Thursday 27 December 2012

Muddling through despite it all

Well, yet another Christmas has been and gone. This year it’s felt strange. Not only have we just moved house 4 weeks ago for the second time in 3 months (not planned but unfortunately forced upon us), but it’s also been the second Christmas without my Mum since we lost her last September to lung cancer.

Somehow her absence has been harder to accept this Christmas. Her presence has been missed far more than last year when we were, I suppose, still in shock that we had lost her. Her passing was to some degree unexpected in many ways. You always live in hope don’t you and I think for me having just had another baby 6 weeks before she was diagnosed, and with a 4 year old who absolutely adored her, it meant that I was thrown into a world I really didn’t wish to be in. She passed away 6 months later and I still battle with the fact that I wasn’t able to be with her as much as I needed and wanted to be at that time. I had a new baby to care for, a 4 year old who had recently started school and was experiencing separation anxiety for the first time, and we were living 3 hours drive away. It still haunts me today that I wasn’t able to be there for her when she needed me most. But you do the best you can given your personal circumstances don’t you?

Parenting is a tough job. We all strive to get it right and embrace varying styles that suit our lives, the people we are, our beliefs, hopes and dreams for the future. But when life strikes you with so many obstacles to overcome in a relatively short space of time, you wonder how you’ll get through to the other side and just hope to god that you won’t leave your kids scarred by your lack of parenting prowess.

For us as a family unit the past seven years have been challenging to say the least. I met my husband 20 years ago. It seems like only yesterday when we both met at college, and the time since has flown by. We married after 7 years of being together; a great way to bypass the 7 year itch ! And another 7 years passed before we were finally blessed with a beautiful baby girl. We tried for 3 years before conceiving her and then when it happened it was in France. The impact of not knowing we could actually have kids coupled with having my first pregnancy and birth in a foreign country away from family and friends meant that I sadly suffered both pre and post natal depression.

I wasn't really aware I suffered with pre natal depression at the time but looking back over the past 6 years, I can now see it was and this sadly developed into PND once my eldest daughter was born. This had a huge impact on us as a family and it took until I returned to the UK almost 2 years later before I was able to get the help I needed and it was another 2 before I was well again. During that time, we had problems with extended family members and then just as things looked like they were beginning to fall back into place and we had another baby to look forward to, my mother was diagnosed with cancer.

What scared me most then was would I once again succumb to PND after my second daughter’s birth given these new circumstances, particularly after my mother’s death. My eldest daughter was also struggling enormously with the loss of her beloved Nanna and nothing I could say or do seemed to make it better. My poor baby girl had not only started school a year earlier, she’d had to get used to a new sibling arriving, and was now coping with the loss of my mother after a 6 month long battle with illness. That’s big stuff for a 4 - 5 year old to cope with. To say we were in turmoil as a family unit was an understatement.

But you still have to carry on don’t you and it’s amazing how resilient you can be if you find the positive somewhere within the chaos. I long to spend relaxed, fun time with my husband and the girls. Stress, illness (like PND) and grief knock you sideways and it’s amazing how easily you can lose the person you once were. You become unrecognisable. You begin to run on autopilot and as a Mum you are constantly balancing everyone’s needs against your own. I know I've failed miserably over this time but I've never lost sight of trying to make sure my children know that I love them with all my heart and things will get better with time. As they say, “time heals all wounds”.

We are about to celebrate my youngest’s second birthday in 3 days time, and after our unexpected 2 house moves I’m hopeful that 2013 will begin to even out the ripples in our life and we can finally focus on getting some level of calm back into it. And the little one is such a bundle of joy, energy and love. As my Mum said, “she’s heaven sent”.

I always saw being a Mum as such an easy place to be. I've always wanted to parent in a gentle, conscious and empowering way that gives my kids the love, tenderness and balance they need to become the people they wish to be. I just never factored in the other bits life can throw at you along the way. So I've decided that for 2013 I’m asking the universe to cut me some slack and help me rebuild my family unit into a strong, happy, fun-loving, balanced place to be once again. It’s not too much to ask now, is it?


  1. Oh Charlie, it definitely sounds like it is high time for some happy times. You seem to have battled through amazingly. x Judith

    1. Hi Judith. Thanks for stopping by, it means a lot. We are slowly settling again and life is feeling a lot more positive xx The girls are more settled and happier too which really helps. I have found that writing about it has really helped me too. Seems to bring about some sort of perspective with it all. Very cathartic. Have a great weekend xx

  2. What a beautiful and moving post and what a tough time you've had. Good luck with moving forward. Found you via PoCoLo.

    1. Aww Sarah thank you xx Great you found me via PoCoLo. Just loving linking up with so many of you in the bloggersphere ! Thanks for popping across to say "hi" and have a great weekend xx


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