Sunday, 29 November 2015

Photo Albums & Baby Books For Angel Babies

When I was pregnant I took up Project Life. It's a fun scrapbooking system with beautiful folders and themed note cards designed to allow you to document life creatively and beautifully. I spent many hours putting together a project of our wedding complete with proposal, engagement and hen/stag party photos. I spent hours immersed in the magic of our first steps into marriage whilst our lovely little boy kicked up a storm in my tummy. Those memories are so precious to me.

I bought a beautiful green and yellow folder and baby boy notecards with the intention of documenting my pregnancy and then our journey into parenthood with Aneurin but when he passed away I couldn't bring myself to do it. It's a big project and I knew I would never have enough memories to fill it. Instead, I started looking for a smaller but equally as precious photo album or baby book to document his short but beautiful life. 

Most baby books are structured with milestones, favourites and things we will sadly never know or be able to fill in. Finding a baby book or photo album suitable for a stillbirth or neonatal death is really difficult and I very nearly gave up hope of finding one. Fortunately though my stubbornness determination is strong and over the last couple of months I've found some truly beautiful books, some of which can be personalised. 

Photo book for stillborn babies

Winnie the Pooh Baby Book £18 Winnie the Pooh quotes have always been quite poignant to me but the one that adorns this cute album is completely perfect; "My favouite part of the day is the part I spent with you". This holds 80 6x4" photographs. 

Anker Baby Elephant Photo Album £20 - This album holds 200 6x4" photos so perfect if you have lots of photos of your precious angel. Although it's a slip-in album there is space next to photos to write a few lines if you wish. The colourful front is lovely with a little elephant, duck and buttons. 

My Beautiful Baby Photo Album £52.99 - Made with genuine leather, this cream album is printed with 'My Beautiful Baby' and a sweet little bear face in silver foil. There are 50 thick card pages in here for getting creative with your photos and memories. You can opt to have a brass plate added to the front engraved with a message or your baby's name. 

Our Little Angel Photo Album £32.99 - This sweet album is decorated with a pink leather border and can have a brass name plate added engraved with your baby's name, birth date and message. There are 50 plain card pages that fit 2 6x4" photos on. This is only available in pink at the minute.

Baby book for angel babies

Personalised Map Duck Baby Book £28 - On the front of this A5 sized book is a wooden duck printed with a vintage map, the location of which you can choose. Perfect for your baby's birth or resting place. You can also have two lines of text printed below. There are 35 blank pages for sticking photos and keepsakes in. 

Anker Little Star Baby Photo Album £20-£24 - There are two other different sizes in this range here and here, all with a little star on the front and other sweet embellishments. The pages are self adhesive so you have a little more freedom with how you can organise your keepsakes.

Personalised Twinkle Twinkle Album £25 - Sometimes nursery rhymes or phrases can be upsetting to hear when you've lost a baby but some can hold great meaning. "Twinkle twinkle little star, do you know how loved you are" is definitely one that holds meaning. As this is a personalised book you can add your loved little star's name and birth date on the front. It also comes in blue

Personalised Baby 'Brag' Book £26-£80 - This simple and understated book comes in lilac, baby pink or baby blue. It comes in two sizes and holds either 20 or 40 6x4" photographs. You can also have up to 50 characters over two lines so you can have your baby's name and birth date printed on it to make it extra special. There are two larger versions here and here with different colour options.

Photo albums for angel babies

Bambino Twinkle Twinkle Photo Album £16 - The same meaningful phrase as one above but in a very different style. This star themed album has a silver pram embellished on the front and secures with a pretty ribbon. It holds 80 6x4" photos. 

John Lewis Baby Photo Album £16 - This sweet suede album is adorned with pram, teddy and rocking horse motifs on the front and closes with a pale blue ribbon. It holds 100 6x4" photos. It also comes in pink

Deva Washing Line Baby Album £29 - I have this one and love it. The cover is a pretty pearlescent cream colour with a little motif of a babygrow, bib and booties on a washing line. It holds 120 6x4" photos. The pages are plain which means you can write little notes and stick in other treasures like scan photos. It comes in pink and blue.

