When it rains, look for rainbows

I have never understood the point of making New Years resolutions. All of this “New Year, New Me” nonsense goes out of the window when you’re reaching for your ninth Quality Street or your fourth glass of wine. I have never made a New Years resolution, nor do I plan to, but what I did decide this year was to make some changes and start the year as I mean to go on.

I have decided that 2016 is the year that I shall become a much more positive person. I shall embrace life and all of it’s challenges, throw myself into every opportunity that comes my way and most of all, I shall enjoy myself. Be that eating chocolate, drinking alcohol or sitting on my couch eating cake. This is the year that I plan to stop beating myself up about all of the things that I can’t do and all of the things that I am not, and realise that actually, being me isn’t so bad after all.

I haven’t always been such a negative person, there was a time when I saw the good in everything and everyone. I was so happy, so carefree, so excited about life. And it was very hard to pin point exactly when I became so sceptical, so cynical, so negative. It seemed to simply creep up on me through a series of events, of tragedies and heartbreaks, until eventually I found that I was unable to find the positive in very much at all. And I had no idea how to find my way back.

This last year has seen me reach my limit. I worry about everything. And when I say worry what I really mean is, I have made myself ill with these thoughts, convinced myself that all of my fears would become a reality and missed out on so much of life through panic, anxiety and fear. It had gotten to a point where I was having several panic attacks each day, avoiding certain situations and people, where I would lie awake in bed at night, unable to sleep, hyperventilating and panicking about the most ridiculous of scenarios, about my family, my health and ultimately, my sanity.

Eventually I reached my limit and, under the doctors orders, returned to CBT. And I was even negative about that. “I’ll go, but it won’t help!” I had told Gaz, who, ever the optimist, had told me to be open to it, to listen to what they had to say, to allow myself to imagine a life where I could discover the positives again.

And initially I was very sceptical, I have had countless sessions of CBT over the years and always found that while they had helped a little short-term, once the course was over I would nose-dive pretty quickly back into a negative mind set. But as I got to know my therapist, a really lovely lady named Emily, and we explored the reasons why I have become so negative, we finally stumbled across the root cause and the key to finally being able to make some changes.

And it takes a lot for me to share this with you, as I have beaten myself up over this for almost an entire decade, but I also think that it is an important part of making changes that I do. Nine and a half years ago, two days before we discovered that Joseph had died, I had been in the garden just pottering around, enjoying the sunshine and passing the time until his arrival. And I can remember it as clear as day, where I was stood and what I was wearing, how he had done a series of strange movements in my stomach, an indescribable feeling of frantic kicks and punches. A desperate struggle. And then nothing. And I distinctly remember a fleeting thought had popped into my head, so brief it was almost as if the thought had never even occurred at all, this is the moment that my baby died. And yet because I was a positive person, because there was no reason whatsoever to suspect otherwise and because the thought was so morbid and ridiculous, I had pushed that thought out of my head and carried on with my day, completely unaware of the tragedy that may have just occurred.

Two days later when we heard the news that our precious baby had died, most likely a couple of days earlier, I told myself, you already knew. You knew what had happened and you did nothing at all to help him.

And so, in a bid to prevent any further tragedies in life, I sub-consciously began to act on every thought that entered my head. All of those fleeting moments that we all have, those ridiculous thoughts that come and go, I acted on each and every one of them. And the more I listened to those thoughts, the more that I heard them. The more fears that I allowed to become a reality, the more I looked for them.  And the more negatives that I allowed into my mind meant that there was no longer a space for the positives. And before you know it, a decade down the line, I have spent so many wasted years simply waiting for the worst to happen, merely existing in a world where everyone around me has continued to live.

And the discovery of that, having pin pointed the reason behind my anxiety, my panic and negativity, was a momentous discovery. I had sat in the therapists office and sobbed my heart out, tears streaming down my face, gasping for air, breaking my heart for all of the years that I had beat myself up over that one tiny thought. One fleeting moment that may have had the biggest repercussions. We shall never know should I have acted on that thought whether Joseph would be here today, perhaps it was too late, perhaps there is nothing at all in my power that could have prevented it, but letting go of that was never going to be easy.

