Goodbye, Socials!

Goodbye, Socials!

I’ve sat down today in Mavy’s sunny bedroom – which is also my office – to write a little bit of a goodbye. I haven’t been active on my blog lately. I’ll be honest – I’ve been avoiding it. At first, I wasn’t sure why as I love writing but, I think I may have figured it out.

Since Mavy died I have become the most active I have ever been on social media. I’ve been searching out those like me and writing my blog as I just want friends and family to know what Mavy Kellegher truly means to me, Adam & Nola.  It has been a comfort and I really believe it has helped me. However, there is a Yin to every Yang and I also feel that now is the time to step away from parts of this virtual world.

Let me explain. I write my blog which I plug through my Missing Mavy pages on Instagram and Facebook. My following on Instagram is quite understandably loss mum and dads – incredible people who like me, want to share their children. This means when I log onto my Instagram, as I scroll through, I see square after square of strong but broken parents sharing quotes and pictures of their dead babies. I see the raw reality of what I face every day. Yes, sometimes this is comforting as I do not feel so alone. I love looking at those pictures at times and acknowledging how beautiful and loved those babies are. I love commenting “me too” when I really resonate with something a fellow loss parent has written. I’m also ashamed to admit that sometimes I can’t cope with a new story of heartbreak. Sometimes I just want it all to go away and I want to see happy stories. I want to see inspiring posts about some of my other interests. What I’m saying here may be controversial in baby loss world – after all we need to speak out to raise awareness and I fully support that. Perhaps I’m being contradictory anyway as I am active in posting about my dead baby too. Baby-loss is complex, and we feel how we feel. I don’t need to explain this in great depth, it just is what it is.

Most of us have a love hate relationship with social media, don’t we? Great for connection, seeking out others in your situation, finding groups and classes and so on and so forth. It is also bad for connection with real life people you can physically reach out and hug, negative at times and we can value ourselves on how many likes, comments or shares we get. Although I never thought it would be, this is something I noticed myself doing. Blog about my baby dying – people interact. Blog about my weight following my baby dying – people do not interact. I started this blog to talk about everything in my world of baby loss. I started it as an outlet and to reach those who needed it. Just to make it clear I write to raise awareness, not for likes. However, there is a small part of me that is bothered by people’s reactions. Okay, maybe a large part of me.

Like many others I can easily spend an hour scrolling through social media in the evening. The biggest gift that Mavy has given me is that now I know that life is so short. Life is worth living. Life should be filled with things we love and enjoy. So rather than being half present in a virtual world I could be cooking a nice meal with my husband, practising yoga, meditating, enjoying a book…the list goes on. These activities make me feel close to Mavy and they help to heal me mentally, spiritually and physically. I need to find some balance.

This goodbye is for my Missing Mavy pages on Facebook & Instagram. I love writing and I will always seek comfort in the baby loss community, who I hope in turn continue to seek comfort in me. The blog stays! My contact page and email address will always be available for anyone who needs me. I will continue to update my website; I’ve got lots of ideas!

Thank you to everyone who has visited my page. I have had over 2500 visitors over 18 countries in the last 6 months and each of you now know Mavy Kellegher and that brings me so much comfort.  If you enjoy reading my blog and want to stay in touch with me please subscribe to  It’s free to subscribe and you will receive a notification to your email when I write a new post. Please feel free to share any blogs I write on your own social media too, so Mavy and my words can reach far and wide.  

Perhaps I didn’t need to write a whole post explaining my reasonings for deleting my Missing Mavy social accounts. There is a part of me that feels I am letting Mavy down. However, that part of me can shut up because I know that’s rubbish. Enough of the guilt. She would be proud of me and I know that.

Sending love to all those loss parents and the friends and family who support them.

Emma xxxx

Toddler Grief

Toddler Grief

I have wanted to write about Nola for a while. It has been a difficult one for me for a few reasons. I have had almost 3 wonderful years with Nola, I have so much to say about her, how could I fit it into one blog post? Secondly, Nola will grow up one day and be able to look back and read my blog should she want to. I am conscious of this and therefore must get the balance right between talking about her with the same love I talk about Mavy, whilst retaining her privacy.

Regardless of everything, I know Nola. I believe whole heartedly that she will grow up to be a wonderful person who will want to help others and so I decided it was the right time to share Nola’s experience of grief – through my eyes and words.

The last words I said to Nola before Mavy came into our life was “When I next see you, the baby will be here”. Those words ring in my ears. I lied to Nola. The “baby” never came home.

