Once you’re grown up, you can’t come back” – Peter Pan
As many of you know, this page all started because I had a crazy idea to raise money and awareness for mental health.
The main focus was around my Dad who suffers with Parkinsons and Lewy Body dementia, but it was highlighting the mental health that goes along with these two illnesses he is battling.
In the last 6 months my Dad has rapidly declined and each day is different to the one before. As a family yet again we are faced with challenges and decisions we didn’t think we’d have to make for many years.
For instance my Mum breaking her knee cap and having the slow recovery of getting better and basically learning to walk again, to her then 6 months later breaking her wrist has given us so many challenges.
My Dad is currently in hospital due to a fall he had at home. He has been there for the last 12 weeks with the only option now finding him a care/nursing home as it’s got the point he can’t come home.
It’s heartbreaking for us all.
I feel its that point of handing over your childhood completely and seeing the roles have reversed between parent and child.
At one point I had both my parents in different hospitals for 24 hours & I was next of kin for both of them. I wasn’t sure who took priority in that 24 hours but I felt the weight of the world on top of me.
That’s when I felt like an adult and my childhood had gone.
I have been helping my Mum with their Wills and Power of Attorney too, something you don’t expect to be doing with your parent as it is something they should both sort and a document you don’t have to deal with until that final day.
I can’t visit my Dad in hospital, because for one I’m pregnant and secondly for me I don’t like hospitals.
For me I can’t see my Dad like that in that environment. Yes I have spoken to him and seen him through video call, but to be face to face I find it to hard as for me I’m looking at someone I use to know and I miss my Dad, I really do.
I wish he would get better, but he won’t.
I have learned a lot about myself in this time. I have learned where my emotions come out and can come out.
I have learned that I’m actually a private person with my emotions and that I actually tell people the bare minimum when actually I want to scream and say “Its not fair”, why him? What did he do to deserve this?
When people ask me how my Dad is I actually never know what to say. Its a hard one to explain as he is never going to get better therefore you don’t know what the right thing to say is. So you give the bare minimum just in case that’s the moment the emotion spills out.
For those of you who still have your Dad as your Dad don’t take it for granted, make sure you appreciate every moment and realise how lucky you are.
I wish some days my Dad could still drive me somewhere, or be the person I call to come and do that DIY job or rescue me from spiders. I wish some days my Dad could be the Papa he truly deserves to be.
I’m jealous of you, you have no idea how much it hurts to watch your parent go through this until you have experienced it yourself.
I said in my first blog post that he was my Superhero and the first man I ever fell in love with, this is still true.
We have so many lovely, happy memories and that’s how we get through it as a family we take each day as it comes and we make the memories where we can because tomorrow is another day and like any of us we have no idea what’s planned or install for us.
So who was it that decided that going on holiday was going to be stress free experience?
We're not even there yet and already I’m worrying about every single little detail.
The fact we're coming back the day before my husband's birthday so I’m trying to sort that out too probably doesn't help either.
The reason I’m like this is, well, it’s me, but also that this is our first family holiday abroad with our daughter. My husband and I have been abroad since she was born (Yes, a child free holiday for 4 days, but it was for a friend’s wedding so we HAD to go), but this time she is coming with us!
Our daughter is now 5 and is quite easy to entertain, although I may have bought the entire children's magazine section to be sure. I did notice that all of a sudden my mental health wobbles have gone into overdrive, trying to make sure everything is done in our house, plus getting us ready for holiday.
My husband said to me the other day if I told him he was going on holiday tomorrow he’d be fine, just pack a bag, get his passport and off he goes.
Another friend says as long as you have your passport and money you can get anything you need there.
To me, this sounds horrendous! Why would you do this?
I’m a planner. I organise; I write lists. I have the suitcase out a week beforehand and ban anyone wearing any clothes they may want to take on holiday.
I book a food shop ready to be delivered for when we return from holiday, I make sure that the washing basket it empty and that the house is tidied before we leave.
I once arranged a builder come into do work whilst we were away on holiday. I was that organised in getting it sorted.
