Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Letting go.

This blog is about my 'journey', and part of being able to move on is to let go. Like a lot of things in life that sounds easier than it is. Something that many people will have found out as they try to make sense of this world. What things we need to let go depends on our circumstances but I'm sure if we were to compare notes there would be a common thread running through them.

There are few of us who manage to go through life without experiencing loss of some kind. Whether it's the loss of a job,  your health, a loved one one or ones, it is never easy and can be a very long, painful process 'getting over' and 'coming to terms' with that loss. I've used inverted commas around these phrases as in my experience they are very frequently used by people who haven't a clue what it's like as they have been fortunate to never have experienced such a loss in their life- yet. I've repeatedly had people come up to me years later and apologise for things they have said or done or even expected me to be doing at the lowest points of my life, because they themselves have since experienced something similar. 

What losses am I talking about? In my blog on September I mentioned that I was extremely ill following the birth of my eldest son. What I didn't mention was that he had been born with a complete heart block as a result of my having Lupus. He was ok though, his heart was coping and the doctors said that he would be fine. In a manner of speaking he is. He's now an adult, married with his first child on the way, but at age 11 he had to have the first of many pacemakers put in. I am so grateful to the wonders of modern science that he is still with us today.

The losses I'm talking about are the 2 beautiful babies I had who were not so lucky. As the doctors thought that my son would be ok and after deciding that what had happened to me after he was born was not directly related to the birth, I was told that if I wanted to get pregnant again, I could. Little did I know that this would plunge me into years of coping with tragedy and ultimately depression. I very soon became pregnant and despite regular visits to the hospital I was extremely happy.

This all changed when at 25 weeks a scan showed that the baby, a little boy, had died in utero. Anyone who has miscarried at this stage will know that you have to still have to go ahead with labour. My husband was out of the country so I delayed being induced for 24 hours so that he could be there with me. What followed was a complete nightmare, made worse by the fact that I was in the same area as women giving birth to live babies. Afterwards the doctors said that they thought it was 'just one of those things,' unrelated to the Lupus.

2 years later we decided to try again. Once again I was regularly monitored and at 21 weeks another scan showed that the babies heart was damaged but the doctors thought that just like my son, she would be ok. But this was not to be. At 23 weeks her heart went into failure and despite my being given drugs which stopped the heart failure and kept the pregnancy going until 35 weeks, my beautiful little girl was born but died 17 days later due to the brain damage caused by the lack of oxygen around the time of her birth. I written another blog describing my feelings about what we had to do. http://isabelj327.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/dont-you-think-youve-had-enough-now.html No words are enough to describe the pain and grief that both my husband and I experienced for a very long time. Even today when they would have been 24 and 22 years of age it sometimes feels as if it was only yesterday.

I've chosen this picture of a rainbow as to me a rainbow is a sign of hope, the 'sunshine after the rain'. They say that time heals and in a way it does. But during that time there is a lot of heartache, anger and tears that have to be gone through. There are no shortcuts and none else can really help, they can support you and listen when you need to talk. Talking is very important. It can't change the past or even help to make sense of what's happened, but I found it was instrumental in helping me to let go. It was only by letting go of my babies that I was able to move on with my life and start to dig my way out of the deep depression I was in. It wasn't easy and took a long time.

This doesn't mean that I've forgotten them. I'll always love them and they'll always be in my heart. When I look at my sons,( I did eventually have another child but that's a story in itself), I think of my 2 little angels and wonder what they would look like or be doing if they had lived. My new beginnings required me to let go but by living my life to the full I feel that I am honouring their existence, as having known them for the short time that I did has helped to make me who I am today. I also believe that the best way to honour their lives is to live mine to the full.

Photographs:- Isabel's own.

Isabel Johnstone 2013 ©

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