When we left hospital with empty arms and went to stay with my mum, I gave Nola no explanation of what had happened in the 5 days we had been apart. I was terrified of speaking to her and being asked questions I couldn’t answer. The sad truth is that although I did get some lovely cuddles, my little lady knew that Mum & Dad couldn’t look after her at that point and so she directed all her care needs towards my mum and my brother. She did not ask me anything, she hardly looked at me. I found it incredibly difficult. In fact, I felt like I was losing her too.

The reason I picked myself back up as quickly as I could was out of my love for Nola and my innate want to be her Mummy. I just had to be there for her and look after her. With that in mind, we went home. This is perhaps 2 weeks after Mavy had died – I get lost with the dates – and at this point I had still not told Nola anything. Nor had she asked.

I had done my research while at my mum’s house and I had learned that it was very important to be truthful with children and not to sugar coat. This includes talking about baby’s sleeping or being ill as this could in turn make her frightened of going to sleep or getting poorly. I was determined to get this right and time was ticking on. My poor little girl could sense things weren’t okay and I needed to be brave and be her parent. Nola & I went to her bedroom together and I sat down on the bed beside her. The conversation went like this:

Mummy – “Nola, you know Mummy had to go to hospital to have the baby that was in my tummy?”

Nola – “Yes”

Mummy – “Mummy had the baby, so she isn’t in my tummy anymore; she is a little girl and we called her Mavy. She is your sister. Mavy didn’t come home to our house because she died. When someone dies it means they aren’t here anymore, and you will not see them again. We are very sad because we wanted Mavy to come to our house and live with us. Mummy & Daddy will cry a lot and it’s because we miss her. We both love you so much and it’s okay if you feel sad too.”

Nola – *Silence*

How does a 2-year cope with that conversation? It just isn’t in their emotional understanding – nor should it be – to comprehend death. I did my very best to remain calm, show her love and support and not make that conversation about me. She knew what I was saying was serious and upsetting and she couldn’t make sense of it, which is why I got no response. I left it by saying that she can talk to me about Mavy whenever she likes.

It was a while before I could show Nola, Mavy’s pictures. I kept these pictures to myself because Nola is 2 so becomes fixated with things. I wasn’t sure I could keep showing her the photos all day. I also worried that if Nola saw a physical baby who looked like she was sleeping, it would confuse her. However, when I sat with her 3 months on and asked if she would like to see the pictures of her baby sister, she amazed me. She loved to look at them, it didn’t seem to confuse her at all. Nola now has access to Mavy’s photo book, her album on my phone and we have photos in our living room.

As time goes on Nola will ask me occasionally where Mavy is. I will just repeat that she died and that means she isn’t here anymore. Nola will often cry and say she misses Mavy and she wants her back. I am not ashamed to say Nola has seen me cry and scream those words many times. She may be imitating me, but she may also be using my outlet to express her own emotions as she hasn’t learnt how to do that yet. Crying is okay. Being upset is okay. I used to worry so much how my outbursts would affect Nola but now I realise that this is part of grief, it is a ‘normal’ response.

In happier times Nola will play make believe and Mavy is always mentioned in her games – this is wonderful for me to hear. She will tell people about Mavy, proudly explaining she has a sister. Sometimes she even says she is Mavy. I think, like me, she just likes to say her name.

I do worry greatly about the impact losing Mavy will have on Nola’s life. Nola doesn’t fully understand what she has lost right now. If you have a sibling – imagine your life without them. That’s all you can do to really understand what Nola will face. I know many people will think that because she will grow up with this knowledge and she will never know any different – that may somehow make things better. I beg to differ on this. I think it will impact Nola, but I really hope it can be in a positive way.

I can never fully explain to anyone the grief of a 2-year-old – because I am not Nola and I can only write about how I view her experiences. What I can tell you is I am so proud of my little girl and the way she includes her sister into her life. She has watched her friends get baby brothers and sisters without complaint or questions. She has gone through grief at such a young age, yet she is happy, she smiles, she throws tantrums and she gives the best cuddles. She is doing great. I hate that she has had to go through this, and I will spend the rest of my life supporting her and loving her.

I don’t talk or post on social media about Nola, whereas I have made a whole blog for Mavy! I worry how that may look to Nola when she grows up. All I can say is that my reasons for this are to protect Nola and raise awareness in Mavy’s memory. I like to think they are both proud of me for this.

Many parents who lose a child have other living children however some do not. I am trying to be as inclusive as I can in my blog, but I can only really draw on my own experiences. In my experience with grief, I am trying to navigate this path for a toddler too. If anyone has experience with this and can offer any advice, I would really appreciate hearing from you.

