Okay people, so this has been on my mind for a while. I've been thinking about sharing my story- the real, emotional, gritty one, instead of the sugar-coated version. I'm not much of a 'tell all my feelings' kind of person but I'd like to think this could help someone going through something similar.
I'd always done well academically and I was the first in my family to receive a Higher Education. I went to a pretty good university and graduated with a first-class degree. So, there I was, all ready to take the career world by storm and make a name for myself. But as you all know, life doesn't always go as planned...
A little over a year after graduating, not really being sure what the hell to do with my degree, I fell pregnant. God, how I cried. I didn't want a baby yet, I had so much left to do at 23! My partner was overjoyed and I didn't want to have an abortion. I knew it would crush him. So, we had a baby. Like all people in most situations, change is scary at first but then it becomes the norm and you just get on with it, right? When my first son was around 8 months old, I fell pregnant with our second. Then, at 25, on a low income and a less than ideal living situation, I had two kids 16 months apart. The relationship between my partner and I wasn't bad. But it wasn't great either. We had been through some rough patches like any other couple. And I had put up with more than I ever imagined possible.
I was now a full-time mother, struggling to make ends meet because my partner was self-employed and barely bringing any money in. I was exhausted, I was tired of everything and I was fed-up. I barely recognised myself. But I still wanted us to be a proper family and I did everything possible to ensure this. Then one day, my partner comes home and starts asking me questions about my fidelity and loyalty. I'm like 'wtf?! I look after a baby and a toddler all day, please tell me where I can find the time when I can't even use the bathroom in peace?!' Our relationship suffered, he became distant, moody and suspicious. Everything changed.
Then one day, he packed his stuff and left. It became apparent almost immediately that his mind wasn't right and he put me through a terrifying ordeal where I thought for sure he was going to kill me. Threats were made to not only me, but his own family and his behaviour became more and more erratic and frightening. Then he went missing, eventually turned up and was sectioned. He was released from hospital a few weeks later, seemingly okay but still not quite right. Social workers became involved, scrutinising my capabilities as a parent and person. They could never even get my kids' names or birthdays correct yet had every right to tell me what to do with them. I was afraid to be in my own home alone and suffered terrible anxiety on a night because of this. But I never told anyone. I did what I always do and swallowed all my emotions. I wouldn't advise this by the way.
15 months after my kids' Dad left, he took his own life. Damn. Now it’s hit the fan.
It's been a little over 18 months since my kids' Dad passed. Life has been no bed of roses, it's been very tough. I was never ready to become a mother and now I am filling the roles of two parents. I am sometimes faced with judgment and stares as many single parents are. My skin is thick so this doesn't bother me very much. And when I am met with the ignorant assumptions of strangers (fitting the stereotype of being a young, black, single-mother), I may just say 'No my Kids' Dad isn't a deadbeat...he's just dead, you see?'
My two boys now aged 3 and 4 are my world and it's a constant challenge when I realise the pain they will continually go through, growing up without a father. Especially when they learn the nature of his passing.
I cannot make up for my boys not having a Father. But I can try my hardest to ensure that they have an amazing quality of life. That's my very long-winded way of saying this is my main motivation for starting an online business and attempting to create a lifestyle of freedom and abundance.
For anybody reading who has been through any similar situation (mental illness, spousal abuse, bereavement, single-parenthood etc), I sincerely hope that you continue to find the strength and the courage to go on. You don’t have to be strong all the time (this is the approach I have always taken and it has worn me down). My friends and family have always had my back, including my kids' Dad’s family and for that I am eternally grateful.
Sending you positive thoughts and vibrations xxx