Tag Archives: birth trauma association

A shoulder to cry on

Some time after the toddler was born, I made a promise to him- and to myself- that I would do everything I could with the time I had left to make it all up to him. I needed to let him know that I was deeply, deeply sorry for letting him down when he needed me most. I needed him to know that I was sorry for not being strong enough, for missing that first hour of his life, and for failing to be the mum he needed when he needed it most. He was just a baby. He was barely four months old. He didn’t understand what I was saying and in a way, neither did I. I don’t think I had even begun to accept what had happened during his birth by that point. I certainly wasn’t feeling like a mother to him; I just knew that I was supposed to be feeling it.

Making that promise seemed like the best thing to do and I admit that even today, it weighs heavily on my mind. If  I’m tired, or he’s having a tantrum and my face won’t form a smile… guilt hits me like a bullet then. What about the promise?

When I made that promise I was grieving. Not for a person, but for something… something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.Perhaps I was grieving for that amazing birth I was supposed to have, especially after the first one had gone so wrong? Perhaps I was grieving for that little boy in the delivery room, who’s heart beat fell silent and died in my dreams? Perhaps I was grieving for… for me?

I am not the same person I was before my son was born. In many ways I am a better person. It’s taken me two long years to realise that. In many ways I know so much more about life and love and motherhood. In many ways I can now be that mother I thought I was before he was born. Perhaps I can now stop grieving for that person I was back then and embrace the new me?

These are all things I have been thinking since I left the meeting yesterday. It was the first Manchester Birth Trauma Association meeting and despite being involved in its set-up, I hadn’t actually thought much about how it might affect me. I’d bought a box of tissues, knowing that it could be emotional to talk to people who understand, or even just to talk to people. Caroline bought individual packets of tissues so that we could go home and cry too.

I didn’t cry. But I did think about that promise. I think I’m keeping it. I think I can keep it.


I’m glad to have a shoulder to cry on.


Is that really who I am?

Last night I had a real ‘is that really who I am?’ moment. Today I’ve apologised for being that mum. I never wanted to be that mum. I never knew I was that mum. I hope I’m not that mum again.

Sometimes we look in the mirror and the reflection can shock us; mostly we look in the mirror and see what we want to see instead.

I suppose this is all as clear as mud to you all. I’m not sure I can explain to be honest. I’m not sure I even want to either. I never said I wanted to admit to who that mum really is. I think I’ll try though.

Yesterday I saw something which I found deeply, deeply upsetting. It was a photo of a lady’s precious baby who had passed away following a traumatic birth. I hadn’t expected to see this photo, it was in the ‘wrong place’. I hadn’t wanted to see this photo- it was enough to know that this horrific tragedy had happened. It was enough to offer my thoughts and my condolences. But was it really enough?

Do I really have any right to be so upset? Why did I make this all about me? Why, instead of this poor baby’s face, did I see my own son? Why, when he was upstairs, asleep, breathing, dreaming, living? Why did I feel so surprised to realise I was fighting back the urge to be sick and tears were rolling down my cheeks? Why did I look down at my sleeping newborn, wrapped closely to my chest… why did I think thank goodness that isn’t my baby?

I’m ashamed of myself. I didn’t want to see that picture. I wasn’t prepared to see that picture. That picture is all one mum has left of her son. Is that really who I am? A mum who can’t bear to think of another mum’ s sadness? When I started this blog and met so many other mums who had been through horrific circumstances, I felt that maybe I could offer friendship and support to other women. Tomorrow, I am meeting with a terrific lady to help set up and run a support group in our area, on behalf of the Birth Trauma Association. I really hope that I can indeed offer that friendship and support after all.

Am I really that mum? Maybe. Maybe I’m just like you; maybe it hurts to witness such deep suffering in another human being. Maybe I’m just human.

The final push…

Tomorrow, at midnight, time is up. Tomorrow, at midnight, millions of nanowrimos will put down their virtual pens, either a winner or not. In my eyes, all participants are winners, since this was no easy task. It has been hard work.

There have been days where I have seriously regretted ever telling anyone I was doing this. With working, two children and an increasing pregnant belly, writing 50,000 in such a short time was always going to be a challenge. BUT with the support of some amazing people, I did it!

Yesterday I validated my novel and ‘won’ my first ever Nanowrimo! Hooray!


My novel is based on the birth of my son and has been the hardest thing I have ever written. In doing this, I have had a lot of memories stirred up inside of me and a lot of emotions swimming around in my head. I have written words I never knew were lurking inside of me and I have been forced to face up to more than a few facts. I am now reading. I am now starting on a slightly longer and no less important process: I am having  a baby and I am going to make sure it is a happy event. This novel has made me see the next steps in my life clearly at last, and I will be forever grateful for that.

So here is the final push. Tomorrow, at midnight, time is up. I need to raise just £51 more to meet my £200 target for the Birth Trauma Association. If you donate just £1 today it could make all the difference. If you have already donated, thank you thank you thank you. I could not have done it without you. It means so much to me.

If you can spare the pennies at this time of year, my son, my family and thousands of others like me thank you.

