Meet Elle @feathering_the_empty_nest
‘If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely’ Roald Dahl
I feel like this quote could be written for this beautiful soul. Elle; the Instamum who has changed the face of baby loss forever, touching the hearts of those who have suffered loss and those who had no idea it really happened. A mother whose motherhood is a little different from the one we all expect, but whose motherhood has brought hope, strength and sunnier days to so many. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever met a woman who projects so much love into the world after such tragic circumstances and I believe it to be a true testament to the love she holds for her beautiful boy Teddy, who lives in the sky. I cry with her on many occasions, sometimes with laughter at the trials and tribulations of daily life with her partner in crime, Boris the pug, and sometimes cry tears of sadness reading her story, each time feeling a fresh blow for what she and her family have been through. But more than anything else, Elle breathes happiness into my life. She is a breath of fresh air in a world that’s quickly becoming fast paced, driven by the next big thing and losing sight of the pleasures in slow living. Whilst the world is on 100mph autopilot, Elle is busy working on being grateful and content. Authentic in her story, her message and navigating a new happiness rebuilt from a world that was unexpectedly turned upside down. She is an incredible woman. This is her happiness….
Life In A Snapshot
Nest building, Surrey dwelling, pug lover. Wife to Nico (who is always at work) and Mummy to Teddy who lives in the sky after just three short days on this earth. I dedicate much of my time to fundraising for the NICU who tried to save our sons life; and side-line in blogging, dicking around on Instagram stories and cracking some bad jokes.
What makes you the happiest?
Getting to spend time with the people I love the most and who make me laugh. I am very lucky to have wonderful friends and family, and I am eternally grateful for that. My Mum in particular is my favourite person to hang with, and we never fail to fall about laughing at our “hilarious” jokes.
Who is your happy person?
Oops, think I may have just answered that one above?! EXCEPT; there is someone else, he’s about thirty centimetres tall, snores loudly, likes wild walks out and cosy time by the fire and he always brings a smile to my face, even on my toughest days since Teddy died. I am, of course, talking about Boris the pug (sorry husband).
How do you reset on a bad day?
I think I have become really well practiced at this; probably because I have had so many tough days since Teddy died. I usually make sure I clear my diary if I can feel a down day coming. I take time to do what makes me happy; that’s usually hanging at home, writing and talking B for a long walk in the woods. If I wake up thinking it’s going to be a hard day then I always make time in the morning to do some yoga (even if it’s only twenty minutes) to help me refocus my mind and calm my anxiety; it always helps.
When it is time to stop and take check?
For me, it’s when I start to get that familiar pang of anxiety in my chest. It is something I used to get a lot when I was working full time and before I had Teddy; but I used to just push through, drink another coffee or sink another G&T as I spent yet another evening working at my laptop. Now I recognise that’s not good for my mental health. I think when Teddy died I became much more tuned in to when I needed to stop; mainly because for the first few months after I was at a permanent stand-still, so I had a lot of time to think. I struggle a lot with anxiety now, so I think it’s important to be able to recognise when life is getting too much or too busy, and you need to stop. I usually clear my diary (don’t be afraid to say no to people) and take some time to focus on my well-being.
How do you nourish your mind and body?
What does ‘nourishment’ mean to you?
For me, my whole lifestyle has changed in recent years and I think I have learned what nourishment is. It’s not about depriving yourself of the food you love or jumping around in a HIT class until you feel like you’re going to pass out (of which I have been guilty of both in the past). It’s about feeding your body with the right food and allowing yourself a bit of the stuff you love that might not be the best for your nutritionally. It’s about long walks and fresh air, or taking time to do something I love like baking or working on projects in the house (our house is seemingly one never-ending project). My exercise is little and often; walking every day and yoga most days; and that’s what keeps me feeling nourished.
Reflecting on the hardest time in your own
life, what practical steps did you take to get you back on a happier pathway?
Oh, my goodness, what haven’t I tried?! Losing Teddy led to some very, very dark days for me indeed. I still get quite emotional when I think about those moments. I found that getting out of the house with Boris each day and walking, somewhere quiet where I could think and not be too overwhelmed by the noise of the outside world, really helped me. I got back to practicing yoga as soon as I could and shortly after starting having regular acupuncture and reflexology treatments. I am really conscious of the food I nourish my body with (for my three main meals at least, but I think we all know that I do love to snack on Mini Eggs?!). My pathway back to happiness is definitely a much more balanced one than the life I was leading before Teddy was born. It’s much slower paced, and not very exciting; but for me, that’s pretty perfect.
What is ‘happiness’ defined by you?
Happiness, for me, is that feeling I get when I wake up on a Saturday morning, the sun is beaming in and we have a weekend of absolutely nothing planned ahead of us. I love having no plans and free time to do what we want, whether that’s at home or being spontaneous and heading to the coast for a beach walk (I used to live a few minutes from the beach, so nothing makes me happier than the sand beneath my feet!). I also find a huge amount of happiness in writing and talking about Teddy; it makes me feel as though we are still getting to be parents to him and that he is still very much with us, as opposed to become a fading memory.
Mantra you live by
There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.
(I can’t take credit for that though, it’s definitely Leonard Cohen; but it saved me in my darkest hour)
Favourite place in the world: Constantine Bay in Cornwall
Instagrammer who makes you feel good: @carasuthers
If you could have any super power: To be able to make things right for people when it all goes horribly wrong. They’d call me the “Shit Fixer”.
Biggest addiction: Mini Eggs
Biggest strength: Probably always being able to laugh, no matter how bad things get
Biggest weakness: I’m a perfectionist at everything, and it’s usually to my detriment as a) it pisses everyone off b) it makes me an utter control freak and means I find it hard to step back!
Nicknames: My husband calls me Angel, Boss or Toad (an eclectic mix I think you’ll agree?) . Kelly likes to refer to me as Rodders too.
Guilty pleasure: Watching Question Time. Does that even count? I’m not sure. I’m not even sorry. I BLOODY love David Dimbleby!
Song of the moment: I’m not really good at keeping up with the times and down with the kids (I’m 90’s and noughties through and through) One song I am a bit addicted to listening to at the moment though it from a soundtrack of The Greatest Showman, “This Is Me”.
Elle is continuously fundraising for Teddy’s Legacy to support the NICU who took care of him.
I’ve linked her Just Giving page here should you wish to donate.