I realise now that since that moment, I have lived my life in such a way that I believed if I always prepare for the worst, I shall never be disappointed. And yet my therapist had explained to me that even if you live that way, constantly expecting the worse, in a constant state of heightened panic and anxiety, when the worst happens you will still be in no way prepared for it. You cannot prepare yourself for something that has not yet happened. And that was a bitter pill for me to swallow, having to accept that, to relinquish that control and accept that actually, she was right.

And it has been a tough few months, I can’t deny that much, having to re-live those memories which I had tried to hide away in the back of my mind. It has been more difficult than I ever imagined to try and push away those fleeting negative thoughts, that absolute fear, those alarm bells and warning signs. There have been many ups and downs, weeks where I felt I made huge progress and others where I felt I had relapsed right back to square one. But I persevered, I looked for the positives and slowly but surely I have learnt, and I am still learning, to let go of some of that anxiety, to relinquish some of that control and to simply live my life again.

I have been reading several “Positive thinking” self help books, something which I would have been hugely cynical of just a couple of months ago, and am practicing those techniques every day in the hope that eventually, it will become second nature to me again. I have plans for another round of CBT in the Summer, a little booster should I feel myself struggling, and I have the biggest positive influence in my husband, my children, my family and friends. There will always be challenges, difficult moments and hard times, but with a positive attitude, with the desire to see the best in everything and to accept that you cannot plan out your entire lifetime, I think that I am just about ready to get out there and start facing them.

And I think that this quote is quite apt, given that I have my four little rainbows and our beautiful shining star, when it rains look for rainbows, when it’s dark look for stars. And I am looking, albeit through the storm clouds some days, and I won’t give up until I find them.

New Year, New Me? I think I’m going to pass on that. It turns out that actually, I’m doing okay exactly as I am….




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    • January 4, 2016 / 8:02 pm

      Haha they are on my kindle, I will write down the titles for you!! PMA!!!!! 👊🏼

  1. January 4, 2016 / 9:39 pm

    What a great outlook 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 good luck with the positive thinking and all the best for 2016 #anythinggoes xxx

    • January 4, 2016 / 10:20 pm

      Thank you!! Fingers crossed its as easy as it sounds!! 😬xx

  2. Becky, Cuddle Fairy
    January 4, 2016 / 10:43 pm

    What a brave post! I’m so sorry for your loss. I know exactly what you mean about those thoughts that fly through our minds. I tend to act on a lot of them just in case but not to the extent that you are talking about. Say if for some reason it pops in my head to lock a door or something like that, I do it. It’s hard to turn off that voice. It must have been a huge weight lifted when you were able to talk to the therapist about Joseph & realize where your anxiety was coming from. Feeling like you needed to focus on that little voice would be so stressful & holding everyone’s fate on your shoulders as a result is unimaginable. Best of luck for your year of positivity!! xx

    • January 4, 2016 / 10:47 pm

      Thank you. And yes it’s those fleeting thoughts like say an aeroplane is flying low and you might think, ooh that’s flying a bit low, but then you’d just carry on your day where as I start panicking that it might crash into my home or my children’s schools or on top of family members. And it’s insane when I say it like that, literally just one ridiculous thought out of hundreds each day, but it’s very hard to switch off when i have been become so accustomed to listening to those thoughts and reacting to them. I felt like it was a huge breakthrough discovering the cause of it all, and it makes perfect sense really. Now I just want to re-programme my brain to find the positives in life again, I miss that!!! Xx

      • Becky, Cuddle Fairy
        January 4, 2016 / 11:09 pm

        It does make perfect sense why you’d think that way! You have a wonderful outlook x

  3. January 5, 2016 / 4:20 am

    thank you for being so open and honest with your struggles. I have nowhere near the level of toughness you’ve had to face, but I reached a similar stage last year when I chose to put worry behind me and start focusing on the positive – instead of the worst case scenarios. It’s a constant struggle but when I feel the worry I try to nip it in the bud and move forward. Wishing you all the best and thanks for sharing with us on our #OverTheMoon link up ~ Leanne 🙂

    • January 5, 2016 / 8:22 am

      Thank you! How are you finding it? Right now I am still very buoyed up from the CBT but in the coming weeks I know that it will get tougher. It’s hard when it has become second nature to you I suppose. Well done you for making those changes, I admire anyone who can battle through adversary. I hope that 2016 is a wonderful year for you. Xxx

  4. January 5, 2016 / 8:18 am

    When it rains look for a rainbow I really love that , hope this year is full of positivity for you hold on to that light and never let go#Anythinggoes

