Tag Archives: fear

To scared to voice my dream

Have you ever wanted something so desperately that you actually cannot voice your desire?

That the fear of hearing the words outloud is so scary that your stomach does flip flops.

That when people tell you to release your hopes into the universe it feels like a gigantic scam to make your world tumble down.

This is exactly how I have felt about the adoption of my new son. That if I actually shared the ins and outs of the situation it would actually explode in my face, my heart.

It hasn’t been helped by social workers who should have the words “hopefully” and the statement “it should” ripped out of their practice handbook. The hedging of their bets or professional distance is nothing but frightening for an adoptive parent. 

We need to hear “of course” or “it will“.

I honestly feel as if I have been walking on eggshells this last year. From the moment we decided we wanted to adopt our then foster son my heart feels as if it has been ripped out of my chest, trampled on then replaced. It’s been hard and the reason I haven’t really shared this journey here is simply because I couldn’t voice my fear. 

I couldn’t allow the inner demon inside my head any space here on this platform. It was doing enough damage inside my head.

“You aren’t good enough”

“Adoptive parent, you, ha really”

“It’s going to fail”.

The adoption process isn’t easy, I guess it shouldn’t be. The assessors actually have the lives of children in their hands. They have to probe, explore, question. 

“How did you feel when this happened?”

“How would you cope with this?”

And the big one

“Why adoption”?

Your answers of course have to be the truth but I have woke night after night with fear that my truth wasn’t enough.

Thankfully, my truth was enough and last week we found out that the judge has signed our adoption order and in a few weeks our boy will be our son.

I cannot tell you how excited I am, how much it matters to call him mine. I am simply on cloud nine. My heart feels full and I’m sure I haven’t stopped smiling since I heard the decision. 

I may not be able to write down our complete adoption story yet. It’s still a little too raw and it’s not actually at the end point yet. I still now wait impatiently for the date of our celebration hearing and my heart will still probably jump at the delivery of the morning post for a while yet.

But I will state this here, our adoption journey has been hard, we have cried many tears, had many sleepless nights and had way too many stress headaches. 

Yet I promise you this, every stinking moment of this chaos and fear has been worth it, my son, he is so completely worth it. 

Inspire or destroy?

Last week I was lucky enough to get to listen to the inspirational Nick Barwick. Nick is a motivational speaker who came to a fostering meeting to share his experiences as a care leaver. His story is incredible, he has faced adversity, pain and suffering throughout his life but still found the strength and courage to achieve his dreams, he defied the odds and he overcame.

Nick is passionate about sharing his story, he wants the success stories of life to be shared. We need our children to have hope, that if they are struggling and finding life a struggle they can remember that where they are right now is not where they need to end. This is doubly important for all children within the looked after system, they especially need the reminder that there is Hope in this world.

I took an awful lot away with me after listening to Nick speak, but what has been twirling around in my head since I left the meeting was the impact of ‘words.’

Let me explain a little, as Nick was sharing his story he spoke about being told by some professional in his life that he would not achieve, academically, financially and emotionally, and how these words for a long time became a self fulfilling prophecy for him.

How the words spoken to him became the words he spoke to himself.

Words have power!

They can inspire but also they can destroy.

words

Hearing Nick’s story just hit home how important our words are,

How as Mother’s, as fathers, as teachers, carers, our words have an impact on hearts.

How as a friend, a wife, a sister I need to use my words wisely.

How often have we let words spoken to us bury deep in our hearts?

How what may have been a passing comment has be able to consume our minds.

Someone else’s opinion become our truth.

I know I can look back in my life and raise my hand numerous times for when words spoken in hate became my reality.

“You won’t pass it.”

“I wouldn’t even bother’

“You are not good enough”

“Who would love you?”

How I let these lines of letters sink deep into my heart like an anchor dropped into the ocean, dropping slowing until they find a place to settle and hold, hold on tight.

How I  have allowed hurtful words to crawl under my skin until I believed them completely, burying under my skin into my blood to pump through my veins, straight to my heart.

