The short falls of pregnancy.

I have been away in Oxford this bank holiday weekend on a Hen party. It has been lovely to get away and the weather was near perfect but sadly, my endless sea of nausea stilted my enjoyment for most of the weekend. I understand I am not the first woman to have ever suffered with pregnancy symptoms but I cannot disguise my constant discomfort. 

The retching (never vomiting) has to be the worst. Since week five of pregnancy have I endured it. Morning and night. The only relief is to lie on my left side for ten minutes but of course that is not always possible, especially at work. I have always suffered with travel sickness but driving up and from Oxford with a friend has been a hundred times worse. Baby does not like cars and clearly neither does mum (!)

I have been told the sickness should ease up in the next few weeks but I am wishing it to end a lot sooner. All that I can do is stay positive that it is a good thing. At least my body is doing something normal and reacting in a standard way. Not that it is much more reassuring but it certainly helps.

Food aversion is not fun especially for someone who used to LOVE food. Surprisingly, I’ve gone off chicken. One of the blandest foods on the planet. It doesn’t seem to matter what you do to it, I think it’s rank! Weird. Very weird. I hope this doesn’t last long.

The headaches have become the newest symptom to appear. They are truly awful. Along with the symptoms comes the predictions. Many a folk have predicted it’s a girl due to the way I’m feeling but looking our scan there was a moment I thought boy. To be honest, we aren’t bothered. We just want the little one healthy and strong but nonetheless, it’s fun listening to people’s reasoning!

 

The cost of kindness.

I sometimes forget all the things that are free in this world. Kindness is one of them. After being sent a link on Facebook, (35 pictures to prove there is some good in this world) it made me think about how easy it is to take such a basic emotion for granted.

When living with my abuser, kindness was almost forbidden – certainly on his part and especially towards me. His exterior often portrayed a kind and generous man but behind closed doors was a different matter. I ached for an ounce of kindness from him. I wanted him to be gentle and thoughtful with me, to be considerate of my feelings and character. I longed for him to empathise with me and have compassion. These are characteristics that he would have certainly classed himself as having as he did not see himself as ever being without these traits. Many would agree that my father was a thoughtful man but they only saw what he wanted them to.

I will never forget this memory.

One summer evening after a shopping trip, my father was driving us home. It had been a bad visit to the supermarket and we had spent the majority of the journey arguing in the car as we drove back. It was a stupid and dangerous thing to partake in. Arguing while he was driving was my worst place to fight as I never could trust what kind of risks he would take. He was happy to risk our lives and leave me fearing for my life. I cannot remember the subject of our row only that he was attempting to drill in his point. It wasn’t so much of a two way argument; more of a barrage of anger from his end. I had done the unthinkable and spoken back to him. His questions were NOT to be answered. Silly me for forgetting.

I began to feel claustrophobic and tried to avert my eyes from his powerful gaze. Even as he drove he was still finding a way to bury his burning glare into my soul. As my eyes darted from window to window, something caught a hold of my attention. The car slowly pulled up to a bit of traffic as I focussed in on a man lying face down on the ground at a bus stop ahead of us. The day was fading into night and the sunlight had now disappeared into the distance. My father was still continuing his tirade at me but by now, my concentration was fully placed on the stranger.

As we slowly approached the man, I dared to interrupt my father. I could feel his shock and momentary build up of rage. Once again, I interrupted his flow and as I was too frightened to speak in fear of him screaming, I just pointed. I pointed to the lonely man lying face down on the floor.

“Ignore it,” my abuser muttered as he keep his eyes ahead of him.

His comment immediately broke my gaze.

“What?”

“Ignore. It.” He repeated defiantly.

I couldn’t ignore it. I couldn’t fathom his own ignorance. I was horrified.

“There’s a man over there. Pull over.”

“Did you not hear me the first time Babitago?! IGNORE IT!” He shouted violently and slammed his hands on the wheel.

I lost it.

I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I was not that kind of a person.

“He could be dead!” I screamed. “Pull over! We need to call an ambulance!”

“You are a insolent moron! Evil! Disgusting! What is wrong with you? You have no respect for me!”

“This isn’t about you!”

