When I decided to venture into my childhood series the first lady I told was this mumma, she is a great friend and I am so happy to share her story. I’m sure many of you have read her NICU mum stories with her journey with the little heart worrier Elijah, but where did this mumma come from. For many its easy to talk about their childhood and where they come from but for some it is a hard time which they would like to forget. This lady is a true warrior, she has been very brave and honest to share just a small part of what her childhood has meant to her and the journey which has made her into the amazing and strong mum she is today.
Until I was pregnant with Elijah, I dint think I really sat down and thought what childhood meant for me. I had such a wonderful image of what I thought our family would be when Elijah arrived. We would have family trips to the coast, weekends away in a nice little cottage and Elijah would have everything he ever wanted. We would sit down each night and have a family meal and when he was old enough we would turn the basement into a play room for him and his friends., He would have sleepovers, and I would bake. Okay thinking about this, I think I may have envisaged myself as some sort of Martha Stewart. Basically, I wanted him to have everything I didn’t have, what all my friends had when they grew up. I didn’t have the best childhood at home with my mother, I grew insanely jealous of my friends and I wished I could be part of their families where their parents doted on them, where they had nice houses and loved each other as a family.
Right now, I am in the garden and I look up to see Greg is gardening, Elijah is playing outside with his toys and I am baking a cake! Later we are all going for a family walk. This is the sort of image I had in my head all those months ago when I lay sprawled out on the sofa rubbing my gigantic baby belly. I look back and there were three people I associate with my childhood, my Nan, my Grandad and my Uncle Stephen.
That’s not to say I didn’t have a happy childhood, I just didn’t have a happy home life. Childhood meant playing in the garden while my Grandad worked on his garden, me and Nan having girly sleepovers whilst she painted my toe nails! It means sitting on my Uncle’s lap watching old episodes of Doctor Who on a Sunday Morning or Jurassic Park. It means going to My Nan and Grandad’s every Sunday for a roast dinner or BBQ. It meant my Uncle teaching me how to draw a star out of triangles for my maths homework! I do have so many happy memories but I also have some very dark memories of my home life. It tainted my childhood and ultimately led to me suffering from an eating disorder, anxiety, self-harming and depression.
When you think of childhood you think of looking in a window and seeing two smiling parents and a child on Xmas Eve watching Xmas films and being surrounded in a glow of love for one another. I didn’t have this, granted there were at times glimpses of this, but neither parents actually wanted me if I am being honest with myself. I know this now, as I am a parent and no one treats a child like that if they generally wanted or loved them. At least my Dad did have the respect to stay away but my mother instead launched a crusade to bully, humiliate and wipe away every ounce of self-esteem or confidence I ever had. To make me feel unwanted in my home, that I was not good enough, that I wasn’t part of the perfect little family she had built with my brothers and their Dad. To a point where if they went out for the day I was not allowed to go. I was made to feel like I didn’t belong anywhere. My nan and Grandad were amazing though. They doted on me and I finally felt loved. They gave me affection, something my mother never did. I literally cannot remember her hugging or kissing me after the age of about 5. I went to live with my Nan and Uncle. We were a mismatched little family. But, we were a family. To this day me and my Nan speak nearly every day. Elijah has taken Stephen’s name as a middle name as a symbol of the impact he has had on my life. I do not know where or what I would have become without them. They were the reason I do have some good memories of my childhood.
As I am writing this Greg is trying to teach Elijah how to ride his trike, this makes me so happy that Elijah has a doting father to do these things for him. I was very lucky to have an amazing father figure in my Grandad who taught me how to ride a bike. This memory always brings a smile to my face. Yes, sometimes I do think I was a bit hard done by, but then hay, it could be so much worse. It took me a really long time to realise how lucky I was to have these amazing people in my life and am grateful for what they have done for me. For me to see past the ‘oh woe is me’, act and to stop wallowing in self-pity that I didn’t have the home life my friends did.
I will do everything in my power to give Elijah an amazing childhood, so when he is older he will know we always loved him and as a family we had amazing times together. At things like Easter, Halloween and especially Xmas we do go overboard and I will put a lot of effort into celebrating the holidays so he knows just how much effort we went to for him to give him a brilliant start to life. I think it is still a guilt factor in the fact he didn’t have the greatest start to life with his heart surgery and I didn’t cope very well with it. I feel like I tainted the first year of his life. So, I feel like I need to make up.
I never want him to ever question in one single second that he didn’t have anything other than a good childhood. That there was never a flicker of doubt we gave him the best childhood we could. That he can pass this onto his children. I don’t think you ever truly gauge what your childhood meant to you until you are a parent and creating a childhood for your child. One thing I can thank my parents for, they taught me what not to do in raising a child. They showed me exactly all of the mistakes you can make to ultimately f*** your child up. They gave me a fierceness in my stomach that I have never had before, one to protect, nurture and love my child the right way until the end of my days.
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