Motherhood

The highs and the lows, in whatever order they come. Motherhood is my tribe.

I’ve had just about all I can take of this Lions Tour thank God that is over with. I’ve had enough of sport in fucking general if I’m being honest. If it’s sport my husband will watch it, it seems to me like there is not a single day of the year that there is not a  professionally played sport televised. If it’s televised then it’s on in this house. Now I know most men are like this and it’s usually fine with me but this past week has tested me and the weekend was a disaster. Neil left at 7am on Saturday to go watch the sodding Lions and I was stuck solo parenting again all day, I know that there are single parents (I’ve been one), army families and people all across the world who do it on their own day in day out but Saturday…. I had had a guts full.

Every week is getting a little harder, what with appointments coming out of me ears for Connor. Therapies and education, we have the speech therapist coming two sometimes three days per week and I am trying to learn more about behavioral therapy and techniques to help with his anxiety attacks. Plus all the day to day things we face, sometimes just getting him dressed has me on my knees in tears. Now we have things beginning for Florence, in the next three weeks we have three new intervention projects starting and her first appointment with the speech therapist. Now I’m grateful for all this I really am, I may not seem it right now but I am. My kids mean everything to me and they need my help but right now I feel like I’m failing. I’m struggling to stay on top of life. I am failing at keeping on top of special needs learning, I’m failing at spreading my attention around all of my children, I’m failing at keeping on top of housework, I’m failing at getting my daughter to move on with her development and most of all I am failing at being me. There is only so many things you can fail at before you start to question if your the problem, I must be the failure. I am the only common denominator.

This has been on of those weeks where everything is kicking my arse. Being a Wife is kicking my arse, being a Mum is kicking my arse and being Natalie is kicked me so far up the arse that she’s been gone a few weeks now. So feeling like this and the fact that I was solo parenting again Saturday, which I wanted to strangle my husband for…even though he needs a break too because he works his arse off for this family, didn’t make the weekend seem all that promising to me. Plodding along though, until major meltdown hit right in the middle of trying to get Ed Sheeran tickets on the ticket master website. FFS! I only wanted ten minutes why choose now to kick off Connor? Yeh I’m blaming Connor, my Autistic four year old for my head stress. I mean what the fuck is up with me? (Rhetorical question please don’t answer that). I decided to get the kids out of the house for a little bit, our days and blurring into weeks and weeks into months. Being stuck in alot of the time because it’s so difficult to go places with them both on my own. We are very limited to where we can go because of Connor’s sensory issues, and I know I’m not the only Mother who has more than one child, but I can’t even go to the park for God sake. Connor has no sense of danger, he can’t speak or understand alot of what I say so if I’m pushing Florence on the swing and Connor tries to run out of the park, jump in a river, dash across the road etc… which one do I leave? The baby sitting in the swing or run as fast as I can to catch my son who won’t stop when I call him because he doesn’t register the danger. I may seem like I’m over paranoid but things have happened in the past and I’m terrified that he will get seriously hurt. So most of the time we are trapped in the house in a cycle of needing to socialise and not coping well on my own out and about.

It’s not a case of people and the nasty shit they say or do because I’m good at ignoring that, it’s just so hard to do alone and more than once I’ve broken down in tears in the middle of the street and just so you know what not one person, NOT ONE has stopped and asked if I was OK. Sometimes I just don’t get humanity at all. Why do we have this problem with people admitting that they are struggling? I’ve kept my secret long enough now, perhaps it is because I don’t feel like I’m failing every day or perhaps it’s because I’ve been ashamed but why should I? Being a mum is so hard. I’m exhausted most of the time and I miss me. What about me? I know people will think “selfish cow” but I can’t find me anymore. I’m trying to be something to everyone and I’m failing at most things, and the one that is making me the most sad is missing myself. I want to be me again for a while. I’ve given up so much to be a mum, just like most mother’s I know but I don’t think I was even slightly prepared for how much time and dedication a child with special needs takes. I hate myself for saying this but I need a break. I am now a full time carer and have had to give up my job and in doing so the career I had been planning for around three years, but that’s ok I’ve excepted that. Connor needs me and I want to be with him but now Florence is under the microscope and they could tell me at any minute she is on the spectrum too and I really don’t think I am gona cope. I’ve always believed that things happen for a reason and that you go through things in life to prepare you for the next chapter of your life and I still believe that, but what the fuck is am being prepared for? I sometimes sit and wonder what the hell can the universe through at me next? I feel like I’ve let my husband down alot of the time, he waited a lifetime for the family he never had and we keep getting told we are failing at every turn. This is not what I wanted for him. I wouldn’t change my children are I love them all more than life but I sometimes wish we could catch a break before we break ourselves.

