Perspective

I saw this quote today and it really struck me.

‘I stopped telling myself that I’m lost.  I”m not. I’m on a road with no destination, I’m just driving with hope that I’ll find a place that I like and I’ll stay there.  I’m not lost. I’m on my way.”

There have been many times where I’ve felt lost, but never as much as after the death of our daughter.  There is something about the way these words are laid out to take on so many different meanings that makes it worth putting out there to think about. 

Here’s my interpretation: It’s shockingly reminiscent of the journey that we take through loss/grief.  At first it seems like we’re in denial…. ‘I’m not lost…’ I just don’t know where I’m going yet….  Then the journey becomes a search for healing “I’m trying to find somewhere I’ll like”.  Once we’ve found that place of healing we’ll stay there (one might call that acceptance), and then the final line: “I’m not lost. I’m on my way” is the turn around of coming out of the grief and starting to rebuild their world.

In another interpretation, one may look at this simply as a positive re-framing of perspective. When you find that you are at peace with being “lost”, you then aren’t lost anymore, because there is no longer a need for a specific destination. So changing your own view is a way to move forward and stop feeling so stuck.

I struggle with this in life.  A planner by nature I like to have a plan and I like to see the road ahead of me on how to get to the destination.  That’s not to say that I always have a rigid unadjustable view, but I do want a general road-map (in sticking with the driving metaphors …) I want to know where I’m going and how to get there.  In my head, I’ve figured out the directions. Obviously when detours come along it really messes me up because I’m type A like that.  Going back to the words in this quote, when detours are thrown at you, and you begin to look at it that you’re on your way to the place you’ll like, it’s a lot less ominous. Even when you don’t know how to get there, and sometimes that is the best way to take the journey. 

 

How would you interpret these words?

Someday…..An exercise for you.

Dear parents….

When your life has been thrown into chaos, it’s hard to picture yourself on the other side, enjoying the sunshine when the only thing you can see at the moment are the dark stormy clouds.  Even after those have lifted and your days get back to relative normalcy, there are (and in my opinion will always be) those times where for whatever reason you just find yourself right back in that moment where you feel an overwhelming sense of sadness, anxiety, anger and/or loss.  I hate those moments, they make me feel small and insignificant.  They make me doubt myself and they make my heart ache for control over something which cannot be fixed.

So here I am going to suggest trying a little exercise, and I would LOVE you all to try it too when you are feeling off or when times are incredibly hard.

First things first: Figure out what things are difficult for you at the moment and why. Write them out. These may be things that are hard to do or that you avoid like the plague.  Next, below each one, write “Someday……” and fill it with your goal.  Finally, write a line below it that says “my child would be proud of me for…………..”.  

While the goals can be general, the accomplishments should be specific when they are written.  They can be something you’re planning to do in the future to give yourself something to aim for, (for you planners and list-maker types) or they can be left blank and simply filled in when you have done something that fits the goal.

I know my own personal hurdles, but where you are and what yours are will depend on your situation. For instance a parent who came to the NICU recently will look very different from one who has been in and out of it visiting their child for months, and a newly bereaved parent will look different from one who lost their child years ago. 

Here are a few examples:

[fear/anxiety] I can’t Leave the hospital room/ Go home – [reason] I don’t want to leave the room/hospital because something may happen to my child and I won’t be there. 

[goal] Someday, I will leave the room for an extended amount of time.

[accomplishment] My child would be proud of me for leaving for 10 minutes to get some coffee

…..for leaving for 30 minutes to eat in the cafeteria

…..for returning home for a few hours to see his/her sibling(s)

 

[anger] I have a hard time seeing other happy couples with their “normal” pregnancy/baby {reason] because mine is suffering and its not fair.

[goal] Someday, I will be able to be happy for them. 

[accomplishment] My child would be proud of me for attending a baby shower for a friend

…. for sending a card/ note to my pregnant cousin

…..for asking that woman at the grocery store her baby’s name

 

[sadness] I am having a hard time making it through the day. I don’t feel like getting out of bed.I am missing my baby so much it hurts [reason] because he/she has died

[goal] Someday, I will smile again.  Someday I will be able to think about him/her without a complete breakdown.  Someday I will start to rebuild my life.

[accomplishment] My child would be proud of me for answering a call from my mom/friend/etc.

