as an adult? I seem to have witnessed it mostly in the online community; forums, facebook, blogs, but I imagine that it occurs everywhere, in the work place, sporting groups, social groups etc. People think that if they just stay quiet, don’t cause any trouble, turn a blind eye to behavior they may not agree with, then everything will be fine. And by ‘people’, I mean me. I thought that. I allowed people to be disrespected, to be laughed at, at times even (the written equivalent of) verbally attacked. And I said nothing. I went along with it. I let the bullies think that their behavior was OK and acceptable. Hence, I am just as bad. Every single person who doesn’t speak up, who lets bad behavior slide is just as bad. Because if we all stood up, if we all questioned why a person was treating someone else with such contempt, then the bullies would lose their power. They would be the one on the outer, they would have to actually think about their actions, and how it affects other people, and how it makes people feel. Every time no one says anything, then their behavior is validated. “It’s OK to treat people like this, because I get away with it. ”
I know the majority of my followers are mothers- Are these the kinds of values we want to instill in our children? “When someone says or does something you know is wrong, just turn a blind eye honey, don’t cause trouble” “It’s better to be friends with the bully, than be on the receiving end” ?? Hell no. I want my daughter to be a strong, confident, independent woman, who stands up for what she believes in, who wont enable bullies to continue bullying. I will be her good example.

I am ashamed that it has taken me to be on the other side, to be the ‘victim’ , to come to this realisation. Very ashamed, and I want to offer my most sincere apology to all of those people I silently witnessed be bullied in one way or another. I promise that I will not enable that kind of behavior ever again, and that I will raise my daughter to be a kind, strong woman, who believes in herself enough to have the courage to stand up and speak out for what she knows is right. xx

Reality Check

I owe a lot to the internet. I met my amazing husband on an internet dating site. We then made our beautiful daughter. I have reconnected with old school friends, and made lovely new friends who I have gone on to meet and ‘click with’ in real life (there’s your shout out Rach!) I connected with an amazing group of women, who have supported me and helped me through pregnancy, premature birth and beyond. I started this blog, and connected with a whole new group of people.
But here’s the thing- somewhere along the way, I got a bit lost in virtual reality. Because it is so much easier to be ‘me’ on the internet. I do not have high self esteem. I do not think highly of myself. I am working on it, but most of the time, I am a bit of a mess. But the internet, well that has opened a whole new door. Here, I can think out what I’m going to say. I can delete sentences over and over again, till I get it right. I can read things over, analyse them, and then change it, so I sound smarter, funnier, less desperate. I can choose what images I portray to the world. I can photo shop all my pictures, before I post them to facebook. I can delete pictures where I look anything less than close to perfect. I can present myself to everyone else, however I wish I could be in ‘real life’. That ‘control’ over how you are perceived is great, awesome even. Until the virtual reality becomes your only reality. Until you become more comfortable with the people who you have built an image for, than people in ‘real life’.
To have people actually come to my house, and see the ‘real’ me, sends me into a panic attack. My house is so messy, I am not like all the blogs I follow, who have daily tasks, and lists, and housework checklists. If  I make it from the moment my daughter wakes up, to the moment my daughter goes to sleep, without completely losing m mind, I am having a good day. I live in maternity pants and maternity singlets (yes, my daughter is 14 months old!) my hair is rarely washed, let alone blow dried and straightened like in my photos. I wear my glasses unless I am going out, and replace with contacts. I don’t have funny, witty things to say. When faced with someone in my lounge-room, my brain rattles around my head, trying to think of something intelligent and interesting to talk about.
‘Virtual’ me, is so much better than ‘real’ me. However, sometimes the ‘real’ me needs ‘real’ friends. Because, as much as the online friends love and support the only ‘me’ they are allowed to see, It. Is. Not. Me.
So many times I sit at this computer, and I write, with tears pouring down my cheeks. And then I delete, and re-write, and re-write until it sounds like something I  think people may want to hear. Until I delete all the desperate, and the heartache, and, what I perceive as ‘drama’. And I post a watered down version of ‘me’. And, here’s the real problem- I wait for people to react to the ‘real’ me, the heartache and sorrow that I feel, but not what I portray. I sit on the other side of my PC, and I wait for people to understand me, people that I don’t even really know, people that don’t even really know me. People that have their own life going on, their own friends, their own dramas. I sit at my computer, and wait for them to notice me. I expect them to know that I am crying, that the flippant words I have typed, mean so much more. I am so immersed in this ‘virtual reality’, that I have lost the actual reality.
So I have stepped back. I am challenging myself to reconnect with real friends in my real life. Because, if I am sitting opposite you, if you can see me, in my less than perfect body, in my less than perfect house, with my less than perfect responses, then you can see my real smile, for all that is great in my life, and my real tears for all that I wish I could change. And that is the reality I need.  xx

The Wedding.

