SURVIVING.

I’m currently on a new life changing path, experiencing pain like no other. I have lost majority of my sight in my right eye, with no professionals being able to say if I shall regain this… doing what I only know how to express myself is through writing. Whether it shall be read or not I feel better in myself putting my story out there.

Battling a invisible illness has really crippled me, mentally, emotionally and physically. I know that phrase is used often and so over worn like your favourite pair of jeans.

I’ve fallen out of love with things that truly identified ME. I stopped doing these things, no longer was they enjoyment and turned into a chore. The illness had gripped me, left right and centre, there is no ignoring the chronic daily pain I’m in. There is no escape from the attacks, just like there is no knowing when it’ll strike. Night time feels like only what I can imagine graveyard shift to be. Slowly anticipating when or If the enemy is approaching. The lonesome of dawn being in the most agonising pain, pacing the lounge floor. Googling each forum, each medical reports… no amount of pain relief… oxygen support… hospital admissions free you from the grips of this. Your own brain is destroying you… LIVING A LIFE WITH SUICIDE DISEASE.

Beneath the surface of a late twenty something woman, who’s life must portray a easy going, happy care free mother of three, but that’s the thing with social media it stimulates a fictional character.

But beneath the surface, behind closed doors, I suffer deeply from a disorder so intolerable it is sometimes referred to as “the suicide disease.” The condition is called trigeminal neuralgia, and it’s said to cause the worst pain known to man. And I genuinely would much rather endure tummy crunches straight after a c-section, 100 times over, than suffer an trigeminal attack.

The condition simply causes unbearable pain known, there is no treatment no cure. I remember being on oxygen support, looking towards the register with a longing look to hear something comforting. It was only when he told me my condition is beyond medication. I may stop responding to the nerve blocker medication at anytime. No pain relief touches the sides whilst the attack is flaring, the only thing to do is sit back and take on this anticipated, most excruciating pain of your life, not knowing how long this attack will last.

Like the rare few others with this disorder, the pain is so tortuous it drives us to our knees. There are multiple of sensations we endure whilst the attack is blazing through our nerves, being slashed with razor blades. Like a searing hot knife ripping through your jaw; being constantly jabbed with a cattle prod; or like you’re face is on fire. And once an attack starts, there’s nothing you can do but endure it, which is why some take their own lives.

Painfully these sufferers see it as the only way to end the pain. They simply became victims of this agonising disease. It’s a life-changing, debilitating disease, and you wouldn’t want your worst of the worst enemies to have it…

ANDTHENYOUWASFOUR

As your floppy blonde hair falls across your face, lashes so thick and dark to make any women envious, that fringe your sleepy eyes. The way you clasp ‘Teddy’, that now slightly off white bear you loved immensely since you first set eyes on it, tightly under your chin. Those first set of tiny toes I have ever loved. I find myself mid day dream, having a ‘pinch me moment’.

I have a 4 year old.

There is no denying you’ve existed little in our lives but without a doubt have you shaped me to be the best version of myself and these 4 years have been the best years any Mummy could ask for. I will cherish these next few years to come being called ‘Mummy’, how have we moved on from ‘Mama’ so suddenly. Something us parents take for granted because with a sudden blink of an eye I’ll be just ‘Mum’, I guess in a way this is just another bitter sweet reminder of how fast our babies grow.

This year embarks you on an individual journey of independence. And I’d be well and truly fooling myself if I said I was ready to let parts of you go. In just 7 months you’ll be attending school, I am not even ready for the realisation to hit me hard of having a school boy. My eyes prickle by the thought of allowing you to grow up and find your way in the big wide world, although I’m sure you’ll take it in your stride and continue to make me beam with pride.

