Inner peace

So it’s been an age since I updated. Life has gotten in the way yet again.

Our continuing journey of healing is everlasting and one that has its many ups and downs. Sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed and I admit that over the past few months I have struggled a lot. The thought that there was something we were missing kept gnawing at me. I was convinced that there must be something fundamentally wrong with me. Clawing for the whys and having the unknowns became too much. I was angry, hating everyone who was pregnant. Butter that they had what I should. Fury whenever anyone was annoyed with their children. Something had to change.

We decided after having exhausted what our wonderful NHS was allowed to do for us, to go private. We contacted an incredible fertility expert Dr Dooley at the Poundbury Fertility Clinic. He’s a very well respected expert in his field, one of the best in fact. After a few weeks wait we travelled to our first appointment. He read though everything, we came equipped with test results, cycle charts and 2 years extensive knowledge of all things ttc. He quickly got the ball rolling.

Yes we seemed fine, both in very good health. I felt flooded with relief, so often at every nhs appointment my weight would be paraded as the reason. Yes, I am overweight but I workout 5x a week and eat healthily, this is reflected on paper…low blood pressure, no diabetes, no thyroid issues and good resting heart rate. Mark, despite having Crohn’s disease is also in perfect health. Boxes ticked moving on.

I explained that we had been trying to not put pressure on it, almost given up trying. He said you must never do that. Again relief. How many stories has well meaning people told me about people getting pregnant after giving up?! Countless. He said it’s simple, sperm needs to meet the egg. If they aren’t in the right place at the right time that won’t happen. No tricks, no de stress, no magic pills (just folic acid), no standing on your head, just science.

First things first. Check my egg reserves, my progesterone levels and my tubes for blockages. 1 month later and here we are, I have fine egg reserves for my age, no blockages and I do ovulate but very early. The whys, the it’s me, the there’s something wrong with me thoughts have gone. Things are happening and we will get there. I know that now. It just may take a bit longer than we hoped.

My peace of mind has been further improved by some small changes I have made:

  • Removing the Facebook app from my phone so I’m no longer bombarded with baby news and other stressors
  • Yoga and Pilates for some good toning and self care sessions
  • Meditation for anxiety and stress, again taking time for me
  • Swimming and boxing for extra cardio
  • Continuing with reducing sugar and processed foods
  • Eating good quality meat and dairy and not cheap products – leaner cuts mostly
  • Getting a good balance of healthy fats and carbohydrates
  • Loving my figure and nourishing my body correctly, not being so damn hard on myself

Try some of these yourself or make your own goals. Remember it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Goals can be fluid and changed. Don’t set rules, set life goals and milestones. Above all be mindful and be kind. Life is far too short for conflict and restrictions.

Allana x

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Spring

It’s no secret to those who know me well, that I adore spring. So unsurprisingly I have been full of enthusiasm lately. My mindset has shifted recently, things are changing. The grief cycle is ever turning in a small way, but I would say that I’m no longer trapped in it. I wear it like a ring on my finger, it’s no longer a noose around my neck.

It’s ok to have a shit day. Can we just say that together, loud and proud. I have stopped trying to push emotions down until they explode. That isn’t a healthy way to be. Emotions are there to be felt, to be recognised and let go. I found myself getting angry and snappy and knew it had to stop. I had to breakdown, let it out, walk it out and refresh. You can’t walk around carrying that weight and piling more angst on top. You will crumble.

Part of this change has been adding meditation back into my daily routine. Each time i feel the icy talons of anxiety clawing at my chest I take 3 minutes and refresh. Get some clarity and start anew. It’s been like a deep breath of fresh spring air.

If you want to start meditating I can fully recommend the calm app. There are many others that are free, but this is the best one i have used. You can do a trial initially before you buy it to see if it works for you. Another app I have used is Headspace which is worth a try.

I am loving working out and filling my body with good and healthy things. Sure I still have the odd treat, but it’s ok. You have to live your life and find balance. It’s easy when you have a reason that motivates you more than anything else. My why is this:

  • To be healthy
  • To carry a baby to term
  • To conceive again
  • To be there for my family
  • To love myself
  • To respect myself
  • To fit into my size 10 jeans – got to have one silly one too

Without a decent why, you will never reach your goals. You can follow whatever fad diet, lifestyle choice or exercise plan you want, but if you don’t have motivation, you are very likely to give up.

Through healthy change, I have started to see real progress in my fitness and eating plans. I am enjoying what I’m doing and I genuinely look forward to working out. When you feel great you want that to continue.

Positive mindset, positive life. That doesn’t mean you ignore the bad – quite the opposite – it means you tackle it face on, see it for what it is on its own. Don’t stack up every bad thing that’s ever happened to you as proof of why you should suffer, that helps no one and isn’t realistic. Surround yourself with people who care and check in, this goes both ways. I am so lucky that I have wonderful people around me. We check in with each other, give support or space, as well as a firm talking to if one of us needs it.

You need people who are your safe place. Those who you can be hysterical with, say all the dark and twisty things to, and know that they know you are ranting. They will let you get it out and then give you a hug and not judge. Sometimes you need to get the words out of your head so they can’t fester. No I don’t believe ‘I’m never going to have another baby’, but in that moment I needed to say it out loud. My friends let me say that and more, they didn’t pity me, (no crying emojis, my pet hate) just kind and sane words after I’m done. Find your safe places, hold them close and be theirs in return.

