In the last few weeks there has been quite a bit circulating about ads on Instagram, from the extremes of the Mum’s Net lynch mob to post, blogs and live stories about how to make it work for you.

The way I see it, I wouldn’t browse the magazine aisle and pick up a fishing magazine. I have no interest in that. However, put a copy of Style at Home in front of me and I may well be tempted and as I flicked through it I would expect to see adverts for different products. Just because they are in there, doesn’t mean I would feel as though I needed to buy them; but if a lamp, rug, basket (love a basket) caught my eye and I wanted to buy it, then maybe I would. I see Instagram ads in pretty much the same way; I follow accounts I have an interest in, whether that’s because I love their stories, they help to reassure me that I am not the only one battling a threenager, or maybe they have amazing homes and they offer some inspiration. If they happen to post an ad for something maybe I will like it and buy it, maybe I’ll just scroll by.

View Post

This week several things have happened which have prompted this post. Early this week, I received a message on Instagram- tragically a lady’s friend had lost her precious little babies in the second trimester. In her message she asked me how she could help her friend.

View Post

Today was the first time I cried in public, to a complete stranger. And what brought it on? Coffee!

Yesterday I was in Sainsbury’s and I walked passed the baby aisle and was overcome with sadness. My eyes welled up, my heart raced and I couldn’t get out of there quickly enough. So quick that I picked up the wrong coffee for the coffee machine and it wasn’t until I got home, opened the box and saw the pods that I realised what I had done.

Today I went to return them and exchange them for the correct ones and the man on the customer services desk said he couldn’t take them back because they were opened. Well, that was all it took.

View Post

 

**I wrote this post on my Blogger account when I was pregnant with Gabriel; I was going to edit it but I like that it is a little part of my pregnancy with him so have left it as it was. This was such an easy thing to make-if I can make it (someone who once flooded the kitchen whilst trying to ‘fix’ the washing machine or put water based grout on a water damaged worktop hoping it might solve the problem by having tiles on it, don’t ask-I thought it was a good idea at the time) then anyone can do it. I still have Gabriel’s play gym , I’m not sure what I’ll use it for but it’s something I will keep and find a home for when we move into our new house in the near future. I thought I’d share it here so if any of you lovely lot wanted to make one, it’s here for you to read and it’s also part of my little one’s story so why not have it here too.**

 

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the things which I needed to get to be prepared for the arrival of my little one. I really do not want to go crazy and buy lots of things which I know will be used for a fleeting moment, if at all, and then put in a cupboard.

View Post

I’ve been on Instagram for quite a few year, sharing little square of things which make me happy, crafty makes, corners of my home, the odd cocktail shot when I have a night out and of course my little ones (and every now and again a picture of my big son when he doesn’t know I’ve snapped it).

For a long time I just used it as a place to keep memories all together and every now and again I would scroll through my own profile and smile at different pictures which evoked memories of happy times. (I’m not sure if you are meant to admit to stalking your own Instagram profile, but I’ve put it out there!)

More recently, I have discovered another side of the little app-one which has totally overwhelmed me on occasions, and on many occasions has brought tears to my eyes and given me comfort and strength. And most of the time, from people who I have never met and maybe never will.

View Post

 

As an adult, the connotations of death are real. You understand the enormity of it, not being able to see, hear, touch or talk to a loved one again.  Ahead of you is potentially a long time with a large hole in it. The grief is overwhelming, the questions are endless and there are so many ‘what ifs’.

Because I understand death as it is, I was so apprehensive of telling Poppy that Gabriel had died. Would she understand? Would she be upset? Would she be scared? How would she react? And how on earth do I even begin that conversation? There were so many questions and I wasn’t sure that I was prepared for the possible outcomes. I knew that at some point I would need to tell her that her brother had died, he couldn’t be in ‘the special place for babies whose hearts didn’t work’ forever and perhaps by using the term dead, this could help her understand that her baby wouldn’t be coming home. Although she wouldn’t really know what death was anyway-so would it really help? The questions were impossible and I found myself being very mindful of the language I used around Poppy when talking with other people. I didn’t want her to overhear something or just hear part of a conversation and try to make some sense of it by herself.

View Post

Yesterday I mentioned on my Instagram stories about the fact that whenever I post a picture of Gabriel on my page, I know I will lose followers. This doesn’t bother me in the slightest, my account isn’t about the number of people who follow me, it never has been. It is a place to share parts of my life and have done since about 2011. I also enjoy taking pretty pictures, writing the odd funny (at least I think they are funny) hashtag or caption and it has now become a place where I have connected to a number of women who have been a massive support in a time when I welcome all the propping up.

Along with being supported by the love of many people who are women I have never met, I have also been contacted by a number of women who have tragically found themselves in the same situation-on a path of disbelief, loss, pain and grief. As I have mentioned before, when I was in hospital with Gabriel, I contacted Elle because I needed to know from someone who had walked this path already that I would one day smile again and I wouldn’t always feel as though the only feeling I would ever feel would be complete heartache. I’m not sure if Elle will ever really know how much her blog helped me at that time, and still does; how much comfort I found from the words of another person who could imagine my pain because she had, and does suffer it. But she also is so positive, so full of hope and compassion for others.