It’s almost suddenly you’ve developed into a little boy, the way you’ve become obsessed with anything transportation, from cars to trains, lorries to diggers. They completely captivate you, playing for hours. It’s beautiful to watch you grow becoming infatuated with different things. I love how you remind me of myself, out in the open is where you feel most comfortable, the way you shine inside and out whilst horse riding or simply inquisitive whilst on our family walks. The questions are endless and you absorb every detail, deliriously excited about how the world works and the need to know more.

I am intensely proud of the young boy you’re growing up to be such a caring, polite, inquisitive yet sensitive little boy and I couldn’t be prouder to call you mine.

NURSERYFORNEEDS

Becoming a parent comes with no manual. No instructions. No guidance on how to deal with the emotions that surround bringing up our children.

Often we feel a permanent pressure to defend our choices we make on our journeys and the comparisons become endless.

Since Alivia-Ellen was born I have found myself become a personal negotiator from comparing a ‘normal hearing child’ needs to my ‘profoundly deaf’ child needs. There is so much interest from outside people wanting to know how different parenting really is between them both.

When I explain that Alivia-Ellen’s needs are not much different to her hearing brothers, I expect no less from her just because she cannot hear, I still send her to nursery, the same one her brothers attend. Her disability is no block. And she still needs the same introduction to early years just as much as ever.

The benefits Alivia-Ellen receives from attending nursery from a young age will strongly influence her development and independence from childhood to adulthood.

As much as I wanted to wrap my daughter in cotton wool and smother her in protection and love, she still needs to learn her way in world. Holding her back due to fear of potential diversity and later bullying the maternal guilt will only affect her development and ultimately confidence, self esteem and independency.

I am often asked how Alivia-Ellen fits in at nursery, how does the nursery cope and is Alivia-Ellen treated any differently.

Her first nursery during her baby years was lovely, she was close with her keyworker and was doing just fine development wise. But when she hit two i was beginning to worry, with a nursery with such a huge ratio and a large free flow area within multiple of rooms, I worried Alivia-Ellen wouldn’t have that 1-1 guidance or a 1-1 experience with a key-worker, filled with confidence, patience and a loving nature that would replace me when in the setting.

We was recommended to Rushden Kids Club, and from the get go we had a pleasant warming feeling from the manager Natasha. A feeling where the nursery just isn’t about turning money over, a nursery that truly prides themselves on nurturing, caring for the children, encouraging their individuality and embracing their own ways of development.

Natasha is a women who you warm to instantly, feel comfortable with and confidently enough to turn to if in doubt or in need. Her visualisations on how she wants the nursery to look and endorse is fascinating. She has adopted the ‘textbook rules’ and moulded and catered it into a way that’s exciting for the children to learn and develop accordingly to each child’s needs.

She encourages key workers to work closely with families and build a relationship to ensure the child’s day runs smoothly. If the children have had a unsettled time, you don’t feel judged, you are comforted with reassuring words and also advice, it normalises your experience. And each child’s interest is always at heart. which I have also found to be the most comforting and important aspect to your child’s nursery/pre school experience.

The key advice to other parents with a child of hearing loss is simply looking out for these:

⁃ Does the management and staff come across as friendly, welcoming and disability friendly.

⁃ Do they show a strong interest in their ability to help develop your child’s language and communication skills.

⁃ Do they have a good listening environment. For example Alivia-Ellen, she needs minimal background noise and a quiet place for her to learn, engage and socialise.

⁃ Are they happy to learn skills to develop better understanding and support towards your child. This could be learning BSL/ adapting skills to care for a hearing aid.

⁃ Encouraging a working relationship between parents and key workers.

We instantly felt the above, and not long after Alivia-Ellen joining staff had been encouraged to use supported communication towards Alivia-Ellen by learning makaton, signs which assist speech. They replicated this throughout the setting so not only do adults know how to communicate with Alivia-Ellen, children increase their curiosity around how adults engage with her and they begin to explore their own development and communication skills by doing this, it brings awareness of Alivia-Ellens additional needs of a lack of communication and this facilitates it.

