18 Months 

The Rainbow Princess: 18 things I love about you. 

  1. I love how you smell when you wake up in the morning, sweet and sleepy, milky and warm. You smell like cuddles
  2. I love how you say “mama”
  3. I love watching you play with your baby, you’re so gentle and caring and it reminds me I’m doing a good job 
  4. I love you you how much your idolise your sister. I hope you grow up to be close 
  5. I love how much you treasure your Leo lion
  6. I love how excited you get when you see dogs. Squealing, laughing and pointing yelling “woof woof!!”
  7. I love your taste in music. Because you dance to all my favourite songs. You probably had very little choice, they got blasted at my belly when you were in utero, but still. 
  8. I love that if I am holding you on my hip, but not paying you attention, because I’m looking at my phone you put your hands on my face and turn me towards you. It’s a great reminder about what really matters 
  9. I love that you love my cousins, your second cousins, as much as I do. You love spending time with them and I am so grateful that they are nurturing their relationship with you
  10. I love how you run, with your arms tucked in like wings, head bent in determination
  11. I love how you wave goodbye 
  12. I love how you blow kisses 
  13. I love how you put your finger to your lips and say “sssssh” when I say it’s bedtime. 
  14. I love how much you love to eat, definitely makes life easier
  15. I love how you fall asleep in my arms at nap time 
  16. I love how you act out songs 
  17. I love how well you follow instructions 
  18. I love that you are mine and there will always be an infinite list of things I love about you. 

Her Beach 

On the day The Angel Princess was supposed to be born we went to the beach. I am incredibly lucky to live in a gorgeous part of Australia surrounded by beaches. For most of my life I’ve never lived more than a 10 minute drive from a beach. I don’t think I could have it any other way now. 

The Husband and I used to beach walk almost every day before The Sunshine Princess was born. He proposed on the beach. We got married on a clifftop over looking the beach and had our wedding photos on the beach. 

So it wasn’t a difficult conclusion to reach that they last place we would take our baby alive, in my belly, would be the beach. 

We went to the one we most often went to. Driving there The Husband had to pull over so I could throw up on the side of the road. I’d been having irregular contractions since the morning before and was on the verge of an anxiety attack. 

It was winter. The beach was cold and windy. But we didn’t care. We were taking our daughter to the beach before she died. I had gotten up that morning and gotten dressed ready for the day that my baby would die. How does one find the strength to do that? It was 2.5 years ago and I still don’t know how I did it. 

We stood on the beach and held my bump and she kicked us. Walking on the uneven sand hurt my hips and ramped up my contractions. We took photos of my bump. I cried. 

We left. And drove to the hospital. I walked into the hospital knowing that when I left, my belly would be empty, my arms would be empty and my heart would be destroyed. Things didn’t go to plan and she wasn’t born until the following day. We had to do it all again. Wake up, and function to get ready for the day our daughter would die. 

I go to her beach a lot. Especially in summer. I’ve moved house and now it’s my closest beach, barely 5 minutes from my house. The Sunshine Princess knows it’s her beach. I don’t bring the girls here as much, as the next beach around is far more suitable for them, it’s a flatter beach, has a calmer surf and has more extensive rockpools that they love to explore. But this will always be my favourite place. If we had of cremated her I would put some ashes here. 

When I was pregnant with The Rainbow I walked on The Angel’s beach a lot. The beach was one of the first places we took her. And when she was a newborn I would walk with her in the carrier. Through winter I would drive past the beach or sit in the car. I come here more often than I go to the cemetery. I’m sitting on the sand writing this. I’m feeling emotional after writing the post last night and her beach feels safe. When I’m here I’m not angry. Just sad. Sometimes it’s nice to be sad without being angry. And sometimes it’s nice for her to be the only thing I’m feeling. 

I could sit here all day. How could I want to leave this place. 

The Rainbow Princess, first visit to The Angel’s beach, 7 days old. 

The Dead Baby Box

Someone had made a cover. It was Winnie the Pooh fabric. It was a cover for the styrofoam box. To make it look less like a Dead Baby Box. Someone had actually taken the time to sew a cover. That’s what someone did one day. Sat down. Chose fabric. And sewed a Dead Baby Box Cover.

They gave it to us. After they put my baby on a disposable ice pack in a styrofoam box, they gave us the Winnie the Pooh cover. “They” is the man in the morgue. His name was Herb. Or is. His name probably still is Herb. He told us he loves his job. In the morgue. With the dead babies.

