Phew! This week has been manic. It has shown me a glimpse of how it feels to be a working mum. My blog and #HugosLegacy work is like my baby in the sense of how they occupy my time, and I like to help them grow and flourish in the absence of a living child to care for.
Return to Work
This Tuesday was supposed to have marked my return to work after 15 months. Understandably, this was something I was very nervous about, and I had done my best to prepare.
Unfortunately my return to work had to be postponed by a day because Martin has somehow hurt his back. I took him to A&E on Tuesday morning because he was in so much pain and could barely move. It transpires he has a problem with his femoral nerve; bless him, he is still in lots of pain and discomfort, and it is one of those things that is difficult to do much about in the short term.
The postponement was one of those things in life that cannot be helped. It meant I needed to psych myself up twice over; on Wednesday morning I was incredibly nervous.
As with many things, the anticipation was worse than the reality. Just going to work, crossing that threshold marked a major psychological achievement for me.
I am fortunate that my manager, my team, and my colleagues are wonderful, kind, supportive people. I have been welcomed back with hugs, been told I have been missed and that is good to have me back. The return has so far been low-key, with people being very sensitive to my needs by not probing too far, and reassuring me it is fine to take time out, time away if needed.
A positive development is that I will be working mainly on patient information and experience, which is my passion and offers another opportunity to make a difference.
I am doing a phased return for the first few weeks to help me get back in to the swing of things. There are bound to be plenty of ups and downs, but possibly the most challenging part – starting back again – has been done.
#MatExp and #FlamingJune
June is a month of action for the #MatExp campaign. Every month, technically, is about action of course but June has been dedicated to action as a way of maintaining the brilliant momentum the campaign has already attracted.
On Monday we launched the new MatExp website. I had started building it only the previous Wednesday – it has been quite a project! Fortunately my fellow volunteers on the campaign are a wonderful, inspirational, hard working lot. We – the wider #MatExp community – are passionate about making a difference to women and their families.
You can find out more about #MatExp on the website; join our Facebook group, Tweet using the #MatExp hashtag. Everyone is welcome to make an action; there are no right or wrong answers, no one is ‘in charge’, and no action is too small. My action focuses on bereavement support for parents.
I was delighted to discover the #MatExp website had been mentioned at the NHS Confederation Conference
Aha, found it! @KathEvans2 http://t.co/Rap0iiMJu1 Thanks @helenbevan! @nhs_sct #MatExp #Confed2015 @FWmaternitykhft pic.twitter.com/PtPBuj2TlR
— Gill Phillips (@WhoseShoes) June 4, 2015
I was honoured to be asked by lovely Rosey to co-host #PNDHour about baby loss on Wednesday evening. #PNDHour is a brilliant Twitter concept created by Rosey to provide mutual support for those experiencing all kinds of pregnancy-related mental health issues.
The number of people – those who had experienced loss at all stages of pregnancy, and after, as well as those who had not lost a baby but wanted to know how to better support those who have – was incredible. It became difficult to keep up, and the chat lasted a lot longer than an hour because there were so many sad experiences shared and support needed. Tweeters talked about the taboo that still surrounds baby loss and feeling unable to talk openly about their babies, and the struggle to find support to help them move forward after their loss.
I will be compiling a more detailed summary on my blog soon – there are several areas for improvement around the provision of and signposting to better emotional support after loss. The chat also highlighted that health professionals also need better support to support women and their families. These tweets give a flavour of the discussion – I will link it with #MatExp.
Thanks @leighakendall for #PNDHour. We must break the taboo around loss. #HugosLegacy #saytheirname
— Rainbow Mam (@rainbowmamuk) June 3, 2015
Thank you for #pndhour @leighakendall @PNDandMe, I learned so much and cried quite a lot. This is such an important thing to talk about ❤️
— Amy Dear (@AmskiD) June 3, 2015
@Midwifesupastar absolutely. You're all busy so there needs to be a way to make sure it's easily accessible for you too #MatExp #PNDHour
— Leigh Kendall (@leighakendall) June 3, 2015
Thank you @leighakendall and @PNDandMe for tonight's discussion. I found it helpful to share, thank you xx #PNDHour
— Melanie Shaw (@MelShaw82) June 3, 2015
@leighakendall by collaboration = working parties that include families & staff as equal partners to improve services #PNDHour
— ✨Jenny Clarke✨ (@JennytheM) June 3, 2015
@PNDandMe thank you Rosey, this is so important to me, vital to talk about baby loss, taboo, stigma, support #PNDHour
— Leigh Kendall (@leighakendall) June 3, 2015
So many hopes, dreams and fears go into pregnancy and parenthood. Let's hope the taboo of grieving for baby can be smashed xx #PNDHour
— Pop Tart Mum (@PopTartsandPND) June 3, 2015
Doctors need to consider the previous perinatal mh mums may have faced when dealing with pregnancy /baby loss and treat withcare #PNDHour
— eve canavan (@littlemissevec) June 3, 2015
I haven't suffered baby loss but have learnt through dear friends that saying the baby's name can be so helpful to those grieving x #PNDHour
— eth ne (@BB576) June 3, 2015
Being a Best Writer Finalist in the MAD Blog Awards!
I found out I am a finalist in the MAD Blog Awards just before #PNDHour was due to start. I had just enough time to say “Wow!” before I had to get tweeting! I am so proud and pleasantly surprised to be a finalist – please would you consider voting for me?
So, that’s my manic week! I am pretty shattered now, and going forward trying to figure out how to find a balance with everything.
Prompt: ‘To be a…’
Word of the Week: Manic