The Right to: Have some ME time.

Whether you have a hectic career, you are a busy mother, you work late or just have too many things to do: everybody needs some ME time. Stress is a killer. It is one of the causes of high blood pressure, asthma, obesity, depression. Stress is a part of everyday life and we meet it at times when we’d rather not, usually when everything seems to be happening at once. The best way to take control of it is to have some time away from it.

Taking ten minutes to read a bit of your favourite book or watch that programme you saved on SKY + can be the difference between keeping your sanity and reaching breaking point.

It is not selfish to have some time to yourself. Yet the pressures around us tell us we don’t deserve to put our needs first.

Last year I posted something on Facebook about wanting to pamper myself – haircut or massage, can’t remember. Many mummies liked it and could empathise greatly. One woman found her way to it and commented that I should be more focussed on my daughter and should not have time to think about myself. This kind of comment was not meant maliciously but it was written sarcastically and it did bruise me. I really struggled with being a preemie mum especially in the first few months. I had only worried about my daughter, so much so that I hadn’t left the house in ten weeks for fear of infection. I was neglecting my mental health which was clearly starting to affect my relationships with others.

If I hadn’t taken any time out for myself, seen a friend for a coffee, gone shopping, had a haircut, I would have gone insane. The stress was overpowering me and I constantly felt ill. I can deal with not brushing my hair for three days or eating lunch at four in the afternoon because my exhausted baby refuses to nap. I can handle waking five times through the night not knowing what is upsetting my baby or wearing an unchanged, sicky t-shirt all day. I can do all that as long as I have some time for myself.

I have been lucky. Even during the worst times with my husband this year, he has always given me a bit of “time-off”. He has taken baby our for a little walk or watched her while I read a magazine with a cup of coffee for ten minutes. In that sense, he was amazing.

Channel 4 in the UK, shows a programme called, ‘The Three Day Nanny’. The nanny goes and helps a desperate family in need of her services. Last week, they showed a couple at breaking point with twin girls. The mum looked after the girls for the majority of the week, solely on her own. She barely left the house and was unable to complete the simplest of tasks as the toddlers were such a handful. In an interview at the start of the programme you could see tears in her eyes as she seemed so anguished at not having any time to relax and do something exclusively for her. Sadly, she did not have a husband that offered her this. In the two years since the children had been born, he had NEVER offered her a hour on the weekend to have the girls and give her a break. He admitted it freely like it was a norm. I’m sure it does happen and many mums are put in this position.

To have a healthy relationship with anyone, you need to have breathing space. That includes your children. Many women get that when they return to work but like the struggling mum on the show, I will be at home every day looking after my little girl. It was my choice (to a point, we could not find affordable childcare) so some will say, “Deal with it” but I am entitled to have a break.

Thank you David for all those breaks you have given me.

And to the woman who told me off for wanting to take care of myself, like I said to you before:

Happy mummy = happy baby.

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Our demise (how it all began) Part 1.

As I stated in my last post, my husband and I are trying to work at our relationship. We do this not only for each other but for our beautiful daughter. Our broken marriage sadly was never very strong but I never imagined we would ever be in the situation we are now. Every relationship has it’s ups and downs, ours always even from the very beginning. The two of us are very different people yet we were drawn to each other at the start. He was the man I could be myself with. No airs, no snobbery, no judgement, just easy. I had never had that before but things clearly changed.

I have to break this post into two parts. I mean how do you sum up the downfall of a marriage in one post?

I can’t spell out an exact breaking point or a specific trauma between us. Our demise has been very slow burning over the last three years. I think my husband probably proposed to me for the wrong reasons. We had come to the end of a pretty trying year between us. I had discovered some revelations about my ‘dearest’……things that threw our relationship into disarray and made me question everything I have ever stood for. You know – the ‘I’d never stay with a man if he did that to me’ kind of stuff? It wasn’t soul destroying but I was pretty pissed off – “betrayed” is a good word for it. I’ll leave you guys to draw your own conclusions on that.

We “worked” at our relationship back then, all those years ago and we did actually sort it out. I forgave him and we moved on and on New Year’s Eve 2010, he proposed to me. Maybe he felt pressured. One of the reasons we had problems back then was that neither of us truly opened up to each other. We were in a very superficial relationship. My life at the time was one big headache as my abusive father was very much controlling my life. For the first two years we were together, I lived with the abuser. How could I show or tell my husband the truth about him? He was so charming to my then boyfriend. Like every other, he liked my father, he could not see who he really was and by the time he saw his truthful nature, my husband was too gutless to do anything.

Even with someone I was still alone.

I accepted his proposal. I needed something from him – a commitment. We had just begun living together, I should have seen that as enough. We weren’t ready for marriage but pressures and excitement from family and friends cascaded us into wedding prep and a day that we never should have had.