Burrowing deep until I owed them as my truth.

Thankfully like Nick I had someone in my life who challenged me to question these words. To remind me that my future was mine to create.

That it was up to me to write my own story. 

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I’m still a work in progress, my story has many chapters left to write.

I’m still learning to throw away the words that hurt, to erase the words that are wrong and untrue.

To protect myself from words that do not inspire or encourage.

I’m creating my own vocabulary and as I do this I hope to create another for my children.

I want their story to be one of adventure, excitement and hope but what I want most of all is that the biggest chapter that they write will always be one filled with love.

I pray that story is one of knowing, knowing how loved they are. 

Countdown to 40

40

 

I realised last night that in under a month I turn 40. This is a major milestone in my life but one I am so excited for.

Growing up I remember thinking 40 was really old, I mean it seemed that my mom was 32 forever so I was sure I would stay this way. Yet time has moved on and I have been slowly creeping towards this age.

I remember when I turned 30 I was really freaked by it all, I didn’t feel ready to be 30 years old I was uncomfortable and not happy in my own skin. Life wasn’t easy and I had just started to show signs of the illness that changed my life. I look back to those days when I was chasing after 4 children under 10 and teaching dance. I remember just not feeling complete as if I wasn’t living life to the full.

Fast forward the last ten years and my goodness a crazy amount has happened. I have walked through some of the darkest moments of my life. My heart has been broken, tore up into millions of pieces and then trodden on. I never imagined at 30 that I would have to bury a child let alone two. I would have never been able to comprehend surviving the loss of my daughter and my foster son. Never in a million years. Yet somehow I have survived, my heart may never be complete but it is learning to love on, learning to beat strongly again and I am learning to live life to the full again.

I know deep down that 40 isn’t really a special age. I mean I preach often about celebrating every day we have here, but still I am rather excited for the day.

This may sound big headed but I like who I see in the mirror now. I may not be a dance teacher or able to fit my bum into a size 12 but I truly love my body and I’m so grateful to it. It has given me four amazing girls, completely different, independent ,inspirational girls. It allows me to foster two truly awesome boys, each a blessing in their own special way. My body may be a little battle worn but it’s not been beaten and I am so thankful for this.

I look back to the person I was 10 years ago and I know I have been on a journey. I use the term “self discovery” loosely  as is the only way to get close to describing  the transformation I feel I have faced.

I love who I am (yes I may have said that before) but I seriously do. I love my emotional side, no more will I apologise for my random tears or unexpected hugs. I’m empathic and I care and this is something I am proud of now. No more calling myself soppy and pathetic, I actually rock.

I love my courage, I am more willing to put myself out into the danger zone, being vulnerable, feeling scared but still moving forward.

I love my brain, it’s ok that I am a little geeky at times, that sometimes the idea of a good book wins against a movie or a night out. That I appreciate my own company and yes at times I get lost in my own mind.

I love myself and I love my life.

As I head towards this birthday milestone I do so with so much gratitude.

Over the last years I have had people walk into my life that have blessed me in so many ways. Friends that love me for me, deep true friendships that can pick up after a time apart just where we left off. Friends I can laugh with, friends I have cried on. I am so grateful for each and every one of them.

I am so thankful for my family, my daughters and my sons each so unique and so beautiful. Getting to watch them grow and learn and experience life is such a wonder, such a gift. My Dad, my Step Mom, my inlaws, my aunts, uncles, cousins, relantionships that I truly value and people I truly love.

My husband, I am completely in love with this crazy man, after nearly 20 years of marriage I still get that flutter in my heart when he walks into a room. He makes me laugh, he drives me insane, but he truly is my soul mate.

I am so thankful that I miss my Livvy, because missing someone is the recognition of an amazing love, a truly unbroken bond. My girl and I will be together again one day, but until then I am going to try and live as she did, fully and with all my heart.

So the count down to 40 begins and I’m so excited. I’m so ready to celebrate the 40 years I have been here with all my family and friends. An evening full of laughter, music and hopefully a gorgeous outfit.

