I Don’t Believe In Angels

This is the post I really want you to read. If you read no other on my blog, that’s fair do’s but please don’t skip over this one!
Why? well it’s Dying Matters Awareness week, yes that’s right dying, death, the subject no-one wants to talk about, to the point we don’t tell our loved ones our dying wishes, we don’t make wills, most of us won’t have a ‘good death’, and subjects like terminal illness still remain too upsetting for many to talk about, ostracising patients and making an already traumatic time even more uncomfortable for everyone.

The subject I want to discuss is baby loss; miscarriage, stillbirths and neonatal deaths. Seemingly the most taboo subject of all, with people outright refusing to discuss the death of a baby…but we have to! Understanding and knowledge empowers, but ignoring the issue makes research, prevention and change nearly impossible.
We will be saying our final goodbyes to our baby girl, Robyn on the 30th of May and my biggest hope now is that people don’t ignore the terrible fact that here in the UK (2015 stats for 2013), one in every 216 births was a stillbirth, and one in every 370 babies died within the first 4 weeks of life. I don’t want any parent to have to experience the heartbreak we have, so it’s time to start the conversation.

 

Me and Tom are not religious, a lot of people of faith struggle to understand how we can find comfort after the loss of our daughter without religion. Easy, in the words of Carl Sagan, “I don’t want to believe, I want to know”. Even when knowing is painful and there may be no real answer(s), I find more comfort in the truth and from trying to understand if there is anything I can learn or change or if I can in some way help someone else.

In the case of Stillbirth it seems there IS a lot to learn and a lot could be changed, but because it’s such a taboo subject, parents are not given adequate information before and during pregnancy unless they specifically ask, probably out of fear of worrying or scaring them. Campaigns raising awareness should be aimed at the whole of the general public not just parents-to-be, and again the subject of death and grief in mainstream media, at home, with your family should not be silenced and treated with fear, but discussed with compassion and an emphasis on celebrating the lives of those who have died.

There are a lot of fantastic groups and charities in regards to baby loss, and over time I am going to be posting more on health risks, research and results that I have been reading about. Then I’ll be putting some of the ideas into practice myself, as hopefully we will experience pregnancy again in the future. You can read lots more on the following sites:

Tommy’s – http://www.tommys.org/

The Genesis Research Trust – https://www.genesisresearchtrust.com/

Kick Counts – http://www.kickcount.org.uk

Sands – https://www.uk-sands.org/

A lot of these organisations rely on donations to fund essential research, as they’ve not the same high profile as a lot of charities due to the subject matter, it is important that people hear about the work they do, but how you donate and whom you donate to is your personal choice. More than anything I just want to make people aware of the high statistics of miscarriages, stillbirths and neo-natal deaths, and aware that there are some things you can do in regards to health, lifestyle and exercise and signs to look out for if you are concerned during pregnancy (Kick Counts). You can also support, fund-raise or donate to your local hospital/maternity ward/centre, or write to MP’s and voice your concerns about the shortage of midwives, lack of resources and a need for more support for higher risk mothers and the provision of facilities for recently bereaved parents.
When we lost Robyn another couple on the maternity ward had also heartbreakingly just lost their twin girls, there was only one room available for bereaved parents. We remained on the ward (in a separate room), where we listened to the other mothers give birth and their newborn babies cry for the first time, heightening our own sense of loss.

It’s been just over 2 weeks since we lost Robyn, and I know this is going to be a long journey, but it has been made much easier by the love and support of our family, friends and the wonderful blogging community, thankyou, we love you all to bits 😉 Knowing Robyn will always be with us means neither of us will be taking this life for-granted, none of us should, live it to the fullest!

Robyn’s funeral will be held at a natural woodland burial site, there will be no hearse, no black, mournful procession. Our little girl, along with flat ted (my teddy bear, pictured) and soft dog, will be surrounded by the beautiful Yorkshire countryside. Perfect for adventuring! 😉

 

I Don’t Believe In Angels

I don’t believe in angels
Nor God or gods up high
They’ll be no seat in Valhalla
No heavenly chorus when I die

Instead I’ll return to the earth
And trees and flowers will grow
From where my empty body lies
And that is how you will know….