We had to sign a heap of forms. I had to sign my baby out of the morgue, as if I was signing her out of day care, but far less rewarding. When we organised with the hospital and the funeral home that we would drive her from the hospital to the funeral home instead of them collecting her, I didn’t think about boxes. I thought I would hold her. We wanted to do it ourselves so she would be handled by less people. And because we thought it meant more time with her. I didn’t know they would put her in a box. By then she had been dead for 3 days and I didn’t think about her decomposing. I didn’t know that if she wasn’t on ice she would deteriorate. We had had her for 23 hours after she was first born. With no ice. I didn’t know they would put her in a box.

But they did. And then they taped the box closed. They gave us a letter so that if we got pulled over we wouldn’t get in trouble for having a corpse in the Dead Baby Box. If they had of even known it was a Dead Baby Box, so beautifully camouflaged it was by Winnie the Pooh.

We were told we had to have delivered the Dead Baby Box within a certain time frame, or we would get in trouble. We were not to cross state boarders. I played The Day You Went Away over and over again because it was a sunny day, and that’s the song you play on blue skies days that are filled with black, endless, screaming pain.

And dutifully we drove our daughter, our dead, packed on ice daughter, to the funeral home. We handed over the box and signed more forms. They gave me back the Winnie the Pooh cover.

A few weeks later I took it back to the hospital. So someone else could have it. For their Dead Baby Box.

Paisley Days


2.5 months since she died. 

Some days are good. Some days are bad. Some days start ok and end terribly. Like today. Tuesdays are my Paisley days. Or sometimes Thursdays. Or sometimes both in one week. Actually, usually its both in one week. My 2 year old goes to day care Tuesdays and Thursdays and with hubby at work I’m left on my own. These are supposed to be the days that I do house work and grocery shopping and run errands. But the truth is, I don’t like doing them on my own. It would be easier. And quicker. But I miss the company of my toddler. And going to the shops without her means I don’t have a distraction from the ridiculously large amount of pregnant women or idiots with no social skills who have somehow been granted the privilege of multiple children, children who are incredulously always eating McDonalds and drinking coke before they even look old enough to be off the boob. But anyway.

So Tuesdays and Thursdays are my Paisley days. Basically, I mope. I mope and sleep. And I look through Paisley’s things and sob. As loud as I want. Sometimes I watch TV. If I’m feeling brave I will run and errand or 2. In the first few weeks, I hated these days and purposely made lots of plans to do on these days to keep myself busy. I hated being alone and feeling sad. But somewhere in the last few weeks this has flipped. Now it seems too hard to be busy without my 3 foot tall, very chatty sidekick. It’s been 10.5 weeks and no one thinks I should be sad anymore. They’ve heard the story, we’ve talked it out. Time to move on Cashmore. The only problem is I’m not done talking. I probably never will be. I have nothing to add to conversations. I actually don’t really care much about most other people’s “stuff” and playing along takes a lot of energy. Energy that I just generally don’t have.

Being busy with The Sunshine every other day of the week means I don’t have the opportunity to just hang out and feel sad. I cant play sad music and bawl my eyes out because she will get upset and worried and bring me tissues and her favourite dolly to cuddle and that will just make me cry even more. So I don’t. I don’t cry around her anymore, I don’t get sad. I save it all up. And I actually look forward to Tuesdays. Or Thursdays. Or both.

I’m making my way through a DVD set of an old TV show at the moment and it keeps me busy for a few hours after I drop The Sunshine Princess to day care. Then I go to bed and nap til it’s time to pick her up. At the end of the day I’m always a little ashamed that i wasted so much of the day, that the house is still messy and there’s no dinner cooked. I always feel really bad for my husband who has been at work all day so we can pay the bills and I sat at home feeling sorry for myself. I run around like a mad woman tidying up and pretend that I am not the worlds laziest slob.

 But then, the next Tuesday or Thursday comes and it’s back to moping. Today im adding writing to my Paisley day so I can feel semi productive.

Today I had an errand to run. I had to drop something off to someone and the quickest way there meant I would drive past the cemetery where Paisley is. That’s ok. I’ve done it a few times now. Usually my hubby is with me and we wind down the windows and yell “hello Paisley!” and Shyla wiggles in her car seat and mimics “Hiiii Plaseee!!!”

Today I was innocently listening to a CD that I’ve had for months and a song came on that I’ve heard a million times before. But Today it sent me into gasping sobs.


“It’s the last day on earth,

In my dreams, in my dreams,

It’s the last day on earth,

And you’ve come back to me,

In my dreams”




“any time anybody speaks your name I still feel the same,

I ache I ache I ache inside”


So I decided to pull in at the cemetery. Last time we were there, a new grave had been dug next to Paisley. We could tell by the Teddy bear it was for a boy. I was so upset. Another family going through what we were. How awful for them. Those poor people. No one should have to feel this.

