I’m only sleeping

Before becoming a Mum and indeed a brief period in between giving birth and getting cancer, I could call myself a champion sleeper.
Epic napper. Could fall asleep on a clothes line that one. I’m my Mum’s favourite because I was a wonderful sleeper as baby. Loves my sleep I do.

So with the presence of a Son who clearly thinks sleeping is for chumps (in many years time, I have no doubt this will be the boy that will have the school of thought that ‘eating is cheating’ when he goes out drinking, such is his way) and a life sentence which begs to be thought about all the buggering time, sleep sometimes always eludes me.

In the deep of the night, everything is worse. Heartbeats beat louder. That shadow behind the door could well be a Luther-esque fetish murderer. Foxes are at it. All. The. Funking. Time.

It’s hard to remain rational when no one is awake to back you up.

Below is just a selection of the conversation I had with myself. For clarity the ‘rational’ part of my brain is in italics.

Right, stop fucking about and go to sleep

Nooooo, lets think about death. We haven’t thought about death in agggeeess

Yea, well I don’t want to think about death. Death is stupid.

You’re stupid

We’re not going to talk about death!

Ok, babies. Lets have a baby.

Oh for Gods Sake. How many times. We can’t have them remember?

But, how do you know that? We might? What if you’re a medical marvel? What if your womb is amazing and decided to tuck itself up to protect itself?

Lalalalala I’m not listening

Think about it.

Lalalalalalala I’m not listening

Go on, lets see if your vajayjay is working?

Lalala hang on. What if you’re on to something

Seeeee, you could have one. Do It!

Oh my God. Yes FUCK IT LETS HAVE A BABY

Well, look who changed there mind.

No, hang on. Dr Powell said that there was deffo no room for babies.

Not even with Pete’s super sperm?

Not even with Superman’s Super Sperm

Oh.

Yep.

Do you think that shadow looks a bit like a a rapist?

I think I’ll put the lamp on now.

I’m bored.

Me too

Shall we do an imaginary wedding, made up of things on Pinterest?

Erm, ok then

Who is our Groom today?

Gary Lightbody?

Hell yes.

And….scene.

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How Not To Have A Career

Welcome to Blog Therapy.

Today sees another anonymous blog and its all about dealing with work and career, once you become a Mother. This guest poster is asking for some advice.
Take it away…

When I was 16, a combination of a great teacher and a university taster course planted a seed in my mind and suddenly I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I suddenly had a plan, I knew how to get there, and I was excited.

I must admit to being a little smug about it too, many of my friends at school had no idea what they wanted to do, and even after graduation from university some of them still didn’t really have a ‘plan’. But not me, I was sorted, I knew exactly where I wanted to be.

And I did it! I did better than I could have imagined at A-Levels, and enjoyed nearly all my lectures at uni (not the ones at 9am on the morning after the local student night admittedly) and despite a family crisis of the largest magnitude I still came out with a First Class degree, and a job! I couldn’t have been happier.

So, 15 years after that light bulb moment, how have I found myself in a perceived successful career, feeling like I don’t belong?

I’m trying to think of the moment where it all went wrong. There have always been down sides to the job (as I think there are in every job), and I’ve always been good at moaning. But I did well, climbed the ladder, and was doing ‘ok’. But since returning from maternity leave I have struggled to find my place, and struggled to find much enjoyment in it. Although everyone has Sunday night blues, mine have reached monumental levels and now seem to start on Friday. My stomach drops when I turn the corner into work.

Aspects of my job that used to excite me, international travel, now make me feel sick. I hate leaving my little boy, I have the biggest attack of the guilts.

I have fallen out of love with the industry as a whole; I don’t like the power our customer has. I’m not at all comfortable with the corporate hospitality (aka arse-kissing) my role now involves.

But what about the plus sides, there must be plus sides? I’m well paid. I get a company car. I live exactly 2.5 miles away from work, which is always useful as at least once a week I forget my phone. A company iPhone that is. I managed to negotiate 4 days a week so I get one precious day with my boy. Oh, and I get free lunch.

But now I actually feel trapped by these (well, maybe not the lunch, I’m not that shallow). I can’t see a way out. Worst of all I think my employer knows I’m trapped so have little interest in me as they know I won’t leave.

But I also know I can’t go on. I have just found out the expectation is that I will do more international travel in the near future, and I spend all my waking moments trying to work out how to get out of going. I have considered breaking a leg. Seriously.

I’m sure people will be thinking ‘her job sounds amazing what is she moaning about’ but I am really not happy. It is affecting my home life, I’m exhausted and don’t have any inclination to do anything outside of work. The only thing that keeps me going is my day off with my boy.