I live on in all around you,
My love of life just a whispering
A warm kiss on summer days
A chilled embrace when robins sing

I live on in all around you
My love for you a shout eternal.

 

 

 

55 thoughts on “I Don’t Believe In Angels

    1. Mother Mands Post author

      The days I write posts like this are good days 😉 but you’ll have to ignore spelling mistakes, etc as I don’t really read them back. Thanks for your comments X

      Reply
  1. Jane Russell-Grant

    Hi Amanda, thank you for posting these last few blogs – I loved following your pregnancy and the arrival of Robyn – I wish so much that you and Tom had had more time with her. Wishing you all the happiness in the future, love Jane p.s. Is that Robyn in the background of the photo with flat ted? If so its lovely to see a photo of your beautiful daughter xxx

    Reply
    1. Mother Mands Post author

      Yes, that’s Robyn and flat ted (39 years old and that was the best name I could give him :D). The idealist in me likes to imagine them both off having adventures! 😉
      Thankyou for all your lovely comments, hopefully me and Tom will get to catch up with you, James and your handsome little Thomas at some point 😉 X

      Reply
    1. Mother Mands Post author

      Definitely not that selfless, writing on here helps me loads, especially as I’m not a fan of talking about things like this face to face, and no-one can keep this stuff bottled up. Hopefully I’ll have happier things to write soon, you’ll have to make do with an overload of recipes next 😉
      I still haven’t made it to Warrington have I!? It has been ages, would be lovely to meet that gorgeous family of yours! 😉 thanks for all you comments X

      Reply
    1. Mother Mands Post author

      Thankyou! X and I haven’t forgotten the cloth nappy post 😉 I’ll stick that up soon with how to make them, they are pretty easy. I quite like sewing now, what with the baking and blogging, it keeps me good 🙂

      Reply
  2. Clare

    A beautiful piece again Mands.
    I wrote a long comment, then deleted it all again.
    For now I’ll leave the words and just listen and care.

    Reply
    1. Mother Mands Post author

      🙂 Thankyou! As long as it gets the message out there I’m happy. For all that’s happened, reading all the comments and messages of support I’m reminded how lucky I am to know so many wonderful people! X

      Reply
  3. Aunty Liz

    Thank you for sharing. You are amazingly strong and so very dignified. I have total respect and can empathise with you both, I miscarried at 16wks. Also, my Brother’s first born sadly lasted just a day. it is as you say more common than people are aware. Love and hugs to you both. xxx

    Reply
  4. Mother Mands Post author

    Thanks ‘Aunty Liz’ 🙂 I don’t feel strong sometimes believe me, but I know we’ll be alright, especially when we’ve got all you lot looking out for us! 😉
    Yes, it’s certainly shocked me how common it is and how ‘robbed’ it makes you feel, then angry, and now I just want people to be aware, as it’s annoying how little information is given to you when you get pregnant. Thanks for commenting and we’ll see you soon 🙂 X

    Reply
  5. Tara

    Completely agree, it should be discussed and not hidden away. It is hard to know how to get people to be more open and, in regards to pregnancy, how much information to give. It is given some space in the baby books but until I needed to, I didn’t read that chapter. I suppose it’s the “it won’t happen to me” mentality. A beautiful poem too.

    Reply
    1. Mother Mands Post author

      I can remember talking about stillbirths whilst pregnant, shut down immediately with the general, ‘ooh don’t think stuff like that, everything will be fine’, and that’s how most people react, understandably as it is an upsetting subject. That’s why I think it’s a topic that should be made aware of just in general, before pregnancy, and at the very least when people initially go to see their doctors/midwife in the very early stages, more information on healthy things to do, and why, not just the blanket, ‘go get your free vitamins’. Plus there’s no discussion about exercise, well I didn’t get anything, and the importance of staying relatively active.

      I’m shocked about the amount of info I’ve received since Robyn’s birth, and it does make me angry went doctors and consultants have said, ‘next time…’ Well why not just do it the first time!? So I’m going to try and list as many ideas, info as I can over time that may be of help to other mums to be, then at least they can question there doctor/midwife about them.