I’m doing that thing that I hate, where I am looking at other people’s Facebook and Instagram and thinking, “When am I gona get to do that?”. I hate that I’ve been doing it and that I can even think it but when I found out I was having a daughter, I dreamt of ballet classes and gymnastics, Mum and daughter shopping days and horse riding but all that seems so far away, if even possible now. It makes me so mad but mostly sad because I feel like I can’t give my daughter all the things that my parents have me. I know how lucky I am to have my children, that some people can’t have the children they desperately want and that some parents have had their children taken away too soon but my children are here and I just want them to have the best and right now, I don’t feel like that is me. I always feel like I am playing catch up to everything, I am so busy all day then at night we have to have things done a certain way or Connor will struggle to settle. Not that he does most nights and when he does it’s for two or three hours at a time, then when I finally get them into bed I am trying to play catch up with it all. The housework, staying healthy and fit, just having five minutes to sit down or have a bath, having any kind of social life is just a fucking joke and never mind trying to have a career of any kind. Yes I feel incredibly lucky that I am now doing something that has been a secret passion of mine since my teenage years and that I am now lucky enough to have a husband who will do anything for this family, so I can actually take courses and be serious about writing which I’ve wanted to do for so long now but getting any time to write is near impossible. I am having to start it at around midnight sometimes and I’m not talking blogging or freelancing, I am in the process of writing a book. (There I’ve said it, the secret is finally out) At the rate I am going, I’ll be finished in 2050!!!!! I just feel like I am loosing now matter how hard I am trying to do all these things, something always slips. Myself and my husband spent no time and I mean NO TIME together, this may seem like a regular thing for parents and yes I was aware we would be giving up alot but seriously Connor has been alive for 1681 days and I have been away from him 23 times!!!! That is 1.37% of his life.

People actually think that when your child is disabled ‘at least’ you don’t have to work. People think ‘at least you get money for nothing’??? I mean are you serious? Firstly, as if I would want my child to be in any way affected so I didn’t have to work. Secondly if you think it’s a money pit then you are so misinformed. For example Connor needs around the clock care and CONSTANT supervision, that is 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, no sick days for me and no holiday pay. So if you actually worked that out it comes to 38p per hour, but that’s ridiculous right? So let’s work that out basing it on me ‘working’ 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday, it comes to £1.60 per hour. So yeh it’s all about the money eh??? My whopping carer’s allowance. The fact is I had a job, I wanted to go back to work and I couldn’t so I am staying home to make sure my son gets the life he is entitled too… and just so you know, I’d do it for free. So to the people who think that as a carer in this country you get to stay home and look after your children, why should you get paid to do that?? There is my wage slip broken down for you. I don’t see my children as a job I chose to have them and I wouldn’t change a thing about them but I am drained at the moment and I feel like if I don’t get myself back in the picture a little bit I might disappear altogether. Being a mum is so hard, we are expected to juggle so many different jobs all at the same time. Am I the only one who’s not coping?

Chat soon

Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy

xoxo

*not my image
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(photo bit blurred to respect privacy of other children)

Thursday 6th July

This morning started off so much easier than most mornings in this house and I have no idea why? We had a busy day right from the start of the day, as it was Connor’s first transition day into the SRB school he will be attending full time in September (SRB prev post). Now usually Connor sleeps in due to him having such trouble sleeping through the nights so I had already decided last night to wake up early get myself and Florence sorted and ready to go before even attempting to stir him. It can go one of two ways he either jumps up happy or he has a total meltdown and it goes from bad to worse from thereon out. However, despite the late night he got up really well. Now I didn’t want to add pressure this morning and push for him to come downstairs too quickly so I took him some breakfast in bed and he watched his tablet, like a King. Two pieces of marmite on toast and a chocolate brioche. Sometimes it can take as long as an hour to eat, an hour to get dressed and I have to physically dress him which can be so hard if he decides to fight me. I knew I would have to be ready, but he was an absolute delight this morning which really helped. Once he was readywe waited for my Mum to arrive, she was coming as reinforcements for me because Neil had to work and we had no idea how Connor would react to this huge change. Connor is not all that great with new places, new people and large numbers of people and in a school there can be quite a bit of noise, for Connor that is a no no.

We managed to get in the car all fine, with a slight anxious episode over the cars because he is really struggling with traffic at the moment, something else we are trying to work on. The traffic just simply moves too fast, it’s too quick and the cars etc are just too big. Arriving at his beautiful school my Mum was immediately impressed just at looking at the building, the difference in the site compared to his last place is so extreme there really is no comparison. Parked the car we made our way to the reception area and they were expecting us. The reception staff paid no mind to the meltdown that ensued in the foyer because he had spotted their sports day setup and the slide in the playground and just simply had to get to it. They called down to the classroom and asked his class teacher to come out to meet him, by the time she got to us we were mid meltdown and both sat on the floor, me trying to clam him with soothing voice and deep pressure. Once his teacher arrived she got down on the floor straight away, she sat with us at his level. Nobody batted an eye, she new that Connor needs to not see her as a threat and she needed to watch me and learn what calms him. As a family we spend alot of time on the floor. Myself, my husband, our teenage son, my family and my friends. These people that are in my inner circle who don’t care what society thinks when they are sat on the floor in Asda, who don’t listen to the passers by who mutter about the ‘spoilt child’ kicking out in the car park. My people who love Connor exactly how he is weren’t there (my Mum had hold of Florrie) but this lady just got down instinctively and I knew straight away she was going to take good care of my boy. After I explained what the problem was she took us outside and straight into the playground so Connor could go on the slide. He just ran in, he didn’t look back. After around 5 minutes of us chatting to his class teacher and Connor playing on the slide with another teacher, the other children in his class came out to play with him. They had be prepped that Connor was joining their class over the last few days and were excited to meet him. They all started playing together and Connor was laughing his best belly laugh, I knew he was fine. Myself, my Mum and Florence backed away slowly and Connor just carried on running and we could hear his laugh all the way up by the top gate. I knew that I would keep checking my phone just like all Mums do on the first few days, even weeks and given our history of how our boy has been treated, no one could blame me for my nerves. We strolled in the sunshine along the brook all the way into the town, spying on the ducks with my daughter and chatting. My phone didn’t ring. Not once.