Some days I have a very care-free attitude and just think "Sod it, it can wait".
Other times thing I say the most is “Well get on with it, then” because I’m someone who will get on with it and do it rather than procrastinate.
However packing and getting ready for this holiday has totally thrown me. It's like I want to be prepared or need to be prepared for every event that may or may not occur.
I even have a to-do list ready of things we need to pack in the last half an hour before we go as I don’t want to forget.
I even said to my husband I’d read a tip about tin foil is used as a black out. He just gave me one of those looks and asked if I was genuinely wanting to pack tinfoil to go on holiday.
It’s the first time we’ve done this so I know the reason I’m like this, but I just wondered are there others like me who need everything planned and organised? Or are they like my husband with his laid back "Let's just go" attitude?
But the cases are packed, and we're ready to go. If we’ve forgotten anything we'll just it wing it. Either way we won't let worrying about it ruin our holiday.
Who runs the world?
Ok, I may not run the world, but the house I live in is my world and I run that. Although my 5 year old would like to think she does, she doesn’t. Mummy is the boss.
Last week was International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day last Sunday, and only a few weeks ago we celebrated 100 years of women getting the vote.
It’s been a very positive few weeks for women lately, but it got me thinking about what impact do I have as a woman have on my daughter, or how others view me as a woman?
Sadly I don’t wear a cape, but my daughter does think I look like Wonder Woman so I’m not far off.
What influence do I have on her to be independent, strong and to think for herself? How do others see me? Am I a good influence on friends, family, work colleagues? Or am I the kind of woman that doesn’t inspire at all?
With my daughter, do I put her in the ‘pink box’ because she is a girl, or am I the type of woman that decides “My daughter will wear blue, and play with boys toys because I won’t gender stereotype”?
Is it genetics? Lifestyle? What is it?
My daughter is into female superheroes, and has never been into dolls. Not that we haven’t done the stereotypical thing of buying her a buggy and dolls, because we did. But she’s just never been interested.
She’s never played the “Mother” role in her roleplay games. I’m slightly concerned because I wonder whether it’s because I not being as “motherly” to her as I should be so she hasn’t copied me, or is that just the way my daughter is?
But then it got me thinking about the princesses she loves so much. Although the majority are all at some point in the film in need of being rescued by a man, at the same time they are all the leading ladies in their film.
So does that portray strength, or leadership? Does having your name as the title of the movie make you a role model?
This connects to my mental health in that I’m constantly wondering whether I am a good role model for my daughter. Have I set rules and morals that will help her in life?
I’m the main female in her life who she spends the majority of her time with. So I feel that I set the precedent, and other women in her life having a smaller influence.
I was the stay at home Mum who didn’t go back to work, but I worry whether that was the wrong decision. Was I meant to have gone back to work to show that the modern woman can have it all, but then feel that “Mother’s guilt”?
Recently in the media there has been a lot of discussion about equal rights for women, as well as mental health and the acceptance that it is okay to talk about it.
I realise that this is the generation that will make it possible for my daughter’s generation to go forward with equal pay, equal rights, talk about mental health and be able to have many opportunities my generation didn’t.
Although there are jobs that haven’t been created yet, it’s good to know that there is a world out there that are already making the processes, breaking down the boundaries and creating the opportunities out there for her.
I know that I only have my daughter for a short time, before she makes her own life choices on subjects such as politics, religion, or the direction of her career.
It will be her own choice and if she wants to be the stay-at-home mum, the working mum or not even a mum at all then that is okay, just as long it’s her choice and her decision.
I have to remember I’m a guide, and that I have to let my daughter make mistakes, and to learn and grown from them. I’m there to listen to her, understand and be there for her if she suffers from mental health or experiences out of her control.
However, for now I want to see the world through her eyes, and embrace the world from the perspective she sees it from and accept that for the most part I’m doing a great job raising another phenomenal woman in the world.
Dear dot dot dot,
I’m there for you.
Thank you for opening up to me about your issues with post natal depression and anxiety. Thank you.
