8:15 am

Last night I had a bath, my first bath in almost three years.

The last time I remember taking a bath, it was a hot day in July 2009, I was huge and hot and achey. I lay in the bath watching my belly shift and move. I remember laughing as Florence stretched her body beneath my skin, and calling to Eden to come and see.
It was funny then, something to tell baby one day.
I've looked back on that day so many times. In my mind I can see Florence so clearly beneath my skin.Was she stretching, or was she thrashing? I don't know. They were big movements, not frantic,but not languid either.

Yesterday my body ached, I was tired and both my big girls were out, the boys and Woody were watching the football, and Ernest was sleeping.
I thought about taking a bath. Woody encouraged me, and said "it's only a bath", "it has nothing to do with Florence".
I tried to decide why I've been so afraid of stepping into a bath, I think initially I was afraid of flashbacks to that hot day in July, but also, I think it seemed too indulgent...much like in those early days when anything normal like eating or sleeping or laughing were can anyone do those things when their daughter is dead?
I sat and pondered, and Woody suggested I run a bath, I didn't have to actually get in it.
I started to run the bath, I took some bubbles (shower gel) and a towel from our shower room,down to the family bathroom, and then came back upstairs to the safety of my bedroom, and I pondered a little more, still not sure I would actually get in the bath.
That's when Eden called me from her sleep over. We only chatted for a few moments, but somehow it was enough to distract me. My bath was run, and I got in.

I was ok, no flashbacks,but memories. I didn't find it easy, or particularly relaxing, and I struggled to look down at my belly. I'm not sure I'll be doing it again too soon, but it wasn't awful, and I didn't cry or panic. It was ok.

Maybe there are those of you reading here and thinking this is a strange little post, I kinda think it is too. Who cares if I took a bath? Hardly groundbreaking news is it? And really, it's been almost three years and yet I still keep dropping in these random posts that touch on my grief and life without Florence, except that's really the reason I am posting this.
It's almost three years, if you met me in the street there's very little to give away my story, a sadness in my eyes, a pendant hanging from my neck with a photo of a baby girl, but that's all. I have a brood of beautiful children, I'm laughing and smiling and eating and sleeping and living life, but still there are those little things, not taking a bath, tensing up each time I hear an ambulance siren, being unable to attend a last minute invite to an event that might trigger random flashbacks, being hesitant to take part in small talk with strangers, or worse still people who are not strangers,but not friends either.

Time does ease each of these, it has already. I used to have a panic attack each time I heard a siren, I would have to stop in the street and breath, I would cry and stagger my way home, now I just clench my fists,and my teeth and I keep on going.

Don't be shy, say hello!


  1. Oh Jeanette, this stuff is really significant. I've found it hard to step over some of those lines too - I still haven't gone back to the suburb where our accident was - just getting back in the car, particularly when I was pregnant again, was hard enough. I'm so glad you were able to have a bath again and hope that future baths can be linked with good memories of your time with Florence (as well as relaxing in their own right). xxx

  2. I think this post does a few things, it allows you to express your feeling (its your blog after all lol), but it will also give comfort to other parents who lost their babies 3/4/5..... years ago, to know its normal to still feel this way about certain things. And, you know, just because Florence died doesn't mean you shouldn't blog about her if she is a relevant part of your day. I think you are amazing for being so candid. I have half written a blog post about vintage clothes and activities. What I really wanted to say is that when I was sitting at my dressing table, Duncan popped his head round the door and said P****'s (his best friend)son was born today, he just text me. And I cried and cried and was jealous. But I know I will go with the vintage one instead.

  3. You are very far from sounding strange - in any way.

    This fit, too: "...hesitant to take part in small talk with strangers, or worse still people who are not strangers,but not friends either."

    Grief, like potholes. Seemingly insignificant things - baths - make no mention or dip in life, ordinarily. Now, though, a million invisible (to outside eyes) trip wires create wariness, make choices big which once were small.

    You are not odd, not even a little.

    Florence Violet, I can I see you moving in your mother's words. If only you were moving still.

    You honored her with a bath, on this day, and with writing about it. Thank you.

    xo Cathy in Missouri

  4. This really connected with me - except in my case it's the swimming pool that brings back memories. I've been a swimmer my whole life. I swam when I was pregnant with Elizabeth and even after she died, but I cannot bring myself to swim during this pregnancy. Swimming pregnant is something I did with Elizabeth, and I can't get past that yet. Thanks for posting this.

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  6. Ach. Baths.

    I used to have them and laugh that Freddie was my only still baby in a bath. That he lifted himself out of the warm and held still. But it mst ave been distress :(

    After we came home I sat in the bath and max took the girls out and I screamed for him. I cried for months in the bath, my one really private place. I just used to say 'come back, come back'. :( :(

    It seemed so decadent. I was so aware I should be grabbing hasty showers and going back to him.

    Ach. Baths.

    Well done. Be like merry the hobbit and theoden when he is dying; 'bath then and think of me'.


  7. theis is a great step forward and one that many won't understand. I had a really strange one I wouldn't eat beans after my pregnancy with R and it is only a couple of weeks ago after 7 years that I tried them again!

  8. Oh baths. I had SO many baths while pregnant with Hope. I had several while I was in labour with her (did the bath kill her? Were my waters broken and is THIS where the infection got in??) so whenever I think of a bath, I think of Hope.
    I wrote a post called water not long after she died. This post made me think of it.
    I could relate to your words today, so much.

  9. This made me cry. I'm not fairing so well.
    My last bath was just over 18 months ago. I think I have video of that last bath, of Joseph moving within, the way babies do when they are even more weightless that they already are.
    I've said out loud, several times, that I'll never have a bath again. The pain of that memory, of the memories of bathing with babies in my belly, is just too fraught. I want to go back there, but I don't all at the same time.
    This resonated so much. I totally understand your hesitation. I'm glad you took the plunge and there's hope that baths will become easier.
    Oh Florence. How we miss you so. x

  10. Ah, those things that seems as if they should be easy, little things that are in reality stressful and hard. I totally understand your reluctance towards baths and cheer for you that you overcame that and got in the tub. Big deal, indeed. xx

  11. Jeanette, I came here today seeking solace, and found it. I did the same thing as your bath the other night, except it was visiting the pond down from our house where Henry should have been born, where his death started. I felt uncomfortable, sad, full of un-nameable grief. It was "ok" as you said, I didn't break down, but it wasn't pleasant. Still so many things linger nearly three years later. Today is a particularly painful day for me, as I have written my last post on my blog. I wanted to thank you for always reading and commenting. I have the card you sent me with the lady and the crows on my refrigerator, I look at it daily. So much love to you. I think of Florence so much, I miss her with you.

  12. I didn't have a bath for a long while afterwards and even then I couldn't bear to look at my belly. Now five and half years on it's swimming I haven't been able to do. I've told myself this year ... it feels okay and right, but it's taken this long.

    I hope that one day soon you manage to really enjoy your bath and that I manage to take a dip and that the pain of the experience softens into fond memories of our daughters.


  13. This is so poignant and really speaks to me. I find it hard to cross those lines too and even more so to make sense of some of the things I still struggle with so much. Thank you for posting and making me feel less alone (and perhaps less crazy).


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