…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…
I was the poor, fat, religious kid at school. To top it off the importance of personal hygiene was never really impressed upon me – this I learnt the hard way! I was teased at school for being the fat, smelly, poor, religious kid, I’m not sure I’d go as far to say I was bullied; I was never physically hurt. Right from an early age I realised that I was different.
One of these ‘afflictions’ would have been tough to handle, 4 were just a recipe for emotional instability ! We were taught that we were different, because of the religion, and that it was ok to ‘not conform’. I’m not sure this was what they were alluding too! I would often find myself on my own. Needless to say my school years were not a happy time.
I grew up in a family of 9, 5 brothers, a sister and my parents – 4 older brothers and a younger sister and brother. We lived, for the most part, on a council estate, in Essex – I have no doubt providing for and raising that amount of children was tricky in itself – I find 3 tricky!! This proved to be a weirdness in itself, as I would often get asked “do your parents have a telly”. We had just enough money to get by, as I mentioned in a previous post, material things and career aspirations were frowned upon. Although, we never went hungry and we did have a caravan and my parents did ensure we had a holiday at least once a year.
This is one particular memory that sticks in my mind. It was 1983, nearing Christmas – I was 5 years old and in the infant school. They were doing a Christmas play, Hansel and Gretel. I had been told by my parents that I wasnt to take part. I vaguely remember telling my teacher “my parents said I can’t be in the play’ so I was given a chime bar to play – I think this consisted of hitting it several times, at particular moments during one song. I, of course, never told my parents. The day of the performance came and I performed my part. A couple of days later my parents had clearly found out that this had happened, needless to say I was punished – I felt very confused. Looking back and being 5, I don’t remember why I wasn’t allowed to be part of the play and why this was so significant – as I grew older, I knew it was because we didnt celebrate Christmas. Every year I dreaded that time of year, the having to explain and the sticking out like a complete freak.
Children can be so cruel, and the sad part is that they will never know the impact of the words and taunts that they spoke and found highly amusing at the time. Can you imagine what its like to try to explain to other children that you don’t celebrate birthdays, christmas, mothers day, fathers day, easter, halloween, buy raffle tickets, play out after school or go round other childrens to play? Why you didn’t wear the trendiest, new clothes and shoes? I had to sit out of religious education and sex education, often in the corridor on an empty desk or in an empty classroom. All the normal things that every other child does – my school peers thought I was weird! I just thought there was something wrong with me!
My parents never attended any parents evenings as it always seemed to fall on a ‘meeting night’ and to them that was more important. To my teachers, they didn’t seem interested, to my parents their worship was more important. Gaining qualifications and further education was also discouraged as earning money was seen as a means to an end, as it was believed that the end of the world was very near. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I left school and my parents took very little interest; the bible and the beliefs were their focus. They would have been happy for me to clean or work in a shop, and whilst there is nothing wrong with either of these professions, deep down I knew I could, and WANTED to do more than that.
Whilst we weren’t allowed to associate with other children outside the religion, there were other children within the religion we would associate with. Although, for the reasons above I still found myself struggling to fit in, I was a complete social retard and didn’t really make proper friends in the religion until I was around 16, and I seemed to gravitate to the ones who were a bit naughty!
It was probably around this age that I started to try a few things that I shouldn’t have done, smoking, drugs (only weed), drinking etc. This, I guess, was my first taste of the ‘real world’. Safe to say I never really suffered with attention or ‘temptation’ from the boys, so the whole sex thing had never been an issue.
I learnt quite quickly that being the funny, smart one earnt me some attention. Right until my early 20′s I was always the fat, funny friend with the great personality of the slim, pretty girl. I would do all that I could to be accepted, and to please people so they would connect to me in some way – I know that I still have this need.
I know some of these things were not a direct result of the religion, and it is not criticism of that or my parents, as I truly believe they brought us up in the way that they thought was right and proper. I now, being a parent myself, have the beauty of hindsight and have learnt many, many things on my 34 year journey to date. Most of these realisations and understandings have been in the last few years, and I have Mark to thank for that – he is my inspiration. I believe that anything is possible if you want it enough.
“what your mind can conceive, it can achieve” Walt Disney
Yours in fulfilling your dreams…
“The months leading up to that night, I had become terribly unhappy, so much so, that I had developed an eating disorder and had used alcohol to blank out those feelings of unhappiness – despite my many friends, I felt lonely and so indescribably lost. I only realised that months after Mark and I had got together.”