Yet 40 is only the really the beginning, the start of a new stage in life, one I hope will be full of love and laughter and the people that really make my life truly amazing, my family and friends, because with them and because of them I actually love myself more at 40 then I ever did.

 

40 looking good

In honour of Livvy

Saturday was an amazing day, we held a Livvy’s Smile Donkey Tea Party.

The sun shone for us, the donkeys behaved and memories were made.

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I had a truly wonderful time.

I got to catch up with old friends and make some new.

I got to listen to laughter as it filled the air.

I got to watch children cover themselves with chocolate and cream as they ate their cakes.

Donkey rides, cart rides and so much more.

Seriously it was awesome.

Yet as I sat at home editing the photos from the day my tears began to fall.

My heart just ached for the missing piece of my puzzle.

Whilst I was blessed with some amazing hugs from some truly incredible children my heart yearned for my little Tinkerbell.

Birmingham Donkey Sanctuary holds a special place in my heart.

Each corner is filled with the echo of my Olivia.

Those first steps she took defying the Drs.

The giggles as she rode her favourite donkey.

alvis livvy

The dirty looks she gave Amber when told to sit up straight.

So many moments, so many memories.

 

I was asked why we started Livvy’s Smile and why I hold events that bring me pain?

It is simple really we started Livvy’s Smile because we are so grateful.

So thankful for the wonderful memories we have stored from Livvy.

Memories that truly get us through the darkness and we just want to give that light to other families.

On Saturday we created those special memories full of chocolate eclairs and cool moms.

Memories that will give us hope through the hard times.

Why do I it when it causes me pain? 

Because I can and because I have to.

I was blessed to be Livvy’s mom, to get to call this amazing girlie my daughter.

Livvy changed my life. 

The realisation that we didn’t have forever taught me to live in the here and now.

To live a life full of laughter and love.

 

So yes hosting these events will always be bittersweet.

I’m sure I will always return home and cry for the missing piece of my heart.

But I will never stop working hard to create memories because each moment, each memory is in honour of my beautiful daughter.

Every smile I see brings her closer.

 

Yes, I know my heart will always ache,

Grief is relentless.

Like a snake it slowly twists around your heart until you cannot breathe.

Your body craves for one more breathe, one more moment.

So as the tears fall I know they do so in honour.

Each teardrop is formed in everlasting love.

Livvy is part of who I am and who I always will be.

Livvy’s Smile is testimony to eternal love. 

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#mybloggingtruth – A challenge to all bloggers

I started my first blog back in the early part of 2008, I wanted to share my life and what it was like raising a severely disabled child. How it could be hard but it could also be truly amazing. In the last 7 years I have seen many changes in the blogging world some good, some not so much. I know it has expanded greatly thats for sure, both in the personal and business world. Bloggers have become influential and can really make a difference to the public perception of a brand or a product.

It will come as no surprise to my regular readers of which I know there may be one or two that I am an emotional writer. My words fall from my heart onto the pages here. Sometimes I read my old posts and think maybe I shouldn’t have shared that or maybe I could have written it different but often I write for freedom and at that time writing that blog post may have given me that.

Sharing your heart here in the virtual world isn’t easy, especially when you put your name to the words. Of course we have all read the anonymous nefarious hate that has been written by trolls but in my book if you don’t put your name to it well then your cowardly shit isn’t worth the webspace you are taking up.

But even the most honest of all writers hide.

Are we really not photoshopping our words, our lives, hiding behind the filters.

Do we really share all our true faults, our failings?

Hands up I know I don’t.

Why would we?

It’s scary being vulnerable.

Well, as a writer who has shared her struggles and also from reading and talking to others what I have learned is that honesty makes people feel less alone.

How many of us moms have really felt that we have had enough, I know have. Seriously at times I wonder if I am cut out to be a mother. I screw up so often that I’m glad my children don’t keep score. Yet when I read blogs that seem full of perfect parenting I truly struggle. Questions like “what did I do wrong”? Raise their mind destroying heads.

