Losing myself…

Please be aware that some may find this post upsetting.  It is about postnatal depression.  Please don’t read if you are sensitive to such issues.  Please feel free to comment.  I just needed to get these feelings out.

I did that thing… the thing I promised myself that I would never do…I had a baby to save my relationship.  Well, not quite.  I thought my chances of having children were extremely slim – or so I had been told.  Coming off the pill just seemed a natural thing to do… I wanted to give myself a chance to at least try.  We discussed what would happen if I did get pregnant – he said it would be great!  I’m not so sure that he truly meant it, I think he really thought that it would never happen.  He was just trying to make me happy.  Nine days later I am pregnant.

Our situation is not the best.  He has an alcohol addiction and has only just got a job after nine months unemployment.  We are skint and he has thousands of pounds worth of debt, twenty-seven to be exact.  I am not coping with his drinking at all.  I am depressed.  What on Earth was I thinking?  Did I actually think having a baby would stop him drinking?  Maybe I just didn’t think it would happen either…maybe I just didn’t think.  Depression does strange things to you.

The pregnancy is going well.  I’m feeling and looking great.  Everyone around us is so excited and pleased as they knew that this baby was my little miracle.  Pregnancy is suiting me – everyone says so.  I feel great.  My hopes are raised, maybe everything is going to be okay after all.  I am eating healthily.  I follow all the advice written in books.  I read so many books!  I feel knowledgeable and capable.  Everyone tells me I’m going to be a great Mum.  I believe them.  I feel great.  Even he is excited.

I’m eight months now, I’m on maternity leave. I’m home alone – too much time to think… that feeling deep inside, a sinking feeling.  Something not quite right.  I don’t tell anyone – I can cope.  He’s never home – working or at the pub.  Feeling isolated.  I’m anxious, I can’t sleep – just the baby moving around a lot.  I can cope.

I wake early morning.  Contractions…horrendous pain.  Something not quite right.  I tell him I’m fine as he seems concerned.  He goes back to sleep.  I run a bath and try to relax.  The pain comes and goes.  I notice that I’m bleeding a little – I don’t say anything, I’m scared.  A few hours later I wake him – the pain is much worse, the bleeding increased.  He calls the hospital – they tell me to come in immediately.

They tell me baby is fine and on its way.  The bleeding caused by an infection.  Baby is two weeks overdue.  The pain is like nothing I’ve experienced.  I’m told there are complications, I’m not pushing effectively.  They have to help her out – but the cord is around the neck.  They have to be quick.  I’m using too much gas and air – they take it away.  I feel calm.  Weird feeling.  Baby Is out and fine, I hold her for a second – I don’t feel anything… I should feel something.  I’m rushed straight into surgery.

I’m on the labour ward, Daddy is already there.  He has dressed the baby – they are bonding.  I hold the baby – she looks deep into my eyes – she is beautiful – we name her.  I don’t feel anything yet, I cry.  Daddy looks at the nurse – she tells him it’s normal – I’ve been through a lot.  I feel like I’m not in the room.

I hold the baby all night, she won’t sleep.  I had an epidural for surgery, I can’t get out of bed, my buzzer Isn’t working.  I tell the nurse doing rounds – she says she’ll fix it – nothing is done.  I cry all night – baby stares at me like she knows something’s wrong.  Such beautiful big blue eyes.  I cry all night – the nurses say nothing.  It must be normal to feel this way…

We bring baby home.  Everything is well.  I feel a bit better.  Friends and family are visiting a lot so I pretend everything’s great.  I cry a bit – everyone says that it’s baby blues.  The Health visitors come and go, I carry on pretending.  They don’t notice anything is wrong.  The visits die down.  Proud Daddy goes back to work. I’m alone with baby.  Baby stares at me with those big blue eyes – she knows.

Daddy throws himself back into work.  He does a lot of ‘wetting the babies head’.  I barely see him.  Some days I’m in tears when he gets home.  He looks worried but doesn’t know what to do.  I tell him I’m tired – baby doesn’t sleep.  Daddy takes baby from me, walks around a while, she falls straight to sleep.  I cry a bit more.  He doesn’t know what to do.

