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Mental health and wellbeing, Parenting

And then she was one

And just like that, she was one.
 
Except, when I really think about it, it wasn’t ‘just like that’ at all.  The first year of parenting after loss has been a complete rollercoaster; a Big Dipper, with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows and one that I have desperately wanted to escape at times.  Because, despite what I had hoped, having a take home baby did not fix everything. It did not take away my pain.  It just made the hardest job in the world that much more complicated.
 
Parenting a live baby has changed me.  I am not the person I once was, and at the same time, I have come to accept that I am not parent I thought I would be.  It has shattered my sense of self and I am slowly piecing the shards back together and getting to know the cracks that exist in between them.  Some of those crevices have been deep, dark and quite unnerving to expose myself to, whilst others have acted as a prism and shone the full spectrum of colours.
 
I thought that when Orla died that I was well and truly broken, but looking back, I had just built up an even stronger wall than I had before.  My own emotions have always scared me and I have run from them; finding solutions or ways in which to numb the pain.  Working harder.  Finding another project.  I would bounce from one thing to another as a way of blocking out what was really troubling me, because I feared that my emotions would destroy me.  I couldn’t trust that anyone else could hold them; the terror that they would either become overwhelmed by them or would reject me was paralysing.  So, I denied that they existed and continued to build my armour of strategies, that enabled me to run away from pain. Continue Reading