Or the blog of the woman who dropped her pregnancy weight in 2 weeks whilst 14 years I still have my baby belly.

The perfect home baking whilst my kitchen looks like a war zone.

All this seems just out of reach.

So I’m setting all bloggers the #mybloggingtruth  challenge.

I want you to write a post sharing your truths.

Be open and be vulnerable and lets come together to celebrate our imperfections, our  struggles and our mishaps.

I will start the ball rolling here’s my truth……  I run away. 

I get so scared of failing that sometimes I’m to scared to try. I hate this about myself, I look back at the opportunities I have missed because of fear. The friendships I didn’t allow to blossom because I didn’t believe in myself. The many times I have said no when my heart really wanted to say yes. So many experiences, prospects lost to my fear.

I’m working on this but  I am truly still a work in progress.

So join in with me, write your post, tweet it to me @livvyssmile and use the hashtag #mybloggingtruth and lets use our words and our truths to make us all feel less alone.

Let our transparency be the the light for others.

Let’s do this, lets share our blogging truths.

Trigger points

I remember reading an article about the effects of grief on the mind. How many grieving parents, loved ones could suffer from a form of PTSD.

Post traumatic stress disorder is often though to be only related to soldiers, those many brave men and women who come home battle scarred. Who have seen more than most could imagine. I for one am not disputing how terrible and awful this is. Still it is true that post traumatic stress disorder can occur for different reasons. It could happen to a victim of a crime, a witness of a traumatic event a harrowing close call , etc.

So yes I can see grief causing PTSD in fact let’s be honest I think I could venture out and say that grief could actually be at the heart of it. Grief is the extreme sadness at the loss of something and in all cases I have mentioned there is an element of loss.

Soldiers have lost part of themselves through all they have witness.

Victims of crime have lost part of themselves to the perpetrator.

Whatever has happened, who ever caused it the event has taken away who you were before it. So yes you have lost a part of you.

I know I lost a part of me when Livvy died. I changed right there and then. I could never go back to the person I was before. I had lost my daughter. How could it not have changed me? What greater loss is there than the loss of a child?

This article was trying to get people to really understand how badly one could be effected by grief. How what some would state as a mental condition is actually also a physical condition.

How we need to accept and understand our trigger points.

Personally this all made sense, I know there are places, smells even people that cause my heartbeat to race. That when I am at a certain place or I smell a certain aroma ,I see or hear certain things I am transported back into the time when I was there with Livvy.

This is often beyond just memories, take for example the local emergency unit I cannot enter it without feeling nauseous. It was there I left my beautiful girl. Even now still the siren of an ambulance makes me tremble.

Triggers aren’t always expected either they can hit you when you least expected. Like only the other day when I was at the children’s hospital.  I was sitting there minding my own when a girl passed me with blond crazy curls. My body shook and  I could have just sobbed right there and then.

Being truthful I had expected to be little upset. I had spend so long in this hospital with Livvy. I could see her in the corridors, the cafe everywhere. So maybe my body was primed, but blond curls, seriously.

I actually had to pinch myself to stop me from falling apart. Here I was trying to be brave for my foster son, losing it wasn’t an option. Well, it wasn’t until a few hours after when in the privacy of my bedroom I could let the tears fall.

I guess why I’m sharing this is because sometimes we need to understand our minds and our body’s and how one can seriously effect the other. Also I think we need to be kind to ourselves a little more.

Grief in any form is a powerful thing. Maybe you are grieving the loss of a friendship, job, marriage. Maybe like me you heart is forever broken by the loss of a child. I don’t know. Yet understanding that this loss changed you is the only way you can more forward. It’s not easy and their will always be triggers but to put it simply life goes on. Even when at times you don’t want it to.

Listen to both your mind and your body and understand that sometimes being brave isn’t an option.

be kind to yourself

Lets play on National Children’s Day

Play, that thing we assume all children do.

But do we realise how important it is to our children’s development?