So what next? How do I get out? This is the big question. Every option I look at I think ‘yes, but…’and find an excuse. But I have realised that the only way things are going to change are if I change them. I know I need to get out the industry and the corporate world, but that is so frightening. I literally know nothing about anything else.

Is the grass always greener?

Is the grass always greener?

So a lot of gin has been drunk, and tears shed, but for the first time in a long time I’m starting to feel excited in between the periods of doom. I still have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do, but I know I’m going to do something. I’m not sure how I’m going to get round the obstacles, I’m pretty sure I will have to take a significant pay cut. I’ve had people tell me the grass isn’t always greener, but surely when there is no grass left then it’s worth a punt?!

Does something have to give?

Does something have to give?

If you would like to take part in Blog Therapy, get in touch via email firstimehitched@gmail.com

Photo credit – Google Image search, mumreinvented.co.uk

The Break Up

Welcome back to Blog Therapy.

Today’s guest poster would like to remain anonymous.
It’s a subject that I think everyone will relate to….

The break-up

I can’t quite believe that I am having this conversation. I never thought that I would ever think this let alone speak these words.

I think we need to end things, go our separate ways. I don’t think things have been quite right for a while now but I’ve just tried to ignore it. You know I thought maybe it was just a bad patch. I thought I could fix things but I’m not sure I can.

I remember the first day I met you, a cold winter’s day in 2008. It was all very exciting. Everyone was talking about you and I got you. It was all so much fun. Yes fun, something I don’t think I’ve felt for a long time now if I’m honest. I told you things; silly things, funny things, irrelevant things. Anything, everything, nothing. I’d tell you what I was thinking or doing and you were interested.

I suppose I became a little obsessed. I was happier to spend my time with you rather than anyone else. I was happy when I was with you. I felt wanted. I was never lonely and I liked that because before you were in my life I had sometimes felt on my own.

You have been there for the happy times, the sad times and you have got me through my own bad times. You were my support, always there with me. I’m not sure how I would have come out the other side without you. For such a long time I just saw your good side, even when outsiders just “didn’t get you.” Was I just blinkered?

I don’t know what has changed. Is it me or is it you? I certainly didn’t see it coming but suddenly you aren’t fun anymore. You irritate me. I’ve started to bite my tongue because I don’t feel I can say anything. You’re supposed to be fun but you’ve stopped being fun. Your sparkle has disappeared and the mood has changed. Your mood or my mood I don’t know? Your words just sound like a constant drone but I can’t say anything really, can I? So I don’t.

You have become a chore. What once was spontaneous chat is now guarded. Everything just feels such hard work. When I do speak there is nothing just silence. I’m not happy anymore when I am with you, I just feel lonely like before.

How did it change? Why has it changed? It isn’t the same as it once was. Is it just me or do you see it too? Whatever there was, it’s gone and I don’t think it’s going to come back again but I’m afraid to admit that out loud. I’m frightened to leave and make the break. I feel I have to stay because of our history. I should be loyal, I’ve invested 5 years of my life in you and if I go now what has it all been for? I’m torn.

So I’m sat here, staring at the computer screen with the mouse hovering over the deactivate account button and………

Time to let go of Twitter?

Time to let go of Twitter?


If you would like to get in touch about taking part in a forthcoming blog therapy post, please contact me at firstimehitched@gmail.com

Photo Credit: buzzmgr.com

Wonder Women – Part 3

It seems like ages ago since I last did a Wonder Woma(e)n post and I am delighted to be back writing about some wonderful women.

Tomorrow sees the last of Race for life’s being done in my name and we’re going off on a high with 3 fabulous Mummy’s donning on there numbers and giving the 5k a go.

First up is Charlotte, or more likely known as @charlieSav83…

Nice glasses Charlie!

Nice glasses Charlie!


Mummy to the gorgeous Harry, owner of new Heston Blumenthal glasses (although apparently this hasn’t made her a better cook). As well as being an awesome Mummy and juggling two jobs, Charlotte is also in the throes of setting up her new party favour business…wonder woman indeed.

Laura and Roo - loves them very much.

Laura and Roo – loves them very much.


Laura is proud to tell me she can make the best stickiest pavlova ever and still knows all the words and moves Whigfield’s Saturday Night (I do too!), and more amazingly, she takes anything that Chrohns disease throws at her.
She’s amazing Mummy to ickle Ruby, and is a dab hand at the sewing machine making my legendary Fuckwit pillow which took me through my treatment.

Heather and Jefferson at the Wedding of the year.

Heather and Jefferson at the Wedding of the year.


Now, our Heather is a keen actress and spent one amazing Summer as a fairy in A Midsummer nights dream, playing to audiences of 600 people. To add to her talents she planned her whole wedding in just 12 weeks, whilst she was pregnant, making it the perfect day she dreamed about.
She is a fantastic Mummy to Jefferson (how cool is his name) and is the maker of what i’ve heard to be the best Snickers muffins in the world.

