‘The Amatino-Gosling residence are pleased to announce that they are expecting a baby!!”
Just as it got to an appropriate time to tell people, the bloomin’ Dutchess of Cambridge got in there first, stealing my thunder entirely. The attention of the world’s press was drawn to the King Edward VII hospital and away from North Manchester General …
It’s funny because I was never really interested in babies until I hit 30 in October 2011. Up until then I had been focused on my career, striving for the next step up, the next case, the next rung on the pay-scale. And then it hit me. Like a brick over the head. Problem was, babies weren’t the only thing that hit me when I hit 30. Being 30 hit me. And so did MS.
It was during 2011 that I began to deviate from ‘me’, from who I am, only I didn’t see it at the time. I became anxious, lost confidence and pushed away those closest to me. In hindsight I made some pretty poor decisions which at the time seemed like a good idea. I felt like I couldn’t cope. Even getting up in the morning and getting myself to court was overwhelming. I didn’t want to speak to people, was snappy, and spent increasing amounts of time on my own. But even then I couldn’t sleep or concentrate on anything.
Things came to a head in the November whilst Christmas shopping in Boots on Market Street. The 3 for 2 gifts in the Christmas section were so overwhelming, the shop so busy, the music so loud … I became hot like my head was going to explode and my chest was tight. I just couldn’t do it. And so I abandoned my shopping and walked out of the shop, straight up Market Street and back to the sanctuary of my flat without stopping.
It was then I realised that something had gone wrong (after all I love shopping!) – the confident, lively, friendly, professional woman I strive to be had become introverted, anxious and lonely. And so I went to see my doctor.
When you are given life changing news, whether it be the death of a relative, the loss of a relationship or in my case an illness, no matter how well you think you are and how well you appear to be ‘dealing’ with it, it has an effect on you somewhere deep inside. And it is only a matter of time before you can’t ‘deal’ with it any longer and it’s ugly head emerges through the surface and no matter how hard you try you can’t smother it or push it back down to where it came from.
As a society it seems to me that we are very reluctant to admit that there is a problem; we see needing a helping hand as a sign of weakness; we view help such as counselling or medication as pointless or a cop-out.
Well let me tell you, there’s something amazingly liberating about sitting down with a total stranger and telling them your worries, fears and what it is that keeps you awake at night. Things that you are too afraid to admit to your nearest and dearest for fear of upsetting them or allowing your ‘brave face’ to slip. And there is nothing wrong at all in accepting help in the form of medication for a few months, to help get you back on an even-keel and make Boots Christmas section more manageable (after all most forms of depression are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain).
Infact you’d be surprised at the amount of people you know, family members or friends dear to you, who have had similar problems and similar help. If you were brave enough to discuss it with them of course.
And so by late Spring 2012 I was pretty much back to my old self. So much so that I was able to put right some of the rather questionable choices that I had made. I’m just incredibly grateful that the people who had bourn the brunt of the situation were still there for me when I did. (Thank you Tom for always being there – I love you.)
Oh how much can change in just a year!
And so now I am ready to embark upon a new chapter in my life MS and all – the most exciting, challenging and rewarding chapter to date – that of being a mum.
The day we found out was a pretty strange day all round.
I had an interview for an internal job – a promotion – which was quite frankly a steep step up, the other two interviewees having ten years experience on me – but nevertheless I had got through the application stage. The interview was at the Preston office and my letter said that my interview time was 11am. But as usual, things didn’t quite go according to plan. I arrived in good time and went inside … only to be told that my letter was wrong and that they weren’t expecting me until 2pm. I then spent the next 4 hours effectively killing time and, well, thinking. Thinking so much that I made a diversion to Boots on the way home.
At the same time Tom was in court in Sheffield. Sheffield where his sister lives and had, that day, had our beautiful nephew Oscar. And so after court Tom went to the hospital to visit them.
Later that night he returned home gushing with the news and excitement of having met his nephew at only a few hours old … ‘Nic, I really want a baby…’ he said … ‘Well funny you should mention it’ I said ….
I didn’t get the job, afterall my mind was on other things at the time, but for the first time in my life I didn’t mind.
If the last 18 months have taught me anything it’s that you have to go through bad times in order to really appreciate the good times.
‘And we’re all owed joy sooner or later, the trick’s to remember when it was or to see it coming …’
Carol Ann Duffy