Unplanned Panic…

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There’s been a slight set back. A blip. A temporary bump in the road. A bit of back story will help make sense of how I got to watching Greys Anatomy on the iPad, still shaking, trying to get my heart rate to calm back down to pre panic attack state.

On New Years Day we were involved in a minor car accident. We were all fine, and luckily the driver who went into the back of us swerved to avoid us taking the full impact. In terms of injuries, the kids were unaffected, my husband had some soft tissue damage to his lower back and I hurt my neck and left shoulder from where I had twisted round towards the children just before we were hit. Physically, we were ok.

Cut to a week later and I’m struggling to sleep because of the back and neck pain. Which is fine, although difficult. A car then cut us up at a roundabout a couple of days later and I freaked out, with a way bigger reaction than necessary. Nightmares of a car coming towards my children were three or four times a week occurrence. I became very jumpy, and my nerves were frayed. I avoid getting in the car, I’ve become really overly protective of the girls.

After a couple of really bad nights sleep I ended up bursting into tears at the Dr’s surgery because I was so worried that the lack of sleep would lead to epilepsy problems that my stress levels were through the roof.

In the meantime, physio was arranged for both my husband and I. I had my initial assessment and it went ok, we chatted through it all and a referral was put through for both my wrists which I’d hit on impact to make sure a break from a few years ago wasn’t problematic. I was then booked in for my next session of physio the day after my birthday this week. (I’m 33 now. Yelp.)

To try and work through some particularly tender knots in my neck and shoulder the physio used an ultrasound for some deep tissue massage. I remember it hurting, and then…and then my husband was there and I was being taken home. I apparently then sat in the bath without water for a while, and I’ve been full of a headache with really tense muscles since. Something tells me the physio’s good work may well have been set back slightly.

The ripple effect from the minor prang is, I know, hugely not a big deal. But it feels devastating. I was on track, I was on the road to improving my wellbeing after a couple of turbulent health years. I was jogging, I was using mindfulness for a few leftover anxiety issues and post pregnancy stress issues.

So why am I sitting up in bed at 1am shaking and trying to get my heart rate back down with a paper bag next to me tonight? Well, the seizure was yesterday. So today I haven’t felt very well, exhausted, and in pain. And emotionally struggling as I really thought I was done with epilepsy being an active issue. This evening my husband went to Swindon for work and after the kids were in bed I sat watching TV and (ironically) reading through my mindfulness apps.

And then I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. And running across my living room floor bed as brass was a freaking rat. Without warning my panic level went sky high. I’ve only felt that panicked once before in my life. And that was when I walked onto my holiday balcony and saw a body hanging in an apartment down from ours. Yes, it was horrendous, and likely one of the main reasons I went into a forensics/criminology career path. And I know it seems hugely dramatic to compare the two events but my nerves are currently so shot to shreds, that I went into full fight or flight. And like the Summer of 2003, my main worry was that if panic took over I would have a seizure and I was on my own and so needed to deal with this situation. When I saw the rat, my husband was about 40 mins away on his way home. It ran underneath the sofa, so I walked to the stairs so I could see both sides of the sofa. I called pest control and was told that someone would be round in about 25 mins with a terrier dog trained to track and get rid of vermin. Whilst on the phone, the rat went from under the couch into the kitchen. The sight of it again did not help my panic. I could tell I was on the verge of hyperventilating so I called my Dad (I didn’t want to call my husband and worry him while driving), to try and keep as calm as possible and so that if I did have a seizure, there would be someone on the phone who would recognise it and be able to do something. I also called my brother who came over as I’m quite nervous of dogs, and although I’m ok with most dogs these days, the idea of being on my own while a dog came in specifically to attack something while I was already in such a state, did not fill me with confidence.

My husband arrived just before pest control did. The noise of dog vs rat is not something that will leave me quickly. While the ‘eviction’ took place, I sat on the stairs trying to calm down, and made a list on my phone of all the things I needed to bleach.

I am not a nervous, panicky person. I am not frightened of spiders, or mice, or (until today) rats. I am a good person to have in an emergency. I keep calm. People call me when they’re in a panic. I am not the person who can’t sleep because she can still hear rats or because I’m panicking that both children are in some kind of danger.

