I’ve been doing a lot of work on “Frankie’s Legacy” recently to bring it more in line with what I always wanted it to be – a blog and a place where I can talk honestly and openly about my feelings, a resource site for early pregnancy loss, stillbirth, neonatal death, cleft lip/palate, rare chromosome disorders and hyper fertility, an information portal for the awareness raising campaigns I am working on and a support network for bereaved parents. I think it is getting there, and I’m really pleased with the results so far.
While I was working on the site I revisited “Everlasting Footprints” – www.everlastingfootprints.org.uk. Not long after Frankie was born sleeping I decided to start a support group in Worcester for bereaved parents, and we called it the “Worcestershire Bereavement Support Group”. We met some lovely people through the first of these meetings, but when my father in law passed away we just couldn’t be there for others at that time. Unfortunately the deaths continued apace, among other things that happened, which I’ve written about previously in this blog, so as much as I wanted to go back to the support group, I just couldn’t do it.
I kept “Everlasting Footprints” online as it contains a lot of information and resources not just for bereaved parents but also for Grandparents, brothers/sisters, friends and family to help them support their loved ones who are going through the worst thing that anyone could ever go through. I haven’t done a lot with it, but I’m glad I decided to keep it online.
Although I don’t feel quite ready to restart the support group element of “Everlasting Footprints” I do offer telephone/skype support and I created a closed/private Facebook group, and I feel stronger and ready to revisit these if anyone feels that they need to talk to someone who has been through the loss of a much wanted and loved baby. I also looked into the possibility of starting an online magazine also called “Everlasting Footprints”, and I also kept that online – www.everlastingfootprintsmag.com – but at the moment it is just the shell of an idea. The original idea was to offer something based in the UK that is similar to the USA’s “Still Standing” website, because as great as that site is the articles are written with the USA in mind, with USA spellings and terminology, and references to USA healthcare professionals and their healthcare system that we don’t understand here in the UK.
However, I have revisited this idea and I’m thinking that a big part of this site should be support for those who, like me, are empty armed mothers. There is very little if anything out there for us, the ones who haven’t got our rainbow babies or had children before we lost our precious babies. I’m not saying for ONE minute that these mothers don’t feel the same loss, but it is definitely a very different kind of grief when you realise the very real possibility that you will be an empty armed mother for the rest of your days.
I have much I want to continue to do in Frankie’s memory that doesn’t involve me killing myself and working around the clock to benefit others who don’t appreciate my efforts. I want a life and I want to spend lots of time with my nearest and dearest. By slowing down the way I have it has given me a huge opportunity to take stock and work on myself. I guess a perfect analogy is that I was an ugly caterpillar that went into a chrysalis, which will hopefully emerge as a beautiful butterfly. I’m not there yet, I’m still in that chrysalis, but hopefully it won’t be too long before I emerge as a butterful, profoundly changed and different, but ready to face the world again and help those who need it. This time I am picking and choosing carefully though, because I’ve been burnt and betrayed by people SO many times, and I honestly don’t think I will survive it if it happens again. Once bitten, twice shy.
I would love to hear what you think of these ideas, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I’m not saying they will happen overnight or immediately.
I still have a lot of healing to do first.