So, last weekend I got married. It was a surprise wedding, only our parents, and at the last minute, a few friends who nearly couldn’t make it, knew. I should preface this post by saying that I have been married before. I wont taint this with all the gory details, but the crux of it was, I was with someone for 7 years, and had the so called ‘fairytale’ wedding to the wrong person. We got married in a beautiful old church, I had the fancy dress, the band, we even had a harpist. We spent a ridiculous amount of money, on a day that meant nothing in the big scheme of things. We were separated after 10 months, and should never, ever have gotten married.
I met my husband 2 years ago today. We have a 13 month old daughter and have been married a week and 2 days. And I know, beyond a doubt, that this will be forever. I think we have both always known that. When I fell pregnant, after 3 months, we didn’t panic. Sure, it was earlier than intended, but it was always going to happen. We were in love, perhaps from the moment we first met. We talked about marriage, as a ‘one day’. One day when we had money, one day when we had the time. One day. We contemplated eloping, just the three of us, but knew that our parents would probably never forgive us.

So one day, about 3 months ago, as we ate dinner at our kitchen table at home, the idea came up of a surprise wedding at our daughters first birthday. All the people we loved and cared about would be there anyway. We didn’t need all the pomp and show. We just wanted to be husband and wife. We already knew a celebrant. The only other thing I really wanted was a photographer, as we had no really nice ‘family’ photos. So that night, it was decided, we would get married. In three months!
I organised everything over the internet and facebook. I ordered my dress from overseas, super cheap. (In the end, one of my beautiful friends paid for it, as a wedding present, you know who you are!) I found a photographer on facebook, organised a small bouquet of mixed flowers from a local florist, my ‘fiance’ hired a suit. All of that was just details. My previous marriage had been all about the wedding. This time, it was about the marriage. The commitment to the man I loved. I would have married him in my pj’s at a registry office, as long as I was marrying him.

Despite the haste, not for a moment did I ever doubt what we were doing. Not for a single second. We wanted the day to be mainly about our daughter, and celebrating her birthday, so we just wanted a simple, quick ceremony at the start, then make the rest of the day all about her. We didn’t want speeches, or dances, or presents. Actually, more to the point, we didn’t need any of that. We just wanted to be husband and wife, and celebrate our miracle girls first birthday.
The day arrived, and I will admit, there was a slight ‘bridezilla’ moment at the torrential rain that poured the entire day, (the ceremony had been planned for outside, along with photos in the winery) But once I arrived, and walked down the makeshift aisle towards my future husband, and saw him fighting back tears (he will hate me for sharing that!) I was just so happy. So damn happy, you couldn’t wipe that smile off my face. I was beaming. Everything I had ever wanted was standing in front of me, declaring his love and commitment to me. Hands down, best day of my life.

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When the celebrant announced us as husband and wife, and presented us to all our friends and family, I felt home. I felt that this was the moment, the place, that I had been striving for, all of my adult life.

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Marriage really does change things. Although everything is essentially the same, I feel different. I feel secure, and calm and at ease. I look at my husband, and I know, that no matter what life throws at me in the future, I will not be alone. That we will face it together. That even if it all gets too much, and I fall in a heap, for the first time in my life, there will be somebody there to pick me back up and hold me until I put myself back together again. I am not alone anymore. xxIMG_6626-199x300

I don’t know.

I have always wanted to be a mother. My whole life, I’ve truly believed that is what I was meant to do. I think I have even possibly uttered the phrase- “I was born to be a mother”. I have worked for many years in childcare, looking after other peoples children, and thinking I knew exactly what I was doing.
The reality is, now that I finally have my own child, the one thing I have desperately wanted, I have absolutely no clue. None whatsoever. I have never felt so incompetent in my life. I’m not an idiot, I didn’t think it would be easy, as such. But I had no idea how hard it would be. I thought I knew what I was doing. I don’t. I do a really good job of pretending though. I think even my partner believes my charade. She cries, and he looks at me, ‘what’s wrong with her?’ I am, after all, the expert. I’m great with kids, have years of experience, was a good childcare worker. Unfortunately, the only answer that comes to mind, is that I have no bloody idea. Maybe ask the postman, because I don’t have a clue. I thought I was so clever, I wont fall into all those traps that other parents do. I never rocked my baby to sleep, never put her to sleep in the pram. I didn’t want her to rely on ‘props’ you see, to go to sleep. Of course, now she is nearly 12 months old, and will not sleep anywhere except for her cot. That kind of rules out leaving the house for long periods of time. And I still have to pat her off to sleep at least one sleep a day. That is if she will go to sleep at all. Never pictured myself sitting next to the cot, in tears, begging her to Just. Go. To. Sleep. Just F#@%ing Go To Sleep. Because, I’ve dealt with hundreds of babies that wouldn’t settle. I’ve never cried or lost patience at those babies. Because I knew what I was doing.
My baby wont eat. Clamps her mouth shut, turns her face to the wall, and if all else fails, screams bloody murder. I don’t know why. I feel like I should know why, I should have the answer, but I don’t. I do what all those ‘clueless’ parents of children I used to look after do, and offer her everything under the sun to try and get her to eat. And when that doesn’t work, I cry. Again. She fights all her bottles. She fights getting dressed. She fights getting undressed. She fights her nappies. She wont go to other people. She screams in anger if I don’t come to her attention fast enough. She wakes at 5am almost every morning, despite me trying every technique in every book I can get my hands on. She has somehow managed to possess every bad habit, of every child I have looked after. And I don’t know why. By the end of the day, I feel like I have spent the whole day bashing my head against a brick wall. My partner works two jobs. I have a medical condition that prevents me from driving. So it’s just me and her. Every day, all day.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore my daughter. She is gorgeous, and in between all this drama, she is delightful, full of smiles and giggles and sloppy kisses. I love her to pieces. And that makes it worse. Because I want to do the right thing by her. I am the adult, I am the mother. so I should know what I’m doing. I should be in control of the situation. I should not be in tears, wondering what the hell I should do. I should be better.
I asked for help today. Because I’m not coping. I’m struggling, and I want to be a better mother to my daughter. She deserves better. So I rang the health nurse, and have organised for some ‘Enhanced’ care, where they come out and talk to me in my home, and give me some strategies. I know it was the right thing to do. But still, I feel like such a failure. I really thought I would be better than this. I really thought I would know.
Part of me is a bit ashamed of this post. Kind of ruins the image that I have been trying to keep up, that I am, of course, the ‘perfect’ mother. But the other part of me is wondering, maybe I’m not alone? Maybe there are a lot of us out there who just don’t know. And maybe another mother will read this and realise that she is not alone. One thing I actually do know, motherhood can feel like the loneliest job of all. xx