We were in a minor car prang on New Years Day, and the chain reaction has me a quivering wreck, terrified to put my feet down from the bed and unable to go to sleep with an appointment with the epilepsy nurse to up my dosage. Which means I can’t look into learning to drive (one of my 2018 goals), I’ve had to stop jogging, and I’m on a waiting list for trauma related therapy. Not to mention that I’ve now become terrified about any epileptic issues when I’m with my kids. All in all, the minor prang feels rather major now.

It’s a blip, but it feels like such a massive one tonight while I try and ignore the feeling of needing the toilet because I don’t want to go anywhere else in the house. And although I thought I was on the other end of issues like this. I want to bring my girls up to know that life will throw many bumps in the road, and as important as it is to keep going, it’s also important to make sure to heal as you go. And that healing needs it’s time as much as the braving it.

My Dad and husband both said they were proud about how I dealt with it. Which seems laughable, I hyperventilated, panicked and practically pulled multiple muscles by shaking and being so tense. But, I called pest control and I kept someone on the phone with me and stayed so I could see where the rat went. And did everything I needed to without screaming and waking the kids or losing track of the rat etc etc. And I didn’t have a seizure. So it can be considered a win. But I’m still going to call the Dr tomorrow to ask if there’s anything I can maybe have to help my nerves because tonight has proved that it is most definitely out of control.

It’s a slight set back, a blip. And I’m writing a blog post and watching Greys Anatomy to keep my mind busy. I’m so upset about it all, but I’ll manage it. And I’ll show my girls that it’s ok to struggle and it’s ok to need help as long as you don’t give up on yourself.

So my healthy, active, putting the past troublesome three years behind me is not the bump free road that I was planning for. But the easy road is a boring one anyway….

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PS. You’re Beautiful…

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I have always been quite active, although not so much in the last three years, pregnancy does slow you down! (Cut to my Dad sending me an email attachment of someone who carried on kick boxing till the day she gave birth…) I’ll amend…pregnancy slowed ME down! 
Now we have completed our family with the two girls, I’ve been enjoying slowly but surely increasing my activity. However, as a result of a slow three years/quite a few health issues and a penchant for Thai food, I am not a small woman. I’m a generous size 16 with plenty of junk in my trunk! (Ironically I’m not at my biggest, that award goes to Danielle circa 2012 when several factors saw me at my largest, that’s not relevant but I’ve mentioned it all the same…you’re welcome!) 

Anyway, it is HUGELY important to me that my two daughters grow up happy and healthy. That they learn a healthy, active lifestyle; not as a punishment though – that part is important. I don’t want them to choose salad because they’re on a diet or go to an exercise class because they want to ‘be skinnier’. I want them to grow up with lots of activity as part of their every day so they stay active with hobbies they enjoy. I want to teach them about nutrition and help them explore lots of different/varied foods to be part of their diets. I believe that NO-ONE has the right to make any comment on anyone else’s body. No-one has the right to make anyone feel bad about the way they look. I’m not an idiot, or deaf. I’ve heard people make comments about me in the street, a group of young kids joking with each other that ‘who would sleep with me with an ass that big’ (referring to the fact that obviously someone had because I had a newborn attached to me in a holder). I’ve heard two women make a whale joke about me in a swimming pool changing room. I didn’t have the children with me at that point; but the fact that maybe they would have been more understanding if they knew I’d recently had a baby isn’t really the point. And in a way makes it worse, there shouldn’t be any validating reasons for anyone to make somebody else feel bad about the way they look. I’m not so thick skinned (pun not intended but a happy coincidence!) that the comments I overhear don’t hurt. I’ve spent many hours in front of a mirror wondering how and why my extremely handsome husband can ever bear to come anywhere near me. And it’s because I grew up it being ok for people (in the materialistic 80’s) to make comments about others appearance, 21st century ‘fashion magazines’ printing pictures with big red circles around imperfections (that kind of thing REALLY makes my skin crawl with despair at what the media does to society…ANYWAY!). My daughters are going to grow up (as much as I can help it) being confident about who they are, how they look and what they can achieve. 