John Lewis Bear & Rabbit 'Boasting Book' £6.95 - This is perfect if you don't have many treasures or photos of your baby as it only has space for 24 6x4" photos. Again, the pages are plain so perfect for notes and keepsakes. 

Another way of displaying and documenting your angel baby's life is by creating your own photobook. You can make little pocket sized books to take with you wherever you go or larger coffee table style books. There are lots of companies that offer this service but personally, I use Photobox for all my prints and am in the process of putting together one of their little photobooks for Aneurin's Grandma and Nanna. 

Having a photo album filled with Aneurin's life, from the photo of the positive pregnancy test, my growing bump, his arrival, right through to the beautiful posy of sweet peas we put on his coffin, has given me so much comfort. Putting it together was a very healing process. It was difficult to look at for a while but now it only brings me joy. I felt sad at having empty pages at the back but I've decided to fill those up with the things we do in his honour. For example I took a beautiful photo of the candles we lit in honour of loved ones at the All Saints/Souls Day service we went to which I'll put in there and every time we write his name in the sand or find something meaningful we'll document it and add it to his album. I'm starting to realise that that is how we keep him alive, by carrying him with us wherever we go and whatever we do. 

I want to do more like this with resources of all sorts for bereaved parents so I hope this has been helpful. If you've seen a photo album or baby book suitable for baby who passed away before, during or after birth, leave a link below in the comments. 

Mrs D x

Friday, 27 November 2015

Capture Your Grief 2015 Days 26-31

Days 16-20
Days 21-25

Day 26. Gratitude - I am grateful for my kind hearted, silly husband who never asks for more than what I'm capable of. I am grateful for my mum who loves me unconditionally and who taught me what it means to be a mother. I am grateful for my friends who say Aneurin's name and want to know everything no matter how difficult it is to hear. I am grateful for the incredible love and support we've received from people whatever form it's come in.
I am most grateful though for my beautiful big footed baby boy and the time we had with him even though it will never be enough. I'm grateful for his existence and all he taught us. We are different people because of him. We might be broken right now but we're also richer and filled with a love and joy we might never have known without him. No matter how much hurt we've experienced I would still choose him a thousand times over.

Day 27. Self portrait - This is who I am today. Broken, exhausted, desperate and scared. But also hopeful, grateful, compassionate and loving. I am changed, Aneurin changed me, grief has changed me but deep down I am still the person who will chase cats down the street and make them be my friends, who would rather stick my head in a bag of eels than clean the bathroom and who finds unbridled joy in new slippers. I am a new version of myself and I need to remember that that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Day 28. Reach out - I wanted to use today's prompt to mention Still Loved, a feature documentary on stillbirth. It follows families trying to rebuild their lives after loss. The filmmakers are currently asking for donations via Just Giving to enable the film to be shown on television and in cinemas.
I am reaching out today by donating to them and to ask you to do the same, especially if you're in the UK. Very few people are aware of stillbirth; not just that occurs but what actually happens and what life is like afterwards. Whilst there has already been one stillbirth storyline in a soap this year and another happening soon, these are dramatised for entertainment. The reality of life after infant loss is something only bereaved parents truly understand and sadly the general public aren't always so compassionate or empathetic. Hopefully this film can help to change that.
There's a trailer for the documentary and more information including the link to donate at

Day 29. What Heals You - I think the key to recovering after any trauma is self care and a huge part of that is finding what heals you. So many people lose themselves when they lose their child and don't know who they are or where they fit anymore. I want to believe that finding the things that heal me will help me find myself again.
Being surrounded by nature and beauty fills me with peace, especially if it involves a body of water. I love going fishing with my husband and just sitting by the lake with a book. Sometimes it's hard because my husband especially was so looking forward to teaching Aneurin to fish and I imagined learning about birds and nature with him but it also makes us feel close to him.
When I think about it there are so many things that heal me in my life; long Lush baths, my attentive kitties, the people around me, crafting things and being creative (in my own limited way!). I want to focus on taking time every day to appreciate these and indulge in them a bit more.
Whilst I was pregnant I started making a wedding book using Project Life but haven't touched it since we lost Aneurin. I think finishing it would be incredibly healing as it serves as a reminder of the best parts of my life and that without our marriage our beautiful boy wouldn't have existed.