…..putting his/her picture on the wall

……visiting his/her grave

……donating to a charity in his/her honor

…..going back to work

……laughing at a comic /tv show /video/ story

….cooked a meal for my family

 

What’s the point of this you may ask? its simply to put some of the control back into your hands and to provide proof to yourself that you can and will make progress through even the toughest of times. You will be able to identify the whirlwind of emotions that are occurring.  Sometimes just separating them out helps because you can tackle one thing at a time and it may feel less overwhelming. Additionally, it may pinpoint some triggers for some of these emotions should you find you feel off balance. Look for patterns in what you’ve written. Plus, If you can see the things you think your little one would be proud of. Wherever you are at that point in time, there was a worse time before that, just look at what you’ve been able to do since you started! Are these jedi mind-tricks?  Perhaps.  But if nothing else, it’s a throwback to recognizing how you can help yourself.

For me these days, the most frequent emotion is being sad she’s gone and the goals are trying to do positive things in her name. My someday is “Someday others will find support and comfort from our work so that losing you will not have been for nothing”. And my accomplishments?? Well, most of those bigger ones are yet to be determined, but as a start, “my Delilah would be proud of me for sharing her story with others at the Promise Walk and connecting with parents who experienced similar situations”. I’ve come a long way from “Someday I will be able to hear that damn Plain White T’s song without crying”.  To be fair, at the time I didn’t think I’d be starting an organization devoted to her legacy either…

Someday is out there for you too dear readers, whether that is leaving the NICU with that teeny tiny preemie and starting a whole new ride, moving forward from grief, or something else in between. So the next time that uneasy feeling hits, take out your list, and find something you can do to help calm it and move towards your someday, step by step.

A Letter to my Post-Natally Depressed Self

WOW. This is moving. And an exercise in forgiveness, acceptance, and healing; beautifully written.

Nervous PND Surviver

Hey you!

I see you there on the couch. Your dirty dressing gown hugged tightly around your shoulders as you stare vacantly into the middle distance.

I bet it feels like the first times in weeks that the baby hasn’t been screaming the house down. So now you don’t dare move in case you wake him. You’re semi-aware that now is probably a good time to grab a snack or a shower but you can’t move. The room is pressing down around you and you feel like you can’t breathe. I bet you can’t remember the last time you enjoyed something, or what it feels like to not be constantly worried about something, anything.

You can’t see the end of the next minute, never mind, the next hour, day, week and you certainly can’t imagine ever feeling like you ever again.

But listen, you will. You will smile, you will…

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Start a Conversation about Baby Loss

Acknowledgement means so much – this is proof. It’s uncomfortable for some, but it can aid in healing for those who wish to share. Hugo inspires happiness in remembrance to his mother, even if accompanied by a bit of sadness, it is likely so much better than saying nothing.

Headspace Perspective

Since the death of my baby son Hugo earlier this year I have been overwhelmed with love, kindness and support from family, friends, strangers I have met and new friends I have met online.

Hugo and I enjoying a cuddle Hugo and I enjoying a cuddle

Very few of these lovely people were able to meet Hugo. My baby was born 16 weeks early and spent the 35 days of his life in a neonatal intensive care unit on a ventilator.

However, all of these lovely people know exactly how much Hugo means to me. They say his name, listen patiently to all the stories I have to tell about his spirited and mischievous character, and look at the many photos I have of my gorgeous son. They admire him, and agree that he was a wonderful baby.

For those few minutes, I feel my face light up and I feel like any other proud new mum showing off my amazing…

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Link

Letter to NICU parent

I am not surprised, but I am overwhelmingly encouraged to see that there are other organizations that are dedicated to helping parents make it through their time in the NICU.  I found this letter, and it is inspiring and perfect in almost every way so I wanted to share. Because HOPE is needed every day, whether its day one in the NICU or day 564. There is no straight line to walk, there is no NORMAL in the NICU.  So, for those who want to support those they know who are fighting this fight and who are wondering what they could do, click through the link above to read the letter on the blog Life With Jack. PRINT this letter and give it to the ones who need it. It will matter and it will make a difference, if only for a moment, I promise you it will. 

Cheers & Hugs

I want to remember this…

Something I bet you would never expect a parent to say; and it’s BEAUTIFUL.

Expecting the Unexpected

They called us back to the NICU.  We had been back in my labor room, away for only a few minutes and had spent the time calling family to tell them to come now; her time was short.  It is never a good sign to be called to the NICU.  Her oxygen sats were dropping.  Her chest xray showed a collapsed lung and another leaking air.  She looked so purple lying on the warmer.  Beeps of machines.  The whoosh of the ventilator.  Her oxygen levels flashed on the screen…58…54…55…54.   Those numbers should have been in the 90s; when we left they had been holding steady in the 80s.  I took it all in… my baby was dying.  They sat me in a comfortable chair and put up a privacy screen, perhaps so other families wouldn’t witness our suffering, perhaps so we could have our pain in private.  From where I…

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