I’m so please that the summertime seems to be returning, there have been a few rainy days where I’ve thought that was it. We had our hot two weeks of summer and we were done but the the sun has been such a lush change today and Florence loves to be in the pushchair so it was win win. Connor being able to go to a suitable school is going to be so good for him but at the same time it will be wonderful for Florence. She has never had anytime with me just to herself and with her flagging up a few social concerns I am desperate to get her to toddler groups etc, which is next to impossible with Connor it tow. We managed to have a stroll around the town and grab a coffee before walking back to collect Connor before lunch as we didn’t want to push him too far straight away. He came out witha great big smile on his face and a lovely visual daily diary for me to look at, showing some of the things he had done that morning. We waved ‘goodbye, see you next time.’.

The kiddos had an easy peasy lunch of a happy meal while I did a few muggle jobs, like going to the bank and popping into Morrisons for a few bits. We came home and while Connor chilled out, Florence napped and my Mum watched her crazy Australian soap operas, I popped to Slimming World to weigh for the week. After Mum had gone home with two big bags of our washing (still no machine), we decided to do a bit of sensory play with bubbles and shaving foam in the bath, which is always a winner with both babies especially Connor. Jay came home the usual time and was excited to hear all about Connor’s first day, he is so grown up I take it for granted how he takes everything in his stride. It’s not easy have a sibling with a disability. Connor takes up alot of our time and energy but Jay gets on with it and we are lucky with such a big age gap, that he is happy to be left to himself and his mates. Teenager in residence. The kids had a lovely tea, I treated them to a bit of steak (which they both love) with veg and homemade chips. So now we are all clean, fed and ready for bed.

Managed to get them tucked up and sleeping Connor by 7pm (miracles can happen) and Florrie was more like 8pm, which again isn’t too bad. I was going to work on some theory for my photography portfolio because it has to be submitted in 5 weeks time and I cannot leave anything to chance. Whenever I get time I need to work on things, because you never know when the routine will go tits up in this house and I will run out of time. However, it didn’t go quite according to plan. I lay on the bed to get my head together and the next thing I knew it was 5am Friday. Neil said he did try to wake me and I wasn’t very nice to him, that will teach him eh. So no, I didn’t get any portfolio done, or any writing. Well done me. On a separate note, I can’t believe that it has taken me to nearly 32 years of age to finally do the things I have been passionate about my whole life, and always thought were a pipe dream. Turns out nothing is if you work hard enough for it.

So that’s it, a day in our life this week. A really proud, important day and such a massive step towards a whole new future for Connor.

Chat soon

Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy

xoxo

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This week we went to visit a new school that Connor has been offered a place at ready for September. Up until now he has been attending a local nursery in a mainstream primary school, and needless to say what a horrific experience that has been. For our whole family. For the last 19 months our poor boy has had to suffer judgement, stigma and neglect from teachers, the last people you would believe capable of such things. Now I don’t really want to go into too much detail of the things we have been expected to put up with or the way Connor has been treated, as I think I have made myself perfectly clear to anybody who will listen. So from here on out I am going to forget that that dreadful place even exists and just pray that another family never has to experience the same hate from them again. We have made all the relevant authorities aware so it’s just up to them now I guess.

This past Thursday myself and Neil were invited down to see the SRB school that have offered Connor a place in there wonderful school. We had no idea what to expect and being an incredibly over emotional person I was extremely nervous and considering our previous experience, absolutely terrified. I decided to try to keep an open mind even though I had already convinced myself that this kind of place just won’t be able to meet Connor’s needs. Oh how wrong I was, and I have never been more thrilled to admit I was wrong either. For those of you that don’t know, an SRB school is what’s known as a Special Resource Base school (maybe you’ve heard the term ‘base unit’). It’s a mainstream school with some classrooms available to cater for children with special needs/learning difficulties or disabilities. They come in all different types and Connor’s for example is for children with highly/severely complex needs. The minute we arrived my first thoughts were just how incredibly modern and beautiful the building was, we went in and met with a representative from the local authority and the deputy head teacher to show us around the whole of the school not just the SRB. Which straight away showed me the ethos of this school and how these kids, these wonderful special kids are part of the main school and not segregated off. Each child there that we saw was smiling and we were shown examples of how the children in the mainstream side interacted and involved the children in the base classes in everything they did. These children are being taught that difference is nothing to be afraid of or ashamed of, they just embraced it as part of their world. They saw no difference. For me this spoke volumes because I am always afraid of how the rest of the world will treat Connor, this terrifies me more than anything else you could think of. The children in the mainstream will take this attitude through to high school and then on into adulthood, that school is going to be responsible for a whole generation of open minded people. It’s wonderful. The school has two SRB classes, a foundation class (where Connor will be) and a key stage 2 and all children have a range of different needs. Each class has a maximum of 8 pupils sometimes less, with 4 teachers in each class. Which straight away eases my mind as Connor is a runner, he will just simply leave somewhere if he gets the chance. So the more eyes on him the better. Each classroom has the capacity to deal with all forms of communication which is amazing as we are just starting our journey of communicating through PECS (picture exchange communication system) and the fact that it will be used for 6 hours of the day in school makes reinforcing it at home that much easier for me. They also use sign language, as well as many other forms of communication to help give each child a voice and help them with their independence.