Day 31. Sunset Today marks three months since our beautiful boy was born. It feels both so long ago and like it was only yesterday. Three months have passed and three months we have survived. We are still putting one foot in front of the other and for that I feel pretty proud of ourselves.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month might be over but I plan on continuing to be open with my grief. Although it feels as though we get further away from Aneurin and the time we spent with him with each day that passes I know we will carry him with us forever. Rather nicely our November will start with an All Souls Day ceremony at the church we got married in with the vicar who led Aneurin's service. His name will be spoken and we'll light a candle for him; our precious baby boy.
Thank you to everyone for your responses of love, support and solidarity this month. And an enormous thank you to Carly Marie Dudley for creating this project and for being a beacon of light in the darkness.

Mrs D x

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Capture Your Grief 2015 Days 21-25

Days 16-20

Day 21. Sacred space - Penarth Pier is a very special place to me. We've been there at least twice a year every year since we met, always sitting on our favourite bench looking out to sea. Three years to the day we first kissed my husband proposed to me whilst we sat on our bench. He had planned to do it during a fancy dinner later in the day but said it just felt more special to do it then and it really was.
There are little memorial plaques that go up the pier and on our first wedding anniversary we bought ourselves one. We are planning to get another one in memory of Aneurin.
Being there makes me feel so peaceful and content and we had beautiful visions of Aneurin running up and down the pier, begging us for ice cream, standing on his tiptoes peering into the sea. We visited twice whilst I was pregnant and I'm so, so glad he got to feel the peace that I feel being there.

Day 22. Dreams & Rituals - I've woken up a few times over the last couple of months with this really strong sense of having dreamt about Aneurin and with it comes such peace. They're not clear dreams that I remember but just a feeling of having been connected with him. We don't really have any rituals but I do have a photo of him by my bed and we look at it most nights and give it a kiss.
Dreams are all we have now and that's not necessarily a bad thing. We imagine and day dream about Aneurin at least once a day. We talk about the things we know about him and make up the things we don't. He'll never be naughty (although definitely a bit of a monkey!), he'll never feel pain, we'll never be frustrated with him or get cross with him. He is completely free and that is a beautiful thing to dream about. ps. My sleepy Opie-kitten looking all dreamy seemed like a lovely addition to this post.

Day 23. Love letter - To my wonderful hairy husband,
I am so sorry this has happened to us. I wish so very much that I could take your pain away. As painful as this is for me, I would feel it twice as hard if it meant you didn't have to.
9 years ago I fell in love with you so quickly and it just kept coming. I truly thought our wedding day would be the peak of my love for you but it was only the beginning. The same scary love I feel for our son, I feel for you too. Knowing we made a whole new human together made up of both us is a feeling like no other and seeing you gaze at our beautiful, sweet boy with equal parts pride, awe and heartbreak is something I will never forget.
I was so fearful of what losing Aneurin would mean for us but I continue to be amazed at our strength and unity. I look at you sometimes and feel so overwhelmed with what I feel for you. Love just doesn't cover it. Our souls are bound together in a way I will never fully comprehend and I know we will get through this and anything else life throws at us. As long as I have you by my side to fast forward the bits when animals eat eachother in nature programs and hold one of the cats in my face when I'm sad I know I'll be just fine.

