For us, having a stillbirth in what I can only describe as “stillbirth awareness month” in the UK media is a mixture of good and bad. I have dipped into the depths of the recent SANDS and Lancet reports and the range of different news articles as a result – when I’ve felt strong enough too. I’m sure I’ll look into it all more and it will further fuel my random thoughts of wanting to write to Hunt, my local MP, Cameron.. And the rest. As a friend recently said, I’m not one to “take to my bed”, I’m a do-er after all. Campaigning and fundraising is something I’m likely to take to and run with in time, I’m sure.
However, I don’t know if now is the time to hear about how 50p tests could have saved my baby boy. It’s all a bit too soon to know that this life is one I could have the privilege of not living. Despite being on high risk level care, having three extra scans, and one only 24 hours before he died, as a result of IVF… These reports don’t comfort me, as it still didn’t save Leo and ultimately we are on the wrong side of the post mortem results to really know how to direct our emotions.
But, what I have managed to suss out is the different avenues of support and what ticks for me currently. There have been articles about the level of aftercare and again, I think it’s too soon to comment. Whilst we haven’t heard from anyone, except my GP with my blood results, since we left the hospital, I do know where I can look for support.
My first step was the SANDS message board and I didn’t stay there that long, and I couldn’t tell you why now. Then Facebook – I’ve followed a few organisations and I joined a ‘group’. It quickly taught me that we are not alone, at all. I was comforted by people still remembering their babies several years and decades after. It made me feel safe that I wasn’t going to forget Leo in a hurry – not that I thought I would, but it was a fear. However, it soon became a constant reminder of the worst aspect, sort of like looking and staying in the past and not a productive way of traveling through this journey.
At the same time, I was writing my random thoughts and this led me here. And then to Twitter. And now to Instagram. Here, I feel supported and safe in the words of fellow parents in this secret little club, that shouldn’t really exist, or be secret. It seems here, everyone has dark and light days – people are honest, productive, vocal. And the messages of support from people at different points in this journey give me hope.
What I have utilised, is separate accounts. I’m an Instagram addict and dip into Twitter in life pre-Leo, so now have two accounts on each. I think right now, this is sensible – I can access the support, the articles, the reminders when I feel strong enough too. And I can disappear in the latest happenings on Beyoncé, Gaga, and reality TV stars when I just want to switch off. Mingling the two doesn’t seem wise right now.
I read a short Instagram post about how families look different and we have to be proud of this. My family was always going to look ‘different’ – we are two mummies and military (her, not me), using fertility treatment and anonymous sperm donors. And I’m ginger. This wasn’t part of my picture, but it is now, and it will shape our ‘different’. And one day, Leo’s brother or sister may be part of it.
P.S. I’m TheLegacyOfLeo everywhere, if you are also an Instagram and Twitter fan. Feel free.