Tag Archives: love

Forgiveness 

It’s three years ago today since I last drank alcohol. 23:59 to be precise when the last drop of vodka slid down my throat. I hadn’t been to a meeting since the start of the year but felt today I wanted to make a concerted effort to go. Not that I felt the need in the sense to stop me from using but to share in my abstinence success, catch up with other group members and to stay focussed. It’s easy to get complacent and not celebrate that what you have achieved so far is pretty damn good. I don’t ever give myself enough or even any praise with the successes in my life. Far too easy to accept failures as that’s more the way isn’t it? You can’t go into a recovery meeting and tell everyone how great you’re doing and how you never think about alcohol now and don’t even miss the codeine buzz and calm either? I mean there are people there who are really struggling with addictive behaviours and they don’t want to hear about everything being hunky dory with you? Truth is … they do.
Each and every person around that table celebrated in my success. They were generous, kind, hopeful, supportive and humorous. That’s why I like to drop in still because we all help support each other at whatever stage of recovery you are at. 
Right now on the eve of the start of my third year of sobriety it has got me thinking about not only how far I have come but also where I am going. As I’ve written about before stopping drinking was only one aspect of the bigger story. Stopping codeine was something else and in many ways the harder of the two due to the physical withdrawals and the realisation that I was on my way to just being me. Just little old me. I had found that prospect quite terrifying. I’d have nothing to hide behind but what was I hiding from? The answer of course was myself or the me that allowed myself to properly feel and not self medicate the negative feelings or enhance the positive ones but to actually feel what was happening in me good and bad. 
Since I was around eleven I started to have feelings of judgement, conditional love and not being good enough. Although that could also come with big love, support and praise it could change like the flick of a switch. My coping mechanism was to adopt a cool, ice maiden exterior where no emotion was shown that way I couldn’t let what I was feeling inside affect me. What I was feeling inside was hurt, sadness,  fear and a whole lot of anger. My Nana was the creator of this but through circumstances my parents facilitated it. It is only now with my new found clarity that I look back and accept what happened. A lot of it circumstantial and a lot of developing clashes between a dominant older personality and an emerging strong teenage one who like her grandmother also knew her own mind. It could be really tough and sharing a room didn’t help but in many ways both of us were put in a situation where familiarity really did breed contempt. For so many years I blamed every negative ounce of me on her and what my parents allowed by moving in with her but I can either choose to carry on living like that or I can choose to let go and get on with the rest of my life but in order to do that I know I need to do one thing. Forgive. 
I do and I feel a weight lifted. I look at my own children and I know what I want for them. I want them to know every minute of their lives that I love them – unconditionally. I don’t want them to ever have an ounce of doubt of my love for them. I don’t want them having to show forgiveness towards me for how I made them feel once I am dead. I don’t want regretful love and wishing it had of been different. 
I’m not making that an excuse for my binge drinking habits or analgesic popping ways but I know the root of my inability to accept myself lay in my formative years and I carried it into adulthood using substance to take the edge off of me. It took a real plummet in my self worth from an unhappy and emotionally toxic marriage and subsequent divorce to enable me to take that substance crutch and throw it into the recycling. What came back was the courage to support myself and my children without the voices in my head telling me I wasn’t a good enough daughter, granddaughter, wife and even mother. 
The kids and I have our own unique way of saying we love each other. When they drive off on a Sunday for three days with their Dad we always sign ‘I Love You’ by pointing to our eyes, heart then each other. Nothing new there and commonly used by many but we have our own unique way of writing it too. An eye, within a heart, within a U. We sign it on birthday and Christmas cards, letters, postcards, notes or messages to each other and have done since it has just been the three of us together. 
Here you can see my youngest leaving a message on the kitchen reminder board. 


I had this idea to do something that would stay with me forever and always bring home to me even in the darkest moments how blessed we are to have each other. How blessed I am to receive such unconditional love from two human beings and what a privilege and joy it is to love them without condition. So I made the decision to take our unique and personal symbol and give it permanency. 


