This is me … these three words hold so much, behind the words is a past, a present and a future. I find people so interesting, I love to know peoples stories … what makes them who they are. I wanted to put this blog together to give a platform to some amazing strong, beautiful and inspirational women. Each of these women have and are still fighting battles but they refuse to let these struggles define them … putting this blog together has made me cry it’s made me feel so much compassion for these women and it’s made me so proud to be able to share with you all the stories of these warrior queens. We all had the same end goal, to help others going through the same or similar experiences in life. So, grab a cuppa and have a read … the next stories are that of each of the women I’ve been working with, in their own words.
Growing up with dyslexia I was always made to feel like I was never going to achieve anything worthwhile in my life, being told I was stupid and being laughed at by others was hard to live with as a child. I found reading and spelling very difficult. Words and letters would merge together making it impossible for me to read, I also suffer with my memory. I have very few memories of the past and find learning and revising things hard. People laugh about dyslexia but to live with is not funny at all, it affects so much more than reading. I remember one day going into the careers office at School and telling them I wanted to be an Air Hostess, to be told I wasn’t clever enough and to pick something ‘easier’. So, I fell into a job I didn’t enjoy because it was an easy job but felt like I had no other choice. I then went onto being in relationships where I was made to feel like I was never good enough, they would call me ‘stupid’ which brought back memories from struggling in my childhood. Eventually I was so worn down I suffered with depression. I lost my self-worth and lost myself along the way. I started to believe what they told me …
I am now 28, divorced and a single parent with 2 beautiful children, they are the ones who changed my mindset on life, I realised that I am worthy of respect, love and I’m going to bring my children up to believe that anything is possible when you really want it and work hard for it and to always be kind. I work in a dental practice as a dental nurse, which is where I have worked for the last 10 years. I enjoy it and I’m good at my job. I am a strong independent woman who can do anything I put my mind to and I will never let anyone tell me otherwise again.
Dyslexia doesn’t define me, peoples words don’t define me … my beautiful children define me, the mother I am defines me … anything is possible when you remember who you are.
Aimee – @aimee_hannan
I’m Aly, I’m a mother, a daughter, a wife, a sister and a nana, I’m also a Lyme disease sufferer. In 2010 whilst in holiday I was bitten by a tick, an infected tick, I developed a bullseye rash and my life changed forever. I became very sick, I have flares that leave me bed bound for months. I self-treated with antibiotics as there really is very little knowledge of Lyme within our NHS, I was so ill and no one was listening so I had no choice, it helped me greatly and I now have months where I can function relatively well with only mild symptoms. Unfortunately, my liver has become involved and this also makes me very poorly. Lyme can kick off auto immune disease and this is what has happened to me. I became very down about just how my life had changed and how goddam hard every day was, I went to counselling and they taught me to focus on what I COULD do and not what I can’t do. My Lyme is not my life, it’s a part of my life but it’s not my life, my life is my two beautiful daughter’s, they have always been the biggest part of my life. My life is my four perfect, loving grandbabies, how blessed am I to have those beautiful little humans that call me nana. My life is my love of animals and nature, my faithful dogs that cried at night for me when I was at my most poorly, and offer knew I was going to have a relapse before I did. My life is my work, I work for the NHS and my work colleagues have been incredible, so kind and patient with me over these 8 years I have been ill. I will fight every day to enjoy these things that are my life because they are everything, I now enjoy the little things in each day, I’m not so bothered about how I look or if I’ve put some weight on, I love this body that I am living In, I’m here and that is a blessing and each day is a gift and I love my life.
Alyson – @nowatnumber10
Hi I’m Jen wife of 1 mommy to 2 beautiful boys and 1 gorgeous girl, and 2 kitty cats. When I saw the lovely Manda’s post asking if anyone wanted to join in her ‘This is me’ post I decided to take the plunge to write my story as I want people to understand what it’s like to be the person in the room who is holding her breathe all the time so her child can have a ‘normal’ life.
I’m an allergy mom with anxiety who doesn’t let it control me as a mother or a person anymore. For me, anxiety started off slowly.
