In this edition I have a fabulous guest blog from a previous client of mine.
My guest blogger writes powerfully about her experience of a marriage where she wasn't valued, and trusting herself to do the right thing and follow her belief that life had more in store for her.
This is an amazing blog, and from the heart - I challenge you not be be moved by it and by the message it gives................
It was a startling moment that morning. The water had run cold and, covered in shampoo and shower gel, I decided to chance the odds and shout downstairs to my husband.
Hope being eternal, I hadn't given up entirely on the possibility that he may kindly change the gas bottle for once.
As I waited for a call back up the stairs to signal I could hose off the suds, he burst into the bathroom wielding a towel and wrapped it around me......................There, for the first time, I was made to feel precious.
It wasn't long afterwards that I realised the gesture had been directly related to the double blue line that had appeared on that plastic wand the previous day!!!
Throughout my first pregnancy I was encouraged by all to eat healthily, to take naps when needed, to stroll leisurely along the beach and generally look after myself. Having always been a practical, independent lass, this advice went against my usual modus operandi! For 9 indulgent months, I, in effect, went about my days just as most “normal” people do.
Then my son was born.………………….
I remember in those first days my mother glibly commenting that she didn't want her first grandchild’s first words to be “for fuck’s sake”. It was and has remained a common phrase!
It was then I also noticed, all of a sudden I had been transported from receiving treatment similar to that of a vintage car on a Sunday afternoon to now being a reject banger racer expected to win the F1 season….every race, every year, forever.
I soon realised that my husband required even more sleep than my newborn. Help was not forthcoming even though I was clearly in pain with a dastardly, oozing caesarean incision, tits like boulders and crippled with post natal depression.
My healthy, beautiful, intelligent son flourished even with very, very little sleep. He demanded constant mental stimulation or would scream the place down. His cries were such that I was genuinely in fear that a neighbour would think I was abusing my boy. I therefore entertained him constantly. I was knackered. Husband did what I thought husbands always did and went to work, and after each 15 hour absence, he rested!!!!
Having a wonderful bond with my gorgeous sisters, very early on I decided that I wouldn't deny my son the opportunity of enjoying a similar relationship. Along came my daughter.
Here I was with two beautiful children.
Here I was married with two beautiful children.
Here I was alone, but married with two beautiful children.
That experience has taught me so much…………………….
I learnt how to wee whilst wearing a baby sling.
I learnt that I slur my words when deprived of sleep.
I also learnt that being married and alone is far, far worse than being divorced and alone.
I'm not the most feminine of girls. Having said that, I also don't look like an extra from Prisoner Cell Block H!!!!!!
However, when there's an absence of "Daddy" at school meetings and end of term productions, tongues start wagging.
Rightly so as it turned out. During one such mum meeting, I, well, met another mum.
It heralded the beginning of me questioning the very essence of the life I had been living. Why was I content to resign myself to last place?
Within 2 years, I was gone. It was gut wrenching.
A mother’s instinct is to protect her children but here I was inflicting maximum turmoil in their young lives. I was removing them from their home, their culture, their support network and propelling them into a foreign life, a foreign country with a foreign language.
I was abused verbally and emotionally by them just as I had been throughout my marriage by my husband. This time though, I understood why.
However, I had to, for the first time, stand firm in my belief that this was best for mine and their futures. For the first time I was giving myself permission to put my own future on the “important “ list. I was wrapping MYSELF in a towel.
Four years have now gone since that traumatic day that we jumped ship. I have learnt many new skills.
I now know how to mend punched doors.
I can hold peace talks worthy of a top job for the UN.
My tree removal skills are legendary
and I can feed groups of unexpected teenage visitors at a moment’s notice.
My children are now seeing the bigger picture that I had visualised for them when I made my difficult decision. I know now that, despite what you suspect others are thinking of you when you stand alone at school pick up, you may be a single parent but you are definitely not a lone parent.
Just as I was single whilst being married, you undoubtedly are more whole alone than if you were not genuinely cherished by the one you'd chosen to share parenthood.
It's the toughest, most undervalued job in the world. All you have is yourself. However, if you have yourself, and believe in yourself, that is truly all you need.