This is phase one and completion will be in a couple of weeks time but when I look at it I find it reminds me that being just me is good because I am being authentic in my love and every night my children go to bed they know how much they are loved and so do I. 
In many ways my binging on drink and codeine was a form of self harm for it stopped me from forgiving myself all the negative thoughts and feelings I had squeezed to capacity inside of me. Forgiving another does take courage, faith and trust but to forgive yourself takes kindness and that can be hard to do. When I sat in that group today I felt kindness from each and every one of them, I feel kindness from my children, I feel kindness from my family and friends but by forgiving myself and celebrating what I have achieved I am starting to be kind to me. 

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Mistakes 

We all make mistakes. It’s part of human nature to do so. You might forget to close the freezer door or pass on some important information. You might make a typo in a document or get the wrong sandwich for your work colleague in the lunch run. Yes they can be annoying and you feel genuine remorse but generally they are easy to move on from and without any lasting damage. We realise logically and rationally that ‘hey it was just a mistake’. 

Some mistakes however are habitual.  They cause havoc in our personal and emotional lives shrouding us in guilt, self loathing and tinge our inner self with anger and despair. These repeated mistakes are thorns in our sides and before we realise what’s happened we’ve done it again and again and again but maybe it’s how we deal with them and move on that defines us. Reflective practice to work through and discover why we repeat certain mistakes and aim to change the behavioural patterns that we automatically defer to takes courage and the will to want to. Sounds easy doesn’t it. Writing it down it makes perfect sense but it’s not. It’s bloody difficult and unless you accept that it probably will get a whole lot worse before it gets better then the new road ahead will never be fully travelled by you. 

Was drinking for me a mistake? The drinking certainly caused certain behaviours which resulted in mistakes that could and should have been avoidable. So what happens when mistakes are made that can be detrimental to my happiness and general wellbeing? When it affects those around me but I can’t blame alcohol anymore. When patterns of behaviour and reactions are repeated without thought or pause only resulting in unhappiness and unfulfillement. That all I am left with is me. All I have in all of this is me. All I can be in this repeated mistake is me. Me. A little word with a big world of doubt. 

Learning to make decisions, create change and bloody well face the music can be terrifying on my own and when I say on my own I mean without a go to substance to “help” me deal with my mistakes. The mirror is well and truly held up and it’s difficult to take a proper look but unless I am willing to take my hands down, open my eyes and take in what is reflected the change in direction will never happen. 

My daughter can be at times emotionally challenging as she navigates her own path through life. She can be demanding, even manipulative at times with a strong will and huge stubbornness. Along with that though is warmth, kindness, an abundant creativity and an emotional intelligence that takes my breath away. In her childlike innocence she has the knack of turning an upsetting and personally disappointing series of parenting mistakes into something positive.

 Last night we locked horns. It wasn’t a very happy couple of hours with both parties unable to back down or give the other the required emotional space to recover. In a way habitual mistakes are almost a kind of addiction. In some weird subconscious way persistently repeating mistakes that cause pain feeds the need to keep telling myself the same story – that I’m not a good enough mother, daughter or friend, that I should feel guily, that I should fail, that I’m a bad person. It’s easier to continue to believe that at times because it’s what has been learnt, heard and expect. It’s easier to fall into the learnt behavioural pattern of mistake because it’s like a self fulfilling prophecy. So where is the kindness to myself in these moments? Where is the love I need to give myself? Where is the basic liking of myself? It’s there but in these moments of non substance addictive behavioural choices I can’t see that what I am is a human being; a complex collection of cells, imperfect in their make up but uniquely special in their capability to take my life wherever I want to. 

The older I get the more cynical I’ve become but my children’s unconditional love has this unique way of showing me that I can learn to forgive my mistakes.

In the aftermath of our fight she brought me a gift. 

A little yellow plastic suitcase from her toy collection. 

She asked me to open it. 

I did. 

There I found 5 pencil top erasers that she had broken off and placed inside. 

 I asked her what they were for.

Her face glowingly expectant she replied, 

‘to rub out all our mistakes Mummy’. 

800 days 

    The earlies, the mid’s and the late’s. 

