Reflecting on Words of Condolence

Reflecting on Words of Condolence

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I have unfortunately lost a few loved ones in my life and one thing I found interesting is the words of consolation that people use. I found that when people were trying to console me after my daughter Zoë was stillborn most likely have been well-meaning but some things weren’t exactly helpful for Rob and I; these things were said maybe out of not knowing exactly what to say which is understandable.

Some of the phrases used were:

  • “She’s with Jesus” – Honestly that didn’t help at the time it was said as I just wanted her with me and it felt unfair that Jesus got to be with my firstborn child when I couldn’t. I believe it now, but in that time of raw and numbing grief all it seemed to do was increase my anger at God.

 

  • “You will have another child” – While for Rob and I this was true the people that said it didn’t really know that for sure. What if we had been like some couples who couldn’t have more children, this particular phrase could have been really hurtful. Another reason this wasn’t exactly helpful was the fact that another child could not/would not replace the baby we had lost.

 

  • “She wasn’t meant to be” – This was said when after she died and when informed some people about what the diagnosis was (one of the reasons we told few people when we knew). This phrase probably upset me the most; if “she wasn’t meant to be” then why did I get pregnant with her in the first place, “if she wasn’t meant to be” then why did I carry her to term when I wasn’t expected to and I ended up needing to be induced.

 

I’m sure that for the most part when these phrases were used they were said with the best of intentions; however even if something is said with the best of intentions it doesn’t always mean it will be helpful. For example when I’m in my darkest of moods I can get upset with someone simply saying “I’m Sorry”. Grief can make a person illogical and take offense at the smallest of things.stages of grief

There are times when the phrase “I can only imagine how you must feel” is used. Truthfully when it comes to losing a child no-one can truly imagine and I wouldn’t want anyone to know what it feels like to lose a child. Even when you’ve lost a child you can’t truly imagine what another person is going through, even if it’s a similar situation their reactions could be different to what your reactions were and everyone acts differently.

I can remember times I’ve said that losing Zoë was like losing a part of myself, yet I have never lost a limb or the use of one in reality don’t know what it’s actually like. I guess I use that phrase to try and get across the awfulness of losing a child – so it’s more a metaphor than a fact.

One more thing that used to get to me after any of my losses was when people would say “they were there for me” It got to a point where I would shrug it off as something people feel they have to say – even subconsciously – the reason being was if I did need someone, I must have asked the wrong people as the ones I asked never seemed to have the time for me or wouldn’t get back to me when they could. This experience unfortunately made we weary about calling on people when I needed someone.

There’s something I also noticed about going through the loss of a loved one is that it’s not just in the first week or so you need support but also in the following weeks after the numbness of grief has passed and reality hits – that’s my experience anyway as there were times when I felt left alone in my grief and didn’t want to be a burden to anyone.

These are only my reflections on looking back over my past experiences so doesn’t necessarily mean I feel alone now.

Have a great day

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Faking It Until You Make It

Faking It Until You Make It

Jason- birth
Jason at Birth

After we lost Zoë I really desired to have another girl; one I could actually get to parent. About 10 months after we lost her, we found out I was pregnant and were very excited. The 20 week ultrasound was when we found out that baby was a boy – I was upset at the time as I wanted a girl so much that I thought that this baby was a girl. Jason has such a big heart and can be very empathetic for a 6 1/2 year old and I wouldn’t trade him for anything.

Alex - Birth
Alex a few days old

When we decided to have another baby I wasn’t concerned about the gender for certain reasons;

  • If baby was a boy we already had a lot of boy stuff and didn’t need to worry about clothes and whatnot, I was already experiencing life as boy’s mum.
  • It would just be the icing on the cake, the cherry on top to have a girl and I would finally have the girl I wanted.

At 20 weeks we found out baby was a boy and when he arrived, Alex was a pretty easy baby, he hardly cried and was sleeping through at 5 weeks (I think). When Alex reached the terrible two’s he was no longer as cruisy – it was like he’d finally found his voice.

