Sudden infant death syndrome

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    Community Voices

    × " I Don't Know Why I Give Any Emotional Or Love To Anyone Anymore... " ×#trustissue 's#Thought 's

    × " For The Past Year I Have Felt Soo Alone... And Lost Sometime's I Feel Like The Event's Of My Life Were Never Supposed To Happen... But They Did Starting With My # Molestation At 14 Then #raped At 16... I Left Family At 18 And Got Married At 19 I Had A Baby And Lost Him.. To " Sudden Infant Death Syndrome " And Then The Losse's Of My Mother And Brother And Lastly The End Of My 17 Year's Of Marriage... I Truly Tryed My Best To Be The Best Wife To My Ex-Husband... But I Was Never Enough... And Not Up To The Standards Of His Sibling's... I Loved My Father In Law... My Mother In Law And I Budded Head's Constantly... Over My Ex... Now That I Didn't Understand I Have Alway's Felt Like A Was 3 In Our Realtionship... But Again I Don't Understand Men At All Anymore... My Marriage Felt Like A Chore.. TBH And Now I'm Deadset On Never Getting Re-Married Ever Again... I Tryed To Set Boundries And My Ex Didn't Listen To Me So I Needed To Walk Away... Thing's Were Never Going To Change With Him... His Priority Were His Mother...Brother And Women Co-worker's.. Which Is Messed Up... But I'm Glad I Walked Away From The Constant Being Ignored Like I Didn't Exist.. Now I Can't Even View Men In A Diffrent Way... Because I Feel Like I'm Going To Get Hurt Again... Used For My $ And My Kindness... " I'm Not Bashing Any Men Ok... These Are Just Feeling's And Thought's.. Not All Men Are Jerk's.. Yes I Get Hit On At Work And It Get's Boring Quickly Especially If It Older Men... Idk Why I Attract Those Type's.. And It Litterly Make's Me Want To Be Single For The Rest Of My Life.. Is There Something Worng With Me... Idk " × # Thought's#trustissue 's ☆S.K.☆

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    B.L. Acker

    What to Remember When an Abortion Case Will is in the Supreme Court

    The Supreme Court just announced via an order that they will hear the disputed case Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization . The case in question is regarding an abortion law passed in Mississippi in 2018 that makes abortion after 15 weeks illegal, with very few exceptions. Currently the Supreme Court precedent, due to rulings in cases such as Roe vs. Wade, states may not ban abortions prior to viability of the fetus, which has been defined in court as 22 weeks or later. The state of Mississippi is asking the Supreme Court to reevaluate and reconsider the definition of fetal viability. I thoroughly understand that this is an incendiary topic, with very passionate views on both sides. I would like to take a moment to share my story because 22 years ago I terminated a pregnancy, what would have been considered a late term termination, at six and a half months along. Based on my own prior experience, just admitting that fact will open me up to unfettered hatred from some readers. But please, before you pass judgment, hear my story. My then-husband and I were excitedly expecting our second son. We had a name chosen, were picking out designs for our new baby’s room. All of our family and friends were excited, as well.  My pregnancy was going wonderfully, my unborn son looked healthy, everything felt perfect. And then I developed appendicitis. I was rushed to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy before my appendix burst. When I woke up following surgery, my doctor solemnly informed me that they could not find a fetal heartbeat, nor had they detected any movement for hours. I tearfully begged them to check again and they did multiple times, to no avail. Eventually, my doctor gave me a very painful reality check of the very real, potentially deadly, consequences of keeping a deceased fetus inside my womb. My other two children had already lost their little brother. I couldn’t let them lose their mother, too. Because I was over six months along, I had to have a vaginal delivery. The doctor had to induce labor. My cervix was dilated via seaweed sticks. Because of the techniques used to bring my poor deceased son into this world, it is listed in my medical records as a pregnancy termination. An abortion. Before anyone tells me that my story is different and begins offering condolences for my loss, please consider whether you were ready to condemn me before you heard what I had been through. Did your opinion only change because you knew all the facts? The truth is that I didn’t have to share my story. My medical history is between my doctor and myself. We spoke and decided together what would be the best medical decision in my case. I chose to share my story because what many people consider to be black and white, cut and dry, has so many shades of gray that many people do not always consider. What about the young girl who began developing early and was molested, but whose body is not developed enough to be able to successfully carry a child to term because she is still a child herself, and attempting a pregnancy would be likely to irreparably damage her little body, if not kill her and the baby as well? Is her story different too? What about the woman who has discovered she has stage three cancer and will die if she doesn’t receive chemo right away, which would likely end her pregnancy, but who would not be able to survive to carry to term without chemotherapy anyway? Is her story different? There are so many hypotheticals, so many circumstances where if you were to know the whole story, you may say that it is different, that perhaps it would be OK, if a doctor deemed a termination to be a medically necessary procedure — because we trust in our doctors to give sound medical advice. A person’s medical history, their medical decisions are between them and their doctor.  Nobody should have to poll the neighborhood for opinions or contact their local government in order to get authorization for what could potentially be a life-saving procedure.  In many cases, such a delay could be fatal. Nobody beyond those directly involved knows a patient’s medical history or their story unless they choose to share it. When we don’t know the whole story, when we choose to form opinions without all the facts, lives are put at risk and it is a slippery slope. Once you start taking away rights for some, it isn’t long until there are no rights left for anyone. Once you make blanket judgments that certain medical procedures should never be done, you victimize those who truly need the procedure.  Where does that leave those like me, who could have died if they hadn’t terminated their pregnancy ? And who gets to decide what is and isn’t medically necessary? Shouldn’t it be the doctors, those who have gone to medical school and are familiar with the patient’s medical history?  The politicians and judges don’t personally know all the patients or their stories.  Please leave medical decisions to those personally involved and those best educated and equipped to navigate them. I know there are some people who are so adamantly against abortion that they honestly believe it is never acceptable to have one under any circumstance, and that they are elated that Roe vs. Wade is being challenged in the Supreme Court. But I also know that I likely would not be here today if I did not have my termination, and I wholeheartedly pray that the Roe vs. Wade decision stands so that women like me don’t have to die waiting for others to decide their fate simply because other people refuse to see all the shades of gray.

    'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' Helped Explain My Issues With Validation

    I was late to the show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” It began in 2015 and ran for four seasons. I started watching it a couple of years ago, and only finished watching season 4 recently. Soon after I received my diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD), a friend told me she had been watching “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and that the main character had just been told she had BPD. I was intrigued and asked my friend if she saw any similarities between the portrayal of the illness and what she knew of my struggles. She said there were several things that reminded her of me, the main one being the fixation on a certain person, something I had struggled with for years. Rebecca, the main character in the show, becomes obsessed with Josh, a guy she had a fling with at summer camp years before, when she randomly runs into him one day, uprooting her whole life to move to the small town, West Covina, where he now lives. The whole of the first series is about Rebecca’s attempts to try and win Josh back, but throughout the four seasons there are also obsessions with two other men, Greg and Nathaniel. The portrayal of Rebecca’s obsessions is much more over the top than my own behavior — the show is, after all, a comedy, interrupted at various moments with characters breaking out into peculiar songs — but I did tend to fixate on people emotionally and think they would be the ones to “fix” me, so  I certainly relate to her thoughts and feelings around this. Rebecca was not diagnosed with BPD until relatively late in the show — towards the end of season 3. As I watched the program knowing from the start that she had BPD, it was interesting for me, as someone with the disorder, to see the events that led up to this diagnosis, and compare them with my own experiences. Like her, I struggled through many years of mental health problems before realizing I had BPD, and it was my diagnosis that led to the start of my recovery. The standout line for me in the show, the one that really resonated deeply with me, came quite early on — in Season 1, Episode 5,  “Josh and I Are Good People!” Rebecca tells Stacy Whitefeather, the ex-wife of her boss Darryl (who she is trying to help with his custody battle to prove she is a good person): “Because of that lack of paternal validation, I always seek outside validation from others.” When she said this, it made an immediate impact on me. It was like someone had reached into my head and summarized my life in one sentence. BPD is usually caused by problems during childhood, and those problems often stem from the way we were treated by our caregivers. My parents are not bad people, and I firmly believe they did their best for me. However, it was a traumatic time for the family. When I was nearly 3 years old, my brother Andrew was born. I’ve seen happy photos of the family, buried away in boxes at my parents’ house. Mum and Dad, me and Andrew. Yet these photos only show a brief happy snapshot of my life, and it wasn’t to last. Three months later, Andrew was no longer with us, having succumbed to what was then known as cot death, and now as SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Everything I have read about BPD suggests that the crucial time in a child’s life is between the ages of 2 and 4. Trauma experienced at that time has a big impact on the development of the child’s personality. As I was so young, I can’t actually remember that time. I don’t remember Andrew, and I don’t remember his death, even though I have been aware of the event for most of my life. Thinking back, it must have been really confusing for me as such a young child to have a little brother who was around for a few months and then disappeared suddenly. I wonder whether I was there when he was found not breathing, and what my parents told me about what had happened. I was seeing a private therapist for a long time before I started group therapy, and I talked about Andrew a lot. She firmly believes that his death was at the root of most of my problems. As well as the death itself, there was the issue of how it affected my parents. Obviously, they were grieving. My mum carried a son inside her for nine months, and he was only with us for three months before we lost him. I think of the hopes and dreams they must have had for him, the pride they must have had when showing him off to family and friends and how hard it must have been when all that was taken away from them. It was bound to affect them, and in turn that affected me. My parents are very much the kind of people who keep things to themselves. They don’t like to talk about their problems. I suspect they’ve never fully