    Just 6 sleeps now till I reach my last mid 40’s year. If I say it quick enough it doesn’t really register but the simple fact is I will be turning 46. I’ve always been able to deal with new decades filled by the subsequent earlies and mid’s but there’s something about the late’s that I don’t like. I suppose it focusses on the end of something and the fear of the unknown next phase of your life. By that point I will have had 3 years to fret, pre empty and write some convoluted horror story in my head but the reality of the new decade is actuslly accompanied with a sigh of relief and I generally embrace of the new phase. The earlies are just 3 years that feel very much like the decade’s start and the mid’s are just settling into the new maturer me but the late’s well that’s the saying goodbye to years that I’ve lived too fast without stopping to take air and be present. I suppose getting another year older carries the same question that I have with New Year in that do you really begin something new or does your life carry on but with the time labels that are periodically stamped on it? I mean when I reach 46 does that mean that the next 366 days are a chance to make positive change, nurture the things I love or make resolutions? I don’t think so. I think we all fall into the trap of compartmentalising our lives into periods, labelling them and then looking at them with rose tinted nostalgia all too eager to wish we were 19, 25 or 34 again. In doing that we will only find it more difficult to enjoy the here and now.

     When I look at my late teens and 20’s a great deal of it was under the influence of alcohol, cigarettes and cannabis. Yes I had a some great successes in those years but for a large part I was nursing a hangover, borrowing money off my Nana for fags or taking a whitey. This of course will not be unlike most young people of that age group and I had a jolly good time in the process but did I? I was talking about this with some friends recently. When I  look back at my younger self in particular my drinking younger self like many in Scotland, well the UK, there is the expectation that you go out to get drunk, bladdered, wasted. That’s the aim of the game. The following morning retracing your drunken or stoned steps with your pals trying to piece together the hazy and sometimes blank night before. Hysterical laughter, many stories and shared memories for sure however, too often time was lost through memory loss or sickness ensued due to too much drink. I have so many sick stories I could do a standup routine just on the subject. By and into my 30’s I had stopped smoking both weed and cigarettes respectively but still liked a drink. Oh I loved a drink! It just took a different turn. As unhappiness in my marriage crept in like a dementor alcohol helped to numb me in that unhappiness but with two pockets of light shining always in the shape of my children. Thank you universe for them.  In my teens and 20’s it was a social substance. I very rarely drank in the house unless I was going out. When I lived at home with my family the flat ( being so central) was usually a hub of friend activity. My pals were always popping in to visit but unless we were going out we never drank alcohol. We made coffee, tea and cheese on toast. Into my 30’s and 40’s drinking became much more of a home activity as going out was not something I did very much anymore. The social binging of my younger self had become something different. It wasn’t so much socially anymore but more a means to get through difficult emotional times or to give me courage sometimes in the most mundane and unremarkable of activities. I was slowly losing myself. My strength, self assureness, decision making, independence and ability to love was becoming underpinned by alcohol and I felt I needed it more and more to find these things. When you are told you will never manage, that you are a bad person and that you will never be happy just alone and miserable then no matter what defences you try to protect yourself with inside that self made fortress it is a murky emotional swamp and your confidence needs propping up all the time. I hadn’t realised what a set of under arm crutches my drinking had become. 

    I can’t remember what was the actual trigger that made me want to stop only that I had enough self awareness and understanding to know that I was using alcohol in a negative way and if I didn’t address it things could and no doubt would escalate into something that would be more of a struggle than what I was facing at that moment. I didn’t physically need alcohol. I didn’t feel any physical difference when I didn’t drink but I thought about it every day. Making conscious decisions on waking that this would be a day that I wouldn’t drink but then as soon as I felt stress or even joy it was complimented with a bottle of wine, vodka or both.

    I’m lucky I had the strength and courage to say ‘ for me this is enough’. I am not a bad person I am human and may have made some bad choices but this was one choice that was to empower me and liberate me from the shackles of a substance that was controlling a lot of my own self. In choosing to stop drinking I was choosing to find me. Who would that woman be? What would she be like free from control? Where could she go in life? I’m not sure I have the answers yet. Who knows what lies ahead? Whether it be the earlies, the mids or the lates it’s not about the destination; it’s about the getting there. So far the journey has been challenging but it is so full of life, love, compassion, laughter, forgiveness and kindness. 

    These are true riches.
      
