But you have a toddler…

If you’ve read my “Our Story” you’ll know I am blessed with a beautiful little boy called Beau. Now the first thing I have to say is this may trigger some people but please let me explain. I absolutely love my little boy to pieces but he is still a toddler going through the terrible twos and it is not easy. Losing Silver has given both my husband and myself perspective and most definitely gratitude for what we do have. I honestly couldn’t live without him and despite parenthood being really difficult it is the most worthwhile part of life and becoming an adult.

People who have lost a baby who have other children may also have experienced this but I have had a few well meaning yet hurtful comments of people telling me and Fabian we need to be “grateful” for Beau and focus on him. I think the most appropriate response to people like this is asking them which child they could live without. Of course we are grateful and love him to pieces but that doesn’t mean we didn’t spend 6 months trying and dreaming of pregnancy before being blessed by conceive Silver and 20 weeks dreaming of having a family of four. We were emotionally ready to welcome another life into our family and it hurts to have it snatched away whilst still waiting to even know why. When children are young they sometimes ask their parents which sibling is the parents favourite. Almost every parent will reply with “I don’t have favourites”. Well that is so true! I don’t have a favourite and can’t imagine life without either of my little ones. If you couldn’t choose between your children why imply parents who have lost a child should simply forget the love for the lost baby and focus their love on the living one. I love my little ones equally and both have a piece of my heart.Β 

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I have to say I always was a protective mother and have been very particular with Beaus upbringing. I decided the healthiest diet for him was a well planned out vegan diet after many years of looking into it myself and meticulous research. His health has always been a priority. I have been adamant from the start I would home school so I could raise my own child as I feel it is my responsibility as a parent and I feel I can raise him to be the best, most ethical human being he could be. I have always said I would never leave him at nursery for other people to look after him, I’m too protective. Of course I’ve also made sure we go to clubs and classes/ activities to socialise him too. So naturally losing Silver has just made me crazy protective over him. I am so scared of anything happening, losing someone I knew for 16 days was bad enough, I couldn’t bare to lose him – I’d never recover. I guess you could say this has increased my anxiety recently too and made me struggle even more. I am so scared of ever experiencing loss and pain like this again that the protective nature is almost too much to be healthy for myself!

I find since connecting with other mums, one in particular who lost her 8 month old to SIDS that it has made me not only eternally grateful for a healthy little boy but also slightly paranoid! Just before Silver was born Beau had a little accident. Fabian was drying Beau after a bath. He can now open doors however and our bathroom is tiny. We cringe thinking the door is going to hit the sink sometimes as they are so close. Well Beau managed to duck under the sink and open the door one day. I was downstairs in the kitchen and heard Fabian shout “Beau, no…” in a way that makes your heart sink as you know its something really bad. Fabian had to wait until the door was fully open to be able to get past the sink. By that time Beau had managed to sit on the top step of the stairs and attempted to shuffle down like he usually does with our support. Only he lost his balance and fell. Thankfully items on the stairs stopped his fall and I managed to catch him at the bottom. It was a stupid mistake on my behalf for forgetting to lock the stair gate and not taking into consideration he could now open doors. Thankfully he was absolutely fine and it didn’t take long before he was trying to climb back up the stairs! The only problem is now falling asleep on a night I am constantly worrying about all the little things that could pose a threat to him, I am so scared of losing his. I have seen some heart breaking stories online and I don’t want that to be me one day. So despite being grateful and totally in love with my little boy I’m also a completely nervous wreck which is not ideal after everything else we’ve gone through.

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Okay so now I’ve just told you how protective I am and how much I love beau I also need to address the “focus on Beau” issue. In some ways yes this does help, we have some lovely moments together where he gets so hyper and so happy that you can’t help but smile. Or being a toddler he does random things that make you laugh, like last week we went for a ride out in the car just to get some fresh air and space and I heard sucking. I wondered how he had found a drink in the car only to turn around and find him sucking his toes…! Unfortunately there is a down side to having a toddler whilst grieving. We also have bad days where of course he is learning to test boundaries and limits which means lots of tears, tantrums and screaming. The crying of him as a newborn never bothered me at all but this crying is so loud and there are times I feel like screaming back and I have to bite my tongue. I hate that people keep saying how he should be helping keep us going but actually there are days I really just need peace and quiet, time to think about Silver and grieve. So although he does give us a reason to keep moving forward there is also times when I want to give up because it can all be too overwhelming. So far the toddler stage is by far the hardest stage of having a baby and I was certainly not prepared for just how hard it was going to be and in hindsight just how easy a newborn is!

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I think I just wanted to write this post to give perspective to other people who may be jealous that I do actually have a child. I want people to understand that I am still grieving badly too and I do realise just how lucky I am but my life is certainly far from perfect and despite being very lucky in some aspects I still have many challenges to face and its simply unfortunate the terrible two’s coincided with losing Silver. I hope this also gives perspective to the people who are trying to support parents in a similar situation and to be mindful of how good intentions can still be hurtful. I know personally I am very easily triggered at the moment and its the small things that can hurt the most. I hope others also experiencing this realise they are not alone and that I understand how much you loved not only your little one but all of your children equally and it is completely understandable to feel stressed at the realities of having to continue being a parent to your other children at a time you want to most likely curl up and cry. It is okay to ask for help! People swarm you with offerings soon after a child passes and then it can sometimes go quiet. Other people move on, something a grieving parent can’t do. But its okay to tell these people you are still struggling and need support.

Just know you are not alone.

Until next time

Holly x