Rylee - Birth
Rylee a few days old

After a few years we decided to try for one more baby and this time that desire for a girl was at the forefront – even Jason said baby was a girl. We found out at the 20 week ultrasound that baby was indeed our long-awaited girl and that she was perfectly forming and there were no concerns.

With this information you would have thought I’d be over the moon, but you know what I only was for a short time; it was a feeling of apathy, maybe there was a part of me that feared getting excited in case something happened and we lost her. I remember feeling guilty I wasn’t more excited and tried the old adage “Fake it until you make it”.

When she was finally here and breathing – even then I still had a sense of anxiety until she smiled when she was only a few days old and that’s when my love for her just exploded.

I still have moments of regret that I wasn’t excited when I was pregnant with her, but it was also a difficult pregnancy as I had constant Braxton hicks from around 15 weeks gestation; didn’t find out until 34 weeks that I had an Irritable uterus. I had been so determined to enjoy my last pregnancy; however that was not to be.

During my pregnancy with Zoë the bond was there from the get-go, which is one of the reasons her loss hit me so hard. With Jason I was super excited and even though I can’t remember if the bond was there from the beginning but I do know it was there from the moment he was born.

The 3rd trimester was a bit rough when I was pregnant with Alex and when he was born I didn’t have a bond with him – however my husband did.

Just because we may not enjoy a pregnancy or the bond with our child is not instantaneous this does not mean we are bad mums. It may have taken a year or so for me to feel a bond with Alex but eventually it did happen.

A key thing to remember is that if we feel we are struggling and want to give up; then asking for help is the best thing to do. In my opinion it takes a strong person to ask for help when we need it, I know as mums we sometimes we think that someone may think we are not good mums if we struggle so we try to be what society expects of us, we need to try and let go of others expectation and do the best thing for us and for our children – Mums you are important as well.

Zoe - scan
Zoe’s Scan
42 Weeks Of Love

42 Weeks Of Love

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I’ve had some people in the past ask me why I carried on with my pregnancy with Zoë-Jean when the prognosis was so dire – “she wasn’t viable for life”. The reason being I wanted to give her a fighting chance and hoping the medical professionals were wrong.

There’s a song by Mark Shultz called “What It Means To Be Loved” and it’s the first few verses and chorus that describes a similar situation to the one we had with Zoë and one of the reasons we were determined to carry on with the pregnancy knowing what the medical professionals expected the outcome to be; unfortunately the medical professionals were partially right – she didn’t live, however my pregnancy progressed longer than they expected.

It felt like every time I met with my midwife after the 20 week scan diagnosis she would say “I probably wouldn’t carry to term; as this was my first pregnancy it was a hard-hitting thing to hear –however I kept on holding on to hope; some medical professionals thought I was in denial about the situation – I wasn’t, I just couldn’t give up on my daughter, no matter what anyone else said. Those words were one of the reasons very few people knew about the possible outcome; we didn’t want or need any more negativity.

At 42 weeks gestation I needed to be induced as contrary to what the medical professionals had expected she wasn’t making her arrival and she still had a heartbeat in utero; the first induction did not take and so I had a sleepless night at the hospital waiting until they could try again to induce me in the morning.

The next morning I was again induced and also had my waters broken around 10am but nothing really happened until about 2 hours later, even then things still progressed slowly – I vaguely remember my midwife telling me to try and get some sleep, I also remember my husband needing to go back home as he forgot his phone and me thinking (or saying?) I don’t give a f*** about his phone.

Later on that evening her head was finally out and her heartbeat while low was still beating, that’s when things turned sour. She was stuck and first the obstetrician tried to turn her into a better position however it wasn’t until the midwife had a try that she was able to be turned however by that time it was too late and having her stuck for 22 minutes meant that when she was finally born – it was into the arms of Jesus.

