Who knew?! Just as Mark and I had decided to ‘put off’ talking about anymore children until the middle of 2013, I fall pregnant! I am starting to believe that we should no longer have any discussion whatsoever that mention pregnancy or make reference to more children!
Yes, baby Davies number 4 is due for arrival early July 2013! I have mixed feelings as we will have 5yr old, 3yr old, 2yr old and a newborn! I’ve also had mixed reactions!! We have a very hectic and stressful life right now; for many reasons! You could say that the timing, is not exactly ‘ideal’, but I know in my heart of hearts had we left ‘that’ discussion to middle of this year we would have decided not to have any more – so for that I am very grateful.
If the truth be known, we love children! I was brought up in a family of 7 children and Mark was brought up on the likes of the Walton’s, Little House on the Prairie and Darling Buds of May. Don’t get me wrong this is no TV show – we had just never put a ‘number’ on how many children we would have.
So, for the time being, I am going to blog a little about my 4th pregnancy, yes, 4th(??!?!), journey. Now a pregnancy/mummy blog is not really where I want to be at – not in it’s entirety, at least! Some of my previous posts have touched on weight and PND issues, so I intend to document my experiences in that regard, and anything else that crops up in the meantime!
At the time of this post I am 18+5wks, I am too big for my normal clothes, and maternity clothes hang rather oddly off me! Leading me to believe that I could possibly be carrying another little lady, as I seem more wide and fat than up front with a bump! Time, will tell, of course!
To date, I have been labelled as ‘a high risk’ pregnancy, which to me me is seemingly odd, as it’s only the giving birth part that I’ve had complications – I do wonder who makes these categories and check boxes at times! Meaning, as far as the professionals are concerned, a home or water birth is completely out of the question!
So, having been referred to the consultant, who spent the ENTIRE appointment picking up on the PND that I had also been labelled with, I am still not really any the wiser! Had I believed I had PND, then this so called consultation could have led to me to suffer emotionally through the remainder of my pregnancy, and thereafter – do these so called professionals study anything to do with psychology, or how the brain reacts to positive and negative – clearly not!
Next on my radar is of course, weight gain!! One of the reasons we had decided to put off talking bout more children, is because I wanted to get to my pre-Emilie weight – which was 2st away from where I was. I managed to pile on a staggering 5st with my 3rd, and when I fell pregnant this time, I was 1st away from where I was when I fell pregnant with Harry (3rd). Yes, a lot of weight, a lot of pregnancies!! This is, perhaps, a whole post on it’s own!
Ok, I have set the scene , let the remainder of this little journey commence!!
Yours in ‘not just another pregnancy blog’ !!
This was it, this was my punishment! The Bible says the wage sin pays is death. I had sinned, I had gone against everything I had been brought up to believe. I had left God, I had left the religion and this was the payback; this was all my fault or so I believed - I was going to die!!
About 15 minutes after Emile had arrived (5:37am) the contractions restarted, a midwife took Emilie from me. The placenta had not come away. It felt like I had every midwife and nurse in my room, they hooked me up to a drip trying to pull on the cord and push on my stomach. I kept feeling large masses coming away the 1st time I was relieved believing that it was the placenta, it was in fact blood clots. 8am came and I was still in the same condition, contracting, panicking, in pain, and bleeding.
This was it, this was my punishment! The Bible says the wage sin pays is death. I had sinned, I had gone against everything I had been brought up to believe. I had left God, I had left the religion and this was the payback; this was all my fault or so I believed – I was going to die!!
The moment that really sticks in my mind was just before they decided I needed to go to theatre. I had 2 midwives down the sharp end, Mark next to me and I was told to push while another midwife pulled on the cord and another pushed on my stomach. I felt something come away and as I open my eyes both the midwives had blood on their uniform and one had it on her face, I looked at Mark, he looked at me and went to look at what had just come out. He tried very hard to keep an impassive look on his face and came back up and tried to reassure me.
I begged Mark to tell them not to give me any blood. This had been a fundamental belief of mine, within the religion, for the past 30 years. It was the one thing I could not bring myself to compromise on.
Finally, just before 9am, I was rushed to theatre and the last thing I remember as they tried to anaesthetise me and moved me onto the theatre bed was a large gush and a warm sensation down my legs.
As I came to I could hear someone urgently and persistently calling my name “Sarah, Sarah, Sarah” I had something covering my nose and mouth and alarm bells were ringing, these were not in my imagination. Again the familiar feeling of anxiety and panic came over me. The light was so bright I feared I had not made it.
All I could think of was Mark, I just wanted Mark, where was he?
I tried to pull at the thing covering my nose and mouth, which I now know was an oxygen mask. I wanted Mark I needed him to be with me. As tears rolled down my face all I could do was mouth the word Mark, repeatedly.
The truth of the situation, that I later found out, was that I had lost so much blood, almost 2 L, that when they put the spinal in, my blood pressure dropped off the charts leaving me unconscious and requiring them to administer 2 shots of adrenaline. I quickly realised that they were yet to carry out the procedure of manually removing my placenta until I had been stabilised.
The procedure and my time in recovery seemed to take an age. I felt confused, exhausted and deeply emotional. I could not comprehend what had happened in the last 12 hours. For a brief moment I thought I would wake up and would realise that this had all been a terrible nightmare.