It didn’t show up in my life until my second child was born, first with post-natal depression which I got control of before Archie’s first birthday only for it to spin out of control when he was 2 years and 8 months. He had his first asthma attack and allergic reaction in a space of 2 weeks from each other, nearly losing him twice back to back was the hardest scariest time of our lives.
My already anxious heart and mind didn’t have much hope when I looked at my beautiful boy in pain and struggling to breathe, he became my son that now came with lists upon list of worries back to back, DRs appointments and tests to find out what was wrong with him, all I could feel was this overwhelming fear he was going to die. Keeping my child safe became my mind’s biggest fixation and keeping him safe seemed impossible and I didn’t know how to handle that.
I didn’t want to leave Archie not for one second or leave the house. I would spend so much time imaging the most dreadful possible outcome in my mind, as if that would save me from having to experience it or prevent it from hurting me so badly if something terrible actually did happen, but while I was over thinking these worst-case scenarios my life was happening all around me. I had 3 children and a husband who needed me, something had to give I had to take a step back …. and I had to let Archie live the most normal life he could even if every day I dropped him at kindy. I didn’t want to leave him worrying that a stray smidge of nut dust might make its way into the classroom……Worrying I looked like the neurotic mother who made the child care setting a nut free zone……Worrying if my son wouldn’t get an invite to parties because of his allergies, and over paranoid mummy, I had to let my boy enjoy his childhood.
I had to realise our lives will never be the same again and life will be and is complicated with a child that has invisible illnesses. Even though my anxieties are still very much always with me and I have days where I get crippling guilt and horrendously paranoid, I have realised that we can’t stop bad things happening no matter how hard we try.
I’m a mommy to this bright, funny, sociable little boy who absolutely loves life, I’m the mom who talks about my boy’s allergies until people’s eyes glaze over. I have accepted that I’m the mom who is checking ingredients at every play date party and school event because I will not entertain the thought of losing my son to food.
This is me I’m the mom who defines herself by her child ‘s condition.
Jen – @theclodpiececottage
From the age of 7 I realised I was going to have to be stronger, more resilient and more positive than the average child. Things changed for me very slowly, instead of school I would be in hospital. Instead of seeing friends, I would be in bed. As I grew older it just seemed to get worse, undiagnosed and yet living a non-existent life. I wasn’t able to do normal teenager things, getting caught drunk after a ‘sleepover at my mates,’ complaining how hard a-levels were yet never revising and staying up late on msn, falling in love in the summer with some absolute loser just because he had a car, instead I was under going test after test.
At 18 I was finally diagnosed with Crohns Disease. Crohns disease is an autoimmune chronic illness also known as inflammatory bowel disease, it is basically your body attacking itself, causing inflammation all over your body, mainly the digestive system. Since the diagnosis things were able to improve, I was put on many different treatment plans including steroids, immunosuppressants and biologics. Despite the annoying and sometimes painful side effects things were looking up.
However, whilst my physical health was being worked on I let my mental health slip through the cracks. As I know many people do, I declined without even realising it and one day I found myself contemplating death, that day turned into weeks and into months before I finally spoke out. I was scared, I was crying every day and I felt ashamed, I was hearing a voice inside my head saying things I didn’t think I’d ever think of myself and I panicked. The hardest part was opening up, but since the day I sat in a dull room and confessed how awful and confused I was feeling, a crack in the clouds began to appear and a sun stream started shining through.
It has been over 4 years since I came to terms with the fact I was probably going to be ill for the rest of my life, whatever that meant, but since that day, I made a decision. A decision to not let anything beat me, no matter what life throws at me I will get back up and carry on and that is exactly what I have done.
Mental illness can be like a hanging demon dragging you down, but I’m determined to shrug it off. Crohns has continued to test me, but I beat it every time.
A year and a half ago I was told I was most likely unable to have children after 25, but that following month I fell pregnant. Sadly, my Crohns disease was too severe and I miscarried at 7 weeks. I miscarried twice, the second making it to 10 weeks. But I wasn’t going to let myself get down, I was going to get myself up to good health and we would try again.
