3rd of May 2017. Four years ago I held you in my arms for the first time. The room was so silent without your cry and I felt like the time had stopped. Your daddy and I couldn’t say anything. We were just looking at you, heartbroken, our gorgeous boy. You made us parents for the first time and nothing will ever change that. The last four years were a rollercoster but I tried to be strong for your daddy and your little brother. I have to be honest, it doesn’t get any easier with the years passing by but I’m making sure that every year we mark your anniversary the best way we can. I often think how you would be looking now, trying to imagine your face and features. I also think about the things you might love to do, would you like storytime? Would you love colouring? We will never get to experience you growing up and it’s so painful but there is no day that goes by that we don’t think about you. I hope you are proud of us and how strong we became. Today like for every anniversary I decorated a corner in the house for you. I got a new candle holder and your brother and I crafted an angel figure. He calls you D and gives kisses to your picture every time we show it to him. Today I will read the book that was given to us with your memory box “Guess How Much I Love You” to him. I’m thinking of doing it every year to remember you. You are very much loved and I hope that all this love reaches you in Heaven. Keep protecting us and guiding us from up above. Mummy and daddy love you right up to the moon and back.
Category Archives: Child Loss, TFMR (Termination for Medical Reasons), Life with Anxiety, Mental Health
A traumatic experience can unfortunately affect our mental health in so many ways but it is up to us to do something. Taking care about our wellbeing is so important even though sometimes our good willing is not enough or maybe we just feel stuck in a place. It is during those moments that professional help plays a key role and it certainly played it for me.
After coming back from the UK in 2017 I was trying to go back to my normal life but I soon learned that it was the hardest thing to do. The loss of Darragh was still so raw and the fact that we couldn’t be there for his funeral was adding so much pain to it. Grief brings out the weaknesses of a person and so many feelings, you might feel overwhelmed and don’t know how to react. I felt often scared as I wasn’t sure how to deal with those feelings. I was really struggling. I soon started to distance myself from Anthony because I could feel he was distant too. We stopped talking about what happened and we couldn’t express our feelings. I was so angry because it felt like I was the one who cared more about the whole situation than him. I couldn’t understand how we ended up like that. We were so supportive of each other since we had the news about Darragh and now that our baby was gone it was like we were strangers. The days were passing by and the situation wasn’t changing and I was really fearing that our relationship was over. We decided that we needed a professional help to overcome our emotions and to be a strong couple again. The hospital in Dublin gave us a list of counselling therapists on the day we had the confirmation about Darragh suffering with Patau Syndrome. We chose FirstLight a national charity (http://www.firstlight.ie), established in 1976 and formerly known as the Irish Sudden Infant Death Association. FirstLight provides free professional counselling, across all 26 counties to parents and families whose child, suddenly died, from 0-18 years of age. I remember I was so nervous on our first appointment. I still had to come to terms with the fact that we didn’t have a baby anymore so it was hard for me to think about talking openly with a complete stranger. The therapist that was assigned to us was amazing. I surprisingly felt at ease right away and it felt so good to open my heart and let some of the pain go. I really felt in good hands and understood. My feelings were valued and that was so important to me at that time as the feeling of guilt was still so strong. We had a weekly appointment from the beginning of June 2017 until around February 2018. I remember we were really looking forward to each appointment. During the meeting we would talk about how work was going for us, personal struggles caused by our loss and discuss tools on how to overcome those struggles and go on with our lives as best as we could. I loved the fact that Anthony and I would have the same space to talk about our feelings, I learned that grief can be shown in different ways, even with silence. The therapist would also assign us ”homework” to help us reconnect to each other. In more that one occasion we had to organize a date based on something that we would like to do with the partner. I found that part so funny and exciting and it really gave a boost to our relationship. We rediscovered the pleasure for the little things, from having a SPA treatment to going to a water park. We were able to find our path and we regained confidence in ourselves and our relationship. We finished with the sessions when our therapist was happy to let us go. I remember I felt happy because it was a great achievement, but I also felt sad and scared. Sad because the chemistry created with the therapist was strong, I was going to miss her. I felt scared because from that moment I had to be even stronger to keep the pieces together just using my resources, I was also pregnant with our rainbow baby at that time.