    • January 5, 2016 / 8:23 am

      Thank you! It’s lovely isn’t it, and definitely how I want to live my life from now on. It’s not going to be easy but those beautiful rainbows are worth looking for. Xxx

  5. Sue @ Home Heart Harmony
    January 5, 2016 / 8:02 pm

    Gosh, I am so sorry that something so terrible happened to you. I’m full of admiration for you for sharing that difficult truth. I wish you every possible success with your positive thinking and a year of happiness and peace. xx #TwinklyTuesday

    • January 5, 2016 / 8:24 pm

      Thank you so much. I feel really positive just for writing it all down and am determined that anxiety will not steal any more time from me and my family. Here’s hoping!! Xx

  6. January 5, 2016 / 8:17 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. It is refreshing to hear you starting out the year as you wish to live your life. Do you mind sharing the titles of the “Positive Thinking” self-help books you are have read or are reading? I feel like a lot of us struggle with positive thinking due to our past experiences and hearing someone else’s story can help someone else get out from under the rock. Thanks again for sharing. #abitofeverything
    -Mama Curtiss

    • January 5, 2016 / 8:41 pm

      Thank you! One of the books that I have found to be super helpful is “Overcoming anxiety” by Helen Kennerley. She uses CBT techniques in the book and it is part of the books on prescription range. It’s really interesting to read and I found myself nodding along to so much of it! The other one that I found interesting was The power of positive thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. Both are definitely worth a look at. Xx

  7. January 5, 2016 / 9:32 pm

    What a really powerful post. I hope you got a lot out of the process of putting it all on “paper”, because as a reader I certainly got a lot out of it. Your words are inspirational, and should give anyone that reads this post, reason to be positive for the year ahead. Thanks for sharing. #TwinklyTuesday

    • January 5, 2016 / 9:34 pm

      Oh thank you so much. That really means a lot to me, posts like this are so difficult to write and yet hugely cathartic. I always feel anxious about how they will be received too!! Here’s to a positive 2016 all round. Xxx

  8. January 6, 2016 / 12:29 pm

    I’m sorry that you had to go through that. Thank you for your honesty and sharing your stories of Joseph.

    I’ve come to a similar position that you were in but much later on where for years I took a perverse comfort that there was nothing that could be done to have changed the outcome only to find out that this rock is just sand and now I’m haunted by the possibility that had we pushed harder our boys would be here.

    I’ve been plagued by endless cycles of negativity, what ifs and pointless pyschodramas as well and have taken to saying “shut up brain!” out loud to break this state and silence the inner chatter.

    I’m no fan of self-help books either but have found Richard Wiseman’s 59 seconds a really good read as it looks at the research around self help techniques to identify what actually works and what is counterproductive.

    • January 6, 2016 / 12:30 pm

      Forgot the tag again! #abitofeverything and #AnythingGoes

    • January 6, 2016 / 12:39 pm

      Thank you so much, I am so sorry for the loss of your boys, there are no words that can ever express just how awful it must have been for you.
      It is reassuring in a way to know that others who have experienced a similar loss have felt these same emotions and negative thoughts. I think that as parents, we often blame ourselves when our children are poorly, hurt, or in our case, when our children die. I still blame myself for so many things, things that I did, things that I didn’t do. I wish that there was a rewind button and I could go back and do it all differently and yet I fear that the end result would always be the same. It’s hard isn’t it?
      I haven’t seen that book but will definitely look it up, I’m determined that this is the year that I let go of this negativity. Joseph would have been ten this July and a decade is far too long to have lived this way.
      I hope that 2016 is kind to you and your family, thanks again for reading. xx

      • January 6, 2016 / 12:47 pm

        It must be hard facing such a big anniversary. I hope that you have the love and support to carry you through.

        It will be our boys’ fifth in October and I’m dreading it. This October I was a mess and that’s with the happy occassion of two rainbow birthdays!

        I don’t know if it’s too early to try and visit the New Forest to see the tree planted in their memory or whether seeing a glorified twig would make things worse!

        With regard to 59 seconds, if you would find it useful I have a spare copy in the Christmas ‘war chest’ that I would be happy to send to you.

