… but it pours.

And ain’t that the truth?

So, it’s been a WEEK, folks.

Honestly, there’s no way to write this without me sounding like some kind of professional victim or something, but I’ve always wanted this blog to be an honest record of my life, so let that record show that this week has sucked mightily. And then it’s sucked some more.

On Sunday, we got the awful news that Terry’s mum had passed away during the night.

On Monday, my own mum was admitted to hospital, and remained there all week. She has/had glaucoma, which was thankfully treatable, but while we’re obviously grateful she got the treatment she needed, it was really freaking upsetting – for my poor mum in particular, obviously, but also for me and my dad, who were worried sick about her. Just to make matters worse, my mum was taken to a hospital in Edinburgh, which was hard for us to get to, especially with a newborn in tow. My dad ended up just driving through in the afternoon and staying there until late in the evening every day, but Terry and I weren’t able to juggle that kind of travelling/being out all day with caring for Max, arranging a funeral, and dealing with the constant sleep deprivation – not to mention the fact that Terry’s foot is still very painful, and that, having optimistically declared that I was “almost back to normal” after my c-section, my recovery unfortunately took a bit of a step backwards this week… but I’ll get to that soon.

On Wednesday, Max hardly slept at all. He’s had a bit of reflux, which is MOSTLY under control now, but, for whatever reason, Wednesday was a Bad Day: I was up most of the night with him, and then Terry took over during the day, to let me get some sleep. I basically didn’t see daylight at all that day, which added to the nightmarish quality this entire month has had for me – everything still feels totally and utterly surreal to me right now, and the whole “sleeping in shifts/ barely being able to leave the house,” thing really isn’t helping.

(The sight of him in this little outfit DID help a bit, though, not gonna lie…)

On Thursday, my mum was scheduled for surgery, and I was becoming increasingly anxious about an aspect of my c-section recovery, which wasn’t going as well as it should. For once, this actually wasn’t just my health anxiety talking: I’m not going to go into the details, but suffice it to say that it was something the hospital had told me to look out for when I was discharged, and which I’d mentioned to the health visitor the previous week, hoping she’d just reassure me that it was totally normal, and nothing to worry about. Instead, she got a concerned look on her face, and told me to keep an eye on it, and call her if it wasn’t any better in a week. Well, when you say something like that to someone with severe health anxiety, you’re basically dooming them to a week of sheer hell, really… so I had my week of hell, and, when things got worse, rather than better, I called the health visitor back on Thursday morning.

(When you post something on Insta about how you’re having a hard time right now, and the first comment is someone high-fiving themselves for being  the first to ‘like’ it…)

Honestly, by the time I called her, I’d had Terry Google my symptoms extensively, and he’d reassured me that it didn’t sound like anything to worry about, so, although I was worried sick, I was hoping the health visitor would just say, “This sounds totally normal, Amber, stand down the vigil!”

Instead, she said something more like, “Yeah, I’m not liking the sound of this at all: I need you to get to a doctor, and I need you to get there TODAY – in fact, I’m going to call the doctor for you right now, and get you an emergency appointment.”

Which… yeah. Cue total and utter meltdown. This was basically my worst nightmare coming true, and, on top of everything else, I was now faced with a doctor’s visit (Which might be totally fine for anyone else, but which is totally traumatic for someone with my level of health anxiety), plus potential hospitalisation and further surgery, which I knew to be the worst case scenario with this particular symptom.

Thankfully, the doctor wasn’t concerned about my symptoms, and just sent me home with instructions to rest up and try not to do too much (Which, HAHA, LOL, but anyway…). When someone with health anxiety is told they need an emergency doctor’s appointment, though, it’s very, very un-fun for them – and it felt like the absolute last straw to me. So, even although the doctor said the words, “I’m really not concerned,” and “I think your health visitor has over-reacted to this…” about five times during my appointment, I’m honestly STILL not particularly reassured (I was literally in and out of his office in 5 minutes flat, and felt that he didn’t really give me much of a chance to properly describe what was concerning me. As a health anxiety sufferer, one of my biggest fears is what I think of as “Boy Who Cried Wolf Syndrome”- I always worry that any new doctor will just look at my notes and think, “Oh great, my last appointment of the day, and it’s a hypochondriac – let’s just try and get this over with as quickly as possible, then!” I know there’s a tendency, even amongst people who know me, to just dismiss my health concerns as yet another manifestation of anxiety, and although most of the time they ARE, well, the boy who cried wolf was eventually right, wasn’t he?), and am basically expecting to drop dead/be rushed to hospital at any second.

#FUNTIMES

(My kitchen looks clean here. My kitchen is not clean.)

So, I’m writing this on Friday morning. My mum will finally be discharged from hospital today, and I managed to get a few hours sleep last night, thanks to Terry, so things are not QUITE as bleak as they felt on Thursday, say – or any of the other days during this week from hell. People keep telling me it will get better, and I know that’s true, but I’ll be honest: this past month has been the hardest month of my entire life – and that’s up against some pretty stiff competition, really – and I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m really struggling right now.