My final comment was enough for my father to release his fury. He let out an almighty roar and I practically jumped out of my seat. The traffic had subsided and he gradually began to pick up speed. I had unleashed his inner monster and it was not about to go into hiding. I turned to see the stranger still on the ground. His lifeless body waited to be found yet no one stopped to help. I wanted to show some kindness, to reach out, to help in some way but the demon beside me was preventing it. He had total control and even when we returned home he made it very clear that I was not to follow through with my plans. Even suggesting anonymously ringing for an ambulance was useless. He wanted nothing to do with it. To him, it was a problem and someone else’s for that matter. That man could have been dying and it did not matter.

I was subjected to an hours worth of abuse and insult when we were hidden behind closed doors. My father reprimanded my concern instead of praising my worry.

I was ashamed to be his daughter.

I never knew what happened to that man.

July 1st 2012.

This date will forever stay in my mind.

After getting married at the end of May last year, the contact between my father and I had decreased. It was deliberate as I wanted to set firm rules in our relationship in place. The 30th of June had been my best friend’s hen party and I had stayed over at her house in Essex. Another friend had given me a ride back to London. My father and I had talked the previous weekend and I mentioned what was happening. He offered to pick me up from my friend’s flat in London as it was a distance from where I actually lived. I was wary. It wasn’t often that my father wanted to help me out especially without condition. I should have anticipated trouble but like a fool I accepted his offer. After all, it was rare to receive kindness and a part of me still longed for that from him.

On July 1st 2012, my father picked me up from my friend’s flat. I made sure I was ready for him, it was a mistake to ever keep that man waiting. It was a sweltering hot day and as well as having a rather large, self-inflicted hangover, I was also very tired. I was looking forward to getting home. As it was also a Sunday, I needed to get myself organised for work the following day.

In the car my father didn’t ask me about the party he rarely took any interest in what I did. However as soon as we had set off, the trouble began. On the previous day, when he dropped me to my friend’s flat, he had mentioned about a DVD he wanted to watch but was unsure of how to use the player. I had explained how to do it to him and assumed that was the end of it. After all, he had used the home DVD player many times before. On the return journey he mentioned his problem again. I asked him if I could roll down the window, the car was like an oven. He refused and went on to tell me how ill he was (he’d been suffering with COPD, a chronic pulmonary disease for several years) and that the air would ignite his cough. I cannot say I had any empathy for him, I had been his sounding board for his complaints and ailments my whole life, I knew it was time to switch off. It may sound ruthless and cold but all he ever did was complain about life and to stay positive with someone like that can be a struggle. I allowed him to rant but I rarely paid attention.

Of course I had my concerns. Even though he repulsed me in many ways, the sound of his coughing worried me. I am not made of stone. I asked if he was okay.

“What do you care?” was his pleasant response.

I remained silent, it made sense to.

As his coughing became progressively violent, I told him to take a sip of water. He laughed and replied,

“Be quiet if you have nothing useful to say!”

I was immediately scared. His voice had deepened and the volume had increased. I felt anxious and nauseous. I forgot how much he loved to attack me in the car. It was the perfect place – no escape.

“Before I drop you back, you are coming home with me to set up the DVD.” he stated.

I faced him. I did not want to go there. I spent most of my time avoiding going back there. I certainly did not want to be alone there with him. My silence began to annoy him.

“It won’t take long; just show me how to do it. It is very important that I watch this video, do you understand?”

I didn’t understand. There were other people he could ask. The old feelings of entrapment and suffocation began to appear. I could not breathe.

“Did you hear me? We’ll go home, you can sort that out and then I’ll take you for a nice lunch”.

Now it was lunch too! What next?

“Daddy……………” I began tensely, “I’m really tired, I’ve got a terrible headache. Can I give you the instructions over the phone when I get back, that way you can learn how to do it yourself?”

There was no easy way to say ‘No’. There was no certain way of saying it that would appease him. Of course, he was instantly infuriated by my ridiculous request and once again after several years, the car was the place for him to lose all patience with me and leave me fearing for my life.

“You do not want to do anything for anyone else! You are so selfish, so mean. I never want to speak to you again! I cannot believe you are my daughter!” he screamed.

Tears streamed down my cheeks uncontrollably. Nothing had changed, he was still the same man and I was foolish to believe otherwise. I rolled down my window ignoring his previous order and inhaled the cool air. As soon as we arrived at my apartment, I got out of the car, slammed the door and didn’t look back.

The next time we spoke would be the start of the journey that changed our lives altogether.