I know it won’t have been easy to admit this to me, it’s a subject people see as a dirty little secret, and the word “mental” associated with mad, But it’s one of the bravest and strongest things you’ve done and I appreciate your honesty with me.
I want you to know that I’m there for you.
I told you that you were part of a club now; one which neither of us want to be in.
You’re a new member whereas I have had my membership card for many years. Remember though, we’re in this club together and in a club, we support each other.
We meet up, we talk, we do things that make us happy and surround ourselves with who we want.
You won’t want to see anyone one day and then the next you won’t want to be alone.
We listen, we care and we don’t judge. I’m there for you.
There will be dark days and light days. I can’t tell you when those days are, they can happen when you’re least expecting it or when you as mentally prepared as you can possibly be, but I’m there for you when they come along.
Your anxiety isn’t my anxiety, hence we can get through this together.
You’ll learn quickly who in your life is meant to be in your life. The ones who you want to spend time with, and those you’re wasting your time with.
You’ll learn new skills to put in your war chest of emotions. You will prepare yourself for battle, but sometimes your shields will be down. Whether you’re battling or recovering, I’m there for you.
You’ll wake up and won’t want to get up. It will take all of your effort to start your day, but you will get up.
Somehow you will do it, because then you have the opportunity to have another day to live.
You will feel alone, that nobody understands you, and you will surround yourself in a pool of tears. This is okay.
You will get through this, and there’s no time limit saying how long you have to take.
It’s your anxiety therefore you can take control of it. How you control it is the mission.
Anxiety is the uninvited guest to the party, who rocks up when you don’t want it to. It will gate-crash the fun, the excitement and it will be out of control.
Remember two is company. Three is a crowd.
So I end this letter to you with the simple message that whenever you need me, or whenever you want me……
I’m there for you.
For a lot of us, December involves Christmas and the stresses surrounding it. What to buy people? Who’s coming for Christmas? Do we have enough lights on our Christmas tree? I’m pleased to report that we have 2000 lights on our 5ft tree this year, so I think we probably do.
We have our daughter’s birthday in December and whilst she was meant to be November, she decided to hang on for another nine days to the dawn of December. Despite being repeatedly told by my Mum not to come on that day, as that’s the day the tree goes up, my daughter decided the 1st December was the perfect day for her arrival.
My very own “elf on the shelf”.
This was 5 years ago.
My husband and I also have our wedding anniversary at the end of November too, just to add into the celebratory mix.
For me, January to June are peaceful, restful and I don’t have to worry about what presents to get anyone.
But I realise that means 6 months have passed, and those 6 months have gone by very quickly, then the palpitations start and then the question of “Is it too early to think about the Birthday/Christmas shopping and preparations?”
Having a child’s birthday in December means you must plan early. If you want a hall or venue that is not already taken for a Christmas market or other festive event, then you must get in there quick. Your choice of birthday cards, wrapping paper and birthday supplies becomes very limited because Christmas has taken over.
I must think of what to buy, but also to make sure that the birthday is actually celebrated as a birthday, and Christmas as Christmas. I can’t do “doubling up”, and I can’t think “She will get plenty for her birthday, so at Christmas we won’t spend as much”. It doesn’t work like that in my eyes. I have to treat both events separately.
I forget to do the advent calendar until about day 5 and we then have cards everywhere from Anniversary, Birthday & Christmas!!!
This year, my anxiety hit a new level because I had work deadlines to factor in too. I also had anxiety at trying to juggle a lot of issues going on in my personal life too, to the point that trying to decide on a colour for some new curtains and duvet cover was a challenging to the point that I became ill because of it.
I was so preoccupied in my own little world that I left the 3 foot tall, helium filled “5”balloon for my daughter at the soft play centre after meeting some friends there. I realised after I’d left then had to double back to retrieve it, just to make sure I had it for the next day.
I also find that carrying a large helium balloon is not dissimilar to looking after a child.
You hold on to it like your life depends on it.