If it wasn’t for hope and trust in God the outcome may have been exactly as the medical professionals had expected; however thanks for my love for her to fight and for God’s love for me in giving me the strength to hold on in my doubt I was at least able to have her for 42 weeks – even if it was In Utero.

 

 

4 Days of Christmas

4 Days of Christmas

gingerbread men

As a child Christmas always seemed so much fun and easy and now as a parent there are times when it feels complicated. As a child we were mainly in 1 or maybe 2 places; Now there are times when it’s 3 or more events.

 

Christmas Eve Eve

 

Today we had an early Christmas do at our place with some of my husband’s family to downsize the pile of presents that would be taken up to the lodge where we would be spending Christmas, especially considering there were a couple of large presents that would of taken up a bit of room in the vehicles.

Before family came round I went with my Mother-In-Law to do some last minute Christmas food shopping, it wasn’t too busy at the supermarket as we went there around 9am, if we’d left it later it probably would have been crazy busy.

 

After the family had left I made some gingerbread biscuits to eat over Christmas – because of how tired I was and because my boys insisted on talking to me while I was putting the ingredients together my attention was divided and the dough wasn’t as it should have been and took longer to come together.

I then got the boys to pack their bag, partially pack mine and Rylee’s bag before I could go to bed. Hubby was going to pack his bag in the morning.

 

Christmas Eve

Today was another busy day, after the kids got up and had breakfast, were dressed and Hubby was up and dressed we went to McDonalds for an early Christmas lunch with my Dad and siblings; we went to McDonalds as we only had a couple of hours before we needed to leave for the lodge where we would spend Christmas with some of my husband’s side of the family.

After we had finished at McDonalds we all went back to our place to open more presents which again couldn’t be taken up to the lodge or be opened at McDonalds as a couple for the kids were a bit large; as my Dad was putting together my four year old son’s new wagon my In-Law’s turned up, as Alex (4 year old) was travelling with them up to the lodge to allow me to put down the back seats in my car so there was more room to fill.

The journey up to the lodge felt long and arduous as I had to stop once for a carsick child, there was also a traffic accident which held us up and went got caught behind a caravan or 2. We finally reached the lodge so Hubby and I unpacked the car with help from my Brother-In-Law and I set up the room we would be staying in – I did need help from my Sister-In-Law to put up the porta-cot.

After dinner the kids opened their Christmas eve box – which included new pj’s and a book each they got ready for bed had a book read to them, Alex (4 years old) and Rylee (17 months old) went to bed. Jason (6 years old) got to stay up a little bit longer to play the new board game and then went to bed. Presents were then set up and “Santa” filled up the stockings.

Adults then socialised, as it was nearing midnight I headed for bed, the older generation had gone to bed earlier and my husband came to bed not long after and the rest I have no idea.Sleepy Rylee

Christmas Day

Today I woke around 6am as Rylee decided it was time to wake up, Alex was awake about half an hour later and then an hour later Jason got up. I got the kids breakfast and made myself a coffee, after breakfast the boysJason Present

went and got dressed and I dressed Rylee. It was hard for Alex to wait to open presents until all the adults were up but they all did. Seeing the look of excitement on my boys’ faces made the early morning worth it. After presents had been opened and the adults had cleared the paper and packaging away it was time for a breather – my B.I.L and his partner took their daughter and Alex up to the mountain, Jason read one of his new books, Some of the males put up the new BBQ and my M.I.L and her sister started preparing lunch.

Christmas Day

Lunch this year was at a decent hour and again was very filling; however Rylee didn’t eat much as she didn’t have a nap earlier so was over-tired.  I felt the same but managed to push on through – Christmas with young children can be hectic and tiring.

After lunch Rylee finally had a nap and the other kids played with their new toys while the adults’ tidied up and then rested, we had a pretty simple dinner of leftovers and cooked sausages – I think.