come to terms with Andrew’s death. They hardly ever talk about him, and only then if I bring him up. I wonder if they distanced themselves from me because they were afraid to lose me too, or whether the distance was due to them being so caught up in their grief. Either way, I never really felt like they were emotionally there for me. I was an emotional child, and I was made to feel that showing those emotions was wrong. I remember one particular instance as a child when I was having something done to my teeth. I was really scared about the procedure, and I cried. I was told that I was being naughty, and as a punishment, I wasn’t allowed to go swimming. When I became a teenager and began to struggle more with my mental health, I wasn’t encouraged to talk about how I was feeling. My feelings were never validated. I was expected to struggle alone. Even now, as an adult, I talk to pretty much everyone except my parents about my mental health. They know I have problems and that I am in therapy. When I told them I had BPD, and explained what it was, over text, they just changed the subject, and it was never mentioned again, apart from the time Dad made a disparaging comment about me talking about my mental health on Facebook. I was made to feel ashamed of talking about my feelings. Even when I took a small overdose once and told them about it a few days later, they couldn’t change the subject quickly enough. All my life, I have searched for that validation I lacked from them growing up. I’ve become attached to friends several times, only to have them end the friendship because it was too much for them. I was treating them like a parent. I wanted them to take care of me, to “fix” me. Growing up, children rely on their caregivers and as they get older, they learn to rely on themselves instead. If that process is interrupted, as it was with me, the person will, even as an adult, not know how to relate to people in a healthy way. I became addicted to people’s sympathy and attention, wanting their validation to make up for the validation I lacked from my parents. I hadn’t learned self-validation. I needed someone to show me how to be OK. Like Rebecca, therapy is teaching me to have my own boundaries, to realize that I am enough. I still find myself drawn to people when they start to give me sympathy, but I can now recognize and manage it in a healthier way. I now have better and more sustainable friendships, and my marriage is also healthier. Have you seen the show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”? What lines or lyrics from the show resonate with you?

    Community Voices

    How do you all cope with severe anxiety ? What medication do you use. How do you go about your daily lives.

    Im 25 years old. I have a almost 5 year old boy and a forever 2 month old daughter. I lost my daughter due to SIDS (Sudden infant death syndrome) back in June. I never suffered from anxiety until that day. Since then it has been getting worse and worse. I have tried all different medications. I’m depressed also. I don’t know how to go about my daily life. I try to be such a good mother to my son and I don’t want to miss out on doing things with him bc of my anxiety and depression. Any advice what to take and different routines to help me go on a somewhat normal life ?:/

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    Community Voices

    Mental or physical illness?

    After the fun-filled celebration of having to scroll further down age-selection forms on the internet yet again, I felt rather bemused at how fast life was whizzing through highs, lows and the “despite this/that…” moments.

    So, after hearing standard questions like “How’s the facial pain going?” as well as “Willeke, why do you never smile at the camera?!”, I wanted to give as much information in one short sentence as possible. Being low on energy automatically makes me stop talking about “that” subject because it is just a symptom that few people understand, but many disbelieve.

    And of course, “that” subject is MS and its related facial pain.

    You could them anguish, period.

    In my mind, the story would go like this: “Well, I don’t smi… No, let me start over, physically this face WANTS to smile or perform Mick Jagger-like singing theatrics with my mouth, but my 5th cranial nerve prefers a Swan Lake ballet routine instead. Sarcasm being my middle name, this will require further explanation, but we’ll stick to this for the time being.”

    Other medical questions on my birthday aside, I tried leaving out any psychobabble and self-analysis answers because aside from having MS and a few other ailments, I am really just an average chick whose body rattles and shakes like everyone’s at my age, especially after just adding another 365 days to my life.

