In honour of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, today I share my story.
You may feel you know a fair bit about me, due to what I share here on a regular basis. But much of my story I have not shared before as it has been too painful, and too personal.
My story is one of a mother’s love. A story of baby loss. This week marks 9 years since we lost our second son. Those nine years sound like a long time, but they also feel like a mere moment.
I share my story today in the hope it may help someone. Another parent who has lost a baby and is grieving and feeling alone. Maybe that parent is you.
There are particular smells that remind us of things, experiences, places, and people. Scent triggers are highly emotional and can be found in the most unusual circumstances.
The sniff of a certain perfume, the scent of the freshly mown lawn, the strong chlorine smell of the local public pool… All of these can evoke very powerful, and at times overwhelming, memories.
What is a joy break? Read on and I’ll explain.
When we are super busy (whether we are enjoying ourselves or not), one of the best things we can do for our own well-being is take a break. Whilst this may seem obvious, I have found only a few of us remember to do it. I put myself in the category of those who frequently forget!
In our lives, whether we are parents or not, grieving or not, experiencing change or not, we all have times when our ‘bags’ feel full. Our head is full to overwhelm and we feel restricted by demands and expectations.
What if we simply emptied our bags?
A few short months after the loss of our baby boy, my eldest son and I were taking a bus trip into town. It was an exciting time for him, as he loved taking the bus anywhere as it was such a novelty!
We were seated near the front of the bus, and he was busy talking to me about all the buildings, cars, trucks, other buses and the other things he could see. He was pure 2-year-old enthusiasm; happy, joyful and excited! I was enjoying his enthusiasm despite feeling bus-sick (yes, I am an adult who still gets motion sick…)
As a parent who has lost a child, I am acutely aware of how quickly life can change or end. In an instant, our whole world can be turned upside down. Life is short, and precious.
Regardless of whether you have lost someone or not, we all want to make the most of our life. We want to look back without regret. We want to live our life fully; to appreciate it and not feel we are constantly ‘waiting’ until we can live that life.
But how do we honour that feeling? How do we ensure our life has purpose? What spurs us into action? How do we bring joy back into the everyday?
Truthfully, the biggest motivator for me is contemplating my ending.
Being mindful is like the new black. Being in the moment. Mindfulness.
Everyone talks about it and we all apparently *should* aspire to have moments of it in our days. It’s been shown to improve our well-being and improve our productivity, efficiency and overall happiness. For all people that sounds pretty good, but as busy mothers, it sounds amazing, right!?
Welcome to the ‘Upset to Set-Up’ Series: Interviews with Inspiring Women
This occasional interview series shines a spotlight on inspiring women and shares their stories of resilience in the face of upset. Here we interview women who have overcome significant tragedy, loss or upset and used that experience to set themselves up in a new and different way. They have turned their upset into a set-up. Each guest generously shares what they have been through to find the joy in life.
Patricia McPhail. Photo: Emily McPhail
Today we meet Patricia McPhail, Founder of HopeforOllie. HopeforOllie designs and sells handmade children’s clothing and accessories for 0-10 year olds.
Patricia created HopeforOllie in 2010 after her son Oliver was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) at 10 weeks of age. DMD is a fatal genetic condition which causes muscles to weaken and break down, leading to progressive difficulty with walking and general mobility. Currently there is no cure for DMD, and suffers have a 20 to 25 year life expectancy. Patricia is a mother who wants to make a difference to the lives of all DMD boys and their families by raising funds for clinical research into a cure.
I loved this interview, and I am sure you will too. Patricia is an absolutely inspiring woman.
Our home is a place where ideally, we feel most ourselves. It is a place of shelter and sanctuary that offers security and comfort. Our homes also hold many of our most valuable things; our loved ones, treasured heirlooms and possessions, as well as precious memories.
We are currently in the process of preparing to move house, and as a result I am feeling like Marie Kondo on speed! I’m touching every single item in my home and asking not only does this spark joy, but is it useful, do we need it, do we love it and will we need it in our new abode. That is a lot of questions to be running through your head, let me tell you!