 

Boxing Day

Another early morning, as it seems that Rylee is a morning person. As soon as I get up I start packing our bags and then get the kids breakfast, a first breakfast of cereal; while they are getting dressed I strip the beds and try to have the room in the same way it was when we arrived. After this was done it was time for second breakfast of sausages, bacon, eggs and tomatoes. After second breakfast we packed the car as I wanted to get back home before lunch.

We set off home with Alex going with his Uncle and Papa (Grandfather) and leaving just before us. We arrived home just after 11am and unpacked the car, I then went down the road to get Alex and dropped my B.I.L at the motorbike races that happen on boxing day; I contacted my Nana to let her know we were back and around 1pm get an invite to go to where they were staying for tea. Rylee refused to have a nap that afternoon so by dinnertime was so over-tired she didn’t eat much except when it came to pudding.

It ended up being a late night for the kids as we didn’t get home until around 8pm, as soon as we got home the boys got ready for bed and I got Rylee ready and the boys went to bed after a story and I put Rylee in her cot to sleep.

Boys on Bikes

 

Conclusion

This was a snippet of how our Christmas played out this year, a lot more happened but if I wrote about every single thing that happened it would be quite a novel. I hope you all had a great Christmas and look forward to what the New Year will bring.   

Do What We Do, Not What We Say

Do What We Do, Not What We Say

I guess the beginning of this post is a bit of a rant, I wrote the draft to this when I was a bit emotional and recently found it in a journal I was using earlier this year.

Parenting

 

Why is it that some males seem to have difficulty processing anger, I’m sure its not the case for every males but I have read al lot about how the percentage is higher amongst males when it comes to anger management issues; some dad’s have a expectation of their young sons to be able to manage their tantrums better by telling them to “harden up” or “take a concrete pill” this doesn’t make much sense to me  as children are young and haven’t had time to learn to manage their emotions and it is up to the adults to teach them and I believe the best way to do that is to show them; and the best way to show them is by adults managing their emotions in a less destructive manner.

Children are more likely to pay attention to a person’s actions than their words; it’s a case of parents “practicing what they preach” Parents are human so are not likely to get it right all the time but when we do slip up then that is the time when we need to apologise to the child/ren for our behavior and try our best not to repeat it. As no-one is perfect us as parents shouldn’t expect our children to manage their emotions any better than we would. To have those expectations is living with double standards; just like it took time to learn to walk learning to manage emotions takes time and won’t happen overnight.

Parental Example

 

As a teenager I know I was anything but tidy but now as a mum I expect my children to try and keep their room clean. I give their room a decent clean every few months to show them what it should look like when it’s tidy. I tell them that if they put away their toys after they’ve finished playing it wouldn’t be as big a job as they think.

There are days when I feel like I tell my kids over a hundred times to clean their room and put away their toys when they’ve finished playing. I frustrating as the repetitiveness of it all, I can only trust that eventually it will sink in and that putting away their toys will become a habit. Habits aren’t formed overnight and breaking habits can take longer.

My boys are Four and Six years old, so it’s been a short while that I’ve expected them to put their toys away after they’ve finished playing. With my Four year old I don’t expect him to be able to make his bed well but I do expect him to at least try. I do have more expectations of my Six year old because I know what he is capable of – he’s pretty good at making his bed but often needs to be reminded.

At kindy they were/are expected to help tidy up and I have those same expectations at home. My Four year old helped his Dad put together our new chairs – but I wonder if it was more a tactic to delay his bedtime than a genuine wanting to help.Positive Parenting

As I was writing this I found it interesting how it flowed from a rant to talking about expectations of our children but the key point is that as parents we need to show our children how to behave through our own behavior.

The Edge Of Town And Country

The Edge Of Town And Country

SunriseIn the last few months we were able to find a house that is away from the central part of town, almost at the edge, it is warmer and feels more welcoming. We have a school next to us on one side and on the other are hills which have sheep and what looks like a stream at the bottom. It’s quieter than when we were in town but because it’s on a state highway we have heavy trucks that often drive past.  On a clear day part of our view is of one of the mountains that grace the beaut

 

iful country that is New Zealand.