      
     

    Happy Sunday xx 

    Ps 675 days 

    1,2,3 1,2,3

    Out with the old…

      

    So here we arrive at the end of another year. Hogmanay has always been a huge event in Scotland and certainly one in my family. When I was growing up we always had an open door party policy and would still have people in our flat till light was drawing in. I remember one year when I was about 23 a rather cute Aussie guy standing in our kitchen and someone asked him who was it he knew here he replied, ‘ No one. I was at the Tron and someone suggested this address if I wanted to go to a party’. We lived so centrally that it was about a fifteen minute walk from the Tron so a popular place for people to come to. My Mum always did a huge spread of food and there was every alcoholic beverage you could think of. Yes she catered for all tastes and heartily encouraged much drinking. There was music, sometimes romance ( well maybe an inebriated New Years snog with some equally  drunk person), party pieces where I was always encouraged to sing at every opportunity by Nana and my Dad but the one thing I really remember was the sound. It was so noisy with chatter and laughing – so much laughing. It was one of those nights that was well and truly a green light to getting totally shit faced. I lived for Hogmanay. In many ways the excitement for it outshone Christmas for me. It was always going to be the night of nights! 

    Truth be known it never was any better than some of the other nights I had out at totally random times of the year. There was always a sense of anti climax after it. A realisation that all the stuff you promise to do once the clock strikes midnight that will change your life forever and make this next year truly fantastic is all wishful thinking.  Life doesn’t really fit into periods of twelve months and we can say well that’s that done now and the next twelve will be totally different. How does a happy New Year fit if a loved one dies at 11pm on December 31st, or your battling illness over months or years crossing over yearly timelines making it different to differentiate one year from the next. We have a tendency to look back at the negatives that happened in a year and maybe by trying to box it into this twelve month period it will somehow be gone on the stroke of midnight ready to start a fresh?

     For me truthfully it never really was. 

    If I look at the last year it has been full of ups and downs with some significant downs I have to say. However, most of these were not just confined to 2015 and actually had been carried over from the previous year, years or decades in some cases. In some ways though it was during this twelve month stretch that some of these challenges peaked. There were some unwanted intrusions in my life by certain individuals who need to do a lot of work on themselves but sadly never will.  There was pain, anger, anxiety, worry, dissapointment, self loathing, feelings of failure and underachievement. In Spring someone took their leave from my life who had over the course of 18 months become a constant. That departure only clarified their meaning to me. That meaning will always remain special to me and held with much affection. On the back of that another person took their leave from me but for different reasons. Their proclaimed ‘disappointment’ on reflection only led me to realise that the only thing I would say to them now would be ‘Right back at ya!’ 

    Yet without these downs, these lows, these emotional challenges I wouldn’t be where I am now. I wouldn’t be looking inward to myself and learning to accept me and all that entails and by making sense of it in a totally sober world that what I give outwardly will be more honest, accepting, self assured and open. Too often I haven’t listened to how I am feeling  for fear of rejection but if you can’t hear what yourself is saying and respect that and give yourself  kindness then how do you expect to give it to others? Alongside the more challenging aspects there has been much wonderful joy. My constantly surprising relationship with my parents is one that is growing richer by the day. All I will say is thank you ❤️ My children make me feel blessed and full of love like no other way. Being a single parent has its obvious challenges but it also creates a unique bond and trust between us. The love they give is totally unconditional and the bond between us will never be broken. They have shown me how to love and how to love myself. Sometimes I look at them and they take my breath away. My life is immensely rich in true friendships something I cherish greatly. I have learnt so much from my very close friends and their understanding, lack of judgment, love and support is a life force to me. I love you all dearly. 

    The older I get the more I am becoming comfortable with who I am and as the seasons come and go and life’s patchwork quilt grows and takes on an ever changing shape and scale I understand that each portion had its part to play in creating my journey to this point but people and human interaction are vital to that story too.  I cannot change what has been or predict what the future will be but I can be here and present in what is now, not just for 2016, or on the stroke of midnight but at anytime. My little girl said something today after we’d had a falling out. She said ‘Mummy, let’s start a fresh. We can choose to start anytime so let’s start now’. We are only where we are now. 

    The previous years, the years to come? 

    It’s now that you truly feel the sun. 

    So stop and truly listen to yourself,

    Inside you’ll find so much wealth.

    Time arrives too soon and departs too fast,

    Hold on to now before it becomes the past. 

