Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Babyloss Awareness Week

This year I've completely lost my way with the Capture Your Grief project.

I think my Unspoken (click to open) post really took it out of me. Laying some more of me bare. 

After my last post, I haven't felt able to let the words flow onto the screen.  Its felt stilted and stalled. I told myself I *should* be writing. I'd committed to giving myself and Belle this time. And then I realised there was no should about it. If I wasn't in the headspace to carry on with the project, right now at least, then so be it. It wasn't going anywhere. There wasn't a real time constraint. Maybe in this moment I didn't need the project in the same way as I did last year. 

So I gave myself the permission to break. And to carry on when I was ready. Explore each title heading when I was ready, if I was ready, if it felt right. It didn't need to be on a specific date in October, just because it was babyloss awareness month. It could be any time. Next month, the month after, or even next year. 

This year I'm taking Capturing Grief very slowly.  Maybe it won't even be complete. 

I cannot put my finger on why, but this year, the project, and babyloss awareness week has not sat right with me at all. Dare I say, even made me feel uncomfortable. Which is ridiculous. I am one of the faces of babyloss, a STILLborn daughter to my name.  But this year, I felt the need to take a step away from the outpouring of grief and social media awash with baby loss awareness week. I didn't participate in quite the way I might've last year, or previously. 

It has always felt significant before, that Alexander's birthday should coincide with the end of babyloss awareness week. Our first rainbow truly was the light that came shining through in that week back in 2011. Back then I'm not even sure I was aware it was the week, but as he explored his light up drum birthday present as his contribution of Wave of Light in 2012 it felt somehow special. Our two worlds had collided together in a beautiful sort of harmony in one week. 

This year, I didn't feel able to marry to the two. 

This year, as we built up to Alexander's 5th birthday, I felt removed from a babyloss community week. More uncomfortable.  I couldn't blog about such huge grief topics and focus on my rainbows birthday video at the same time, I couldn't find meaningful things to photograph for the project or give it my authentic attention when my focus was on the birthday presents and party for my little boy. 

I don't know why it has felt different this year to others. Why I felt weird, removed, uncomfortable. Its as important as it ever was. 

But I do know that birthdays are a big deal in this family. Our Rainbow boys especially so. The boys who lived and came home. We celebrate! Big, emotional, making memories. I'm always aware and so very conscious that our boys may one day feel like they grew up in the shadow of their sisters death, as hard as we try to make it not so. This year I just felt like I couldn't drain myself in the week of his birthday by fully participating in babyloss awareness week. Alexander deserved to be the entire centre of my attention. Rightly so. 

On Wave of Light day we were at Longleat having a special day our for our Big. In previous years I would've felt a strong sense of unjustified guilt had we not been home at 7.00pm to light our candle for Belle with everyone else. This year we were on the road home at 7.00pm and I felt no guilt. As facebook flooded with candles and I was tagged in posts, I felt no guilt at the alerts. Just that his sister would wait for her candles when we got home. Just as it wouldn't be her turn to be the centre of attention on his birthday weekend if she were alive.  

In the end, when we got home from Longleat at around 8.30pm, I lit six candles to mark the six years we've lived without her. Six years darling girl. Six years, four months, two days. 

This year Babyloss week didn't feel right for me. Its taken me another week to realise that this is OK. After all, I don't need and have never needed a special week or month to be vocal about Anabelle's place and importance in this family.  She is known by those that matter every week of the year. 

Maybe this is more evidence of an evolving grief. More evidence of a sense of healing in strange and wonderful ways.  More little steps. 

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Caz
After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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