I believe that It is important for children to play in a variety of activities and places in order to stimulate and develop their imaginations, curiosity and creativity for children both hearing, and hard of hearing or any special needs. Majority of the time the first interactions with other children are often at nurseries, or playgroups/meets and it is important to ensure children with varying degrees of deafness to learn how to build relationships with peers by pursuing that they are included in all creative and developmental opportunities.

Rushden kids club have a fantastic open free flow layout, but not on a large scale to create huge amount of background noise. In the morning when you drop off you can see all creative stations laid out for their activities, this is incredibly encouraging of reminding us how amazing they are to accommodate all children’s way of learning. Sensory play is a very stimulating way of learning for children with additional needs. But just as stimulating for normal hearing children, by doing this it brings playing together and building those vital relationships.

Also another positive factor is the acceptance and a welcoming manor to all professional involved in Alivia-Ellen’s care. The teacher of the deaf whom visits at home and in the setting, has always reported back that the staff and Alivia’s key worker positively take on board advice and tasks to support Alivia-Ellen and have a close working relationship. We both feel this has had an amazing impact on Alivia’s increasing development.

I have nothing but praises for the two management ladies, Natasha and Gail. Both of these ladies not only support the children but they have invested a lot of time to also help in other areas. The compassion and care shown towards the family unit make this nursery standout from others. The bond between Alivia and her key worker Chloe has an outstanding amount of patience as she can push a lot of boundaries, she needs a lot of reassurance and encouragement. Chloe’s consistency and persistence towards supporting her needs she has excelled in ways I didn’t know would be possible, sending her to nursery I know she can release her inner mountaineer, her inner Van Gogh and her spontaneous personality can be guided and flourish a lot better than what I could achieve alone with three children under four. There is a lot of trust in Chloe. With her standing in my position whilst at nursery I feel very comfortable sending her and have no worries of guilt.

I can guarantee you, when you find the right childcare the staff become an important extension to your family.

AFAMILYOFFOUR.

I write this post with a knot in my throat. My heart shattered in a 1000 pieces. A mind full of memories reminding me of past happiness. Not through sympathy but in hope to provide just an ounce of comfort to someone, somewhere to know that behind the lens that portrays a collected mother raising her three children alone, amongst the country walks and funny posts but a life that has the begins of an unveiling life that is both painful yet rewarding.

The process of picking up the pieces of a broken home comes with a grieving process. A process that you cannot control. A process that you cannot predict the length of its duration or of its irrationality. Whether you build a hard cold solid wall emotionally straight away. Or whether you cry a thousand tears for days on end. There’s no right or wrong way on how you intend to grieve the loss of a family life you couldn’t even imagine could be possible.

I’ve always been closed off towards my emotions, I’ve never really felt my heart ache in a way I should. I have lost dear family members as I have lost valued friendships. I have been in relationships but never felt too attached to suffer a heart break that’s portrayed in songs and films.

But to experience the heart ache through my babies, boy did this hit me hard. As if Luka-James smacked me in the face with a cold hard shovel of reality.

A man who saved me from myself, my baby daddy, a man who guided me through some of my darkest of days when the light wasn’t visible for me but he could always find the way. He is now gone. It’s taken a while to swallow the pill of, no more ‘us’. The type of pill that slips down your throat side ways and painfully slowly scratches your throat.

Our relationship was no magical fairytale, I was no princess, as was he no Prince Charming. We met eachother at our lowest. We was fighting our own demons on a whole other ends of the spectrum. But through his gentle kindness, persistence and consistence. A seed of love was planted and it blossomed into having our first son, following on two more beauties. We pissed each other off as much as we supported each others dreams. During our lowest of times, when money was a distant memory and struggled to make ends meet doing a weekly food shop of just £20 a week. The love we had far out weighed the poverty we faced many moons ago. How we got through those times and didn’t hang the white flag of surrender I do not know.

Love conquers all.