You can’t leave it anywhere in case it wanders off
You must have eyes on it at all times
You can’t really believe how expensive they are
I started to feel the anxiety over it, because all I kept thinking was “Please don’t fly away or burst on me”
I know what I’m like. I put pressure on myself to ‘perform’ and to make sure I do the best I can, so I don’t feel the regret, guilt and remorse if I don’t deliver
Unfortunately, it’s a vicious circle and it’s hard to break.
I know each year we will have a December birthday and Christmas, but like all things they will get easier and more controllable. I learn from the previous year what works and what doesn’t.
So if I start talking about planning my December events in June you now know why.
Do I have friends? Yes, I do.
I have different groups of friends, ranging from the best of the best, to the ones I will just say “Hi” to if we pass on the street. There are ones who I have known for 20 years and ones I have known for 3 weeks.
Sometimes, I wish I was 5 and could go up to a person and say “I like you therefore you’re going to be my friend” and that’s it.
I remember on the school playground if you ever had a fall out with a friend you would sing “Make friends, make friends, never ever break friends etc” and that was it. Once that song had been sung you were friends again, no questions asked.
I must admit at the moment I’m the parent of the 5-year-old hoping she makes that good impression and starts to form those friendship bonds.
However, as an adult, friendship doesn’t work like that. I like having friends in my life, but it takes so much longer to form those bonds.
I recently asked some of my friends why I’m their friend and what our friendship means to them. From the responses I got, the most commonly used words were Reliable, Clicked, Bubbly, Sincere, Innovative, Accepting and Thoughtful.
However, I have noticed that these can be my downfall too and that certain friends will use these to their advantage knowing that I’m the one that will always be there or the one that they can rely on.
I can’t stand un-thoughtful people. I have people who I have put so much time, effort & thought into that when its not reciprocated you think sod you!!!
When we lived in Brighton I was lonely as I had no friends of my own, I had my (now) husband’s friends, but I wanted people who I’d met and liked me for me. I didn’t work in Brighton and my social life was back in my home town of Horsham.
We were in the process of deciding whether to live in Brighton or move back to Horsham, so I gave myself 6 months to find friends and then after that we would decide.
So I decided to put an advert out on a local site looking for friends. I felt like I was begging people to like me, but it turned out there were lots of people in my situation in Brighton looking for friends.
Then came the “first date” experience of meeting up with these people and telling them about yourself.
However the problem with living in Brighton it’s a very fluid town and half the time the people who had come down couldn’t afford to live in Brighton or find work in Brighton so would leave.
It was demoralising and I felt that I hadn’t made any progress with my friendship circle.
When we were expecting our child and we did our NCT classes. I didn’t care what we learned I just wanted to make friends with woman who were going through the same thing as me. What did we have in common that first time we met?
We were pregnant, and that was it.
I said to my husband “You have to behave because we’ve come here to make friends”. Fortunately, he did as he was told so five years on we’re all still friends.
I have had friends in my life who have just dropped me without any reason. I found this hurtful and upsetting because I don’t know why they didn’t want to be my friend any more. It feels like the playground again where there isn’t a reason and I have just become a stranger to them.
If I have done something wrong then I would hope they’d tell me so that I could at least understand why? Although I could ask them directly, my anxiety prevents me from doing so. So it continues with me not knowing, and asking the question “Why?” over and over again
Do we measure our friendships on how many friends we have on social media? Who likes and doesn’t like our post? Who’s blocked us? Are these real friends and friendships or just people that are part of our social media life or part of this friendship circle?
I have friends in my life that I know if I rang them upset, they would drop everything to be there for me. I also have friends who don’t really bother with me until there is gossip to be had.
How does this friendship circle work?
Are there different rings to this circle and each person you know in your life do you put them on a different ring depending on what a friend means to you?
My husband puts friends into three categories: Friends, Mates & Acquaintances
I’m the sort of person who hates anyone feeling left out. I recently met a lady in the park who had recently moved to the area with her children and didn’t know anyone, she had moved here due to a Mumsnet comment of it being a nice area.