Finally, I was wheeled to a private room where Mark and our newborn were waiting for me. All I could do was cry, all Mark could do was cry. He had been left holding our new baby in a blood drenched room having been told “ it wasn’t looking good for Sarah” he had prepared himself for the worst.
This was NOT how it was meant to be be! No one had had mentioned this complication and it certainly was not mentioned in any of the books I had read! I really struggled to get my had around the shock of everything that had happened! And now after being up for over 24 hour, giving birth, been to surgery and lost a lot of blood was faced to look after a newborn, with no real clue as to what I was doing!
I was unable to move for several hours, waiting for the spinal to wear off. After which I was encouraged to take a bath. I could hardly walk I felt faint, dizzy, lightheaded and breathless. The doctor visited me after I’d had a bath, she said that my blood count was 5 and should be 12. They had not given me blood during the procedure as they had been asked not to by myself and Mark. She strongly urged me to have the 2 units of blood that she felt I needed. My head and heart were in complete conflict. I could not comprehend what had happened these last few hours let alone make such a decision. My state of mind and emotions together with the drugs did not enable me to make a decision.
Mark was in tears he begged me to have the treatment…
Yours in making a tough decision,
As I came to, I could hear someone urgently and persistently calling my name “Sarah, Sarah, Sarah” I was aware that I had something covering my nose and mouth and could hear high pitched alarms ringing, these were not in my imagination. Again the familiar feeling of anxiety and panic came over me. The light was so bright I feared I had not made it.
All I could think of was Mark, I just wanted Mark, where was he?
Another vivid memory; the moment we discovered I was pregnant – the first time!
Mark and I had been together 4 months when we decided, in a tent in Hamble, that we wanted to have children and be together forever. April 29, 2007: I had been feeling a little out of sorts. That evening Mark and I went for a run, I didn’t get very far, I struggled, felt like I had no energy. Mark was worried considering I’d not been feeling myself anyhow, and insisted I saw the doctor. I managed to get seen that next morning. She asked me if I was pregnant, or if there was any chance of me being pregnant? My brain screamed ‘NO’! That can’t be! It had only been 6 weeks that I had stopped taking the pill! Surely it could not happen that quickly? I sensed a mixture of panic and excitement.
As I left the doctor’s office I apprehensively took my mobile out and nervously dialled Mark’s number. He had been expecting my call, although, needless to say, he was not expecting what I was about to tell him!
He immediately left the office detouring boots on the way home to pick up a pregnancy test. I was met by his slightly shocked and nervous expression. He voiced the very thoughts that had gone through my mind at the doctor’s office. We were both expecting for it to take a lot longer than just 6 weeks!
I nervously opened the pregnancy test and having never had to do one of these before I made Mark read the instructions, as I did not want to get this wrong! Those 2 minutes felt like a lifetime. I insisted Mark be the one to turn the test over to read the result…”POSITIVE” I had to blink several times and Mark just threw his arms around me, so excited! I had a complete mixture of feelings excited, nervous, happy, overwhelmed, sad and elated!
“OH FUCK” my brain said. Again, the reality of my situation had brought me back down with a crash. Up until this point my relationship with Mark had been hidden; carried out in secret. I now had no choice but to tell my friends and family about us. I burst into tears, what was supposed to be a time filled with joy and excitement, was overshadowed by deep sadness. The overfamiliar feeling of panic and anxiousness, that I had gotten so used to as a child, swept over me.
The weeks and months went by and I had no real problems during my pregnancy. Even after the 12 week scan, it had not completely sunk in that I was carrying a little baby in my tummy. By the 20 week scan we had decided to find out the sex, it was a girl!
At 8 weeks pregnant we moved into the house we had bought together. I had by this time gone through the trauma of telling my friends and family and no longer being part of the religion.
October 29, 2007: at 31 weeks pregnant, Mark and I got married. 2 days later we were flying to Jamaica. 2 weeks after we were married, we feared that my waters had broken. Rather alarmed and extremely panicky we arrived at our nearest maternity unit. They confirmed our fear; I was leaking water. They gave me 2 steroid shots 8 hours apart and prepared me for our baby arriving within the next 48 hours. I spent a rather sleepless night on labour ward with nothing really happening.
No one really explained what was going on. Since the initial ‘gush’ I had had no further leakage and there seem to be contradictory explanations as to what was going on. One doctor said it ‘can’ reseal, another said “maybe they didn’t go in the first place.”
To cut a long story short after hours of monitoring, various scans and differing advice it was decided, subject to frequent monitoring, I would be allowed to go to full term and at 38 weeks would see the consultant.
10 days overdue, early on Friday 18th of January 2008, Mark and I were making our way to our local maternity unit, for induction of labour. This was it! I could not quite believe this day had arrived! I had no idea what to expect, and I now know, it doesn’t matter what you expect, the reality is not the same.
I had been induced at 9 AM and the pain started straight away. By mid-afternoon I was beside myself not knowing what to do. My carefully thought out birth plan no longer seemed to matter. We were moved to labour ward around 7 PM, by which time all contractions and pain had ceased. No amount of activity or walking around brought them back on.
