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One Year On…

10364056_10152023112966512_1808747011739674804_nMy son has been dead for a year.

How did we manage to survive the initial emotional Hiroshima?

How did we remember to breathe when the pain was stronger than the desire to stay alive?

How did we live beyond the very traumatic firsts: the first night without our boy, the first week, the first month?

And now, the first year.

I don’t know.

I still don’t know.

All I know is that even if it sounds like an eternity, this year has changed nothing when it comes to our longing for a different ending and to our emotional pain.

We still think of Georgie every day.

We still miss his presence.

We still wonder how it would have been to be four, everywhere we go. For pizza, to the beach, on weekend trips.

We still feel his physical absence, even now, after a year.

We miss having another car seat at the back.

We miss having another mouth to feed.

We miss buying blue swimming trunks and shark t-shirts.

We miss seeing Emma learning to share and love and protect her younger sibling.

We miss the joy we would have felt.

We miss the normality we feel we were so entitled to, so many other families are!

We claw our way out of the dark every single day.

We fight to stay alive, to want to be alive, to give meaning to our existence.

Nothing is serene anymore.

Nothing is a given.

It is all conscious choice.

And deciding to use every breath we take and every word we utter meaningfully.

It is careful living.

It is painful living.

It is living with the awareness of human fragility and pain and death.

Sweet boy, are you happy where you are?

Are you proud of us and the way we continue to live here, despite the strong magnetic pull we feel to come and join you in the peace and the quiet?

Can you feel our love and determination to make your existence known?

Can you feel our fierce desire to honour your sweet spirit and joyfulness?

Can you feel our hearts still attached to yours, for ever and ever?

Can you still feel our deep, deep love for you?

We love you.

Mummy, daddy and Emma.

BritMums Live 2015

This was the first year I attended BritMums Live and I am so glad I did!

It took me over a week to condense down ALL the things I had learned, experienced and enjoyed but finally, here is my synopsis of two wonderful and very insightful days.

Let me start by saying that I went to London with no expectations as this proved to be the best policy I could have adopted. The bloggers’ conference delivered over and beyond my dreams but IF I had approached it with expectations of possible sponsorships for next year, of big brand giveaways or the like, I think I would have let myself down.

Saying that, BritMums Live 2015 proved to be a truly inspirational place to be, with sessions that inspired me and, dare I say, shaped the destiny of my future in blogging.

I met and listened to strong women who through the power of their words and utilising the strength of sisterhood, have been reshaping and molding our worldview on important subjects such as disability(the beautiful Hayley, Downs Side Up), neonatal loss and bereavement(the tender-hearted and inspirational Leigh, Headspace Perspective) , charity work(Michelle PannellMummy from the Heart)and women-run businesses(Kate Hardcastle,  Insight with Passion).

I had moments of revelation and felt that my blogging, my whole existence actually had been validated listening to sessions like Shouting Back: Women’s voices loud, proud & online and Digital Activism: Shaping the world we live in. I realised that the deeply-engrained desire in my heart to make a difference in the world can be transformed from dream and desire to reality through blogging and intelligent involvement in digital campaigning!

IMG_2762I met in person bloggers I had known for ages in the virtual world and we became friends, for real! It was so touching to meet and cuddle up to Leigh, with whom I had kept in touch ever since our little boys flew to heaven and who had been a source of strength and comfort to me from afar so many times:

10363098_10152828033431780_3776694032655618272_nI admired Vicki’s(Honest Mum) flawless sense of style but, most importantly, was impressed by her genuineness, warmth and candor. She poured love and affection on both Leigh and myself like a healing oil and shared a tear with us, talking about our precious Hugo and Georgie.

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I made new friends and got to know lovely ladies with whom I share the difficult experience of postnatal depression and the victorious sense of overcoming the monster of social and emotional isolation that depression entails. One of the very practical means of becoming more involved in digital campaigning will be for me supporting the slaying of the dragon of antenatal and postnatal lack of support and understanding.

IMG_2764Another important aspect in BritMums Live was learning from the experts and brands how to run a blogging business professionally and successfully.

Both BritMums in Conversation with Bloggers and Brands and Travel Blogging: The latest Inspirations sessions provided priceless advice and common sense principles. These will once again, excuse me for repeating myself, shape Mama’s Haven’s  brand and blogging approach in the months and years to come and hopefully support it becoming from an amateurish blog a professional and successful brand, dare I say??

