Another Mummy blogger. Well, in many ways I suppose I am; I write about my son, my life as his mother and how much my existence has changed since his arrival. The thing that sets me apart, perhaps, is that my son, Teddy, is no longer here with us.
Teddy died at just three days old after we had been blessed with his arrival. After a full term and uncomplicated pregnancy, it was a total shock. As a couple, and for me as a mother, we faced the unthinkable. Now my life, and my blog, is very much about trying to muddle along with everything that has happened (and continues to happen) since then.
Like many Mums I face the struggles of the postpartum body worries; the new tufts of hair that seem to be growing at the front of my hairline and the persistent pregnancy related skin pigmentation that seems to have hung around for over eighteen months of my life now. Unlike other “normal” mummies though, I face these with my little one in my heart as opposed to my arms. I guess that is what makes me different?
When I was asked by Kate to write this guest blog, I felt honoured, as I always do when I have been asked to write pieces for other blogs. Then, shortly afterwards, I suddenly realised what I actually felt was accepted. Accepted, as “Teddy’s Mummy”. I guess that’s something I’ll never be referred to as much; seeing as there won’t be any standing around at the school gates waiting for him, or dropping him over to friends’ houses to play. The outside world won’t refer to me as “Teddy’s Mummy”, I’ll just be Elle.
When you lose a child you suddenly feel like you have been robbed of so much more than just the physical existence of your child on this earth; it can feel as though you have been robbed of that entire motherhood; the great privilege it is to be a Mummy and to be called one. You feel as though there is a club that you were in; you had got as far as the door (perhaps even hung your coat up in the cloakroom) and then been unceremoniously booted out again. Left completely on the outside. That was so hard to take. During pregnancy my interests, hobbies even, had changed entirely in preparation for Teddy’s arrival. The brands and bloggers I followed on social media; the books I read. Did I really have to give that all up, because my baby didn’t make it out of the hospital?
I often think about how different things would be if Teddy had been here now. I am almost certain we wouldn’t be trying for number two; but what else would differ? Would I be writing a blog? Living out my life through the tiny squares of Instagram? I am not sure to be entirely honest.
Since I began writing about our loss of Teddy and the direction in which life has taken us since, I have found myself opening up more and more about my thoughts and feelings. Not just about his death and the emotions that surround that, but my feelings as his mother; the longing to be “Teddy’s Mummy”; a title that I cherish. After all, he is my subject matter in the blog; most of the time. Without him, without losing him; what would I be writing for? Who would I be writing to? Perhaps none of this would have started at all; I would just be “Teddy’s Mummy”; and that would suit me just fine.
I won’t lie to you; when your child dies it is as excruciatingly and unimaginably painful as you believe it would be. If I were asked to write ten thousand words on the pain that surrounds the loss, I am pretty sure I could double the word count without so much as batting an eyelid. My blog isn’t about that though; it’s not about the pain of the loss, it’s about what comes after. How do we pick ourselves up and carry on?
I have spent the last thirteen months of my life learning to be “Teddy’s Mummy” without Teddy. Finding out ways to discover my happiness again. Learning how our family life will work now he is not here to share it with us. I have tried my very hardest to speak his name whenever I can; to normalise his entrance and exit from this world.
I had a positive birth story, so I feel happy and confident in sharing it; I feel it’s my duty to focus on the positive parts before the unthinkable happened, and I feel as though I owe it to him. I started the blog as a way (and an excuse if you like) to talk about Teddy, see his name written on a page; it makes my heart smile and reminds me he was here. I know that sounds silly in itself; but when you lose a child your mind plays great tricks in order to help relieve your grief and sometimes you start to question whether it ever really happened at all. Writing is my reminder, and my acknowledgement to the world that Teddy was here; that I do belong in the club.
The more I have written, the more I have come to realise that I am not alone. There are thousands of Mummies just like me, in this alternative club. It’s not one you’d want to be a part of, far from it. Perhaps though, on the tougher days, the ones when you are tired of being just “Mummy” or feeling as though you’re not up to the job; you’ll just take a moment to reflect and to remember that you are doing a great job (however you’re getting it done!), and the very job that I (and many like me) would give anything for.
Lastly; a huge hank you Cheltenham Maman, for helping me feel less like an outsider, and more like I made it into the club. Finally, it was getting bloody cold out there……
A Guest Blog from Elle Wright
Elle Wright is a thirty-something married mum of one beautiful boy, Teddy. Sadly Teddy never got to come home from hospital after he was born in May 2016, and Elle began to write about her experiences, and how her home helped her to heal, through her blog Feathering The Empty Nest. She also devotes much of her time to raising money and awareness for #teddyslegacy fund, with all of the money raised going to the NICU at Ashford & St Peters Hospital in Chertsey. Elle and her husband Nico live in Godalming, Surrey and are currently (tirelessly) renovating their Victorian house with the ever helpful guidance of Boris the pug. You can follow their adventures on Instagram, Facebook or via the Blog. Be sure to bring your sense of humour though…..