 Day 24. Choose Your Breath - Today's prompt is inspired by the Choose Your Breath workshop to think about whether grief and healing can co-exist.
My life hasn't always been easy due to my mental health but despite that I am a very hopeful and optimistic person. I don't want to be a passenger in my own life, I want to enjoy it and make it meaningful. It's not always possible to do that because depression especially can make it so difficult to get a grasp of things and sometimes you're incapable of doing anything but breathing but when I can, I do.
A lot of the skills I've learnt over the years to manage my mental health I've applied to my grief. I find myself practising mindfulness a lot, especially at night when I'm often plagued with thoughts surrounding the trauma of losing Aneurin. My brain goes to a horrible place and the only way I can control it is by focussing myself on the here and now.
To me grief is all about healing. I've become the sort of person that talks about ~journeys and paths~ because that is what grief is. It's a long, complex process and for the most part we are in control of it. I say for the most part because there are times when grief completely takes the wheel and there's nothing to do but ride it out.
I feel like I have a responsibility to heal myself. To honour my son's life by making the most of mine, doing things I think he would be proud of and finding meaning in my life. If I don't and I use his death as an excuse to give in to the part of me that is susceptible to scary ideas and deep depression that is disrespectful to his little life and I can't do that.
We are very hopeful that part of our healing will be becoming parents a second time which is a terrifying prospect but hope is carrying me through. I will never stop grieving because I will never stop loving Aneurin but I will also never stop trying to find ways to heal both myself and my husband. For now our grief is in control but I hope that one day we can control it.

Day 25. Earth Remembrance - It was important to us that Aneurin was cremated rather than buried but as a result of that we don't have a physical place to visit him which is hard. I know his physical body isn't really him anymore and I can feel him with us wherever we are but I do wish we had a specific place to go to to feel close to him.
We are toying with the idea of planting a tree in a green burial site but we're planning on moving away from the area in the next year so don't know where to do it. I love the idea of new life being created in honour of his and we both find being amongst nature very healing. I love going fishing with my husband and just listening to the birds and the water, I love being near the sea and writing his name in the sand and I love looking for messages from him in the Earth.
We do have a plant though that is very special to us. It was given to us by my dear friend, Kerry, who didn't realise at the time that it was the same flower my wedding bouquet was made up of and the exact same shade. That little bit of serendipity make it all the more special. We've put it in a pot so when we move we can take it with us. Whenever I look at it (even when it's out of flower like it is now) I think of the two most wonderful parts of my life; my marriage and my son.

Mrs D x

Friday, 20 November 2015

Capture Your Grief 2015 Days 16-20

Day 16. Creative Grief - When you lose a baby, especially one you didn't get to keep for very long, you don't have many memories or tangible things to hold onto so you have to make your own. We don't have anything Aneurin wore and the things we had at home for him didn't quite feel like his yet. I do have a little hat we took to the hospital which he didn't end up wearing that I found in the bag a few weeks ago and now keep in my bedside table. It sounds odd but just knowing it was in the same room as him physically makes it more special than any other hat we had ready for him.
We've had to get creative in ways to feel close to him. I have some lovely jewellery and artwork and once I'm 6 months post birth I'll be getting a tattoo with him in mind. I think I'd like some sweet peas (we put a bunch from my mother in law's garden on his casket) but I'm not 100% sure yet.
For a while I was a bit concerned about being in danger of almost creating a shrine for him. Doing that always seemed a bit unhealthy to me but now I completely understand why it happens. At the moment I have a huge sense of wanting a physical place to feel close to Aneurin but because he was cremated we don't have a grave to visit. We don't have the luxury of having bits of his spread across the house like we would if he was here and we don't have as much as we'd like so having his memory box, photo album and little bits and bobs in one place is lovely. Sometimes it can feel a bit like all we want to do is immerse ourselves in it and grasp at what little we have of him and for the time being this is what we need to do. We need to write his name in the sand and doodle it on bits of paper. We need to be able to touch a piece of jewellery and feel like it connects us to him. We need to do whatever we can to get five more minutes with our lovely little Pea. One thing I'm learning about grief is that there's no right or wrong and you have to do whatever you need to do to go through it.

 Day 17. Secondary Losses - I have lost so much more than my son. I've lost the future we had planned for, the innocence I had surrounding pregnancy, my naivety in being a decent person and so much more. I know things I don't want to; babies get sick, they die and there's nothing anyone can do about it. I know that nobody is immune to tragedy no matter how much of a good person you are or what you've already been through. Anything can happen and you can't control it.
The biggest secondary loss though is myself. I don't know who I am or where I fit anymore. I was pregnant me for 8 wonderful months and was so excited and ready to be mummy me. Becoming a parent even if you lose your child changes you on a soul level. I cannot go back to the person I was before Aneurin but I don't know who I am without him. Navigating your way through life after such a loss is so tough because you're forced to create an entirely new version of normal for yourself. I very much feel as if I'm just wandering at the minute with no direction at all and it's terrifying.