    To be fair to my facial features, the combined answer to why I don’t smile all that much or why I don’t always burst out laughing is easy: facial pain. Utter, utter, agonising, stabbing, piercing, burning pain in my ear, eye and temple. Naturally, since laughing is a primal response, you just don’t have that much control over it even when you think you do.

    When someone or something quite gallantly activates my laugh-switch, so, my face responds with a burst of uncontrolled laughter, forgetting that my 5th cranial nerve has a #Disability all of its own. In English – and without exaggeration – thirty seconds of sets off hours of facial pain. Consequently, out of necessity and when possible, I smile and giggle on the outside and howl of #Grief on the inside.

    All that aside now, because of my daily #ChronicPain(s) and a mutual interest in all things concerning the mind, one of my friends asked me if I were given a choice, would I choose to be physically or mentally ill. Not really a question for birthday celebrations, but an interesting catch-22 either way.

    In a fair, disease-free world, I want neither, that much is obvious. If I had to choose between the two, it would be awkward as I have little to no experience with being mentally ill. On the other hand, I have gathered so much knowledge about being physically ill in all its varieties, so I felt I could answer the question easily enough.

    Or so I thought.

    Physical health speaks for itself, as all of us have some level of fitness, wellbeing, illness or disability
    Mental illness is mostly caused by genetics, environmental, biological or psychological factors and involves cognitive thinking and the processing of information
    Emotional health is about being able to express one’s thought processes, behaviour and feelings in relation to other people’s description. It is harder to deduce as it depends on age and probable stressors like #Depression

    I have always maintained that describing one’s disease and pain is quite relative. What A sees as horrendous pain might be just peanuts to Z. For example, a friend told me later that day that he had the hangover of all hangovers, and that his wrist felt awful because of computer-induced repetitive strain injury. When I think of my own very painful RSI while working in a library many years ago, it would now register low as neuralgia has overtaken RSI on a pain level scoresheet.

    As such, both of us feel abnormal under our pain, but as the adage goes, you cannot compare apples to oranges. Whereas someone with the mother of all hangovers will not have to end their career because of a night out (unless they found themselves in a car crash or other serious accident), I had to finish my career because of never-ending fatigue and merciless trigeminal pains.

    It’s also quite clear that comparing or even choosing one illness over another is impossible, and in fact, something nobody should ever have to contemplate (I put it down to the company I keep sometimes, bless their souls). Trying to find out if being mentally ill is worse than having a physical illness is a job not done.

    Either way, I tried working out what I knew about mental/emotional health opposed to physical health by mulling over the depression I had two years ago, and the MS that has been here for at least 15 years.

    I know MS inside out, therefore I refuse to let it get the upper hand as I go against its very appetite for neurodegeneration as best as I can. If MS had a face, I would refuse to show how it impacts me. If it had a body, I would whack its knees from under it.

    (Sorry mum, I know you raised me to be a “Make love, not war” type of person, but in this case, I feel I’m justified in whacking MS)

    So, I have MS.


    Not as the neurologists know it, but as I, the carrier of the lesions know it.

    At first, MS was unkind. Bitter. Humiliating. Careless. Unfair.

    But, I’m cool with that, now.

    I learned to live with it, around it, over it, aside from it, in it and in just about any other way you can live with a neurodegenerative illness. Despite it being here 24/7, I continue to find beauty in life. What MS and I have going is a long-term relationship, because no cure means needing lots of hope and patience. As the eternal optimist, I have both in high quantities.

    I’m cool with all that too.

    Is life with MS that comfortable, then?

    It is not. At all.

    But, you simply have to learn how to live with it. Somehow I found a way to tap goodness from those negative connotations because I listened to its actual narrative by refusing to make a mountain out of a molehill (for more on self-pity, check this post

    So, even when facial pain is also called “the #Suicide disease”, even when MS fatigue can knock me senseless in less than five minutes, and even when I feel awful inside despite not looking sick, I am just cool with the whole lot because there simply is no other way.

    The depression that came and went used a similar rhetoric. I felt it was humiliating. It felt unfair, and it was similarly careless in the way it progressed. The biggest difference between MS and depression? depression left with one tablet a day for a few months. It might return, but then again, it might just stay away forever. My MS is currently on a regimen of approximately 28 pills a day, about 10,000 tablets a year. As long as there is no cure, it will be here until my very last day on this planet.

    Obviously, I cannot speak for those with enduring mental illnesses, for those in treatment and just as eager to be cured as others with physical illness are. I base my knowledge on what I learned during my counselling course and what I went through with depression.