I’ve spoken about this at length before, but to help them get to that point, I must lead by example and walk the walk as well as talking the talk. This means I must treat myself as kindly as I wish my girls to treat themselves and others. Not easy, but I’m faking it until I make it. 

Which means, this weekend, when at the beach, the knowledge that my thighs wobble a bit, and that I currently have an extra chin and a bit more tummy than I’d like HAD to be irrelevant. The important parts are the warmth in my smile and the sparkle in my eyes, that’s all my kids care about. 

Health isn’t to be ignored, and I am slowly but surely getting my health back which will most likely lead to a lesser weight. But it has absolutely no correlation to my happiness. Not really. My joy is in a fantastic swim in the sea, my first of the year; my glee is in seeing my daughters laughing and enjoying the beach, not a slight wobble in my sizeable ass! 

So I put on my swimming costume, and I proudly larked about on the shore with my two daughters in tow. Today I didn’t hear any comments, that doesn’t mean there weren’t any, or that I didn’t have any in my head. But it’s an important step. It gives me a boost, I did it and I had a bloody good day. So next time some kids in town make a comment they think is so witty or for no reason at all other than to impress their mates without thinking about how it might affect other people, I will attempt to concentrate on the lovely day I’m having instead of letting that unnecessary negativity have an impact.

My greatest triumph will be to see my daughters grow up confident, happy, healthy and unapologetically them. That’s the goal and THATS one hell of a motivation.  

Positive Pregnancy Pain…

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My breasts are sore. That’s a normal motherhood pain. 35 weeks in, and after 8 weeks so far on bed rest or in hospital, it’s finally a pain that is for our baby! 
My temperatures high, and I’m getting quite a few bouts of fever. I’ve been keeping the lamp on at night to avoid seeing things because the fever from the epilepsy tablets tend to make me see things. I refer to post it notes around my room and on my phone a lot because the epilepsy causes a lot of confusion. My back constantly hurts because my kidneys are rubbish. And I’m on painkillers and a few other medications because the recurrent infections & epilepsy medication have some rather unsavoury side effects. In total I take ten tablets each day at the moment. The difficult part of all of that, is that it’s all because of MY weaknesses, my body letting me & my baby down. I’m currently the biggest danger to our child and that breaks my heart.
But my breasts hurt because they’re preparing for our baby, it’s natural and it’s normal. My body is finally doing something that HELPS our baby. I’m finally having some pain thats an ACTUAL motherhood symptom and THAT I can deal with. I am practically giddy with enjoyment because of it. I think it may be the best Mother’s Day present I could possibly have received.
Our baby. My husband and I made her. We created her and I am finally doing something that protects her. Milk is coming through ready to nourish and protect our new arrival. I’m in a ridiculous amount of tears at finally feeling a pregnancy pain, a motherhood issue, I honestly can’t tell you how it feels! 
My breasts are sore. I couldn’t be happier! 

 

Vacant Health Visitor…

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Scarlett is a very good eater, There’s nothing she won’t try (and we’ve been very mean in even getting her to try things like olives and raw onion) and very little she’ll turn her nose at (funnily enough one of the only foods she won’t eat is strawberries!). That being said, her appetite size is rather small. She suits eating little and often but recently we’ve been wondering whether it’s slightly too little. 

We looked online and saw that actually it’s quite normal and portion sizes that are now deemed ‘normal’ are actually very grossly overestimated, and we have been right to go off her cues and not try and force her to eat more than she naturally seems to want to. And as she enjoys a real variety of healthy foods and a good balance, we don’t need to worry about her nutrition. However, the one thing we did learn was that she is probably having a bit too much milk, now she’s over one, the full fat milk she drinks should be as an accompaniment to meals and roughly two thirds of the amount she currently drinks. 

As I’ve mentioned several times, internet research is fantastic but dangerous. When it comes to parenting horror stories, you don’t have to Google for long to be confronted with a horrific tale to make you think that whatever you’re doing is harmful to your baby. We only allow ourselves to look for answers on NHS websites and another government backed one that we’ve found realistic and thoroughly informative without any scare tactics (or information worded to sell a product!). You may ask why we haven’t had this information from a health visitor? It’s a fair question. 