Sending love to all those loss parents and the friends and family who support them.

Emma xx

Post partum weight loss

Post partum weight loss

What has weight loss got to do with babyloss? In my world…a lot actually.

For as long as I can remember I have battled with my weight, I’ve been anything from a size 10 to a size 18. What’s worse is I look back on photos when I was a healthy weight and I vividly remember thinking I was ‘fat’. I have put myself down so much so, that I’ve avoided going out or even looking in the mirror, because of my size. I have lived miserably on lettuce leaves and miserably while binging on all the bad stuff. It’s been a vicious cycle for as long as I can remember.

During both my pregnancies my weight has been mentioned as a risk factor, although in Mavy’s pregnancy I was actually on the cusp of what my BMI should be (I was running regularly and a size 12) and was put in the low risk category. In both of my pregnancies my weight ballooned. I tried my best to be healthy. If I fancied pizza for dinner I’d have it, but not before eating a packet of brocolli first to give my baby and my body much needed nutrients (made sense in my crazy mind).

Unfortunately my biggest craving with Mavy was a can of coke. I know, I know, it’s so bad for you. If you’ve read my previous posts you will know I had undiagnosed gestational diabetes so those sugar cravings make sense to me now. Even so I would limit myself to a can a day because I was forever worried about gaining too much weight and the impact that sugar would have on my unborn baby.

The need to overeat was not because of greed during my pregnancies, not all the time anyway. I would feel so ill to the point I would feel like I was going to faint if I had gone 2 hours without eating. I never mentioned this to my midwife….another regret.

Shortly after Mavy’s post mortem I recieved a copy of the letter that the consultant had sent to my doctor. It outlined what had happened and the care I would need to recieve in a subsequent pregnancy. One of the points we had apparently discussed was weight management. I can tell you for certain my weight was never mentioned in that appointment. Talk about kick me while I’m down. I felt like that letter was saying my baby died because I was too fat. I still have these thoughts now. I feel really ashamed.

It was easy to lose some weight after Mavy died because the grief was so intense that eating was almost impossible. As weeks went on though I fell into my usual habits and decided after Christmas I would start ‘dieting’ again.

After I had Nola, I wasnt bothered about my weight gain because I had a newborn baby with me. A sign to the outside world that I was post partum so of course was carrying more weight than usual. Breastfeeding really helped me drop weight and I was back to feeling okay about myself within a year.

This time around it has been different, for a few reasons. Firstly, I have no newborn baby so my post partum body feels cruel and unfair. Secondly, a part of me relates this extra weight to Mavy and losing it would feel like losing more of her. I’m aware of how ridiculous that sounds but that really is the truth.

I have always enjoyed running and have recently started practising Yoga. (Yoga needs a blog post of it’s own for the positive impact it has had on me). However, I have recently discovered I have a twisted pelvis which I’m currently under treatment with a chiropractor for. So now Yoga is limited and running is completely off the cards for now.

So the plan for now? I really don’t know. Be kind to myself. Try to remind myself that I am working hard to build up my strength and feel healthy again – this isnt just a vanity thing. This is about how weak I feel. Physically and emotionally.

I feel really frustrated that I have to rehabilitate my post partum body but didnt get to bring my baby home. In fact sometimes I feel really angry about it. It shouldn’t be like this.

Writing this is hard. Talking about my weight is really uncomfortable. Though, what’s the point in blogging if I dont write about the reality of this journey? I’d love to hear from any bereaved mums who have been through this battle.

Sending love to all those loss parents and the friends and family that support them.

Emma xx

A positive day

A positive day

Positivity. Today I feel positive. I feel somewhere close to happy. I walk around and feel Mavy as if she is cocooning me in love. It’s difficult to explain what a ‘good day’ looks like to me now but they are becoming more prevalent in my life and when I have them, I feel lighter. It is nice to feel good. There will always be a side to writing about feeling happy or positive that fills me with guilt. Will everyone think I don’t care about Mavy anymore? That I am over her death? Disclaimer: I am not over her death and I care massively. I think I do deserve to have some better days after being in darkness for almost 4 months. It’s funny nobody is putting this judgement on me at all. I’m putting it all on myself. Note to self – need to work on that.