One of the highlights for me is that they have a sensory room, which the children have access to whenever they need it. This was a game changer for me, it’s one of the main things I have been battling for all this time. Connor is so sensory driven and has SPD (sensory processing disorder) so the minute I saw this I cant explain the relief that completely flooded over me, I know how much this will benefit him. It will stimulate him to the level that his brain needs so that he will be at a point where he is able to learn and retain any information given to him. We also told that the children in Connor’s class go on a school outing every Monday afternoon, the children are taken on little trips so they can engage with the outside world. Which for someone with Autism is so important, Autism is in many ways a social interaction condition and alot of people on the spectrum have difficulty with this. I know Connor does and this will help him seeing that the outside world can be part of his world. So it’s safe to say I am overjoyed with this school selection and I am finally feeling like my mind is at rest a little. Next week Connor will start his transition days so he get familiar with the building and the faces and know where things are, things like that are really important to him. After the horrid start to his school life this is a huge step in the right direction at a safe place that isn’t going to right him off the minute he walks through the door. He needs this, I need this. After nearly 5 years of having him at home full time I really need the break, and I am fully aware that there are people who cannot have children and I am extremely lucky but I am also knackered, over stretched and lost. My poor little girl has had no time with me just to herself and is limited on what we do because we simply can’t go certain places with Connor, so she is going to get some much needed attention and I will be getting a much needed rest.

So I am going to leave it there (because I am rambling now) and I will update how the first day goes. So excited.

Chat soon

Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy

xoxo

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I cry because I’m scared. Scared of a world that might not understand how difficult it is for you just to be you. I cry because I worry what the children will say to you when I’m not there and I worry will you ever say anything back? Will you ever say anything at all, will you talk? Tell me your happy, scared, lonely or just fine Mum thank you very much. I cry because I feel selfish wishing you could talk, focusing on something you can’t do instead of all the wonderful things that make you, you. I cry because there will be a time when I’m not here anymore, who will make sure you eat when you refuse for days on end? Who lay with you at night when your brain won’t turn off and it’s dark and too quiet? Who will know which way you have to have your cucumbers cut and what order you have to go through doors? I cry because in a world of such desperate, terrorising times will you know how to be safe? I cry because the people stare at you when we sit on the floor outside in the rain, because you just can’t move and can’t tell me why. So when we lay there with the rest of our little family I start to think. Think of how amazingly lucky I am, and I start to cry.

I cry because I am so inspired by your complete love of life. I cry because I am so proud of how far you’ve come despite all the obstacles and the doubt. I cry because I am in awe of how you smile through tears when I know how much it’s hurting just to hear noise. I cry with laughter as you spin around and around, flapping your hands with glee as your little sister looks at you and belly laughs because she loves you so much. I cry with pride at how fiercely protective your older brother is of you, and how much he loves being with you. He knows just how you like to play and doesn’t care when people whisper about us as we do our shopping. I cry with happiness as I watch the way your Father looks at you when your together. That deep loving look in his eyes, the look that makes me fall even more in love with him each time I see you together because I know he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in this world than with you. I cry tears of joy when you laugh hysterically at the same video on repeat, and at that look on your face when you watch your favourite film and realise Woody’s saved the day again. The way just dance around with your eyes closed and a grin as wide as your face, but most of all I cry because I can’t believe you chose me to be your Mum. That I am that lucky, I get to see this life through your eyes and know the true meaning of unconditional love. That’s why I cry.

Chat soon 

Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy 

xoxo 

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Hi folks. I am completely aware that I have been a bit awol of recent and not been consistent with posts but if I’m being honest, life has completely got on top of me and been directly in the way. It’s not easy this Mothering lark what with it being half term and I’ve started a course (and had homework *gasp*) time has just run away from me. 

Also the events in the last few weeks here in Britain have had a hold on me to tell the truth. I’ve been preoccupied with spending as much time as humanly possible with my little family and reflecting on how incredibly blessed I am. I think it’s fair to say that anyone with a shred, an ounce of humanity in them can say that these acts are barbaric and unforgivable. I have been anxious, sleepless and just sad about the whole situation. I have however been overwhelmed by the power of love in our country, our little island and our people have come together to show that we truly are GREAT Britain. The people have come together, taken a stand together and it’s been an incredible thing to watch. Everybody…. all races, all backgrounds, all classes! We are all together and it’s been so moving and comforting.

Is this world really that bad a place? Sometimes I think so, but the brave acts of our emergency services and general members of the public during these horrific events have shown me that there is some good in this world. Lots of it. Even when it’s hard I’ve been trying to remember this. Yes there are some evil people, some unfair judgements and some shameful behaviours but overall we are good people. These ‘people’ (and i use that term loosely) dont want us to love, they dont want us to care for eachother, they dont understand our way of life. They choose to behave the way they do because THEY are racist. Racist against humanity, against the human race but there are far more good people in this world than bad and as corny as it sounds good will conquer evil. I truly believe that.