In 2020 I was referred to Aoibhin McGreal (http://www.viephysio.ie) a physiotherapist specialised in women’s health as I suffered from a pelvic prolapse after giving birth to my son. Her help came at the right time as I was really stressed. We were living in a house that we hated at that time and we were pretty much stuck with it especially as the pandemic had just started to hit Ireland. Being a stay at home mum and not being able to enjoy the spaces around me was very frustrating. Aoibhin didn’t just help me with my physical problem but also opened my mind to relaxation, meditation and yoga. Thanks to her I discovered the close connection that body and mind have. She made me appreciate physical exercise and I learned how it can be a valid stress and anxiety reliever. Session after session I gained back confidence in my body and also in my own abilities to succeed and feel better. She was also the one who introduced me to another important professional figure after I had an anxiety attack that really scared me.
In fact just after the summer I decided to meet Maria Saunders a birth trauma practitioner at Restorative Birth services. She also has a group on Facebook called Birth trauma support Ireland. I knew that my anxiety had been caused by Darragh’s loss but I felt that there was something linked to it that wasn’t solved in my mind. I felt like I had to relive in my mind that traumatic experience again so that I could move on. Maria has helped me so much through breathing exercises and relaxation techniques. There is so many aspects of my life that I was able to improve thanks to her. I’m currently seeing her every so often as there is some more work that we can do. She is very supportive and she taught me to accept my weaknesses and work on my strength, I learned how not to be hard on myself. After the first appointment I was able to concentrate more on things I enjoy. I created this blog and I started to work on projects which are making me feel proud.
Mental health is such a sensitive topic and most often not spoken about. Mental health is health and it deserves to be promoted like physical health. They both together contribute to a person’s wellbeing. Mental health can be affected at any stage in our lives. Through my experience I learned so many things about myself. I became resilient, more able to judge my actions and find solutions.
26th Of January 2013
“I’m on the bus that will bring me to Dublin city center where I booked my hostel. This is real, I’m finally in Ireland. I left all the certainty I had for the past 31 years chosing a country I don’t know but that yet feels so familiar. I’m a bit worried about my English, Google Translate will be my friend for a while. I watch the people walking on the street and the first thing I notice is that they are not wearing heavy jackets to be January. I look at myself and I think of all the layers I put on this morning. The bus stops and the driver tells me that my hostel would be at the other side of the bridge. As soon as I’m off the bus it starts to rain. There is no better way to inaugurate my arrival in the country than having to walk in the rain while pushing two heavy luggages. The envelope I have in my hand with the hostel booking confirmation is soaking wet and I can hardly take it out at the desk. The hostel looks cool and there is a fair amount of people around. I just want to go to my room but it’s still too early. I’m absolutely knackered and hungry. There is a supermarket close by, my lunch is a sandwich. I miss pasta already and I know I won’t be able to cook for a while. I miss my family and my friends. This hostel is gonna be my home for the next few days. Let the biggest adventure begin.”
Today marks the 8th anniversary of my arrival in Ireland. It feels like yesterday but so many things happened during all these years. I’ll be honest, the fact that I’m living here for so long doesn’t mean I’m ok with being away from my family and friends. It’s actually hard and I miss them everyday especially now that I have a son and I would like them to see him growing up. I made a choice and I made sacrifices but all of this is well repaid with the pride that all the people I love shows me everyday. I’m still the passionate girl that came here 8 years ago and I still put my heart in everything I do, that gives me the strength to fight for what I care and my beliefs.
If you want to know more read my post titled One Way Ticket.