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I found being at BritMums Live extremely beneficial, on every single level. Professional, emotional, confidence wise and friend wise.

I will be booking my next one as soon as the tickets are released and will be looking forward to catching up with everybody I got to know and love this year!

Angel’s Face: A Review

I have become very selective with my reviews in the past few months for a number of reasons.

One, and the most important, has been the lack of time due to a (nearly, towards the end of June) full-time job in education.

The other has been the subsequent desire to act professionally, not letting brands and PRs down with delayed or very late posts.

I therefore decided to accept for reviewing only products I absolutely loved and could dedicate an hour to writing a beautiful, heartfelt blog post on.

And Angel’s Face has been absolutely one of those and more!

I loved their name from the very beginning and saw it as perfectly befitting for Emma. At the end of the day, she has a little angel of a brother in heaven and wearing something that would remind us of Georgie is always a privilege and encouraged in our home!

Emma was sent an absolutely gorgeous Neon Pink Tutu Skirt and a sweet, sweet t-shirt. We loved the beautiful hat box packaging the tutu arrived in, check it out and let me know what you think:

neon-pink-tutuEmma was so thrilled to have such a wonderful surprise box to open and although she had a friend visiting when the post arrived, she decided to change into her new outfit ASAP!

11119327_10152792266571512_4921123849041852761_nShe told me she felt like a princess wearing the beautiful tutu and only took it off when daddy arrived home that evening. She did it so that he could try it on as a modern Dad’s hot pink mohawk, to my Instagram and Facebook friends’ delight:

11420040_10152791647401512_699143654_nJoke aside, we loved the product, the service and the frills. I have my eyes on a couple of items on the website that I will be buying in the months to come. I am hoping one of Emma’s birthday presents will be a matching doll tutu for her teddies:

blooming-lovely-doll-skirtI also LOVE their silver charm bracelet and will be probably adding it to Emma’s order, as another tender reminder of a little angel boy residing in heaven:

silver-charm-braceletDo have a look for me and let me know what would you fancy yourselves? Would you be as daring as to order a tutu for yourself,

adult-tutus.jpgwould you kit your baby girl in gorgeously befitting frills,

emerald-baby-tutuor would you be tempted by their angelic t-shirts?

wings-t-shirt-rose-pinkDisclaimer: we were sent the tutu and the t-shirt for the purpose of reviewing. We were not compensated financially or in any other way to write this post. The opinions expressed are genuinely our own and true to reality.

It’s the simple things…

It’s the simple things that make life worth living.

It’s not the power or the money or the game of winning.

It’s the breathing in of freshly cut grass.IMG_1620

It’s creme brûlée eaten with a teaspoon.

It’s the sound of the birds celebrating a new day.

It’s the freshness of a warm croissant flaking away.

It’s the love that you share with the ones you call your own.

It’s the giggles and the cuddles and the chatting about “your best day.”

It’s the realisation that my best day was when.

I held both my children close, delirious on the blessing of togetherness.

It’s the love that transcends time and grave and death.

It’s the knowing that the love chain that binds us together knows not of space nor of years.

It’s the simple things that make life worth living.

It’s the knowing that you, my boy, are never too far away,

As you live in my heart,

And my love pulses for you,only one heartbeat away.

#LiveItForGeorgie

Live ItMany of my friends have asked recently about our plans for the 5th of July.

On the day, we will mourn the loss of our baby boy afresh as the time will mark, cruelly, a year since Georgie left us.

I know that this boy is loved by many more people than we will ever know and I decided to include you all in the marking of what has been the most difficult year of our lives.

On the day, we will be on our own. We will spend the day remembering a sweet boy’s face, personality and character and will do things to honour his short life.

This is where I want to invite you to take part.

I want to launch a campaign called #LiveItForGeorgie.

I want to invite you all, alongside family members and friends, to create a bank of memories in the memory of my boy.

You see, Georgie never got to do many things on this earth.

The simplest things, that we all take for granted.

Like

….eating an ice cream.

…playing in the park.

…writing a check to a charity.

…writing a letter to a friend or total stranger.

…sitting on the grass.

…singing in the choir.

…hugging a friend in need.

…visiting a beautiful place.

…taking a stunning picture.

…playing a prank on a friend.

…taking a challenge to help others.