Sadly although I have nothing but praise for our NHS and I would violently defend it and all the hardworking staff within it (and with several hospital stays and three operations within the last year and a half, I’ve met a fair few of them!) I really don’t want the following to have any implication on my view of the NHS because (in our experience) it has been amazing. However, our health visitor, we last saw her in July 2014, you may recognise that as the month our daughter was born. We saw her towards the end of the month as we were away some of August and she was away the other half of it, and so the 6 week check was booked in slightly early. At that stage all was well and we waved her off as she cheerily told us that she’d see us in September for a routine check. I should add that she meant September 2014 as that’s when Scarlett should have had a three month check and should also correspond with around the time she had her injections. We have seen nothing of her since that sunny July day. Now firstly, I know she’s ok because we tried to contact her a couple of times and were promised callbacks or were informed she would get back to us. Scarlett’s vaccinations all went well and apart from a couple of minor appointments since we have no major health concerns so as we’re busy people, we frankly haven’t had the time to chase any more. And as we have a perfectly healthy little girl we kept telling ourselves that we didn’t want to hassle and there must be lots of baby’s with more urgent needs. After all no news is good news right?

However, when we find we’ve been inadvertently giving her more milk than she should have at this stage, it does frustrate me a little bit. Both my husband and I are intelligent people and we have several books that we reference and if we have any urgent queries we can phone the Dr but we SHOULD have been able to have access to a health visitor to answer the questions we had. We weaned Scarlett onto solid foods at six months (as guided by the NHS website) we adjusted her feeding patterns as we checked along the way; but as two very busy parents, we don’t check every day and as amateurs we don’t necessarily know when these landmarks occur. 

My point is, for us, it hasn’t been disastrous. But only through dumb luck to a certain extent; for some families, without that support, they might come across illnesses through no fault of their own because they didn’t know what sort of cows milk to use, or didn’t recognise the signs of an allergy to cows milk. Now I know that in our society we are very lucky to even have health visitors, let alone be privileged enough to only have a lack of health visitor contact to complain about. As we’re also in the process of buying a house in a slightly different area, we may well be able to be assigned a new health visitor (when do children stop having a health visitor? I know it’s not supposed to be at a month old but I’ve no idea when it should be!) and be able to have someone to ask these questions to that aren’t a computer. Likewise, it means that with any future children we won’t be assigned the same one which for us is a huge relief. 

The other obvious outlet for questions are our own Mums and other Mums, but the problem with that is (with the greatest of respect!) the advice has changed since their day and each child is so different it’s difficult to know what advice to take when you can get such varying reports. So although my friends and I chat about our children at similar ages, at nearly every stage they’ve all had different experiences. The area of childbirth and babies is in reality a field in which there is still a lot of unknown, in pharmacies, there are several drugs that have certain cautions on them, not because they know it causes a problem, but because there’s not enough information available and so they understandably err on the side of caution. Guidelines change month by month because we find out more every day in the world of medicine. The honest answer to quite a few question in pregnancy and early childhood is still ‘we don’t know’. Therefore, it’s understandable that looking online finds a plethora of not necessarily very sensible advice. Our first trip online when I first found out I was pregnant was about epilepsy and pregnancy, the first four links led us to stories on death in childbirth and complications/deformities that could be caused by epilepsy in pregnancy. if we had looked before getting pregnant, that would have terrified both of us! The reality (and when I say reality I mean the medical science) is that actually there’s very little risk and in this country, in our situation, there was no real reason to worry at all. And in fact the majority of the problems we encountered were not to do with my epilepsy! My point here is that becoming a mother, especially the first time, is frightening and you’re suddenly immersed in the unknown. Whilst growing your precious cargo, you have little control over how everything is going in there and with so many contrary opinions on whether it’s ok to have the odd glass of wine/whether you can eat prawns/whether you should sleep with one leg in the air, (ok I made that last one up but I bet someone could come up with some reason as to why it’s better!) it’s difficult to know where to turn. Your midwife and then your health visitor are your assigned links to sanity. They are experienced and have all the up to date information for you and your baby, you develop a relationship with them so they get to know you and your individual baby. We as parents can behave by instinct and with as much knowledge as we have but we, in this country, are lucky enough to be gifted some medical professionals to help us and make sure we’re doing the best thing as far as today’s knowledge goes, for our baby.

