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I can't get over the loss of my stillborn son

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 20 January 2017
Dear Patricia Marie, 

I have just watched Coronation Street and am in floods of tears, because in this episode Michelle gave birth to a stillborn baby. It brought back traumatic memories of my own stillborn son five years ago. The acting was so believable, and when Michelle said her heart was breaking, that's exactly how it felt for me. In fact, despite being told time would heal my pain, I have never got over my broken heart.

Three years ago, I went on to have a daughter whom I adore, but I just can't move on from the loss of my beautiful baby boy. My husband struggles with this too, and if I do try to open up to him, he just dismisses my feelings. Neither can I talk to my to friends and family, as they seem uncomfortable speaking about my loss, which really infuriates me.

I never had counselling at the time because I believed it would be a waste of time as this could not bring my son back. Will I ever get over the loss of my son, and when will this intolerable pain go?

Patricia Marie says...

Time is a healer, but healing arises through the coming to terms with your own personal grief, and you need an outlet through which this can occur. Coronation Street has gripped the nation with this powerful storyline, and as much as this has ignited painful memories for you, it could well be the spark that encourages you to seek professional help. SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity) is a helpline for those affected by the death of a baby. As well as being able to offer support, they can also help organise some counselling. Don't dismiss this, as you could find the results extremely beneficial. Group therapy in particular could make you feel better understood, and supportive friendships could be forged through sharing similar experiences.

Try not to be too hard on your family and friends. It's not uncommon for those closest to pull away during a grieving period, particularly when the loss is that of a child. This is unlikely to be because they don't care, but perhaps because they are upset too, and may even feel guilty that they have children who are alive and well. Tell them you need to talk and acknowledge your son, as even if they just listen, this should make a huge difference to how you are currently feeling.

Actress Kym Marsh, who herself gave birth to a stillborn son in 2009, said she had wanted these latest harrowing episodes to encourage those affected by stillbirth to speak out, and hopefully also enable friends and families of bereaved parents to gain a better understanding too. The programme also drew attention to the fact that parents cannot be given a birth certificate if the child is born dead before 24 weeks of pregnancy. SANDS, which worked alongside Coronation Street scriptwriters, has stated that many hospitals are now issuing certificates of birth for these children, to allow parents a keepsake. They added that if a hospital does not do this, parents can provide a certificate themselves for hospital officials to sign. The soap has been praised for increasing awareness of stillbirth, and for hopefully prompting a debate to change the law regarding birth certificates in such cases.

Don't suffer in silence anymore. You have been brave in sharing your story with me, and I hope you will now get the help you very much deserve. Have faith that your broken heart will heal through the nurturing process of opening up, and finally being able to express how you really feel.

Sands: helpline@uk-sands.org  020 7436 5881
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Hair and Skin Rejuvenation at Gina Conway Aveda

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
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on Tuesday, 17 January 2017
by Annette Kellow 

Your hair is a dress that you never take off, or so Ronan Cotes tell me when analysing my rather dry and split-ended hair.

I refrain from telling him about all the backcombing that happened over the Christmas period but secretly I think he can tell. Good job I am visiting Gina Conway Aveda at Westbourne Grove for a full rejuvenating experience on my hair and skin (perfect after all the festive indulgence!)

Gina Conway heads up three successful salon and spas in London and her clientele includes Annie Lennox, Sienna Miller and Lulu Guinness.

Ronan is going to tame my brittle tresses with the revolutionary Olaplex treatment to gain volume, body and gloss back into the damaged hair molecule.

But firstly I headed downstairs to have a 60 minute Tulasara facial with Amber. As all healthy eating had gone out of the window at Christmas I had quite a few clogged pores (which I'd unsuccessfully tried to cover with foundation). Aveda uses 97% plant based, organic ingredients in their products so I was rather enticed by this holistic approach, whilst Tulasara means to 'move towards balance' -something my skin was clearly crying out for!

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She started by used a perfecting cleanser, dry facial brush (which felt oddly satisfying) herbal clay masque, exfoliating pads, hydrating masque all accompanied by gentle steaming with towels and the most relaxing massage ever. I tried not to fall asleep but the feeling of being cocooned in the warmth followed by the foot massage made it inevitable. It was finished with concentrated botanical serums and eye cream for radiance and shine whilst my senses felt completely heightened with the natural scents of the products.

Then afterwards the Olaplex went on. Another hand massage ensued whilst I was waiting (I willed myself not to fall asleep but the aromatherapy was making if difficult) and then my treatment was washed off ready to blow dry.

Ronan is an absolute expert in hair knowledge and maintenance so he freely gave me useful tips on how to handle my weak hair whilst using an all-natural Phomollient mousse and thickening tonic.

AvedaHairFini

He also informed of the projects Aveda devotes themselves to. These include supporting young girls in India to working with a Yawan tribe to make their village profitable yet still traditional. Even my bag of products at the end was made with entirely sustainable recycled materials yet still looked absolutely picture perfect.