These feelings that I was experiencing were not a direct product of being in the religion, they were an culmination of many things. More than 4 years previous I had started a relationship with a guy in the religion, and 4 years on he still did not know whether he wanted to marry me or not – I tend not to over analyse this one, as I feel, this was not a direct result of the religion.
Why was this a problem? The religion prohibited sex before marriage, and as a consequence pretty much everywhere we went we would need a chaperone, to avoid being led into any kind of ‘temptation’. This meant that in terms of our relationship, once it reached a number of months I became increasingly frustrated that the relationship could not naturally grow and we could not share experiences and get to know each other on any other level.
We broke up and got together about 3 times, and I felt I was no longer in control of what was happening. For him it was such a huge decision, especially with the religious belief of living forever; if we got married it would be forever. For me, I loved him and wanted to be with him – it was that simple. With the beauty of hindsight, we clearly were not right for each other, and perhaps I mistook love for a special bond we had formed during a very traumatic situation some years back.
It was those months leading up to me finishing the relationship that I had sunk so far down, that I couldn’t even help myself. I started to believe there was something wrong with me, why didn’t he want to marry me? Was I not good enough? Was I too fat? I’d been overweight until my early twenties and suffered low self esteem thoughout my teenage years, so this was easy for me to believe.
Food was the easiest thing to control, I would starve myself in the quest to be thinner, the sign of any kind of frustration or feelings of not being wanted I would binge on anything I could get my hands on. I would even walk to the local shop to buy bagfuls of junk food, just to satisfy my emotional attachment to food I had formed in my childhood – this in itself is a whole different post! The only way I can explain it, was like a switch being triggered and as soon as my brain had made the decision that I was going to eat then vomit it all back up, I would go to any lengths to make it happen; I felt excited. As soon as I had ‘finished’ all I felt was guilt, emptiness and hated myself even more. Alcohol was my saviour, so I thought!
I would often sit alone in my flat with a bottle of vodka or wine and cry. The alcohol gave me a false sense of confidence, after several drinks it gave me feelings of depression and anger. There were times I would phone my boyfriend, after several drinks, and get so extremely frustrated I would shout at him – I felt completely out of control! I would wake up the next day feeling guilty and annoyed with myself; the whole cycle would begin again. I did not know how to break the cycle.
I’m not proud of that time, or the way I treated my boyfriend and friends in those last few months – I had got to the point whereby I could no longer help myself and I certainly could not accept help from anyone, I just blamed myself. I know now that what happened wasn’t about me, things rarely are!
So what was it about?
It was his issues, his limiting beliefs that he was dealing with that did not enable him to make a decision. This was NOT about me, and looking back I was arrogant to think so! I kept telling myself there was nothing fundamentally wrong with the relationship so we would have to try ‘to make it work’. I know now that you do not have to work at a relationship, if it’s not working, then there is something fundamentally wrong! Yes, you have your challenges you both face, on a day-to-day level Mark and I don’t have to ‘work at’ being friends – we just are
This was one of my biggest breakthroughs; the realisation that what people say and do is never about you, it is whatever issue, feeling or limiting belief they have. Needless to say when you use this filter it is easier not to take things personally and make them your issues.
The emotional attachment to food, being overweight, low self esteem and the drinking, however, WERE my problem and something I had to deal with.
Yours in an emotional battle,
“It was 6:30am and as I heard the front door close behind him, I had no idea this was the moment that would change my life forever!”
This is how I imagine my book would start. The truth is, one small unconscious decision that I took exactly 5 years ago to the day, changed my life as I knew it and it has never been the same since.
At the time it seemed completely insignificant, that I had agreed, without really having to think about it, to go out for a drink with 2 of my work colleagues (outsourced IT partner to be precise!). One of those, is my now husband, Mark. On the surface of it, you may wonder why this has been so life changing, aside the fact we have just celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary and have 3 small kiddies , whilst these are life changing events in themselves, this isn’t what I am referring too.
I was brought up in a devout religion. It was a community of like minded people that would worship 3 times a week, be there to support you in times of need; I had many friends and a good social life. Making friends and associations outside of the religion, were frowned upon, as were career aspirations, acquiring material possessions, sex before marriage was prohibited, as were celebration of Christmas and birthdays, just to name a few of the beliefs and values that I had become my everyday ‘norm’. I believed this was right and everyone else had it so very wrong.