Today when I pulled up there was a man sitting on the bench that overlooks our babies. I dont know how but I could tell it was the new baby’s dad. I was still crying from the song in the car. I wanted to go and sit with him and comfort him, but how does that conversation go? “hey my baby is next to yours, nice to meet you.” ? It’s just too cruel.

So I went to Paisley’s grave and picked up the flowers we had left there last time, they were dead, so I threw them in the bush.

When I walked back to the grave I noticed that Paisley has a plaque. Someone from the council must have put it in. It takes a little while for the grave to “settle” so she had been unmarked until now. The plaque says “Baby Paisley Jane Cashmore Rest in Peace”. Sounds nice doesn’t it? I hyperventilated and threw up. Thankfully not on any other graves. But then I had to kick dirt over my vomit because i didn’t want vomit near the babies.

We didn’t want a plaque. We didn’t order a plaque. We wanted to get a big beautiful headstone with a more personal message, than Rest in Peace. We wanted her date on it. We wanted it to say we will always love her. We were told that when the grave was ready we would be contacted and given the information on the various options of how we could mark the grave.

I’m sure that I can reverse this. That I can have the tacky little generic council plaque removed and replace it with a headstone. But now I have to ring the council and have a very awkward conversation with someone who will think I’m an absolute nutter. “you gave my baby a plaque! How dare you?!?” Oh yeh, this is going to go down real well.

And the worst part about it all is I’m sitting here now and I’m realizing that the reason I am so upset over the god damn plaque is because i feel like it’s my mistake. How did I let this happen. How did I let my baby get stuck with something so ordinary? So boring and so impersonal? This is not what I wanted. I feel like people will see this horrible little piece of plastic and think, “wow, they mustn’t have cared much” All the other babies have beautiful stones and Paisley has a cheap, trashy plaque. I am doing all I can to be the best mummy I can be to my dead baby, whom I will never actually  get to do anything for, and I didn’t even get to have a say in the plaque!!! I didn’t even get a letter to say she had a plaque. I am so furious. That’s what happens when your baby dies. Inanimate objects like small pieces of plastic drive you absolutely insane.

Paisley, baby, I’m sorry bubba. I promise mummy will fix this. Just sit tight for a little bit and I’ll get you a pretty stone ok? I promise. I love you sweetheart.

The really hard thing about reading this nearly 2.5 years on, is that we still haven’t put a stone in. We never found ourselves able to agree on what it should say, and so we kept putting it off. I was/am still really uncomfortable with the fact that she is buried and not cremated (even though burying her was my decision) and putting in a stone just seemed so final. We will do it. One day.

Back to Babyloss

I recently decided to change the content of my blog. Not because I felt like I owed anyone, and especially not because I had any legal obligation to do so, but because I realised that I couldn’t write how I needed to knowing the audience here. There are secrets I promised to keep, and I can’t write to heal if I can’t write truthfully. And, well, some things are just better left the hell alone….

So I am returning the focus of this blog to Babyloss. I will be posting pieces I wrote over 2 years ago, and delving back into the early days and months after the death of my daughter. I’ve been told that a life change can bring deeper burdens to the surface again. I have thought about my grief more since the end of my marriage, but mostly because I realised that last year I learnt to grieve and heal simultaneously. That they do not need to be mutually exclusive. That the death of a baby isn’t something one ever “gets over”. But we learn to exist with it. And it does, amazingly, get easier. 

Sometimes the healing is in the hurting. Sometimes it’s in the people around you, reminding you of everything you are. But mostly, it’s in you. It challenges everything you knew and believed in. It changes you more than you could possibly explain. It hurts and it robs you. But if you let it, it might just, beyond any reasonable explanation, make you whole again. 

Accepting that the new, whole you, will always, always, be slightly incomplete. 

Emotional Icecream Eating 

M: stop laughing at me!

MN: well stop making me laugh!

M: there’s nothing funny about emotional icecream eating. 

Sometimes I need to eat icecream to make me feel better. It works. I swear. 

But mostly it’s my friends that make me whole again. I have amazing friends. Really, truly, amazing friends. Friends that over the past 3 months have picked me up time and time and time again. Friends who have sat with me when I was struggling to breathe, friends who have parented my girls when I couldn’t, friends who have brought me comfort food when I wasn’t eating. Friends who teach me about “prick mountain” and then take me out for drinks, because we definitely will not fight over boys. Friends who have listened to the story a 1000 times and don’t tell me to shut up. Friends who put up with my shit. And lately there’s been a lot of shit. 

