Saturday, 15 June 2013

Better out than in

This past week I've born witness to the power of the written word.

I remember reading somewhere that psychologists ask patients who have suffered trauma to write about it so that they can experience it from a different perspective. Apparently by distancing themselves from the actual event they're able to come to terms with what happened and start the healing process.

By describing how I was feeling in very honest terms not only was it hugely therapeutic for me, but more than one person who read my blog said it had helped them come to terms with a similar event in their lives.

It was then that I realised being able to express yourself through the written word is a privilege.

I'm a pretty open person. I'm willing to share my inner thoughts more than most. By doing so I reveal my frailties and describe whatever angst I'm going through at the time.

I'd imagine some who read my ramblings wonder why I'm prepared to give so much away.

All I can say is that the last seven days has taught me that quite simply it is better out than in.

I kept my thoughts (on Becky losing a child following a miscarriage last August) to myself for almost a year. I put what happened to one side. I didn't even realise that's what I'd done. Then when it happened again last week the reality hit me twice as hard.

As a result of recent events I've resolved myself to tell those close to me how I feel more often by writing it down.

Hand written letters may be a thing of the past but carefully crafted words are not. So every opportunity I get I'm going to take it. Be that a timely email or a message in a greetings card.

And there's no time like the present. Father's Day is tomorrow.

As it happens my dad and I aren't normally the gushy type with one another. We talk about football and work and stuff. But I figured I ought to tell him how much I admire him. How I couldn't have wished for a better dad and that I hope one day my own daughters will look up to me the same way I look up to him.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Thank you

Last night I read my blog about Becky's miscarriage for about the fifth or sixth time since posting it on Tuesday night. However I held back the tears for the first time. I must admit I wavered here or there but I got through it.

Writing about this traumatic experience has been hugely therapeutic. It has enabled me to confront my feelings. Express them out loud albeit through the written word and come to terms with what has happened in the last week and previously. 

The generosity and warmth I've received in return has been humbling. Every comment, every tweet, every message on Facebook, every text has touched me. Lifted me. And renewed my faith in humanity.

On behalf of Becky and myself I would simply like to say thank you.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The ultimate miscarriage of justice

Last night my wife lost a child.

Nine weeks into her pregnancy the thing she feared most would happen happened. She had a miscarriage.

Were the physical strain not enough to endure she also had to go through the emotional turmoil of grieving for a child that was never born into the world.

The tears are rolling down my cheeks as I write these words.

Although I'm never shy of showing my emotions watching trashy TV, in a curious twist of my own complex character I struggle sometimes to face into the biggest of things.

I was hardly moved at first when Becky said on Saturday night she feared she was going to have a miscarriage. Perhaps we were already both expecting the worst.

But on reflection I think I still hadn't really come to terms with what happened to us previously.

Last August Becky lost another baby, at eleven weeks while on holiday in Ireland.

It was an awful thing to happen so far away from home. We had driven to West Ireland from our home near Bradford.

Two kids in tow and making our way back from deepest County Cork to Dublin, no family within easy reach, Becky couldn't deny what was clearly happening.

Were it not for an absolute angel of a guest house owner I'm not sure what we'd have done as we dashed to the nearest A&E in the early hours while our children slept peacefully.

The experience was scary. Upsetting. And surreal. The practical nature of having to keep going meant I didn't really come to terms with what had happened. I put it to one side. We never really spoke about it again. Or at least I didn't.

But yesterday as Becky sat pale as a ghost on the downstairs toilet floor asking for help I realised I could lose her too. Sound a bit dramatic? Yes, maybe. But that's how it felt. And by all accounts a very real threat when a woman is having a miscarriage.

My voice breaking as I rang 999, barely able to describe what was happening. Feeling helpless and trapped.

Within two minutes a paramedic was with us. The NHS at its very best. With the kids next door watching the Disney channel none the wiser.

I hasten to add Becky is home tonight,  and is physically fine. I also want to emphasise I'm not penning these words for your sympathy.

In fact I wrote them on the basis I would never post them publicly. I'm writing them because I needed to grieve. I need to grieve. Grieve for what might have been. Grieve for the third daughter or first son that was due to be born in January 2014.

I adore my two healthy children who I cherish even more today than I probably realised yesterday.

And I love my wife. It's so easy when kids come along at first without much effort to underestimate what women go through by bearing children.

I am in awe of her and what she's gone through on our family's behalf.

One final word for our friend Matt who somehow understood my shaky voice on the end of the mobile last night and legged it round to babysit our kids until the early hours of yesterday morning.

I will never forget your generosity Matt. Even though you say it was nothing. It meant more than you will ever know.