We have not had that hand holding. I know how spoilt that makes us sound, we are lucky enough to have access 24 hours a day to the internet and the NHS, we live financially comfortably and our baby doesn’t want for food or clothes or warmth or any of the real priorities. However, my parenting knowledge is that of an amateur with 14 months experience and as a relatively typical British person, I worry about ‘hassling’ the Dr with seemingly small queries. at the same time, although I trust the NHS website, like every parent, I’m terrified at making an innocent mistake that even in a little way, harms my beautiful little girl. I would really rather have that right hand calming voice who I know knows her stuff and knows my baby. I trust the health profession, I trust the NHS and I am sad that in our particular individual circumstance, we’ve had a bad experience. 

Based on friends opinions, and my memory of my little brothers health visitor, I know just how invaluable a service health visitors can provide. In fact I was only 9 when my brother was born and yet I still recognise his health visitor Liz who was just amazing and still recognises me and asks after the family. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect my baby’s health visitor to be so involved that she recognises Scarlett’s siblings in thirty years time! HOWEVER, from such a fantastic experience, it has made us feel a bit stiffed! I am someone who likes to praise others hard work, as I think there are enough things in life to complain about, and I know this blog post is probably a bit counter suggestive! However, I’d like to finish off by reiterating that out of the hundreds of NHS staff we’ve had dealings with since Christmas 2013, we only have this ONE negative, and it’s likely because we’re in an area of a lot of young families, and our needs are very minimal so it’s right that we are the ones that fall through the net. I wouldn’t like to have an attentive health visitor if it meant someone who needed it more was slipping through. From surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses, doctors, administrative staff, porters, kitchen staff, we can not speak more highly of those we’ve come across. But again that’s our experience.

For those of you in a similar position, I’d love to know what gems of wisdom you’ve had from your health visitor, or the positive difference they’ve made for you, and I hope that in the future when Scarlett maybe has a sibling, we’ll be able to share a more positive experience! In the meantime, I’m going to ‘look forward’ to an upcoming hospital appointment, which I never would be able to have if it wasn’t for our wonderful NHS! 

List on life…

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A couple of recent discussions with friends has lead to a list being made (pause for excitement…) ok…read on!

5 things you can’t or don’t predict when choosing a life partner.

