Sometimes people ask me how I ended up designing headboards or how I started a career as an Interior Designer. The reason is my little girl Laoibhse … today I wanted to share my story.
It’s hard to believe that its just 10 years since my little girl passed away in my arms at The Coombe Hospital in Dublin, shortly after giving birth. It still feels like yesterday and although people told me that the hole in my heart would heal with time…I can assure you that it is still there and very much void. I still think about my little girl daily…sometimes 10 times a day and I often cry myself to sleep just trying to hang on to her memories and wishing she were here with me. It’s hard to explain the feeling of grief or understand why time is not healing me fast enough. But perhaps the truth is that I don’t want to heal…at least not fully. I want to hang on to those memories of the short time I spent with my daughter.
I relive the events that took place 10 years ago over and over. I relive how earlier that day I visited my local GP as I wasn’t feeling right and how I felt I was losing fluid. However she didn’t tell me to go straight to the hospital but that what I was feeling was normal. I relive the moment when later that night my waters burst at only 23.5 weeks and how my husband drove as fast as he could to the hospital. I relive how naively we still thought everything would be ok. I relive how I tried to stall the contractions. I relive her birth over and over again and how I pleaded with the doctors to give her a chance and put her in the incubator…but they didn’t. I relive those moments with my daughter when I baptised her with the presence of the chaplain and when I held her in my arms as she passed this world. I relive the moment when my heart broke forever.
Every year I celebrate my daughter’s birthday (and passing). We arrange something fun with my husband and our little boy, like trips to the circus and always have a little party for her (just my husband and my son). We celebrate the fact that we had a little girl that we loved so much and that my son has a big sister watching over him.
My little girl may not have spent long on this earth but she left a massive foot print. She changed my life completely. At the time I faced 6 months maternity leave and although I had amazing friends and family who visited me regularly and watched over me it was still some of the darkest days of my life as I spent 6 months childless in an empty house with only the reminder of all the things I didn’t have. However my daughter had other plans for me. I took the step to attend bereavement counselling and my counsellor was amazing…she advised that I should take up a hobby to keep myself busy. I prayed to my little girl to guide me and help keep my sanity. I had always had a passion for Interior Design but this was a big step away from my then career with the Health Service. However I decided to enrol on a Diploma in Interior Design by distance learning as I couldn’t face people and knew I couldn’t physically attend the college. I wasn’t sleeping and so I threw myself into my course…working on assignments all day and most nights. The more I studied the more my passion grew and soon I realised that this was the career path for me. I finished the course ahead of schedule and graduated with a distinction. I felt my little girl was proud of me but I was still unsure what to do with my life and wondered could I face the world again.
I tried to go back to work with the Health Service but I found this complete torture. I cried every morning before I left my home. I dreaded the train journey into work when all I could think of was the last time I travelled to work whilst been pregnant. Work itself was an additional torture as I tried to pretend I was ok…how I looked like I was functioning from the outside but my insides were still in pieces. How people met me in the corridor congratulating me on the birth of my baby not knowing that I had lost my little girl. How I collapsed on the toilet floor and rocked myself better before heading back to my desk. But I knew I couldn’t go on like this and took some time of work and kept attending my bereavement counselling. When the opportunity arose for voluntary redundancy from the Health Service Executive I decided to take it. The decision seemed right at the time as I could never visualise myself returning to the Health Service as it reminded me of so much pain.
Again I pondered what to do with my life and decided to set-up my Interior Design business. I took baby steps. …very small baby steps as I began to slowly throw myself back into the open world. I took on interior Design work for friends and family and threw myself into drawings and fabrics. I slowly felt like I was able to breathe again…slowly felt like I was beginning to live rather than just exist. My little girl had thought me how to have courage, how to keep trying. It’s now 10 years on and I still have my wonderful husband and adorable little boy who support me every day. I now have two businesses ‘Aspire Design’ and ‘Perfect Headboards’ and above all I still have those memories, the memories of my little girl. I have struggled during these last 10 years and some days I still struggle. The loss of my baby can be crippling at times and I often have to remind myself to take care of myself and tell myself that it is ok to have a bad day.
But as I mark her 10 year anniversary I have come to a conclusion. It is ok to grieve…it is ok to admit that you struggle…it is ok to admit that you don’t feel whole or that your heart is still broken. Time may be a healer…but if you find you are not healing as quickly as you feel you should then that too is ok. So I will continue taking baby steps…I will cling to my memories…I will talk to my little girl every day and if I feel like it I will cry for her. I accept that I am broken and that I will never be fully fixed…but I am alive and I have a beautiful family to be grateful for. I will continue to celebrate my daughter’s birthday each year, continue to have her little party and this year to mark her 10 year anniversary I have decided to host a coffee morning in aid of Nurture. Nurture are an Irish registered nationwide charity offering timely, affordable professional counselling and supports surrounding pregnancy and childbirth, maternal mental health illnesses and bereavement to women, partners and their families. The Coffee Morning will take place on Saturday February 13th in Clane from 10:00 – 12:00. I would love if you could attend this special morning but if you can’t I would appreciate if you would consider making a donation through the following link by clicking the ‘sponsor me’ tab https://www.idonate.ie/LaoibhseAnniversaryCoffeeMorning : – Please Feel free to share this as it may offer someone out there a little support. Thanks, Louise x please R.S.V.P. your attendance so I can ensure I have enough cakes etc by emailing [email protected] or 0863999926