I also just want to say here that I’m not writing this for sympathy or advice: I know I’m very fortunate in that I have a lot of support, and, even with my parents out of action this week, there are tons of friends I can call on in a crisis, and who’ve been in touch offering their support. So we will be OK… eventually… it’s just a really tough time, basically, and something I think most people would probably struggle with, if they found themselves in our shoes right now. (My counsellor has been in close contact with me this month, and actually happened to call me on Thursday, when all of this was going down: she agreed that what I’m feeling at the moment is totally normal, and told me she doesn’t think I have post-natal depression: she will, however, be keeping a close eye on me, which I’m grateful for…) Dealing with a newborn is hard enough, after all, but when you’re dealing with sleep deprivation AND bereavement AND another parent in hospital AND a partner with chronic pain (Terry’s foot is STILL not back to normal yet, which means that neither one of us has full mobility right now…) AND recovery from surgery AND a health scare of your own… er, I really AM starting to sound like a professional victim now, so I’ll knock it off, shall I?

Anyway.

As a writer, it’s really important to me to be able to tell my story honestly, and without sugar-coating it. Actually, I think it’s important that we ALL do that. I would much rather read an account of someone’s REAL life and actual, human emotions, than just see an endless use of the #SOBLESSED hashtag from someone claiming their life is totes perfect, and that they’ve never had a single negative thought in their whole life, ever. So while I want to make it clear that I’m not posting here for sympathy or advice, I do want to be able to continue to write about this time as honestly as possible: I say this because I’ve had a few comments recently of the, “BUT SOME PEOPLE HAVE IT MUCH WORSE, YOU SHOULD CONSIDER YOURSELF LUCKY!” and “JUST BE POSITIVE!” variety, and while I can acknowledge that yes, things most definitely could be worse right now, I also feel that they’re actually BAD ENOUGH, THANKS, and sometimes it helps to say that out loud, and just get it off your chest.

And with that said, I’m going to go and wash my hair for the first time this week. I might even make the bed, if I’m feeling particularly fancy. Wish me luck…

 

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30 Comments
  1. I HATE when you’re not allowed to say “everything feels shit right now” because, well, you’ve still got all your limbs, you’ve got clean drinking water, and you’re not having to raise your voice to be heard over the mortar shelling.

    You have had a shit month, and you are allowed to say so! Just telling people they’ve not got it as bad as someone else doesn’t make them feel better – if anything they feel worse, cos they now feel guilty too!

    So please feel free to continue being honest, and getting things off your chest, and ignore anyone who tries to make you feel guilty that you’re not enjoying every second of sleep deprivation, bereavement, health scares, surgical recovery, unwell husband and mother!

    (Sorry for the rant, it’s a pet peeve!)

    1. I have to agree with this completely. It’s not fair for anyone to minimize or downplay all the crappy stuff you are going through right now. People are so quick to point out that “it could always be worse”, but that does NOTHING to help what you are going through right now. I think those feelings need to be acknowledged and supported, and anyone who is a good friend/person, etc, will allow you to ride these waves and support you like a lifeboat.

  2. Someone once told me that if you aren’t allowed to be sad because someone else has it worse, then you might as well say you aren’t allowed to be happy because someone else has it better. I’m so sorry you’ve been having it so tough lately when you should be able to focus on little Max. Hope things get better for you soon! X

  3. I hate when people feel the need to say “others have it worse” when someone is having a bad time because that doesn’t make anyone feel better. Amber, I’m so sorry that a time which should be so filled with happiness (Max’s birth) has been so rough for your family and I sincerely hope things brighten soon. In the meantime, be kind to yourself and ignore anyone insensitive enough to say others have it worse, because that sounds like a really shitty month to me and you are totally entitled to feel bummed about it. My condolences for Terry’s mum and I hope February brings a little peace for you all. ❤

  4. It doesnt matter if you’re luck you for the support or someone else had it worse; at the moment you’ve got a ton of stuff to get through and just having a newborn must be tough (so I hear…) without the death of your MIL and panic about your health, Terry and your Mum. I’d pretty much say you can lie down in a corner and refuse to get up right now. Except, I know you don’t have the luxury. thinking of you all.

  5. I doubt anyone has ever been made to feel better for being told that others have it worse. It just makes me feel even sadder- life’s even more awful for some people AND I’m a terrible person for feeling unhappy. Wonderful…..Sometimes life can be a bit brutal and you need people to acknowledge that and just hope for better times for you.

    Your writing is beautifully honest. No airbrushing. Thank you.

  6. You are SO NOT a victim, lady. You are having a hell of a week. Vent away! I hope you do have a few extra folks you can call on in the vicinity nearby.

    Max though… he’s adorable. X

  7. Your honesty is important to who you are, so go right ahead being honest. You are not asking for anything, but I am sending love and light. I have spoken to your mum this morning, and am thankful that she had the treatment she needed. I hope too that your medical problem settles down and your recovery is complete, that Terry’s pain dissipates and little Max overcomes reflux. You are having a shitty time, and it ok to say that, and an imminent funeral of Terry’s beloved mother is ahead of you. I am hoping that all of these horrible things will soon pass.