Day 18. Seasons and Symbols - Summer will always remind me of Aneurin. I think I spent most of June and July on the sofa in my knickers with fans pointed at me! I always said I'd never want to be heavily pregnant in the middle of summer but such is life!
This time of year weighs heavy on my mind because I was so looking forward to going for crunchy leafed Autumn walks and conker picking in years to come. We had also put so much focus on Christmas because we knew Aneurin would be out of neonatal care and home by then so the next couple of months are going to be tough.
As for symbols there are a few things that I associate with our little Pea. Marmite because I had such a strong craving when I was pregnant and it's all I ate for weeks! Sweet peas because he was our sweet little pea. White feathers because they're meant to symbolise little angel wings. As I said in my creative grief post you find meaning and comfort in anything you can when you lose your child and that's fine. It opens you up to a whole new world of meaning.

Day 19. Music - The most significant bit of music I associate with Aneurin is Made Up Love Song #43 by Guillemots. I was at a daycare appointment one day listening to my iPod when it came on and he would not stop dancing around in my belly. If I stopped playing it he stopped and as soon as I hit play he would start moving again! It was so wonderful, especially when I listened to the words. It opens with 'I love you through sparks and shining dragons I do' and there's a line in it that says 'the best things come from nowhere' and it made me well up because we didn't expect Aneurin but he was truly the greatest thing that ever happened to us. After he was born Haydn got in bed with me whilst I was holding him and we played it and wept. It was such a beautiful but bittersweet moment.
For days after the words ran round my head and I would wake up knowing I had dreamt about the song. We haven't been able to listen to it since but I hope I can one day because it's really lovely and plinky plinky.

 Day 20. Forgiveness & Humanity - We've been quite lucky in that few people have said inappropriate or insensitive things to us in regards to losing Aneurin. I try my very hardest to forgive people who say upsetting things because it's impossible to know what to say when someone's child has died and I know people don't meant to be malicious.
What I am struggling to forgive though is people who have completely turned their backs on us, especially family because Aneurin was their family too. Like I said, I know it's difficult to know what to say but I would much rather someone said to me 'I wanted to say something to you but I don't know what' than they just ignored me. Peoples reaction of wanting to brush something difficult or unpleasant under the carpet and pretend it isn't happening is one of the worst parts of humanity for me. It alienates people and causes such deep emotional damage. We are all human, we all feel and those feelings can be both beautiful and hideous but we need to be allowed to feel them.
Aneurin is and will always be our first child. There's no brushing that under the carpet.

Mrs D x

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Capture Your Grief 2015 Days 11-15

Day 11. Glow in the woods - People keep praising for my strength and grace lately which is wonderful but I don't feel like I can take all the credit. Most of it is down to these four people. The people who pick me up and carry me when I can't go on, who really and truly have been there for the most difficult parts and who have seen me stripped back at my very worst and did nothing but love me.
These aren't just the most important people in my life but in Aneurin's too, by both our sides from day one until the very end. They were all with me during my labour (albeit two of them in different countries at the time!) and never faltered in their support. I could not have gotten through that without their love. They are strong for me when I can't be and they let me be exactly what I need to be even when it's hard on them.
If there is any good to have come from this, it's my relationship with my mum, my husband and my best friends. We are all closer and stronger than I could ever have imagined. They are my beacons of light and I can never thank them enough.

Day 12. Normalising grief - Using my blog and this here Instagram has been so therapeutic for me. It's allowed me to work through my grief in a way that makes me feel in control and like I'm doing something positive with it. I realise not everyone will want to follow me on this ~journey~ but this is what I need to do.
I've had a huge number of messages from women who have suffered losses at various stages who don't feel they can talk about it. Some recent and some years and years ago. Grief isn't something people talk about because it's uncomfortable, especially when it relates to the loss of an infant. Bereaved parents need to know it’s okay to acknowledge their pain and go through the grief process in whatever way they need to. I really want to take our experience and do something positive with it and I hope that by being open it will help someone else.