Midnight came and the midwife on duty decided to break my waters. The next few hours seem like a blur now. At 5:21 AM, much to my shock, Emilie Rae Davies arrived weighing in at 8lb 3. Another moment of mixed emotions, the relief of it all being over and the shock of having a tiny baby positioned on my chest. I didn’t have much time to take all this in as the next few hours, panic ensued…
To be continued…
Yours in childbirth…
As I crossed the finish line, the grandstand empty, tired, disappointed, hardly able to walk, tears streaming down my face and in immense pain. I had at least done what I had set out to do – completed the London Marathon 2012…
October 2011 I found out with 1,000′s of others that I had not got into the London Marathon 2012. I was quite disappointed as I hadn’t got in the year previously through the ballot – I now know why I as I subsequently became pregnant with Harry so would have been unable to race anyhow. A good friends of ours, James St Pierre, suggested that I enter via a local charity that him and a few others were also entering through. I did, and to my surprise I was accepted!
At this point I was still a massive 3st 7lbs away from where I wanted to be following the birth of Harry – I could do this though! All the training would help me shift the weight, or so I thought…
By the end of December 2011 I had only managed to lose 14lbs. I was starting to realise that running and steadily increasing my distance, it was becoming increasingly difficult to decrease my calories and I found the more I ran the hungrier I was!
1 week before the event and I was still 2st 4lbs away from where I wanted to be. At this point I had to accept that and concentrate on completing the marathon. I may not have been as lean or as quick as I had wanted to be at that point, I did know that I should be able to complete the 26.2 miles in under 5hr 30 – this is what I looked to achieve.
Nothing can really prepare you for such an amazing experience! The atmosphere was awesome, the people were friendly and helpful and there was a strange bond formed by strangers, all striving for one goal – to complete the London Marathon 2012. For me it wasn’t only a personal achievement it was the fact that it was the Olympic year in the Olympic City – this seemed to make it all the more special.
As I sat in the holding pen with a group of others running for Farleigh Hospice, we watched the elite runners and wheelchair competitors start on the big screen; my stomach churned. Had I done enough? Had I got enough supplies with me? Would I finish within 5hrs 30? Why was I dressed in long sleeve when it was a beautiful day?! Such a rush and so many questions! Within no time at all we were ushered into out starting pen. I was joined with rhinos, clowns, gingerbread men, some guy in a mankini, 4 guys with the cool runnings bob sleigh and many, many more runners – all a little anxious and waiting for the off!
The countdown started “10… 9… 8… 7 I thought I was going to be sick, my GPS couldn’t find the satellites and I wish I could have taken another trip to the toilet! 6… 5… 4… OH SHIT, this was really it, this was really going to happen! 3… 2… 1… and we were off!!! The only way now was forward! Hundreds of us walked the 1/2 mile or so to the start line, my GPS panic was over and I just kept telling myself to just keep going, doesn’t matter about time, just enjoy the ride and atmosphere.
As I picked up my pace the streets were lined with hundreds of people, people shouting your name and cheering. By mile 3 I had got into my stride and felt relatively relaxed. I was feeling a little anxious about the whole hydration issue trying to make sure I had at least 2 large gulps at each water station. I heard my phone go and I knew that was my friend, Celia, who had got in through the ballot and that mean she had a different starting point to me. We were going to try and meet up and had agreed whoever got to mile 5 first would text – at this point I was 1/2 mile behind her and decided that it was probably best to forget the whole meeting up thing.
Mile 8 came and the spectator support was incredible! Pubs with music and bands playing, people handing out bananas, jelly sweets, chanting and still cheering and spurring us all on. I was feeling quite relaxed and quite pleased as I reached mile 10 as I was on target at that point for a 5hr 8min finish, I knew then that I would easily do it within 5hrs 30! Then BAM! out of nowhere my left kneecap felt like it had been wrenched sideways to the outside of my leg and I had terrible pain in my IT band from my hip down to my knee – OH CRAP! Now what do I do? I can walk this out surely? It’s just a bit of tension or a tight muscle? I jog walked and after about 1/2 mile the pain was so bad I was in tears, the crowd were calling my name “saying come on SARAH, you can do this, you’re almost halfway”.
I got to mile 11 and the tears were now about disappointment and not wanting to let people down. I made my way to the next St Johns ambulance after being stopped previously by 2 St John’s people to see if I was ok, all I could do was nod at them as the tears fell and I kept going. I knew I needed to get it looked at – this was my first stop with St Johns. I carried on after this stop, by which time it has become impossoble to even jog. Every time I bent my leg, my knee was being pulled out to the side. Just as I found a comfortable position to move, the muscles in my lower left leg hurt, so I had to switch to another position. Not yet halfway the prospect of walking the remainder of the distance, in this much pain, was quite overwhelming. I wanted to carry on, I wanted to finish, I wanted to be at my party 6 days later having achieved what I set out to do. I completely broke down at my next St John’s stop and after pulling myself together I asked if they could give me a strapping to give the knee some support. They made me wait a full 10 minutes to make sure I was ok, so thank god, I had stopped my GPS every time I was seen
I crossed Tower Bridge, doing nothing more than a walk and cried the entire length. So disappointed that I could not run across one of the momentous landmarks I had been really looking forward to crossing.
