So, most of you know already that my Husband and I decided that two children was enough for us-especially after losing three babies between our two children. Aside from the fact, I personally just couldn’t deal with the grieving and heartache that miscarriage brings with it physically and mentally, our second child wasn’t as easy going as our first, and we knew two was plenty with chalk and cheesE as our kids!
If anyone follows my blog, or regularly reads the things I post, you’ll know about my history with Anxiety, Depression and PTSD following a lack of aftercare when I had 3 recurrent miscarriages a few years ago.
For those who haven’t read any, my basic background is that, between having my son and daughter, myself and my husband lost 3 babies. We were offered nothing in the way of aftercare, no psychological help, and because of that, years later, I’m now suffering from several mental health issues.
Today, after a trip to the park with the little ones, I decided to sort the vast amount of photos and videos on my laptop out, and add them onto my external hard drive. What I hadn’t anticipated was the sheer amount of them I actually own. On the laptop alone there were over 8000 (whoops!)
I added them and decided to sit and nose through the old photos I’d already stored on the hard drive, and in doing so, came across the last six years worth of memories. I’m going to go ahead and use the term “memories” loosely-you’ll read why further down.
While going through them, I remembered around 90% of them, whether that was taking them, or seeing them from someone else.
I know some memories don’t make it to the “long term memory” part of your brain (I’ve just completed a diploma in psychology-this was one of the modules), but I do remember the majority.
I then flicked through until I came to my daughters last three years worth of photos and videos.
We all sat round, giggling at how little, funny and sweet my daughter was (and still is-sometimes), and discussing with my son when they were taken etc. It was then, that I realised something pretty sad-I didn’t remember the majority of them.
Of course, I know I took them, I remember roughly the reason behind them, the time (roughly) they were taken, but I cant remember being there, enjoying that moment, like I did with my son. Quickly switching the laptop off, I tried to reassure myself. I have a lot going on, most days, and what with the issues left behind from the miscarriages, my mind isn’t as clear as it used to be.
Then it dawned on me, what if those two things were connected?!
After putting the children to bed, I opened Google on my laptop. I’d love to say I was wrong in my suspicions, but unfortunately I’m not.
I found out that the hormone cortisol, which is released when you’re stressed, is known to prevent the formation of memories, and therefore causes memory loss. Because anxiety tends to be a long term issue, you’re putting your body through almost constant stress, therefore releasing a harmful amount of cortisol into your body. Additionally, anxiety also distracts you, making your mind wander, therefore hindering your ability to remember what’s happening in the here and now.
PTSD is one of the biggest causes of anxiety, because of the trauma sustained.
I have to count myself as one of the lucky ones, even if it doesn’t feel that way. I have thousands of videos and photos I’ve taken of my kids, and my “memories” can be in front of me at the click of a button. However, what I find that infuriates me more than anything, is that this could have all have been prevented. This is yet another thing mental health has taken from me, primarily down to the lack of aftercare I received.
Its just another thing I’ll have to live with, and slowly come to terms with.
I know I say it a lot on the end of these types of blog posts, but its SO important that the message is sent out. If you, someone you know, just anyone you hear about, has gone through even one miscarriage, or a trauma, make sure they’re battling as hard as they possibly can to get help. And if you/they can’t find that strength to do it for themselves, if their minds and bodies are just too bloody exhausted from fighting to get through each day, then help them, help those around you to get medical help.
Because the life they’ll lead without it, isn’t worth thinking about.
For immediate help or if you’re worried about someone’s mental health while they’re stuck on waiting lists/doctors lists, click the following links for advice. There’s also a link for advice following miscarriage(s) from an amazing organisation, Tommys.
In exactly one week, I turn 30!
As a child, I used to imagine what it would be like to be 30. I was like Jenna Rink in ’13 Going on 30′ (if you haven’t seen that film-you’ve missed out!) I willed time to go faster, so I could experience life as an adult, and all the grown up things I thought I’d do.
Of course, as we all know now we are adults, it’s not all fun and games and really, we wish we’d been smaller for longer.
My son, currently aged 6, is constantly telling me how he “can’t wait to be a grown up”. He wants to be able to play on the Xbox all the time and not be told what to do-I don’t have the heart to tell him its pretty much nothing like that!
The subject of turning 30 is a puzzling one. On first thought its a daunting prospect, with so many deep, life relating questions you seem to ask yourself. The main one, in my case, is whether I’ve achieved all I wanted to by the time I turned 30…..
- Children. I wanted kids. One girl, one boy. When I was a teenager, dreaming of my perfect, grown up life, I wanted one boy called Danny, and a girl called Leticia (yes really). In actual “grown up life”, I have one boy (who’s not called Danny) and one girl (who funnily enough is not called Leticia!)
- Husband. I wanted the man of my dreams. He didn’t have a face, not a definitive one anyway-but I have a feeling he looked something like the men on the posters on my wall-a mismatched version of celebrities and professional football players combined together to make THE perfect man. (Please note, at no point did I dream of the word LOVE). In actual “grown up life”, I have the man I LOVE. He looks nothing like any of those men on my childhood bedroom wall, but he was my schoolgirl crush, my childhood sweetheart (who admittedly dated the majority of my friends before getting to me-but the course of true love, never did run smoothly, did it!) He is the love of my life, my absolute best friend, and I cannot imagine life without him.
- A house. I wanted my own home, a house, with a garden and rooms for both my children (remember my one girl and one boy dream). In actual “grown up life”, I have a house. Its not mine, we rent it, but its our home. We’ve been here a year, the children have their own bedrooms, we have a garden (and a drive-get us!). I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in any of the homes I’ve lived in and right now, its perfect for our little family.