Day 13. Regrets and triggers - In the early days after losing Aneurin I was riddled with guilt. I felt as though I had failed. My one job as a mother was to protect my son and I couldn't do it. I feel like I should have noticed something earlier so I could have gone to the hospital earlier. But, deep down I know I did everything right, Aneurin was poorly and his heart just couldn't sustain him.
So really, I don't think I have any regrets. Despite being very sick and in a lot of pelvic pain during my pregnancy I loved my time with him. That's not to say it wasn't hard and there were times I couldn't wait to be not pregnant but I cherished every second with him.
I do however have a lot of triggers. Seeing a couple or a parent with a young baby is the most difficult. It breaks my heart to look at people and think 'that should be us'. We should be pushing our son in a pram beaming with pride at strangers hoping they'll notice and comment on our beautiful baby. I can't bring myself to look at babies. I avoid pregnant women in the street. I focus on the floor or stare straight ahead praying they'll move away quickly.
One of the biggest triggers for me happened a couple of weeks after Aneurin was born. I woke up one morning to the sound of a young baby crying and for a split second I thought it was him. The pain of realising it wasn't and it never would be was horrific. I still find a baby's cry piercing. It makes me want to run away and hide.
3 months in and there are so many triggers. A pregnancy announcement, a birth announcement, a baby's giggles, the tender voice a parent uses towards their child all feel like salt in the wound. But, I know it will get easier. It has to.

Day 14. Express your heart - Today my heart feels peaceful. I don't know whether it's because our appointment with the consultant yesterday answered most of our questions and gave us a positive outcome in terms of the future or whether that's just what will happen sometimes but it's comforting.
Today we've talked about Aneurin happily, fondly and freely. We've laughed about him having his mummy's big feet and his daddy's nose, we've dreamt up his personality and imagined him in all his freedom. I've been moved to tears by words and gestures but in a wonderful way.
Today my heart is not heavy with trauma and grief but light with gratitude and love. I know it won't last and the next wave could come crashing down around me at any moment but for now, I feel peaceful and these are the moments I live for.

Day 15. Wave Of Light - For my sweet Aneurin I miss you so much my heart aches. And for all the babies who couldn't stay.

Mrs D x

Monday, 16 November 2015

Xandres Xline at House of Fraser

Earlier in the year I featured this Dickens & Jones dress and mentioned how surprised I was to see the huge selection of plus size clothing at House of Fraser. Since then that selection has grown and now includes 25 brands and designers and over 700 items ranging from sizes 16-30. I was kindly asked if I'd like to pick an item to review from a new-to-me designer, Xandres Xline

Xandres are a luxury Belgian brand which means items are a touch pricier than I'm used to but as soon as I opened the package and pulled out the Embellished Cotton Sweater I had chosen I could see why. The fabric was much softer than I was expecting and definitely felt luxurious. On the website it was difficult to tell what sort of knit it was but this is heavy on the cashmere and very light to the touch.

The metallic thread detailing over the shoulders is very pretty and takes the jumper from an every day basic to something a bit more special. I wanted to keep it quite casual though so I teamed it with my Simply Be oxblood jeggingsSimply Be wide fit black flats and my favourite ASOS punchout satchel handbag. My headscarf is a vintage chiffon one and glasses are Babs by London Retro

I'm wearing a size 24/26 in the jumper and it's spot on. As you can see it's not too baggy but still quite relaxed. Although the idea of wearing something from a luxury brand made me a bit twitchy (I have a wonderful habit of spilling things down myself...) there's no chance I'm saving this for best, it's far too snuggly and lovely to get dusty in a wardrobe! I will add though that if you are going to invest in this jumper you're going to need a good lint roller to hand! I noticed after a while that it left quite a bit of grey fluff on my jeggings but I popped it in the washing machine on a gentle wash and it's not as bad now. Definitely worth the rolling anyway!