Last week I walked upstairs and looked to Mavy’s bedroom as I always do, I saw a rainbow pattern of light coming out from under her door and I smiled. Was she showing me a sign? I have never believed in any of this but more and more I notice things that make me feel like she is here. It is likely I see these things because I want to, they have probably always been there, but I never noticed them before. My eyes and heart are open to everything around me. I feel pain more than I have ever felt it and it really hurts, but do you know what? I don’t mind anymore. I welcome my pain. I want to feel it. I want to feel my love for Mavy, as that is all my pain is. It is the love for her that causes it.

As well as the pain I have never felt love like this. I feel a stronger connection with my family and friends. I love Adam fiercely. My love for Nola is intensified. I feel close to people I didn’t know or speak to much before Mavy died.  It isn’t that I didn’t feel love before, but I never stopped to think about what it is exactly that I am feeling. I was far too busy in the rat race. Just pausing and allowing my emotions is so freeing.

I am calmer about the worries of mundane things. I don’t have one hundred thoughts and lists of things to do running through my mind as I did before. I still have quite a few because losing Mavy did not give me a personality transplant but I have definitely ‘chilled out’ a bit. Who cares if I haven’t remembered to put the bin out? Bad example as Adam always does that but you get the gist.

I want to take care of myself a lot more. Put myself first sometimes. I think many of us feel guilty for taking that time away to have a long bath, buy ourselves a new book or just pamper ourselves. I have struggled to relax in the past and have always felt (especially since becoming a Mum) that I shouldn’t put myself first as that is selfish. Listen up! Putting yourself first is the opposite of selfish. It allows you to recharge and therefore become a better Mother, Wife, Friend etc.

My positivity and happiness the last week do not mean I don’t break down in tears of shock most days. I was driving alone the other day and I saw an ambulance with the blues and twos on. I was immediately transported back in time to my ambulance trip. I went into a daydream, running through the scenario of what had happened and as I played the story out, I was hit by sudden anxiety. Oh my god, she died. How did she die? Did that happen to me? It was like I’d just discovered the memory, as if I didn’t know it had happened. I don’t know what this means. I could psychoanalyse myself and say I have not reached ‘acceptance’ yet. Perhaps it is a PTSD response to the trauma I went through. Who knows? All I do know is those moments happen often, but I recover from them quicker now.

In my experience with grief so far, I understand that you can have some bloody brilliant days where you think, I will be okay. I will survive. Each day can be subtly or massively different from the last, as our emotions are ever changing and evolving. 

More and more I notice myself feeling whole again. I think a lot of this is that I have learned how to carry Mavy in this way. I do not feel nervous or worried to talk about her so much anymore. I hold my head high and tell anyone who wants to know all about her. Although I don’t physically have Mavy in my arms, I have her. She is mine. My daughter. I have survived every single day since Mavy died and I will continue to survive more. Fighters talk. I am fighting for my life, for my happiness.

I do not know how I’ll feel next week, next year or in 10 years-time. All I can do is keep going with what my grieving brain wants and try to push myself towards a more positive way of thinking. I can’t change what has happened, but I can decide what I do with my life because of it. I choose to be hopeful and help others navigate this tough path.

Sending love to all those loss parents and the friends and family who support them.

Emma xxx

Adam & me

Adam & me

I remember watching a documentary years ago on the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. It talked a lot about statistics of child loss and one that really stuck out to me was that “80% of parents will divorce following the death of a child”.

Shortly after we had been told that Mavy had died, I asked for an epidural. Adam hates needles so I told him to leave the room. As soon as he left, I asked the midwife if I was going to lose Adam as a result of Mavy dying. I told her that I had seen before that couples rarely survive the loss of a child. I’m on the rubbish end of statistics as it is. I was 1 in 200 losing Mavy. Was I now going to be in the 80% that loses my husband too? She gently replied that the fact I was asking her this whilst in shock and the full throes of labour, made her believe we were going to be okay.

Adam and I met in 2015, the course of events that led to us meeting were so random, it was a real sliding doors scenario that brought us together. I can’t say it was love at first sight. It was mainly a lot of flirting, drinking too much wine and staying up until the early hours for weeks on end chatting and learning about each other. It took 3 months for the penny to drop for me – I’d fallen in love with him.

The evening Adam plucked up the courage to ask me to be his girlfriend we were at a party and we were very drunk (we often were in our pre-child days). I sobered up in an instant, ushered him outside and said that whilst I would love to be his girlfriend, we needed to have a little chat first. I told him that I wanted marriage and babies and whilst I didn’t want them right then and there, I knew that was the future I envisioned. Before I agreed to anything, I needed to make sure he was on board with my plans. Talk about chucking him in the deep end! But hey…here we are 5 years later, married with two beautiful daughters.