I hadn’t heard from Mark (he was bringing all 3 kiddies to come and watch and hopefully cheer me on at some point) at all at this point and I felt like I just needed to hear his voice I called him and in tears I told him what was going on. He told me that if I was in too much pain I should stop and it was ok if I felt I needed too. I knew that I just could not stop; I had to keep going. As I rounded the corner into Narrow Street, in Limehouse, having just being over taken by 2 boobs (yes, really!) I saw Mark and the kiddies there waiting at the side. Needless to say, there were more tears and after a big hug and high fives from the girls I was back on my way. This was the point that I told myself if I was going to do this, I had to do it without tears and just get on with it; one step at a time!
I set myself a new goal: To complete the London Marathon within the allocated 8hrs 15 minutes in order to receive my medal.
I just kept walking being spurred on by the crowd and fellow runners. 3 runners stopped to help me and see if I was ok, 2 more offered me their knee supports and supporters also called out messages of encouragement. I made it to mile 17, by which time the pain had worsened and I was now resorting to walking with my left leg straight. Again I felt I should stop and see if St John’s would give me some paracetamol, maybe that would help? I was conscious that I was still 9 miles from the finish line, I just had to focus on getting to each mile; mile by mile, step by step. I was seen by a physio, the strapping removed and was given some paracetamol. Mark and the kiddies had caught up with me again at this stage. This was the point where I was advised to withdraw from the race. I just looked at Mark and said “I have to keep going”. He gave me 3 ibuprofen and said they would walk with me for a bit. This got me to mile 19, by which point I felt like the pain had eased, thanks to the painkillers! I said to Mark “I’m going to carry on, I’ll see you and the kiddies at the finish” with some high fives, a caffeine sports gel, I was off and managed to jog the next 1/2 mile. I soon realised this had not been a good idea – the jogging!
As each mile went by I just found myself closer to the finish. The streets had started to clear, there were a few hardcore supporters still there cheering. Mile 22 and the heavens opened, I now knew why I had worn long sleeves ! A Macmillan Cancer Support Stand was packing away and offered their ponchos, which I gladly accepted! I was now walking with a group of people one older gentleman and a younger lady (their names I did not get) were very kind to me and on speaking to the man this was his 4th marathon! Now he must have been in his late 60′s, if this wasn’t something to spur me on the I don’t know what was!
I had managed to pick up my pace, although still only a fast walk, and I remember seeing Big Ben approaching and I felt so relieved; I was so close! As I headed to Parliament Square the chimes of Big Ben rang out – I felt like they were just for me! I was in the home straight! As I approached St James Park a youngish girl came out from the side and walked with me and told me what an amazing job I had done and that I was so close. I was still a little disappointed at this time and with mixed emotions I ran, yes I managed to run the last 200m, as I was pretty damn sure I was going to run across that finish line! With mixed emotions, I ran past the empty grandstand and hobbled across the finish line, tired, hardly able to walk, tears streaming down my face and in immense pain. I had at least done what I had set out to do – completed the London Marathon 2012 AND within the 8 hrs 15mins.
I had a personal time of 6hrs 53 and an Official time of 7hr 20.
Would I do it again?
YES! Most definitely! I would not change the above experience for the world, I am truly grateful to have been given an opportunity to take part and to finish. My experience taught me many, many things, mostly about myself!
I will RUN a marathon, the complete course, and within 5hrs – try and stop me!
Yours in taking one step at a time…
Six weeks before Emilie’s 1st birthday, we discovered, much to our surprise, that we were expecting baby number 2. I say to our surprise, as in true Davies style, we had talked about more children, we hadn’t planned when and after my first birth experience I was reluctant for myself or Mark to go through that again. Again, I felt plunged into an unfamiliar world of mixed and strange emotions…
Given my previous birth experience, doing it all over again scared the life out of me! This mixed with an air of excitement about having a new baby in the house. I plucked up the courage to tell work at about 10 weeks as I feared this would impact on any opportunity I was given or how I was viewed. I had just been given a crucial role of an insourcing project, which for the 6 months the project lasted it was very high paced and at times extremely stressful. I was determined to fulfill my role and decided I would stay until the project had completed and one week into the handover. This meant I worked up until 36 weeks, by which time I was quite heavily pregnant. The stresses and pressures of working in such an environment whilst pregnant and have a 1yr old is a whole other post!
I again found myself at a loss, not really knowing what to do with myself and so used to working with differing priorities and alot of pressure. I realised quite quickly that I had used going back to work after having Emilie as a means to cope; in my mind it had worked. I found that going back to work after Emilie had meant that most of the mummy friends I had made through Emilie, had formed their own little groups as most of them had not returned to work; again I found myself mostly alone. Mark worked long hours in a stressful and demanding environment and as the due date approached I panicked so much about giving birth and having the same experience I’d had with Emilie that I near on begged the consultant to give me a caesarean. Needless to say he did not and with the beauty of hindsight, I am very thankful for that!
September 22 2009 10am: I had spent the night on the post natal ward as, still heavily pregnant and 11 days over due, it was decided that I would not be induced as there were no beds available! Mark had just arrived and as nothing was happening he decided to go to work. 3:30pm: Mark returned, Starbucks in hand, just as the doctor broke my waters! 2hrs 51 mins later, following a natural, uncomplicated labour, Amelia Mae Davies quite literally popped into the world!
