Last week I told you about how I was finding it hard to prepare a talk I was giving on the legacy of grief. I’m pleased to report that I managed to get the talk written in time. It took many stops and starts and a lot of tears, but I presented it at the Transforming Loss conference held by Sands, Bliss and the RCM and it went really well. My Twitter feed @ICPjenny was pretty busy afterwards with lots of very positive feedback and I noticed that a few people were quoting something I’d said: “The legacy of grief is that it makes you a little bit braver”.
I hadn’t planned to say this but as I was talking about the positives about grief (yes, there are definitely positives!) I realised that being braver was one of them. Some of you may remember that when I first started this blog I told you about how I had wanted to be an actor, but that’s about being someone else, and I could do that in front of people.
But talking about me, my feelings and the death of my two daughters, Victoria and Olivia – that’s been another thing altogether. And it was especially hard 30 years ago when people weren’t really encouraged to talk about stillbirth. Thank goodness for organisations like Sands who, back in the late 80s, first started their work to change this and make it much easier for parents to share their grief. This October (9–15) will be Baby Loss Awareness week (which started in the US in 2002) and ICP Support as well as other organisations will be supporting it, and I will be buying and wearing my pin with pride.
Being that little bit braver also means that I’m prepared to try things even if they don’t work and that’s why I set up my fundraising page to attempt to raise £60,000 before I am 60. I may not make it but how amazing if I do! To be able to fund a PhD student to work on ICP would be fabulous – what a 60th birthday present! If you can support me by donating please visit my page https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/jennycountdownto60
Being that little bit braver means that as part of my fundraising efforts I told you all about my battle with weight. And it has been (and still is) a battle. I’ve done all sorts of crazy diets in an attempt to lose weight and scarily, back in my 20s, I discovered that one way for me to keep my weight down was to vomit after I’d eaten. I did this for around six months, but thank goodness came to my senses (and that’s me being brave enough to share this with you as well).
Over the years I have been to see several therapists about my weight problems and where they stem from, but have never really got to grips with the issue. Nevertheless, so far, my weight loss is going well. It’s quite slow and in times of stress I keep wanting (and occasionally do) go back to the sugary food for comfort, but I’m getting there. Healthy eating using Slimming World (online) has really helped me – a stone and a half (9.8 kilos in new money) off so far!
Finally, being braver means that I got in front of the camera on Thursday with the lovely Tommy’s Midwives to talk about ICP. My professor, Catherine Williamson (who is also a patron of ICP Support), Dr Peter Dixon (our senior scientist and trustee of ICP Support) and Dr Caroline Ovadia (clinical research fellow and obstetrician), who has received funding for her research into ICP from our charity, also joined me. It was nerve-wracking but good to do and they have invited us back again. Do have a look!
I only watched a bit of it back. I couldn’t cope with seeing myself much more – I have quite an expressive face don’t I? Maybe I could enter some gurning competitions and win some money to put towards my fundraising…
Not sure that I am THAT brave 🤣