I cannot talk still about my wedding day. I do not hold good memories of that day. Not because I got married but because of the issues and ordeals my father put me through leading up to and on it. I spent the majority of the celebration in my hotel room with a glass of wine. I felt disgusting as when most brides lose weight for their wedding, I had put on well over 14 lbs within a year for mine. My dress was tight and I knew it was obvious. I put my hair up which is something I NEVER do in my actual life but I did for the most special day of my life because I thought, “That’s what brides do”. Well what about what I do? I really lost myself at that time. I often talk to David about that day. He did not enjoy himself either. The whole thing resembled nothing of us. I really did it for others. We even invited people that meant nothing to us. Why? Numbers? To be polite? Probably.

It’d be very very different if I could do it again but that doesn’t seem likely now does it?

After the wedding, things returned as they were. Except the year would now be tarnished with my father’s death. I do not feel sad for that time, it is the happiest moment of my life his passing but the weeks before he died were hellish. He wouldn’t stop, even at his end. My new husband was phenomenal. He showed me a side of him I thought I would see from there on in – confident, protective, loving. I never saw that guy again.

Stresses followed. My father’s will, my sister, her husband, deliberately making our life difficult, making things awkward. My husband was in a job he wasn’t enjoying. That changed him. He became isolated, discarding friendships in preference of staying at home doing nothing. He even blamed me for not seeing anyone. I saw my friends. It was his choice to abandon his.

I like my independence. I like to spend time alone. By now, we were in each other’s pockets. I couldn’t stand it. I would often go to my mother’s for a night on my own just for a bit of distance. Perhaps that isn’t normal but I wanted to miss him, I wanted to want to go back to him but I was reaching a point where being by myself seemed more of a good thing than being with him.

We hadn’t even been married a year.

Having a child together was not a rash decision nor was it an accident. Things did get better between us. We wanted a child. There are no regrets. My wedding day was not the most special day of my life, the day I gave birth to my precious daughter was and it always will be.

It was also the day that changed everything for me and my husband. He became someone I had never seen before – a man I did not recognise. He ruined the first 6 months of my daughter’s life. A time where I should have focussed my entirety on this little being, I was having to worry about a grown man who should have been there for me instead of only thinking about himself and for that I will never forgive him.

Part 2 to follow soon……….

What everybody else sees.

It’s very difficult to live with someone who appears to be something they’re not. I’ve lived my whole life with a variation of these sorts of people.

Life is hard at the moment. Take out my wonderful daughter who gives me nothing but pleasure and I’m left with many dilemmas.

I suppose I have to be cryptic but whoever they are will clearly know when I describe my current situation.

What do you do when you lose communication? When you feel like you can’t access the people you rely on, the people who are supposed to be by your side. In recent years, I have felt very much alone. My support system is crumbling. The people who were once so strong are now so distant and guarded. It happened gradually only revealing itself fully late last year. When I myself was having to deal with the trauma of giving birth seven weeks early and coping with being a mother way before I had expected. Not only that, but my precious daughter remained in hospital, trying to thrive and I had no certainty of when she would be home with her mummy.

I needed support. Someone to be there for me.

Instead I am forgotten. My struggles are forgotten and this past eight months have felt incredibly lonely.

I don’t really talk any more to anyone. Friends know what they need to know. I’m used to hiding. It’s almost like a second skin. I did it for twelve years with my father. Friends I did tell never fully grasped the extent of his abuse. People tend to look for the good in others. It’s natural but not everyone is good. My father was a very bad man. There were no excuses for his actions. They weren’t a result of anything. He was how he was because he chose to be that way.

We all have choices. Life is a series of them. I’ve made some really bad ones in my past. I chose to stand by my father, through the abuse and allowed him to treat me abhorrently. All because I longed for my father’s love. A love that never was.

Now I hold onto hope once again. It’s a bad trait. One I wish I didn’t have. One that holds me back and makes me weak.

I will always cling to hope. A hope that one day I can be strong again, find myself and be able to do it alone if I needed to.

Wednesday 17th September – Just a normal day at work……….right?

This day began the same as any other. Yes, I was 32 weeks pregnant and still at work but I had made the decision to work through my pregnancy. Partially to keep me sane and active and also because my husband and I couldn’t afford to lose my wage for the next two months before baby’s expected arrival.

I woke up in the morning having had a satisfying, full sleep the previous night. However, shortly after rising I began to suffer from a deep headache. It came on very suddenly. I wondered if because I had been unwell the previous two days and had spent time at home resting and recuperating, that my body was unable to cope with the shock of waking up so early and heading out to work. It was the only explanation I could muster.

Once at work and after eating an unhealthy McDonald’s breakfast, I sat in the staff room being greeted and welcomed back. I felt fine if not a little tired. As I began my working day, supporting a colleague with a class for the morning, I felt eager to get back into my working routine. I sat supporting a group of children I regularly worked with for the first hour of the day. At 10 am and as we prepared to go to morning assembly, I suddenly felt odd.

Strangely and almost worryingly, I felt an urgent need to pass wind! Embarrassed at the thought I might “let one go” in the middle of the classroom, I sat tight in a fit of panic. Within seconds, my insides cramped and I was certain I had lost control of my bladder. I quickly realised that I couldn’t keep whatever was about to come out – inside. I immediately excused myself to the bathroom and hurried down to the staff bathrooms. Along the way, nothing could keep it from flowing out. I had no idea what was happening as I bolted down the stairs. I was convinced I was wetting myself.

