Raising money won't make the pain go away, but it will make a difference in people's lives
Love at first sight!
Unto heaven, I gave birth to an angel. From the last kick I felt, I never knew that day would be your last.
I can't believe it's been 5 years that I've given birth to an angel named Scarlett and I'm still here breathing. Scarlett was our very much wanted and loved first child. There was nothing to suggest anything was wrong until a week before my due date.
We did all the last-minute preparations
On 25 September, I realised I hadn't felt Scarlett move. I thought maybe I'd missed her moving because I had been so busy or that she was running out of room. There was doubt, though, at the back of my mind.
My husband immediately took me to the hospital. I laid on the bed and the nurse couldn't find the heartbeat, so she went to fetch some doctors. I was petrified and at the same time praying that Scarlett was fine. Then I heard something no parents should ever hear – “I’m sorry, your baby doesn’t have a heartbeat” – and my world fell apart.
That little person I'd been so excited to meet had died in my body and you think: "Why?". It's not how it's supposed to be.
When she was born, it was love at first sight
I gave birth to Scarlett on 28 September 2017.
At that very moment, I didn’t care that she was stillborn, all I felt was love. A love so overwhelming that it actually felt like a physical wave hitting me.
After the most tumultuous 3 days of my life, she was finally in my arms. A daughter. The most beautiful girl I had ever seen. And all I could think about was how much I loved her.
We had a beautiful send-off for Scarlett with our families and friends
I'll never get over seeing the body of that little person that grows inside me for 9 months lowered into the ground. I've watched that overwhelming love manifesting itself in overwhelming grief.
I've not just lost a baby: I've lost a toddler, a schoolgirl, a teenager and an adult daughter. A whole potential life has gone. I'll never be able to swarm Scarlett with the love I had ready to give her. The only tangible reminders I have left are the clothes she wore, pictures, a lock of her hair as well as her foot and handprints. These are – and always will be – my most treasured possessions.
Some people don't know what to say to me
Stillbirth is such a taboo. And when people say nothing? That hurts the most. Since losing Scarlett I blog a lot about Scarlett on my page on Instagram and Facebook, Mama_Scarlett, to provide support to parents who have lost a baby. I also raise a lot of awareness of what to say to a bereaved parent and what not to say. These are things that are important and need to be addressed as not everyone know how to behave in situations like this.
Losing a stillborn baby is not something that bereaved parents ever "get over". I'm blessed to be surrounded by loving and supportive family and friends. My husband is my rock: Scarlett’s legacy has brought us closer together.
I am so proud of Scarlett's legacy
Instead of loving her toddle, first words or new skills, I love her impact on the world. I love her for the person I have become, for all the achievements and for making her mummy stronger. I love her for the friends she has brought into my life and for the hearts her story has touched.
I love how she changes the world each time someone donates in her memory or reaches out to a bereaved friend because of what her story taught them.
My little girl is impacting the world despite not being here! How amazing, and what a privilege to be her mama. In the words of one of her favourite songs: "Lord, the light of your love is shining”.
She may have died but my love for her did not and will live on forever. The light of my love will keep shining on you in heaven.
By sharing my story, I hope to help other families who have lost a child.
There’s still hope and life after loss
Scarlett has a little sister Penelope who is our little rainbow. Penelope Amelia Valydon is 3 years old and she will be taking part and fundraising in the Tommy’s Danceathon with Miss Myfawny at babyballet® Wimbledon.
Fundraising for Tommy’s is so important to my family because the charity has a special place in our hearts. I want to fundraise for the babies I will likely never have, and for those gone too soon, and for the ones fighting for their lives. Raising money won't make the pain go away but it will make a difference in people's lives.