Well I thought you can’t be lonely therefore I only knew her name, knew she belonged to a local site and so I shamefully Facebook stalked her and offered the hand of friendship to her. She was so grateful for what I did and thankfully she didn’t think I was a crazy lady!!!
I try not to judge people and give them a chance. However, it does take a lot for you not to be my friend, but when that happens I’m done. What’s the point? I may have put the effort on my side but if I’m not getting anything then why should you be my friend? If you’ve hurt me then that’s it too.
I have friends who I have spoken to about friendships that just fade away, or I’ve been let down or people who aren’t there for me and I know a few despair at me for how much effort I put into people before enough is enough.
I have over-thought text messages, comments, conversations and it’s the classic “trying to please everyone when realistically you can’t” problem. This doesn’t help the anxiety with the “What if?” situation.
I have to accept that it’s ok and the people who want me in their life will be in my life, but for those of you who can’t be bothered any more, then I have to accept that our friendship is done and you are no longer in my circle.
I’m not ready
I’m in denial
It can’t be that time already?
Yet here it is
School is starting in a mere few weeks away and wow, I didn’t realise how fast it was approaching.
It seemed forever away. Haven’t we just only bought her back from the hospital?
I’d only just accepted that we had started nursery and I was ok with this because it gave me a balance; time without my daughter, but also that quality time for baking (we’ve never baked) or making daisy chains whilst dancing through the wild flowers in a field on a sunny day (We’ve not done this either)
However it’s always good to have a child friendly back up activity just in case.
Seriously though. it gave me the balance of having her home for a few days for us to do things together plus giving me some free time.
That’s going to change soon though and seeing as she’s my only child it’s a BIG chapter ending and a new one starting in our house.
So my 5 year plan has come to an end – now what?
Anyway, we live next to a school and when I first had my daughter 5 years ago I remember looking at these Mums dropping their children off and then seeing them skip off down the road with this sense of freedom and new lease of life.
I remember feeling jealous and thinking 2017 is a gazillion years away, and here I am holding my tiny baby who will never be that age. I will forever be in this baby bubble and will never have “me time” again.
Yet, like everything, the time passes and the baby is turning 5 this year!!!
I know I’m not where I thought I would be at this point in my life. I did think there would be another child here to take up my time and for me to fill my time with, but that’s not the case.
So come September it’s just me for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week
Now I have many people saying to me “Take some time for yourself and just relax”.
I have 30 hours a week to relax whilst my daughter is at school. Yes , don’t get me wrong I’m looking forward to the quiet time, without questions being asked to me every few minutes and going to the toilet in peace without a running commentary of what I’m doing.
But, there is only so much cleaning, sorting, shopping, socialising and decorating that I can handle.
Of course I will miss her. The control freak in me, the “need-to-know neurotic mother who wants to be told everything about my child” will have to accept that her child belongs to the school system now and that I’m not a part of that.
For 30 hours a week she’ll be independent of me and doing her own thing and I know that is ok.
So what do I do?
Well I will tell you what I’m going to do.
I’m going to send her off to school and cry like a wailing banshee (apologies to the school mums I will see on the playground) then I will regain some self-control over my emotions and it will be ok.
And I’ll be ok.
And then we’ll see where we go from there.
Who has it?
I certainly don’t.
I haven’t had it since I was about 10 years old. Yes it has improved as I have got older, but it’s yet another thing my lovely, considerate anxiety has a hold of.
So why do I have self-confidence issues?
Well, I started changing physically at the tender age of 10 and had no idea what was happening to me, to the point I thought something was horribly wrong.
Eventually I opened up to my Mum who reassured me this was quite normal and this would be happening every month until the next change happened.
However I didn’t want anyone to know it was my secret and at 10 it wasn’t exactly something you talked about on the school playground.
Suddenly hormones and odd emotions were hitting me and my appearance and the body I had known quite happily for 10 years was changing.
I hated it. I didn’t want these changes.
I was already tall for my age with huge, clown feet. Why on earth did I need more to add to the mix?