Plant some seeds, get your hands dirty. It’s important to reconnect with the earth and take a few quiet minutes to reflect. Can you be kinder? Is a friend struggling? Could you reach out? Are you being fair? We can all benefit from a little mindfulness. Try slowing down, put down the phone and just breathe.

– Allana x

Now

So it’s been an age since my last update. That’s mostly due to life getting in the way but also a result of me not being sure whether I could keep doing this blog.

It’s been a comfort to me, somewhere I could write what happened, at times vent my anger. Recently though it’s felt like a shrine. Like a grave. I have struggled with that as i don’t have that need to prove Jack existed anymore. I know he did.

I have moved forward and back. It’s a given that I miss him. It’s how it is. I just cannot dwell on it. I’m so sick of everything being a constant reminder of it in the negative. I need to, no, I have to move forward. Not just to heal but to have a happy life.

No one tells you about the after. When you’re in this limbo period that follows the first year. The sudden stretch of minutes, hours, days and years, all looming ahead. You crumble. The last month has felt hellish at times, isolated and not quite real. But I have come to realise that in order to live, to survive I have to put one foot tentatively out into the unknown and let myself fall or fly.

Health comes from finding some inner peace. Ridding yourself of conflict and negative positivity. It is ok to be sad, even if it makes others uncomfortable. Anger is natural, feel it. Happiness doesn’t need to be followed by guilt, let yourself smile.

There was one morning where I woke up and the sun was bright, I could hear nature outside and this huge wave of calm washed over me. I didn’t recognise it at first but I felt so happy and just optimistic. There was a familiar sense of completeness that I hadn’t felt in so long. I am ok.

Going back to the gym and reuniting with the great friends I have made there has been healing for me. I forgot that I had this whole world I used to love. Focusing on that and getting a routine is getting me back on track.

Some harsh truths from those closest to me have really opened my eyes over the last day or so. I have been stagnating. Going backwards. I can’t do that. It’s good to reset and step back and really look at yourself. Only you can change you. No one else.

Things are moving, not always in an upwards line, my steps often falter, but I’m not giving up. And right now, that’s a small victory.

– Allana x

Grief

I see this a lot. Loss parents in so much pain that they lash out. I’m guilty of feeling it myself. When someone posts about losing a grandparent I admit to feeling like that’s just the natural order. That may be but it’s still a loss and it’s still painful. A child losing its life will always be so so traumatic and wrong but it doesn’t make it a more valid loss. By stacking up reasons and proof that your pain deserves more validity you ignore that pain.

I remember when I was early into this, I was so angry all the time. I would see people with babies and hate them. Every other loss would grate me as it took away from Jack, or so I felt. Sympathetic and often pitting looks infuriated me. But again anger is a distraction technique. To move forward and get to where I am now I had to see what was really going on, break through those walls, heal my heart.

It’s not easy. It’s taking intense CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and a lots of safe place visualisation techniques and grounding. Trauma manifests in many ways, one is anger, another is distracting from the issue. It’s hard, it’s painful to have to deal with loss, but take it from me, it does get easier if you do. Getting help is the key, you don’t have to struggle alone.

I’m never going to forget Jack, how could I? But his memory now makes me proud and happy, it is always sad too but that’s ok, that’s normal. I no longer think of him and then am instantly angry and wanting to lash out. I still get angry but I make sure I use my cbt tools to get through that and deal. Anger is ok, hurt is ok, it is wrong that i don’t have my baby, it is unfair, but I don’t want to live my life thinking of Jack that way. I don’t have to hurt or hate others for that to be real.

So next time you see a friend or family member sad that they have lost a grandparent, aunt, dog etc. Be kind, be loving and remember it’s their emotion and it doesn’t take away from your pain.

– Allana x

One day at a time

So it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. Over the last 2 months I have been taking time to focus on myself, going to therapy once a week and getting physically healthy too.

Therapy isn’t without it’s ups and downs. I have found that the hardest and most difficult times are the ones that make all the difference. Finding what feels uncomfortable and unravelling those emotions is progressing. There have been lots of unexpected realisations, a big one being that I felt I let Jack down. Not just by my body not keeping him safe, but by losing hope in the end. This was a surprise to me as in my front brain (what I call the conscious brain) I didn’t and don’t feel that way. That said, it’s always the “what ifs” that play on your mind.

Letting go of my need to comfort and be there for others is a personality trait that I struggle with. It’s how I am, but in being people’s rock and staying strong I have neglected myself. Being able to throw my hands up and say “I’m struggling, I’m angry, I’m heartbroken” is ok. Telling people to go elsewhere for comfort, is ok. Finally knocking down my walls and just being sad/angry/hurt/broken has been a great move forward. It hasn’t been easy for those close to me to handle sometimes, I never realised how much of a resolve I have. How I’ll fight kicking and screaming before I’ll shed a tear and “cause a scene”. Realising that the world will keep turning and that no one expects me to be ok and so strong as I have been is liberating.

I’m still very much a work in progress but I feel more and more like my old self. I feel that fight and need to keep going returning. I’m not quite at a run yet, but I’m definitely at a slow jog.

– Allana x

P.S. I will be doing some fundraising for baby loss awareness month this October. Please feel free to share my JustGiving link or if you have friends who need t-shirts, hoodies or baby grows visit my shop (www.shop4tshirts.co.uk) and 10% will be donated.