  • Play increases self-esteem and self respect.
  • Improves physical and mental health.
  • Extends their social skills, teaches turn taking and patience.
  • Encourages imagination and creativity
  • Offers opportunities and for children of abilities and cultures to play together.

 

Today is National Children’s Day

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Let’s celebrate our children and make today one of play.

 

All together

My daughter returns from university today and yes I am so excited to see her.

So why did a friendly comment feel like I had been punched in the stomach?

My friend said “ I bet you are excited to have all the family back together’.

How simple and true is this comment.

Yes i am excited.

But my family will not all be back together.

You see there will always be a missing piece,

missing piece

 

An empty place at the table.

A pile of presents that have not been bought.

On Christmas day only three of my girls will be celebrating it here with me.

Heaven holds the celebration for the other.

I want to say that i’m ok about it all, that i can be happy and enjoy the season but I can’t.

The ache in my heart is getting stronger and stronger as we head towards the 25th.

I hate that on Christmas day I have to visit the crematorium, that the only gift I can give to my daughter is flowers on her stone.

I want the air to echo with her laughter, the harmony of my four beautiful girls to play.

Yet all i can hear is the silence of the missing note.

Christmas is a special time of year, I love the wonder of it all.

The excitement that builds in peoples hearts.

The joy of giving , the love that is shared.

Christmas is a time for celebration and I promise I will try.

Still I hope that it will be ok, that sometimes through this season i disappear.

Disappear to a place where i can allow the tears to fall.

Where I can allow the missing to show upon my face.

Because I cannot pretend all the time.

I just don’t have the strength.

I need to give my heart freedom.

Freedom to grieve my beautiful missing daughter.

Don’t hide away.

When my daughter died I spent a lot of hours (still do) looking at photographs and the one thing that struck me hard was that I was barely in any of them. In fact I had maybe one or two with me in them with Livvy.

To be honest I wasn’t surprised but I was angry.

Angry at myself.

You see it hadn’t happened over night this camera shy behaviour of mine. From my teen years I have shied away every time anyone got a camera out.

I just hated how I looked, it was as simple as that.

It wasn’t always because of my weight because even as a size 8 I still hated seeing myself in a photo.

Yet as the weight went on so did my resolve to become the photographer never the model.

Having beautiful children was the perfect excuse, I wanted to capture them not me.

So then I found myself with no shared memories of me and my beautiful girl.

I had lived them but I had nothing to remind me.

It hurt.

It hurt like hell.

I wanted to remember the laughter we felt when we twirled her on the ice.

The daily messes we got into at meal times.

I had her smiles to see but I wanted to see my smile and remember my joy from that moment.

Our togetherness.

It hurt and I was so angry that I had let vanity or maybe shame rob me of these memories.

So it was at this point I decided I couldn’t allow myself to be lost from all memories. I didn’t want my girls to ask where I was when they look back in years to come. I wanted a reminder for them of who I was and what I looked like and how crazy we could be together.

It wasn’t easy to step from behind the lens but it was one best things I have ever done.

Don’t get me wrong I still cringe a few times when I see my double chin but I can look past that now and see the memory that was formed.

The moment that was shared.

In fact my girls laughed at me the other day for taking what they called “yet another selfie”. They speak the truth beyond this journey of memory making I have learned to love who I am. My body has birthed four amazing girls. It has carried so many children on it’s hips. It too holds it’s own memories.

It’s also the only one I have and yes while there are bits I would love to change I do finally like most of it.

Stepping in front of the camera scared me silly but I am so thankful that I did.

Life is different now, I have less regrets.

I take chances regardless of how far from my comfort zone they are and I have been rewarded with so many new and amazing memories. I’ve also met so many incredible people too just by being less afraid.

I wish I could go back and tell that gawky teen to love herself a little more.

I wish I could tell that new mom to capture those moments with her precious child.

I cannot go back but I can tell all you out there.

Don’t hide who you are.

Photobomb snapshots.

Fill your Instagram feed.

Jump into the scenery and make those memories.

Because

One day they will be the most precious gift you could give yourself.

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