You know, there are some weeks when I um and aah about the word to choose to sum up my week. There are also weeks when I know exactly what my word of the week is. This is one of the latter weeks – it has been a week of affirmation.

It is almost a year to the day since I wrote HELLP Raise Awareness. When I wrote that post, I was still numb after the trauma of that experience, and of Hugo’s death. I was all too aware I should still be pregnant, with a few weeks yet to go. Anger and guilt ruled my life. I was, and remain, committed to Hugo’s Legacy and making sure my beautiful little boy is never forgotten through making a difference to other people’s lives.

It is nearly a year ago now that I stood up in the packed hall at the Britmums Live conference after Life As A Widower’s keynote speech to thank him for helping make death less of a taboo, and to say how hurt I had been by another blogger’s insensitive comment.

So much has changed in that year.

I still baulk at the suggestion that ‘things happen for a reason’, or ‘ah well, you’ve turned your loss in to a positive’. Anyone who says that to me risks being thumped – you have been warned.

That said, blogging has given me a purpose. I blamed myself, hated myself so much for failing my son. My blog became a means of channelling all that pent up anger and energy into something positive – for me, and for other people.

As regular readers may know, the success of my blog since Hugo died has made me feel uncomfortable. I never wanted success this way, and would gladly trade it to have Hugo back in my arms.

I have had to acknowledge that wishing things were different does not make them different. Blogging does not bring Hugo back, but it keeps his spirit, his memory alive.

I have been learning that it is acceptable to be proud of what I have achieved in the past year. I have been learning that to be proud of my achievements, or to carve a career from it if the opportunity arises is not profiting from my son’s death. I have been learning that I am capable of so much more than I ever thought possible, and I can give to others so much more than I imagined.

Some of that learning has been part of the journey. Some of it came from last week’s BlogCamp. Some of it came from my shortlisting in the Brilliance in Blogging Awards.

The ultimate affirmation, though, came in the form of an email I received from a woman who is recovering in hospital several weeks after being diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, and suffering organ failure. Her baby boy sadly died. Like me, and so many other HELLP syndrome survivors she had never heard of the condition. A doctor at first misdiagnosed her condition as heartburn. This is an excerpt from her email:

I am plagued with a range of emotions, most of which I couldn’t put into words until I read your blog. It was like you had taken the words out of my mouth. Thank-you from the bottom of my broken heart for being a voice for those of us who can’t speak.

Award nominations and the like are wonderful, appreciated, the icing on the cake if you like. But THIS is why I blog. THIS is why I pour out my heart on a regular basis. To help others in a similar position, and to help others who have not shared these experiences learn how to support those who have.


The Reading Residence

12 thoughts on “Affirmation

  1. Maya says:

    Any success pales in comparison to the much much greater service you’re providing by sharing your grief and experience with this blog.

    I am so very sorry to you, the woman who sent that email and all others who lost their babies. I was one of the very lucky ones. My son was breech and I was going in for a check up (37 weeks) before they attempted a version (procedure to try to turn him around). I had been spilling protein for weeks but everything else was okay. That day I was feeling really off, they took my vitals then sent me to the ER where I was diagnosed with HELLP. I had never heard of it, and I remember arguing with the Doctor about the emergency c-section. What?? Can’t we try the version? They told me that both my life and the baby were in danger and if I didn’t do this now, we could die. What?? This doesn’t happen in this century. Except it does.

    As I said, i was one of the very lucky ones, everything worked out and 15 years later he’s finishing up his freshman year of high school.

    Blogs like yours are invaluable and crucial in spreading the word and educating women about the very real dangers. Thank you so much and my deepest condolences on your loss of your son Hugo.


  2. Mummy Tries says:

    You deserve it hon, you got my vote first and second time around 🙂 unfortunately I think people just stumble over their words and end up offending because they don’t really know what to say…sometimes though there are no words xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. thereadingresidence says:

    I can only imagine how you felt when you received that email. So much grief and empathy for the sender, and then that affirmation that what you are doing here is so powerful and helps so many.
    I do know how your success can make you uncomfortable, but I can’t see that anyone would imagine for even a second that you wouldn’t trade it in a heartbeat to have your gorgeous boy in your arms. Your success isn’t just your story though, Leigh, it is you, your beautiful and emotive writing, your talent and your drive. You are so doing Hugo proud xx Thanks for sharing with #WotW

    Liked by 1 person

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      That email was so so sad. I was so sorry to receive it, but glad she found my blog so she didn’t feel so alone. Thank you for your very kind words and ongoing support, Jocelyn xxx


  4. Zara says:

    This is why your blog is brilliant. You are a voice that people need at a time they don’t really know what to do or how to process what they have been through or are still going through. Like MommyofBoyGirlTwins says above, your wonderful writing touches people and that is a powerful thing. As always, beautiful post. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      That’s really kind, Jess, thank you. That email made me so emotional. I’m so sorry anyone else has to go through what I went through, but I am pleased that sharing my experience means that mum does not feel as alone as I did xxx


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