    Despite feeling weak during my depression, I was still able to leave the house on my own two feet. It didn’t stop me from entering buildings; it didn’t force my body to stop breathing voluntarily or feel wretched pain. Despite the apparent lack of motivation, I met friends and tried to socialise, I did my grocery shopping and cleaned the house. depression asked for a chemical re-balance in my brain and depression left my body without significant medical or surgical intervention.

    Because of the physical harshness on the body, MS degenerates and eats away at the neurological makeup in the brain, spinal cord or optic nerves. Because of this, it robs people of being able to go out on their own two feet. It makes them sit in a dark room because their eyes hurt. It won’t allow people in wheelchairs to enter buildings anyone else can access without any hassle.

    MS aside, #Cancer can return and eventually claim a life.

    Motor Neuron Disease (ALS) can rob someone’s last breath.

    A baby can pass away from #SuddenInfantDeathSyndrome.

    Any illness, mentally or physically, is a cowardly act. We all agonise over it in our own way, and we all try to get healthy as quickly as possible in our distinct way. I leave my brain to the experts and know that they are at the top of their game and that they will do anything to help me live as best as I possibly can.

    So, when someone says “How can you be so optimistic and happy all the time despite the illness you’re living with?” I look at a picture of my late brother who passed away age 36, and I realise that I am living the best as I can.

    That, and this realisation: we only have one life and no matter what kind of illness you have, just try to enjoy it as much as you can.

    Community Voices

    4 things that impacted my mental health

    Humans are complicated creatures and our #MentalHealth is

    shaped by many factors both in childhood and adult life. For me, suffering from

    BPD and OCD, it is easy for anyone looking back at my childhood and adolescence

    to join the dots and see why I developed mental illnesses. It’s been helpful

    for me to explore the reasons and work through them in therapy.


    My brother dying

    I read a lot about people with BPD having suffered trauma in

    their childhoods, particularly up to the age of 3. For me, the traumatic event

    was the death of my baby brother. I was 2 years and 9 months old when Andrew

    was born, and just over 3 years old when he died at the age of 3 months. My

    parents were celebrating my 3rd birthday, and just 2 weeks later

    they were mourning my brother and planning a funeral. No parent should have to

    go through that. Because I was so young, I don’t remember the event at all- I

    don’t even remember Andrew. I wish I did. But I’ve been thinking about him a

    lot lately and I can imagine how confusing it must have been for a 3 year old

    when my baby brother suddenly disappeared. My parents don’t really talk about

    him at all. I know that he died from cot death- or #SuddenInfantDeathSyndrome

    (SIDS), as it’s now called. Recently I did a run to raise money for a SIDS

    charity and my parents sponsored me. It gave me the opportunity to ask them

    some questions about him (over text message). They told me his date of birth,

    his date of death and where he was cremated. They also told me that I didn’t

    attend the funeral. I got in touch with the crematorium and a few months ago I

    went to visit for the first time. I cried a lot but I think it was good for me.

    I plan to go back next year on the anniversary of his death as I will see his

    entry in the remembrance book- I’ve seen it on their website but would like to

    see it properly. I also want to take flowers, and on the same day I’m going to

    get a tattoo with his initials in a star. I also asked my parents a few months

    ago if I could look at some childhood photos- they gave me a massive box full

    of photos to look through, and right at the bottom I found some photos of

    Andrew, including several family snaps of my parents, me and Andrew. Seeing

    them was emotional but I am glad I saw them. I still have more questions- I’d

    particularly like to know what my parents told me when he died, and whether I

    was there when it all happened- but I know my parents are reluctant to talk

    about him and I don’t want to upset them. My therapist says that I am entitled

    to know the answers and that I won’t cause hurt, because the hurt is already

    there, but I haven’t yet been brave enough to ask those questions. My fear of

    abandonment which is part of my could have been cause by Andrew’s death, or

    it could have resulted from my parents’ emotional abandonment of me after his



    My parents

    I don’t resent my parents. I am writing this under a false

    name as I wouldn’t want them to see this or for anyone they know to see it and

    think badly of them. I know they tried their best with me, and they didn’t mean

    to cause me problems. They were grieving after Andrew’s death and I can’t

    imagine the pain that caused them. I think of them showing him off to family

    and friends, thinking of how he would grow up and what he would be like as an

    adult- but they never got that chance to find out. It’s obvious that they’ve

    never really dealt with his death and prefer just to try and bury their

    feelings. It’s just the way they are. But that did affect me.