I Want My Freedom Back
I didn't plan to write this post but I consider this blog like a big notebook where I write about my feelings and also what I'm writing about is very important to me. Since the Pandemic started last year I never really wrote about deep personal thoughts but it has began to affect me deeply. It's been affecting my mood for more than a week now. The current lockdown has me challenged already and I feel completely overwhelmed. I'm very angry at the whole situation but I feel also defeated and hopeless. I don't feel motivated and I'm hoping for better days to come. I Want My Freedom Back Closed Inside A Bubble Where The Time Had Stopped The Future Is Shading Sacrificing My Life Relationships Made Me Feel Alive Fighting For My Wellbeing Looking Forward To A Date Which Doesn't Exist I Have No Control It Feels Heavier
Thoughts Of 2020 In Brief
I first want to acknowledge and thank the people who found the time to read my last post. I would never thought it would have been shared so many times, it was really a surprise to me and to my husband also. I really hope it helped people that went through a similar situation and also gave some insight on something that is unfortunate but that can happen. That post was the hardest to write since I started my blog. I never wrote about my experience that way, describing situations and as you can imagine it brought up painful memories. I could finally let go of the guilt although I was a bit scared of judgement.
This blog brought my confidence back. I’m in a better place now with my mental health, still learning how to control anxiety but more aware on what I can do to ease it at least. I can finally dedicate myself to what I like allowing positive feelings to fill my mind. There are still things that makes me happy and proud despite outside events that are challenging at the moment. I’m honest I panicked when I found out that Ireland was going to be on its third lockdown, not that the situation in other countries is much different, but I’m scared because my integrity is being tested again and I’m just praying I’ll have the power to overcome stress and anxiety when I feel that is too much. I have my beautiful family to support me and get me through it.
This Christmas wasn’t the same as for many other people around the world. We were lucky to spend it with my in laws. It was great getting out of the house for 2 days, my son Rían had such a great time. Those 2 days were so refreshing. The atmosphere wasn’t the same as the previous years. My thoughts were with my family in Italy, their Christmas was different this year. I have a big family and usually they reunite on Christmas day for dinner, but not this year due to restrictions. I really feel for them as it never happened before. I skyped with them on Christmas morning and it was great. They got to see Rían and it was nice to chat with them. I can’t believe just one year ago I was counting the days to go over for my birthday. This year was so intense and fast at the same time.
If I have to describe 2020 I can say that I’m grateful for what I achieved, it was definitely the year where I had myself back. I have a few projects for 2021 and I hope I will get to see them all accomplished. I’m very excited about them as I have so many ideas already.
In the new year I will talk about the help we got as a couple first and that I got lately from different professionals. I’m so grateful to them as they are the guide which brought me where I am now. There is nothing wrong in getting help and support and I’m not afraid of saying that I’m still seeing someone, mental health is often forgotten but do never underestimate its importance. Love yourself even through the toughest times.
For now I’m gonna enjoy this last few days of 2020 that are left. I’m putting my hopes in 2021, to reach my goals, be a better woman, wife and mother and finally hug the people I love again.
3rd Of May 2017
I’m sorry if the topic of this post will upset anyone. This is my story and I couldn’t tell it in a different way. If anyone is triggered by stillbirth maybe consider to not read this post. The pictures in this post are tasteful wanting to respect other people feelings.
We went to the desk to announce our arrival, they then sent us to admissions. The lady at the desk started to ask me questions, I remember I could barely talk. Anthony was right by my side and that was the only thing giving me strength. We were then brought to a private room where we met a nurse and the doctor that later that day performed the procedure. They went through the whole process, explaining risks, medications, induced labour. The nurse gave me lots of consent forms to sign. I was so upset, Darragh was moving a lot while she was talking and it was heartbreaking, there are no words to explain the pain I feel every time I think about that exact moment. That was the last time I felt him.
I had to take a strong medication to keep me calm and make me drowsy, the nurse gave it to me and I felt really tired within minutes. There was a lounge chair in the room so I laid down to take a nap, we had that room for the entire afternoon. I was in a deep sleep while Anthony went to get a few things I needed. When I woke up we went to eat something, the hospital had a little restaurant. I remember that Anthony had to hold me while walking because I couldn’t stand properly, my legs felt like butter. I don’t remember the name of the medication but I felt dopey, I barely remember sitting at the table and eating.
The nurse came back to the room to take us to the doctor. Again I remember Anthony holding me on one side and the nurse on the other as I couldn’t walk by myself. I was laying down and I had a big screen like you would normally have during a scan but it was turned off. I have the doctor’s words playing in my head every time I think of that moment “now it’s done” while she stroke my hand.