      I haven’t wrote a poem in years, I used to write loads, so thankyou for the comment! 😉

      Reply
  6. MurderOfGoths

    Robyn is a beautiful name for a beautiful girl, and what a wonderful place to bury her. I hope the funeral is as good as can be sweetheart. Will be thinking of you and sending love to you, Tom and little Robyn.

    These are really good charities you’ve linked to, heard a lot about SANDS work and Tommys are fantastic too.

    Reply
    1. Mother Mands Post author

      🙂 Thankyou! I spoke to the woman who looks after the burial ground earlier and we can go and pick a spot at the weekend, which I think is lovely! Robyn be in the people and pets section, so eventually Mac the dog can join her and one day me and Tom. The view is stunning and all the lambs are running around at the moment.I think you’d all be telling me off if you realised I really loved the name Robyn because I’d already decided I wanted to nickname her Bob! I’m pretty sure she’d of been less than impressed with that! 😀

      Reply
  7. Jenni - Odd Socks and Lollipops

    Such an important post, I think that what you have planned for Robyn’s funeral sounds perfect.
    I cried reading your previous post, I wrote out a comment and then delete it, then I wrote another one out and delete it. I couldn’t put into words anything that expressed what I felt, and I must admit I worry about saying (or writing) the wrong thing and upset or offend. I left the page open and I read it several times, and each time tears. Reading your poem too, more tears.
    I can only say that I have been and will be thinking of you and how brave I think you are to share what you have been through and what you are going through.
    And what a beautiful photo of your beautiful daughter.

    Reply
    1. Mother Mands Post author

      Honestly don’t worry that you might offend me, I’m a metalhead, very little offends me anymore! More than anything I’m overwhelmed by peoples support and some of their own stories they have shared, which are shocking, heartbreaking but truly inspiring. I think most people would surprise themselves with the strength they have inside them, there are millions more out there stronger than me and their strength keeps me going…plus the fact I love life! 😉
      Thankyou for commenting, it really does mean a great deal to me and Tom, and I just wish Robyn could of stayed to experience how amazing some people are! x

      Reply
  8. wide ranging ramblings

    Thank you for this beautiful post, I am sure Robyn would be really proud that you’re already trying to help other people. Maybe you don’t feel writing is selfless but it certainly seems that way when you write about things that benefit others. I hope that the funeral you sound is as beautiful as it sounds and as Robyn and you and Tom deserve! Thank you. Xxx

    Reply
    1. Mother Mands Post author

      Thankyou for stopping by and reading this post and for your lovely post! 🙂 I just think to myself if she’s here in me, its up to me to live life to the fullest, and be ‘useful’ 🙂 All the comments and support also reminds me for all the vile stuff that happens in the world, there’s loads of good stuff too and I actually quite like people 😀

      Reply
      1. wide ranging ramblings

        I think you’ve definitely got the best possible attitude to this, you’re absolutely right that she’s in you! I am sure she will always be there with you bringing you internal strength and helping you go and be useful as you say. Bringing this information to people is so important. A friend of mine had a miscarriage, none of us knew the right thing to say and she didn’t even know what she wanted to hear. It was a brutal time for her and all we could do was listen. It would be great if this wasn’t such a taboo subject so that when the worst happens people can rally and support in the most constructive way possible! Thank you for taking what has happened to you and for being so proactive about helping others! xx

        Reply
        1. Mother Mands Post author

          Yes, unfortunately some people stay away when something like this happens, as they don’t know what to say. Then I think some people wrongly have the view that you are sat in a corner, rocking. I think a lot of people when grieving appreciate people treating them normally and just being there to listen like you say. I hope your friend is getting through her own grief, I’m sure she is with friends like you around to support her! x

          Reply
  9. Ann Winters

    I can´t imagine what you are going through. This was such a strong an emotional post….thinking about loss and stillbirth is something that I would avoid… It is a chapter in my pregnancy book that I never read. Even avoid open it. But you are so right, it is something that needs to be talked openly. maybe this would help other mums, and families, and let them know that theyr are not alone at this difficult times…
    My thoughts and heart go to you…x