    They taught me that my feelings and emotions were not valid.

    That I didn’t deserve attention. That I shouldn’t stand up for myself. To

    expect perfection from myself. From a young age, I showed signs of

    psychological distress, but my parents didn’t seem to want to pay attention to

    those signs. I don’t actually remember much of my life before I was a teenager.

    I think I blocked some of it out. My Dad used to hit me when I was naughty, but

    that wasn’t unusual back when I was growing up and it wasn’t abuse. What was

    damaging was the emotional neglect I feel I experienced. The things I do

    remember include examples of that. The times they used to put me to bed and I’d

    come out onto the landing and bang my head against the wall until they noticed

    me. The time I tried to staple my fingers together in front of my mum. The time

    I was scared at having something done to my teeth at the dentist and so I

    cried, and I was told I was being naughty and that I wasn’t allowed to go

    swimming. When I was a teenager I began to experience seizures. I only had 5 of

    them and tests I had said I didn’t have #Epilepsy. I’ve since discovered that

    they were probably psychogenic- there was probably nothing wrong with me, but

    my brain was trying to tell me and people around me that something was wrong. I

    remember being sat on the stairs crying as my grandmother told me my Mum had

    been such a happy child. I remember trying to talk to my parents in the evening

    and being ignored as they would rather watch TV. I remember the one time I

    shouted at my Dad and he scared me so much with his reaction that I never dared

    to challenge him, or anyone else, again. I remember telling my parents that I

    had got a B on a particular test and Dad replying ‘I thought you were good at

    that subject’.

    As a child and teenager I was ironically terrified to be

    away from my parents. Even at University I came home every weekend, too scared

    to make any friends. As an adult I developed anorexia and the first signs of

    OCD and , although I wasn’t diagnosed until years later. I got help for my

    anorexia and I know from reading my doctor’s notes that my parents were really

    worried about me. But they didn’t show it, instead they just got angry with me

    for refusing to eat. When I had moved out to live with a friend, I once took a

    small overdose which made me sick. I told my mum and she just said I shouldn’t

    have done it, but it was never mentioned again. I had a true life story about

    being gay and suicidal published in a magazine. I showed it to Mum and asked

    what she thought. There was mention of my #Selfharm and suicidal feelings but

    her only response was ‘what if someone we know reads it?’

    Now I’ve grown up and am married, we don’t have that much

    contact. I know that my mum talks to my brother (born just over a year after

    Andrew’s death) almost every day, but we rarely talk. I know my parents and my

    brother are both very closed people and have trouble relating to me as I talk

    about my illnesses a lot and go to therapy. I know they love me, but they never

    say it. Even at my wedding, my dad’s speech was very factual with little

    emotion. When I was signed off work last year with they just laughed when I

    tried to explain it, and told me I shouldn’t take time off work as it looks bad

    and I might get fired. When I had the flu last Christmas I also got laughed at

    and told I couldn’t possibly have the flu. Sometimes I mention personal things

    in text messages and usually don’t get a reply to those or they change the

    subject. Dad made a disparaging comment last year about me mentioning my on

    Facebook. I suspect they’ve never even looked into and what it means for me

    and they’ve certainly never asked me about it. When I was first diagnosed with

    it I texted Mum to tell her, she said she didn’t know what that was, I

    explained and I just never got a reply. Recently at work I was promised a

    certain new role and then told actually I didn’t have it. When I told my

    parents about it I was just advised ‘don’t make a fuss’.

    My parents are quite well off and have always tried to show

    they love me by giving me money or buying me things. Which is great, but I’d

    rather have the attention, the validation, the love, from them.


    Moving house

    When I was 13, my parents moved us a few hours away to a new

    place as Dad’s job had changed. I understand that we had to move because of

    that, but I was terrified at the thought. As usual, there was no asking me to

    talk about how I was feeling, instead my brother and I were given a portable

    games console. I was expected to start at my new school the day after we moved.

    I had two really good friends at my previous school and I didn’t want to leave

    them. At the new school, I was assigned a girl to look after me. She was

    perfectly nice, but she had a very large group of friends. At break and

    lunchtimes they would all get together and talk. I went with them, but I now

    suspect that I was suffering from #SocialAnxiety at that age. I literally never

    spoke to them, I sat there and didn’t say a word. I tried to think of things to

    say but in my head they sounded stupid and I worried they would laugh at me, so

    I stayed quiet. Needless to say they weren’t really happy about having someone

    hanging out with them who didn’t talk. I got invited to a party at one of their

    houses one weekend but I heard there would be alcohol there and I was too

    scared to go. It was a couple of years before I made a proper friend at my new

    school. The whole episode really dented my confidence. And my parents knew that

    I was unhappy but they didn’t really talk to me about it.