That night 5 years ago having made the decision to go out for a drink, looking back, was a little out of character for me! Especially, as it was on a night whereby I should have been at one of our ‘meetings’ of worship. The months leading up to that night, I had become terribly unhappy, so much so, that I had developed an eating disorder and had used alcohol to blank out those feelings of unhappiness – despite my many friends, I felt lonely and so indescribably lost. I only realised that months after Mark and I had got together.
The whole evening with Mark is a story in itself, and maybe not for now. All I knew is that we had made a connection on every level; I never wanted that night to end, and it didn’t! When I woke up with him beside me, it all felt like a dream – what just happened? Why him? Why now?
Six weeks on, he told me that he loved me. 4 months in, in a tent in Hamble, we decided that we wanted to be together always and start a family. 2 months after that I found out I was pregnant. It was at this point I knew I had to bite the bullet and face my friends and family. I knew that I would no longer be accepted for not only seeing someone outside of the religion, but having sex, moving in together and being pregnant all outside of marriage – I had always known the consequences to these actions, although to me they had all happened unconsciously and seemed so natural. That did not prepare me for the reality of losing all my friends and some of my family and adjusting to life has, at times, proved to be challenging!
Imagine, not having celebrated a Christmas or Birthday until you were 30, never having tasted champagne, never having aspirations or to be involved with charity work, voting, or having sex! Imagine your parents and close friends not sharing your most special and happy time, being at your wedding or sharing the joy of giving birth to your children. I know exactly how all of that feels! I don’t want sympathy, because without all of this, I wouldn’t be the person I am today or be in the position I am today.
This blog is about where I started 5 years ago, my journey to date through many many difficult, trying and often challenging times and my now great plans for the future. I am writing this for many reasons not least because I am now feel able to share and doing so is quite cathartic! So many people live a life of beliefs that are, perhaps, not their own. Beliefs, which limit them in ways they do not realise. It’s only when you break through those limitations and see what a world of possibilities, sadness and happiness live on the other side.
Before I finish this first entry I want to make it clear this is my journey, my beliefs and my life and I have the utmost respect for anyone who has different beliefs and if they wish to lead a life within them then I applaud them for sticking to the beliefs so strongly. This is in no way meant to blame, criticise, or belittle anyone’s beliefs. If however you or someone you know would like to change their most fundamental of beliefs and values, spiritual or religious, and don’t know where to turn or feel isolated, then I want you to know I have done it, I have walked that path and would love to share what challenges I have faced and how I have managed to create a life of endless possibilities where my only limitations are me and my imagination.
Yours in an inspirational journey!
I DO! Although, I didn’t until March 2010.
This is the scenario… my husband, Mark Davies, and I had booked to attend an event, Expand your Brand, back in March. We did not know what to expect, anyway to cut to the point a guest speaker was announced, Jeremy Gilley… Jeremy who? we thought… why was he so special?
The following video played on the screen…
Now, if, like me, you had the same reaction watching that, EVERYTIME I hear his voice and Annie Lennox singing I get goose bumps. As Jeremy came up to the stage, that day, he received a 10 minute standing ovation. And again part way through his speech.
So, what made this one man so remarkable?
Why did he receive such a reaction?
This is why, in his own words…
In 1999, preoccupied with questions about the fundamental nature of humanity and the most pressing issues of our time, filmmaker Jeremy Gilley launched Peace One Day and set out to find a starting point for peace. He had a mission: to document his efforts to establish the first ever annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence with a fixed calendar date.
Remarkably, two years on, he achieved his primary objective when the 192 member states of the United Nations unanimously adopted 21 September as an annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence on the UN International Day of Peace. We call that day Peace Day.
The UN International Day of Peace on 21 September every year is not only about creating peace between nations, it’s about non-violence in our homes, communities and schools. Therefore Peace Day is relevant to every human being on the planet.
Now the next major objective is to introduce 3 billion people to Peace Day by 2012.
Up until this point the one thing that sprung to mind at the mention of world peace was the character Gracie Lou Hart in Miss Congeniality, who thought it was dumb that all the Miss USA contestants wanted world peace. It turns out by the end of the film that she wanted world peace also. In other words we all like the idea of world peace and what it stands for, but for most of us we would not know where to start to put a plan like that into action!! Needless, to say that I now, thanks to Jeremy Gilley , have a more sensible association with the term world peace! It is one thing to want world peace, it takes a whole other set of values, beliefs and dedication to take action towards making it happen. Jeremy Gilley is just that person.