I could understand the need to share stories of loss, of the heartache and the journey back to accepting that the world does not stop and somehow you have to find a way to re-navigate onto a path where you can again find happiness and a new normality. Not only do I want to make sure that my little boy is always part of my life, that he is always spoken about, his pictures are always present on my Instagram, his little life is treasured and the impact that he has had is felt, I also feel so strongly that stories of pregnancy loss are not swept under the carpet and never spoken about just incase it might offend someone.

I have been contacted by so many women who have lost children years ago and had to suffer the loss by themselves; they never shared the photos of their precious babies because people found it offensive or something that should not be spoken about. I can’t imagine not sharing my son with others, I love him so much, I love his little button nose and every lock of his dark hair. Why on earth would I not share him? Why wouldn’t I want his name to be spoken about and for people to know that he was here, he was a person and he is loved.  I am proud of him, I am proud of my body for creating the most beautiful little boy-I am not ashamed, I am not going to hide him because there are still some people who find the topic of pregnancy loss and still birth uncomfortable. It happens and sadly it happens so much more than I ever knew.

There are so many women who have to face delivering a baby they know they will never be able to take home and every moment they get to spend with them will be the only and most precious. They then have to face a journey which is unimaginable and lonely. If I, in some way, can help to make that journey a little easier in some way, then why wouldn’t I. Whether it is message on Instagram where the mum just rambles because there really is no clear thought path-I too have done the same to others; if it is a message to seek some comfort as they sit in their hospital room, to know that they will one day be able to function in some way other than blurry eyed and feeling as though all is lost; if it is to vent about the injustice of it, or just to know that it is perfectly ok to speak about the loss of their little one, to feel and share the pain-if they decide to-because that is their story and sadly not every pregnancy story ends with a photo of the dad carrying the car seat out the hospital.

If it wasn’t for the women who I reached out to on social media, amazing women who I could find some comfort in during some of the darkest moments, I know I would have felt even more alone in my grief-that I was the only one and that it would never end.

But because there are stories out there to be read and shared, I wasn’t alone and I was able to offload some of my pain to someone who I could also look at as some time further down the line and see that they had found the strength to carry on, they didn’t look like the puffy eyed, greasy haired mess that I was. It helped me. It gave me strength. I needed to read them.

So if my story offends a thousand people and helps just one then I am so very glad that I have been able to offer something to that one person who needed it.

I know that the people who want to see my son’s face, hear his name and support his legacy by far outnumber anyone else, and I know how much love can be shared in those little squares, so I will continue to post photos of those I love the most.

 

I love posters, pictures and prints. My home is full of all of them. I have more photos printed than I will ever have frames to fill and love to buy a souvenir print from a gallery or exhibition. I also have a few limited edition and signed prints {which are my favourite, but don’t tell the rest}, as well as having my eye on a few more.

View Post

I get a lot of questions on my Instagram about my scaffolding board shelves, so thought I would write a little post about where they are from.

In October last year, I had my kitchen refitted. It was quite old and had far too many cupboards that ended up full of things I didn’t need or ever use. {I found many appliances that I had forgotten I had: a tiny chip fryer which seemed almost pointless as it would never cook nearly enough chips; a bread maker which I had lost the kneading adaptor for-making it useless; a steamer which when I plugged in no longer worked, and my slow cooker which I did actually keep. However, I haven’t used it once since rediscovering it, so it probably could have gone to the appliance graveyard with the rest…maybe this winter I will make lots of yummy stews…perhaps!}

Whilst planning my new kitchen, I spent many hours on Pinterest collecting ideas {of course} and trying to put them all together to make my ideal kitchen. One thing which featured in several of my ‘pins’ were scaffolding shelves. So I set about looking into how to make this a feature in my kitchen.

View Post

I say ‘alone’ as of course I wasn’t; I had my amazing family and friends rallied around me, and they still are. They were there all hours of the day and night, only a phone call away, if that-often they just turned up. They were there from the moment Gabriel died, with one of my closest friends by my side throughout my labour and Gabriel’s birth. She held my hand, wiped my tears, gave me water, topped up my epidural, was a strength I needed but had no idea how to muster. And from that moment, my friends and family have made sure I have never had to deal with more than I could. My lovely friend made the first contact to arrange Gabriel’s funeral, she dealt with all the things which I had no idea how to deal with. My sisters were there to look after Poppy and be with me in the hospital. My parents, though utterly heartbroken themselves, did all they could to support my children and be there whilst I was in the hospital with Gabriel. If there was anything I needed, I knew I only had to ask and someone would make sure I had it. I found out what beautiful, loyal and amazing friends I have (not that I didn’t already think they were amazing, but I mean…really fucking amazing!)

View Post