When I need them, my friends rally. And they rally in a major way. The last 3 months have been astoundingly dramatic. I have been so hurt and damaged, and screwed up so many times, and through it all I’ve had constant support. There’s never been a single moment where I haven’t had someone to talk to. Someone to pick me up. I’ve got people who give pep talks, lectures, shoulders to cry on and are willing to come with me to throw bricks. There’s always someone. I have a unique and varied group of friends, who all play such a significant role in my life, who have all been there for me in different ways. There’s always someone to pick up my slack, someone to call at 2am when my world is crumpling and someone who will defend me and someone who will comfort me and someone who will tell me to pull my head in when I’m out of line. I am truly blessed to have these people. 

The night that The Husband and I split, I ended up with 6 packets of Tim Tams and a group of girls in my lounge room. And when more shit went down that same night, they were there. And at 5am the next morning when it got worse. And I didn’t spend a night alone for a week after. These girls. They know how to rally. 

And my mates. How I am as lucky as I am to have the mates I do I don’t know. They are loyal and kind and understanding and give me such beautiful perspectives. They don’t take sides even when it would be fair if they did, they drink vodka with me when I need it, they lay on the living room floor with me and remind me I deserve better, they find time to talk to me every day even in the lead up to the biggest day of their life, then they check in from their honeymoon to see if I’m ok. 

Every time I need it, there’s someone to turn to. Reassurance, sympathy, a kick up the arse, a cuddle or advice. Whatever I need, I have someone to go to. And they are constant. 

Emotional icecream eating is good. But my friends? They are the best. 

I am so so so lucky. Because in all of this, having people on my side, no judgement, no questions asked; that’s the reason I’m still standing. 

You guys. There’s 12 of you. And I’m sure you know who you are. I love you all. More than you will ever know. 

 30 Second Dance Parties 

Any Grey’s Anatomy fans? Meredith and Yang’s 30 second dance parties? Best. Idea. Ever.

I started this a few months ago with my girls. I was in a bright and shiny place and felt like dancing all the time. I was experiencing happiness like I hadn’t in a long time. The kind of happiness that make everything a little brighter, makes the sky seem bluer and makes music better. And so we started having Dance Parties.

I almost always have either my Pandora app or iPod playing when we’re at home, and so I chose a few particular songs, and made the rule that when they played, we would all stop what we were doing and dance for the duration of the song.

The first song we choose was  Running on Sunshine partly because it coincidentally came on Pandora one morning and exactly described how I feeling and made me dance in the kitchen at 5am, partly because it’s from Grey’s Anatomy and so inspired the idea, and partly because The Sunshine Princess loves that it’s about her. 

Over the next few weeks we added more songs, so that we would have at least 2 dance parties a day. I don’t orchestrate dance parties, I let them happen by random, with either Pandora or the iPod on shuffle. The girls caught on quickly and would come running when they heard the songs, knowing it was dancing time. The Sunshine’s favourite is Shake it Off, and we have choreographed simple moves to it that have now been used so many times that The Rainbow performs them even if I just sing her the words. 

The Rainbow doesn’t watch TV or listen to any kids bands, but She Way Out by The 1975 has her busting out wicked grooves. Today I was in the shower with the iPod playing and she came running to show me her dancing to Avicii. The look of pure joy on her face made my heart burst.

The Sunshine Princess calls George Morgan’s You Say “the jumping song” because it’s the kind of song that just begs to be jumped too. 

Now the situation has changed, life is a little more complicated again, I’m feeling a little more dark and twisty but we are still doing dance parties. They always seem to happen right when I need them too, just when everything is getting a little too much, when there’s too much noise in my head and I need to take a step back. Dance parties always make me smile. I drop what I’m doing, and smile at babies. They love it and I love. It ensures that no matter what, there’s moments in my days of genuine connection with the people who are my whole world. They are the constant, through the bright and shiny times and the dark and twisty times, they are going to be the constant foundation on which I need to build myself. 

This is the kind of mother I want to be. This is what I want my girls to remember. I want them to remember our uninhibited, dancing abandon. Dancing in our pyjamas in the kitchen. Stopping everything because nothing is better than holding hands and jumping for no reason. I want them to grow up knowing that in the good times we can dance to celebrate, and in the hard times we can dance just to remember that bad times don’t last forever. I want them to know how important it is to just be. Forget everything. And have a 30 Second Dance Party.