A tribute to Julia

She will always have a place in our family

Emeline, 47 years old, mother of 5 children and owner of au-pair agency Huisje Boompje Nanny, tells us her special and moving story about her motherhood: About anti-curling, unconditional love, but also about losing a child and what that does to your relationship.

"I didn't know I could feel and give so much love. And especially that it makes me so happy. Motherhood has brought me unconditional love, very cliché but true. So special to experience this whole development and to have a share in it. That you feel so much love for these tiny human beings, and will do everything to protect them. And then suddenly, you are completely unexpectedly confronted with death."

"The nursery with pink walls and girlie stuff was ready.."

A perfect, full-term baby

On May 3, 2007, the world of Emeline and Arnaud suddenly came to a standstill and everything changed forever. “My life was always very positive, optimistic and carefree. Until the day Julia passed away. That wiped out all confidence in life in one go. ” After a problem-free pregnancy of 9 months and 3 days, there was suddenly no heartbeat. Inexplicably, their daughter Julia's heart had stopped beating.

“We were expecting a new life: A sister for Massimo, just moved to a new house, pink walls in a baby room. And then after more than nine months you have a beautiful perfect full-term baby in your arms, but she is no longer alive.

Losing faith in life

After an intensely sad delivery, a void arises. And the questions come. “I thought: why is this happening to us? I appreciate life right? I don't need this to see what's important in life, do I? As if there is a need for a reason why something like this happens, but you ask those questions. ”

Toddler Massimo is the main reason to keep going. And in addition, Emeline gets pregnant again with Valentine pretty quickly. "That was mentally tough, but his birth gave us new life and new happiness and therefore also new confidence in life, even though we were still in the middle of that grieving process."

Julia really has a place in the family. Every year on May 3th they commemorate her life together with pink champagne, lots of pink flowers and candles on her grave. The boys make flower arrangements. In the garden is a tree that has been planted for her.

Emeline wanted to literally surround herself with Julia. “From the moment Julia passed away I was looking for ways to keep her close to me. I wear several pieces of jewelry with her name on it, and also wear a beautiful rose gold ring with pink stones. ” But there was also the desire for something permanent. And now, after 13 years, her name has finally been recorded in a tattoo. “That felt really good. The hearts (one before her name, and three after) represent my sons ”.

“There is a time before and after Julia. I carry the loss with me forever and it still hurts, but fortunately I have found myself again and I am positive and optimistic in life as before. Albeit with some cracks and a slightly thicker skin. ”

By talking a lot about her daughter and not hiding the grief of her loss, Emeline and Arnaud managed to stay strong together. But that was not always easy. “As a husband and wife you do that process differently. The hardest part is that you are both sad and unable to support each other, which can make it feel very lonely. I always mentioned her when someone asked how many children I have. Even if that is sometimes difficult or uncomfortable for others. My husband couldn't, but it was important to me. By accepting that one person goes through a different process than the other, we have not lost each other. ”

So Emeline had no fewer than 5 full pregnancies, and all of them were came with severe nausea for almost the entire period.

“With Massimo I went completely crazy. I'll never do this again, I thought. I had huge cravings for apples, the only thing that helped my nausea. With Julia it was even worse and lasted the entire pregnancy. Apples became apple fritters and everything else that came from the chip shop. I thought this pregnancy was worse because it was a girl, but the next ones were just as bad. Really wondered why I did it over and over again when you know you feel so sick for so long. But that’s just it, the beauty of motherhood. ”

With a large boys' family and her own company, it is sometimes quite difficult to find peace. “There’s always laundry, shopping to do, but I know that I am a nicer mom when I have time for myself. Half an hour of horseback riding, surfing in the summer, painting, kickboxing or just a walk on the beach already do wonders.”

Balans als anti-curling ouders

"I am proud of us and that we have been able to find each other again after such a great loss. If there is a crisis now, I think "well we will survive that too". Finding the balance is really a challenge at times. I have my own company and in combination with 4 kids that is sometimes a lot. But the balance usually comes naturally because my children remain the most important thing. They always come first. Not that they are little princes, far from it. I educate them to be independent and to help others, roll up their sleeves and no velvet gloves. In that regard, I am truly an anti-curling parent."

Emeline's Wise Life Lesson on Motherhood: "Don't let these crazy times where children and their parents must meet such a high standard. I want to give the children 'la pura vida' by giving them love and trust. But also that life is sometimes not fun. Sadness is allowed and so is boredom; that makes you creative!"