Two and a half years into our relationship Nola was born. Whoa, did she turn things upside-down for a while. I suffered with crippling anxiety after Nola’s birth and Adam was my hero. He was our protector. We both grew up a lot when that gorgeous little lady came along, but we grew together. Life became about changing nappies, family days out, 7pm bedtimes and more love than I could ever have imagined.

Fast forward a year and Adam proposed. He got down on one knee in front of a roaring fire in the library at Congham Hall, Norfolk. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect setting or a more perfect person to share that experience with. Our wedding day was exactly a year later and will always be one of the happiest days of my life. Nola was our flower girl and chucked petals (very elegantly may I add) down the aisle before I walked down beside my Dad. Nobody knew (not even us) that a tiny little bean inside my belly had started to grow. Mavy. Mavy was at our wedding, she was with us when we said our vows. She wouldn’t even have come up on a pregnancy test at that point but nevertheless she was there.

After a beautiful honeymoon at Ragdale Hall we settled down to married life, which very soon after became lockdown life. We had created the most perfect world together. I didn’t take it for granted. I knew how lucky I was.

Then Mavy died.

After Mavy was born sleeping, Adam went into his protector mode again. He made the calls; he had many painful conversations. He arranged her stillbirth certificate. He went to visit the crematorium to make sure it was the right place to lay our baby girl to rest. He did all of it. Do you know what I did? I laid in my hospital bed or later on my mum’s sofa and either cried or stared into space. I have no idea how that carefree lad I met back in 2015 managed to do what he was doing for me and our family. I was always the control freak in our relationship. The tables completely turned and to a certain extent they haven’t turned back yet. Maybe they never will. Our relationship has changed. We, as people, have both changed. 

In the early days I clung to Adam, I looked to him to make things okay. I would only sleep if I was curled up next to him. I had become completely dependent on him. Adam would set me tasks each day, things like bath Nola, have a shower or just simply eat something. I have no idea how difficult it must have been for him to witness his wife in so much physical and emotional pain, whilst also coping with the death of his daughter.

When we came back to our house, 2 weeks after Mavy had died, Adam was whistling while doing things around the home. It was making me so angry that he was acting ‘happy’. As weeks went on, I stopped clinging to Adam. I started to withdraw and so did he. The worst thing about grieving the loss of a child as a couple is that you can’t do it as a couple. You must grieve alone, there is no other way, the journey is so personal to you as an individual.

Adam’s main grief outlet is anger. He was and still is sometimes, so very angry that his daughter was taken from him. My grief outlet is sadness. I cry. So, he’s angry, I’m crying, Nola’s 2 years old and doing what a normal 2-year old does – driving her parents up the wall. Everything just feels so difficult, so hard to just keep plodding along. 

I talk about Mavy a lot more than Adam does. I am starting to understand, through counselling, that this does not mean he doesn’t care; it means we are different people with diverse actions. The impact losing Mavy has had on our marriage is huge. We don’t always have time to love each other anymore because we need to protect and love ourselves and Nola right now. However, what I do know for sure is, I will do whatever it takes to make Adam and I part of the 20% that stay together.

I know he will read this so here we go Adam, some very public soppy-ness for you!

On the days where grief is too much remember that I love you. I will be always be grateful that you chose me. I will always be thankful that it was you I had my children with. I am in awe of your strength and bravery. We will be okay. We will learn to parent Mavy in a way we are both happy with. We will continue to be driven up the wall by Nola, in the best way, she is the most talented comedian I’ve ever seen. I love you and I love our family. It may not look the same as everyone else’s, but it’s ours.  

Happy 1-year Anniversary ❤

At a time where you think you will be thrown together in your shared grief; you learn that the pain just tries to push you apart. I have quite a few wonderful followers now, so I wanted to share a little bit about Adam and me, while raising awareness to the awful truth that relationships after baby loss are tougher than I could ever imagine.

Sending love to all those loss parents and the friends and family who support them.

Emma xx

Results Day

Results Day

When I woke up on the day of Mavy’s Post-mortem results I was filled with dread. I wondered what outcome would be ‘best’. When I was asked how I felt about receiving the results, I would shake it off by saying that nothing would change the horrible fact that she wasn’t in my arms, so it would make no difference. This couldn’t have been further from the truth.

I needed to know what had happened to my beautiful girl. I had to understand.

The meeting was over zoom – due to Covid-19 – with our Bereavement Midwife and a Consultant. I cannot describe how it felt staring at a screen waiting to find out why my daughter died. I felt like my heart was being ripped from my chest. In my mind I was transported back into that delivery room, feeling the worst I have ever felt in my life.

