I am going to give you a scenario. You may relate to this, you may sympathise, it may be your worst nightmare, but this story is about me at my worst.
‘BBwas 19 months old and the twins were fours month old. On this particular morning I had not put on my make up, had not even managed a shower but was slowly working my way through getting the children bathed and dressed. BBwas full of cold and was not at one with the world at all. He wanted Mummy cuddles and yet I knew I had to get clothes on the twins for they were due a feed in five minutes and all hell could break loose if I was not ready. The laundry pile was sky-high, the kitchen looked like an explosion of formula milk, Weetabix and bottles and the lounge was littered with toys. Chilled out boy (twin 2) decided that just as I got him out the bath, it was the best time to poo in the towel. Perfect. I started to feel sick. ‘Come on girl’, I told myself, ‘pull yourself together, how many nappies have you changed now? This can’t make you sick’
I managed to get them all downstairs, dressed and clean. I set up a DVD to keep BBentertained during the hour and half it would take me to feed and attend to the twins. I sat down but now I felt really sick. I ran to the toilet.
Oh God, help me…it was both ends. I did not know what to do with myself. I sorted myself out, much to Noah’s upset of being locked out the bathroom. I managed to feed the twins amidst throwing up three more times in-between. I called my husband at work but no answer. He must have been teaching a lesson. It got worse. I continued vomiting until my hubby got in from work, and then got sent up to bed. One last run to the toilet…and then complete blackout. I passed out.
The next thing I know is my Mum is round and I am on my way to the on call doctors. I am then admitted to hospital overnight on a drip. The sickness stops and the next morning I am sent home. Hubby has just got a new job and can’t take time off. I am on my own.
I burst into tears in lounge by myself at the wretchedness I have become. I feel like I can’t even look after myself, let alone look after the kids and keep the house in order. There is no space to breathe.
That week I get out the house to go to weigh in clinic to check the twins are gaining weight, as they should be. My health visitor is there and she asks me how I am coping.
‘I am not,’ I whisper.
‘Do you feel depressed?’ she asks.
‘No.’ I say, ‘I am not ill, I am just incapable.’
‘You have three children under two,’ she replies, ‘you have a lot to contend with.’
We talk some more and she recommends referring me to HomeStart UK. I am desperate so I agree, but I am left thinking, ‘great I have been referred to the no hoper parent’s list.’ Honestly I was really snobby about it. I was not sure I wanted to tell anyone I was getting help. Everyone else I knew was coping. ‘
I have written about Home Start and how close to my heart it is and I cannot begin to tell you what a lifeline it has been. Home Start is not about poor parenting at all, it about helping you manage with things that you struggle with before they get out of control, whether that be a lot of young children (me with three under 2), multiples (me with twins), not managing your home (I just wanted a clean bathroom and kitchen so I felt my house was hygienic), socializing and getting out (have you ever tried pushing a triple buggy on your own and then get in anywhere? It is impossible!). These are just a few of things they can assist with.
Suddenly with my volunteer it became possible to get to the park once a week. I had an extra pair of hands to play with BBwhilst I fed the twins in the morning, and could give my house a blitz through and maybe do some laundry or ironing. Suddenly gaining three hours to only think about the jobs you need to do, felt like an eternity. You become very efficient and achieve so much.
As much as I love my children, it also gave me some breathing space and that sense of satisfaction of achieving something.
I was not suffering from depression, but Home Start saved me. Who knows without them where it may have led? Two years on from the scenario above and my Home Start has come to an end. I am so sad that it has stopped because my volunteer was fabulous but it was the right time. The twins are now in pre-school, and I am getting some free time to do jobs two mornings a week. I am so thankful to them for their support, advice and encouragement. With their help I am not scared to be on my own and manage the three of them. Women are under immense pressure to be seen to coping with motherhood, but it is the hardest most intense job ever. Home Start UK is not about poor parenting; it about empowering Mother’s to be in control. I would recommend it to anyone and when my children are older I shall definitely be volunteering.
Thank you Home Start and Farewell.