        • January 6, 2016 / 1:03 pm

          Thank you. I’ll be honest with you, I feel that the tenth anniversary is somewhat harder for me to contemplate than previous years. Admittedly the first was unbearable and yet somewhere inbetween that and here, it seemed to get a little easier? Now, a whole decade feels so momentous? Ten whole years, double figures, the thought that our little baby would be growing up, changing before our eyes, becoming more of a young man each day. I am hoping to find a way to celebrate his anniversary, a fundraiser for SANDS, a way to share his memory and make his birthday a happy time. We shall see…
          I love the New Forest and the idea of a tree, of nature and the new life is lovely but I agree, sometimes its just too hard isn’t it? I often stand at Josephs grave and look at his headstone and his flowers, the mobiles we have hung in the trees and the little toys the children have taken for him, and I think, this is all we have. And its never enough.
          That is such a lovely offer to send the book! If you have an email I can contact you on I would be so grateful. Thank you so much. xx

          • January 6, 2016 / 1:23 pm

            I’ve been channelling my grief into this blog and through it tentative steps into awareness raising and changes to maternity care. I’ve also started as a bereavement befriender to do more to help.

            You’re right though. No matter how much we do it never feels enough. I see really driven campaigners doing amazing things and know I can’t do that. Not without sacrificing the family I have.

            Are we following each other on Twitter? I can DM you my email or you can send me your address.

          • January 6, 2016 / 1:33 pm

            It’s amazing what you are doing, I had a look through your blog and there is so much on there for other parents in our position. You should be very proud of yourself but yes, it never feels enough. I am following you on Twitter yes, fivelittledove5. I shall DM you over there.
            Thank you so much, honestly, the kindness of strangers never ceases to amaze me. Xx

          • January 6, 2016 / 1:36 pm

            Thank you. I said to Chickydoodles that it’s a shame that we are unwillingly part of the same club but we at least do our best to make membership less awful by supporting each other.

            I’ll dig out the book when I get in and get it you as soon as I can.

          • January 6, 2016 / 1:38 pm

            Absolutely. It really is like a club that nobody wants to be a part of but when you’re in it, you’re in it together. ❤️

  9. An imperfect Mum (@animperfectmum)
    January 6, 2016 / 2:30 pm

    I really admire your strength and resilience. Thank you for being so open and honest in sharing this post. I totally agree with you and never make new year resolutions. I have one aim this year to focus on quality time, not just for my family but also for myself. I hope you achieve your aim. Karen Salmonson over at not salmon has some very inspirational and positive quotes this may be something for you. Good luck x

    • January 6, 2016 / 4:01 pm

      Thank you! Quality time is definitely something which we could all do with more of! I am very guilty of never allowing myself some quality time and also for me and my husband. I am so focused on the children and on their needs, their hobbies, trying to give them all the attention they need and weeks can fly by without Gaz and I having done very much together at all! Infact this weekend we are off to Harrogate together, just the two of us, and I cannot wait!!!
      I shall have a look over at Not Salmon, thank you for that. Any positivity going spare is more than welcome my way!!! xx

  10. Jenna Michelle Pink
    January 6, 2016 / 4:29 pm

    Wow such a brave post.

    I can really relate to this. Traumatic events in my life I think have molded me in a similar way. I am a huge negative thinker and I find it really hard to feel positive. Perhaps similar to you. It’s like my brain won’t let me be positive incase bad happens.

    Much love to you

  11. January 6, 2016 / 7:56 pm

    A really powerful post and I can really relate to so much of it. I hope your 2016 is full of rainbows.

    • January 6, 2016 / 8:09 pm

      Thank you. I wish the same for you too. 🌈xx

  12. nourishingmyscholar
    January 8, 2016 / 11:32 am

    I am so sorry. Thank you for your transparency and authenticity. I’m sure your new year will see some positive changes. Good luck in looking for more rainbows. *hugs*

    • January 8, 2016 / 11:34 am

      Thank you! Funnily enough the day after I wrote this, I opened my front door to see the biggest rainbow I’ve seen in a long time. If that’s not a sign then I don’t know what is! 🌈❤️ xxx

  13. January 8, 2016 / 12:26 pm

    Thank you for sharing a little of your story. It is such a powerful message and it must have taken you so much courage to share. I was very moved by your story and it felt like you were speaking straight to me as I face my own struggles. The quote is very inspiring! Thanks for sharing with #abitofeveryhting