Daddy thinks baby is Mummy’s job.  Daddy’s life has returned to normal.  He doesn’t help much.  It’s my fault, I’ve alienated him, told him he wasn’t doing things properly.  Kept criticizing.  I didn’t want him to think I couldn’t cope.    I can’t blame him but I resent him anyway and blame everything on his drinking (which wasn’t helping).

Things are starting to get better, baby is easier now that she is older. I’m enjoying it.  Of course, it is time for me to return to work.  Sod’s law.  I tell everyone how great it was, how much I enjoyed it.  I lie.

I feel like I missed out on something special, something that should of been cherished.  I blamed him and his drinking – it didn’t help.   Maybe it wasn’t his fault.  I blame him anyway – I can’t help it.  I lost myself.

Stimulus – Response…

th-26When I decided to give up smoking, I set myself a date and organised all the things I needed to get off to a good start, e.g. patches, quitting info, downloading an app.  I was all set.  As the time drew nearer, I started to find myself beginning to make excuses, ‘I can’t do this, my life is too stressful right now’, ‘as soon as my partner upsets me, I’ll give up – what’s the point?’, ‘the kids are stressing me out’.  I seriously started to talk myself out of it.

When dealing with my children’s behaviour, I notice that sometimes I don’t deal with it particularly well, saying things like ‘you’re stressing me out’, ‘Don’t make me shout’, ‘you’re upsetting me’.

When I argue with my partner we end up rallying with each other over who is the least responsive. ‘You never talk to me’, ‘you never listen to me’, ‘you’re not interested in what I have to say’, ‘you never show any affection’.

All of these scenarios have one thing in common.  They all are reactive ways of behaving.  Reactive people believe they are not responsible for what they say – they believe they have no choice.  I used to be this way, and still can be on occasion.  Reactive people blame things on their circumstances, their conditions and there conditioning.  They blame other people for their situation, they blame the weather for their lack of motivation.  They do not realise that they have a choice about the way they react to things.

Every moment that we have in our lives provides us with a new choice.  We can choose to make it a positive one or we can choose to make it negative.  We determine what happens in our lives by the choices we make.  When circumstances are beyond our control, we choose how we react to them.

Everyone should take responsibility for their life and stop blaming others.  We all have the freedom to choose. Proactive people understand this.

“Between stimulus and response, you have the freedom to choose.”  Stephen Covey

As a human being we have four qualities which allow this- self awareness, imagination, conscience and independent Will.  Covey says this is what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom.

 I did manage to give up smoking.  I told myself I could do it regardless of what my circumstances were.  I wrote a post about it, you can read it here. https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/habits/

I’m beginning to deal with my children much better too.  I lose my temper much less now.  I remind myself that I need to be a role model and their behaviours are a direct response to what is going on around them.  They are not at fault for our situation, so I remember to take it easier on them.  I learnt about child development stages and they are no longer reprimanded for what is ‘normal’ for their age.  I no longer sweat the small stuff.

As for our relationship, it is steadily getting there.  I admit there is a long way to go and much resentment that needs forgiveness.  I try to remember he can’t help the drinking – he has an addiction.  I need to read more about this to help me understand.  I need to be more supportive.  I need to remember that I can choose my response when things go wrong instead of flying off the handle.  I’m getting there slowly… but I will get there.

Room with a View…

th-32If I could be anywhere in the world right now, I would choose to be home.  Home is where the heart is.  Home is where I am at my most comfortable.  Home is where I can be myself.  Home is definitely not wherever I leave my hat!  I am a home bird.

You may think that ‘home’ for me would be where I currently dwell, but this is not the case.  I still feel that my real home is the house  I grew up in.  My parents still live in that house and I am most grateful for that.  It holds so many memories – good and bad.  It is the place where I went from child to teenager to adult – my transformation from caterpillar to butterfly.

It is a very simple three bed council house.  My parents never could afford to buy even till this day.  We lived simply and always just had enough to get by, which in those days was enough.  We learnt about being grateful for what we had and never wished for more.