I don’t think it is possible to sum him up in a few words, if I try…. he is awesome, inspirational and a true leader – that just does not do him or his work justice! His story, efforts and achievements have certainly had an impact on not only myself, but others too – would not the world be a different place if everybody did a fraction of what Jeremy does? If we smiled a bit more, did not take offense, did not hold grudges – these are small steps in comparison, but would make a significant difference if done in unity. Remember that thought, the reality is we can choose how to feel and act – what choice will you make?
We now knew who Jeremy Gilley was and, in fact, is! How did we not know????!! He is special and truly remarkable EVERYBODY should know about this guy, his story and the PeaceOneDay.org. I aim to raise awareness of Jeremy’s work and PeaceOneDay.org, any way that I can! You can get more of Jeremy’s story and information of the work Peace One Day carry out and more importantly, how you can show support for Peace Day by visiting www.peaceoneday.org
Following Expand your Brand and seeing Jeremy we both (Mark and I) support Peace One Day – we’ve even got the t-shirts ! Subsequently, Mark had the privilege of interviewing Jeremy for his blogtalk radio show, The Leader Within, which you can get to by following the links below
Listen to the interview with Jeremy
Download the MP3
You can also subscribe to The Leader Within Podcasts, via iTunes by searching for The Leader Within
Jeremy Gilley, you are… a truly inspirational man!
Let me leave you with this question……. “What will YOU do on Peace Day?” 21 September
So, 6 weeks post birth, I decide now is the time to get back into running. I have 2st 6lbs to lose to get me back to pre-pregnancy weight and 3st 10lb to get me to where I’d like to be!
I dig out all my running gear, which I surprisingly have alot of! I manage to squeeze into some, but I look completely hideous! Even the extra large is very tight and I seem to have rolls of fat and VPL everywhere! I start crying, how could I let myself get this big after getting so far after having Amelia? People are going to stare and laugh and the big fat lardy lady running around the streets. I dont think I am ready for this, it’s all a little too much , I’m feeling annoyed, disappointed and frustrated with myself!
The place I find myself in is a little odd, as, yes I’m overweight, but in order to get to where I want to be I have to go out and get back into running. I have to tell myself that this isn’t where I want to be, and my current largeness is only a temporary thing. So, I pull myself together I get out for a run. It is quite uncomfortable, everything seems to move and I feel really quite awkward carrying all the extra weight. I kept telling myself I could do it and focussing on being slimmer and fitter.
As I reached home I checked my GPS and much to my surprise I managed 2 miles, albeit a little slow. Now I’m feeling a whole lot better, and maybe next time it wont be such an emotional challenge!
I asked Mark to take some pictures of me, which I cant bring myself to look at right now. I will post nearer my ‘before and after’ moment!
Yours in emotional training,
So, late 2010 I found myself unexpectedly pregnant, yet again! With working fulltime in the city and 2 kiddies under 3, things have been pretty hectic, hence the lack of posts! Which also meant that I had run both 1/2 marathons whilst I was pregnant. It was only after my Cancer Research 10k in October 2010 that I started to suspect that something was wrong, as despite putting in a PB, I had really struggled to run; symptoms that I had experienced in my previous 2 pregnancies.
Much to our surprise, we discovered at our 20wk scan that we were having a little boy! I was so convinced it would be another girl that I had chosen a name and prepared myself for that outcome. Whilst I wasn’t disappointed, it came as a complete shock and choosing boys clothes, let alone a boys name, became really quite tough and a little overwhelming! I’m so glad that we found out the sex, otherwise I think it would have taken me a few weeks to get used to the idea. I think it also helped Emilie and we could prepare her for the arrival of their little brother, the minx was still a little too young to understand what was going on! The mere mention of a baby in my tummy caused her to giggle and pull up my top and say ‘baby gone’!!
To cut a long story short, 14 days over due, Baby Harry Francisco Sebastian Davies arrived at 1541, after artificial rupture of membranes and a sub 3 hour natural labour on June 21 2011, weighing in at a surprising (and shockingly painful!) 9lb 7ozs!
The recovery, however, is a whole different story, or post!
Yours in childbirth :/