Since starting this blog last week in the height of insomnia, shock, despair, joy and complete overwhelm, I have battled and questioned myself, wondering whether putting our story out there is really of benefit to anybody except, rather selfishly, me and that really I should write it down in a lovely book at home and keep it under lock and key; to go over in time, to use as a tool to grieve, to never read again if I so wished. As I am sure all the professional bloggers out there must feel with every post, the paranoia crept in and I wondered how it might have been received or if I might have hurt someone going through a similar scenario who was not at all ready to face their grief. I thought this is silly and I shouldn’t be using the long, lonely sleep deprived nights as a chance to release and let go to an audience, almost certainly of 1 (my faithful Mum!) and just try and get some much needed rest.
On Friday evening I saw a friend who made me change my mind. He told me he had loved reading it (thanks Ian!) but for a very interesting reason. I don’t know if you are reading now, for instance, how you came to this – maybe you saw the link in our birth announcement in the paper or my Mum or I sent it to you but for most it would’ve been through facebook. I have struggled with the social media mania we millennials all find ourselves in. I used to work in an industry where it was necessary to be present and far too often in the social media sphere – it made me feel deeply uncomfortable but for a long time I went along with it because I had quit university and I had chosen a career path in an industry that chewed people up and spat them out as soon as they were no longer flavour of the month. I chose this so I had to like it or lump it. Eventually my sub-conscious became too loud and I broke. I left Instagram and I had, until recently, quit facebook. It’s bliss and I can’t recommend it highly enough although I completely understand that for some it is an extremely important and successful tool for work, especially creatives who need to share visual ideas. I think all humans given half a chance can struggle with the narcissist within them – its natural (in moderation) and it’s what promotes survival but in modest, humble, Christian Britain it is something that has always been kept firmly in check. Social media, unfortunately in my very humble opinion, can have a terrible impact on the inner narcissist within us all – I hold my hands up and fully admit that I was a member of this category, feeling a far too temporary buzz as someone (almost certainly not a close friend you have nurtured a proper relationship with using your time and love) “liked” your photo and then further down the track suffering the unavoidable crash in self worth because none of it is real and the instant gratification short circuit that strengthens in our brain as a result of social media, for example plays havoc with the healthy effort/reward loop and destructs self confidence, worth and happiness. I had to step away.
I rejoined facebook a couple of months ago when this pregnancy trauma began to escalate in our lives. After Faith was diagnosed with severe brain damage I felt lost and frightened. I got in touch with the Twin and Multiple Birth Foundation (TAMBA) bereavement support network. They advised me to join the private bereavement group on facebook which you could only join if you had suffered a twin or triplet pregnancy loss. I went for it, signed back up and it was the best decision I ever made for handling the following weeks that played out. This was social media at its best. This was real. It was empowering. It was was beautiful. Nobody cared on there who you were or what you did or moderated their stories so as not to alarm, hurt, worry or at the opposite end of the spectrum to impress, boast, compete. We shared and continue to share all our worries, excitements, fear, anger, advice and the support and strength I have gained from these amazing women has been unbeatable. When I was sitting having a conversation with our friend Ian on Friday night, he said that the reason he had so enjoyed my post was that it’s exactly what social media should all be about, honesty, and that sadly it was all too often about the opposite – the fake, the unobtainable, the materialistic. So I will, thanks to Ian, continue to write on here in the knowledge that nobody is probably reading it anyway and if they are it’s because they are choosing to. I also hope that in doing so, I will reach others suffering who are in need of an ear or a hug or some empathy from someone who really knows how it feels. I am here for you.
Constance is 2 weeks old. We have settled into a hospital/home routine that seems to work for us for now. I visit Constance alone for the morning and Fred and I meet together again in the hospital in the evening so that we can spend some time with her united as a family. Constance is a gentle soul – she rests much of the time as her little body uses all its might to pack on some ounces. She is on the 9th centile for weight for her gestational age which in non medic speak means that she is near the lowest end of the spectrum – Mumma needs to keep producing more milk!
Beautiful Faith is currently in the morgue of the hospital and we plan to visit her in the Chapel of rest this week. I really look forward to the time we can spend with her – I have some beautiful memories from the day of the girls’ birth when she was brought to me in a wicker basket, dressed in a lovely pristine white linen dress with a tiny knitted woollen hat the size of a dippy egg cosy perched on her tiny but perfect head. I was, however coming down from the epidural – the dihydromorphine made me shake, tremble and chatter uncontrollably whilst projectile vomiting and itching like a mad woman (good look?!) so I would love to spend some more mindful and awakened moments with her now.
I placed our girls’ birth announcement that was in the Telegraph on facebook – again I’m not sure whether this was appropriate but it felt like the right thing to do at the time. I took inspiration from a beautiful 14th Century poem by Hafiz – of special relevance to my family as it was framed and given to my mother by my Godparents when she had suffered a baby loss, sadly in the form of cot death. Here it is in all its splendour:
This house hath been a fairy’s dwelling-place;
As the immortals pure from head to feet
Was she who stayed with us a little space
Then, as was meet,
On her immortal journey went her ways.
So wise was she- yet nothing but a flower;
Only a child- yet all the world to me;
Against the stars what love have any power!
Or was it she
Went softly in her own appointed hour?
The title of this post is “We have Faith in her” – because we do have faith in Constance, that she will keep growing and fighting as she is doing a remarkable job of right this minute – I know that a mother shouldn’t say this about her baby/child as it can seem rather boastful but I have to say that Fred and I are extremely proud of our tiny little scrap who is certainly not out of the woods yet, but is doing a damn good job of ensuring she’s nearing the boundary and that she’s not going back to base camp if she can help it! We also have Faith in her in a more literal sense. On Saturday night at 1am I was staring into Constance’s little plastic encased world, trying to avert my attention from a set of twins who had just been placed in a cot next door to her, with tears streaming down my cheeks. I realised that I too was looking at my set of identical twins, its just that they both live in Constance now. I can live far more peacefully with this in mind.
Thank you if you felt able to read and for the continued messages of love and support. It is wonderful to receive them and you all keep the memory of Faith alive whilst sharing in the joy and delight of darling Constance – this has meant the world to me as it is something I feared most after I lost her – that people wouldn’t mention her name for fear of upsetting me or because they weren’t sure how to go about it. I love her being mentioned in whatever capacity so please, a message from a mummy of identical twin girls – never worry and always ask me whatever you want to know about Faith or Constance – I will be as honest and open as I can as I think this is what really helps people understand and creates awareness and knowledge for future mummies to identical twins having a tough time and an even better support network for them that I am already so lucky to be on the receiving end of. THANK YOU.