Two wasn’t much more difficult than 1 – right??!?
Boy oh boy was it tough! Mark encouraged me to get out more, so less than 48hrs post birth I met up with him in town. Day 2 and I think perhaps I was still on a high after the birth and the huge relief of no complications. 6 days post birth and I made it to my NCT baby group that I was part of with Emilie – this seemed to be ok, even if I was still a bit petrified of feeding in public! Mark had returned to the office the day after Amelia was born, and again left with no support or back up I muddled my way through the first few weeks.
What was wrong with me! I dreaded going out, I felt exhausted, emotional, anxious, panicky and completely overwhelmed! This time it was worse, I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning; I had no choice. Nothing fitted me, I had 4st to lose and I didn’t want people to see me like this. I sought out my usual 2 comforts, food and alcohol! My unconscious brain knew these would make me feel better and ‘protect’ me from the way I felt; a response it had learnt from my childhood. There were times when I would just find myself eating or pouring a glass of wine without even having thought about it – some days it was like I was running on auto pilot and all the responses my brain had learnt were keeping me going.
By the end of December I had close to 5st to lose and decided that going back to work would be the answer. Amelia only 4 months old I began discussions to return to work – I was so excited! She joined Emilie in nursery and once more I felt like I had a purpose, like I belonged and where I was completely comfortable. The weight started to come off and I was due to begin my gradual return from the beginning of April 2010.
March 1st 2010 – my stomach turns as I remember this day; the feelings and emotions are extremely vivid. A day that we were going to put an offer in on a bigger house that we had viewed a couple of times. A situation occurred, which due to legal reasons I am unable to discuss. Needless to say, we did not make an offer on that house. I felt I had no choice to resign my position at the workplace I was due to return to. From March 1st I had no further contact with my former work colleagues (this is how I now refer to them), some of which who had attended our wedding and had supported me through the last few years of events. I will remain forever grateful to them for being part of my life at that time, the kindness and support that was shown to me and them being present at our wedding when my friends and family were not.
To say I was distraught would be an understatement. I felt like I was spiraling out of control, most days I would spend crying and the food and drink returned. I just didn’t understand what had happened; I had been ostracised again! Other than Mark and our 2 girls, I felt like I had no other ‘constant’ left in my life, I had worked for that company for 12 years and didn’t really know anything else! My need for certainty made me even more anxious and panicky. I had only been out of the religion not quite 3 years, and I still didn’t feel adjusted to life outside, especially having gotten married and now 2 small kiddies – I was drowning not waving.
(To be continued…)
Yours in an emotional battle…
So much had happened in only 10 months and to give the way I was feeling a label of post natal depression just seemed wrong! I was determined not to be given medication; I knew somewhere deep down I could be better than all of this….
I knew that it was just a battle of my mind and my thoughts; I needed to take action! I needed to get out more, make friends and learn how to get on outside the realms of a community that I once knew.
To cut a long story short I joined my local NCT group and made some lovely friends and had it not been for those group of women and babies I would most probably have been declared insane! I didn’t find making friends easy by any means. Most of the ones I’d had previously I had grown up with and we just knew each other. It was now a case of having to get to know people and given that part of me felt let down by my previous friends, I found it hard to let people in and trust them. I still kept myself to myself and was very guarded, even now I tend to be more stand offish with people, especially those I have only just met. It was only after Emilie’s 1st birthday, whereby I had invited all the new Mum’s I had met, that I felt able to open up to them and explain what had happened. Deep down I struggled with the sadness that I felt not sharing these happy times with my once best and closest friends. I learnt to focus on the things I did have and the people that were now in my life. I was truly grateful to these ladies for joining us that day and the support those last few months; whilst they did know why at the time, now they do, they have been as supportive as ever – a few in particular
I had returned to work when Emilie was 7 months old. Oddly, when I was growing up and in my early 20′s I always figured that when I had children I would be a stay at home Mum and housewife; that was more of the culture I was surrounded by. It was a little bit of a shock to me that I did not find it easy staying at home. I got bored very quickly and still felt lonely. Just before I had left work to go on maternity leave I had worked hard that year and received a promotion. I was keen to get back to the office and pick up where I had left off. It was not that we needed the money; I needed to work my brain and have that human connection with people. I think there was also part of me that felt that I now had something to prove! Mark and I made the decision for Emilie to go to nursery 4 full days a week.
I remember the very first nursery we visited… I was certainly not prepared for the emotion that I felt! The children seemed so young and the rooms seemed so small. How could I leave Emilie here? She needed to be at home with her Mummy; what were we doing? I was in tears before the visit was over and as we left I seriously started to question whether we were doing the right thing. I had a gut feeling that particular nursery was just not right for us. Mark suggested having a nanny, although given my experience whilst growing up I was quite uncomfortable with the one on one nature of that decision; for me it was just not right! We continued our search and eventually found one. I just had the right feeling when we went in, it was open, the rooms were bigger and all the children seemed happy. I had to stop myself thinking about whether going back to work was the right decision. At that time it was balance about what I needed, what Emilie needed and what we as a family needed.
