The Parenting Journey (a poem)

Sometimes when you set out into the land of parenting you can be a little bit gung ho and think that everything is just going to fall into place. You think that you will give birth to this rosy cheeked angel who will grown into the perfect child and then the perfect teenager and the journey will end when they fly the nest as a fully formed adult.

But in reality we all know it’s not quite that simple. We forget that most of the time we spend struggling with next to no sleep. Partners who seemed almost perfect suddenly become an annoyance at best; at worst, they disappear altogether and leave you to do the job all on your lonesome.

It’s a really difficult road to traverse and a lot of people gloss over the horrible bits. That’s pretty much what this poem aims to address. It’s the pain and the agony, the tears and the tantrums in all of their technicolour glory. It’s true that children really are a blessing but life is difficult and parenting really brings this message to the forefront. So without further ado, I give you The Parenting Journey:

The blurred and fuzzy black and white

image doesn’t seem so right

knowing that the little bean is mine.

I’ve seen it played out for

The other couples that deserve it more,

That know the way to sparkle and to shine

As loving leaders who will guide

That little child and push aside

The horrors that can plague our earth.

And when the babe is finally born,

And our hearts are gladly torn

Into shreds that have no worth,

We realise without a doubt

That older worries all mean nowt,

As new life starts to take its root.

There will be pain and hurt and strife

As there is as part of life

And that’s a point you can’t dispute.

So then you have to watch them grow

Even though it hurts you so

To watch them stumble, trip and fall,

When all that’s running over, round and through

Your mind are all the things that are not true

That hold you back from standing tall.

It’s all a bunch of hurtful lies

That are designed to close your eyes

To all the things you do so well.

You’ve brought him up through all these years

Of fun, of laughter and some tears.

Sure you lose your temper, you may yell.

You may wonder what it is that keeps you going,

And then you see him as he’s growing

And see the journey you are taking.

You realise it’s worth the struggle,

The daily battles that you juggle,

Because there’s love with no mistaking.

On being a single parent; don’t become the victim (a poem)

A poem about the feelings that go along with becoming a single parent. It’s painful and heartbreaking but everybody comes back from it. You have no choice.

The father left quite early on,

One day he’s there, the next he’s gone.

It caused a huge amount of pain,

And the feelings took so long to wane.

He packed his bags and left so quick,

It felt like just a heartless trick.

But he was not to come back home,

He felt that he was free to roam.

To play the field and sow his seed,

To live a life of selfish greed.

And into darkness I would fall,

I lost the battle to stand tall.

Depressing thoughts were all I knew,

And happy days were far and few.

But soon I found I needed light,

And so I put up quite the fight.

I had to do it for my child,

I couldn’t be so meek and mild.

I got a job and found some friends,

And to my heart I made amends.

I learnt to love myself once more,

And what my life was really for.

I mustn’t dwell on all the bad,

And spend my time so glum and sad.

I have a child I must adore,

And goals to set and to explore.

My life is worth more than that guy,

And now I’m ready to go and fly.

I became a single parent when my son was just nine months old and I was absolutely crushed. I loved my husband and I was devastated when I found out about the affair. But I had to pick myself up and carry on. I limped along as an alcoholic for a decade and only recently have I started to sort my life out. I hope that this poem can give you a little bit of hope if you are going through the same thing. Don’t go down the same path that I did. Life is a gift and you mustn’t waste it. The little ones grow so quickly and you don’t know when it could all come to an end. So find something that you’re passionate about and make every day count.

Much Love

Rachel xx

A letter to my 21 year old self

It’s the night before my birthday and time to think about how I have grown and changed over the years. It would be nice if a couple of 21 year olds could be reading this blog and stumble upon this letter. It would be nice if that’s you, that you read this letter and realise that you are not alone. Being 21 is such a funny age. You’re no longer a child but you know that you’re not a proper grown up yet. You’re winging it and you hope that you won’t fuck it all up and that nobody will notice that you don’t have a scooby what you’re doing. Well, we all feel the same at your age and this is a letter to me when I was feeling all of those things. I had a bit of a bumpy ride but this is what I would say if I could write to her now that I am through it all.

Dear Rachel,

Happy birthday, enjoy the cake and a couple of glasses of wine. Enjoy this moment as much as you can because things are about to get tricky. That man that you are married to, the father of your child, he is hiding a secret and it’s all going to come tumbling out in the very near future.

It’s going to crush you and it’s going to make you hate that baby you share. You’ll resent him and wish that you never had him. You will think awful thoughts and then you will beat yourself up for it. And unfortunately, the only way that you are going to get through it is by turning to drink. Alcohol will be the only thing that soothes those horrible feelings but it will get its claws into you and eventually it will swallow you whole.