When the medication started to wear off I was in the delivery suite. I didn’t even remember how I got there. The nurse in charge came to explain again how I was going to be induced. I was given 3 pills in total at the interval of 3 hours. The next morning she told me I was lucky the pills worked for me as some women have to repeat the cycle a second time before starting active labour. A strong period like pain started during the night but I said nothing. I didn’t even wake up Anthony who was sleeping in the room with me. In the morning I asked for something as I couldn’t bare the pain but what they gave me literally knocked me out, I couldn’t even go to the toilet by myself or hold the spoon while eating breakfast. When the pain came back they gave me an injection in the thigh but it didn’t work for long. I also tried paracetamol through IV and didn’t work, same for the gas. I was in so much pain and I didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t breathing like you should during each contractions, I wasn’t doing any of the things they would tell you during antenatal classes because we didn’t get to attend them. Physically I wasn’t prepared, emotionally I was simply panicking. Anthony was holding my hand and I remember squeezing it so hard. Thank God I didn’t need to be fully dilated so I started pushing, it didn’t take long. Darragh was stillborn at 3.20 PM weighing 730 grams. The silence in the room after he was born is something I can’t describe. Tears started pouring from my eyes. The nurse wrapped him in a blanket and gave him to me. Our precious little boy.
The midwife took him in a separate room to dress him up. She also took a few pictures and did some handprints and footprints for us to keep. She was talking to him while she was doing all of that, I could hear her from my bed and I thought it was so sweet and I really appreciated the fact that she took so much care of Darragh. A little crib was brought in the room, we could keep him with us. We didn’t expect that at all but we were glad to spend some time with him and make some memories. The midwife gave us a box containing the pictures she took earlier on along with handprints and footprints. There was a candle which we lit on the day of his funeral, a little teddy bear, a little glass angel and other things. She also gave us the scissors she used to cut his umbilical cord. On the day we left we had to declare them at the airport security as we were afraid they would have taken them from us. They were so understanding and they let us keep them. We add a little something to that box every year to keep his memory alive.
The staff in the hospital were really good to us considering the circumstances we were in. The hospital had a dedicated team to support bereaved parents and they were checking on us every day. The next day Darragh was born the priest came in and blessed him. The support we had was precious and we will be thankful for the rest of our lives.
On the last day a professional photographer volunteering for Remember My Baby came to the hospital. The bereavement team had previously talked to us about this possibility and Anthony and I agreed on having some professional pictures with our baby. Joanna was lovely. She first talked to us to know our story and the reason’s why Darragh got angel wings too soon. She was very respectful during the entire photo shoot. We can’t thank her enough because the pictures turned out to be beautiful.
The last goodbye to Darragh was something that I will never forget, it is still so vivid in my head after more than 3 years. The hospital had a nursery where parents can spend the last moments with their babies. The setting of the room was lovely. We stayed there for a while, trying to push back the goodbye as much as we could. Unfortunately a plane was waiting for us and we had to leave. I felt like my heart was being ripped off my chest. That was the realisation that we couldn’t hold him or see him again.
Facing The Raw Reality
The week leading to the appointment was a blur, it feels like I didn’t exist in my mind. I was reflecting with Anthony on the day I published my last post “Where It All Began…” and honestly I couldn’t remember much. Just after talking about it I started to remember things. I didn’t go back to work, how could I?, but I was enrolled in college for the Level 5 Certificate in Early Childhood Care and Education and I was about to submit my last assignments included the ones regarding Work Experience. I had literally finished to type my last assignment on the 4th of April, the day before we had the big scan and the bad news, crazy isn’t it? One day I went to the creche where I was working because I needed some signatures on my assignments. I just stayed in the office with the manager and my team leader came just to sign the papers. I then went to my college to submit all my work. I remember I was crying all the way to get there, I met one of the girls and I had to pretend I had a cold to explain my sniffles. I didn’t go to class, I wasn’t ready to explain something I didn’t know about yet. My tutor was so surprised that I went there just to give my work considering my emotional state but it was really important to me and it was something that was taking my head of what was happening.