My sisters and i had a few toys each but we were happy making up our own games, playing outside and making stuff out of boxes!  We didn’t watch much Tv and never had such things as computer games – we couldn’t afford them.  We read books, wrote stories and used our imaginations!

My Mum worked as a cleaning lady in a local school and my Dad was a landscape gardener, so our house was always clean and our garden immaculate.  We were bought up with a strong work ethic and taught to help out others before ourselves.

We went through some very difficult times in this house.  My Mum has Bi Polar which was undiagnosed for many, many years, this was very difficult to deal with as a child and teenager.  It was like living with a ticking time bomb.  None of us knew what was wrong – mental health was not talked about much in those days.  No one ever thought to tell my Mum to see a doctor.  It was just a private incidence in our family.  To everyone else my Mum was just the ‘crazy’ lady who lived down the road.  My dad also couldn’t cope with all this and suffered terrible depression.  We would often find him at the bottom of a bottle of Whisky.

My sister’s moved out during this time as they found it hard to cope.  Both had there own relationships to pursue, they needed to get on with there lives.

I still love the house though.  It is the place that my parents healed and got better.  It symbolises strength and their unity, there ability to work things through.  I admire that so much and it is the main reason I am taking my family through the journey I’m currently going through.

I was the last of the three children to move out.  As we flew the nest one by one, my parents really began to struggle financially as we had all been contributing to the house keeping as soon as we became employed.  I stayed with my parents much longer than I needed just to help them out.  The last two years I was there I paid there rent for them.  I felt I needed to repay them for the period of time when they took care of me, despite their struggles.  Believe me, there were times when I hated living with them and I wanted to walk away but family is family and you support them no matter what.

They came through the bad times and my relationship with them is all the better for it.  They still struggle financially so I now pay my Mum to look after our children whilst I work.  My Mum is much better now but she still has off days, but it’s great that my children are growing up with an understanding of mental health issues which is spoken about openly in our family, (along with Daddy’s addiction and Mummy’s work with PMLD, they are going to be very worldly wise).  I am very proud of that!

So, at the moment I don’t feel like the place I have lived in for coming up seven years is ‘home’.  I actually don’t like it much at all.  I feel guilty about that as it is the place I am bringing up my children.  I then think back to my family home and all the hard times we had there and there is still a sense of nostalgia.  I hope my children will feel this about their home and I hope one day I will feel that way too.  At the moment there are so many bad memories, but I feel hope as I plan to replace them with good ones!  That is what my blog is all about!

Note:  I absolutely realise that I have gone off on a tangent.  The prompt was supposed to be a descriptive place, whereas I’ve gone on more of a nostalgic journey!  I hope you enjoyed anyway! X

5/4/15 – Building Rome…

Over the last week I challenged myself to complete the following goals:

Write a ‘Family’ post

I wrote a post reflecting on how my life is like an aeroplane flight.  I talked about what things make my family off course and what things make us stay on track.  I looked at the things which affected us in both positive and negative ways.  I looked at the things I have already done to improve our situation and I looked to the future to find ways of improving things further.  You can read this post here: https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/destination-anywhere/

Have a family meeting with my children

Daddy’s LIttle Princess (DLP) decided that she wanted to call our family meeting ‘Planning’.  This is something they have in reception class at school where they decide on the activities they want to choose for the afternoon.  It seemed quite fitting so we are going to stick with it!

We started off with a little game.  I blindfolded DLP and lead her to a place in the house where returning to the starting point would be a little difficult but not unsafe.  I spun her around a few times for good measure.  I then told DLP that it was now her job to find her way back to the starting point.  DLP tried to return and seemed very nervous and worried.  After a moment I asked her if she would like some help or clues, she said yes.  I then directed her back to the starting point with instructions such as ‘move forward five steps’, ‘turn right’ etc.  When she was safely back I asked her if it was hard to find her way when she couldn’t see and had no instructions, she replied yes.  I then let Mummy’ s Little Soldier (MLS) have a turn.