The following June I had surgery to remove part of my bowel that was severely damaged due to my Crohns, the surgery went well and after 6 weeks I was lying on a beach with my partner, smiling and drinking countless strawberry daquiris with a whole new lease of life and health.
The next 6 months were dreamy, I was stuffing my face with delicious foods, drinking exotic cocktails and even doing an all-dayer without needing to nap.
Now, well, I’m 20 weeks pregnant with a healthy growing baby, I’ve never been happier.
My illness and the experiences I’ve been through will never define me, I have come through every challenge and will continue to do so. I’ve bought my own home, living with my soul mate and our very disobedient puppy and I even started up a blog. My blog started as the ramblings of a sick girl and is now a positive influence (I hope) for anyone suffering with chronic or invisible illnesses. I share my life, my struggles, my positivity and my future goals, with a mix of swearing and slightly too much oversharing. It is not only a vent for myself but a place to support others and I am so proud to turn something that seemed negative into a positive success.
Now I am preparing for my baby and can’t wait to become a mother, all I’ve ever wanted. Through perseverance and hope and not letting my struggles personify me, I‘m living my best life, surrounded by the best people and I’m grateful for all those I’ve met along my journey.
Here’s to never letting your experiences decide your future and always getting back up even when it seems impossible, because one day you’ll look back and it will have made you who you are today.
Chloe – @dawsonxoblog
This is me… Who am I? This is a question I have spent many the hours pondering as of late and if I’m to answer honestly, I’m lost.
If I was to take that question at face value, I‘m Caroline. I’m 32, I’m a wife. I’m a mother of two.
Going deeper, I’m the shy one, the quiet one, the one who is afraid to say anything in case of causing offence, the yes girl, the people pleaser.
Never the one to voice an opinion, never the one to go against the grain, always the one to apologise first. Afraid of conflict, afraid of being different.
Since having my son seven years ago, I have hidden myself well. I thrive as a mother, I live for my children and everything I do is for them. We have activities coming out our ears, we are social and we are outgoing. With my children in front of me I can do anything.
However, take my children out of the equation, put me in a room with adults and adult conversation and I become a shell of my former self, I become invisible. I do not start a conversation, in fact I believe I’m unable to hold a conversation of any worth. I feel my self-belief extinguish. I feel I’m alone in all of this, that I’m the only person in the world with these thoughts.
I think it was easy for me once I became a mother to use my children as a smokescreen to hide my insecurities. I have come to the realisation that whilst my husband and children are my world I need to find myself again. To recognise myself as an individual.
This blog post is not a pity party (although reading back it does sound like one, party hats thrown in for good measure!) I believe this blog post to be hugely positive. When I saw Manda’s idea of a blog series at first, I wanted to join in, but thought, hmmm, what do I have to offer? Well if one person recognises themselves in my words above then it will have been worth facing myself.
I have recognised that I’m lost. BUT, these are my first tentative steps towards finding my whole self once again.
The old saying of my “What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” Rings very true for me today.
2018 is my year and it’s yours too.
Caroline – @our_everyday_fairytale
Hello I’m Amy, I’m a 24 year old mother to 3 beautiful children.
I post pictures often to Instagram of our happy smiley faces, but life hasn’t always been so happy and still not everyday do I smile. Life isn’t always so picture perfect.
From the age of 12 I have suffered with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, actions and self harm. Some of which were triggered by events in my life and some of it I had no explanation for. I attempted to take my life many times. I felt a lot of emptiness and lack of belonging I didn’t see any purpose in life. I was on a downward spiral with no way up. Then I fell pregnant at 15, I was so excited but so scared at the same time. It wasn’t easy being a single parent, I tried so hard to push any negative thoughts to the back of my mind. But I still had days where my emotions got the better of me and I self harmed. Fast forward to having my 2nd child, things didn’t work out with her father either and after 3 years we called it a day. Life was hard once again raising 2 children on my own, plus my daughter was showing signs of being autistic (We are still working towards diagnosis) I was scared and worried and felt ‘lost’ again, she wasn’t sleeping at all and it was such a struggle I felt so alone.