Thankfully, no one crossed my path as I finally made it to a toilet. I locked myself in, pulled down my drenched trousers and attempted to use the toilet. Nothing came out. I was confused. Had I emptied my entire bladder on the way there? How mortifying! I stood up. Within moments, water began pouring out of me.

“Are my waters breaking?” The obvious question and answer finally hit my mind. I did the only thing I knew you could do to check if this was the case. Please look away now if you are easily disgusted…….
I smelled my trousers to sense the smell of urine. Of course, that would be the most obvious sign of a bladder problem. If the smell however was odourless, then it was definitely a sign of waters breaking. Mine smelt of the latter. NOTHING.

SHIT.

My waters had broken. At work. In class. WAY too early.

I was only 32 weeks pregnant and seriously panicking.

I waited and held my trousers underneath the dryer so that I would have some dignity when I could eventually leave the bathroom.

I managed to find the same colleague to help me after a half hour. She was surprised but her along with three other women, helped me through the nerves and stress of this sudden revelation. Well wishes and good lucks flew at me as I made my way to my hospital.

There, as my husband and mother met me, I was told baby needed some monitoring over the following days. So I was admitted into hospital. My waters were still coming out thick and fast annoyingly so I had to wear towels to stop the leaking. It was very strange. I was given an essential steroid injection to mature baby’s lungs in case it decided to appear sooner than we wanted. It bloody hurt! I’ve never felt pain like that before but unfortunately, it would not be long before I would.

After a few hours, I was placed in the care of the Antenatal Unit. David, my husband, stayed with me as I nervously waited to be told what was next in store for me.

It would be the start of my little adventure to the day I gave birth to Ivy-Wren.

Introducing……..

roo sleep

That’s right my WordPress friends……..I have given birth to a beautiful baby girl!

I realise I have been a little off the WordPress radar recently and she is the main reason as to why! The last ten days have been a very tiring and intense journey which has resulted in the early delivery of this little mite. Baby is seven weeks premature and sadly remains in hospital as my husband and I have returned home. We are finding it very hard to be without her and know what she is doing or how she is getting on but we know she is having the best care possible and needs to be monitored. Her health and growth are more important to us than anything else.

I want to share my journey with you from the last ten days. From the day my waters broke at work (yes really) to the adventure and journey it will be towards getting our baby girl home. I always said my last post for freefromhim would be the day my baby was born. However, this little chick came seven weeks early, eager and unexpected and we have a long road ahead of us to get her home. On that day, I will bid you all a fond farewell and continue on my own personal journey towards happiness and clarity.

In the meantime, keep us in your hearts and minds. Pray and think of the little one and send over good wishes.

So, ladies and gentlemen of WordPress and beyond, introducing………………….

Ivy-Wren 

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139 Days to Go!

Yesterday was our half way mark in the pregnancy as I reached five months. It seems crazy to believe it is so far along already. I cannot tell you how quickly time passes.

Today was our 20 week Anomaly scan to check baby’s doing okay. I again, spent most of the hour blindly agreeing with the sonographer as he pointed out parts of the baby I couldn’t myself identify. Typical! My mother and husband didn’t seem to have much luck either. Thankfully, baby is healthy and growing well. All is right from what they can see so I am very relieved. Baby was very sweet from the parts we understood. At one point we watched as it reached out and grabbed it’s feet, mirroring what grown babies do. Clearly, the little one is very flexible! I’m thinking……..gymnast?

The sonographers did ask immediately is we wanted to know the gender. My immediate answer was “No!”. However, as I lay there the more curious I became………….but not curious enough to ask! I still want that to remain a surprise.

I do not have a preference. I just want a baby and more importantly,

to be a mother.

 

20 week roo

Pregnancy pressures.

David and I have been married now for 18 months. We made a conscious decision that we would try to enjoy a bit of our life together before bringing in a new life to share ours with. These last 18 months however have not been the most enjoyable and life has thrown almost every stress our way. We are under pressure and exhausted. Career, home and family have all played their part in this. The thought of a baby joining this stress is unheard of to me. 

My husband is broody. People all around us seem to be falling pregnant. His family and friends are having the kind of experiences he longs for. The only problem is that he has a wife who wants to wait. I’m not saying forever. I just want to feel right. Not in circumstance, but in myself. I’m sure I’ll know when that will be. 

I’ve always wanted children. I love them, hell, I even work with them! However, surprisingly, in the last few years I have even questioned whether or not I could see myself as a mother. 

It’s only been 14 months since I’ve been free. I feel like I should focus on myself. Of course I get the habitual comment, “you don’t want to leave it too late!” or “it’ll be your turn next!”. Nightmare. Give me a chance! It’s quite a private subject to interrogate someone on yet people target you if you’re married and ‘childless’ with free will.

I suppose it is expected.

I just hate the pressure, it only adds to the stress and I doubt having that will help conceiving!