We prayed so much that week. Even though I knew deep inside of me that the doctors couldn’t be wrong. I was honestly just waiting for the confirmation, I was preparing myself for bad news anyway. I remember looking at my belly and feeling detached from that pregnancy. Of course I was still loving my baby but I couldn’t understand how something that had brought so much joy in our lives already could also cause so much pain.
On the day of the appointment we were asked to wait for the doctors in the same room we were brought in the day of the scan. I hated that room and I couldn’t associate it with something positive. The doctor came in holding an envelope in his hands. He sat down and said that unfortunately what they’ve been fearing for was confirmed and that there wasn’t a way to sugar coat the news. Our baby suffered from Patau Syndrome and it was the most severe case as all his cells were affected. I had my head down while he was talking, staring at the same spot on the floor. I started crying, my eyes were actually stinging for the tears I cried during that week. The doctor said I had two options, going full term and have the baby but to be aware that he could live just a few hours or terminate the pregnancy.
At that time abortion was illegal in Ireland so he suggested other countries. He mentioned a hospital in the UK where other Irish couples in our same situation went in the past. They couldn’t make the call for us but they would pass all the information on my file to them if we were deciding to terminate the pregnancy. I had my decision taken, I thought about it during the week leading to the appointment. I couldn’t go full term, I couldn’t pretend that everything was fine and continue with the pregnancy. I couldn’t do that to Darragh and I couldn’t do that to myself.
They gave us the name of the hospital and the contact number, they were going to send my file over. They also gave us a list of professionals to help us going through the grieving process. That list would have represented something so precious during the first weeks after losing Darragh. They told us about a genetic test that we could take to determine if Darragh’s condition had anything to do with us and we agreed on having it done. I needed to know if Darragh’s syndrome was something hereditary even though the doctor said that Patau Syndrome is very rare, we just had bad luck.
After the appointment we talked to our families. I honestly can’t even remember talking to them. We also spoke with our managers, Anthony was given a week off while I was just signed off for a while. I couldn’t go to work knowing what was going to happen.
We named our baby. Darragh was one of the names we had picked if the baby was a boy and we gave him a middle Italian name too, Alessandro.
Anthony made the call to the hospital in the UK for me. I didn’t have the courage, it was too much for me. I honestly don’t know how I would have faced all of that without having him by my side like he did. He was so strong. They gave us the appointment for the 2nd of May. I had to wait 3 weeks, it was so frustrating.
During those weeks I studied for my exam in Child Psychology, I decided I wanted to complete my course, I had put all myself into that course and again it was something to take my mind off the upcoming events. I honestly don’t know how I managed to concentrate but in the end I passed the exam with a very good grade and I was delighted for that. Surprisingly I was finding the strength somewhere to feel alive and still be successful in something I loved.
I felt Darragh’s movements for the first time just a few days before flying to the UK. I was so happy I had the chance to experience that but it was sad at the same time. I remember Anthony was asleep and I woke him up, took his hand and put it on my belly to make him feel it too. On the days leading to the UK I was having trouble sleeping. I was constantly trying to imagine how would it feel to give birth and the absolute pain of not having a baby to bring home. I was scared.
The day before the flight I didn’t want to stay at home so Anthony, my brother and I decided to go to the Botanic Gardens in Dublin. It was a gorgeous sunny day and the place was actually packed. I love nature and I love flowers, it was calming and relaxing. I remember I didn’t want to go home but the place was closing and it was too late to go anywhere else. Going home meant packing the last things and realising that the moment we were going to lose our son was getting closer and closer. It was getting real and terrifying.
In the morning we said goodbye to my brother and headed up to the airport. I felt so uneasy. Normally you would be very excited when you are in the airport because it means you are going somewhere nice, for me is like that when I go and see my family in Italy. This time was none of that. I felt ashamed of being on that plane, I felt like I was being constantly watched from the other passengers. I thought who knows what they are thinking. I felt for all the women that had to go through the same thing as us. We were going to be alone in a foreign country. I couldn’t wait to get off that plane. Once outside the airport we got a taxi that brought us to the hospital. Anthony talked to the taxi driver during the entire journey. I was sitting quietly in the back sit. I just wanted to sink. I had so many emotions going through my head but most of all I was afraid I wasn’t strong enough to handle that delicate situation. I knew the outcome but I couldn’t predict the effects it had on me.