My transition back into the office was relatively smooth and it was nice to be with my colleagues, some of who I classed as friends and had been extremely supportive the last year. I struggled slightly with the guilt of leaving Emilie at nursery and the guilt of having to leave just before 6 to get her – I felt that I was being judged in that regard. Four weeks or so of having returned to work Emilie had 3 ear infections one resulting in a burst ear drum. I really struggled at this point as I had noone to look after Emilie outside of nursery, and again felt a wave of guilt that I was letting work down. Things settled after that and whilst I had more moments of similar feelings in general I feel that being back at work had really helped me. It completely changed my focus and it meant that I now enjoyed the time I had with Emilie.
Who knew the strange and mixed up feelings that having a baby would bring?
Six weeks before Emilie’s 1st birthday, we discovered, much to our surprise, that we were expecting baby number 2. I say to our surprise, as in true Davies style, we had talked about more children, we hadn’t planned when and after my first birth experience I was reluctant for myself or Mark to go through that again. Again, I felt plunged into an unfamiliar world of mixed and strange emotions…
To be continued…
Yours in mastering the power of the mind…
As I laid on the bed and closed my eyes, it was happening all over again; this time much worse. I wished that as I closed my eyes that I would just never wake up. Feeling unable to control the way I felt or my thoughts, I just wanted it to stop.
That was November 2011.
Yes, I am talking about what the general medical practitioners, midwives and health visitors all refer to as Post Natal Depression (PND). I prefer not to label myself with this, and perhaps you will see why as I relate my experiences
It first started after the birth of Emilie, back in January 2008. For me the whole idea of having a child and the reality of it were so far removed; it was a complete shock! At the time, I had no real friends, due to my departure from the religion I had been brought up in, and I’d had to leave early from work as I had suspected PROM at 32 weeks (premature rupture of membrane or they thought my waters had gone). I ended up being induced at 40+ 10, so had gone almost 10 weeks with very little contact with the outside world. Due to a life threatening incident at the birth of Emilie I found it difficult to bond with her; I was emotional, tired and lonely. Mark had returned to work in the city 2 days post birth and I was left on my own with a newborn, muddling through, not really knowing if I was doing “the right thing”. I had no family support and no one to turn to.
What had we done? I wanted to put her back!
It was at this time the impact of leaving the religion, resulting in leaving my friends and family behind, hit me like a bulldozer! I was used to a lot of support, being part of a community and had many friends. Up until the point I left work I still had friendships with colleagues, some of which had supported me though terribly difficult times and had joined Mark and I on our wedding day. I had my freedom, and I could do whatever I wanted when I wanted. I was suddenly thrown into a completely unfamiliar situation.
To make things a bit more difficult my grandfather died about 6 weeks after I had had Emilie. I had not seen him in 2 years. The feelings of guilt were overwhelming. I felt so deeply sad that he had not met Mark or I had been unable to introduce Emilie and share all my most happiest times with him and other members of the family. I was adamant that I would go to the funeral; although unsure how family members would react to me. There were cousins, uncles and aunts that I had once been close to, not to mention immediate family. I remember that cold February day that we buried Gramps, like yesterday. For me the whole family dynamic had completely changed. Whilst I received a relatively warm welcome, it was clear that there was a distance. My eldest brother who I had once been close to and who I’d not seen in over a year, did nothing more than acknowledge me with a nod of the head. Although, I knew why and I understood it did not stop it from hurting or being something which I found difficult to cope with.
Two weeks later I was due to see my Doctor for my 8 week check. I had no idea what to expect, and definitely not the experience I ended up with! I was in and out within less than 10 minutes having being labeled with post natal depression, after a series of checklist questions. It seemed as I didn’t tick all the right boxes this Doctor, who knew nothing about me or my personal situation, made a so called professional diagnosis based on a series of checked boxes! I came out in tears, as in my mind I thought I was doing ok considering everything that had happened. I phoned Mark and was so upset I was unable to talk to him; I eventually calmed down and managed to relate my story to him. He immediately called the Practice Manager to complain and I was offered a 30 minute appointment with one of the Senior Partners. It’s not that I didn’t have post natal depression and it’s not that the diagnosis was necessarily wrong, the truth was I didn’t know, but I did know that if I accepted their label then I would adopt their belief and I would definitely manifest post natal depression.
He was very understanding. He listened to my story of leaving the religion and the consequences that had brought, the moving in with Mark, getting pregnant, getting married, giving birth, nearly losing my life after and my Grandfather dying. So much had happened in only 10 months and to give the way I was feeling a label of post natal depression just seemed wrong! I was determined not to be given medication; I knew somewhere deep down I could be better than all of this….
To be continued…
❤ ❤ RIP Gramps ❤ ❤ sadly missed & forever in our hearts ❤ ❤
Yours in fighting back…
“Close some doors. Not because of pride, but because that no longer fits your life.” Paulo Coelho
I had to remind myself of this quote in the week as I ran through the town I was brought up in (part of my marathon training – a whole other post ). So many places and years, held so many memories; a feeling of sadness swept across me.
After no longer being part of the religion I have spent many a time and quite a few tears on the things I once had. I have often contemplated going back to ‘where everybody knows my name”, where I had so much support and always someone to turn to. It is only now that I have realised, I had to move out of my comfort zone as this is where the greatest personal growth is achieved. In order for me to be where I am now and have the things and relationships I now have, that had to happen.