So that’s where I’ve been, I’ve been using this time to write more about life. My life and the things I want, do things for my family and spend as much time loving as i can because I’ve learned these last few weeks you just cannot take anything for granted. This post isn’t about dwelling it’s about moving forward, these tragedies have taught me that as long as good people keep doing good things we will win this ‘fight’ against this evil force that is trying to change the future for everyone. Things have to change if there is any hope for our children. So I am going to start here in my house, am I going try each and every day to spread the love and teach my children that there is good left in this world even when it seems dark, and that it’s worth fighting for. Kill them with kindness.

Chat soon 

Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy 

xoxo 

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Saturday 20th May 2017

Up and at ’em pretty early this morning, not that that is a foreign concept to me because the kids (the little two anyway) are always early risers so I’m definitely used to it but today it was me jumping out of bed at the crack of dawn getting myself organised for the day ahead. A few months back I enrolled on a photography course and I’ve been waiting for this day for ages now. Over the last 18 months/2 years I have become so fascinated and truly in love with all things photography, from taking photographs to finding new work by photographers I love, to learning the technical sides to the art form. I am obsessed. So I told Neil that I was going to pay a small fortune to study photography at a higher level and have every intention of taking that education further if I can, it just seemed like the next steps for me. I can now say that it is one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made. Once I arrived at the course venue I met the other students that will be taking the course with me, all like minded people all there for their own personal reasons from learning more about a new hobby to a complete change in career and a wide range of ages and backgrounds. I’m really chuffed to say that I have something in common with most of them (as well as a shared passion for photography) and I think I’m going to enjoy spending more time with them all, but the person I am most in awe of is my tutor. He is a brilliant man and is fast becoming an idol of mine with his fantastic approach to teaching and his complete brilliance behind a lens.

The morning was spent outlining our course and discussing the portfolios we will need to produce, as well as discussing our favourite photographers as well as sharing pictures and stories of our own. Just before lunch our tutor announced that we would be leaving in around 20 mins to go on an excursion across Cardiff, dashing to an art gallery for a guest lecture to the opening of an exhibition in a gallery down the bay which he had to attend as it was his exhibition of a project he has been working on for the last two years. It was pouring with rain but I didn’t care one bit, even though I was dressed completely inappropriately for the weather in jeans, tee shirt and a loose cardigan I was so excited to see his work as well as the others and hear the lecture on the language of photography from a speaker who came all the way down from London. Now I realise that this is not everyone’s cup of tea and to be honest 2 years ago if you had asked me I would of said it’s probably not mine either but dashing all across the city, dodging one torrential down pour after another, giving my opinion on the work I was looking at and hearing that of other people is by far one of the best days I have had in a long time.

After we grabbed lunch on the go we got back to the course venue to do some actual learning, I can now say I know how to use a camera. This may sound stupid but if you think it’s a case of point and press you really couldn’t be more wrong. Once the course was wrapping up towards the end of the day we talked about the coursework we will have to produce throughout the process and the portfolio we will be doing for our final marks, I literally couldn’t wait to make a start. The funny thing is as this session came to a close I was a little sad, I didn’t want it to end at all. I had the best time and cannot wait to my next class. Once I got home I completely bombarded poor Neil with every detail of my day and I’m pretty sure after at least an hour of my talking about it all, he was bored out of his brain. I finally feel like I’m doing what I was supposed to be doing all this time. I’m sure that probably makes no sense to anybody but me right now, but between writing my blog, some projects I’ve been asked to start and some personal ones of my own that I will share in due course and now this photography I actually feel like me. I am fully aware I sound like a crazy person and I was totally happy with my life as it was (before I get accused of hating my life and being ungrateful) but I feel amazing right now and like I am EXACTLY where I’m supposed to be.

My evening was pretty special too, I had such a relaxed evening with Neil. We finally caught up on Masterchef  a whole week after the final episode and somehow managed to remain blissfully unaware who the winner was, we had some nice grub and battled with the kiddies to go to bed. Just another night of the week really. Every other weekend Jay (our eldest) spends the weekend at his Dad’s house (my Husband is not his biological Father), this weekend was his one away so we just had to battle the littles. Bathtime, storytime, play and bed. Yeh right, It’s never that simple they always throw something in to the mix. This week Connor has been back to disrupted sleeping and tonight was no different but I’m on such a high right now that I didn’t even care. So that’s a wrap on my day really, I’m so glad I chose to write about today. I know I will want to look back on this memory.

Chat soon

Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy

xoxo

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So last week I posted a bit of background about my Slimming World life over the last year since I began and I promised (myself mainly) that I would be doing a weekly update to track my progress and hopefully keep me motivated. So here it goes.

*insert palm face here* Well, first week back and a 4lb gain!!!!! Wtf??!! It’s hilarious really that I was even shocked, I went to group this week (I go on Thursdays) 11th of May having not been since the 16th of March and I had the cheek to be surprised. I think during that time I’ve had about 3 whole days on plan and that was this week, so it wasn’t looking good. When I think about it, 4lbs in nearly 7 weeks isn’t all that bad considering and now I am only 1lb over my target and I’ve been at target now since the first week of this year so in all its not that bad. This was definitely the kick up the arse I needed to get back on plan.