The Consultant began to deliver the results. The signal was so poor it only added to the stress, I was straining to hear every word because every single word was so important to me. The beginning of this conversation was more about what was not wrong with Mavy. No infection, no chromosome issues, no genetic problems.

I have been careful not to write about anything too ‘medical’, as I am not a doctor and I don’t want to write something that’s factually incorrect. What I write is my understanding of what has happened, based on speaking with medical professionals. Considering this I have copied out what the post-mortem report said below:

 “The post-mortem findings are those of a normally formed female fetus…. There is evidence of acute stress response, in keeping with acute hypoxia.

Underlying causation of these changes is difficult to define with certainty. The post-mortem findings include a well grown cherubic fetus. In the context of previous gestational diabetes (not in this pregnancy), fetal growth and placental histology raise the possibility of sub clinical maternal gestational diabetes”

The cause of death was Acute Hypoxia – in other words Mavy died from lack of Oxygen. The placenta was small in comparison to Mavy which raises the possibility I had undiagnosed gestational diabetes, causing Mavy to outgrow the organ supplying her oxygen.

It was discovered from a blood sample taken after delivering Mavy that I was diabetic. Due to previous gestational diabetes with my daughter Nola I was given two blood tests throughout my pregnancy with Mavy. Both results came back clear. Usually, the NHS test for diabetes in pregnant women by carrying out a glucose test. For those of you who have never had this test it goes like this:

  • Fast from 10pm the night before
  • Go into hospital in the morning, have some bloods taken
  • Drink a Lucozade type liquid
  • Wait 2 hours
  • Have your bloods retested to see how your body reacted with the sugar

This test was replaced with a simple blood test due to Covid-19. The blood test I received measured my sugar levels at the time the blood was taken. The threshold was 42 and I have now learnt my result was 38 – so under the limit to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

I’m now left with a lot of questions:

  • Is the blood test suitable for measuring diabetes in pregnant women?
  • If I had the glucose test would it have come back a different result?
  • Did I develop gestational diabetes after that second blood test?
  • If I had been diagnosed with diabetes, would the extra growth scans I would have then been offered have picked up that Mavy was unhappy?
  • Why did my body fail Mavy?
  • Is it my fault?

There were times towards the end of my pregnancy I felt faint and very ill. I had to eat or drink something straight away to feel better. I have no medical proof, but I do now believe I was suffering with hypoglycaemia as a result of the diabetes. I thought I was experiencing normal pregnancy symptoms, but research has led me to this conclusion.  

When I was pregnant with Nola, I had read on the NHS website that diabetes could cause Stillbirth (although very rare). I was controlling my diabetes well with diet, so I did not ponder too much over this. My limited understanding was that a baby could grow too big because of the disease and I assumed this would mean an issue with birthing the baby. I now understand that the danger is the baby will overtake the placenta and not be receiving enough oxygen or nutrients. I feel strongly now that women need to be aware of the worst-case scenario. Yes, it is scary but unfortunately it is realism and the more knowledge we have, the more aware we can be of our bodies and our babies.

Since receiving the post-mortem report, I have carried those 12 pages around with me everywhere. I have sobbed while sitting with a medical dictionary, figuring out all the tests and poking and prodding they did to Mavy’s little body. It has broken my heart into a million pieces. This is me continuing to be her parent, trying to understand, trying to make some sense of why my daughter isn’t here. I owe this to her.

The most difficult part to get my head around in all of this is that yes, I have a series of factors that could have contributed to her death. But that’s all they are, factors. There are no definite answers. What we do now know for sure is I had diabetes and Mavy died from lack of Oxygen. Linking these together is logical but I’ve been told it cannot be proved.

The care I received is being investigated by the HSIB (Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch) and I trust they will uncover any gaps if there are any. I don’t want this to be anyone’s fault. However, I can’t shake this horrible feeling that when Covid-19 hit us, somebody sat in a boardroom and decided to change that diabetes test – resulting in Mavy’s death.

The reality is, if Mavy had been born hours before she was, she would have been born a healthy baby girl. I am trying to learn to forgive myself for not being aware of what was going on in my own body. To a certain extent I don’t think I ever will.

I apologise this one may be a tough read; it was a tough one to write. There are so many what ifs, but that is the reality of a bereaved parent of a Stillborn baby. We very rarely get definitive answers.

Sending love to all those loss parents and the friends and family who support them.

