Rebuilding

heartbroken

Hello. Is anyone still here? It’s been a while.

You might be wondering what happened to me. Nine months ago, I just disappeared. And, after religiously updating this blog weekly for the past eight years, that might have seemed strange.

That’s because this was supposed to be the post where I introduced you to my new baby. What would follow would be a series of posts about my postpartum recovery; my triumphant return to fitness and running.

But unfortunately, I can’t do that. Because my baby died. His heart stopped just five days before his due date. This blog is not the place for me to tell that story, but I have shared my baby’s story on the Tommy’s blog. This is a baby loss charity who helps support women like me who have lost a baby.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. And that’s the trouble. When you live your life so publicly online as I did, prior to June 1st, 2020, it’s really tough to know where to go when things don’t go according to plan. I didn’t know what to do, so I just did nothing. I abandoned it all. This blog. My Instagram account. All social media.

I also kind of abandoned life too. I haven’t returned to work. I’ve grown distant from many friends and family. And, I never really reconnected with running in a positive way.

That’s left me in a weird place where I’m just trying to rebuild a new identity for myself. One that includes the phrase, “bereaved parent.”

I thought about updating this blog dozens of times. The truth is, I miss it. But I just couldn’t see a path forward without addressing what had happened and that made me feel too vulnerable. For a long time, I was too fragile to share what happened to George (that was our baby’s name, by the way). I realised that my blog was not an entirely honest presentation of myself. It was a highlight reel. Flat and sugar-coated. And if I ventured into writing about George, it felt like opening Pandora’s Box. I wasn’t ready.

After George died, I was desperate to get back into running and fitness. My postpartum body was a constant reminder of loss and failure and I hated myself. I had a huge disgust and mistrust for my body and I wanted to go back to my old self as quickly as possible because simply looking in the mirror was enough to make me cry for hours. When you’re pregnant, everyone tells you that the physical strain and changes to your body will be worth it. That’s really only true if you get to take your baby home with you. When you don’t, your body becomes something you’re ashamed of. It was supposed to keep my baby alive and it failed. It was supposed to know what to do and it didn’t. And I hated myself for it.

In the absence of someone to point the finger at, the easiest person to blame is myself. I don’t know how many therapists or medical professionals need to tell me it wasn’t my fault before I start really believing them. I think I will always carry around a feeling of guilt about George’s death. It’s like a bad scar. It fades over time, but it’s always there.

So, as soon as I was cleared for exercise by a GP, I tried to run again. But there was no joy in it. I forced myself to go out and run multiple times and it never made me feel good. I’d often end the run crumpled in the grass somewhere crying.

In an effort to restore my love of running, I signed up for one of the first socially distanced events I could find. It was a 10k run in Kew Gardens in September. I thought having a goal would motivate me. I barely trained. I ran one sluggish 8km before race day, and then dragged myself around the course. I was proud to have done it, just three months after giving birth, but it didn’t give me the high I wanted. When I crossed the finish line, I felt nothing. Literally nothing.

Kew Gardens 10k

It’s easy to look joyful for a photograph.

After that, I made a deal with myself. No more forcing myself to run. I’ll do it if and when I feel like it. And as it turned out, I didn’t really feel like it. I did the odd run with my husband Graham, and eventually started running with a friend who is relatively new to running and that was enjoyable, but this was a far cry from the avid runner I used to be. Running was this enormous part of my identity. I continued to run because I was a runner. It was who I was. But lately, I’ve  started wondering how much I actually liked it. Maybe I never really liked it that much in the first place. Maybe I just liked the idea of it.

It’s scary to question yourself like this. Sometimes, I’m nostalgic for the old Miranda. Things were simpler then. But she doesn’t exist anymore. When I look at old photos of myself, I don’t even recognise the person staring back at me.

So I’m working on the new me. I don’t really know who she is just yet. Maybe she runs. Maybe she doesn’t. It’s a work in progress. And it’s hard. It’s really f*cking hard to question everything you thought you knew about yourself. But I guess this is part of my journey now. I wish I could see it as exciting, but mostly, it’s just terrifying.

It also means that I don’t know where to take this blog from here. Maybe it can just live here as a shrine to old Miranda. One thing I felt certain of is that I wanted to write something. It felt weird to just disappear with no explanation. So here it is. Maybe this is a bookend to many years of writing and running. Maybe this is the end. Or maybe it’s not. If I learned anything over the last 9 months it is that nothing is certain. I’ll let my heart guide me and whatever happens happens.