The Twins- Part Two ~ Healing

For a long time after I lost the twins, I kept it all inside. I felt like I didn’t have the right to be sad, to grieve them. I told myself that it was ‘just a miscarriage’, get over it. Yet every day, there was an aching sadness in me that I couldn’t shake. Every single day was filled with ‘what ifs’. What if they were still alive? My stomach would be as big as that lady I just walked past at the shops. What if they were still alive? I would be feeling them kick now. What if they were still alive? I would be stocking up on tiny singlets and jumpsuits. What if they were still alive? I would be going on maternity leave now. I would have two babies now. I would be a mum now. What if, what if, what if….But they weren’t still alive. I did not have two babies. I was not a mother. I was still alone, flailing around, trying to figure out what had happened, why it happened, and why it still hurt so damn much.
Nearly two years later, I somehow stumbled on a group called ‘Bears of Hope’. I looked at their web site, and discovered that maybe it was ok to still be feeling this way. It talked about the affect losing a baby, at any gestation, can have on a person, and how it can affect the rest of their lives. All of the sudden, it occurred to me that maybe I wasn’t alone. Maybe it was, dare I say it, normal to be feeling this way. I tentatively joined an online forum, and shared my story, for the first time ever, in it’s entirety. And my life changed for ever.

All of these beautiful women, beautiful mothers, wrote back to me. They told me how sorry they were about my twins. How I was a mother, even though I had no children here on earth. That I had become a mother the moment I found out I was pregnant and started having hopes and dreams for my baby. They validated all the hurt and grief I had been feeling for the past two years. and finally, after so long of bottling up all the emotion I had been suppressing, I allowed myself to grieve the two little lives I had never gotten the chance to know. And in turn, I began to heal.
The lovely mothers in Bears of Hope asked me what I had named the twins. Nobody had ever asked me that before, their names were something I had never shared. I had named them Ava and Ella. Ava was the name we had chosen for a girl, and since I had been told they were identical twins, my feeling was that they were two girls. Ava and Ella, my daughters.

As the second anniversary approached, I decided that I wanted to honor them, commemorate, not commiserate. I decided to get a tattoo, to once again make the twins a part of me, forever. I got a ‘twin’ symbol with angel wings.

 

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Of course, people asked me about it, and for the first time, I was able to talk about what happened. To say “this is in memory of my twins, who I lost”. They existed, outside of my own head and heart. I began to look for other ways to honor them. I got their names written in the sand. I wrote poetry for them. I acknowledged them. On the third anniversary, my beautiful partner took me away to the beach for the weekend, (at 30 weeks pregnant!) and we lit a candle for them, and found a beautiful secluded beach, where I wrote their names.

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A small, silly way that I acknowledge them, every day, is by only ever ‘signing off’ with two ‘kisses’, ‘xx’ , to symbolise my two angels.
I still cry for them, miss them, think about the ‘what ifs’. I will never stop loving them, missing them, wondering why.  But I allow myself to do that now. I allow myself to grieve for them. I know there are people who don’t understand. Who think I should just get over it, that it was a ‘miscarriage’, that I don’t have a right to grieve for them, as I didn’t even ‘know’ them. I admit, I still worry, writing these posts, that people will judge me, will think it’s ridiculous to feel such loss. But I am the only one who knows what they meant to me. I am the only one who felt that connection with them, who had hopes and dreams for them. I know the ache and the emptiness I felt when they were gone. So in the end, it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks. They are in my heart forever, and no one can take that away from me. xx