trigger warning

This story includes some subjects that may be triggering to readers:

Baby loss, sibling loss, only child

"I think back to those days and I wish people hadn't been so worried for me because that worry felt like a lot but I did it, we did it and I'm so proud of just what we have achieved."

I suppose my story of motherhood starts with me being a little girl. My parents had lost multiple babies before me and lost multiple babies after me. My brother was born on my 4th birthday, he had spinabifida with no chance of survival but I will always remember him kicking, that excitement of a new baby, my mums tummy swelling and then my 4th birthday spent at my aunts house, not really understanding what was happening. 

Those losses after had a huge effect on me.


In those days loss really wasn't talked about, grief was swept under the carpet for when you were alone and children were I supposed shielded from everything because that is what they believed was best. 

But I remember; the feelings in the house, being taken to the hospital to see my mum, catching people crying in the bathroom, the confusion of being at my Aunts on my birthday rather than with my parents. Obviously what they were going through was far worse but as a sibling I had lost too and yet I suppose people didn’t consider that. 

I had a wonderful childhood and as you can imagine I was so incredibly loved but I never stopped wishing for that sibling, I remember so clearly my friend in year 6 coming out of science and telling us she was having a sibling, the boys all laughing about what her parents had to do and all I thought was I don't care what they have to do, that almighty pang of jealousy like being kicked in the stomach. Even when I went to university in my first year, I got a call, for some reason I know it was important news, perhaps it was my fault, perhaps it was because I had been at home and now this was the last chance but no it was the call to say my Granny had died. 

What has this got to do with Motherhood? Well I suppose as I got older and started to learn what mum had been through, I instead wondered if I could give her a baby, if perhaps I would be like her and not be able to have babies. 

Thoughts of babies took up so much of my head, I convinced myself I would never be able to have my own however much I would love them, then as my 20's started I was having too much fun and stopped really thinking quite so much about it.

4 days after my 25th birthday I had a hangover that hadn't gone away. I didn't feel right, could really put my finger on it but I was very emotional. I didn't tell anyone for a week or so, just kept busy with work but eventually rang my friend and suggested I might be pregnant. There were lots of tears, it wasn't meant to be like this, most of all I felt worried about what my parents would think. Being the only one meant everyone of their hopes and dreams rested on my shoulders, it took them another few weeks to guess.

The dad had been on a lads holiday, when he returned I rang him and told him the news, it was a phone call I would never forget. That first scan I attended by myself, my mum couldn’t come in. It brought back too many horrendous memories for her; she sat outside while I went in. I can remember being so amazed at the baby inside, I will never forget that feeling. I think that scan was a turning point, I messaged the Dad and showed him the pic, ‘half of you if you want to do it with us’? I think just being able to see that pic, it made it all real. 

After the scan we decided we would fully comit to buying a house and raising this baby together. It was a huge learning curve for the both of us, I had only lived away from my parents while at Uni and while he had lived away it had always been in house shares with friends. Staring a house and a family at the same time is most definitely not without complications but we managed with a few bumps in the road.

At 6 months old I returned to work, I also started to have issues and so went to the doctor. My biggest fear was not being able to have another one. I know it must sound crazy, we weren’t prepared for one let alone two but I didn’t want my baby to be an only child like me. My doctor said to come off the pill (it was actually that causing me the issues) and see what happened as it could take months. Well it took a few weeks! 15 1/2 months after our first we were now parents of two boys! I couldn’t tell you just how I loved having them together, they were just perfect. 

Life was tough just because we didn’t have loads, we both worked hard and childcare cost a bomb, we had to have different days off to try and cover it but we also made the most of any time we had. It often felt like survival and my health both physical and mental suffered but my weekends with them were always full of adventure and fun. I loved more than anything being their mum I just needed a bit of a hand with getting an occasional rest! 

As they got older I moved jobs and life started to get easier, life became more comfortable, we managed to spend at least one day of the weekend together as a family. Our third boy arrived 4 1/2 years later, he was so perfect again. Having one baby rather than the two together felt so easy, it was like having a first born again and I was able to afford things I never could with my first two. It was perfect. 