Afterwards we sat down together and talked about us going through life together as a family and how sometimes we can’t see the future.  We talked about how we sometimes need assistance or clues to help us get to our destination.  We talked about how wonderful it was to have a family to rely on.  I helped them to understand how this was related to the game.

After the game we sat down and brainstormed some ideas for activities for the next week as I am going to be on annual leave.  We came up with the following list:  going on a train trip, a Spring walk, Making chocolate Easter nests, going out for lunch, going to the toy shop, going to the park, visiting Nanny and Grandad, Zentangling, buying new school shoes, school work and reading and arts and crafts!

I have also set the children and myself a little challenge.  We all have to think of one helpful thing and one kind thing we can do for each member of the family daily.

A fun bonding activity

This week we decided to make fairy cakes.  Both DLP and MLS really enjoyed this.  So much measuring, weighing, stirring and seiving was done and a great big mess made.  So much fun!

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Liebster Award no 2

I was nominated again by the lovely https://bekitschig.wordpress.com/

You can read my post here: https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/04/02/liebster-award-2-2/

My goals for next week are:

  • Continuing with our ‘Planning’ and bonding activities and complete as many of the activities the children chose as possible.
  • Complete the ‘Love in ten sentences challenge’.  Nomination by the lovely Edwina at http://edwinasepisodes.com/
  • Make a start on Writing 101
  • Write at least two posts on the first habit – Be Proactive.

March 2015 – Letters to my Children…

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Dear Daddy’s Little Princess and Mummy’s Little Soldier,

You are my world.  I never thought I would have the opportunity to be a mother and I can honestly say that it is the most amazing feeling I have ever experienced.  You are my miracles.

I want you to understand why I am writing this blog.  I want you both to grow up understanding the hard work and commitment it takes to hold a family together.  I want you to know that the people you love and the relationships you develop will be the most important part of your life, far more important than anything you’ll ever own.

Your Daddy and I have been through many difficult times, but we have always managed to get through them.  There were many times when it would of been easier to walk away but our love kept us strong.  When someone you love has an addiction, you either walk away or support them.  I will support your Daddy no matter what because I know that underneath it all there is still a good person who will come back to us someday.

I know it has been difficult for you both, but I promise I will do everything I can to keep you safe.  I will be a more patient mummy and I will learn to deal with my resentment towards your Daddy which causes a bad atmosphere for us all.  I will change myself to influence those around me.

I’m feeling really positive about it.  I know that our future is going to be great!

Lots of love

Mummy.

X

22/3/15 – Building Rome…

th-14As part of my Blogging 101 course we were asked to choose a blogging event to participate in.  I have chosen ‘Building Rome’ which occurs weekly on a Sunday.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_event/building-rome/

I felt that this event would fit in nicely with my blog.  This event is about setting yourself goals to complete to enable you to get to the place you want to be.  I want to make several major changes in my life to help pull my family back together, so making little changes each week will help me focus on my overall goal.

I’m starting off small.  My first priority is to catch up with my Blogging 101 course.  So here are my goals for next week:

  1. Extending my brand.
  2. Adding a regular feature
  3. Having a posting schedule
  4. Writing my post for my Liebster Award, kindly nominated by John Zokovitch.

Wish me luck – Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Inside Out…

th-10As we progress through the ‘Seven Habits’, Stephen Covey takes us on a journey from dependence to independence and then on to interdependence.  Covey calls this the ‘Maturity Continuum’.  Dependence deals with the paradigm of ‘You take care of me’.  Independence deals with the paradigm of ‘I take care of myself’.  Interdependence deals with the paradigm of ‘We take care of each other’.  Stephen Covey calls this the ‘inside-out’ approach.  Starting with self.

Habits 1,2 and 3 take us from dependence to independence.

1.  Be Proactive deals with taking control of your life, focusing on the things you can do something about not those things beyond your control and taking responsibility rather than blaming others or your circumstances.

2.  Begin with the end in mind deals with knowing what you want to accomplish in life, organising and preparing in a way that reduces the need to work in crisis mode and beginning each week with a clear plan of what you want to achieve.

