A week ago I attended the Tommy’s Awards. It was quite a day. Great food, lots of wine, lovely people to share the day with (thank you Jenny, Suzanne and Leigh for welcoming me to your blogger gang) Peppa Pig and Harry from Mcfly. Yes, I was beside myself. No, I didn’t touch him. Apart from all that it was a really emotional day and I wrote a few thoughts on the way home.
I am writing this on the train. Trying somehow to gather my thoughts and get across to you how this day has made me feel. I am torn between wanting to get it down, while it’s still so new and feeling that maybe I need to take time to reflect, for fear of coming across as preachy or smug. I am opting for the former option at the moment, even if it never gets published.
I knew today would be emotional. I knew that people would be sharing stories that I would find hard to hear and that would make me cry and I was right, but I didn’t know that I would be quite so affected by the stories I was going to hear.
Tommy’s do amazing work with all sorts of families. The doctor who heads up their Rainbow clinic spoke movingly about the work they do looking after families after they have suffered a neo-natal death or still birth. He spoke with such passion and pride. He was quite the Superhero. The CEO of Tommy’s announced a new Miscarriage Research Centre. Their hope is to provide every woman who miscarrys a reason for it. Every woman. To be told you have had another miscarriage and another and another and to never know why is heartbreaking. Regardless of whether there is a fix, just to know why would help so many people and of course, knowing why would make a fix much more likely. That we must rely on a charity for this stuff is quite another debate, but the passion and determination in which this charity fights for improvements in treatment, research and all important emotional support is quite something.
Most of all I have come away feeling so grateful and lucky. Life is not a adversity competition. We all have our ‘stuff’. Everyday stuff and not so everyday stuff. It is real for us and it can be heartbreaking. The reason I was there was because I have experienced things that many other either haven’t or haven’t felt able to take about and I have. However, as I sit on this train, with my takeaway tea and lots of grey men in grey suits, with the odd tear sliding down my cheek as I type, I am acutely aware that I am speeding towards my home. My home that is filled with my kids. My kids who drive me nuts. Who often make me so cross I feel I will explode. Who make me feel so tired by 5pm that I want to weep. My healthy, alive children, who have never suffered anything more serious than a broken bone or a nasty virus. My beautiful, wonderful, full term children and many are not returning to that.
Today I heard stories of babies born too soon to survive, tiny babies, weighing less than a pound, born at 23 weeks. I heard of twins born and parents who had to bring just one child home. Amazing children smashing the odds to survive, but living with challenging conditions that will be with them forever. The resilience of these families was humbling. How humans pick up there lives and carry on for the sake of their children, for others in similar situations or raising awareness and moving research forwards is quite breathtaking when you see it up close.
I know, I know that someone telling you to feel grateful is the last thing that will make you feel grateful. I really do know that, but I am saying it anyway, because, I also know that I spend too much time being frustrated with the small annoyances with life and I probably will continue to do so. That’s ok. But is does no harm to stop sometimes in our busy, frantic lives and really think about what we have, rather than what we don’t have. I don’t do that enough, do you?