    So for the first time on Hogmanay I am sitting alone, writing this, with a cup of tea and you know what? I’m perfectly content. May the rest of your life from this moment on continue to challenge, inspire, cherish and surprise you. 

    Nighty night xx

    Ps 638 days 

    Bah! Humbug! No more! 

    The dark nights are well and truly upon us and this year I am going to try something I’ve never really done in my adulthood. I’m going to enjoy Christmas. My usual bah humbug attitude of minimal decorations  up as late as I can manage it and then down early as is humanly possible without scarring the kids for life is going to be different. I have started my new found festive excitement by getting rid of my Christmas tree. Now that might sound counter productive but I have donated it’s fir coned self to the Royal Blind School Christmas show. Now before you think I should be beatified for this I do actually work there so it’s not like I arrived at the door like a modern day Scrooge visiting the Cratchit’s house on Christmas morn laden with good cheer and a big fat goose but it is still going to good use. That tree purchased in 2006 is like the ghost of Christmas past and each one pretty poor. Each year that it was dragged out of the two industrial bin bags my heart would sink. While each colour coded branch slipped into its colour coded partner slot my mood would darkem until “merry” melancholia took root spreading like dutch elm disease and strangling any notion of fun. New neural pathways? This was one yearly event that needed a good forging in a different direction. 

    I can remember as a child being so excited when certain decorations made their Yuletide appearance. The warm memories of the angel with the yellow wool hair that rotated to ‘Silent Night’ when you turned the key or the snow globe containing the tiny Victorian street scene ( they’re always Victorian aren’t they?) and the metal candle holder that had to be carefully pieced together and when the candles were lit the heat made the reindeer dance around. Yet in the last 12 years whenever I stuck my hand into the tangled mess of what seemed like a mile long cable of cherry fairy lights woven into tarnished tinsel the pulling out of each decoration was like falling onto a cactus plant with your bare leg; each one stinging more than the last. 
      
    It’s funny how negative memories can sometimes have a habit of taking centre stage with me rather than the positives. Is that because I expect the downside so if it is a festive flop I can’t be disappointed? I mean aren’t they all like that?  Stress, stress and more stress. It’s not like I even believe in God so this whole tiresome tinsel fest is wasted on me. Then of course there is the Christmas association with alcohol. Not that I ever needed an excuse but it was a big green light to get shit faced by at least midday and carry on down the gin soaked road until everyone had gone, the kids were shackled in bed and I could be left in peace inwardly delighted to tick another Christmas off the calendar of life but too pissed to actually show anything more than drunken stupor. I was of course not drinking last year but I still had the same figgy pudding frown on and of course the terrible memory tree was there in the room with its tired tinselled branches trying to twinkle. It’s weary baubles each one weighed down with a miserable memory of each Christmas past. It’s just there, in the corner,staring at me. 

    This year I have bought myself an early Christmas present of a brand new trowel and I am starting by drawing a line in the grey matter. A light fresh new line but clear enough to see and each day I’m going to work that line with my trowel making it deeper and full of newly made Christmas memories. Im going to buy new decorations that the kids and I can choose together and we will create new memories of this Christmas and for the ones yet to come. I am going to fill our home with the smell of oranges, cloves, nutmeg, pine and cinnamon. We will cuddle up together and watch warm festive films. We shall love and support each other and feel lucky and blessed for having that. 

    As I have said I am not religious but I absolutely respect those who are and whatever belief system they follow or whichever festivals they celebrate but for me I am going to view this Christmas as a time to reflect. Rather than assuming the day will be all for nothing I’m going to make sure that it is most definitely for something. 2015 has been another one of those years which has been so up and down I should have had travel sickness tablets on repeat prescription but I am nearly out the other side and it will end with emotional kindness and experiential  validation for those difficult times. It will be a celebration of the successes of the past year and the unchartered hopes for the future. 

    There is so much to be thankful for even in those times when we are sad. Life’s departures need not always be viewed with disappointment, frustration or hurt but in taking the good from them, the happy times, the shared experience we can remember that what we have gained is unique and incomparable to anything else. That in itself (although with some loss) so much has been gained through life’s experience and we are the richer for it although not always obvious until later reflection offers a different world view. That’s what I want – see Christmas with fresh new eyes rather than the tired tear stained ones of the past. To view it not as a tangled fairy light mass of difficult memories and associations but as a future path of enlightened opportunities offering new experiences and enriching life everyday. 

