The worst times in my life have taught me some of my greatest lessons, these lessons have been what has enabled me to grow and become the person I am truly meant to be, and with that find the people I am supposed to connect with and meet, give me the experiences I have needed to have, pushed me to focus in on myself and really think about and go after what I want and need in my life.
I’ve always known from a very young age that being a mother and having a family was one of the things that was meant for me, I have never once doubted my ability to be a mother, which seems a weird thing to say based on the zero self-belief and self-worth I felt my entire existence up until recently.
It effected every aspect of my life in fact it destroyed it, the lack of faith I had in myself stopped me from believing that I was capable of anything other than just existing in the background.
I think the reason I don’t believe my ability to be a good mum was or has ever been affected by the mental health illnesses I’ve faced, is because of the obvious…
I know what it feels like to be a child, I remember what it felt like to have a family, to have siblings. I remember all the things I loved as a child and I remember all the things I didn’t.
I remember what it felt like to go to school every day and feel like I didn’t fit in, or that I wasn’t really welcome. I know what it felt like to believe that I was never going to be good enough and that my voice would never be heard, not because I reached out and nobody listened but because what I was being told just wasn’t what I needed to hear, it wasn’t helpful, but I didn’t have the nerve to say what I thought or how their words hadn’t changed how I felt. I grew up in a time when the only advice or support you got after telling someone you were being bullied or picked on was, “take no notice” or “just ignore them, they will soon get bored” or the worst one is the old saying, “Sticks and stones my break my bones but words will never hurt me”
All complete rubbish, but when I was a child that was the advice that was given to adults, parents and teachers and is what they believed children needed to hear!
(I want to say I had a very happy life at home, the greatest challenges I faced were away from home, primarily at school.)
I know what it feels like to convince yourself that you exist by mistake and everyone else in life has a greater purpose and actually have a reason to be here.
Growing up I didn’t believe I had a purpose and just planned to find a job I enjoyed in order to earn enough money to live a happy and content life with my prince and our children.
As it is I ended up working with children and the 10 or so years that I did that were incredible, I loved my job and the reason I loved it so much was because it allowed me to tap into that maternal side of myself that I always knew was there. I was too young to have a family of my own but I still wanted to give the one thing I knew I was capable of.
I have never doubted my ability to be a mother because, I knew all the things that had hurt me and made me happy, I knew what I needed in times of sadness and grief, and because of those experiences I had the ability and knowledge to give a child or children exactly what they needed, even when they don’t know for themselves what that is. I’m talking about the basic things that sometimes we forget about, like a listening ear, someone to check in on you, ask you how you are and know when “I’m ok” actually means “help me”. Re building a child’s worth when it has been diminished by the people that are supposed to love them or be their friends. Giving them the knowledge, that a person’s perception is based on an opinion and an opinion isn’t fact. Helping every child to see their own self-worth and the belief that they are capable of anything in life.
Remember if you can imagine it, you can achieve it, you just have to have to believe it!
I knew I could be everything a child needed and there was nothing in life that I wanted more.
Having children and going through a mental breakdown wasn’t an easy thing to go through, I mean having a breakdown isn’t easy full stop, but when you have children, you still have to show up, and even through some of my darkest days I still from somewhere managed to find it within myself to make the packed lunches, read a bedtime story character voices included! Having my children kept me here. Don’t get me wrong there were many days I couldn’t leave my bed and it would all get left to my husband their father, but if they needed me, I would somehow regain some of my strength and be there. They gave me my purpose, but what they couldn’t give me was my self-esteem, self-love and my worth. I needed to find that for myself, but I knew from not having those things how crucial it was for them to have them. I had to be the one to help nurture theirs, so if I wasn’t here where would they get that from?
I wasn’t able to show up for myself but could and will always find the strength to show up for my children.
I now know from all the challenges that I have faced my other purpose in life next to being a mother is to be a mental health advocate, to do all I can to help, support, educate inspire and change the world of mental health.
Just like being a mum, from the minute I realised that this is what was meant for me, I have never once doubted my ability to do it, because again like being a child, I have lived and experienced so much and so many mental health challenges that I feel confident in my ability to talk about it and one day being able to make the changes that are so desperately required in the world of mental health.
In life there is no better experience than lived experience!
Share a smile not a judgement