Baby Loss: Interview with Malin Andersson - Part 2
Content warning: Given the nature of this article, please be aware that we tackle some difficult subjects, including baby loss and grief.
If you caught part one of our chat with Malin Andersson, then you’ll know she’s a motivational speaker and ambassador for Sands baby loss charity. After losing her daughter Consy, Malin struggled with the grief. But with the help of Sands and some personal mantras, she was able to make it through the tragedy and come out the other side stronger and more optimistic.
Malin now uses her experiences and platform to help others facing similar issues. She is an inspiration and we are very lucky that she agreed to share her story with us for Baby Loss Awareness Week 2021.
So, let's continue our chat with Malin...
As we discussed in part one, it’s amazing that you were able to process your grief by capturing your thoughts, writing them down and connecting to people. But to those people who feel they just can’t talk to anybody, and they bottle everything up inside, what would your advice be to them?
It’s a hard one, because I reached out to Sands literally the week she died. Then I declined their calls. Then I rang them back, then I saw them ringing and pressed decline again. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. But they kept trying with me, they were so, so good. Sands were ringing me back and messaging me to say ‘We’re here. Do you want to talk?’ but not overdoing it. I just didn’t want to talk because talking about it was too painful. And I think everybody deals with it in their own time.
But to those people who can’t get out of bed and don’t want to face the world, it’s important to understand that you are allowed to feel like that. It’s important to feel how you feel, and not try and force anything. But it’s also important to understand that you can come out the other side and there’s hope art the end of it. Because a lot of people don’t see hope and they don’t live for hope. But hope is one of the most important things we can cling onto in life. If we don’t have hope, we don’t have anything.
So, we have to reframe our mindset. I had to change my perspective on things. Would Consy want me lying in bed all day? Would my mum want that for me? Would they want to see me going out partying all the time, throwing my life away? What would they want to see me doing? So, I channelled all that anger and that pain into something positive. I think reframing your mindset is hard but it’s one of the biggest things that got me out of bed. Forcing that reframe, reading self-help books, figuring out what I want to do and just pushing, getting that strength from somewhere.
It's a good thing you did pick up the phone to Sands. How soon after the hospital did you finally form that connection with them?
I think it was the day after. So, I knew their message was there in the back of my head and I responded after a few days. And we started liaising from there. It took me a while to actually speak to them, but they were amazing, and they reached out straight away without hesitation.
In terms of the charity itself, was it a regular person you spoke to or a team of people? And did you speak on the phone or through messages?
Either. They communicate through whichever method you feel more comfortable with which is brilliant. For me, it was speaking on the phone, but they can talk in person, on the phone, over text or online. It’s brilliant.
And have you found that you’ve made connections with other people who have experienced a similar situation, through your relationship with Sands?
Yes! When I announced I was an ambassador for Sands, so many people reached out to say they would fundraise for Sands and do different bits of work for them. It was so nice to see, because there was so much support behind it.
It was also interesting to see the conversation around baby loss, because I didn’t really have a clue about before it happened to me. Sands do so much to raise awareness of it. I remember going to the headquarters and meeting the team and everyone was so passionate. It was so nice to see. They want to make real changes. Even with the smallest things they want to make a change – like giving birth and then having to literally lie in hospital with other mums that have their babies but you don’t have your child – they’re trying to create change around things like that. They do so much work you don’t even think about.
They really do amazing work!
In terms of balancing everyday life, you’ve obviously been through a lot of trauma but now you’re in a great place. How do you move on and what is it that keeps you going?
It’s hope. You go through that and feel like you’re back at square one but with a lot less. I was single and living on my own and just working – I lived to work for a long time but in the back of my mind I could envision the future I wanted. I wanted a family, I wanted to meet someone who loved me and appreciated me and provided those things for me. But I had to put those things to one side and focus on being in the present moment and living in the now, which is hard to do.
I think all these little tools - waking up, meditating, practicing your gratitude, being optimistic, having hope, creating a vision board – if you can see it in your mind, you can achieve it in your reality. That’s been a huge life saver for me. Focusing on spiritual practices - lighting incense in the morning and having candles around me, creating a serene vibe and having good people around me – that was all important to me.
Life unfolds in a very magical way. It unfolds exactly how it should do at the right time with the right people. And I couldn’t be happier now. But I would never have envisioned this, if you’ve told me three years ago or even two years ago. It wouldn’t have been possible. That’s why you need to cling on and never lose hope.
And I guess it helps to have a supportive partner that you can talk to and share all your anxieties with. How is he supporting you?
He’s brilliant! He’s just put dinner on the table! (Laughs) He’s just brilliant. I can’t fault him at all.
That’ll come in handy when you’re doing the batch cooking ahead of the birth!
(Laughs) I know! Oh god…
So, how are you planning on looking after yourself in the run up to the birth? How many weeks are you now?
I’m 24 weeks – I don’t even know – it’s all a blur!
I’m just taking my time with things. I’m loving it. I’m waking up a bit later in a morning and if not, then I’m having a nap. I’m not putting too much pressure on myself. I think having a healthy body and healthy mind is really important in pregnancy.
Definitely! And you’ve got Christmas coming up…
It’s my birthday next week as well!
Double celebrations! Brilliant! So, with work and relaxing – how are you balancing that at the moment? Are you planning on winding down a little bit more towards your due date?
Probably not. I’m a bit of a workaholic - I absolutely love it! And I’ve got great management too, so everything is really organised and structured. I’m really blessed to be able to work from home unless I have an event or meeting that I have to venture out for. It’s not stressful at all, and I enjoy what I do which is why I don’t mind doing it. I might be a little bit slower now in the mornings… I can’t even bend down to do my shoelaces now! The balancing has worked out perfectly, as long as I make sure I get my self-care in. My partner has run me a bath as well – so I’ll be getting into that after I’ve had my food! (Laughs)
But getting that balance is important. A lot of people over work and feel they need to do everything now before the baby comes but you need to take some time out for yourself, it’s important.
As you say, it’s about staying positive but in your own way. Addressing when you’ve had a bad day and putting those practical things into place that help make things easier.
That’s a lovely note to end things on. So, for anyone that wants to follow what you’re saying and your mantras, where’s best for them to find you?
So, I have lots of highlights on my Instagram feed. Every morning I post something, though I tend to look like the Grinch first thing, and because it takes longer to get ready now, I end up looking like the Grinch until 2pm so it just gets later! (Laughs)
I also have my book which will be on pre-order at the end of the year. Honestly, I’m so proud of myself. It’s a self-help book and an autobiography and it should help you overcome things and show you how I overcame certain events in my life.
It sounds brilliant! Thank you so much Malin – good luck with everything that’s going on over the next few months and I’m sure we’ll be checking in with you very soon!
Thanks for having me!
So, there you have it. That’s Malin and her incredibly story. It’s very inspiring to see just how far she’s come and how she’s been able to take a personal tragedy and turn it into a positive outcome, not only for herself, but for the people she helps.
As she said, you can find all her words on wisdom on her Instagram feed – and if you have experienced baby loss then please do reach out to Sands. It’s not an easy conversation to have but it’s a necessary one and the team at Sands are always on hand to help you through.
Please take care and look out for more blogs around physical and mental health during pregnancy in the future!