    • January 8, 2016 / 12:31 pm

      Ahh thank you. I am always quite nervous about sharing so much of myself and yet it feels hugely therapeutic to write it all down and know that I’m not alone. I hope that 2016 is kind to you too. Xxx

  14. January 8, 2016 / 9:12 pm

    This was incredibly brave and courage to write, never mind the part of posting it on the internet for the world to see -There isn’t a word to describe that kind of courage. Your honesty flows through your words. I am so sorry for the pain and loss you have endured. Wishing you a very positive new year! #momsterslink

    • January 8, 2016 / 10:46 pm

      Thank you so much, your comments mean so much to me. Xxx

  15. January 10, 2016 / 8:26 pm

    Oh lovely, what an awful experience to have to go through. It must have been such a painful, but incredibly powerful and realeasing moment to have the realisation that you did. It sounds like you are in the right place and mindset, i’m so pleased to hear you starting the year on such a positive note. Here’s to a lovely 2016 for you and your family. Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays

    • January 10, 2016 / 8:42 pm

      Thank you so much. 2016 has been kind to us so far, long may it last. Thank you for reading. Xxx

  16. January 11, 2016 / 7:55 pm

    I don’t think you should punish yourself any more Laura. Life deals things that are outside of our control and there’s no way to know if you would have done anything differently, that the outcome would have been different. Yes a more positive you is a good plan for 2016! Good luck.

    Sally @ Life Loving

    • January 11, 2016 / 7:56 pm

      Thank you Sally. I think that you are right, it’s just taken me such a long time to get to that point. 2016 is proving to be a positive year so far, long may it continue. Thank you for reading. Xx

  17. Jenny @ Let's Talk Mommy
    January 11, 2016 / 9:28 pm

    There is nothing wrong with some goals for the year I don’t necessarily make resolutions either. I am constantly throughout the year trying to improve in all areas of life. But as we start a new year I am trying to make life less hectic and simplify it all.2015 was just too much for me and I need a little year of enjoying life to its fullest without all the rustle and bustle. Great post. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me blog hop. #sharewithme

    • January 11, 2016 / 9:33 pm

      That’s a great goal to have. I think we are all guilty of trying to juggle too much, I know I am!! I hope that 2016 is a great year for you and yours! Thanks again for hosting. Xx

  18. January 12, 2016 / 11:23 pm

    Oh petal – I am so very sorry for your loss but this post was so beautifully brave of you to write. Thanks so much for linking up with the Mad Mid Week Blog Hop. I hope to see you again tomorrow! #MMWBH

    • January 13, 2016 / 10:34 am

      Thank you so much. I feel so much better for having shared it, sometimes it just helps to write things down or say them out loud doesn’t it? I guess its all part of the process of finally finding a way forward. Thanks for hosting. xxx

  19. January 14, 2016 / 9:19 pm

    I absolutely love the quote! I always get a bit teary eyed reading your stories about Joseph, for as a mother I could never imagine what losing a child must have put you through. I truly don’t blame you for always feeling a sort of panic about everyday life. The strength you now possess is amazing! Thank you so much for linking up your story with #momsterslink. 💌Trista

    • January 14, 2016 / 9:49 pm

      Aww thank you, I certainly don’t feel strong most days but looking back I have come a long way. Trying to stay positive but it is hard, 2016 will see Joseph’s 10th birthday and I think that’s going to be a big one for me. Baby steps, just one foot in front of the other. Thanks for reading. xxx

  20. January 22, 2016 / 8:50 pm

    I admire you being so vulnerable and open in your post, you post left me feeling very emotional! I need to know the books you are reading too! I have a self help book addiction lol

    • January 22, 2016 / 11:08 pm

      Ah thank you! I will comment with the latest one I’m reading tomorrow (am out just now and can’t think of it off the top of my head). I’ve never been into self help books before but can see how someone could become addicted!! Xxx

  21. January 26, 2016 / 10:55 pm

    Bless you, I can really feel you trying to come to terms with everything, I’m so pleased to read that you are going to try and be more positive, I feel like I should be more positive this year! Thanks for linking up to the #bestandworst x

    • January 26, 2016 / 11:17 pm

      Thank you. I really do feel that this is the year I am going to find peace with the past and find a way to move forward with my family and my sanity intact. It’s very hard to remain positive in a world with so many negatives but I’m trying to focus on the highs and hope that it’s enough to get me through the lows. Thanks for hosting! Xx

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