Posted in Emotions

Fog

I’m not really sure about where to start with this post… I’ve had a bit of a block recently. I’ve been updating our Facebook page but not much else. I guess I’m a little blocked.

It’s not that I have nothing to write about but more than I can’t put things into focus. The best way I can describe it, is that my head is fuzzy.

I’m finding it difficult to understand how I am feeling, why I am feeling certain ways and I’m not really thinking rationally about day to day things. I’ve not hidden it, I’ve been honest about how I’m feeling and some days I can feel the fog lifting.

I didn’t want any of my fuzziness to infect my posts which is why I have been a little M.I.A recently. Writing things down is my way of processing things, I don’t share everything I write as some of it is just to vent but recently my writing hasn’t been consistent, it hasn’t been cathartic when I jot things down, uts been irratic and angry and I don’t know why.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that we are ok, William is thriving at school, Liam and I are doing great and we are now living together. Little Miss is still as sassy as ever, Sundays are still days for Big Nanna and the world is still turning.

Hopefully the fog lifts soon and I can get back to some more consistent and therapeutic writing but until then look out for sparodic posts that may not be on track with my usual style of writing.

Much love, M xx

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Posted in EHCP Process, Emotions

Underfunded or poor use of funds?

I want to start this post by saying that for the first time in a very long time, I am writing this on my mobile so be prepared for more spelling mistakes than normal. Part of my process is to sit at my laptop and write… I don’t know why. It makes my thoughts feel more official and organised and when I’m on my phone it feels like I’m just ranting to my friends via message but maybe that isn’t a bad thing so here goes nothing.

I spoke to another parent today who’s child seems neutologically very similar to William. This family are having to take the local authority to court to ensure their child’s needs are met and it made me think about how many other parents are going through this right now. Thankfully I didn’t have to go to court but we are still schoolless. How many children of school age are without adequate education? How many children are stuck with inadequate education?

How can the local authority knowing do this? Spend funds that could help our children on fighting parents who just want the best or at least the bare minimum for their children? Or do we pay for that in our taxes? The money spent on fighting parents could get more children into the right schools, the right level of 1 to 1 support. I am a firm believer that the SEND departments are massively under funded and when my solicitor asked if I wanted to persue compensation, I firmly said no. Why would I want to take money from an already underfunded department? But what are they doing with the funds they have? Are they using it in the best way possible? I don’t think so! 💸

I’m worried about whats to come for us as it gets closer and closer to William’s loose start date of April/May. What If they name a school that isn’t suitable for William? I won’t send William to just any school. I have to be sure  it will meet his needs, I have one in mind but would happily accept a suitable substitute but what if they don’t offer one. William will be schoolless and too old to continue to attend nursery and thats a real fear I have. I could attempt to home school him and although I would give it a bloody good go, I don’t have the resources available to me nor any idea where to start. We try educational play with alphabet and numerical flashcards and use many sensory items but it’s not the same as school and I’m not cut out to be a teacher and these are pivotal years of his education. I chase our caseworker every month after the monthly allocation meeting to be met with the same replies. ‘No update yet, we will be in touch when there is’ I’m worried about the transition time and if there will even be any. 🤷🏼‍♀️ Both myself and Williams dad may need to take time off work but we can’t prepare until the local authority let us know more details and as someone who needs a list to organise her lists, the lack of being able to prepare weighs heavy on me and my mental health. Some days the panic takes over and all I can focus on is what I don’t know like how much school uniform is going to cost me, will William be able to scope wearing it? How will he get to school? No one will discuss transport with me until he has a named school but what time would it come? Will Williams dad need to be here whilst I work to hand him over? Do I need to provide a car sear? What if it doesn’t arrive? Will he be on a bus or with a PA? I should be happy because I’m in a much better situation than other parents but I’m not. I won’t be until William is settled in a school that can meet his needs

I re-read my post from February last year, school allocations. It broke my heart all over again… almost as if I was sat in the bath receiving that phone call from Elaine to tell me William wasn’t even on the list of allocations all over again. This was the day I genuinely didn’t think I could keep fighting. Couldn’t keep getting knocked down. The 15th February 2021 and I just wanted to stay down. I shouted and cried and broke things! Why wasn’t my kid important? Why didn’t we matter? It took me a while but I got up and I fought, with alot of help and advice 🥰 and we actually got somewhere. Not where we we want to be but almost there.