But through the darkness there was light, I learned how to deal with my emotions instead of letting everything get on top of me, I haven’t self harmed for 4-5 years, or attempted to take my life either. I do still have really BAD days, however I do not let these temporary moments of sadness define my life or me anymore.
My scars do not define me. My depression does not define me. My anxiety does not define me. What does define me is that I’m a loving, caring person. I’m a loving mother. I’m a caring big sister and daughter. I’m a good listener. All these good qualities are what define me, not my struggles.
Amy – @alsoknownasamy
I have always found it odd, and a little sad, when people say they loved being a child. I find it odd because my childhood was the worst time of my life and I find it sad because I can’t imagine having the best times of your life already so far behind.
Before the age of eleven I guess it was O.K. But leaving primary school also meant, for me anyway, leaving childhood. The first two lessons I learnt in my new-found adulthood was 1. The devil is actually a boy in my class and 2. Just because adults know a child is suffering doesn’t mean they will help you.
I was diagnosed with depression at the tender age of thirteen. My mum took me to the doctors because my friends mum had phoned saying I wasn’t eating (which was true). Except to the doctor it was obvious I wasn’t eating because I was depressed not because I had an eating disorder (also true). What wasn’t obvious to the doctor was I needed help, this was also not obvious to my parents (who knew I was being bullied) or my teachers (who saw me being bullied). Now I will tell you why my thirteen-year-old self had more problems than my thirty-two-year-old self.
It started pretty much from day one. There is a year seven class photo of me sitting on a chair with a boy from my class fiddling with the back of my seat and my shoulder. He was the boy that all the girls fancied with a huge group of friends, and I was the quiet girl that no one liked and just got in everyone’s way.
It was a bit like a dysfunctional relationship. He told me I was stupid, no good at anything, I had no friends and I was pathetic. I told him to leave me alone. He would rather I didn’t have boyfriends and I didn’t give a toss who he went out with, although if he went out with my friend that might mean she would shut up. He liked being with me and I hated being with him. He liked to hold me against him even when I told him to let go. He liked to touch me even when I pushed him off. Most of all he liked doing these things in class after a teacher had moved him to sit with me, while the teacher could see, when our class mates were sitting right next to us.
Somewhere between being followed home from school by a small group of boys and that time the teacher stood there while two boys were shouting obscenities about my boobs (complete with actions), while the other boys were laughing and the girls were shouting at them to shut up, I knew I wanted to die. I knew I couldn’t do this anymore, I couldn’t be a passenger in a life I had no say in, I couldn’t be humiliated, not believed or helped when I asked for it one more time. There was nothing and no one in my life who would miss me, my parents would be better off without me, they had made it clear I was getting in the way. I remember standing in the kitchen pressing a knife into my wrist while my parents sat in the living room watching T.V.
As a child I was just a statistic, pushed into a percentage of kids who were also being bullied (sexual bullying didn’t even have a name back then) for the media. Now I have the label of a sexual assault survivor, like I did anything that no one else would have done in the same circumstances, like I have done something unique.
I may still battle with my demons, depression once it comes lurks forever but luckily, I now have other labels to, ones that I am proud of; That of wife (age 28), homeowner (age 24), mother to the furry four-legged kind, sister and campaigner for bullying and mental health. I love travelling, photography (I did this at college), reading and writing (I have published two books). I’m not scared to try new things and I’m not scared at what life throws at me anymore because I know how strong I am. I moved a mountain all by myself to be here today after all.
Have you read Matt Haig’s Reason’s to Stay Alive? It was him who wrote in his book “On a Tuesday years from now you will look out to the wild blue sea and as the salty air fills your lungs you will be proud that you never stopped living” and it’s true. I have stood many a time looking out to sea, at the top of a mountain and on my wedding day holding my best friends hand at the alter and thought this. I’m so, so proud of all the things I have achieved and all the things I will achieve but most of all I’m proud to have not stopped living.