I couldn’t do anything to stop it, so I decided to hide it all. I would wear makeup to cover up spots and would wear the biggest baggiest clothes I could find as not to show my body off.
As a child, our clothes were connected to our age and this was me probably until about the age of 14 (I personally thought a size 14 was connected to your age).
Wearing stuff that was miles too big for me, just to hide my changing body. I hadn’t a clue.
I had eyebrows the size of caterpillars, a fringe that was so thick it needed garden shears to tame it, and a no self-confidence at all.
I would wear my hair up all the time as I didn’t know what to do with it when it was loose, and wear make-up so thick that sometimes I looked like I had bathed in orange Tango.
I so wanted to be like the other girls who seemed so confident, pretty and had it together.
They knew what they were doing, whereas I felt like the stubborn weed amongst the beautiful flowers.
None of the boys were interested in me, and to be honest I don’t blame them. I was the “intermediary”, the one who was friends with the pretty girls and could be the go-between.
However, things started to change when I was about 15 or 16 as this is when more of my peers started to change and develop too. I started to feel more comfortable and I started to care more about what I did and how I looked.
The eyebrows still hadn’t been addressed by then though.
Through 16 to 18 I actually started to wear make-up that suited me rather than continuing my “Oompa-Loompa” look.
I started working for a clothes company that actually let me learn about fashion and wear clothes that flattered my shape.
I got my eyebrows waxed for the first time, which I still do 14 years on, and dyed my hair. I also started getting more male attention, which I hadn’t a clue what to do with.
I was once approached at a bar by a man who asked if he could buy me a drink. The drink arrived, I took it and said “Thanks”, then went back to join my friends.
However in those 8 years I had grown up, I had learned from mistakes and I was suddenly caring about how I looked, smelled and dressed. It was a gradual process, but the small steps I made helped to where I am today.
So how I look today is how look.
I admire the people who love their bodies, whatever their shape or size, and just get up and go without worrying about what they look like. I think deep down whoever we are, we still all care how we look, smell and are perceived by others on the outside.
Were just all on different levels of self-confidence?
So my self-confidence issue 22 years on:
People will read this and say “Don’t be silly”, because I have said it to so many other people when they’ve put themselves down over their looks etc.
I know that as my daughter grows up I’m going to have to quash some of these anxieties, as I don’t want her to have them.
However if I could go back in time now and give my 15 year old self some guidance, it would be to go sort out the caterpillars above my eyes and to say “No” to my Mum about my bushy fringe!
“This is the hardest story,
That I have ever told,
No hope, or love, or glory,
Happy endings gone forever more”
Mika – Happy Ending
So this blog piece will be the hardest one I have ever written. It’s one that I haven’t been brave enough to write so far (due to the fact I don’t want to cry).
So deep breath, here we go.
I suffered a heart-breaking miscarriage in July 2016.
Something I never thought would happen to me. Why would it?
I had my beautiful little girl without any problems, so why wouldn’t it just happen again? We’d have another child and we would all live happily ever after – The End.
Not this time.
We had gone through the baby years and toddler years with our first, and the time came to decide to have another one.
Both in agreement we were “trying”.
We thought, like we had done with our daughter, that it wouldn’t take long to conceive, but the months started to roll by and nothing was happening.
Don’t get me wrong I knew we were lucky.
We were parents and we had a child, but that feeling of wanting more was there, and completing our family was what we wanted.
The question of “Are you having any more children?” started to come and it started to hurt. I became embarrassed and just shrugged it off, but what I wanted to say was “Mother Nature is being a b*tch and won’t let us have another”
Watching other friends conceive their second children hurt.
Of course I was happy for them and I have loved watching their new children come into the world, but I felt like I was not a part of this ‘special club’ and that I belonged just in the ‘only child’ club. It all felt very unfair and I would get upset and cry and ask
“What’s wrong? Why isn’t this happening?”
I wanted a life where we could say “Our children” or we were buying the “Family Ticket” for 2 Adults and 2 Children. I wanted to be able to pass stuff down from Evie to our second (assuming we had another girl) and know that our family was complete.