It actually reminded me of the story of Lot’s wife in the bible (my many years of being taught the Bible has stood me in good stead!). God instructed Lot and his family to leave the city of Soddom and Gomorrah and told them to flee and not look back, Lot’s wife looked back and craved for the things she once had. It was at this point that God turned her into a pillar of salt. I’m aware that this story is usually used as an example of what happens if God is disobeyed. In my mind, it just illustrates my point that looking back on the things I once had does not serve me! This does not mean that I shouldn’t have memories or reminisce. Dwelling on the negatives from the past, or craving for the things I once had, is taking the focus away from what I have now and what I want to achieve in the future. Learning to focus on the good memories and using them to drive me forward into wanting to achieve more, is one of the best things I have learnt!
Negative feelings, words and thoughts damages our potential in so many ways! Not only that, it can affect your health, it can affect my health. Whatever the situation, whether you have nothing, whether I have nothing, YOU can CHOOSE, I CAN CHOOSE, the attitude towards it. Another favorite quote that Mark often reminds me of
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Maya Angelou
I have shared my story not to illicit sympathy or make judgment. I tell my story to show whatever happens to a person, whatever story or experiences or beliefs they have – these DO NOT have to stop you being the person you want to be, or achieving the things you want to achieve! Everybody has a story and it’s not the amount of times we fall down that indicates our failure, it is the amount of times we pick ourselves up and carry on that measure the extent of our strength!!
Where am I today? Well, not where I want to be and certainly not where I will end up! I have 3 beautiful children , a loving husband and am getting closer to my goal weight (having lost 4st 3lbs to date after baby No 3), busy training and fundraising for the London marathon, fulfilling the Sales and Marketing Lead role for the voluntary organisation YES Group London, contemplating writing a book and lastly and by no means least, considering a move from being a well paid city career girl to starting my own business . YES this is where I want to be, today, though life is a journey through time and like time, we should only move forwards, and not look back as forwards is the only way I want to be going!
Yours in continuing my journey…
…a secret place and don’t tell anyone”
For most 3 year olds this would have been exciting, for me it was the start of 8 years of sexual abuse.
I remember these words like they were spoken to me this morning.
The detail is not for here and maybe never for anywhere other than my distant and sometimes blocked out memory.
I wanted to share more about the impact that this has had and how I feel I have coped and overcome such a confusing, emotional and vile thing.
It was around the age of 5 that I think I started to develop an emotional attachment to food. Looking back, no one seemed to notice my weight gain or think that it was odd. I was constantly told I was ‘big boned’ or it was just ‘puppy fat’. I took comfort in my food, it made me feel better and I hid myself behind my weight – thinking that no one would notice me, especially not guys. I learnt to cope with any kind of negative emotion, by eating. This set me up for years of over eating.
I felt unable to tell anyone, as it wasn’t until I was around 8 that I realised that there was something seriously wrong with what was happening. I had all these mixed up feelings that I didnt know what to do with – it was an extremely confusing time. I don’t think even now I could tell you what those feelings were. I thought I would be in serious trouble. Why would anyone believe me? It would be my word against his.
I distinctly remember in junior school two policemen coming into to our class to give a talk about people ‘touching us’ and telling us to ‘keep it secret’ – it was a very bewildering time. I have no idea what stopped me saying anything, I guess I was scared I would get into trouble or that I would stand out from the crowd; I sat tight and didn’t say a word.
Another time I was at a friends house, I must have been 8ish and she was trying on clothes and wanted me to. I refused to the point of crying, as I was convinced if she saw any part of me without clothes on, she would be able to tell what had been happening and I would be in trouble or even laughed at.
This brings me back to my earlier post “the fat funny friend, of the slim pretty girl”. I had no real clue how big I was; it kind of felt comfortable! I think from my earlier conditioning I believed I was ‘just this way’ and therefore didn’t think I could change it. I used humour as a way for people to like me, and quite often would make fun of myself, as it seemed to lessen the blow of anyone else doing it. I struggled with people hugging or kissing me, and to some extent still do to this day as I feel really quite awkward – I am obviously ok with Mark doing this !
I hated myself for what was happening, then when it stopped I hated myself for not being able to say anything; I blamed myself for not being able to speak out. What was wrong with me? I’ve often imagined myself telling my parents and others close. The only way I have ever been able to imagine this is some dramaticed way! I could not explain to anyone how I felt and until the moment I published this blog, less than a handful of people know.
I dealt with it by blocking out all positive emotion, I wouldn’t cry, I didn’t really feel love, I did feel frustration and aggression quite alot. By the time I was 16 I became obsessed with how my hair and make-up looked and showering, this was also partly for being teased at school. There was a time when I wouldn’t go out of the door without make-up on and if I hadn’t had 2-3 showers a day, then I couldn’t go out also.
It wasn’t until I moved out of home at 21, to a flat that I shared with one of my friends, that I started to be more conscious about my size. Whilst I always knew I was big, it was only after a traumatic experience on holiday in 2000 I knew enough, was enough! After months of comfort eating I had ballooned to a MASSIVE 19st 9lbs. More about my weight loss journey in a future post !
