What a week! There are many lovely and exciting things to tell you about, dear readers.
But first, a moment of reflection. I’ve been distracted from my blog (I’ve really missed it!) and from my usual self-care techniques by some upsets with people about whom I care deeply. The upsets were on social media – as wonderful as social media is, misunderstandings are bound to happen from time to time. I’ve been at the receiving end a number of times and whenever the other person has apologised, I’ve acknowledged that while their comment hurt, I know it was unlikely to be intended and accepted their apology.
Anyway, this time my words were the cause of unintentional upset and for some reason my apology seemed to make it worse. To cut a long story short, I made myself physically ill with the stress of it all.
So, I am taking a step back and reassessing what is important in my life, and what I need to focus on. Firstly myself: I reminded myself of the very wise advice I wrote in this post. By trying to make other people happy, I wasn’t meeting my own needs – not by a long shot. I am who I am – candid, honest, enthusiastic and passionate about getting on and making change for other people’s benefit. I have a dry sense of humour, and with that I am kind, considerate, compassionate, and empathetic. I know I am a good person, I am happy with who I am and my motives for doing what I do.
My first step towards self-care was a lazy morning and a long cuddle with Fat Cat that we both thoroughly enjoyed.
The reason I mention this is the same as I mention anything on the blog – not to ‘pick on’ anyone or to make them feel bad, but to make a wider point about reflection and thinking differently. I am all about the bigger picture.
I am now doing my Taylor Swift dance, shaking it off and focusing on the positive. Ready? Let’s go!
My phased return to work continues to be much better than I anticipated, I am relieved to report. My manager and colleagues are wonderful; very kind and supportive, and understanding of my needs. Colleagues have welcomed me back, telling me I have been missed, and that they are glad to have me back. No one has pried, which has really helped me manage my feelings of anxiety and vulnerability.
Another huge positive is that I am helping lead a project about my great passion – patient experience. It’s really exciting, and it’s great to have something to feel excited about.
There is still a long road ahead of course, but so far so good.
Neonatal Parents’ Meeting
On Wednesday I went to London for a Neonatal Parent Advisory Group meeting. It was tough – there were tears from me – but such a constructive meeting. Sadly, the other parents who attended have also experienced loss; I appreciated being, for the first time, in a group of people who really ‘get it’. We are going to be working together to use the benefit of our experiences to help other families, which feels to me to be a privilege.
Maternity Strategic Clinical Network Meeting
That meeting was followed by attending this meeting to talk in front of around 100 people about Hugo’s Legacy, my involvement in #MatExp, and my experience of a Whose Shoes workshop as part of a presentation about the campaign and the pilot workshops.
Don’t tell anyone, but my week had been so busy I prepared my talk 30 minutes previously – I think I did alright. Lovely people came up to me afterwards to say Hugo’s story had really moved them, and I am also going to get involved with the work of the strategic clinical network to help shape better support for women who have similar experiences to mine.
I also really enjoyed the chance to have a face-to-face chat with #FabObs Florence Wilcock, after spending so much time communicating online. I have just realised we should have got a selfie!
The wonderful Mel, who is behind the Butterfly Awards has invited me to give a speech inspiring other bereaved parents to share their stories, and to highlight why people need to put their temporary discomfort to one side and take the time to really listen to the stories. The invitation came about my latest #MatExp action, and I was honoured to be asked to and to accept.
I am also honoured to be shortlisted in the author/blogger category in the awards for the second year running. I know you will all be delighted to learn I’ll be asking you to vote for me again in a couple of months’ time!
Other exciting things…
It’s naughty to tease I know…but I have been invited to some other things that I can’t tell you about yet, but I will as soon as I am able!
The kind people at Lumie have sent me a SAD and energy desk light to review – the idea is it helps prevent the slump that usually prompts me to hunt down some chocolate. I’ll be letting you know how I get on.
Most excitingly, I’ve been sent a colouring book to review! It’s a hard life, but someone has to put themselves out…and it’s a great reason to ensure sure I definitely make time for self-care.
I’ve also had my hair chopped. It had been getting shorter and shorter over the past year – the new ‘do is a braver version of the graduated bob I had last time. I love it – it is the perfect compromise between a bit of flattering face-framing length and hassle-free lack of length.
Phew! Right, time for more self-care – and to make sure I have energy not only for the things I need to focus on, but BritMums Live too! I’m very excited to see all my friends.
Word of the Week: phew!