Where It All Began…
I experienced broken sleep for the past few days. I’ve been waking up at least twice every night. I think that the fact that I’m about to write about our angel baby is playing in my head. I feel it’s bringing up the fear to face certain feelings again. In my last post I published extracts from my notebooks, this time I’ll be writing my thoughts in this blog. I decided to share something very private and painful. I’m not here to tell people that my decision was the only one possible, I just want to tell about my story and the suffering that it caused. It was something so big and overwhelming that to this day it still feels surreal.
In 2017 we decided to try for a baby. By surprise I found out I was pregnant early in December, I didn’t think it could happen that quick. We were over the moon. We decided to keep the news for ourselves and our families, except for my manager as I was working as a child practitioner and I was afraid I could harm the baby by lifting the children. We went private for an early scan as I wanted to be reassured that the baby was fine even though I had decided to have public care. We heard the heartbeat and I can’t even describe the feelings that I experienced in that moment. It was something magical, the realisation that a new life was growing inside of me. We were going to be parents and we were already in love with that tiny baby.
The second scan we got was when I was a little over 12 weeks. Everything looked fine, the baby was measuring on track. We were very relieved, our biggest concern was if we could make a trip to Italy but the doctor told us that that wasn’t going to be a problem. After that scan we decided to share the news with other people and made a lovely post on Facebook.
I felt well since day one of the pregnancy, no morning sickness, headaches or cramps. I felt very lucky. I started to show straight away. I had a quite big bump by 20 weeks, that’s when we had the so called big scan or anatomy scan. We didn’t decide to have any testing prior to this scan as we thought that it wasn’t needed. My mother asked me early in the pregnancy if it was possible to do an amniocentesis in Ireland and I remember telling her that I didn’t want to do it, if just I knew what we were about to face just a few weeks after that chat. Her mother instinct felt that there was something wrong, I have no other explanation for it.
I remember we were sitting in the waiting room waiting to be called and we were so nervous. I thought it was normal to feel that way but at the same time I felt very uneasy. Finally it was our turn, the midwife started to ask me some routine questions and gave me a leaflet that was explaining the main genetic abnormalities that you would be able to see during an anomaly scan as the baby is much bigger and the function of his organs can be assessed in detail. She didn’t even give me the time to read properly and she asked me to lay down. I found it very rude, thinking back I believe that that appointment had a bad vibe since the very beginning.
We were looking forward to that scan because we wanted to know if we were going to have a boy or a girl. The midwife began to scan and she said I think it’s a girl, she was proven wrong later. I started to feel very uncomfortable and she noticed that so she asked me if I wanted her to stop but I told her to go ahead. After just a few minutes she stopped, looked at me and said that she had some concerns, one was the heart and the other was that the baby might have had cleft lip and palate. I was literally staring at her face in disbelieve while she was saying that. I felt as cold as a stone, I couldn’t move. I was heartbroken. I turned to Anthony and he was like me, just in complete disbelieve and shock, I burst into tears and said to him “what did I do wrong?” I was blaming myself that I didn’t do enough to protect our baby. We were seen by the Fetal Assessment Unit and by a consultant straight after receiving the news. They unfortunately confirmed what the first midwife found and they actually showed us what the problem was with the baby’s heart. They also told us that those type of abnormalities are associated with Trisomy 13 or Patau Syndrome and Trisomy 18 or Edward Syndrome. These babies have a really low rate of surviving outside the womb and if they do they will have important developmental delays along with health issues. All the future plans that I’ve been dreaming of were falling off like a castle made of cards. We were devastated. They brought us to a private room to give us some time and one of the midwives gave me the consent form to perform an amniocentesis, she said it didn’t need to be that day but I quickly filled that form and I was back in the room with the doctors shortly after. I remember the doctor saying to me “you didn’t cause any of this, it happened when the baby was conceived”. Those words were reassuring but unfortunately they couldn’t change what was happening. I would do anything in my power to change the course of the events. We went back to that private room and they told us that we would have the results back after a week so we booked an appointment. We stayed in the room for a good while but then we realised that our families were still waiting to hear from us and we were afraid they were going to worry. Anthony was the first one calling his parents. I needed to take some courage to do that call myself. I did in the car. I was heartbroken for them too. They just wanted to know if it was a boy or a girl and I was telling them that there was a chance that that baby wasn’t going to make it. It was horrible. While driving home I also had to text my brother and tell him the bad news. He was living with us at the time.