I almost let them bully me into sending William to a school I knew couldn’t meet his needs. I even met head teachers who were non committal about whether they could or couldb’t support him. They expected me to name them on his EHCP without a commitment and thankfully I just couldn’t do it. The local authority expected me to and pushed me to, making me believe it was the only option for us. That’s not right, that’s not ethical and it was most definitely not what was right for William but it was what the local authority deemed right for them. They should have been putting William first from the moment he was on their radar but they didn’t.

I received a SAR in regard to Williams education and when I looked through it, it broke my heart. Not once did it refer to Williams best interests and meeting his needs, only after the point I gained legal representation did they seem to change their agenda and that’s wrong! Some parents can’t afford legal help or aren’t entitled to legal aid, it shouldn’t come down to money in order to get our children the educational they deserve! The education they need and are entitled to!

I recently read the ofsted report on the Hull services from December 2019 and its a damning read. Here are a few highlights or more accurately lowlights…

There was too little involvement of families in decision making about the services and support they need and insufficient awareness of the resources and support available to them in the local area.

There was poor self-evaluation of service quality and insufficiently focused improvement planning to facilitate better provision and outcomes for children and young people with SEND.

There was a lack of an effective strategy for jointly commissioning services across education, health and social care.

Here’s the full report if you wish to read it.

As always I will keep you all updated with our journey to education but if any of you have your own stories you wish to share please reach out either via our social media pages or our reach out page.

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Posted in Emotions

My own journey

8th January 2018

Look at this girl and analyse what you are seeing. A happy young mom holding her sleeping baby posing for her husband to take a photo… but that’s not whats really happening here.

It was my first day back at work after almost a year off. I woke up early, did my hair and make up to plaster over the cracks of how I was truly feeling.

I remember feeling relief as I left the house; like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I could finally be away from William. My job has always been a constant in my life, since I was 17 so I felt like I was going back to do something I was really good at and since that wasn’t how I felt about being a mom, it made me really happy.

Only it wasn’t a relief, things had changed and people had left and I couldn’t focus on any one task. I was now part time and there weren’t enough hours in a day. I was constantly chasing my own tail. I remember coming home and faking excited to see William… I should have missed him. I held him close whilst he nodded off and had a little cry because ‘I missed him’ only I cried because I didnt. I cried for me. Not for him.

‘Take a picture Dave’ I don’t have many pictures of William and I over his first 2 years purely because I was alway the one behind the camera (This made post separation purging a nightmare🤣) I felt it was important to take a picture and prove that I was OK. That I was happy. Its silly isn’t it, that’s what this social media age has done to us. I think that’s why on here I try to be as honest and open as possible.

I’m not ashamed to say I was I was spiralling down a very dark hole and ended up at a stage I couldn’t see the light. I worried about my family dying when there was nothing wrong with them but the thought consumed me and kept me awake at night, I couldn’t cope with the changes is my career and found myself struggling to do the most simple of tasks but faking it with a smile and a cheery attitude. William was missing his milestones and I thought it was my fault, did I do something wrong during pregnancy? Was it because I didn’t love him enough? I began focusing on the fact that he might be taken away from me, social services would somehow get involved and take one look at me and know that it was my fault.

William was 18 months old and I had reached a point in which I felt like things would be better if I wasn’t around anymore by the time I sought help. I spoke to the doctor and just sobbed, I don’t know how he could possibly understand what I was saying but he listened and offered me help and I personally chose to be medicated, Sertraline to help with my depression and Propranolol for anxiety. It was hard, really hard and I came off them early and I wasn’t ready and soon spiraled back down that hole but I knew… I knew I wasn’t ready and went straight back to the doctor and this time when I thought I was ready, we slowly weaned off them and it worked.