Life together was occasionally complicated. I came from an abused childhood, he had a generally nice childhood with lovely memories. I have never opened wounds to allow them to heal and move on. And this always proved trouble in our relationship. I believe my irrational, protective defences from my childhood storms and he also didn’t understand my thinking and played on these. Perhaps without knowing the true extent. We laughed lots, experienced a lot, changed a lot and taught each other many a lessons. But just like that, were over.

Being a mum is very isolating, self healing a broken heart is isolating. Combine both into a single mum is an incredible daunting lonesome experience. The longing for someone to hold you tightly and squeeze all your broken pieces together is unreal. But day by day, we slowly collect the pieces and the puzzle soon gets put together again.

Amongst the physical, mental and emotional pain we all feel with heart ache, the type of pain that is consistently burning away inside like unwanted acid sitting in your chest cavity as a daily reminder. And when we think we can’t physically hurt anymore…

We then look into our babies eyes which are flooded with tears and confusion, when they ask ‘where daddy?’, ‘daddy come home?’. Their voice feels heavy as if a ton of bricks is weighing down their little voice. You can almost feel their chests tightening. It hits you hard all over again and you find this vicious circle is on repeat for days that turn to weeks. Having just solely my own arms to comfort and hold all three of my babies has been incredibly emotionally draining. I ache for the man I’ve lost. A man who shares half of these beautiful little loves. A man whom I’m reminded off the moment I open my eyes everyday.

The change of atmosphere and routines hit our children harder than we will ever be aware of, the start of attachment issues occur and they start piling into mummy’s bed…

One by one.

By 3am I am faced with 3 babies in bed. With one body part of each child placed upon me. The drop offs at nursery become an emotional rollercoaster and stick to you like blood thirsty leech, fighting for that last drop of blood. They feel our tension, sadness and need reassurances and this comes in many forms. And then we are overwhelmed with excruciating mum guilt and feel the need to agree to buy that £7 magazine with the shitty little plastic figures and stickers… it will make them happy… for 5 minutes and we find it shoved under the couch by 7pm.

Soon we learn to experience all feelings imaginable the denial. Anger. Betrayal. Sadness. Relief.

You’ve hit the ultimate low and you begin to accept it, you start to befriend the hits of the cycle for what feels like the 100th time today you’ve belly sobbed hot salty tears, which burn down your face. We realise we’ve got to put this hurt on hold until bed time. And when the days fall into nights 24 hours are pretty close to feeling 2400 hours long. You find yourself slumming back into the sofa with the company of galaxy and the only two men you can truly undeniably trust… Ben and Jerry, how the fluck did I just make it through without losing a child. Burning the house down. Or flooding the place. Autopilot parenting is a wonderful strength I’m beginning to find.

I didn’t set out to do this journey alone, nobody imagines their life becoming broken and undone. A life where you was hanging by a thread, slipping of the edge wondering if the fall would take you back to another time.

And with each day i make it alone, each day provides strength to see me through the next.

x

LIFEASAPOLICEOFFICER

For some reason our police service can never do right or wrong… for 5 amazing experiences there will always be 1 that will get publicised and the goodness goes amiss.

Luka-James has been obsessed with the Police, every police car that’s parked he needs a photo with it. Every police officer he comes across he always politely says hello beaming with happiness.

For his 4th birthday I really wanted to give him an experience to remember rather than over priced materialised presents, specialty so soon after Christmas.

Through a friend, he so helpfully managed to make Luka-James’ dreams a reality…

At the Wellingborough station, we was met by a lovely officer, PC Wilson. Luka-James became immediately shy and overwhelmed. But his little smile behind his coat was so worth it.

We was taken to the cells and recording room where everything was explained to Luka-James in a age appropriate manor. He nodded whilst absorbing everything in. My usually shy boy confidently listened to instructions whilst holding the badge, Luka-James confidently beeped us out to the yard where we was shown the officers kit and riot gear. Allowing Luka-james to proudly wear uniform.