    Reply
    1. Mother Mands Post author

      Thankyou for commenting 🙂
      Most people don’t want to think about miscarriage, stillbirths, etc whilst pregnant and understandably so, but I do wish there had been some discussion, more information and a nod to the terrible facts and statistics I have only learned about since our daughter became one of those ‘statistics’. I’m also angry that since we lost Robyn so much information has been offered to me regarding ‘next time’, information that I believe should of been given to me this time. I can’t dwell on that, but I can make sure any parents-to-be who read my posts will ask their midwives/doctors for more information, for health advice that may reduce risks and help them to notice changes before they become problems. Knowledge is power! 😉
      Again, thankyou for reading and commenting x

      Reply
  10. Kelly

    Really very sorry for your loss of your baby girl. I completely agree that it is a taboo subject to talk about a baby’s death. Everyone should be educated more as there really isn’t enough information out there to expecting mothers. But then everyone just feels it’s better to say nothing – god knows why!!

    Thanks for your lovely post. #brilliantblogposts

    Reply
    1. Mother Mands Post author

      It’s a scary subject for a lot of people still, but I think all the info available online and brilliant bloggers all over the world discussing a range of issues, and sharing their stories, it is slowly getting better.

      Thankyou for reading and commenting 🙂 x

      Reply
  11. Emma

    That’s a beautiful poem. I too don’t believe in god or angels but we all find our own way to make sense of loss and tragedy. I’m so sorry to hear about Robyn. I had a miscarriage last year and while I cannot imagine what you are going through, I think it is important to talk about these things. I hope your final farewell brings a small sense of closure and you can remember your baby with love xx

    Reply
    1. Mother Mands Post author

      I was apprehensive about mentioning religion (or my lack of it!) in my post, but realised there are other people out there too who are not religious and I’ve found it hard reading some other blog posts on baby loss with terms like ‘angel baby’, I couldn’t connect with the use of religious terms. As you say we all find our own way, and I respect others find faith helps them.

      Miscarriage, stillbirth its all a heartbreaking loss of a child you’d longed for. People have shared their stories with me which I’ve been honoured to read and it just makes you feel less alone. Thankyou for stopping by, reading and commenting X

      Reply
  12. MOMM

    I can’t even begin to imagine how you must be feeling right now, but to be raising awareness is such a brave thing. My thoughts are with you and your family. #brilliantblogposts

    Reply
    1. Mother Mands Post author

      Thankyou! I feel a lot better knowing there are so many out there who are pushing for change and raising awareness themselves. Also realising there are so many wonderful people in the blogging community, all the comments I’ve received have been amazing. So again thankyou for commenting! x

      Reply
  13. Jessica Powell

    I just wanted to comment and say how moving and important I found this post. I’m not really good at expressing feelings with words (unless it’s sarcasm or something!) but I want to say you are so brave to use your experience to raise the topic and that my thoughts are with you and yours. I agree that it shouldn’t be taboo or just a silent subject – it can and does happen, and being told ‘oh, but it won’t happen to you’ is all well and good until it *does* because you’re left without even basic info. It’s nowhere near the same, but we almost lost our daughter when she was born at 40+12 a few months back. Up until the ‘there might be something faulty with the monitor’ moment I was just ‘paranoid’ and ‘scaring myself’ whenever I brought it up. We were so lucky she pulled through, but the ‘next time’ talk was still ridiculous – ‘next time’ is too late.

    Robyn has touched so many peoples lives already with the blog, and through you will continue to do so x

    Reply
    1. Mother Mands Post author

      Well I think you’ve expressed your feelings brilliantly with your comment, and thankyou!
      It was such a shock, and like you say when there has been no discussion surrounding the issue at all during pregnancy, it panics you even more not understanding anything that has happened or is going to happen. There would of DEFINITELY been things I would of done differently too, exercised more (absolutely nothing about this in the whole 9 months of being pregnant and there should be), taken aspirin, been more aware of the importance of counting the kicks in the late stages of pregnancy to mention but a few. I can’t torture myself with it now, it isn’t going to change the past, but it will sure as hell change the future and I will be very vocal about concerns I have. I think a lot of doctors and midwives brush off some of the questions and concerns you have, especially when you’re a first time mum-to-be and don’t seem to be listening when you ask about things. All I seemed to get was constant lectures about taking vitamins, though I was cooking food from scratch and love veg, fruit, etc. I shall be a nightmare second time around and I won’t be fobbed off about anything. I’m sorry that you had to have such a frightening experience too, its the last thing you expect, you just hear all the positive stories. Very glad to hear (and see, looking at your blog) she is doing great now! She’s gorgeous, and what a lovely name! 🙂 x

