I returned to my nurse training the Monday after Beth’s first birthday, with Graham also completing the final year of his degree. It was tough. We didn’t have much family support but we were lucky to have two wonderful friends who helped look after Beth. I still feel a little sad knowing they don’t live round the corner anymore, it was a beautiful friendship we had and they both built my confidence in being the mother I wanted to be. I guess time moves on and so do friends. Both have moved away from Scotland now.
That year I remember I felt like I had jumped into a swimming pool and as I was getting closer to the surface I could feel the panic of running out of oxygen. It was a horrible feeling but I knew I would break the water eventually and be able to breathe again. In the spring of that year I remember I had an essay to write and was on clinical placement. It was a beautiful spring and I hated I was spending so much time away from my daughter, inside studying or on a ward looking after other people. I remember one day I was asked if I wanted to see what patients do in Art Therapy. So I went along to the garden and was invited to join in. There were lots of different textiles and paints, and I remember feeling exhilarated being outside. My days were a muddle of studying, guilt, exhaustion, guilt, studying, frustration, guilt. But here I was given an hour to be creative. An hour to spend on myself. I quickly decided to make a felt purple crocus. It looked pretty chunky and rushed but it became my talisman. From that day I remembered that it was tough just now but in time it would pass and I would be able to breathe again, another beautiful spring would come again. I still have that crocus.
It took me until Arthur was 6 months to recover from everything that’s happened. I didn’t know it at the time. I just assumed feeling anxious and overwhelmed was part of who I was but it isn’t. I know that now. Beth was a wonderful blessing but she arrived too early into Graham and I’s life. From the day I learned I was pregnant I felt terrified and didn’t let go of that fear until recently. Motherhood is funny. It suits me very well, and I know I am a great parent to both my children, but I couldn’t let go of the anxiety and no one could tell me otherwise. Inside I was overstretched and not looking after myself. But time passed, I let myself recover.