    My sexuality

    Growing up gay in the 1990s was difficult. I didn’t even

    know myself that I was gay until my early 20s after having dated both sexes. I

    initially told my parents at the age of 22 that I was bisexual. I think I was

    kidding myself trying to stay half ‘normal’. I finally realised after my second

    relationship with a man. Tom and I were great friends before and even after the

    relationship, and we got on so well and had so much in common. But I began to

    miss women and freaked out at the thought of never being with a woman again.

    After that I felt that if I couldn’t make it work with Tom, I was probably actually

    gay. I was a teenager when I first remember having crushes on other girls.

    There were a couple of famous ones on TV and then a prolonged attraction to a

    woman on my university course. I never told anyone back then. I was too afraid

    of judgement from my parents and other people, of being teased. It wasn’t until

    my early 20s when I met other gay or bi friends online that I allowed myself to

    explore that aspect of me. Repressing it for so long and the whole coming out

    process definitely affected my mental health. My parents weren’t thrilled and

    obviously hoped it was just a phase, but they did come to accept it. It took me

    a while to accept it too, but eventually I did.

    Jenna Brandt

    Three Years After Losing My Baby to SIDS

    I wouldn’t say it gets easier, but it does change. The beginning is so different from one to two to three years, but the missing and longing never goes away. You just learn to live with it and give yourself room and permission to feel it. “How are you doing?” I get asked this often, especially when it’s angelversary time. There is no easy answer. No formula to get through the day — the worst day of my life. This day is and will always be dreaded and mourned. It is, after all, the day my 8-month, 26-day old son was taken from me, when all my hopes for the future ended and turned to memories. There felt as if there was no future without him. Along with my child, I lost pieces of myself. My identity as a mother to a boy, a mother of three, naivety when it came to parenting and the sense of a complete family. There will always be a piece missing where Dylan used to be and should be. Today, I think of how you would be at almost 4 years old. You would already be in preschool and you would be going to Sunday school every week. I think you would love toy trucks and “Star Wars” because of your daddy, Disney princess movies and dress-up because of your sisters, and story and cooking time because of Mommy. You would be the perfect mixture of rough and tumbly along with your ever-present sensitive heart. Your hair would be blonder than ever and your crystal blue eyes would twinkle with joy. I miss you every day bubsy, but what gets me through all the difficult times, when the loss threatens to overwhelm, is knowing, one day, we will be reunited. I look forward to hearing you laugh again and finally getting to dance with you while choirs of angels sing. Oh, what a glorious day that will be when I see you again and nothing will separate us. Until then, I will continue to hold vigil. You are not forgotten. You are still loved beyond words, and never doubt, Mommy will be with you one day. Follow this journey on Jenna Brandt’s Blog.

    Jenna Brandt

    Today, My Daughter Turns the Age My Son Was When He Passed Away

    Nicole: Today you are 8 months and 26 days old — the same age your brother, Dylan, was when he passed away from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). He never reached 9 months old, so I pray and hope you will make it past this day. Sometimes I am consumed by my fear that lightning can strike twice. I watch you sleep and touch your arm just to see you move to prove to me you’re still breathing. While you are awake, I monitor your every action, scanning to make sure nothing happens. Every cough, every cry, I hold my breath and wait to make sure it’s not a warning sign you’re in trouble. I hate that I live this way and fight constantly against the fear of losing you like I did your brother. I want to live free from the burden of fear, but losing Dylan was the worst moment of my life and I can’t fathom going through it again if something should ever happen to you. I wonder sometimes how different life would be if your brother hadn’t died. I watch you play on our living room floor or swing at the park and imagine how much fun you might have had with your big brother, but you will never meet him on this Earth. What would he look like now as he approached 3 years old? Sometimes just for a moment, I see him in you. When you scrunch your face up just a certain way, when you laugh or when you blow raspberries just how he did, I see a glimpse of him just for a second and my heart skips a beat. It confirms to me you were hand-picked in heaven to help me through this difficult time. Losing your brother was like surviving a storm. Choosing to have you didn’t erase the damage, but you do help ease it. The aftermath is still all around us, but I believe God promises to help us rebuild. Today will be difficult. I will cry, most likely hard and often, and it will be the same on this day for the rest of your life. But it is a testament to how deeply I love each of you. Each of my babies holds a unique place in my heart made up of special moments that are just for you. I will never be the same — I know this. It’s odd to think you will never know the mother I was before your brother passed away. Your sisters may tell you stories of what they got away with before I was so keenly aware of how one moment can forever change your life. It’s impossible to un-know something once you’ve become aware of it. I know now how fragile life is and how vigilant you have to be to protect it, and sometimes that’s not even enough. The mother you have is wiser, stronger and braver in some ways, but also broken, humbled and cautious. I live a paradoxical life: a mother to three living children and a mother to one child who is missing. But to you, my youngest daughter, you will only know this version of me. I hope I succeed in making you happy, keeping you safe and caring for you during the time I am graciously given to love you. Tomorrow, for the first time in your life, I will no longer be counting down the days to when you have surpassed the life of your brother. Together, we will be stepping into new territory. I might even stop holding my breath and breathe a sigh of relief. You made it, baby girl: you’re 8 months and 27 days old. Jenna’s son Dylan (left) and daughter Nicole (right). Follow this journey on Jenna Brandt’s Blog.