In the short time we have been living here I have come to love what is almost a rural life and wouldn’t want to live closer to town again. My boys love going over to the school next door when they’re home from school/kindy as it gives them a larger area to ride their bikes and run around.

Jason still goes to the same school he did before we moved even though we have moved next to a school. Jason is doing so well at school that I didn’t find it necessary to change schools just out of convenience. The school he is at he will stay at until he reaches High School age, if I had moved him to the school next door then he would have had another change when he reached intermediate age

 

but keeping him at his current school means that he’d only have 1 change in his schooling. Jason’s school is out in the country on the other side of town so he gets experiences that a child from a town school may not experience. He has a few friends that have farms and wished we lived on a farm –he doesn’t realize how busy a farm can be.

One of the things I like about this place is we get

 

a taste of rural life but are only a short drive from town. If we were completely rural I’m not sure I would enjoy it as much as there are times when I like to go into town so I don’t feel like I’m isolated. This place allows me to have a place to escape sometimes when things feel like they are getting on top of me and I need a breather.

Being on the edge of town does feel less claustrophobic and at the same time I don’t have the feeling of being cut-off from people.

As much as I like having alone time I also like the chance to be in small social settings as it helps with the anxiety and as much as I love the company of my husband and kids there are times when I want to interact with

 

different faces, the one exception is that I’m not comfortable being away from my baby girl for too long.

I do have respect for those that can live a fully rural life without feeling isolated and/or can handle the limited social interaction that I imagine goes hand in hand with living out in the wop-wops – there may be more of a social life than I realize.

Living in a bustling city is also something I would find difficult so I’m glad to have found a happy medium where I get a taste of both rural and town life.

Morning mist

 

Childhood Vs. Mumlife

Childhood Vs. Mumlife

It’s amazing how differently I look at things as a parent compared to when I was a child here. I thought I might do a quick blog on a few of the things I think are different when looking at childhood compared to mumlife

Daylight Savings

As a child I loved Daylight Savings, I got to stay outside later and play – though it didn’t feel late. I loved playing hide ‘n’ seek and “Go Home, Stay Home” with the neighbourhood kids.

Now as a parent with young children Daylight Savings is a time to dread. My kids take longer to go to sleep as it is still light when it comes to bedtime and it sometimes means that on the weekend my kids get up at unearthly hours. The good thing about daylight savings as a parent is I can get washing out earlier and this gives me more time to relax – when I do relax.

 Daylight savings

Family Holidays

My family went away on holiday quite often when I was a child and they were always fun; I got to see new things and meet different people.

As a mum however it just seems to be more work and not as relaxing when we do go away. Even if we went away without our kids they would always be on my mind – my “mum hat” very rarely comes off, its almost like its super-glued on.

 

Presents

As a child I always wanted toys, books or sweets for Christmas and/or my Birthday. If I got clothes I would be a bit disappointed unless it had a favourite cartoon character on it.

Now as a Mum I like to get more practical things; however clothes, shoes or jewelry are seen as extra special.   I still like to get chocolate but more often than not I end up sharing it with my Hubby and kids – unless I hide it and eat it in secret.

 Presents

Christmas

As a child I’d always look forward to Christmas with glee, I didn’t have any responsibilities – except to behave myself so Santa would come and bring me presents. As a child I was unaware of how work much actually went into the “magic” of Christmas.

As a parent Christmas may be more work but seeing the excitement my kids a get at Christmas makes up for it. Christmas is also a time for family to get together especially those that we might only see around Christmas.

christmas as a parent

Due to the fact that this being end of year I have only covered a minuscule amount of the differences that I have looked back on, maybe when things are less busy I’ll do a more thorough blog but for now I hope you’ve enjoyed this little snippet.