The day my first son was born I remember waking up and looking into his cot and thinking ” shouldn’t someone come and take this baby soon?” After a while it dawned on me that he was mine and I was the one who had to do the looking after. When I looked at my newborn son I felt as though all the birthday and Christmas presents I’d ever had and was ever going to get had been given to me all at once in this one tiny bundle. The love I felt was overwhelming. That morning I spent hours just looking at him. In this new world it was just the two of us, I looked up at the television screen, an 8 year old girl had disappeared. They found Sarah Payne’s little broken body 17 days later. I had just given birth to my first child, I watched the news with new mother eyes and felt the overwhelming fear.
I parent from a position of fear. I always have. My son says I’m controlling and I can’t deny it. I always said that I would rather live with him being angry with me for not letting him do what he wanted than live with the pain of something happening to him. My parenting at times was irrational. I saw paedophiles around every corner, in every classroom and playgroup. I assumed any man who wanted to get close to me was trying to groom me to get to my kids. Single parent, easy target. I was hyper vigilant all the time.
I know that this is because of my background and when I sit down and think about it I can rationalise it but for a long time my life was dominated by intrusive thoughts. Disgusting, hard to get rid of intrusive thoughts. I suspected everyone. I trusted hardly anyone.
When my daughter was born I was crippled with fear. I couldn’t protect myself as a child from my own father how was I going to protect this new little girl from the world. A world I was convinced couldn’t wait to get it’s dirty hands on her and break and bruise her little body. The fear was too much. Having my daughter was a trigger and all the nasty dirty shameful things in my past that I had managed to stuff down and cover up came up and reared its ugly head.
I could feel myself sinking and I spoke to my Health Visitor who referred me to the CPN. The CPN recommended counselling to go with the medication for post-natal depression and I was lucky that the counsellor she wanted me to see was available immediately and willing to see me.
I didn’t have a great deal of faith in talking therapies at this point. My mother had been speaking to counsellors, psychiatric nurses, psychiatrists and psychologists my entire life and it had no benefit at all. I was so low by this point that I had nothing to lose. I drove to Newport once a week every week for nearly a year to meet the counsellor and ultimately, the woman who saved my life.