      Reply
      1. Jessica Powell

        Thank you! 🙂 She’s managed to impress all the doctors with her progress so far, so I hope she carries on proving them wrong!
        The antenatal class I did had 8 or 9 sessions (so it’s not like there wasn’t time!) and still no discussion of a lot of the stuff I found out afterwards. I do think raising awareness gives people more confidence to challenge though x

        Reply
  14. al

    I am so so sorry for your loss and i wish i was better at words right now. I cannot imagine what you are all going through and my thoughts are with you all. I completely agree that it is time to break the taboo and speak out about these awfully hard topics. I’m so sorry.
    We lost our first baby at 12 weeks and I wrote about that for the same reason as you have here. Please let me know if I can help you raise awareness and help point people in the right direction for support in any way. Al

    Reply
    1. Mother Mands Post author

      It’s becoming more and more obvious to me that baby loss is a tragedy that effects the lives of so many, many more than I ever realised. I have read some heartbreaking stories on people’s blogs, aswell as emails and messages people have sent. Doctors and midwives still seem to avoid talking to parents to be about baby loss, they should be highlighting the risks more, offering more info on healthy options, options for high risk mothers (I’ve noticed a few by mothers who have lost a child being recommended asprin for future pregnancies…why wasn’t this recommended the first time around!?).
      At the moment I need a break from all this, I’ll be blogging a few recipes for the time being until we’ve made it through the funeral, but in the future I do want to look into some of the things I’ve just mentioned and I really want to make the point that parents to be shouldn’t be afraid of asking questions, pushing for answers and asking for more information from their doctor/midwife, and they don’t have to accept being fobbed off with ‘oh don’t worry everything will be fine’, what if it isn’t fine? Sorry I’m ranting now 😉 This is why I need a break from all this a bit, I’m angry again.
      I commented on your post about dads and miscarriage earlier as I think it’s a great post and an important post. Dads are so overlooked in all this, and they’re often treated as if they have no feelings, this really upsets me as I know how utterly heartbroken my husband is and it’s just insulting when people seem to talk only to me 🙁 he needs support too, thankfully we talk all the time about how we feel and what’s happened. Things have changed in so many ways, most importantly being I love my husband more than ever! 🙂

      Thankyou so much for all the retweets and your comments, we have been blown away by how many wonderful people are out there! 😉

      Reply
  15. Stephanie

    So brave of you to write this, I am really sorry for your loss, I honestly have no words. I think it is really important to break the taboo. we lost 3 babies in early pregnancy miscarriage. 6, 7, & 11 weeks. It was the hardest thing we have been through and people said some awful things. I’m glad you have lots of support from friends and family. xx

    Reply
    1. Mother Mands Post author

      Thankyou! I’m really sorry to hear about your 3 babies and that people were so insensitive to you during such a heartbreaking time, I’m not sure how I’d handle that myself, thankfully everyone has been amazing…which makes me even more upset! I’m not used to people being so nice, and being someone whose not usually particularly emotional, well, I’m just grateful to have such fantastic family & friends 🙂

      Thankyou for stopping by, and your daughter is beautiful by the way! 😉 x

      Reply
  16. Pen

    This made me cry and it has put my woes in perspective. My heart goes out to you. Sending all of the love, support and comforting hugs that an anonymous blogger can possibly give. Xxxx

    Reply
    1. Mother Mands Post author

      Thankyou so much, all the love, support and comforting hugs are greatly accepted and you’d be surprised at the good they do! 😉 All the miserable news stories you read everyday wears you down and you forget how many wonderful people there are out there.
      Loving your blog, will be having a good read soon, the feminism post really caught my attention 🙂 X