Now, they have already exceeded there target by 40%, but that doesn’t mean you can’t contribute! As with all the Wonder Women, they are raising money for Cancer Research, a charity which has does such amazing work and discovered the drug that helped me greatly, Cisplatin. A Platinum chemo which aids destruction of cancer cells and works amazingly well in Cervical and Testicular cancers.

So please, help them continue there quest to eradicate Cancer by making a donation to the below Just Giving page.

http://www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/tweets-and-biscuits/

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks to give you an update on the final total raised by these fantastic Wonder Women.

Thank you for your continued support x

Going Dutch

The wonderful Helen has been back for more blog therapy today and this time she’s giving us an insight into the frustrations she has to deal with on a day to day basis with her disability.  Take it away H….

 

Blog Therapy 2 – Going Dutch

 

I’m a born worrier, but of late I’ve been more upset than normal. I read people’s tweets and timelines, I chat to real life friends & I’m jealous. Not of their new phone or latest Mulberry* bag, but of the fact they can take their kids to the park, do messy play or bake some cupcakes. You see I can’t do those normal, everyday things with my toddler without it being a military operation because I’m disabled. I can’t stop worrying how my disability will affect my daughter and I know I need to overcome this for both our sakes.

 

I became disabled at the age of 28 through illness, I was previously very fit and well. The best way I can describe how becoming disabled affects you is to ask you to read this piece which I stumbled across thanks to @MotherScuffer. It’s an excerpt from an analogy written to describe parenting a disabled child, but it also works well describing the life-altering change of becoming disabled from previously being able-bodied too.

 

WELCOME TO HOLLAND

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The gondolas in Venice. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.” But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very, very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

Holland versus Italy

Holland versus Italy

 

Using this analogy, before I became disabled my husband and I were well on track for a life in Italy, but when I became ill we ended up in Holland and our lives completely changed. I hated Holland at first, the piece above describes my journey perfectly as I came to terms with my disability. And although Mr W would prefer life in Italy, he has adapted to life in Holland too. I’m lucky – he’s a once-in-a-lifetime travel companion & he learns the lingo quickly.

 

We’d been living in Holland for over 10 years when Lia was born there, almost 3 years ago now. And this is where the problem of Going Dutch really started for me. To me it feels like Lia was meant to have Italian citizenship, but she’s ended up Dutch instead. This worries me – she isn’t ever going to truly know what normal everyday life in Italy is like until she’s an adult & gets her own passport to get there.

 

I know things could be worse – we could be metaphorically living in Siberia or in a country with spiders the size of dinner plates. The rational part of me counts my daily blessings of living in Holland, of which there are many. We have Lia full-stop and she is healthy herself – she is the biggest blessing I could ever have. We have our families spend a lot of time with us in Holland and some amazing friends to help and support us there. I know all of these things and yet I still can’t help but worry about Lia growing up in Holland.

 

  • What if when she grows up Lia holds it against me that she’s Dutch? Italy has the best ice cream & she loves ice cream. Lia will inevitably miss out on opportunities in life because of me, though we will try to minimise this.

 

  • What effect will Holland have on her? She’s already used to seeing me in hospital, bed bound & in pain. I see the confusion in her eyes when I’m unable to get out of bed some days, her fright when I suddenly squeal with the intense pain of a shock muscle spasm and it breaks my heart every time.

 

  • Most, if not all, of her friends will be from Italian families & she’s going to an Italian school. She’s going to stick out like a sore thumb being Dutch. Kids pick on other kids who are different. Is she going to get bullied because of being Dutch?

And so on, and so on…

 

At the moment I’m finding that socialising with other families is like I’m torturing myself by reading Italian guidebooks all the time. I get tantalising glimpses of Italian family life, one that’s not ever going to happen for us – I’m never going to leave Holland again, I know that.

 

So what do I do? I can’t ignore the fact that Italy exists. So I know I somehow need to come to terms with all of this – to learn to enjoy being a family living in Holland, to wake up and smell the tulips if you like. And I need to do this soon so that I can be the best tour guide to Holland, and to life, that I can possibly be for my daughter.

 

*not true, would give my right arm for a Mulberry bag, for the record.

 

If you would like to take part in Blog Therapy, drop me an email at firstimehitched@gmail.com. No problem big or small x

 

Photo credit – Google image search

No Going Back

After my post Wake Up, I had an amazing response with lots of words of comfort from people at least attempting to understand. One person in particular, who has been an amazing rock throughout my whole cancer journey knew only too well what I was talking about. For many people she is @HelenW71, to me she is my Geordie Hero and to Lia she is simply Mam.

