What I have been doing since I lost Poppy

Well since I lost Poppy I have been working really hard to keep on top of my life and get back on track.  I am determined to remain as positive as I can and although I have bad days, I am trying to appreciate the good ones more and more.  Losing Poppy has taught me how valuable life is, how valuable our time is and how valuable my other children are.  I feel it imperative to appreciate every single moment with my other four living children.  We have already had 2 birthdays since Poppy died just 8 weeks ago and with Christmas fast approaching too.

I have been working hard also on having a direction in my life which right now for me involves quality time with my family as well as helping other parents and family members who have been through what I have.  I am still helping with raising money for Gosset Ward SCBU of my local hospital with a good friend of mine who started a page for that sole purpose.  I also set up a page to raise money for Poppy’s funeral, which I managed to raise £120 towards with some amazing donations from various companies for my auction.  With left over auction items and some further donations I managed to raise another £120 towards Sands and Children Are Butterflies charities which is now what her page Poppy’s Fund has been left open for and I will continue to raise money for these two great causes who have helped me so much and are dear to my heart.

I also obtained a Moses Basket small enough for babies lost too soon which I donated to my local hospital as well as a friend who has knitted and crocheted ten more miniature Moses Baskets for the cause.  I have set up a page Poppy’s Hospital Helpers for this cause which includes encouraging knitters to send small blankets and clothes that will fit these tiny babies which will be delivered by myself to hospitals and funeral directors.

I then set up a group Snowdrop Babies to support parents and families who have lost babies and children, in particular to remember and pay tribute at special times of the year such as Birthdays, Christmas, Mothers days and other special Occasions.  Alongside this is our fundraising page to fund the purchase of cards and small trinkets to send to our members at those times of the year.  We currently have been offered a donation of 72 Terracotta angels from another charity that was set up to support people of any age who only have a short time left to live.  This means that this Christmas we will be able to send cards to all our members and our terracotta angels to the first 72 members that apply, free of charge.

My additional needs baby Rowanna who I have talked about previously on this blog is also due to have her gastrostomy surgery on 15th December so that she will have a g tube to make feeding easier, although currently she only has fluids down her tube as she is doing amazingly well with her eating solids (proper food now).  She has also been diagnosed with hearing problems and had moulds made of her ears in preparation of having hearing aids made for her as well as referral made to ENT to discuss surgery for glue ear.  Along with this she has been diagnosed with hypotonia and hypermobility, but despite this is now crawling wonderfully and has started pulling herself up on furniture to standing.  Unfortunately due to her hearing loss she is not saying any words yet and next month will be one year old.  I am hoping to take a Makaton course some time in the near future so that I can teach her to communicate with us using sign language.  She is becoming more and more frustrated at not being able to communicate so I am sure this will be a massive benefit to her and improvement to the quality of her life.

She has also had the suspected diagnosis of Oro-Motor Dyspraxia which the doctors believe is the main cause of her feeding difficulties, a problem with the co-ordination between swallowing and breathing.  I myself have Dyspraxia and my eldest daughter who is 14 was diagnosed with both Dyslexia and borderline Dyspraxia a couple of years ago.

I have also managed to finally get on top of my debts, they are not paid off as yet but I finally went to visit someone about them at community law services and have set up a direct link with them from my bank to begin paying them off with the intention of being out of debt within the next few months.  On top of this I have had a huge clearout of my house, taking 15 overflowing bin liners of outgrown clothes to be donated to Salvation Army and then the rest of the rubbish from my house and garden – a massive 2 x 7 seater cars filled to the roof and in the front of the car to the tip.  Moved furniture around etc… I also put family photo’s up in my front room, had the front room finished decorating, made a memorial collage for Poppy and set aside an area of the room as her memorial area where we can light candles and store her memory boxes and teddy etc…

On top of all of this I have removed all of the funeral flowers from Poppy’s grave and replaced them with Halloween items and further flowers and ornaments and toys.  We also have been focussing very much on a lot more quality family time including lantern making this Halloween just gone, Pumpkin carving, more trips to the park, baking together as a family, trick or treating, attending a Halloween party.  I have also just booked the two middle children in to Irish Dancing lessons so that they have an opportunity to have more experiences and enjoyment in their lives.  On Friday myself and my partner have a babysitter booked so that we can have our first night out together by ourselves in quite a few years, no idea what to do though! lol…we are also attending relate counselling with the hope of improving our own relationship with one another, it’s hard to maintain a relationship when you have four children and have never had a moment to yourselves in years!  But we seem to be getting there slowly.

