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.

PTSD

So there’s a part of this road that I haven’t really shared with anyone. Not only am I traveling on the grief cycle but I also have ptsd which triggers my existing anxiety. It’s a hard thing to live with and be able to grieve fully. This is something we are both struggling with on a daily basis.

Ptsd is when your brain gets stuck following trauma. In my case it means I smell newborn smell and get silent clips of times with Jack in NICU. It’s like when you look at a memory except I can’t place exactly when the clip happened, there’s no narration or sound, it’s a very short memory clip. Anything can set it off and it happens at least once or twice a day. It’s a split second but it’s just stopping my progression though grief to moving on. This then triggers my anxiety which in turn pushes the negative depressive thoughts to the surface.

All in all it’s been a tough time and we are both taking steps to get through. I’m back getting cbt and just looking after me. I tend to try and look after others or make excuses for shitty people so that I can have an easier life. Mark does a very similar thing. No more. We are both putting ourselves and immediate family (including close friends) who matter and are there for us first. We have cut out people who have negatively impacted us. People who care and are important will always understand and be there in one way or another.

Self healing isn’t always obvious, it’s sometimes first accepting you need to let go. That maybe things need to get worse before they can get better. It’s a long road ahead but I truly believe that Mark and I will get there.

– Allana x

Just a quick reminder

Self improvement is an ongoing thing. Always reaching to be the best version of yourself shouldn’t be a stretch. You deserve to be happy, Free, calm and successful. Remember though that success isn’t measured by what you have or what you’re worth. It’s in happiness and your own sense of well-being.

I choose to move forward in my life. I confront my issues face on and deal with them. It’s not weak to talk about your problems, weakness is burying them. Never having the balls to actually deal with anything is weak. You have to confront things to be able to move forward. It’s not about forgetting it’s about confronting the problem and neutralising it. Not letting it have power over you.

A few things I do when things get too much:

  • Meditate – it’s incredible I encourage everyone to do this
  • Walk – being in nature and getting some peace is always healing
  • Cry – let it out, sometimes you need to release it
  • Talk about it – with a open minded person who is good at providing a healthy perspective. There are lots of helplines and charities you can call.
  • Garden – I find doing jobs like this allow me to think

Lastly, this is something we all need to remember:

– Allana x

Giving Back

It’s been a little while since i promoted this but we are still wanting to raise money to give back to Southampton Hospital and NICU. We will be splitting the money between 2 charities, these are:

Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity – https://schcharity.org.uk/

Holding Little Hands – https://www.facebook.com/HoldingLittleHands/

Both of these charities directly help to save the lives of children and baby’s everyday. They give money to all aspects of child and baby care. This means that the incredible people on the front line can continue to provide the outstanding care that they do. Not only that but it means they can keep giving the kind and respectful end of life care that baby’s  like our Jack received. They are not only medical professionals but they are counsellors and some of the kindest people i have ever met.

Even the smallest amount will add up to something wonderful. Please share and donate if you haven’t already.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jack-tigwell

– Allana x

Mindfulness

I try to live this everyday. By choosing to have a open and positive mindset I am able to grieve fully. I’m not rushing or dragging it out. My head, body and mind are just open to how I need to and do feel. I refuse to be consumed by grief or push it away. Neither are productive or things that I think Jack would want.

So we still haven’t had the post mortem results yet. It’s hard waiting as I want to shut that door of unknown. I know why he died but we need to know why he came early. It’s hard having that unanswered. I know we may not get one but at least I can deal with that once it’s done.

We had a lovely letter from Southampton Hospital thanking us for the donations from Jack’s funeral. In it they also included a pack of forget me nots. I’m not sure why but I have had a real connection with these flowers and see them everywhere. Seeing the packet brought tears to my eyes. Not sad ones but just raw emotion. It was unexpected and really touching.

We still have our JustGiving open but it’s not where I want it to be. I’ll have to start pushing it again. I really hope we can reach £5k by Jack’s 1st birthday in Neverland. That would be so wonderful.

Not long now until the wedding! 3 months and 2 days to go. ❤️

– Allana x