I thought this would be the end to our visit as i value our emergency services and didn’t think they would have given us more than 20 minutes of their time. But so kindly we followed the officer into the yard with the cars and vans.

Luka-James hopped into a van and was shown all the buttons to put the sirens and lights on. The excitement from his face was priceless a moment I will never forget.

We then met a lovely officer called Jess, whom showed Luka-james how to car works and explained what the car is used for.

Lastly Luka-James experienced his first arrest and was shown how to apply hand cuffs to an arrested Jess!

The priceless act of kindness shown towards my son was beyond anything I could have imagined. It may have not been much other than a tour, but to a little boy this has developed his imagination and role play skills. As well as making him very happy it really boosted his confidence around other adults. It was such a joyful experience to share together. Something which will be valued more than opening presents.

What our police force do for the community needs to be shown and applauded. We need to install respect through our children towards our emergency services a lot better than the generation of youths do currently. At the end of the day behind the uniform they’re just everyday people.

Huge Thankyou to PC Wilson, Jess and Wellingborough Police Station for kindly letting us visit and have an amazing experience.

BESTVERSIONOFME

As the New Year fell upon us, our timelines influx with the ‘New Year New Me’ posts. When in reality we all know the unnecessary weight loss, fitness and health kicks will last no longer than 3 weeks at the very most, before we cave back to the ‘original’ version of ourselves.

How about we dig deeper than wanting to enhance our outer shell appearance, why do we never pay attention to our mental health? After all a little self care goes along way.

For me, this year I am all about working on myself. Towards the end of last year I was diagnosed with a neurological disease, which has massively negatively impacted my life. From the physical pain, to emotionally. Although medications are stabilising the condition. I’ve been left battling my depression and a family break up. Making myself a priority shouldn’t be seen as selfish. After all we are our longest commitment. And as the saying goes, ‘we can’t pour from a empty cup’.

I’ve spent far to long living my life in a shade of grey. The wounds I forced shut from my childhood need to be opened, bleed out and allow to heal. Once and for all.

I intend to listen to my body, slow down when I need to instead of feeling such a commitment to portray a strong woman juggling 4 disabilities, raise 3 kids and keep a job and family home running through the grid of photo squares.

So unrealistic.

It’s ok to struggle. It’s ok to admit your days are harder than others. It’s not ok to compare your life to other ‘best bits’.

I honestly don’t have my shit together as I portray. This is where I intend to show my reality, how hard parenting truly is. How hard managing my daughter’s disability as well as my multiple own. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

I’m leaning towards giving my children experiences this year rather than buying them materialistic things. Sometimes through guilt, I find myself buying things. Things that buy short term happiness. But the happiness we feel out exploring lasts in memories for ever, to see the enhancement of their curiosity and excitement, Livy the sensory stimulation is amazing for her. The bonding and togetherness of exploring woodlands and new places really brings us together as a family. Because for those hours. When the phones go down and we lose ourselves in priceless moments, magical things happen that we often miss when consumed living a social media driven life.

We have got to nourish ourselves in order to truly flourish.

x

CHRISTMASGUILT

This morning I looked at the date and thought, 

‘Shit’. 

It’s two weeks until the Christmas Eve rush, where we panic and buy more crap we don’t really need or never intended on buying. We splurge buy. 

Thoughts ran through my head whilst the kettle boiled I slowly anticipated the days left, 

‘Crap, I’ve still got so much to do and buy.’ 

‘Have I brought enough for my children?’

‘Will they have as much as others?’ 

‘Will my children be disappointed?’

‘I need to pay such bills…?’ 

‘Will my family think bad of me…?’

‘Am I letting others down’ 

‘Such person on insta has brought so much’

‘She always buys such expensive gifts’ 

‘ I AM A FAILURE’

‘My children deserve better’ 

STOP. 