I definitely feel my priorities are changing, I feel as though I am clearing out the old and bringing in the new.  I have tried to get closure for past issues in my life with family, have removed myself from situations that feel negative and unnecessary or that cause me upset or stress.  I have removed over half my facebook friends list along with my house clearing and solving financial issues and relationship issues, I feel as though I am entering a new era of my life.

I feel that my life has some form of purpose now, I am looking for a holistic therapy course to attend with a friend so that I can look towards having some form of a career that I might enjoy in the future when I have finally resolved all my issues and phobia’s.  I’m hoping to be able to get some funding some time soon to receive private therapy that might involve some help with my social phobia difficulties which is the main obstacle when it comes to me being unable to work, that along with some other mental health issues which I really hope the therapy and medication together will resolve enough for me to work, I miss working so much, feel caged in, isolated, excluded and low self esteem and confidence from having been at home so long, I feel that right now I desperately need to feel I have a purpose more than being just a mother although of course I love being a mum, I feel I need something more for me.  The charity work that I am doing in the meantime is giving me a little of that sense of purpose I so desperately need, but I feel that once I am able to bring in an income and support myself and my family financially that I will feel more fulfilled in life and less of a waste.

I’m not completely sure what direction I want to take in the long term, but feel that for now, my short term goals are helping me to a great degree.  I feel we all need goals and a sense of purpose to get by in life and for so long I have just felt that I was a waste of space and it becomes a vicious circle.  I have learnt various techniques and skills for arguing against the negative thinking, but if anything it just holds the negativity at bay for periods of time rather than healing or ending the issues.

Since I lost Poppy a lot of my childhood issues have been haunting me, I believe it is because my mind is unable to process everything at once, that I have experienced too much pain in my life and the loss of Poppy being the greatest would not allow room for my past and childhood pain that I was still carrying, this caused me to have terrible flashbacks of my childhood that were far worse than any I had previously experienced, they became so vivid that they felt more real than my daily life and affected me not only emotionally and mentally but physically too, where my body would be thrashing and feeling as though it was out of control, flinging myself against a wall at one point, unable to stop.  I have had times where I have just stopped what I was doing and started screaming unable to stop until I would break down and collapse to the floor, it was as though all that pain for so many years stored inside was uncontrollable and had to find an exit.  I have had fevers, sweats and headaches.  I have had times I felt I would not survive another night without Poppy in my womb or in my arms.  I have felt a longing and an emptiness like no other.  I have had thoughts of kidnapping her from the chapel of rest prior to her burial and since her burial thoughts of digging her up to bring her home, terrified of leaving her there to just rot away, thoughts that by leaving her I was a terrible mother.  I have had regrets creep up on me in the dead of night that have scared me to the point where I had to run to the toilet, to the point I have felt physically sick.  I have had nights of uncontrollable sobbing, nights where I’ve felt I should just walk out the door and keep walking till my feet would not carry me any more, in the cold with no thought for a coat or shoes, times desperate to call someone but no idea who I could or should call, times I felt I was going insane and would soon need locking up.

Through it all, the things keeping me going, the things forcing me to fight it, to keep going, to stay here and to feel it but allow it to pass, has been my other children and the charity work, without those, I believe honestly, in one form or another I would not be here, whether physically or emotionally or mentally, I would be some place else, some place that would be hard or impossible to return from.

And even through all of this I have had other stresses that were unnecessary, friends that have been insensitive, demanding, unkind, attacking and negative and a social worker who made some disgusting remarks towards me and whom in the end I had to call the police about to get her to stop harassing me and allow me to get the support I needed as well as to put in a formal complaint about her, all things that did not help me with regards to the negative feelings and thought that would creep up on me that I am working so hard at fighting, so hard at working on my own mental health and well being.

Now, the last thing I really MUST take care of is my own health, something I have been undoubtedly neglecting since I lost Poppy, afraid to make an appointment to see my doctor even though I desperately need to get medical help and attention, and to begin taking my medication again, from medication for my diabetes that I have not taken in 8 weeks, to my cholesterol medication and to my medication for my mental health issues.  Once I have done this then I will be able to get on top of every area of my life that has needed attention.

I have always found being on top of my health the hardest area though, to look after others comes naturally, to look after myself has always been far more difficult.  I also have set myself the target of booking ‘me time’ to help me relax and learn to find myself as important and valuable and learn to like myself as I do others.  I start bereavement counselling tomorrow also and I am attending Sands support meetings once a month.  I’d also like to set a goal to lose weight for charity in order to do a sky dive for charity this year, I’d like to do this by focussing on returning to aqua aerobics which I did whilst pregnant, reducing the sugar intake which will also be great for my diabetes and getting out more in the fresh air with my children.  Again the social phobia is my biggest obstacle with these targets but I know I have some great friends who will help me with these issues and accompany me so that I can get out and do what I need to do.

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