In a post earlier this week, I mentioned going on the radio to speak about life as a single mother. During the conversation, Nick Ferrari asked if I had help with S from my family. He asked if my dad helped, and I replied that no, my dad died. I told him my mum only lives around the corner, but can’t look after S as she is disabled. I think a couple of other things were mentioned before he made a comment about my having “gone through it.” My response probably surprised him as much as it surprised me: no!
I have a great life!
On paper, my life up to this point can seem a little bleak. Here’s a short overview:
- My parents divorced when I was 9. My mum got a new boyfriend and had two children with him without ever once having a conversation with me about what was going on.
- When I was 23, my dad had a heart attack while on holiday in Spain. He was in a coma for a few weeks, during which time we were told he had brain damage, but they didn’t know how much. They said they wouldn’t know how bad the damage was until he woke up, but they couldn’t guarantee that would ever happen. He woke up and began recovering, and then – three months after his heart attack – he inhaled vomit in his sleep, and died a few days later.
- My family is so ridiculous, even Eastenders wouldn’t touch us. I have five brothers and sisters; each of us has members of the family we don’t speak to. Ever. For years now.
- When I was 29 I had a monumental nervous breakdown that left me incapable of doing much of anything. I had to leave my job because I couldn’t cope, and ended up having to move out of my home because I couldn’t afford to live in it any longer.
- While I was recovering, I got into a relationship with a man who was very abusive, and got pregnant. The relationship was emotionally, sexually and financially abusive – and sometimes physically too.
- I went into labour five weeks early with S, and spent two weeks in hospital with my baby, during which time I had very few visitors.
- When I came home from hospital, it was to a grubby council flat on a notorious estate filled with drug dealers, drug users, drunkards and scallys. Last summer the noise got so bad, we actually decamped to the spare room of someone we had never even met before, just to get some sleep.
It sounds pretty dramatic, doesn’t it – and I’ve not even told you the whole story!
But here’s what I’ve learned:
It’s really only the end of the world, if you think it is.
Yes, things have been tough. Yes, I have indulged myself with an awful lot of navel gazing and general self pity. Where did it get me? Further into that stinking pit of despair. I have spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself over the years, but all it ever did was make me feel worse. More hard done by, more pitiful, more miserable.
My life has been interesting though, and it has taught me many valuable lessons. I can’t say I wish anything had been different because if any of it had played out differently, I may not have ended up right here, where I am now.
And right now, I do have a fantastic life. I earn my own money, doing work that I love for people I respect and admire. I have some amazing friends. I live in a beautiful flat in the centre of town, and S is the apple of my eye.
I don’t feel sorry for myself any more; I feel sorry for the person I once was, who thought self pity could change anything.
Yesterday morning when we woke up to find it was raining, S and I were both really excited to try out her new umbrella – as well as her wellies and rain mac. We danced in the rain, all the way to nursery. The biggest lesson I have learned since S was born, is the quote in the image above. Because if you allow rain to stop play, you might never play again. And life is far too short for all of that.