This year I want to spread a little awareness. That we’re not all in the same position, some are more fortunate than others, some are less. But I can hand on my heart guarantee we all love our children the same. 

Now, I’m not shadowing the fact that if you can afford to buy your children what they want. I’m so happy for you all, well done to you guys. 🙌🏼

This year, I have personally decided that all these gifts that suffocate our living room truly aren’t necessary. The toy they first opened will soon be screaming unheard from under the wrapping paper… I have leaned more towards providing experiences as a family we can enjoy. Luka loves horse riding and Alivia will be having rugby tot sessions, family days out to the zoo and castles to explore. These are the memories as a family and children we truly remember. What we really remember about our childhood. 

I am so done with the need to compete for social media likes and keeping a unrealistic image. 

Since being made redundant, I felt a huge pang of guilt and sadness that I wouldn’t be able to afford the Christmas I thought my family deserved. I worried my children would be left out and I worried upon Christmas morning I would see mountains of presents on social media compared to my own home. 

Then I compared myself to families on universal credit, or simply on low minimum wages. Whom barely can make ends meet on any other month, I cannot comprehend how they must feel on the lead upto Christmas. 

I simply wonder why there isn’t more awareness around something I will call ‘festive depression’, the feeling of worthless and failure can affect anybody. 

Family members that bring you down, feeling body conscious, the struggle against alcohol, struggle between paying debt, living upto a fake image, stress of money. 

If you’re reading this and feeling apprehensive about whether to pay your bills or debt compared to Christmas presents, please remember your children love you no matter what, they will look back and remember the struggles and respect and admire how hard you fought to provide the important things we all take for granted as kids. The images you see on social media may be keeping back hidden struggles and also failure thoughts like your own. 

keeping a roof over their heads and food upon the table is most important than the latest gadget youll possibly find under the bed in a few days forgotten about…

Please be kind this year, take care of you.

AMOMENTINTIME

This photo here is something I will cherish for moments in time. 

We inhaled the fresh crisp air, the sound of gentle water and the hum of boats filled our ears, rose tinted cheeks from the cool December wind.  

In our usual walking get up of colourful wellies, cosy warm coats and bobble hats we made our way to discover another hidden gem. 

Another adventure, another find we have made as a family. 

There is something in your children’s eyes that take us aback sometimes, we lose ourselves in these moments of laughter and joy, we lose ourselves in sheer love when they wrap their arms around you in delight. 

There’s nothing more comforting than taking in their squeals of excitement when they take each others hands and lead one another to the river embracing the coldness that surrounded their wellies from the small laps of ripples. 

If only these babies of mine knew how lonely my life had been, I was constantly seeking love and attention from all the wrong avenues in life as a young adult. I moved from home young and into a cottage that I desperately sought warmth and comfort from but failed miserably. 

And the space of emptiness of how long I’ve felt so alone for, has been filled of happiness and an undeniably fierce love from my children. 

And to their father. If you knew how long I wanted someone to come, and save me from myself. It’s hard to knock down walls of a woman who has been left broken and scarred, yet if I was to fall you’d be there waiting and our tomorrows, months and years to come could be shaky. But know that I’ll be forever grateful for the way you’ve changed my life the way you have done. 

As the sun shines down and glitters upon the water, with the breeze gently blowing. And the smiles that glisten on your faces, If only you all knew how much this moment means to me.  And how long I’ve waited for this feeling of content for the whole of my life. And If only you knew how proud and happy you are making me, a moment so priceless and free.

x

DEPRESSIONHANGOVER

I’ve been looking through my writing and I found this post during a difficult patch after Parker was born. It’s so sad to reflect on such a sad version of me. 

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https://thehighspiritproje.wixsite.com/thehighspiritproject

For support on mental illnesses. 

