I have this friend… I’m not going to mention her name.
We met aged 11, at secondary school, but lost touch when I left after GCSEs.
We got back in touch via Facebook, and were pregnant at the same time. My friend’s daughter was born a few months before S. She lives about half an hour away from here, so I only saw her a couple of times before S was was born. She gave me some baby clothes and sage advice about not expecting too much from myself.
|I don’t have a picture of my friend, so here is one of me and S.
At the time I didn’t realise it, but my friend suffered awfully with post-natal depression after her daughter was born. Despite this, she could see that I was in a terrible situation myself, and that perhaps her support could come in handy. She turned up here several times with bags of her daughter’s old clothes, other useful things, boxes of home made food, and most importantly, a shoulder to cry on. She sent me cards in the post that make me cry even now, a year later, when I read the kind words she wrote.
At a time when I really wasn’t sure if I was capable of being a mother, she told me time and time again that I was doing a fantastic job. She never once complained about her own situation or told me to just pull my socks up and stop whining.
On S’s birthday, she sent me a card to congratulate me on surviving a year as a mother.
One day when she looked after S for a whole afternoon, they made a card with a love heart on the front made from paint prints of S’s feet.
Now that I’m in a stronger place, that friend is still there. She still reassures me when I have doubts. She still offers sage advice (and it’s usually spot on) and she never sounds condescending or holier-than-thou.
I realised the other day that when it comes to listing “people I would trust to look after S for an extended period of time” she would be at the top of a fairly short list.
I find myself wondering how I could ever have been so careless to lose touch with such an amazing friend for over ten years when I left school. How did I not see the value of this person who is always there for me, who has never judged me, and never once asked me, “why didn’t you just leave him?”
I find myself feeling terribly guilty that this friend has run around after me, visited me, picked things up for me, given me things, looked after S for me, reassured me, thought to text me when I was quiet on Facebook… and what have I done in return? My list is considerably shorter. I must set about fixing this!