Following from my post on the majesty of River, it seemed like a good prompt to talk about my own new adventures in counselling.
It’s only just started but it’s a promising start. There’s structure and a plan. It’s not just a talking shop. I’ve rehearsed the story long enough and have a now ingrained ability to summarise into neat key points so we can get straight to the useful part.
The next sessions will look at how I can build resilience, calm my temper and place myself in the eye of the storm rather than being in its path.
One of the first things to consider is why am I there and what do I want to get out of it?
As you may have seen from earlier posts recently lots of things happening all at once performed some crazy magic that summoned my long dormant grief in a way I hadn’t expected and wasn’t prepared for.
One of the things that counselling is good for is having someone listen to that well rehearsed story. The one told so many times that I don’t really pick up on the way that I tell it, the language I use and the words not said.
One of the striking moments was being asked whether I thought anything could have changed the outcome.
There’s clearly a discrepancy between my blithe acceptance of their deaths being the result of falling on the wrong side of probability and my sudden zeal to challenge the lack of professionalism, compassion and safety in maternity services.
What changed? Some of it comes from the publicity and research emerging from Baby Loss Awareness month. The stories and reports of avoidable deaths caused by failure to follow guidelines and listen to concerns.
The rest from sitting in a room for 3 hours listening to people trying to deal with their grief and find the energy needed to find the truth about what happened to them in the face of silence and blame shifting.
I hadn’t really clocked the events of Morecombe Bay until I saw the publicity for Joshua’s Story (one for the Christmas list) and heard passing mention of the Kirkup Report at the maternity review event.
Now my certainty over what happened has crumbled and I find myself revisiting the events leading up to their death for a clue of what might have happened or what we could have done differently, what the medics could have done differently.
My previous certainty was my defence against the horrible possibility that they could have been saved.
When asked the classic gambit of “how does that make you feel” (ranking alongside “tell me about your mother”) I faltered.
I have no idea.