It’s no exaggeration when I say that my life changed recently when I had the privilege of being introduced to Jo Meeke.
On 15th March, Jo and her partner, Matt welcomed their beautiful first-born son, Puck into the world. Following a complicated labour and emergency c-section, Puck tragically died in his parents’ arms early the next morning.
With an inspirational determination that something good must come out of this utterly devastating event that has changed their lives forever, Jo and Matt decided to purchase a woodland in memory of Puck. As avid lovers of nature it is their hope that they and other families affected by similar life-changing tragedy, and the nurses who care for them will be able to use the woodland as a playground to reconnect with the wild, find peace away from the demands of their lives and find solace as they grieve.
This month they are also supporting Sands awareness month and the Sands #15babiesaday campaign. In the UK 15 babies every single day die before, during or shortly after birth, an appalling statistic that Sands is working to change.
It’s so hard to make sense of the world when it shifts on its axis in the face of such tragedy. But I’m always amazed and humbled by the power of people to create more love and good in the world as they build a life afterwards.
My thanks and as much love as my heart can hold go to Jo for giving her permission for this beautiful post to be shared here, in the hope that her courage and stunning, powerful words might bring some hope and comfort to others facing grief after miscarriage or baby loss.
12 weeks ago today Matt & I lost our little boy, Puck.
I find myself sitting here remembering the first 12 weeks of my pregnancy. Remembering crossing off each long day until my 12 week scan… Remembering holding my breath on each of those long days waiting for something to go wrong; to go devastatingly wrong as it had done with my first pregnancy when I had miscarried at 11 weeks.
That 12 weeks seemed like an age. But we got through it. The magical 12 week milestone – seeing your baby on the screen for the first time and feeling the immense relief that everything’s going to be alright. And you post pictures of your scan all over social media.
Except we didn’t.
My miscarriage had somehow partially robbed me of that relief and excitement. In its aftermath I had struggled with some really dark emotions that had taken me to unknown parts of my being. I had to work hard on acknowledging and accepting these uncomfortable feelings and emotions without allowing them to define me, Jo.
I got through it. And I remember thinking that surviving a traumatic miscarriage had made me stronger; whilst it’s not an experience I would ever have chosen, I at least knew that I could get through anything that was thrown at me with Puck.
I blissfully passed full-term. I knew it was only a matter of days, or maybe even hours, until I’d be holding our precious and longed for baby. Leaving hospital empty-armed never even entered the equation. I was well out of the danger zone at 40 weeks +9.
But babies do die at full-term. And for some reason Puck was one of those babies.
And now he is a statistic.
For 12 weeks he has been a statistic.
I never thought that anything could ever feel longer than those first tentative 12 weeks of a pregnancy. Yet the 12 weeks since Puck died have erased any concept of time from my life. Each day is just another long day to survive…. In fact, I’m not sure I can even remember what life before-Puck felt like….
I’ve seen tiny little glimpses of light in the chiefly oppressive gloom, mostly because I know I have to. There’s (potentially) a whole lot of life ahead of me and I can’t bear the thought of just simply surviving each long day.
Losing Puck has reminded me, in the most brutal of ways, that life is sacred. We are not entitled to it. I owe it to my son to live my days wholly, not to be numbed by my grief, but to once again welcome every dark feeling and emotion that arises.
And when the strength of these threaten to overwhelm me, I shall find comfort in knowing that they are a reflection of the depth of my love for my son.