Karen – @meandmylovelyhome
Infertility. Nothing can prepare you for it. I’ve always loved children and wanted nothing more than to complete a family with my husband of 7 years. As a Doctor, I’m used to the notion of hard work and perseverance to achieve what you want. You could call me naive but a part of me saw childbearing in a similar way… you try, you conceive, you enter motherhood. Of course we all know it doesn’t always work that way. Five years of trying and three failed IVF cycles later, I found myself heart broken and in despair. Will I ever get to hold my baby in my arms and feel that precious bond. Am I less of a woman for not being able to bring life in to this world. So many thoughts run through my mind. It’s so easy to feel consumed with pain, confusion and frustration. Everywhere I look I see women experiencing the one thing my heart yearns for – motherhood. I’m a true believer that we all get tested in life one way or another to see how we rise above it. I remind myself that if I continue to hope and appreciate today for what it is… tomorrow may surprise me. I will not let Infertility define me.
30 years old. Married to my childhood sweetheart. Currently renovating our first home.
I’m Becky , 31 and live in the north east of England with my husband to be and little boy, I work part time as a staff nurse alongside looking after my son called Ralph who was born in November 2015.
I have a long standing history of anxiety and depression since my teens, after the sudden death of my father due to mental illness
Post natal depression and anxiety has always been a fear of mine. I took the lowest dose anti-depressants throughout my pregnancy, some may say this is a selfish decision to make, but I made sure the effects on my baby would be minimal and I also needed to think about health and well-being. My labour and birth were quite traumatic as many are, I had a prolonged time of pushing without anything happening, which in the end resulted in needing forceps and Ralph being distressed when he arrived into the world. Neither me or my partner got to hold him as he was struggling to breathe, we never got that first skin to skin contact, which pains me to this day and I think that is where a lot of my depression and anxiety started.
It was a haze of euphoria that my baby boy was here, but I could feel my anxiety creeping up on me. I dreaded it when Jonny left and I had to look after him on my own. I could feel my heart racing and feeling like bursting into tears. I thought I will be fine once I’m home and in my own environment and just blamed it on the hormones.
During the first few weeks of his life I struggled to establish a bond, I sunk lower and lower, it was like I was on a constant high I couldn’t come down from. I let Jonny take the lead in looking after Ralph, I think looking back in hindsight I was naive about how hard motherhood would be. I was overthinking everything, worrying about Ralph constantly checking he was ok, but then on the other hand my mind was telling me I didn’t want him and if I didn’t have him all my anxiety would disperse! I was prescribed a cocktail of drugs to try and help me and get me through each day. It seemed to be getting better, for it to only get worse again. I know it was heart breaking for Jonny to see!
When Ralph was only a month old, I made the decision alongside with my health visitor, doctor and family to be admitted to a local psychiatric mother and baby unit I felt like this was my last hope, a lifeline for me to get the help I needed physically, mentally and emotional, and also to push myself to care for Ralph and help our bond, and also for Jonny to have a break, mentally and physically, the guilt I felt was unbearable. It tore Jonny apart being away from me and Ralph, he was still able to visit every day and stay over as he wished.
My medication was able to be changed and I looked after Ralph with help from Jonny and the amazing staff there, slowly my confidence and love grew for Ralph, and I started to go on overnight leave increasing as I could manage it. Christmas came and went in a blur, I didn’t enjoy it, was overshadowed by my illness when I should of being loving my first Christmas with my boy, I was allowed home for a few days over Christmas. Towards the end of January, the staff felt I was ready to go home, I was petrified but knew I had to do it, the unit had become my safety blanket. Even though my anxiety and depression was still very high, I was managing better with Ralph, he was now 3 months old! He wasn’t the easiest of newborns, but when are they! I wasn’t just left into the wide world, I had a community psychiatric nurse, psychiatrist and monthly visits with my health visitor, I feel like I missed out on so much with my maternity leave as half of it was being ill and learning to cope and manage being a mum. I tried to be brave and go to a few groups, but here we all these mums glowing and happy with there baby and that hadn’t been my experience, felt like I was lying!
I’ve had a few blips and set backs , and very low times, but I’ve gradually got better. Last December I was discharged from the mental health team.