Once we were home Anthony called his work place and so did I to inform them that we had received bad news and we couldn’t go to work in the state we were in. We sat down on the couch and cried so much while holding our hands and in the end I was so exhausted I fell asleep. I woke up feeling the heart in my throat as I was realising that what happened wasn’t a bad dream.
What you just read are some of my thoughts which I took from two notebooks my husband and I used to write daily. After losing our son we got help through counselling and we were suggested to write down our feelings to go back and read them again once we were in a better place. I will talk about counselling in another post as I believe it was crucial for us to face our new life after the loss. I often read these thoughts when I feel down, to value myself for the things I was able to achieve during the past 3 and a half years. Just a few people that will read this post know how we lost our son. I first want to say sorry if I hurt the feelings of anyone in any way, it was not my intention. This week I was thinking about what to publish next, trying to put thoughts and feelings together. I knew that at some stage I had to talk about my experience but I was trying to distance myself for a little bit longer. My husband then told me that I can’t avoid it for much longer as it is the reason that led to my anxiety and constant worry. I know that talking about it will make me feel better.
On the 5th of April 2017, during the anatomy scan, we found out that our baby boy had severe abnormalities that were affecting different organs. We were told he wouldn’t survive outside the womb. I was performed an amniocentesis on the same day and a week later we were informed that our baby had Trisomy 13. I knew in my heart what had to be done. I was about to take the most heartbreaking decision of my entire life, terminate the pregnancy. Darragh was born sleeping on the 3rd of May 2017.
Fears and hopes
Today’s post is a rant and follows some bad days I’m currently experiencing. I have some thoughts and feelings that I need to get out of my chest. The change of mood didn’t take me by surprise but at the same time I feel like I made a step backwards. It was so nice to feel motivated and spend some good days with my son and my husband. Worries play in my head all the time, some days I’m doing a good job trying not to let them overtake my daily life, others I feel they are so heavy and I just feel overwhelmed. One of the things that sucks about anxiety is that worries sometimes can really knock your mood down and when they do believe me you are gonna feel the effect of it for a while. Sometimes it can be so mentally and physically exhausting that I need to get some rest to allow myself to function for the rest of the day.
My anxiety got worse during the first lockdown. Ireland is currently experiencing the second one since the pandemic started so you can imagine how much this situation is affecting me again. Around March I was pushed to do something about my mental health. Anxiety was holding me back and it was starting to affect the relationship with my husband and that was the scary part. This whole new situation has taken so many things from me, meeting friends and going for trips with my family are just two of them I miss the most. I was always a person that likes to plan everything to perfection, planning lifts my mood and motivates me. The bitter reality is that everything I already have feels so fragile at times. The worry of what my future holds for me is there every day and sometimes I feel guilty for my son even though he has no idea on what is happening. Anxiety turned me into an overprotective person and when I feel I don’t have the power to change events I panic. This whole situation is frustrating and makes me so angry but at the same time I need to be strong and be there for my family. I have to thank my husband a million times for the patience he shows every time I feel down and hopeless.
This week was hard but I decided to take control of my feelings and use my energy in a positive and productive way. I decided to keep myself busy with a little project to decorate my son’s bedroom which is very relaxing and makes me proud too. I also did some deep cleaning in the house, I don’t know if anyone else can relate to this but I find it very calming.
I disagree with people saying that this is the new normal and we have to accept it because it doesn’t feel normal to me. Taking care of myself, stay positive and hope that soon I will able to live my life again as before is the only thing I can do. At the moment this blog is my little safe place. where I can go every time I feel defeated by outside events.