I wanted to know that whole new-born phase over and our lives would move on watching our children grow.
I wanted to see my children share experiences, play together and most of all know that my daughter didn’t have to make those decisions alone when my husband and I reached the point where our time was up.
Trips to the GP resulted in no solutions other than to just to let nature take its course.
So after trying for what seemed like forever…… it happened.
We were pregnant & the tests confirmed it. We were elated at last we had achieved our goal, our family was going to be complete and we could start planning.
Everything for a moment was right.
The mental preparations started. The “our life will change again” conversations happened. We were planning for the future.
And then a few days later our world was tipped upside down and the future had gone.
I remember waking up three days later with the most intense pain in my stomach at 4am. I knew this pain. I had experienced this pain every month for the last 20 years and I knew it wasn’t good.
I remember going to my husband with tears in my eyes and saying “I’m bleeding”. He held me. We didn’t speak or say anything just held each other until morning.
Ironically I had booked a doctor’s appointment that day to talk about why I wasn’t getting pregnant. Then when I found out I was pregnant we’d planned to go and tell her and start the ball rolling. Instead I was telling her that I was miscarrying.
As we told the doctor what was happening she told me to keep hopeful it might be nothing, but I knew it wasn’t. I knew what was happening and for once all my optimism and hope had gone. I felt numb, I felt lost and I felt empty.
As we got home I went on lock down. I didn’t want to see anyone or do anything.
My emotions and hormones were everywhere and I wanted the world to just sod off. I told who I needed to tell and wanted to tell, but I didn’t want to talk to anyone.
My only communication with the outside world was via text message. That way I could respond when I wanted without having to hear anyone’s words.
I didn’t want it to be real and I wanted to control the situation.
I stayed in the house for nearly a week. I sat on the sofa and binged watched TV. A 7 series box set with 25 episodes in the space of a month was therapy at the time.
I didn’t want to focus or talk about it, but every time I tried to leave the house my anxiety hit the roof. I also didn’t want to see anyone or talk to anyone who didn’t fully understand what I had gone through.
I felt that only other people who had been through it themselves would understand, so it’s those people I turned to for support.
I cried. I blamed myself over and over again.
Knowing deep down it wasn’t my fault, but I had to blame someone and as it was me who was going through it, it just seemed logical to blame myself.
I hated going to the toilet as there was this constant reminder and I wanted it to stop.
Two of my closest friends had gone through the same experience too and they were the ones I could relate to. I was able to talk freely with them without all the clichés being thrown at me such as
“Well at least you know you can get pregnant” or “Oh well maybe next time”.
I didn’t want to hear that
I knew they were trying to help, but doesn’t help, it really doesn’t. Find me when you’ve gone through it, and then we can chat. For a long while that’s where I stayed.
I’m not sure why, but I felt that I personally had to mark this moment in my life so I did this in the form of a bracelet that supposedly means “A moment in time” I wear this all the time and it just reminds me of an event I went through. Besides I didn’t want to forget.
As time went on I started to get better. I knew if I cried when talking about it I wasn’t right or I was having an off day. Silly things would set me off, but I knew I had to get to the due date which ironically was my birthday.
As the date loomed I dreaded it, as I was being constantly asked what I was going to do for my birthday. “I don’t know” was the honest answer as I didn’t know how I would feel on that day, or how my emotions were going to be.
The day came and it was a mess.
I was a mess.
I cried uncontrollable tears. Lovely people wishing me Happy Birthday and I didn’t care I wanted the day to end.
I completely lost it. My emotions went 360 degrees and I went through them all. Sadness, anger, hurt, despair. The whole spectrum came out.
I had been boiling like a pot for 7 months, waiting for this day, and now the lid had come off in spectacular style.
I had to get out. I didn’t want to spend the day with anyone, not my friends nor my family.
I went out by myself for a few hours as I just needed to escape and not be contacted.
Whilst I was out, I went to a jewellers and I had this urge to do something for myself and symbolise everything I had gone through, felt and endured in the last 7 months. It was my birthday and it seemed right to spoil myself.