The salon is a bright, airy, refreshing space with a friendly welcoming feeling and I could see why they had won the London Lifestyle Awards for Health and Beauty Facility of the Year. I walked back outside with a spring in my step, feeling lighter and happier as indeed the dress that you never take off was ready to take on the world!
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My mum tries to take over my daughter's upbringing

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 13 January 2017
Dear Patricia Marie,

I have a beautiful one year old baby girl whom I adore. However I split with my boyfriend, her father, soon after I became pregnant, and he has nothing to do with our baby, which has caused my mum to be extremely upset, as she never wanted me to be a single mum.

I can cope with this, but what I am struggling with is the way she tries to take over my daughter's upbringing. It is her first grandchild and she is so over protective. She lives close by and is always popping round, sometimes at the most inconvenient time, being very critical of the way I am raising my little girl, and insisting she knows best. My dad can be a little interfering too, but he knows when to stop, unlike mum.

I believe I am a good mum, as my baby is developing well and is really happy, but my mum seems to think she has a right to dictate every aspect of her life. How can I explain to her the way I am feeling without hurting her feelings?


Patricia Marie says...

Having a baby in the family can be an exciting time for everyone, and you wouldn't want unnecessary conflict to take away that joy. Try to consider that grandparents generally mean well and just want to make sure their grandchildren are well cared for. It may be a while since your parents looked after a baby, but keep in mind there is a great deal to be said for experience. Stay open-minded, as some of their suggestions and advice may actually be very helpful.

Your mum may particularly be wanting to take good care of you both as your boyfriend isn't around. Explain to her that you value and appreciate her opinion, but ask her to understand that you might have a different way of doing things, and could she please respect this. Speak from the heart and tell her that you are wanting to adapt a routine for you and the baby, so could she please try to call before she visits. Perhaps it could be a good idea in future, when she gives you advice, to listen with a smile - and then do what you feel best. However, try and see things from your mum's perspective, as one day your own daughter may have children herself, then you will become the doting grandmother. Do remember also that no matter how old the children, a mother's love and protective instinct never wanes.
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A New Year's Message

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Tuesday, 03 January 2017
Yet again the world of pop is in mourning, this time for musical genius George Michael after he died on Christmas Day, aged just 53. Since the shocking news of music legend David Bowie back in January, we've had to endure the deaths of a multitude of high profile celebrities and musicians, including the utterly unique artist Prince, and most recently, actress Carrie Fisher, followed by her mother, Debbie Reynolds, the day after. All these losses have dominated the media, and, whilst it is reassuring to know that these huge stars were truly respected and admired, it can make it hard for us to escape our own painful emotions about their passing.

Even though we didn't know any of these famous people as well as those closest to them, they had been, and still are, a big part of our lives - the musicians whose records we remember from key moments in our past, the nation's favourite broadcaster, Terry Wogan, or Victoria Wood who over many years brought us much laughter. Indeed, the list goes on and on. However, be reminded that, although all these famous people are no longer with us, our memories of them will forever remain.

When celebrities die who have in the past brought us happiness, our grief is stronger because they have struck such a personal note within us. Many, particularly from the baby boom generation, feel that huge chapters from their youth have been lost. To some it's the end of the world, but for others it may have little or no impact. A lack of empathy from our friends and family can leave us feeling worse and unsupported, yet we can gain comfort by acknowledging the communal grief shown in the heartfelt messages and tributes throughout the media and social networks for each and every one of them.

The particularly high number of losses in 2016 highlights for us, especially those who have suffered their own personal and private loss, the need to embrace life, cherish every moment, and never take any situation for granted. Despite all the negative news that has engulfed us over the past 12 months, we have to believe that 2017 will be encouragingly positive. In George Michael's words - We Gotta Have Faith.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a very healthy and peaceful New Year.
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The Connaught launches The London Essence

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
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on Tuesday, 20 December 2016
by Annette Kellow

Last year I was invited to The London Essence launch, held at the prestigious Connaught Hotel. Little did I know how vintage it would all be! The Connaught is a long standing hotel since 1815 whilst The London Essence has roots tracing back to 1896. I decided to attend with friend, writer and dining expert Tyne O' Connell who certainly knows her stuff when it comes to cuisine. The skilful team at Wisehead Productions have breathed new life into their distinctive tonics to make the perfect mixer for cocktails and parties. I was also pleased that they are good for the waistline too (I'll have another then please) with the mixers containing plant based sugar Stevia and the most mouthwatering names such as Grape, Rosemary, Bitter Orange and Elderflower.

connaughtlaunch

Set in a 1920's style deco room, with a mirrored stairway which looked straight out of a Gatesby movie, we were welcomed in to a tray of delicious drinks with exotic names (I immediately tried the Cuban). A jazz band played old fashioned swing numbers to an eager audience and we even had a personal waiter who explained all the food and drinks to us.

Nick Strangeaway gave an intriguing talk on the evolution of gin whilst seafood inspired canapés were circulated. I, of course, couldn't resist but try them all and now my friend has named me Canapé Queen!

I have sometimes found when having a mixer in a cocktail it can be overbearing in sweetness or taste a little too sickly. The idea for The London Essence was to create a mixer that is elegant and sophisticated whilst being conscious of subtle tastes. Rather than being overbearing it is more gentle which gives it just the right hint, note and finish.
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