Ladies and Gents, I give you Helen…

Blog Therapy Part 1 – No going back

I’m very honoured that Fran has allowed me to guest-post on her blog. I’m worried about letting her down – she has a gift for writing which I don’t. Fran knows that I’ve been struggling with some issues lately & following her last post, Wake Up, I texted her, we chatted back & forth and she suggested I guest-post as a kind of therapy. So here goes for part one….

No going back. Never ever.

No going back. Never ever.

Fran & I have a couple of things in common – we both have 1 child & we both won’t be having any more. We also both know we are extremely lucky to be Mums; we’re very blessed. What we don’t have in common is age (I have almost 15 years on Fran), cheekbones (hers are amazing) and I had no plans to have any more children anyway (I am disabled, I was pushing it to have one).

Ironically it was having a child in the first place that eventually led to my infertility. I had a fibroid that grew so much during pregnancy that it was the size of my daughter Lia’s head when she was born. The fibroid settled & caused no problems for almost 2 years after her birth. Then I randomly woke up early one morning with severe abdominal pain & 18 days later left hospital minus a womb after an emergency hysterectomy.

When I was 1st admitted the doctor asked me how I felt if I ended up with a hysterectomy. “Fine” I said, “Given my age & health we’re lucky to have one child, we have no plans for anymore”. A week later when that possibility was delivered as a reality I had a massive wobble. No more babies. Ever. Never ever. I suddenly felt completely different knowing for certain I would never have another child.

I was surprised at just how upset I was about it all – how upset I still am at times. It’s the finality of it I guess. Planning to have no more children (for whatever reason, even those which you have little or no control over) just does not feel the same as physically not being able to have any more children. Personal circumstances change – health, relationships & finances can all change. Decisions can be reversed, but there’s no reversing the damage from Fran’s radiotherapy or my hysterectomy. There is absolutely, categorically, no going back. And honestly? Having even the tiniest possibility or that element of choice taken out of your hands makes you feel cheated and upset at times.

x-ray warning

Here’s an example of something that didn’t bother me prior to the hysterectomy and now does. Every 4 months I have pain-relieving spinal injections done under a continuous x-ray machine. It’s the same hospital I had my hysterectomy at, yet each time I go down to theatre the radiographer asks me to sign a form that I’m not pregnant (the x-ray exposure would pose a risk to a foetus). I explain I’ve had a hysterectomy & they still tell me I need to sign the form anyway due to regulations and because I’m “of childbearing age”. Now I’m in no way the medical expert in that room, but even I know my bloody uterus isn’t going to grow back. But I swallow the lump in my throat, don a stiff upper lip & sign the sodding form.

And don’t get me started on the well meaning comments from strangers – if I had a pound for every time I’ve been asked “Time for another?” I wouldn’t need to buy a lottery ticket. Sometimes it’s really hard not to well up. Thank God I wear contact lenses, they’re a great excuse for watery eyes.

I don’t ever want to be tiptoed around by friends & family – I’m genuinely happy for those welcoming additions to their families, though it will always be a little bittersweet for me that it will never be our turn again. I count my blessings every day that I have Lia, she brings me such happiness & maybe that’s part of the reason it hurts just as much as it does – I know exactly what I’m missing out on too. I worry about her growing up as an only child, that she’ll miss having a sibling. But I’m determined to give her the best quality of life I can, which brings me onto my next post….

If you would like to take part in Blog Therapy, drop me an email at firstimehitched@gmail.com x

Photo Credit – Google Image search

And then something clicked….

Sitting on the sofa, sipping a cool glass of vodka and tonic, I flick to another email which has popped up, vying for my attention.
A text message comes next. Then a DM via twitter.

There are a few people out there who are eager to release some demons. They have approached me and I have also approached and together something is happening which looks like it could be awesome.

It suddenly clicked on the DLR one day. Blog Therapy.
This is nothing new, there are lots of sites like this, but I want this to be part of my thank you to my amazing followers.

I’ve always banged on about how much I get from writing on this here blog.
And now, I want to be able to help others.

Starting tomorrow, Blog Therapy is launching to aid people to write what is bothering them the most.

It’s nothing fancy, no flashing lights or fireworks, but a platform, if you wish, to share your innermost thoughts and bugbears.

You can write about whatever you wish. It can be anonymous if you’d prefer or you can shout about it all you want.
You can share with friends or it could just be that cathartic piece you need to write.

This is your safe place, no judgement here.

Everybody has a story to tell, and I’d love to help you tell it.

What do you need to get off your chest?

What do you need to get off your chest?

If this seems like something you would like to be involved with, please contact me at firstimehitched@gmail.com

This is just the start of lots of new things for First Time for Everthing…lets hope you can be part of it.

Tune in at 8am tomorrow for Blog Therapy with @helenw71

Photo Credit – thewritingfortress.tumblr.com