Autumn has always been my favourite season and I was especially looking forward to this autumn.

I said many times this year that I was having the best summer ever. Going from one child to two hadn’t been anywhere near as hard as I thought it might. Not hard at all, in fact. It was so much fun to be off on maternity leave with Tadhg and Elva. The love they had for each other was so clear to see and made me so happy. We spent summer in parks, having picnics, getting the paddling pool out and eating almost every meal in the garden. Even when it wasn’t particularly warm, we were outside.

I was really looking forward to autumn though. The build up to Christmas, autumn colours and cosy days. I’d picked out Elva’s winter snow suit and had planned to take photos of her in the leaves.

It is so hard to accept that she isn’t here with us to enjoy it. I’ve not been out a lot since Elva died as I find leaving the house so daunting. I’m terrified of running into people and getting upset all over again. I feel safe at home just the three of us. When I have been out, I’ve had Tadhg or Kieran with me and we’ve usually gone somewhere we don’t know anyone. I find small talk with strangers at the supermarket check out so much easier than the looks of sympathy and well meant words from people we know.

It’s also so hard to go anywhere where I would’ve gone with Elva. I had to go to the Post Office the other day and I remember being in there with Elva and struggling to get her pram in without knocking everything over in the cramped shop. I see her in everything I do.

This week, I took Tadhg and his older cousin, Cameron to a park a little further away from our house. Cameron had chicken pox so was off school. They are close cousins and Cameron is also really missing Elva. We took Elva’s flamingo with us; she was photographed with it every week to show how much she was growing. We stopped at 29 weeks.

I explained to the boys that we were going to take photos with the flamingo as Elva couldn’t be with us anymore so her flamingo would remind us of her. They’ve been so grown up in their understanding and I’m so proud of them. They were really excited to join in.

So here are our first autumn photos – our first postcards to Elva. We think of her in all we do and will forever.

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