Emma xx

What do I say to her?

What do I say to her?

**Disclaimer: If you know me personally and you recognise anything in this article that you have said or not said to me, please do not worry. We are humans, we are not perfect. I know that all anyone wants to do is support me**

Today I received an email from the hospital to invite Adam and I to a meeting where we will be delivered Mavy’s post-mortem results. The subject of that email is this: “Pregnancy loss appt”.

At what point was my daughter lost? Did she go missing? If so, why did I have to birth her and bury her? Why does she have a birth certificate and a death certificate? She was not a lost pregnancy; she was my little girl. She was a full-term baby whose heart stopped beating. Her name is Mavy Nola Kellegher and she weighed 8lb 10oz and was born on Friday 6th November 2020.

The language we use is hugely important, particularly in baby loss. This email came from a bereavement midwife, who would likely be horrified to know the hurt and upset she has caused by referring to my baby as a “pregnancy loss”. This is why it is necessary to talk openly and to be honest with health professionals, friends and family when they say something that doesn’t sit right with us.

I have always been a bit of a people pleaser, not wanting to rock the boat so accepting things others say, that I don’t particularly like or agree with. We all have different views and I accept that so just letting things go has never been a big problem for me. Since losing Mavy this is becoming harder to do. I realised early on that I needed to set boundaries with my friends and family, so they knew what language was acceptable to use around me when talking about my darling baby girl.

A couple of common sayings I really cannot accept, were mottos that before losing Mavy, I had lived by my whole life – “Everything happens for a reason” and “What’s meant to be, will be”. Please never say this to me or any bereaved parent. It’s absolute bullshit and it leaves that parent wondering, what was the reason my baby died then? Was I not worthy? Did I do something wrong? Why is your child “meant to be” but mine wasn’t?

“You could try for another baby”. Yes, I could. Will that take my pain away? Will it change that Mavy died? No. The conversation of a sibling for Nola and Mavy is a separate part of my life, a discussion all its own. Take into consideration that some bereaved parents may not be able to have a baby. Their baby that died may have been a longed for – last chance – IVF baby. They may have had medical complications that prevent further pregnancy, or their baby may have died due to a genetic condition that they cannot risk happening again.

 “Are you back at work yet?” a friend asked me innocently 8 weeks after Mavy died. It hurt me. Was I expected to be ‘over this’ and back at work? I have no baby to look after so I think people often wonder why I wouldn’t be back at work by now. What they don’t see is the pain I am still in from birth and carrying a baby for 9 months as well as the physical pains of grief. I often have headaches or feel sick. Sometimes life feels so overwhelming, getting dressed in the morning is an achievement.

Another friend asked if I wanted to “talk about it”

“Sorry, what is ‘it’? Do you mean Mavy?”, I replied.

It may seem that I’m really picking here, and I am. Unfortunately, this is how my mind now works. Waiting to be offended, for someone to say the wrong thing. I hope it eases in time; it isn’t nice to live with.

There is also the lack of language to consider. The silence. The people who put their head down when you walk past or those that see you for the first time and they rattle on about mundane things when really you just want to scream at them and say “ACKNOWLEDGE MAVY’S EXISTENCE!!”

If your friend lost a grandparent, when you next saw them you would say “I’m so sorry to hear about your Grandad, how are you?” Astonishingly, after losing Mavy, this wasn’t always the case. I received many heart-felt text messages, but face to face contact felt awkward. These people just felt so sad for me they didn’t know what to say.  A part of me understood but it became intolerable for me to ignore the fact my daughter had died just to make that person feel comfortable. If you don’t know what to say, tell me you are sorry, and you don’t know what to say. I’m still me. I’m still Emma. I’m just a very sad version right now.

Some of the most helpful conversations have been from well-meaning work colleagues who have bumbled their way through what must have been a horrendously awkward chat for them. I appreciated that they didn’t know whether they were saying the right thing, but they were honest about that. These chats make me feel less alone and less frightened about entering society and working again one day.

My family & close friends and I have all cried together, the tears fall from a place of love. Love for me, Adam & Nola and love for Mavy. It is easy for me to forget how much they loved her too and I must also choose my language carefully around them, to let them know that I know they are also sad. They all lost someone they loved too. I always feel lighter after those heart felt moments.

Choose your words carefully. If you aren’t sure if something is appropriate – explain that you aren’t sure how to word what you want to say. Saying something is always better than saying nothing.  