      Reply
  17. martyn

    Such a beautifully put and bravely written post. It’s posts like this that are so heartfelt and honest that need to be written and read. People will know this, people will feel this and finding a place for it written so well is a lovely comfort. Thank you so much for linking up with us on the #bigfatlinky hope to see you there this week

    Reply
    1. Mother Mands Post author

      Thankyou Martyn, I’ve always worried that I’m a little too honest, you should of seen my old blog a few years ago, during my cancer treatment, I hadn’t been with Tom all that long and we’re both a little kinky, I wrote about that too 🙂 I figure the more honest you are about who you are and how you feel, the less people have to use against you, as you’ve said it all yourself! It’s very cathartic being able to get it all out and you hope that some good will come of it.

      Apologies for not commenting on many blogs in the last linky, I felt a little awkward commenting on some posts, and I’ll admit it is a little hard reading about other peoples babies, though at the same time it keeps me looking to the future, and there’s no way we will give up on our dream to be parents 🙂

      Reply
  18. Adventures of a Novice Mum

    Sorry about your loss, I can’t even begin to imagine how really horrible it must have been at 43 weeks or indeed at any other point. Knowing all what one can do is definitely good and it’s wonderful that organisations like Count the Kick are growing in their campaigning to inform. I hope the maternity services will show more consideration for the feelings of all mothers in their particular situations. #OddsocksandlollipopsTopTenFavouriteBlogPosts

    Reply
    1. Mother Mands Post author

      Thankyou! I find writing a lot easier than talking to people in person, so blogging is a great way for me to express all my feelings and it helps me a lot and hopefully if will be of help to someone else out there…though I wish that wasn’t the case as that means another parent who has lost their child.
      Loving the Elfie letters, what a great idea! 😀

      Reply
  19. Angela @ OnlyCrumbsRemain

    I realise you wrote this post a few wks ago, but I felt I just had to leave a comment of some sort having read through a few of your post.
    My heart goes out to you Mands. Your writing on such a sensitive subject is so much needed (and it’s so well written – from the heart – just where it should be from); I’ve not experienced a stillbirth, our story is slightly different, but I cried for you and empathetically just reading this post and some of your other ones.
    Your writing on such a sensitive subject is so important (and probably more so given the disgraceful national cuts facing the NHS!!!).
    Keep going with it Mands, people need to (& should talk) about these (and similar) subjects.
    Angela x

    Reply
    1. Mother Mands Post author

      Thankyou for reading this, I keep thinking people are sick of me going on now, but I know I can’t stop because like you say it’s important people understand about loss and grief and most importantly stillbirth and to hear about research, know how to look after themselves and their baby during pregnancy, look out for signs of babys distress and to know that they are not pestering if they are worried and ring the hospital, how ever many times! Also as horrible as it sounds, sometimes it’s not ‘alright’ and everything won’t be fine. Yes and you are right, with how the NHS is going and the pressure on doctors and nurses overworked/lack of staff, etc from cuts. Then we need to be even more vocal about why cuts are so wrong and the lives that will be lost because of those cuts.
      I’m writing a post at the moment which is a bit more ranty and some of the ignorance around this subject…just in general really has really begun to wind me up! There are still a lot of people who don’t want to talk, unless it’s on their terms and they’d rather info be hidden away incase people find it upsetting or offensive, so wrong.

      Thankyou again for commenting and sharing your views X

      Reply
      1. Angela / OnlyCrumbsRemain

        Exactly, people need to know. Knowledge is power Mands! The more people know (however much they don’t necessarily want to hear it) the more empowered they will be. Having that knowledge allows them to act, if the need arises, or to help a friend.
        It’s sadly one of those subjects which people don’t address unless the worst happens!
        And not only that, I strongly suspect it would give comfort to people to know that they are not alone!
        And as you say, sometimes there just isn’t going to be a happy ending; but the important thing is for that appropriate support to be there and not just to put the family in any room. I’ve heard of that before Mands and just the thought of it is awful…and I’m not that family.
        You keep going as long as you need to, and for the memory of your young lady. 🙂 Your a very strong lady Mands, I taked my hat off to you.
        Consider cuddle sent down the internet 🙂
        Angela x

        Reply

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