20 Comments

  1. James Hancox March 15, 2021 / 8:07 pm

    Oh Miranda, I am so sorry for your loss. Words can’t express the sadness of losing a child. Please accept our sincere condolences. I used to love reading your blogs, and whether you start them again or not, I hope your heart will heal.
    Best wishes, from James, a fellow runner.

    • Gemma March 21, 2021 / 8:50 pm

      You my dear are the most amazing woman! This is so sad to read and to understand/process how life can be so bloody cruel and as I read your words I sob, for you, for Graham for baby George who we were all so excited to meet! You are such an inspiring human being going through the biggest test of all. I admire you and wish I could hug you, I know the new Miranda will do amazing things and make us all smile with your future endeavours. Keep shining your light Miranda the world needs more people like you and Graham

  2. Clare B March 15, 2021 / 9:47 pm

    The bravest blog there ever was written, my friend…you did it.

  3. O. March 15, 2021 / 10:41 pm

    Hi Miranda, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. You say your blogging persona was sugarcoated but tbh I read your posts because I found you to be authentic (I dont think any of us are / can really be 100% authentic especially on social media / in a professional capacity). I did wonder why you’d stopped posting. Anyway, from a stranger, lots of good vibes and hope you’ll find your way forward. And, if you keep writing, I’ll keep reading

  4. April March 15, 2021 / 10:57 pm

    Super brave and authentic. ❤️
    You have always been inspiring to me and never more so than now.

  5. Keith McArthur March 15, 2021 / 10:58 pm

    Thank you for sharing this brave post Miranda. I’m happy for you that you felt ready to write it. I think of you and Graham a lot. Sending much love.

    • Cathy March 17, 2021 / 12:13 am

      You’re amazing to bravely write and share this. We’re here to support you in all your endeavours whatever they may be. Trust your heart and you won’t go wrong. Thinking of you, Graham, and George every day ❤️

  6. Darren Smith March 16, 2021 / 9:58 am

    I’m still here Miranda, I’m so sorry for your loss.
    I loved your blogs but completely understand if you decide to stop.
    Take care

  7. Dave Pearson March 16, 2021 / 11:03 am

    Miranda, I can’t really find the words that I feel would do justice to what I’m feeling for you and Graham. I’m so incredibly sorry for your loss. I think you are incredibly brave for writing this and I wish you all the best in your healing and grieving process. Much love ♥

  8. Claire M March 16, 2021 / 11:55 am

    This is so beautiful, brave and honest. Thank you for sharing this Miranda. If you decide at some point that continuing to run and/or write in this blog is what you’d like to do, I’ll be eagerly reading your posts. And if that’s not what’s right for you, that’s okay too. With love, Claire

  9. Shruti March 16, 2021 / 8:58 pm

    Beautifully articulated Miranda. Lots of love to you ♥️

  10. Lindsay De Vos March 20, 2021 / 6:12 pm

    Oh friend, my heart breaks for you and along side of you. If you ever need to talk, I’ve felt this pain many times and I’m always here.

  11. Amanda March 20, 2021 / 7:17 pm

    ❤️❤️

  12. Alayna March 20, 2021 / 7:26 pm

    I LOVE YOU.

  13. Kim March 20, 2021 / 10:08 pm

    I don’t have the words to tell you how sorry I am, other than we have been thinking of you, Graham and George and will continue to keep you in our hearts. Thank you for your vulnerability. Sending love your way.

  14. Terri MacDonald March 20, 2021 / 10:38 pm

    Wow! This was a brave article. There are no words to express the sadness I share with you. Terri

  15. Angela March 21, 2021 / 1:51 pm

    Reading this Miranda put a nail through my heart and brought tears to my eyes. We love you so much. Life brings such tragic things and we mourn – us humans are fighters for survival, you will get through this and we will all be by your side. Anytime you need a friend I’ll be here and so will many others who can feel your pain ❤️

  16. Pav March 21, 2021 / 9:54 pm
  17. Lorri March 21, 2021 / 11:23 pm

    Miranda, it’s Lorri. I’m so proud of you. Coming forward in su h a public way takes so much strength and courage. I hope this can help you continue in your healing, and find passion again, in whatever place in your life that it comes. You are wise to listen to your heart and to do things as you’re ready. It breaks my heart that you blame yourself and I hope that one day this will change. I’ve been thinking about you and Graham since we chatted on FB. Wishing you lost of love and healing. Xoxox

  18. Christine April 1, 2021 / 1:17 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss. This was very brave of you to write. Baby George was lucky to have such a loving mom. I’m so sorry.

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