Now my bond with Ralph is amazing, no matter what I will always feel guilty for those awful times, and the thoughts I felt kill me, it seems like a different lifetime now. I couldn’t imagine life without him now, he’s my world and I love waking up to see him every morning he makes me so proud to be a mummy. Ralph’s Mummy. He is such a ball of energy and smiles.
Mental health doesn’t define me, I know it will always be a part of my life! Having lived through these experiences, makes me realise how strong a woman I really am not letting this illness beat me.
For me, those dark times have taught me, the things I most care about is being the best mum I can be to my boy, keeping myself happy and healthy, having positive people around me, working hard in my career and creating a loving family home.
Becky – @becsxoxoralph
Life isn’t easy…quite the understatement!
Introducing me to you.
I’m Rebecca, 34 years old. I was born in Middlesbrough and I’m one of five children (second eldest). I’m not from a family of wealth, I was brought up on a housing estate but I always had new clothes, a clean home, parents who worked hard with a Dad often working away.
At the age of 18 my whole world came crashing down (so it seemed). My Nana lost her short battle with lung cancer and sometime later my parents separated. All I had known up to this point was this family unit, a loving home. My parents had hidden the strain of their relationship, I blamed my mam as at the time she was the decision maker and Dad was trying to keep us all together.
I resented my Mam so much that our relationship strained and I made the decision to go and live with my Dad. He lives up the road from my Mam and my younger siblings would spend the weekend with us and would call in whenever they wanted to. I was always and probably still am Daddy’s girl. Along time went by before I wanted to make amends with my Mam but in the end we did but it just never seemed the same.
I met Martin when I was almost 19. We were just friends at first but soon realised that there was more than that between us and decided to go on a few dates. Martin is 10 years older than me but that didn’t change anything. We had been together for almost 2 years when we decided that I would move in with him. So I moved to the next town to a place called Norton. Leaving my Dad was heart breaking because I was and still am really protective of him. He has never settled with anyone since my Mam. He would come for tea, I would see him at weekends etc. so that was ok.
We discovered we were pregnant with Megan and she was born in April 2005, a beautiful blond, blue eyed girl with such a gorgeous nature, so gentle. Gorgeous Emily followed in 2007, a full head of hair, a brunette, gorgeous blue eyes and Megan fell in love with her. Our amazing family, we were so happy. Three months later I became unwell, my body literally hurt from head to toe, quickly developing to stiffness in all of my joints, the pain was unbearable. I was losing weight at a rapid rate. My GP kept telling me it was hormones after birth and would settle.
I had returned go my GP five times until he referred me to a Rheumatologist. His words forever imprinted in my memory “I doubt its arthritis due to your age but they can rule it out and find out what it is”. The moment I stepped into the room with the consultant he diagnosed me with rheumatoid arthritis. I wasn’t sure what to feel. Shock, horror, relief that I knew what was happening to me. It was a total mix of emotion. He assured me that he would treat me aggressively because of my age and being a mum of such young children. It took a good part of a year to find medication that worked. I had to see the consultant every 4 weeks and medications where changed frequently.
I was advised by my employer (A NHS trust) where I worked as health care assistant to retire due to ill health, What??? I was mid-twenties and they want me to retire…no way, I have children and a mortgage I’m not retiring I told them. Luckily the occupational health consultant was brilliant and told them they had to adjust my work conditions legally. Another stress to add in the battle.
Every day was a struggle, a true struggle. The pain was immense and the only way I can describe it is, like every joint in body was on fire even when resting. Any movement was like a hot poker in every bone of my body. As the day progressed, I would cease up to the point where Martin would have to lift me off the sofa and carry me upstairs. He would have to undress me and put me into bed. I couldn’t even grip or have the strength to pull the quilt over myself in bed. He would dress me on a morning. The most heart-breaking part for me was the struggle to care for my children. I couldn’t make Emily’s bottles as I couldn’t work the bottle tops. I couldn’t fasten the poppers on her clothes, I couldn’t pick her up. Couldn’t play with my babies on the floor! I fell into a low, is this my life from now on? How can I live the rest of my life like this? I felt I was no longer a mum or a partner, I was just this useless burden. Battling the pain has been the most difficult challenge of my life. Then there was light at the end of the tunnel, I was on maximum medication, steroid courses to ease the inflammation on my joints, then a new injection. Highly recommended by my consultant, I grabbed at it. I would have to inject myself once a week and with the first injection I felt a change. I couldn’t believe it. I had hope.