Here is my page.


Thank you XxX

#Nanowrimo: the end

Take a look at this:


Yep. That’s right. As I typed the ending this afternoon, I took a sneaky look at my word count and thought- briefly- goodness, that was hard work. And the digits stared back at me with wink and a thumbs up.



Wow. I did it. I won! I WON!!!!

The fight continues

I’ve already blogged about my ‘fight’ for a c-section date for this pregnancy. Since last week, when the proposed new guidelines for c-sections were released by NICE, I seem to have been bombarded by other people’s opinions on the matter. I’ve written for iVillage about this and will post a link once the article is live. I’ve also chatted to other bloggers who are also  directly affected by this, and who also feel that they are being misunderstood. In the midst of it all, I was directed to this post, by one of the lovely members of the Birth Trauma Association’s Facebook group:  Don’t tell me I should’ve had a VBAC.


I can so relate to this post. Throughout my last pregnancy, I was told over and over again that I should try for a ‘natural’ birth and that I would regret it if I didn’t. I succumbed to the pressure to let nature lead me and I did not get any kind of emotional or psychological support in my reluctant decision. I wish I had had the guts to stand up for my planned section.

Today I called the hospital and spoke to a lovely midwife who has advised me of my next steps. I need to convince my consultant that I deserve an elective section. BUT…

why do I have to state my case like this? Why is my request for a c-section under such scrutiny? Money aside, what exactly has it got to do with the plethora of ridiculous commentators who have been spouting off about this all of a sudden? In the last week or so, many women (and some men) have been giving their two penneth worth about all of this. And why not? Being parents, they have a degree of knowledge in childbirth. Some may even have had a c-section themselves. But they have NOT had my experience (or that of another blogger who springs to mind) and they do not, therefore, have the right to judge.

Yes, a c-section costs more than a natural birth. How much does an emergency section cost? How much does birth trauma counselling cost? Anti-depressants? Repeat post-natal check ups?

The new guidelines aim to give women like me additional support in making a difficult decision. Please don’t think for a second that I don’t wish I could be in and out and back at home with my baby. Please don’t think I am ‘too posh to push’. Please don’t judge my needs on a monetary scale. Please listen to me and my reasons and accept that, for some women, a c-section is the best, most cost-efficient option of all.

#Nanowrimo day 4 update

Quick update with some stats for you:

Word count for today: 8045.

Money raised: £127.

Percentage of fund raising reached: 64.

Words left to write: 41,955.

Time left to do it: 26 days.

Money left to raise: £73.


It hasn’t been easy this week. Teaching full days Thursday (with staff meeting til late) and Friday has been a challenge but I made it through ahead of my daily word target. Yesterday I reached a bit of a crossroads where I wanted to hit delete. Thankfully, my Nanowrimo buddies and gorgeous sponsors kept me going and I am happy to say that I am back on track!

My novel is called And the world came tumbling down and you can read an extract here:



You can also sponsor me in my endeavours. All money raised is for the Birth Trauma Association:



Oh, heck.

A month or so ago, I saw a tweet from @Yorkshiregirl asking if anyone was taking part in NaNoWriMo this year. I tweeted back to ask what the heck it was…

For most of you, I’m guessing I don’t need to explain. Here’s the link: NaNoWriMo.


When I was little, I used to read the Garden Gang books. I discovered that the author of these books had been just twelve years old and  think I was about eight when I told my mum I would write a book before I was that age. The intention has always been there. Notebook after notebook has always been filled with stories, conversations, story ideas…

At university I took a Creative Writing course, where I met the fabulous @Minty_b. I loved those sessions and I graduated with a renewed love for writing and an even newer appreciation for the theatre. I wanted to write more than anything… so I got a job in an office.

You know how life gets in the way? Yeah, that. I met my husband, we had our daughter and I decided to go into teaching. I never left my writing behind, I just found less and less time in which to do it. Instead, I was teaching and helping children to write- the next best thing?

My son’s birth was my turning point, and the reason I started this blog. And there you have it. I remembered that old feeling of being unable to sleep because  a plot idea was running through my head. I remembered the security of having a notebook to hand at all times, day and night, to jot down words, ideas and thoughts. I remembered what it was like to be me.

So, NaNoWriMo. I’m going to do it. I’m deadly serious. For all the books I started and never finished, for the frustrations of my mum who used to sit for hours, reading them and never finding an ending… for me.

For that extra kick up the butt, I decided to ask for sponsorship. I am now 24% of the way towards my target of £200 in honour of the Birth Trauma Association. Thank you so much to those of you that have sponsored me so far. Your money will make sure that I finish this book and will help other women like me, who have suffered a traumatic birth. Your money is so precious and so gratefully received. Thank you.

If you haven’t yet donated, here is my Just Giving Page:


You can also text £1 to the cause by texting YLGH51 £1 to 70070.

Here is my nifty button, which will take you straight to my site. Anything else? Oh, yes. Please share my page. Please get as many people as possible to sponsor me for this cause. The end result will be so much more than a book.

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

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