…collecting leaves.

…picking up flowers.

…ironing.

…shopping.

I invite you from now, until the 5th of July to join in and create a life for him here on earth.

Through your actions.

They can be as mundane or as heroic as you choose them to be.

Just choose a moment in your life.

Any moment.

And then, please, dedicate it to my boy.

Make the world a teensy bit better in his memory.

Send him a wave and a hug, which I feel strongly he will feel up above, where he is.

Envelop him with love in action on the day he was called home.

And let him know, as we will, that he was never forgotten, that he is always missed and that he is loved.

Oh, so loved…

10411951_10152052120026512_2889413543604405471_n#LiveItForGeorgie

Please tag and share your actions on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or, if you prefer to keep it private, send me a private message with the picture.

Thank you so very much!

Anger

I am so angry tonight.

I don’t recall being so very angry ever before.

I am so angry I could punch someone, with the intention to harm and hurt.

I am so angry, I could smash my whole house down.

I am so angry, I had to get out of bed and come and write this as my therapy.

I am so angry, I do not care who reads this and how it could be misinterpreted.

I am so angry, I just want to scream.

Last night, I found out the cancer Georgie had has been doing fresh victims.

But most likely, my search for an answer to the “why?” will remain forever unanswered.

As people do not want to associate with parents who have lost their children.

As if losing a child makes me or my lost child losers.

They think they are special. Different. Not like me.

They do not understand that malignant cells do not have prejudices and unless stopped at the root cause, they will do the same harm, again and again and again.

I remember how drained and fearful and desperate we were last year.

But I know in my heart, if someone would have approached me and asked me to help them find answers, I would have done anything in my power to make finding a possible answer a possibility.

I do not understand.

It does not make your child have less chances of survival, if you support someone in their efforts  to get to the bottom of things or show a bit of empathy and care.

A united effort, solidarity in front of such a cruel enemy can only bring good. If not for my child, it is too late for him, at least for others who will not have to suffer like mine did.

Hiding from reality behind lame excuses is not the appropriate weapon against cancer.

Making people feel like dirt, because their child died and yours hasn’t yet will not keep yours alive.

Why, oh why are we so cruel to each other?

Why, oh why, do we choose to trample over other people’s hearts in the vain hope that tragedy will not touch us by association???

We have all been given a destiny we cannot escape.

But we are “human” beings and not just mere animals when we show kindness and sympathy and compassion to one another in pain and in tragedy.

I feel so angry tonight.

I have never been so angry before.

It is like people are determined to prove my belief in humanity wrong.

It is like they are dead set on showing me that living is all about instinctual survival and never about care for the other fellow being.

And I refuse to live in a world like this.

There is little point in living in a world where being kind and caring and determined to reverse pain is seen as a curse, not as a quality.

I am so tired of this life game.

Prove me right, people, I beg you!

Prove me right!

Show me there are still enough kind people in this world to make living worthwhile.

With a very hurt heart, I bid you goodnight.

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Do you know…

Do you know how close I am to the brink each and every day?

Do you know how much it takes out of me,

to act as if everything is okay?

Do you know how my heart aches when I see your brand new boy?

Do you know how far I feel from everything that will ever mean joy?

Do you know how much courage it takes to choose to live every single day,

When the alternative to stop breathing and wither away brings less disarray ?

Do you know how your never tested faith reeks insult to my broken heart?

Do you know how your reminders of heaven nail me to the ground?

Do you know that it can never be enough,

To have only one child with me, while the other’s shadow hangs over us?

Do you know how hard it is to reveal my bruised heart to you,

Knowing that, most likely, you do not have a clue?

Do you know that my baby has been gone now 11 months,

And that I wish the time would hurry so we can have another hug?

Do you know that I have totally forgotten how to enjoy a sun ray?

How to genuinely smile without sadness following me like prey?

Do you know how it is to live empty of hope and trust and peace?

Do you know how ephemeral tranquility appears?

Do you know how heavy my load is and how

I choose to still love my dead child, despite the pain of now?

Do you know…and if you don’t…why do you stray,

Why do you choose to judge and never, ever stay,

To listen and to cry and to cuddle my pain?

To live it for a moment and keep the sadness at bay?

BridgeOne day I will cross the bridge and I will find myself on the other side of pain.

But do you know that then your advice will not matter, as I will find myself finally HOME.