I always say if people don’t realise that having money makes life easier then they already have enough. 

I took a full year off work and loved every second of being home with all of them. I got to do the school runs and clubs which I hadn’t been able to do previously. I went back to work and within 6 months we were in lockdown, being at home again really was such a treat for me. 

After a couple of months of lockdown I noticed those familiar feelings, I was pregnant again. I had always said I wanted 4 but this sooner than I had hoped and I was worried about having two close in age again alongside the older two. My third was such a mummies boy too I was so worried he would feel pushed out. 

I knew it would be ok, I felt like I could do it. In fact the Sunday before my scan I felt more at peace with life than I had done in a long time. Monday morning I went for my scan alone as were the rules. I was excited, excited to see my baby for the first time.

When we got into the room and they put the machine on my belly, it was quiet, too quiet. 'Hang on' she said, then after what felt like an eternity, 'I'm so sorry there is no heartbeat'. When they say the trap door opens, it's so true. I was alone, I had to go and wait in the family room, with no phone signal, no way of letting Sam know, until they wrote up my notes.

The escort out of hospital was awful, the drive home by myself well I'm not sure how I did it. The noise that came out of my mouth, like a pained animal. All my fears had come true. I had to go back the next day, again on my own, one of the cruelest rules of the lockdown. I chose to wait and see, I waited three weeks but my body didn't want to let go. Eventually I went back, the nurse told me so many times that the chances were 1 in 4 so chances were it would happen to me, I couldn't even look her in the eye but I did come out with the pills, the experience was the worst kind of labour I've ever had.

The trauma of that day will live me with forever, the amount of blood, having to be carried because I couldn't walk into the bathroom, having my tiny baby in my hands and not knowing what I should do with them. 

It's all so cruel, so painful. How we treat women that go through this still is unbelievable, I really don't think we have come on much in the 30/40 years since my mum was having a similar experience. 

It took me a good few weeks to start to feel semi human but almost 3 weeks after I started to bleed again and have contractions, it felt so scary but when I rang I was told that unless I was bleeding xx amount then I shouldn’t come into hospital. It was all so clinical. 

Months later, my head still hadn’t recovered even though my body had, that cloud stayed with me for such a long time. Grief really does come in waves.

Almost 6 months to that day I had a familiar feeling, I was so nervous this time. I didn’t tell anyone for a few days. I knew my date exactly because one night I had woken up in the middle of the night and made a baby, it was like my body knew what it needed to do. 

Those 8 weeks before the scan were torture but we got there, a perfect 12 week scan. I cried like a baby! 

20 weeks came and I felt nervous again, another good scan until we got to the end. I had to go out for an hour and come back in as she couldn’t get the measurements to stack up, ‘don’t worry she said’ how could I not?! We went back in and she re-did them, at the very end we were told the babies head is small, that was it no more information other than I would have to be seen by a consultant. Another three weeks wait, I couldn't believe it, my head was all over the place, I couldn't let myself believe we would get to bring a healthy baby home. The weekend before the scan I got pinged, another delay. Two more weeks of worry. When we finally had the scan the consultant was amazing, I think he could see my nerves and as soon as he could put our minds at rest. Just a smaller baby he announced, I was the scanned every 4 weeks but none quiet as nerve racking as that first and baby continued to grow nicely even if on the slightly smaller side.

At 41 weeks I went for my last mindwife appointment, I walked home after via Tesco. When I got home I felt uncomfortable, less than three hours later I heard the words from my OH 'there is no willy'! Our first little girl, born at home, our rainbow! She was perfect. So special in every way. Born with just the two of us in our house, the midwife arrived 20 minutes after she came. The best 20 minutes I think I will ever experience, pure bliss. 

Someone we have made it here 4 babies later, it's not been easy, there have been bumps but we have somehow managed to get through them. We have 4 wonderful children, a new house which we are renovation and

life feels so unbelievably wholesome. 

I think back to those days and I wish people hadn't been so worried for me because that worry felt like a lot but I did it, we did it and I'm so proud of just what we have achieved.