Now technically I only need to loose 1lb to be back in target but that’s not enough, I want to loose more and slightly more than my original target that I set when I joined. I’ve asked my consultant to lower my target so that I have something to work towards, I’ve found that I need to be chasing something or I just get complacent and I love food which makes it so easy for me to pile the weight back on really quickly when I’m telling myself ‘oh it’s just a pizza! It’ll be fine!’…. Um no. So I now have 9lb to loose to get to my new goal! Eeekkk… sounds really daunting to me now but I’ve lost so much in this past year this bit should be easy right?

I’ve sat down and had a quiet word with myself and it’s back to basics, weighing and measuring, keeping a food diary and trying new dishes. I used to be so in love with it all and now it’s gone, I’m just not happy so I have to come at it like I’m starting all over again. Each week (generally Fridays) I will be tracking my progress here for me to look back on and keep me motivated, hopefully.

So here we go….  9lb to loose. Wish me luck.

Chat soon

Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy

xoxo

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Nobody feels like this do they? That’s what I used to tell myself. I always felt alone. Alone in feeling this way I mean, I’m never alone really. I have three brilliant kids, a husband who loves the bones of me and so many approachable friends and family members, I’m so lucky but they just won’t get it. I can’t tell people about this they’ll think I’m fucking crazy. What am I supposed to say?

“I get nervous watching TV dramas”

“I lay awake at night stressing about bills I might have forgotten to pay”

“I don’t like leaving my kids”

“I can’t stand the thought of going in to a supermarket that I haven’t been in before”

Ridiculous right? Yes, but all true I’m afraid (and this is just some of the many pathetic things I get stressed about). People who don’t suffer with anxiety don’t understand anxiety, not really anyway. They try their best and they sympathize but they just can’t understand that sinking feeling. That knot and twisting drop of your stomach, that lump in your throat, those sleepless nights and those constant butterflies in the pit of your stomach. I honestly thought I was going mad at first, when I first noticed it. I thought that no one would listen or even care because it sounds like made up bullshit but over the last few years I’ve noticed more and more people (both people I know and people on TV) sharing their experiences with anxiety and I realised I’m not alone. Not by a long shot.

I’m not sure when it all started for me with anxiety at least but I can honestly say that I suffered with depression more than once. At first it was post natal depression when I had my eldest son Jay and I was only 17 years old, stuck in a toxic relationship. I didn’t know it and the time and I defiantly wouldn’t be told by anyone (and believe me when I say people tried) but the relationship was built on the pregnancy and little else. I thought I was in love and maybe I was but it wasn’t right, neither of us did each other any good and I think that it was a combination of that relationship, my age and the fact that I had just become a Mum which triggered off my depression at the time. It’s a hard thing to say out loud but I wasn’t a brilliant Mum back then. I loved my son immensely but I was so young I didn’t understand just how important my job as a mother was. I liked to go out way too much and relied on parents, friends, friend’s parents, anyone really to look after my son while I went out and partied. Pretty soon I got fed up of the partying and decided to really try being a Mum and to try and make my relationship work, but by then it was a horrible living environment for me and my baby but I was led to believe that this was it and no one else would want me. So I stayed in, I mean in my flat. I barely ever left. I did the school runs, went to work and the shop but that was it. Even when my son would go to my parents most weekends I never left. For months with nothing but my own company, apart from the girl who lived below me and the cast of Sex and the City I was alone all the time. I became a constant phone/text checker because I was cheated on, I became a tiny size 6/8 because I couldn’t afford much food and even when I could I didn’t want to leave the flat and the longer this went on for the worse it got. This was depression. At first post natal maybe but it developed. I didn’t tell anyone because I was afraid that they wouldn’t believe my situation or that they would think ‘Ha! We told you so’. I could see my life drifting past without me, leaving me in a relationship that was non existent except we shared a bed and a kid. I decided the only person that could rescue me was me. So I did.

For a short while it worked and I met someone else. They say the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else and they didn’t lie. I felt great again. I was loved and wanted, I had a new job and new friends (still some amazing old ones too), it did wonders for my self esteem but it was short lived. Those old feelings came creeping back, am I going mad? To the outside world I was hiding the person I obviously was because this couldn’t happen all over again I wasn’t going to let it. It had to be me and something I was doing wrong. That’s the thing with depression, it gets you at your lowest and keeps you there. I buried my head in the sand about another failing relationship and after more phone checking and second guessing myself (even though I turned out to be right all along) I decided, ‘Yep. Marry this one. What a top fucking plan’ NOT!! So the wedding planning began and even though I thought I was happy, it was a mask but I actually started believing I was truly happy. All the fun, plans and future I was planning was all fake but I just couldn’t see it. So once again I was depressed. A different kind I’ll admit, not so much in a toxic way but I was playing pretend with myself if anything. Trying to create this future I so desperately wanted but I was doing it with the wrong man and for all the wrong reasons. So during this relationship, I’d say at least the last 6 months of it I was just going through the motions. I played the role of excited Fiance and I did it well, but on the inside I was slowly healing myself. I knew that this person I was becoming wasn’t the real me, I had never felt like a push over before and I’d never done what someone else thought was right for me so why was I doing it now? I felt detached from the relationship but I couldn’t just end it, I couldn’t have ANOTHER failed, long term relationship. I had a kid to consider, he would be devastated. My parents had spent money on deposits, venues and even a fucking wedding dress for God sake. I had to marry him. I just had to.

