What was happening was that I was suddenly a single girl. My husband was in the arms of another and my friends' reaction was to get me out and let my hair down to aid the process of healing my heart. I tried it a couple of times but being 6 months pregnant in a nightclub is not a good look. When others may have drowned their sorrows in a bottle I couldn't. Chain smoking was out as was any wild abandonment behaviour. (Ashamedly, I did drink a bit, just in the first couple of weeks and I smoked a few roll ups which my midwife said probably kept my blood pressure down).
A few great friends kept me close, my mum cooked meals for me and my two little boys. I cried in mates' kitchens and I sobbed alone in bed. I remained dignified during the day and continued working to support my family. I was cordial with my husband and his family even when they asked the most crass questions about the parentage of our unborn baby. I refused to 'apply for a council house' when the idea was suggested but instead ensured that I was rota'd onto as many hours as possible at work. That's when I started to lose weight.
My baby remained healthy and grew in my belly and danced around for me every time I lay in the bath. My baby was part of me, was with me through every argument, sad moment - morbid moments - and he heard all my quiet despair. He would nudge me with his knee or elbow to remind me that he was alive and that I needed to keep going. Even when I'd lost 2 stone in weight, he grew stronger, my little boy.
Waiting for his birth was terrifying. Alone in my house with nobody but two little boys and a Nokia 3310, I was too scared to sleep. Fortunately, his birth was to be during the day when other people were awake and nearby. One Thursday afternoon, I went into labour and could not move. Terrified, I called my neighbour who collected my little boys off the school bus. She then arranged for their dad to look after them before whisking me at high speed to Buckland hospital. Through red lights and with an urgency usually only seen in the movies.
Baby Max was born an hour later. With two dear friends holding my hand and mopping my brow we welcomed my third son. My heart, which I thought had crumbled, now erupted with love and sprang out of my chest when I held my newborn. My soldier, my warrior.
And that's when life got REALLY hard - three little boys, being more of a double mum than a single mum - but together we grew. I fed them, got them to school, doctors, football matches, parties, taught them manners and we laughed, all whilst I worked full time and with a very nasty divorce looming over me. With the help of dearest friends and my amazing mum we survived. I get asked 'How did you do it?' and I always respond with 'Because I had to'. Nothing motivates a woman more than a fighting baby in her tummy.
Happy 16th to my fighter, Max James 💙
Go-Karting at Buckmore Park