Here is a list of phrases that aren’t helpful and in brackets are the responses my grieving brain thinks when I hear them:

  • Are you okay? (obviously not)
  • Maybe she wouldn’t have survived if she had been born, it was kinder this way (I didn’t know you were a Doctor?)
  • These things just happen sometimes (No shit, Sherlock. I’ll be okay now then)
  • If you have another baby, you might feel better (I would love another child just as much as I love Nola and Mavy, but it will never make me feel better about losing Mavy)
  • You will get over it, one day (No, I won’t, and I don’t want to)
  • At least you have Nola (Could you choose one of your children, if you were only allowed to keep one?)

Here is a list of phrases that are kinder to use when speaking to a bereaved parent:

  • How are you coping right now?
  • Are you happy to share Mavy’s story with me?
  • How do you feel, physically?
  • Can I offer support in anyway?
  • I can’t imagine what you are going through and I’m so sorry you lost your little girl.
  • I’m sorry, I just feel so sad for you I can’t find the words. I just want you to know I am here for you.
  • I love her name; how did you choose it?
  • Does Nola talk about her little sister?

I hope this article doesn’t come across that I am unappreciative and negative. I really haven’t meant it to. There are some wonderful people in this world, and I have been shown so much love and support. I only want to raise awareness and help others to help the bereaved and understand their triggers.

Sending love to all those loss parents and the friends and family who support them.

Emma xx

Why blog?

Why blog?

I’ll be honest, I thought writing a blog would come easy. All these thoughts and emotions whirring round my head at a 100mph every day, it would surely be simple enough to just type them out. The truth is it hasn’t been easy. I have written, edited, deleted and rewritten this piece many times. I have agonised over how to explain different emotions in order to make what I write helpful to other bereaved parents, as well as informative for those that are here to get some insight on how to support them. So instead of jumping right in at the deep end I’m going to ease into this virtual world gently and explain why I am starting a blog.

I am under no illusion that I am very much in the thick of my grief journey. Mavy died 10 weeks ago. I have a long way to go before she isn’t all I think about all day every day. So why start a blog now? Why not. My grief is painful and raw, so surely it is the perfect time to share my experience. I’ve had so many people reach out to tell me how brave I am to do this. I’m not sure if I am brave. I think a huge reason for writing comes from wanting to talk about Mavy. A special place for Mavy and me. I love even just typing her name. Mavy. My daughter. She was here. She existed.

I am not a writer; I am not a grief coach. I have no qualifications in what I’m talking about whatsoever. I am a bereaved parent, and this unfortunately gives me experiences that I feel are necessary to share and talk about. Baby loss is still so taboo. Nobody wants to think about it let alone talk about it and that means loss-parents can feel very alone. I cringe at myself for some of the things I have posted on social media of late – will people think I’m attention seeking? That I’m obsessed with death of my baby? Let me try and explain it in simple terms. We see posts of living children all day everyday all-over social media. The first smiles, steps, first words. It is so beautiful to see, and those parents are so proud to share. Well the thing is, us loss parents, we want to share too! We are so proud of our babies, but we do not have those firsts to share. We only have the small amount of memories we made and quotes about grief that let others know how much we love our children. So yes, I am obsessed with my dead child, in the same way I am obsessed with my living child.

In the UK women are still entitled to a maternity leave if their baby dies after 24 weeks gestation as that baby is then recognised as a ‘person’. (This is so wrong and for those of you reading this who were on the other side of the 24 weeks I hear you and I stand by you. This will need to be an article of its own making at some point.)  

So, I am currently in a national lockdown, with a crazy wild 2-year-old, drowning in grief and wondering what the hell to do with myself. I love to read and have tried to educate myself on all things baby loss since losing Mavy. Knowledge is power after all. I’ve read a lot about mourning and how it differs from grief. From what I understand grief is something we cannot hide from; it is a range of emotions we must endure to process losing somebody we love. Mourning on the other hand is where we take part in activities to honour and remember that person. This blog is one of my ways of mourning Mavy. Following Mavy’s death I made a very public announcement on social media urging people to raise money for two charities which will help those that find themselves going through what I have in the future. I got a real buzz seeing that money roll in – this was Mavy’s legacy.

Aside from my own selfish reasons (sorry followers) I also have a strong desire to help others. I know that I am constantly searching out parents who have found themselves in this club, each one as inspirational and amazing as the next. I want to be that person others can search out, so they don’t feel so alone. If you are a loss parent or you are supporting somebody through loss please contact me or comment on my posts, let me know if there is something regarding loss you would like me to write about.

Sending love to all those loss parents and the friends and family who support them.

Emma xx