It’s been a tough week, for a variety of reasons.

Counselling last week was very challenging, because we discussed the day that Hugo died. As expected, recounting that day was very traumatic, and it sent me straight back to those very raw, terrifying emotions. For a few days, I became nearly as withdrawn as I was in the days and weeks immediately after Hugo died.

This reaction underlines the fact that grief is not a linear process. Recovery is a slow, careful, and painful process. That there is no ‘getting better’ in the way that we think about recovering from physical ailments such as a broken leg, even though someone with a broken leg might use similar words to describe that process of recovery. That means it can be difficult for others to fully understand grief.

Wednesday marked six months since Hugo’s birth. A bittersweet day because Hugo was born far too early and because I was seriously ill, but wonderful because our precious boy made it safely into the world and with a chance to fight for his life.

Hugo has now been out of my womb for longer than he was in it.

Cheeky Hugo, kicking away and grabbing his wires.

Cheeky Hugo, kicking away and grabbing his wires.

My empty arms have been aching more than ever this week, with a visceral need to be with my baby. To hold him, to cuddle him, to soothe him, to nurse him, to kiss him. To be his mummy.

The photos of friends’ babies across my social media feeds have intensified that feeling during this difficult week. I have considered hiding their feeds for now, but I have resisted because it would feel like a regression in my progress. I avoid babies in real life, and in the virtual world I have taken to quickly skipping over those photos. I know this avoidance strategy cannot last forever. Hopefully, this too shall pass.

I’ve also been fighting a bit of a grotty coldy virusy thing, one of those bugs that lies you low but without making you properly ill. Not that I want to be properly ill, but it’s frustrating to feel less than 100% physically when there’s also a psychological illness to fight. The coldy virusy thing also means I’ve been to the gym only once this week. When combined with the inclement weather of the past few days it makes things feel a bit more difficult to deal with. A bit of a vicious circle.

Giving Hugo a kiss.

Giving Hugo a kiss.

Most of all this week I’ve been pensive. Reflecting a lot.

The scene at the end of the film Saving Private Ryan came to mind this week. It’s where the elderly Private Ryan, in true Spielberg sentimental style visits the grave of Captain Miller (the soldier who led the rescue mission, played by Tom Hanks). Ryan is accompanied by members of his extended family and asks “Have I had a good life?”

He wants to know that his life has been worth the sacrifices made by Miller and the other soldiers who died during the mission.

Of course, it is incomparable circumstances, but it’s the closest way I can think to describe how I feel about what I have been doing during the past few months.

I know I am very lucky to still be here. Rationally, I know Hugo’s death is not my fault, but the sense of mummy guilt that my body’s meltdown necessitated my son’s very premature birth remains. It will probably never completely leave me.

I have had to reflect that I have made progress, however small. Despite becoming withdrawn after last week’s counselling session, I have come back. During that counselling session, I explored some of the feelings of that terrible day that I had shut away. This means I can try to deal with those feelings.

I am still writing. This helps me, and it helps others.

I am sharing my beautiful boy with the world. Hugo is helping others, with his legacy.

My year has turned out in a way I never would have imagined, and not in a good way, for the most part.

However, I hope my efforts will mean that I will be able to reflect that I have had a good life. That I have thrown everything at my second chance at life. That I will not be solely pensive for much longer, but that I will be able to get out there, into life’s full swing.



The Reading Residence

16 thoughts on “Pensive

  1. meghanoc says:

    I really like this pensive side. I too have recently hit the six month mark and have been using the word “withdrawn” to describe myself too. I had been, what I considered, “making progress” and then the six month mark hit and I’ve been in a big ole funk. It hurts more than I thought I would. I know I”ve had a good life too. I just need to keep hoping there is more good to my life to come.


  2. kateonthinice (@kateonthinice) says:

    Powerful post and I am so very sorry for your loss of such a beautiful boy. I sense strength in you. Sometimes we don’t always feel the huge strength we have but I sense something very special about you instinctively. Taking time out to reflect is good and I am pleased you are accessing counselling. That is a sign of strength in itself.


  3. debsrandomwritings says:

    There are probably so many other words you could have chosen for this week too. My heart goes out to you even though I don’t know you and no words I add can make you feel better right at this moment, but I hope that in time you learn to cope with loss of Hugo.

    You seem to be going in the right direction and even though it must hurt remembering and acknowledging the pain of loosing Hugo, it is an important part of the healing process for you.

    I wish you well.

    I found your post on #WotW.


  4. SingleMotherAhoy says:

    I understand the thing about seeing other babies. I felt cheated out of experiencing my pregnancy properly because of the pressures I was put under; for a long time afterwards I got upset seeing photos of friends enjoying their pregnancy or their first weeks of motherhood with their partners. I still get it a bit now, and S is 2.
    As for the grief, you are right – you don’t just “get over” it. My dad died 10 years ago and it still hurts. When he died someone told me something that sounded horribly callous and practical, but it turned out to be true: the first year is the worst. Once you’ve got all the first anniversaries out of the way, and you’re not looking back thinking “this time last year…” it does get a bit easier. But it never goes away; it becomes part of you.
    Thanks for linking up with #WeekendBlogHop.


    • Leigh Kendall says:

      I’m sorry to hear you’ve lost your dad. You’re right about grief, it takes time. A lot of time. I’m heartened to hear the first anniversaries are the worst. Thank you for your kind comment xxx


  5. Hayley says:

    Thank you for writing this post. Reading it has helped me. I’ve been going through a personal trauma this last year and can identify with some of the things you have written. I too went through stages of being very withdrawn and staying well away from friends Face book pictures! Its nice to know that i’m not alone in how I’ve been feeling! Its been a year for me now and I am feeling much stronger. It sounds like you have been through a highly traumatic event in your life but you will get there. Keep strong through the down times. The time will come when you can slowly let go of the grief. x


    • Leigh Kendall says:

      I’m sorry to hear you’ve also suffered a trauma. It can feel so isolating. I’m glad you’ve found my post and that it has shown you you are not alone in your feelings. I’m also glad to hear you are now feeling much stronger. That gives me hope for my own journey. Thanks so much for your comment xxx


  6. thereadingresidence says:

    Such a hard week for you, with both the counselling session and the 6 months milestone all coming together. You are still here, you are still writing, and you are keeping Hugo’s Legacy going, and I hope that these things can help you to keep going, through incredibly painful and difficult times x Thanks for sharing with #WotW


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