I remember it like yesterday, my sweet 18th, the excitement mixed with the anticipation of going to experience my first night out clubbing and feeling slightly giddy from the amount of WKD, Archers and Malibu my step sister Stevie and i had consumed before taking me on my first night out in Northampton Town. From what I remember it was an incredible night we laughed, we danced, we ate Mac Donald’s and was our usual hyper selves. 

How does this fit in a PND blog post, since our younger years we have developed a way on how to deal with hangovers, don’t we? Lots of water, a mac Donald’s double cheese burger for the cab home, an over dose on a carb loaded breakfast with a ice cold can of coke. This was my routine when I knew I had a hangover lingering over me for the morning. 

 If it’s really bad, Chinese take out would do the job. Those kind of hangovers are now a blast from the past these days. 

Thankfully.

But the one hangover I’m just unable to rid off, is my post-natal depression hangover. I’m physically exhausted from fighting myself, trying to keep my anxiety throughout the day at bay. It can keep me up at night, just staring at the ceiling with flutters and flashes of sheer panic sweep across my body, heart races, chest tightens and palms sweat. I can go to sleep with anxiety and wake with anxiety. It’s completely, and utterly robbing me of happiness and enjoying my newborn, Parker. 

I no longer look forward to getting up, not because i don’t want to see his perfect smiley face and genuine warm loving eyes, it’s the fear of, can I get through today? Do i really have the ability to look after him? I can’t bare to face getting up. Not wanting to leave the house. What happens if something bad happens and nobody is here for Him? The minute i wake, negativity sweeps my mind and from there on I am fighting myself to get through the day, leaving me physically and mentally exhausted by night. There is no getting rid of this post natal hangover. 

My first year of motherhood was tough, it was the type of hangover where you was over the worst, that head spinning unsure if you’re gonna puke or whether you need to ring the fire service to provide you with a gallon of water. 

I had severe PND with my first born, I was over protective, over worried, withdrawn and completely lost myself. Although I managed, somehow to raise a lovely little cheeky boy, who smashed all his milestones.

My second born, i escaped the hangover. I was absolutely fine. But maybe that was because I had to be, she was born profoundly deaf and required so much more attention, stimulation and endless of hospital appointments. There was no room for a mental illness to carefully claw itself and grab hold of me.  

Now with my third born, Parker I’m at that stage when the after effects are still with you – dry mouth, dull ache to the head, yawning lots and still swearing you’ll never drink again.

And that’s how I feel towards having another baby, if it leaves me feeling this bad after… But how many times do we make that statement after one too many drinks the night before? 

I always feel weak saying that I had and still have post-natal depression, because with my first I never saw a doctor about it, or even knew I was suffering from it, at the time. It was around the 7/8 months mark down the line which the health visitor was coming round more often and checking on me, arranging counselling and suggesting i go to the go, i didn’t believe it, or I didn’t want to believe and admit it, it carried on like this until November 2015, it dawned on me, I was clearly very poorly, it had been the terrorist attack in Paris and then night before I was due to leave Luka-James behind with my mum to attend Cheltenham races with my partner for his birthday. I stayed up ALL night, watching SKY news, reading every single news paper article upon the tragic event. 

Anxiety had gripped me around the throat and held me hostage of fear, ‘they’re coming for us’ i kept telling myself.

I went to beyond ridiculousness and researched how to keep safe from a terrorist attack, right down to how to survive nuclear bombing. And worked out if London was hit, how bad the nuclear cloud would affect us. 

I wrote a plan and emergency plan on how my mum could keep my baby safe whilst I wasn’t with him. I made her promise me she would not leave the house. The day was a blur, a surreal stressful day. But I got through it, somehow. My mum not long after this pleaded with me to speak to my

GP. 

I think majority of us feel more ready to accept medical conditions and help when a professional has made the diagnosis.

Sometimes you just know with things like this,  its the only explanation for the anxiety and inability to cope that I feel everyday minute of the hour, of the day. Life shouldn’t be this hard, your days shouldn’t be just trying to make it through a 3 hourly window, waiting helplessly until your partner arrives home. 