For two years I have been off all medication and coping well. I have embraced that darkness I felt and can happily share my story. William is my word and the love I have for him was always there but was hidden by the storm clouds in my head. It didn’t flood in immediately but bit by bit as the clouds cleared, just like the sun does… it creeped through.

I know that Williams delays and medical issues are not my fault, that I did everything right when pregnant and that I loved him unconditionally from the moment I saw him on my scan and that even though I didn’t feel it, he did. He knew I loved him and still knows now.

There are days, even now in which I feel a darkness but speaking to people and being open about it really helps. This blog saved me as did all of you who read it, whether its ever post or just one. Each of you help me overcome every hurdle, every obstacle just by allowing me a platform to rant and cry about how I feel. Sometimes about myself or sometimes about the system that fails us.

Thank you and if anyone needs to talk please get in touch, with me, with a friend, a doctor. Don’t keep it to yourself. Darkness isn’t as lonely if you have someone by your side.🥰

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Posted in Emotions

It’s in the DNA… Pt 2

I said we would post as much as possible now we are both working and out of furlough, aiming to post once a week and unfortunately last week it just wasn’t possible. I would love to fib to you all and say I didn’t have time but to be honest I just didn’t have the emotional strength and need to pull myself through how I felt about the genetics results.

So first I’ve had my little pity party and it’s time to pull myself together – or at least that has been what I’ve told myself since the last post and I do feel a lot better, I needed to process and understand but unfortunately I was too quick to blame myself and wallow.

I thought I had gotten past the blame game but obviously it only takes one letter to put you right back there again, back in that pit of guilt and anger. Thankfully it didn’t take too long to crawl back out and I managed to do it naturally without having to fall back on the medication I once took for depression and anxiety. It shows how far I have grown in the last 18 months.

I know that there is nothing I could have done differently which would have stopped William having special needs.

I know also know that the additional material he has may not be the cause of his needs and delays.

It doesn’t matter that the additional material came from me, what matters is that anything more sinister has been ruled out.

I can hand on heart say that I love William more than life itself, not in spite of the challenges his needs bring but because of them. I think they make us as a family appreciate each other more. They make us look at the world in a different way and seek out understanding for other children like William.

God only give us what we can handle, its not always going to be easy but it is possible. He knew how hard we would fight for William and how much love we would have to give him. Its hard to have faith sometimes but I know my purpose is to nourish and love that little boy who I am honoured to call our son.

P.s William has his vaccinations today and tried to punch the nurse 💉🥊 but a cheeky trip to the polish bakery made it all better.

P.ss Vaccinations are also not to blame for Williams needs!

Posted in Emotions

The Baby Blues?

Postpartum depression and anxiety that 11-20% of women experience is not at all the same as the more commonly experienced ‘baby blues’ 80% of women experience for a few weeks.

Judy Dippel, Author of ‘Breaking the grip of Postpartum Depression: walk towards wellness with real facts, real stories and real god.’

I make it no secret that I am not a naturally maternal person and I work really hard to ensure I am the best Mom for William; the kind of Mom he needs me to be but I wont lie it often feels like i’m trying to roller-blade up a mountain ⛸.

It took me 18 months to admit I was struggling as people often referred to some of the feelings I had as ‘the baby blues’. It took me a long time having these thoughts and feelings building up for me to tell anyone and even then it was practically forced out of me in the most inappropriate way possible… A meeting at work 😳

Let me start from the beginning about my journey through trying to conceive, pregnancy, labour and beyond…
We agreed it was time to start trying for a baby about a year before I fell pregnant. We quit smoking and tried to be healthier. I spoke to my doctor and agreed to come off my medication; I have a neurological disorder called Trigeminal Neuropathy and the medication I was on at the time was linked to birth defects so it wasn’t worth the risks.
Every month my period came like clockwork ⏰ and every month we felt great loss as if we had lost something that wasn’t even there to start with. I’m not going to sugarcoat it but I think we both blamed ourselves. Why wasn’t my eggs working? am I infertile? I know Dave felt very similar about his swimmers too. This year of trying was constantly talking about how perfect our child would be and all the things we were looking forward to.
Monday 17th June 2016; I felt pregnant but had done every month so wasn’t holding out too much hope. I didn’t even wait for Dave to get home before I peed on the stick but there it was… that extra line we had been praying for🤰🏻