Over time my body began to ease and be able to do everyday tasks and I returned to work. Yes there where days that I was in pain but I could manage. I decided to grab life with both hands and take advantage of feeling some kind of normal so I enrolled on a night course and then secured myself a place on a university course to complete my nursing degree. However, 2010 mid evening classes, I discovered I was pregnant but had miscarried. I was devastated, we hadn’t planned for anymore children with my diagnosis but my lord I was crushed. I carried on completing the course as my focus.
I graduated in 2013, I was so proud, I was a staff nurse, the first in my family to attend university. I had achieved this massive mission in my life, I felt confident and I felt like me again. I had this new determination to carry on fighting through and providing the best for my family. We decided to move home to a village near Darlington. Beautiful surroundings, excellent schools for the girls. This was my ultimate drive, to find great schools to give the girls the best start in life with the education they deserve. Just before moving day we discovered we were pregnant again. Mixed emotion, we had come so far from our miscarriage and my diagnosis but felt it was meant to be, we had always spoke about what it would be like to have a son. We found out we were having a boy. The best feeling ever. Our family was going to be complete. A son for Martin, my little boy. My due date came and went. I was 8 days overdue. I was induced…well kind of, didn’t go to plan. There was missed opportunities and this led to Max’s heart rate dropping throughout the labour but then it stopped and I was rushed to theatre for emergency delivery. The trauma didn’t end there, I was cut and needed stitching (sorry if too graphic) but they hadn’t numbed me, I could have hit the ceiling!!
We got home the day after the birth…I insisted, I’d had enough of the place. Then 3 days later, we returned due to Max being jaundice, he needed phototherapy. 3 days later we got home. I was breast feeding but struggling so I decided to express. All going great until I became unwell. I had pneumonia, was extremely ill but I refused hospital admission…I know, a nurse refusing treatment. So my GP reluctantly let me home with antibiotics but gave Martin strict instructions that if I deteriorate even just slightly I was to be admitted into hospital. Martin looked after me so that I could rest and 3 weeks later and further coursers of antibiotics the pneumonia had lifted.
Then this wave of sadness hit me. I had experienced this horrendous birth, being ill afterwards and the loss of my Nan Sally. This was meant to be the happiest time of my life, but I didn’t feel happy. I was having flash backs of the birth. I was angry, angry that the induction wasn’t managed properly. Angry that I had to be rushed to theatre to save my baby. What if I had lost him? I was dreaming of the worst outcome every night, reaching out in my sleep. I was depressed, postnatal depression and post traumatic stress was my diagnosis. I’m over coming these with the help of my family and GP. Although it took months of me hiding it. I have had counselling and I feel I’m coming out of the other side now. I still have my low points, sleepless nights but they are less frequent. I’m grateful to have my precious children, my partner in crime Martin, my soul mate and my best friend.
So after all of this and what life has thrown my way, I think about what defines me.
I don’t want to be defined as a disability or a mum with post-natal depression. These things have just been sent to try me. To try my strength.
I’m a mum, I give my all to my babies with a love that is indescribable.
I’m a partner, fiancé to Martin, I’ve found my best friend, I couldn’t have got to this point without him and I am so grateful for his love.
I’m the sister, the big sister who my siblings look up to, they tell me they are proud of me.
I’m the nurse, who worked hard and battled through years of study to gain the career I love. I’m the caring nurse who gives her all. I’m the supportive colleague through the hard days at work.
I’m me, Rebecca the woman who has discovered a strength that I never knew existed. I’m a strong woman.
Rebecca – @becky_house_to_home
Thank you to each one of the women involved, I think you are all amazing and truly are inspirational. I know how hard it can be to put your story into the world.
Thank you for reading.