- To be Successful. I wanted a good career, savings, pennies in the bank, the ability to afford holidays for “my perfect” family and all the happiness money brings. In actual “grown up life”, I am now a SAHM (stay at home mum). I have very little in the way of savings, we’ve never had a family holiday (since before children anyway), and in the way of a career, I’ve so far not begun the “perfect job”. I am, however, pretty happy. Money is nice, savings would be lovely, and spare money to spoil the children with would be brilliant. But we’re a happy family. We pay the bills, we eat well, we enjoy our life, so what more can you ask for!
- To make my family proud. I wanted to do things with my life that never brought shame or unhappiness to my family. I wanted them to be proud of me, happy with my life choices. My father, especially, I wanted to make proud the most. He shaped me and made me the person I am today-I never wanted to make him sad, angry, ashamed or disappointed in me. In actual “grown up life”, I can’t answer that can I?! I can’t tell you if I’ve made them proud, only that I tried my very hardest to do so. My dad, remains the driving force behind me trying to make something of my life. I constantly think about what he’d say when I make decisions or life choices. I’m no angel, I know I made some weird decisions as a child and teenager, and sometimes he would’ve been a little disappointed in how I dealt with things or paths I took, but I don’t think there was anything that would’ve made him ashamed of me.
- To be happy. I wanted to be happy. That’s that really! In actual “grown up life”, I am mostly happy. I touched on happiness in the “having money” part of this blog. But that’s not all I need to make me happy. I have two absolutely amazing children, who don’t stop making me proud and trying their hardest, day in, day out. I have an amazing husband, who, for all his faults, remains my constant, my bestest friend in the entire world, who I share everything with, and laugh with (most of the time). I have an amazing family, who I love and adore for their constant love and support. I’m happy with decisions I’ve made, and paths I’ve taken.
All these things, all these mad dreams and ideas I had about being a grown up and the perfect life I was going to have, were pretty delusional when I look back as an almost 30 year old. You cant look ahead 20+ years and map out who you’re going to be and what you’re going to be doing. At that age, you don’t envisage, the
crap challenges you’re going to face along the way. You don’t know the people you’ll meet, the choices you’ll make, or most importantly, the person you’ll become.
What’s important, as we have these milestone birthdays, is that we’re content. Content with where we came from, how we’ve lived so far, and how we plan for our future.
Turning 30 doesn’t scare me, upset me, or make me sad for what was. It makes me excited about what’s to come.
My darling boy,
Yesterday mummy went to your last ever parents evening in year one.
Before I left you said to me, “it’ll be a good one mummy, I’m always good!”
Now I know you’re a good boy, I know you’ve never been in trouble, and are consistent at working hard and achieving high. But I’m not delusional sweetheart.
Grown ups will teach you from a young age, not to believe all you are told, and to take things small humans such as yourself say, with a very large pinch of salt.
When your teacher sat me down, my tummy gave that familiar lurch of anxiety-what if this time something was different and we had a brand new obstacle to overcome.
My anxiety was for nothing.
You didn’t disappoint and were true to your word.
Your results for the end of term tests and subjects, not only blew me away but your teacher too. She told me how much she will miss you when you leave her class in two weeks. She told me how proud I should be of you.
God I am proud of you!
I want to tell the world how proud I am of you, but proud as a standalone word isn’t enough.
- I am thankful. Thankful to have you as my son, for the joy you bring me and the consistent happiness you fill our lives with.
- I am amazed. Amazed how my little baby boy, has grown into such an amazing big boy, who is so clever, thoughtful and funny.
- I am grateful. Grateful for the gift of you from whichever divine being sent you to me.
- I am overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the sheer love I have for you, for the amount you achieve and still have to achieve. For all I have taught you and have to teach you in the future.
- I AM PROUD. Proud to be your mummy, your friend, your comfort, your support and your absolute biggest fan.
Not long ago you told me that one day you’ll be too big for cuddles on my lap and holding my hand.
That day can wait-I’m not giving it up without a fight.
Keep making me proud my lovely. Keep being you.
Today was always going to be emotional. Ignoring the fact I’m a complete wuss anyway and cry at pretty much anything, today was the last day of Reception class for my boy.
This morning, just like the morning of his first day at his school, I took a photo of him ready to go in. The differences aside from the obvious ones, the new house and the fact he had shorts on instead of trousers, weren’t visible until I put the photos side by side.
Visually, his little round baby face has turned into a little boy’s face, less round, more long. His hair is lighter, and styled now. His once, short, pale, little legs, are now longer, with more colour in them (and more bruises!)
What you can’t see in the photos is the difference in him as a person.
He was already clever 10 months ago, he could write his name, count to 20, he was able to read small words. Now, he is top of his class in reading and writing, and is counting to 100. He is polite, well mannered, caring, loving, happy, funny and way beyond his 5 years.
I can’t take credit for any of this. He comes home to me at 3:10 and the most I do of an evening is have him read to me. At the weekends, I let him rest and do what he wants, unless we have plans. The credit is to his teacher and teaching assistants. They’ve put in the hours with him and moulded him into the amazing little man he is today.
The pride and sadness etched on his teachers face today as he hugged her and said goodbye was clear to see. I can’t imagine how hard it is to spend the best part of a year with 30 children in your care then have to say goodbye to them!
I can’t find enough words to say how grateful I am to her and her assistants. I can’t find enough words to explain to my boy how unbelievably proud I am of how much he’s learnt, and how he’s grown as a person.
For now, I’ll hold back the tears that have threatened to escape all day, and maybe have some more cuddles with my boy, who’s mine for a whole 6 weeks from now!