Pregnancy wasn’t easy; I had several factors which placed me on the high risk list and an induction was discussed from almost day one… There flew my plans of a drug free natural birth🕊
As the weeks ticked by more and more things went wrong leading to more appointments, more medication and more worry.
I left work officially on February 3rd 2017 to take my remaining leave before my maternity kicked in on the 6th March. We nested and cleaned and prepared the house for a whole tribe of babies even though we just had the one – Both of our dads are twins (not together obviously!) so at every scan I asked them to check there wasn’t another baby hiding 👶👶
1st of March I had my final consultant appointment. They needed to induce me asap to get William or Barry as we had nicknamed him (his uncle Jim still calls him Baz 3 years later) The consultants exact words were “when would you like to have your baby?” OMG! Obviously since they had driven it in to us how important it was for him to be out asap we said as soon as possible, We were booked in for Tuesday 7th March 2017. Our baby would be here in a week. 😊

Only that wasn’t quite the case… your consultant tells you what he thinks should happen and why but he doesn’t tell you if it is possible or what kind of state the wards are in. Thanks very much Fatima Allam for building your birthing suite for future labours but for me at this point it was a massive fucking inconvenience!
The day arrives and we were told to bring our hospital bag… Our appointment was 6pm and no one came to us until nearly 7:30pm. We didn’t need our hospital bag; they wanted to try something called a Foley Bulb induction.
I wont go into the gory details but it didn’t work and we were sent home at 2am and told to come back… with our bag at 9:30am the following morning. They wanted to try the ‘Propess’ Pessary. 24 hours under close observation. Nothing happened and i’m sat on the Maple ward with other Mothers popping out their kids left right and center despite the fact I have been there longer! How fucking inconsiderate of them! Then came the tablet pessaries and the long wait for my waters to be broken. Not to mention the numerous stretch and sweeps (Dave kept calling these scratch and sniffs 🤮) It got to the point that I didn’t believe the labour ward actually existed until my 8th day of trying to be induced… My mother had visited on day 7 and like the tornado she can be (to which I am very grateful)told them exactly how badly this was as no one was telling us anything and we were both just a wreck. It was so important for them to get him here quickly but no one was rushing. I was scared something would happen to William or to me. I wrote a letter in case i wasn’t around. One to Dave and one to William; you know with the usual. Why I fell in love with Dave and what I needed from him in my absence. A bit dramatic I know but it was how I felt.

Then day 8 arrived and by 6:59pm so had William. Lots of pain, crying and a lot of help from the surgical team but he was here. By the time I was moved to a ward it was time for Dave to go home as they didn’t let dads stay back then… I was not ready for this. This tiny little bundle cried for what felt like all night and I was in a shared room. The anxiety of this crippled me. I was awake all night holding him telling him every family member I could remember and their personality traits.

The love I felt for William was instant from the moment we fell pregnant but my life was changing so much, I wasn’t me anymore or the person I thought I had been. Work had been my life since I was 17. I had worked full time and made my way up and honestly loved my job, I would stay late, arrive early and log in from home. All my friends were there or so I thought. I always remember a conversation with my sister about how people had vanished from her life when she had my niece. I wouldn’t happen to me (insert eye roll here 🙄) But she was right… I hate it when that happens. People I spent every day with for years and nights out, boozy lunches were suddenly too busy to text. I’m not going to lie it fucking hurt and I was lonely.
There was something about Williams development that just didn’t sit right. It was OK for me to think it but if anyone mentioned anything I would become defensive and justify his delays. Thinking it was one thing but admitting it is something very different. I hated being on maternity leave, I was itching to get back to work and some normality. Some adult conversation.
Then in the November I get the call… my office is closing. My job is at risk. AGAIN! It didn’t just effect me but my mum also and so many others. I didn’t want redundancy. I had just had a baby. I needed flexible hours and a steady reliable income.
We were saved! the company I work for now was bringing us in house. I felt so relieved and happy but there was just something that made me uneasy. A deep seeded worry that I couldn’t quite shake off.
I returned to work in January 2019 and felt so out of my depth doing just 3 days but it wasn’t possible to do any more because we had no childcare or the funds to send him to nursery at that point. I couldn’t remember anything and there was no refresher training or brief about what had happened in the last year. Nothing. Everyone was trying to prepare for the move and I felt lost. What was once my world was now somewhere I went where hardly anyone knew me so I had no one to talk to. No DSE equipment for my bad back as someone had taken it whilst I was on maternity and lets face it, the company was closing us down. It wasn’t going to buy me equipment for the last 2 months.