“What the hell are you doing Nat? You can’t just marry him out of guilt.” this came from a good friend, a friend who had come into my life not all that long before the time I finally admitted to myself that I was deeply unhappy and probably not in love anymore. Now in a very cliched way and most people will probably think ‘shut the fuck up’ but the book Eat, Pray, Love has a whole lot to do with why I finally called time on that bullshit production. I read the book and almost instantly felt relieved (I would advise everyone to read it and take from it what you will), I asked myself ‘What the hell are you doing girl?’ and the answer was ‘I have no idea’. So I knew I had to call time on this crap, on this relationship and on all the crap that I’d been carrying around with me.

It’s not ok to be this unhappy. It’s not ok to feel like you are constantly failing. It’s not ok to pretend you’re in love just so you don’t hurt other people’s feelings. It is not ok to be continually cheated on. It is ok though, to admit to yourself that your struggling and ask for help. Ask I did, I needed to find a way and I found one. I called time on this game that I was always coming last in but it didn’t have the desired affect. I didn’t feel instantly relieved, i was still racked with guilt, embarrassed and convinced I was going to spend the rest of my days a lonely old woman. However I found in those last few months I had grown a little as a person. I knew what was right and wrong, what I wanted and what I didn’t and it defiantly made me stronger in some way. A better Mum and someone who will never settle for second best again. Even though I was emotionally ready to move on and I knew I wasn’t in love anymore, I (for whatever reasons, I’m still unsure) just had this horrible sinking feeling that I couldn’t shake. In those early weeks I couldn’t have survived without my friends, literally could not have survived. One friend moved in with us to help me cover the bills, she slept in my bed to console me when i would wake up in the middle of the night crying and spoon fed me when I would have rather starved. Another picked up and took my boy to school every day, made sure he was fed, washed his clothes and kept him entertained all along with her job and her own son to care for. Others stayed up late talking things through and texting into the early hours of the morning. So it’s true what they say ‘You get by with a little help from your friends’, it all comes back to finding your tribe.

Little did I know that once you become happy with yourself and what you have at any one time, you attract what you wanted all along (your vibe attracts your tribe – one of my favourite quotes ever). I projected what I wanted, made me happy again, built the life I wanted for me and my son and BOOM… I was caught completely off guard by the love of my life (but that’s another blog). I believe that when you meet the person who you’re truly meant to be with your soul mate, you never even question it you just fall for it straight away. I never ever question the trust in our relationship, it never comes up. We want and have wanted the same things in life from the word go, we are just one. I can’t explain it other than that and it won’t make much sense outside of us but that’s it. I am him, he is me. I don’t feel ‘depressed’ anymore, well I don’t feel the way I did at least. I think I was quite lucky that I found the strength to pull myself out and it wasn’t easy, it was by far one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do but I was lucky to have support and the belief in myself enough to do it even when it hurt. Most people aren’t that lucky. I’m sure I read once that depression never really goes away, that it just lays there dormant in your brain. Well I don’t know if that’s true or not all I know is that I must be prone to it, not depression maybe but emotional baggage. I defiantly where my heart on my sleeve and I get very quickly emotionally attached and I invest, I mean I really commit. If your my friend then your my friend and I mean it, you can always count on me and the same has gone for men (maybe that’s why I got my heart handed to me through a blender!?). Anyway what I mean is I give 100%. I feel all the feels.

So it hasn’t come as that much as a surprise to me to find that I’m suffering the way I am with anxiety. It started so simple I never even noticed it, I’m a worrier. I always worry even when I can’t do anything to change the outcome I just worry. I can’t help it.  I get anxious now over pathetic little things and it escalates into absolute nonsense, but then it’s not nonsense if it’s sense to me. It’s real to me, that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach and that feeling in bed where it feels like your falling and bang you have to try to catch your breath, to the point where it makes you wretch. To me it’s real. There are lots of different things that trigger off a panic attack for me, little everyday things and big massive things that our family has to go through all the time but I’m lucky that I have friends and family to talk to. I know that some people don’t and I will always be grateful for mine. I still haven’t got a grip on it and I’m not positive I ever will but I do have coping methods and it does help ease my mind, like writing it down for example. It heals me.

I wanted to write this blog to show that you never really now what goes on in a person’s life unless they choose to tell you and most people only choose the good stuff, like the Instagram life. More people than you know suffer with depression, anxiety or some kind of mental health condition that they are struggling to hide. Well they shouldn’t have to hide it, I say share it or at least the parts of it that help you to move past that one area. The more people talk about it the more people will realise that it’s more common than you think and that it’s not a dirty subject and that there is NOTHING wrong with needing help. It’s ok not to be ok. So there it is folks, I’m Natalie and I’ve been depressed, I suffer with anxiety and I’m not afraid to share it.

Chat soon

Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy

xoxo

 

**

If anyone ever needs anybody to talk to, you know where I am.

https://www.mind.org.uk/

http://www.samaritans.org/

http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/mentalhealth/Pages/Mentalhealthhome.aspx

 

 

 

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Autism | I hate how much I love you.


Your life long they say. Life long,
Here to stay.
Even though you weren’t invited,
Weren’t asked, you came. Anyway.
Do you know your part of every conversation?
In some kind of way.
Spending most of our time explaining,
Always explaining you away.