Mrs D x

Friday, 13 November 2015

Capture Your Grief 2015 Days 6-10

Day 6. BooksThese books have all been incredibly helpful in different ways over the last few months. 
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth was a book recommended to me by a dear friend and it proved to be invaluable. I was never afraid or even apprehensive about giving birth but this book took away any underlying worries I had and gave me so many techniques I used during Aneurin's birth.
I Love You, Natty was a gift from Downs Side Up when we had Aneurin's diagnosis of Down's Syndrome. It's written by her elder daughter Mia about her little sister Natty who has DS. Hayley was and continues to be an incredible support and inspiration.
After we lost our sweet Pea I needed distraction but couldn't cope with much so I turned to the Harry Potter books. We've spent a lot of time fishing which means a lot of reading time for me. I ended up reading one book a week but even when they were done I still didn't feel up to anything much more intense so now I'm making my way through The Hunger Games! A bit more meaty but still not very heavy.
Reading has always been a crutch for me and I'm so grateful for the distraction and escapism of books.

Day 7. Memory - It was really difficult to pick one specific memory of our time with Aneurin but this one stuck out the most. Every night my husband read a story to my bump and without fail Pea would stop moving as if he was genuinely listening. We had a day at home after he passed away before I went in to be induced and there were two things I wanted to do with him still with me. One was have a long bath and the other was have my lovely hairy husband read him a story and that's when I took this photo. Those 5 minutes every day were and still are so precious to me. Watching my husband do that and watching him with Aneurin after he was born made my heart soar. I don't have the words for the things those moments make me feel but they're big and powerful and wonderful.I also have a lot to say about the importance of making positive memories with your baby once they're born but that seems more suited to a blog post.

Day 8. Wish list - I wish our son were here with us. I wish I could hold him one more time. I wish I knew the colour of his eyes. I wish I knew what his smile looked like. I wish I knew what his laughter sounded like. I wish I had a warm cheek to kiss at night instead of a photograph. I wish I could protect my husband from this pain. I wish nobody else ever had to know what this feels like.

Day 9. Family - My family are everything. The ones I was given and the ones I chose. The ones who stay, who stick it out even when you don't always see eye to eye, who see through you and accept you for all your flaws and in all your versions; those are the ones who deserve to be called family. Aneurin is a part of that family. My mum and step dad and my husband's parents have a grandson. My brother and sister in law and my husband's brother have a nephew. We have a son. He may not be here but he will always be a part of my wonderful, silly, loud, loving family. The bottom left photo is my most favourite. One of the few precious family photos we have of mummy, daddy and baby.

Day 10. Words - So many people said 'I know words can't help/nothing I can say will make it better' when they sent their condolences but they were so wrong. Every word was a comfort. Every card, every letter, every message, every comment, even someone sending kisses or hearts was and is a comfort. I've screenshotted every single comment we received on my FB and on here when we announced Aneurin's silent arrival and will be printing them off to put in his memory box along with all the cards we got.I also find blogs and articles written by bereaved parents incredibly helpful. Reading about other peoples' grief helps me understand mine.

Love,Mrs D x


Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Plus Size Trick Or Treat

Whilst we generally avoided Halloween I tried to make a little effort and donned one of my favourite festive jumpers for the day. I spent the morning of Halloween getting my hair done which was such a treat. My lovely friend normally does my hair in exchange for me doing her nails but the poor thing has been really unwell lately and my hair was in need of some love so I braved a new salon. Plus, I'm starting to realise how beneficial self care is when you're recovering from any sort of trauma and spending the morning having a little pamper was really lovely. I also got a free deep conditioning treatment which left my hair feeling UH-mazing. The lovely lady even curled my hair which made me feel super fancy. So fancy infact, I felt compelled to actually put some make up on when I got home!

Mr D and I live in a village that has a strong community spirit which means a lot of trick of treating at Halloween. We couldn't face the idea of seeing lots of lovely little children dressing up when we should have had our own little pumpkin at home so we wanted to do something out of the house for as long as possible. As such we went to see Spectre at the cinema and then out for dinner at our favourite restaurant, The Smoke Pit. We actually ended up having a really enjoyable afternoon and evening. 