In that moment I had chosen to yet again symbolise what had happened to me with it. I wear the ring as well as the bracelet to remind me of a moment in time I went through and how far I had come.
I had bookend this section of time and it was time to start again.
I was by myself for a few good hours, but I had cleared all the emotions that were brewing together and I had got through it. I wasn’t worried or anxious and for the first time in a long time, felt like me again.
I won’t lie; it still gets to me even to this day. I know what the triggers are that might start the emotional roller coaster, so am a little bit more prepared, and I know I’m far stronger about it than I was before.
I now have my answer ready when people ask “Would you like any more children?”, and I tend to find that once they know what we’ve been through, they don’t ask again.
One decision we weren’t planning on making was “What do we do with the cot?” Evie has outgrown it but we don’t know if we’ll be able to have any more.
I have lovely friends who didn’t bat an eyelid when I was looking for a home to store it for the “just in case” scenario.
The nappies have gone, nursery is ending soon, and she’ll be too big for the local soft play area. I’m not quite ready to let the cot go just yet
I am firm believer in the idea that life deals you what it knows you can handle. So I will see where life goes and what we are given to cope with.
I know I’m not alone, I know that I’m always now a member of a club I didn’t want to join, but I know that I am there for the next woman I know who might go through this. I know that I’m “that” friend now as I have had that experience.
I also know I am very lucky to even be called the name “Mummy” and if I only ever have just one child then I’m still blessed. However, I always have hope and I’m hopeful one day I too will see a rainbow.
Sometimes we all need a little joy in our lives.
From the big joys to the little joys, we all experience it at some point.
Such a little word yet it can bring so much to so many people.
So when I saw there was an actual festival with the name “JOY” I knew I had to go. Now I won’t lie, I’m not your festival type.
Yes I’d love to be able to camp under the stars and not care that I haven’t really washed in a few days, but the fact is I like my home comforts. My joy is actually a hot shower, electricity and a decent night’s sleep.
I don’t really understand how dry shampoo works, or how you can be clean with a wipe of a baby wipe & pull off that bohemian look 3 days later when you smell, probably need a poop & have drunk so much that you’re now in that permanent drunk fog. It doesn’t sound appealing at all.
However this Joy festival meant I could go for a day which meant I could dip my toe into the festival bubble without the whole camping aspect to it.
So I asked one of my friends if she’d like to experience this with me, to which she decided it was her thing too. Both being very busy Mummies, we thought we deserved this time to actually stop, sit & relax.
Now surprise, surprise I had got ill again and was suffering with my third throat infection, but I wasn’t going to be beaten by bugs & germs. Instead I took every throat tablet, spray and remedy we had to get my through the day. I was a walking medicine cabinet!!!
So the “Joy Festival” took place at Groombridge Place in Tunbridge Wells. The most beautiful surroundings I have ever seen which instantly made you feel chilled & relaxed. Now I don’t know about you, but these two words are in fact very difficult for me to understand. I don’t chill and relax because, to be honest, I don’t know how to. I try every so often but I always find something to do, clean or sort!!!
However this day was different it was spent mooching around the various market stalls that were there, we talked to the vendors & browsed the beautiful pieces they had to offer, but it was the taking our time, the slow pace of walking and the easy conversation that added to the whole experience.
We drank smoothies, ate delicious street food & chilled out on hay bales and deckchairs talking about whatever. It was the not rushing around that I actually felt the stop button was in place with the fast forward button on pause.
It was easy, it was simple yet the whole environment and atmosphere took you somewhere that actually made you want to relax and chill.
It was a bite-size piece of time where we both actually stopped from our busy lives.
Although it was only a for a day when we went I felt we could of stayed longer to see the live music, or the many more joyful activities that were planned, I actually came away feeling slightly recharged even though I was ill it was having a day where the stop button had been pressed meant I could recover easier.
Hopefully next year we will go to Joy again and experience more what the festival has to offer.
Even if it’s just to sit on hay bales and drink smoothies at least I have an idea how to chill & relax.