My last day at my office was emotional; it felt like the end of a massive part of my life. My mom worked in the same building so on bad days I could go and vent or cry to her but not anymore. Hell i would even miss the mold on the canteen wall, the windows that wouldn’t open and the suspicious stains on the carpet.
The new office was beautiful, so modern and clean. It was only 4 years old and made me feel proud to work in a building like that but it wasn’t home; Its crazy because there were people there in the same situation as me and I just plastered on a smile… ‘this is great’ ‘yes William is beautiful’ ‘no don’t worry i’m fine’

Fast forward a year ⏩⏩⏩
A year of denial about how I was feeling, Fake it till you make it… I was under performing in my job, I couldn’t focus on almost anything so I wasn’t functioning at anything particularly well and have so many dark thoughts running around my head… Would William be better off without me? Am I the one that has caused whatever the problem is with him? how can I do my job in 3 days? Why don’t my team respect me? Why am I so lonely? Why doesn’t my child love me? why do my colleagues seem to single me out? What if our landlord follows through with his threat to sell the house? What will we do if we end up homeless? What if they take William away from me because it’s my fault? What if something bad happens to Dave? what about Big Nanna? would William be better without me? would he?
Have you ever been taken into an office and told your shit at your job? actually no that’s not what was said but its what it felt like at the time. I was forced in a little cloakroom style office to face some things… some things I hadn’t spoken about before. And with each irrational sentence that I sobbed, I felt a tiny bit lighter. That night my boss called me at home to make sure I had told Dave how I felt and that I was going to the doctors… Yes and yes.✔✔

I didn’t know what to say to the doctor and spent a fair amount of time just sobbing and telling him I didn’t know what was wrong with me but he did… Postnatal depression and anxiety. Too far gone to see a councillor. That wasn’t what was said but he recommended drugs for a quicker effect; I knew I needed to say yes as I had to do something as soon as possible to prepare myself not only to be able to function in day to day life again but for the fight I would shortly have for William.
I ended up on anti-anxiety medication and anti-depressants and it hasn’t been an easy road as they make you feel that you’re OK when your not so when I first broached the idea of coming off them I though I was ready but was given some poor advice by another doctor and took a deep crash back to despair.

That was over a year ago now and I’ve slowly gotten to a place where it is time to start coming off the tablets. I haven’t had to take any anti-anxiety tablet in a long time. Work is work; I am in a new job that I thoroughly enjoy and I am away from aspects that had helped me spiral but it isn’t my life. It is just a small part of it; Its my little 3 day break from my real life. I go to work on a Monday (my favourite day of the week) and my last shift is on the Wednesday and then I switch off and i’m done… well at least more than I ever was previously. We have moved house to one that isn’t falling down around us and it’s more of a home to us than the other one had been in 7 years and as you are aware we have accepted and admitted that William has additional needs and delays and things have been put into place for William to help his development and I am fighting tooth and nail to ensure he gets the support he needs going forwards. I am now a ‘Momma Bear’ and can be fiercely protective about William and his needs rather than sticking my head in the sand.
I am nearly off the antidepressants all together… 1 half dose twice a week, then going down to once a week and then i’m done.

I’m not sure why I felt the need to get this down in writing. It’s not really part of our ‘Journey onto the spectrum’ but it was a big part of leading up to this point. Its a part of me.