I have thought long and hard about whether this is the right thing to do; writing about it. I believe it is. For the past 31 years I have lived with this everyday, it is part of who I am, and this post has only scratched the surface as to the impact that it has had. In order for me to be able to move on and leave it behind I have be ‘at peace’ with it in my own mind. Am I seeking justice?
Quite simply, no! I have no intention of ‘outing’ the person, or ruining the life they now have. Whilst I could argue that they have ruined mine, I know that they have to live with it every single day, and perhaps sometimes it keeps them awake at night – that is probably punishment in it’s own right. I, on the otherhand, can use it to make me stronger and perhaps at some stage, help others who have been through a similar experience.
So, why now? I have learnt a lot about personal development over the last few years. I have learnt not to take things personally and to live with gratitude. In order to move on I need to accept that it happened and disassociate myself from it. In this sense, I have no reason to feel ashamed or guilty! I now know that this WAS NOT ABOUT ME, it was about whatever sexual gratification he needed, not what I was doing, or saying, or wearing or because I was a bad child or because I deserved it – IT WAS ALL HIM; no-one else. Although, I know this, separating myself from this has been extremely difficult and in this sense, I feel I’m right at the starting blocks!
“I am not what happened to me, I am who I choose to become” Carl Jung
Yours in letting go…
I am often find myself defending the actions of my former friends and I have to ask myself why?
It would be easy to feel anger and hate, and whilst yes, quite enough times these last few years I have felt hurt and upset. The truth is, having been on the inside of the religion I fully understand why it happens, and could reel the teachings off the top of my head with little or no effort. Yet, being on the otherside and the reality of actually having it happen to you, whilst, in your head you know why, it is certainly not something you can easily rationalise in your own mind.
When still within the religion myself, I too, would cut off those persons that had been deemed to be ‘bad associations’ or had taken action outside the Bible’s teaching. To the extent that there was one time when my flatmate, at the time, I believed was carrying out ‘wrongdoing’ and therefore, I told her she had to move out. At the time I knew I was right. I gave little thought to what she would do or where she would go, I just wanted to do the right thing.
I find myself defending the religion and the actions of those within it, time and time again. Mark finds it difficult to understand why people who claim to love God, carry out such an unloving action. I know I did wrong in their eyes and therefore understand why it happened, yet it does not stop the hurt. I guess Mark is the one that has seen the impact that it has had, the highs, the many lows and the depths of despair. He has often said that my friends abandoned me when I needed them the most, the truth is they never really knew. It was me that had distanced myself at the time, as being with Mark felt so very right, yet in their eyes it was so very wrong – how do you rationalise that in your mind?
For me it wasn’t really choosing the religion or choosing Mark – whatever happened it seemed to happen unconsciously. It wasn’t that I no longer believed in the teachings, I found myself in a situation whereby I could no longer conform to their standards, so I guess this comes under ‘lifestyle choice’. I know there will be ones in the religion that will say “it was her choice, she knew what would happen by her continuing with her actions, therefore she has to live with the consequences’. I would agree, it was my choice, the knowing and the experiencing are worlds apart, so for anyone to set out deliberatly to have this happen to them, seems a little odd.
I distinctly remember a point in time where I was near hysterical, I had just told my parents about Mark and I (May 2007), some of it face to face – this did not go well, so I left and told them the rest over email, that is not for now! I was desperate not to be cut off and lose my friends or be viewed as some kind of vile whore. I was 6 weeks pregnant and I practically begged Mark for us to get married to try and make all of it right, looking back I don’t think it would have done; thats the beauty of hindsight! Needless to say we didn’t and continued with buying a house and moving in together. I was an emotional wreck for weeks, perhaps months, partly grieving for the friends I had lost, dealing with guilt of the last 30 years teachings and trying to move on with buying a house, being pregnant and also a work promotion I had received a few months earlier. That being said, this was a wonderful time for Mark and I and I looked for the glimmer of joy in my mixed up emotions and each day, week and month went by these did eventually start to get bigger.
I have no doubt I hurt a lot of people, although not intentionally, they most certainly had a tough time in coming to terms with what had happened. Just as I had to learn that their actions weren’t about me, my actions weren’t about them. There was no plan, no pre-determined action to leave the religion and had you asked me back then, I had never imagined myself outside of it.
I truly believe that my 30 years of learning about the Bible and it’s many many teachings have stood me in good stead! So, I am incredibly grateful to my parents for instilling these principles in me. It is probably one of the earliest personal development books that you could read. I listen to personal development speakers now and many of their points you can find in the Bible. Would I go back?
There have been many times where I have considered going back, mostly through loneliness and lack of support – these, surely, would be the wrong reasons? I know many people who have gone back as life outside can be extremely difficult to adjust to. For me, I would have to re-examine all the teachings and decide whether I wholeheartedly agreed with them and could conform to the lifestyle that came with it.
What have I learnt from this?
Along with the not taking things personally I have also learnt not to judge people by ones own standards. Everyone has their own set of values and beliefs, whether they are religious or not, and it would be wrong to judge others by our own values and beliefs. If one should judge anyone then it must be done against their own values and beliefs, but lets not forget, it is the times when one challenges and acts against ones own beliefs that the greatest change and growth can occur.
Yours in moving forward…