As we were sat in the cinema for three and a half hours (!) I wanted to be comfortable so my jumper and jeans choice was a good one. 

Plus size halloween jumper

Retro cat eye glasses

Vanilla rum milkshake, I love you.
Simply Be Trick Or Treat Jumper no longer available - similar Plus Size Christmas novelty jumpers here

Mrs D x


Sunday, 8 November 2015

Autumnal Weekend Wishlist

The weather has turned (for the better in my opinion) and all I want to do is to immerse myself in wools, leather and berry tones. I've found my style has shifted ever so slightly into less fancy, more cosy which I am fully embracing at the moment. With this in mind, here are a few bits that have taken my fancy over the weekend. 

Anything grab your eye? 

Mrs D x

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Capture Your Grief 2015 Days 1-5

The Capture Your Grief project I took part it on Instagram for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month was so well received I thought it might be an idea to share it on here too. Plus, it'd be a good way of accessing it in the future rather than having to scroll through hundreds and hundreds of photos of my cats. 

I'll post a few themes/entries every week so it's not completely saturated. The response to these posts on Instagram was overwhelming. I was so apprehensive about going so in depth about my grief and Aneurin but people were so incredibly kind and supportive which only spurred me on. I had more messages and interaction during October than I've ever had and mostly from other bereaved parents which was wonderful. I hope someone somewhere finds comfort in these posts or enables someone to understand or support a loved one suffering a loss a little better. 

Day 1. Sunrise - I see Aneurin in nature all the time. I'm not sure why but the beauty of nature makes me feel close to him and gives me comfort. My favourite is rays of sunshine through the clouds which husband and I always used to say looked like heaven and now whenever we see them we like to think it's our little Pea saying hello.

Day 2. Intention - At first I was really apprehensive about sharing my grief and life after Aneurin for many reasons. Partly because it is such a deep, personal pain and partly because I didn't want to appear crass. However the more I learn about life after losing a child more I see how isolating and silent it can feel. My intention is to let other people going through similar to know they're not alone in the complex and often confusing nature of grief and to give loved ones a better understanding of what it's like to allow them to care for and support bereaved parents better.

Day 3. In Honour - Aneurin Davies, my beautiful, precious little boy. He was the most wonderful gift and taught me so, so much. We had an incredible roller coaster of a journey together and whilst I'm heartbroken he isn't here I'm so glad we got him for that short time. Aneurin has changed our lives and our hearts and I will spend the rest of my life trying to make him proud and honouring his memory. This was the last bump photo I took during my last bath with him in my tummy. I was going to post a photo of his perfect hand but as much as I love sharing my son I want to keep a little bit of him to myself for a bit longer.

Day 4. Dark & Light - I posted this earlier but the photos just felt too personal and intimate to share so this swan will have to do. The first was a photo of me taken when we arrived at the hospital to be induced, the other was taken after Aneurin was born. The first photo is so scary to me, I look completely broken in it and terrified of what was to come. The second I am beaming with joy. I expected Aneurin's birth to be horribly sad and traumatic but it was the total opposite. The trauma came later. All I felt was joy and pride at meeting this beautiful boy my husband and I made together. I have never felt like that.My grief is filled with darkness and light in equal measures. The trauma of losing my child, the heartbreak of missing him so much and missing all the things we should be doing, the joy of having him in our lives for that short time and the incredible love and pride I feel for him and will feel forever. 

Day 5. Empathy - There's a big difference between sympathy and empathy and the latter is what bereaved parents need. Don't say 'you can have more/you're still young/at least...', say 'I'm sorry/this is really awful/what can I do' and just be there. I don't get cross when people say the wrong thing because it's impossible to know what to say and I know people aren't being malicious.
Losing a child isn't something you get over or even move on from, you just have to find a way of living with it.
Please don't pretend he didn't exist. Say his name. Ask questions (including how to pronounce it haha). If we don't want to talk about him we'll just change the subject. 
Empathy, not sympathy.

Mrs D x
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