    New Study: Safe Sleep Environment Not Only Factor in Preventing SIDS

    A new study, published Dec. 2 in the journal Pediatrics, shows that a safe sleeping environment isn’t the only factor in preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). In the 1990s, a public health campaign was launched to decrease the number of SIDS deaths by encouraging parents to take “safe sleeping” steps such as putting infants on their backs to sleep and removing soft bedding from the crib, Health Day reported. Since then, SIDS deaths in the United States have dropped dramatically, but the new study suggests that although safe sleeping steps are crucial, there are still other factors at play. There are three major elements that contribute to a baby’s overall risk of SIDS, Live Science reported. First, some infants may have a predisposition to SIDS. Researchers have found that there are “intrinsic” factors that make certain babies especially vulnerable to unsafe sleeping conditions, Health Day reported. Babies exposed to smoking, either in the womb or after birth, are at heightened SIDS risk while infants who are breast-fed and those whose mother had consistent prenatal care are at lower SIDS risk. Second, infants who die of SIDS tend to be in a critical period of development, with those younger than six months being at the greatest risk of SIDS, reported Live Science. The third element that contributes to the overall risk of SIDS in infants is their sleeping environment, including the position in which they sleep and the type of bedding in the crib. “The sleep environment is still most important. Those are the factors we can most easily change,” said Dr. Rachel Moon, who co-wrote an editorial published with the study, Health Day reported. “But this study does remind us that there are other influences at work, too.” The message to new or expecting parents is to get early prenatal care, avoiding tobacco smoke and continue to create a safe sleeping environment for their baby.

    Photo Series Imagines Futures for Sleeping Babies in Intensive Care

    These whimsical images of sleeping babies are more than just beautiful artwork. They’re helping to save lives and raise awareness. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is defined as deaths in infants less than a year old that occur suddenly and unexpectedly. The cause is not immediately obvious. SIDS is the leading cause of all deaths among infants ages 1–12 months, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. With this is mind, Jessica Wright, a nurse at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Children’s Hospital of Atlanta decided to use artwork to demonstrate the beautiful potential of NICU babies she works with every day, as well as to raise awareness about SIDS, according to an email from the hospital. All the little dreamers pictured were born premature, between 25 and 37 weeks into the pregnancy, according to Wright’s blog, “From NICU to the Moon.” At birth, their legs were barely thicker than a pencil. “As a NICU nurse, I have the privilege of caring for babies who seem to spend most of their days resting peacefully. But I know better,” Jessica Wright wrote on her blog. “Those tiny bodies are not at rest; their little lungs, hearts and muscles are actively fighting very tough battles.” Wright says she likes to think that she has cared for future U.S. presidents, scientists who will cure cancer, chefs, astronauts, Olympic gold medalists and more. “I always think big because, as evidenced by the size of the fight in their tiny bodies, these little ones have big things in store for the world,” she wrote. The photo series is part of a “Safe Sleep Campaign” launched to stress the fact that education about SIDS can help prevent it, according to the hospital. The Children’s Hospital of Atlanta NICU nurses want to educate families about why babies need to sleep alone on their backs and without blankets, stuffed animals or bumpers in their cribs, to prevent accidental suffocation. Visit this site to find out more about keeping infants safe while sleeping. Be Mighty.  Like us on Facebook.