  8. Hope you got to wash your hair because that always makes me feel better. Tjis is definitely a rough period so virtual hug to all.

  9. Screw those people with the shitty comments. I had to try so hard not to reply to one on a post you put up earlier this week. People are just fannys. I unfortunately have a friend like that. Nobody has it as bad as her boyfriend who lost his legs and is in a wheelchair. Yes, that’s awful but I can still feel bad and sorry for myself when shit things happen to me. #ScrewYouBlessedFannys

  10. So very sorry things have been so tough for you and your husband lately….each one of those things on there own are difficult, let alone when they you get to deal with them en masse. I’ll be keeping you guys in my thoughts and prayers 💜

  11. You know what, any one of those things would knock any one for six – wrapping them all up together and hitting you with them all at the same time? Yes, of course you’re not going to cope well!

    Be proud that you got your (btw, gorgeous!) baby dressed, and washed your hair once (((Hug)))

    Now, sing along “things, can only get better……”.

    And I hope they do soon xxx

  12. I’m sorry everything is so sucky. Reflux babies are tough on their own without all the extra stuff you’re dealing with thrown in xo

  13. Well, it’s good to hear that you’re unlikely to have post-natal depression on top of the health anxiety, and the situational stress and sadness, at least? What a time for your mum to take ill though. I’m glad she’s on her way home, and I hope that hair wash helped you feel like a new woman, at least for a while…

    Cannot get over how much Max is his daddy’s double. That blissful wee face.

    x

  14. Oh, Amber. It all just seems so unspeakably unfair that this is all happening to you right now! Sending all the strengthening vibes I can muster and hoping that everything becomes a bit easier very, very soon! xx

  15. You’re having a rubbish time and that’s all there is to it. You absolutely should be able to say so on your blog, which is your own space. I like the comment above about never saying you’re happy either, by the same logic as someone always has it worse than you so you can never be sad. That’s absolutely right of course. I really hope it’s only up from here for you – it really is sad that this has all come about just as Max enters the world, that’s perfectly crappy timing. You’ll get through and there’ll be much better times ahead 🙂

  16. I haven’t been commenting much lately but I’ve been following along. I’m really sorry to hear about Terry’s Mum. And also everything else that has been going on. Wishing you lots of strength during this difficult time. x

  17. Oh sweetie, that’s all just too much. I am so sorry you’ve had such a rough ride this last wee while. The whole “there are people worse off than you” thing really gets my back up – all it does is add a layer of guilt to all the crap you’re already going through. All my love to you and Terry.

  18. I’m so sorry that you’re going through all this Amber. A newborn is tough enough without everything else that the world has been throwing at you both. I remember the first few weeks of sleeping in shifts all too clearly, and it really was miserable – my OH’s mum visited and took Ben out for a walk and so I got to sleep next to my husband for the first time in a couple of weeks and I cried because I was so happy that something so normal was happening. Oh, and whilst it’s always important to be vigilant for PND, it is totally natural to feel overwhelmed by everything that is happening – I told my health visitor that exact thing. Yes, I feel overwhelmed, but having a newborn baby is overwhelming! Again, not to mention everything else that you’ve got going on right now. I know it is totally unhelpful to say it will get better, but it really will – I have been surprised every time that when I think I’m getting to breaking point and then things just change overnight. Babies are kind of cool like that, so hopefully you’ll get a little semblance of normality back soon. Sending lots of love your way (although luckily, it sounds like you are already surrounded by it!).

  19. What a crap week it’s been Amber – especially since Terry has had to arrange his wee Mum’s funeral. So sad, and so difficult. I am also so sorry to hear that your Mum has been in hospital. I will give her a ring soon, and get over to see her once she’s feeling better. I hope that once, you have all said your goodbye’s to Soula, that Terry recovers, as does your Mum, and that you completely recover from your C-Section, and become energised again – and you can have some lovely, nice, relaxing time with that beautiful wee boy of yours. Lots of love, and good, good vibes being sent to you all! xxx

  20. I really appreciate how honest you are about your life. I’ve been through a lot of hard times over the last 17ish years of my life and it can sometimes be really lonely, because I feel like I’m the only person who doesn’t have it perfectly together or who is going through difficult times. Reading your posts helps give me perspective that everyone can have really shitty things happen in their life and pretending to be perfect isn’t going to help them or me.

    You and Terry are in my thoughts and I hope that the loneliness lifts soon.

  21. Prayers for you and Memory Eternal for your MIL. I have rampant health anxiety and two weeks ago had to have a minor gynae procedure with a spinal anaesthesia. I was off the wall. In the pre-op room where they were getting me anaesthetised I just cried but I remembered you with justifiably much worse fears and hung on, and when they draped my sheet across for a screen I thought, “Yeah, Amber said this would happen,” and it was weirdly comforting.

    I hope everything gets better for you as SOON AS IT CAN. Give wee Max a kiss from an admirer, please. He is a cutie.

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