There are definite side effects that I still battle daily, from my PND hangover. The knot that still forms in the pit of my stomach when I am reminded by each cry that I have a small baby to tend too, when night feeds are getting tougher, because you just need to sleep these feelings away and hibernate. Because after all we stop feeling once we’re asleep. I make a flippant joke but inside when people ask me how I cope with three children all under the age of 3, I’m trying not to vomit and panic. I feel dreadful that my PND is the sacrifice of a year of my life and sanity for the greater win of brining my newborn baby into this world. 

I am looking forward to one day finally feeling free of this hangover. But in reality i am hoping that when I return to work it shall be my coping mechanism. A chance to escape my guilt of being a bad mum who couldn’t cope. The mum who is so emotionally worn out from the past three years of parenting. To the days I feel I cannot deal with days on my own with them. And now, nearly 3 years after my first experience of PND, I’m still working on that knot in my stomach which appears and I start to panic that I am not able to cope through my day. 

Which is insanely sad, because everyone who has met Parker always praises me on how amazing he is doing on breast milk, my chunky big baba. Which is all down to me. How bright, alert and happy he is. Which is all down to my guidance and nurturing.  I look for light at the end of the tunnel, I look at my water half full in the glass, getting me through my PND hangover and partly looking forward being free from not suffering from it any longer. I want to regain my strength and happiness. I want to be the mother my children deserve . But that knot is there, quietly reminding me that I am unable to cope in my year at home during my maternity leave. I really want to ignore it but it’s something I have to work towards, gradually.

I wish a full English breakfast and a ice cold Coke would make this hangover disappear.


LOVEYOURSELF

We have all said it, we are all guilty of the same thing, we have all given our bodies a evil disapproving glance, we have grabbed the flesh that’s stretched to accommodate our growing baby, we have sobbed and wished our bodies back, we have all worked out in our heads from top too toe what we could alter, to what we feel is to ‘better ourselves’. 

Believe me, I’m currently carrying my third child. And I realised today how selfish and unkind I am to myself. I have pretty much been pregnant continuously since 2014! And I found myself looking in the mirror in complete disgust. 

I am coated in stretch marks from boob to calves. Like a natural stripe swimsuit. Just one that isn’t considered ‘sexy, flattering or fashionable’, boob one size bigger than the other again coated in stripes. My stomach is the size of a whale to the point I’m being asked daily am I really going to last another 5 weeks? Or ‘Jesus, you are huge’. Why do people think this is a compliment to a pregnant woman? 

We feel huge, so the constant reminder from a cashier at the shops or a stranger in the que isn’t needed. 

My thighs resemble the worst road in Britain with the most pot holes you could imagine. And don’t get me started on what use to be my pride and joy, a plump pert bottom! Which is now more like a disappointing squashed, flat doughnut at the back of the packet. My hair is greasy 24/7 even straight after a wash. And my skin is dryer than a desert. 

But who on earth am I to be so negative about myself, We never hear ourselves check off the positives that our bodies have done, we never cherish or celebrate that our body has safely and successfully gave life to our children. 

Our boobs maybe one size bigger than the other, or sit a little different than before but we fed our babies, gave them all the nourishment they needed to survive. 

Our skin is coated in stretch marks which we never had before, and always dreaded getting. But our body grew in sync with our babies, allowing them space to develop, our bodies catered their growing needs. And every kick we felt, May that be a reminder of how strong our babies are from the power of our body providing that. 

Our organs are squished, our muscles are separated and we have our own special individual pattern on our body. We gave life, we provide food and comfort to the tiny humans we produced. 

Try and fall in love with your body again, it isn’t the body we are use to. But it’s the new you, who’s pieces have been put back together perfect but differently. We are now proud owners of a body who produced and successfully gave life. 

Try and beat that! 

x