3.  Put first things first deals with being disciplined in carrying out plans, not allowing the important activities to be lost in the busy activities of your days and doing things which are meaningful and allow you to accomplish your overall goals.

Congratulations!  If you have managed all that you can officially call yourself independent.

I always thought that on the maturity continuum that I was at the very least independent and perhaps even interdependent in my work environment.  Looking back at the details of the first three habits, I see that I am wrong!

I have somewhat taken control of my life in that I have found myself again and I’m doing the things I enjoy.  I am no longer dependent on my partner and am doing most of the upbringing of the children.  However I do still occasionally worry about things I can do nothing about such as my partner’s alcohol dependency.  It took me a long time to realise that I could do nothing about it so old habits die hard.  I am getting much better at this though.  I do feel like I take more responsibility now but I do still hold quite a lot of resentment towards my partner and how his drinking has affected our lives but I’m trying to be more understanding.

I have real trouble with habit 2.  I just don’t know what I want to accomplish in life.  I never had a dream career and my interests and hobbies are constantly changing.  I can’t seem to settle on one thing for long.  I think about this too much and I think the answer is simple because all I want really is a happy, healthy family.  There, I just answered my own question!  I’m pretty good at organising and planning at work but at home I often feel swamped.  I have a general idea what I want to get done each week but it doesn’t always happen.

Habit 3 – well I procrastinate a lot.  Even my five year old tells me not to ‘crastinate!  Sometimes I’m so busy at home that I never stop and sit and play with the kids.  We definitely don’t spend enough time together as a couple.

Habits 4,5 and 6 take us from independence to interdependence.

4.  Think win – win deals with caring about the success of others as well as your own, cooperating with others and dealing with conflicts by finding solutions which benefit all.

5.  Seek first to understand, then to be understood deals with being sensitive to the needs of others, seeking to understand the viewpoint of others and when listening, seeing things from the other person’s point of view, not your own.

6.  Synergize deals with valuing and seeking out the insights of others, searching for new and better ideas and solutions and encouraging others to express their opinions.

Congratulations!  If you can do all that you are officially interdependent!

I do quite well at these in my work environment which is the area of my life that is most successful.  I work hard and I’m very well thought of by my manager and colleagues.  I generally train up the new staff who come in and as they get younger and younger and I get older I feel myself getting a slight twinge of jealousy when they start performing well.  I guess it is inevitable that someone may overtake my accomplishments one day.  They are so keen and motivated and I seem to have lost that as time has gone on.  At home I’m not so good at resolving conflicts so they benefit all.

Habit 5 is tricky.  I’m quite a quiet person so I’m a very good listener.  I can be very sensitive to other people’s needs e.g. the people with PMLD that I support at work but I am not always emphatic towards everyone.  I guess I see it that if you really are in need like the people I support then you are worthy of sensitivity but it is based on my judgement of your situation.  That sounds terrible now that I have written it down, must change that!  I guess it’s because I see the people I support surviving and thriving everyday when their needs are so high, that I think other people should be thankful that they are able-bodied, happy and healthy (in lots of cases).  People sometimes live in a bubble and sometimes don’t think about the hardships of others compared to their own.  But, I guess I’m forgetting we don’t always see the truth or real situation behind other people’s pain.

I am quite good at listening to other people’s opinions and coming up with ideas, but here again I need to improve on this at home.

Habit 7  is Sharpen the Saw and deals with renewal in the four areas of life, physical, social/emotional, mental and spiritual.  Doing this increases our capacity to live all of the other habits of effectiveness.

This is probably where I’m going wrong!  I do not really do any physical form of exercise, although my diet isn’t too bad.  Although I have a habit of skipping meals if my partner’s not about for dinner (quite a lot).

I don’t have many close friends and my work relationships are mostly professional.  I don’t really go out much as I don’t like to leave the kids in case my partner drinks. So socially I’m not doing so well

I am doing activities I enjoy now and I’m reading about spirituality but I guess I could always be doing more.