      

    So ring them bells…. It’s Chriiiiiiisstmaaassss!! 

    Nighty night.

    Ps 607 days 

    Pps Happy St Andrews Day and 🎉🎂😘

    An Extra Hour

    The clocks went back last night. Well to be precise at 2am GMT. Just out of interest the Daylight Saving Bill was introduced in 1909, the year my Nana was born although it wasn’t fully put into practise until 21st May 1916 three weeks after Germany had formerly introduced it and by the looks of this photograph it wasn’t always in October. I wonder though with all those years of forwards and backwards what is the actual time had we not been saving? I suppose if it’s just back and forth we’re either here or an hour forward? Argh! The movement of time always bamboozles me. I mean don’t get me started on ‘ Back to the Future’ or ‘Twelve Monkey’s’. 

    Yesterday was a day when I wish there had been an extra hour. That hour would have allowed me so much more calm, patience and usefulness. It could have been time well spent. As it stands the extra hour was not afforded me or anyone else for that matter. I mustn’t feel lone persecution in my time lacking anxiety but so often I do. When I feel pressure (usually time related) I change pretty quickly into John Cleese in ‘Clockwise’ striding  through the house in a demented fashion and giving orders out to the kids like a sergeant major. Trouble is the more I bellow like Brian Blessed on acid the more they go into slow mo and give me the ‘ I couldn’t give a figless fuck’ attitude. Yes it can be quite frantic and so predictable in many ways with one striking factor – time. If I had more time we wouldn’t be getting stressed. Sounds plausible doesn’t it but really that extra hour wouldn’t give me much at all because I’d only get up later or find other time wasting activities to fill it resulting in the usual wearisome meltdowns about buses, timetables, school bags, packed lunches, work, homework, appointments, forgotten play pieces, signed forms, money, match attax, loom bands, unofficially borrowed toys to be returned, missing uniform items, football training, football games, brownies, dance classes, play dates, sleep overs or even endless requests for teeth brushing to commence. 

    Now that I don’t sit of an evening supping vino collapso and slipping into a numb fuzzy state (where any coherent thought cannot reside because my brain’s addled terrain is not conducive to its existing there) I have much more time to think and reflect on what has passed and it’s quite revealing and sometimes  hard to take. To really look at a given situation and what part you have played in it takes honesty and courage because sometimes you might not like what you see about yourself. When I am panicked, pressured or under acute stress I look to source the blame to make sense of how I’m feeling. It’s because the water wasn’t hot enough, or because you didn’t do as you were asked even after the 8th time or because too much was attempted in too short a time scale. I feel thwarted with a huge sense of injustice. Therein lies the answer to my own dilemma –  I try to do too much giving myself monumental mountains to climb and a self fulfilling prophecy to fail. With that expectation piled upon myself by yours truly I am bound to. I try to keep everyone happy. I try to prevent upset. I try to give the kids as many opportunities as I can because I am their Mum and I want them to participate in stuff that inspires them and makes them happy but in doing that the pressure I put on myself is immense resulting in time wasted by deconstructive means resulting in stress and frustration. I mean they are only with me four days not a whole week. I know I need to let go. I need to give myself a break. I need to be kinder to myself. 

    Something I am learning is that it doesn’t make me a bad Mum or a failure if I say no to certain things or prioritise. At the end of the day when the kids have a strop about not getting more football cards or not having their friends over on a particular day are they not just pushing the boundaries and quite frankly being unreasonable at times? At the end of  the day when I have a personality change because ( deep down) I know I’ve not allowed enough time to give the best possible start to the day and I’m cross with myself am I not pushing the boundaries and being unreasonable by taking it out on them?  I know when the domestic storm hits that I am culpable as much as anyone else if not more for at the end of the day I need to show them that I am in control for then they feel safe. It’s hard sometimes when the pressure hits but if I’m not in control neither will they be. They look to me to show  them the way, to guide them, to make them feel safe and loved. I have no doubts that I give them all of those things in abundance and I beautifully and honestly receive them back in full but the kindness, compassion and love I am seeking  in these situations needs to comes from me. It’s not a bad thing to love yourself. It’s not egocentric or selfish, it’s acknowledging when you’re feeling vulnerable, weak or scared and allowing yourself to be honest about those feelings and be kind and generous emotionally to yourself  rather than burying them inside feeling the need to be punished for the stressful situation. None of us are perfect. Each and everyone of us is flawed and full of contradictions and we all need love, kindness and compassion. Let’s try not to forget to give that to ourselves too. 