 

Your there in the mornings holding us up
When we really really need to go.
Your there dragging ass in the night time,
Making it go so. so. slow.
Am I gona get through on no sleep again?
No sleep, I just don’t know.
Yeh you are, just get up
Come on girl, come on get up. Get up and go.

 

It’s always all you, all about you
On repeat, repeat, repeat.
I wana scream in your face,
“Get the fuck out!!” But I won’t.
I won’t admit defeat.
A slow and steady marathon, run you down, keep up my pace.
And I’ll get you, believe me ill get you
I’ll win this fucking race.

 

People walking by just don’t have a clue.
Talk, talk, talk
Can’t they see my boy? He’s right there,
Right there. In front of you.
All they do is talk. Whispers, tuts
Can’t they see through?
All they do is fucking talk,
Talking all about you.

 

Hard and fast, like a bullet from a gun.
You knew just where to aim.
Right through my heart, like you’d already won.
Shameless. Letting us take the blame.
Your like an itch I just can’t get to
Like a niggling, little itch.
Just out of reach. So come at me,
Bring it on. You senseless son of a bitch.

 

You came like a thief in the night, no warning.
No prior offence.
And now they say your trying to take her too,
Fuck me! You’re really summin’ else.
But you won’t break this family mate,
No matter how many times you come.
We’re here together, the five of us
We are strong. We are one.

 

Even after all of this, all of this
I wouldn’t change a thing.
Cos’ you made me a force to be reckoned with,
Through all this pain you bring.
I won’t let you define us,
But your part of who we are – Who knew?!
I love my little family but I hate how much,
How much I really, love you too.

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So here I am again. Here we are again. Here it is again. Some of you will be reading this thinking she’s finally lost the plot and to tell the truth I feel like I have a little. This week started of OK  (it’s Wednesday today), the weekend was good which led into Monday which apart from being a little tired from a late night binge watching Lost while the kiddies slept, was pretty much a breeze and then it was Tuesday. Tuesday 25th April 2017 to be exact. I had totally forgotten that I’d arranged an appointment with our health visitor for the afternoon and it wasn’t until a reminder on my phone went off that I started to panic a bit. I’d made this appointment a few weeks back when one night after some panicked messages to a close friend and a screeching, weepy phone call to my husband (who was at football) had happened. Over the space of a week or two I’d been watching and making mental notes of little things that caught my eye, things that my beautiful little girl would do and more importantly things that she wouldn’t. 
My beautiful baby girl Florence. She’s perfect. She is small for her age, a teeny little ball of fire with beautiful blonde hair that flicks up at the end. The most infectious, cheeky little laugh, soft soft skin and beautiful blue eyes. Eyes that don’t look at me. That don’t look at anyone really when I think about it. She’s 19 months old. 19 months,wow that’s gone fast. She doesn’t utter a word. She loves spending time with me, loves it to the point she can’t bare to be without me. Now these are all things that lots of children do but when you know what I know you’ll understand why it wasn’t just that simple for me. My son Connor has Autism,  ‘Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others.’   http://www.autism.org.uk/about/what-is/asd.aspx

Our health visitor came out and she is a wonderful wonderful woman. She listened to me, observed my gorgeous girl and didn’t judge me. She didn’t think I was paranoid or frightened, she did her job and she did it well. By the end of our chat things were quite apparent and she gave me the news that I was expecting all along. My little girl raised some major concern and in her professional opinion Florence needs to be reviewed by a paediatrician. Florence has suspected Autistic traits. So here we are again. On this journey that I thought was nearly going to kill me the first time, now we have to do it all over again.

I’ve found that you don’t actually crave something until there’s a possibility that you might never get it. I waited my whole life for a daughter and there’s a chance that I might not get the daughter I thought I would have. Does that make me sound like a bitch? Like a selfish mare. Then yeh I’m selfish. No one ever thinks that their child will have some kind of disability, no one would ever wish that. If it turns out that way it doesn’t mean that you love your child any less but it’s not what you had planned. When we found out Connor was Autistic we didn’t love him any less and I’d never change him but I did grieve for all the things we will probably never do. Your allowed to be sad. If you don’t get this then you never will until it happens to you and I can’t change that, I’m not after sympathy just a level of understanding from you to me. I’m angry, I’m upset, in fact I’m fucking livid and without wanting to sound like a spoilt child..IT’S NOT FAIR!!! Why does my daughter have to go through this? Why my daughter? Why us? I don’t get it. What did we do that is so awful that this has to potentially happen all over again? I don’t have the answers to any of these questions and maybe I never will.

I’ve met some incredible parents over the past two and a half years, some truly wonderful families. All of which have at least one and in some cases more than one child on the Autistic spectrum and it makes me wonder, why them? Right now I’m so confused and have an insane amount of emotions running through me but I’ve decided to document this journey. From the very beginning until we know exactly what we are dealing with, because if I can help one parent in this situation know exactly what’s ahead, to help their world feel a little less anxious even if it’s just for a little while then I’ll help myself feel a bit better. Help myself heal a little bit because right now it’s so dark for me here, just dark clouds all around me. I know this feeling will pass and soon enough I’ll see a little light but right now I’m breaking and I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. If this helps just one person, if I can be the sunshine through one parent’s dark cloud then I know I’ll be strong enough for what’s ahead of me.

Chat soon

Natalie Abraham 

xoxo 
 

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