Your twenties will have their moments of fun and success but it all feels a little bit empty because you’re running on vodka. You’re achievements will be awesome. You will run 100 miles races and swim the English Channel. You’ll get a couple of degrees and one of them will be a first. How the fuck you manage it even I don’t know. It’s a shame because if you’d have been sober you would probably have been a raging success.

But you do make it through. You are tough and there is something inside you that is a survivor. You know when things are getting too much and you’re not too proud to ask for help when you need it. You will get sober and you will start to get your life back. You will change your values and re-evaluate what you think is important. You will start to take care of the people around you and become a much nicer person. You will reach your mid thirties and still be far from perfect. Those degrees are all but useless because you work in a shop and you struggle with anxiety so you can’t even work full time. But you enjoy your work and you go at it with enthusiasm. You have raised that baby and now he is fourteen and such a credit to you.

There are going to be so many horrible moments between you and me and I wish that I could stop them from happening or be there to give you a hug when they knock you down. But you’re a little toughie and you’ll make it through. You’ll have some highs too but try not to get carried away. Keep a level head and make sure you make it safely to 35 because I have a feeling things are about to get good.

Much Love

Older Rachel xx

Where did your pain come from?

I’ve started this blog so that I can make something nice, something that lifts people up. But I have noticed that there is nearly always something painful that has to happen in order for there to be that nice thing borne out of it. And it’s got me thinking what it is in my life that has spurred me on to at least try and create a nice space on the internet.

I’ve been watching some videos on Youtube recently and really zoned in on the ones that show people who have dealt with horrible things and come through fighting and made something good of it. The something good always seems to be completely different but the fact remains that there always is something good.

I have watched videos of people who have fought through cancer or lost relatives to the disease. I’ve seen people describe their fight with addiction and people who have endured painful family breakdowns and the stories that seem to resonate the most with the viewer is always the story where the person who has suffered has come out fighting and they’ve created something beautiful out of their pain.

This doesn’t necessarily have to be a charity or anything as obvious as that. It could be something so small, but the very act of coming out the other end and telling your story is so powerful and you have no idea how helpful it may be to somebody else going through something similar.

I’ve been thinking back over the last decade of my life and there have been a few blows along the way. I have spoken briefly about my struggles with addiction but the thing that kind of kicked it off for me was the breakdown of my marriage when I had a nine month old baby and I was only twenty one years old.

I don’t normally like to talk about that time in my life but I felt like putting the words down in this blog might be of help to somebody else and wouldn’t it be great if I could help prevent somebody enduring a decade of alcoholism in the process?

So my story started when I went backpacking around South Africa aged nineteen. I was naive and pretty innocent and I got swept off my feet by a local when I was only two weeks into my trip. I thought this guy was gorgeous and he asked me to marry him after just a few months. We did marry and then I got terribly homesick and decided I needed to go home, leaving him behind. We had the plan for him to follow me over when his visa was sorted and we had some money saved so we could get a flat. However, the day I landed in England I went to the doctor and found out that I was five months pregnant!

It was all a crazy panic in the months that followed but my husband did make it over to England with just a few days to spare. The baby was born and I went back to work very quickly leaving the husband looking after the baby. Unbeknown to me, he started having and affair and it was a good six months before I found out.

Finding out that your trust has been broken in such a terrible way at such a young age was crushing and I don’t think I’ve ever really gotten over it. I’ve not had a relationship since and I find it really hard to trust men. I find it hard to accept any kind of attention from men because my brain seems to instantly associate them with that intense pain that I felt in the early days after the split.

The pain was so intense that cutting myself was the only way to dull it. I also took to starving myself and all manner of other kinds of bodily punishment followed. Anything to get rid of what I was feeling, and that ultimately led to alcohol.

I do wonder if I had had someone to confide in in those early days, would I have gone through so many years of hurt afterwards? If I could have been made aware that my pain was shared by every other human on the planet would I have felt less alone?

The answer is most definitely yes. I think that we need to share our stories of pain so that another young girl who gets hurt at the beginning of her adult life doesn’t lose her twenties entirely. Just because she thinks that she’s the only one feeling so intensely.

Can we all just be a little bit more open about our feelings and our stories. We don’t need to label it as depression or anything heavy like that, we just need to tell people that we were deeply distressed and in a dark place for a time. But we can also show that there is light at the end of the tunnel and give hope. Being left by a spouse at any age is heart wrenching and it would be nice if we could cultivate a space where we could talk about this kind of hurt without feeling like we’re telling some kind of sob story.

I truly believe that something good always comes from the hard times. There is always something that we can pass on to the next person who we see that is struggling. And we can all come together and share our stories to lighten the burden. My parting advice would be to sit with your pain, find others to help you through it and know that there is probably something good coming from it eventually, even if you can’t see it now. If you have any examples of things you’ve been through and how they’ve turned into something good or shaped you in a positive way then I would love to hear it.

Jesus replied “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will” – John 13:7

Much Love

Rachel xx