    Nighty night x 

    P.S. 573 Days 
      

    Motherhood 

    Ten years ago today I became a mother. Something I never thought I would be. Something for most of my life I never really had a desire to be. Yet a decade ago there I was ready to welcome into the world my baby, my son, my life changer. As soon as my then husband and I married we decided to try for a baby. I wasn’t get any younger so there seemed no reason to wait. I had also changed my view on having kids and knew it was something I very much wanted. When I try to think what it was that changed in me I am not 100% sure. Partly at that stage I felt in a secure relationship and it seemed a natural progression but it was also something quite personal. I longed for a connection with another human being that was totally unconditional, a unique bond, to feel selfless in my love for another, to think of another before all else, to nurture and to find complete joy. After 18 months of trying in 2004 I eventually fell pregnant… Twice in fact. Both pregnancies were lost. I felt a failure, incomplete and scared that I would never be able to sustain a pregnancy full term. Then in January 2005 I was pregnant again. Third time lucky? It had to be and it was. This pregnancy was not straightforward with gestational diabetes, a separated symphysis pubis and high blood pressure just for starters but what I found most challenging was the psychological effect it had on me. The worry that I would miscarry again and only till I was fairly showing and feeling strong movement did I relax on that. The worry of the diabetes and trying to keep on top of the endless hospital appointments, scans and blood checking. Given all that I still had the biggest concern of all. The fear that I wouldn’t be a good mother. That I would fail. That I wouldn’t meet the requirements of the job. What if I was rubbish at it? What if I couldn’t give my baby what it needed? What if he felt rejected by me? After all Nana had told me enough that I wasn’t a great daughter ( based on the fact that I was just different to my Mum and didn’t pander to her ego like she did) so surely I wouldn’t be a good Mother? These fears were in the back of my mind the whole time as well as the sheer excitement at what lay ahead. 

    Then after yet another hospital appointment I was kept in for observation due to high blood pressure. The following morning I was informed that although 11 days early they were going to induce me. You’re not ready! I could hear in my head. You are not ready! Well I had to be. There was no going back or stalling this. My induction began on Friday 2nd of September at a around 6.30pm and my son …our son Max was born at 2.14am on Sunday 4th September. After a monumental 31 hours and 44 minutes, pain, examinations, epidural resulting in what was akin to a near death experience, vomiting, more pain, needles, more examinations, blood, fluids, drips, catheters, cesarean section, anaesthetic, fear, exhaustion, terror, emotion, joy, relief and laughing there he was. A little blue due to low blood sugar but there, big, strong and beautiful. He was the most glorious thing I had ever seen. I remember every time I looked at him I couldn’t believe he had been born from me. That he had grown inside my womb. That he was of me. Of both of us. 

    So much has happened since my son was born both good and bad but one thing is clear. Regardless of what departures have been made between the two people that created this human being, this clever, funny, sensitive, loving, supportive, caring, sometimes grumpy young man that is forming in front of my very eyes we did get one thing very right. Our son. In fact little did we know over those life changing hours that only 19 months later the second thing we got right would happen. The birth of our daughter. Whatever isn’t there anymore we always have the joy and pride of sharing the creation of these two perfect children. 

    My motherhood has changed me completely. It is by far the most rewarding, loving and special aspects of my life but equally can be the most challenging, soul destroying and exhausting. There is not a day goes by that I do not question myself as a mother. Sometimes my insecurities are hard to bear and the self doubt is overwhelming but that is something I need to work on constantly and now a single parent I am finding my strength in that and it is liberating. Regardless of what mistakes I make the bond is forever, unbroken, unconditional. The love I give and receive is solid, unending and perfect. I am blessed. 

    My son you were not the only one born that day. I was too. 

    I love you always and forever. 

    Your Mummy xxx

    Ps 520 days 

    Max only hours old.

      

    Max’s first day at school ( aged 5)

      

    Max on his 10th birthday.