The beautiful reason for this blog. Our much wanted and loved daughter, born still in May 2016 at 37 weeks. Losing Orla was sudden, unexpected and unexplained. And the single most devastating thing Andy and I have experienced. But Orla has taught us so many things and given us an appreciation for life and love that we will forever be grateful for.
Mother, wife and clinical psychologist. I’m a South Londoner, enjoy tea and cake, yoga and buying old stuff to upcycle. Reality TV is my guilty pleasure. I am also addicted to Instagram. I live with my husband Andy, Our rainbow Esme, Amber the cat and Orla who will forever live in our hearts.
Dr. Michelle psychologist:
I have worked in the NHS as a psychologist since 2003 and my training took place over nine years from undergraduate to doctorate. I have worked with many clients with varying difficulties in a vast range of settings including prison, secure inpatient units, outpatient clinics and the community. I have also worked in private practice for a number of years. I have extra training in a range of therapies including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Schema Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Mentalization Based Treatment (MBT) and I am also interested in Mindfulness and Compassion focussed approaches to therapy.
In recent years, my NHS work has focussed on working with parents within children and family services, where I have developed a passion for improving the health and wellbeing of mums and dads. I regularly provide consultation and training to a range of professionals in the services in which I work, regarding psychological approaches and ways of working as well as the importance of self-care for staff.
In 2016 my world was shattered when our first child, our daughter Orla, died. She was stillborn at 37 weeks and no cause for this was found. The sudden and traumatic loss of our baby, the future that we had lovingly hoped and planned for, was devastating. The grief was overwhelming and the intense feelings of anxiety, sadness, guilt and shame were life altering. I had suffered an early pregnancy loss in 2015 (an ectopic pregnancy requiring emergency surgery to remove a tube), but hadn’t understood at that time that it was okay to feel sad about this. With the loss of Orla, I suddenly found myself to be the person needing support; I was isolated, vulnerable and unsure how I would be able to cope. So I began to write.
Blogging about my journey of grief has been a cathartic process. It has helped me to begin to make sense of my thoughts and feelings and learn how I might apply my psychological knowledge and experience to my own life. It has also brought me into contact with many amazing women who too have lost babies and who have helped me so much in sharing their own journeys. And it has helped me to survive the rocky waters of pregnancy after loss.
We were lucky enough to welcome Esme safely into the world just 11 months after Orla died. However, our story does not end there, and I continue to write and reflect on the challenges that life, pregnancy and parenting after loss brings.
Everything I write here is a reflection of my own personal journey and experience and I hope you find it informative. However, it is not intended as professional psychological advice in this capacity.