1) How you & you’re partner vote. Politics is kind of boring and kind of important. Voting is a right many fought for & we all have our own opinions. The majority of us however, in a normal week, don’t go round talking about who we vote for. We may discuss how the potholes are becoming a disgrace or how NHS waiting times are just not good enough, but we don’t do so wearing a political sash. When elections come round, all of a sudden people are passionately discussing it. A quick look on my facebook news feed & I can see the political stance of a large portion of my friends and (thanks to online debates) their friends voting plans. I have never started a relationship and asked what party they vote for as a deal breaker. I personally enjoy a good debate over social, political, religious and moral issues but I wouldn’t cut friends out of my life over a difference of opinion (someone who makes it clear they’re voting for the ‘death to all’ party I might give a wide berth to but as a general rule..!).
My husband and I have discussed it and voted the same way. We come from very similar backgrounds and work in similar fields so it’s not a huge surprise but it’s something we hadn’t really spoken about beforehand. Having witnessed a couple have a blazing row about their political stances (one Green Party, one considering UKIP..!) it made me realise that it’s the type of thing you don’t necessarily cover at the audition stages of a relationship. You’d assume some people with really strong views might but in general, I don’t think we really do. And likewise your views can change, mine have, I’m voting differently than I did five years ago, as is my husband. We now live in a different constituency which of course can make a difference but it’s interesting to think whether it would cause friction if we chose different. I’d like to think not, but after sitting behind the unhappy Green/UKIP coalition couple, it certainly makes one wonder!
2) How to bring up children. When entering a relationship, you discuss whether or not you want children. A lot of people do it quite early on as it is make or break situation. It’s not a decision that can easily be compromised on (ok dear we won’t have children but as a compromise I want us to do more paper mâché and watch CBeebies..!). 
What you don’t necessarily go into depth with are the details. What type of school do you want your child at? Do you believe in harsh discipline or a softer approach? Even simple things, what hobbies will you encourage? No first time parent comes equipped with any experience. We’re all learning as we go and it’s a steep old learning curve. Almost every day you have to make choices and if you’re at odds with your parenting comrade, you have to debate it out before making a choice and it won’t always be the choice you would rather. 
My husband and I have avoided any major clashes but we don’t agree on everything. Im a bit more gung ho whereas my husband can sometimes err a bit more on the side of caution! That statement stands for most things in our life really, he’s always happy to get dragged along with me but I think sometimes he probably wishes I’d think about things a bit more before jumping headlong! Anyway, I recently read an article about a couple who paid for a legal go between as they had reached an issue that they simply couldn’t come to an agreement on. The Father wanted their son to attend boarding school (the one he had attended), the Mother, who knew he’d attended boarding school but had no idea he was adamant his children would follow, wanted their son to attend the local comprehensive. In a quote, “I’d homeschool before I sent my child to boarding school.” Before that sticking point, they may well have been the happiest couple on the planet! But on your fifth date when you’re considering this person as a potential long term partner, you’re not likely to discuss the schooling options of your metaphorical children! 
“I’m having a lovely time, this is a great little Italian place. So picture the scene, Sid’s passed the 11+…”
“Sorry whose Sid?”
“Sorry yes, our future son Sid, he must be named after my Grandfather. And I want him to go to boarding school. I also think that I prefer the idea of baby led weaning. Oh and by the way if you vote Lib Dem I’m leaving now.”
3) How you’ll deal with an emergency or crisis. Fingers crossed, when you meet a new partner, you’re not immediately delved into a massive crisis. You’d at least hope they’d wait for the third date to drag you into a big drama anyway! However, at some point in your relationship, one or both of you will go through something really difficult. What you don’t know going in is how one or both of you will deal with it and how (and if) you’ll be able to get through it together. 
When I was pregnant with Scarlett, my epilepsy (a condition I hadn’t really been bothered by for a number of years) reared its head. I was on medication that could potentially affect our precious cargo. My kidneys then started malfunctioning enough to hospitalise me because of the different medication I was on, and I have a bicornuate uterus which brings with it its own exciting complications! It was scary, it was upsetting, it was our first set of emergencys. In a way, it was lucky we were near the beginning of our relationship because we were able to see, yes, good, we’re both level headed, calm and deal with things like this. This will put us in good stead for the future! I know some people who are married twenty years when they suddenly are faced with a trauma that they have to deal with together. And it’s not something you can prepare for. You don’t draw up a list of emergency procedures with a list of ways you should deal with hundreds and thousands of potential situations! You can’t guess what situation you may suddenly be faced with. Life just happens to you and in the same way you can’t know for sure what’s round the corner, until something like that happens, you can’t know for sure how you’re going to deal with it as a couple.
4) Looks. I know that sounds stupid, unless you go on a blind date and then get forced to marry that person without looking at them, the majority of us can absolutely and do consider looks when choosing a partner. My Nan always used to tell me that if a boy was going to sucker me in with looks, to make sure it was the eyes and the smile that really got me as those were the only two things that would look the same at 80! 
People change, they age, they put on weight/lose weight/change their hair/change their style. Their overall look develops and changes. The oldest most tattoo’d Grandmother that has been on TV a few times started getting tattoos quite late on, her secondary school picture shows a totally different person! Health affects us, lifestyle affects us. From a physical and aesthetic point of view, chances are, we’ll look significantly different at 80 than we did at 21 (the exception is of course Jennifer Aniston who has looked that good since her early twenties and shows no signs of looking her actual age anytime soon, down to I can only assume the genes of a magical beauty unicorn!). Since we’ve been together my husband’s look has already quite dramatically changed. And so my Nan is so right, because clean shaven with a Tony Stark haircut or bearded and moustached with the long hair and ruggedness of Aragorn, the way those eyes shine when he smiles at me stays exactly the same!
5) Who we are. When I was 17, I had spent a lot of time in hospitals and really admired the hugely intelligent doctors and nurses who helped me through a difficult time when my epilepsy was in full swing. I decided I wanted to be a surgeon. When I was 6 I told my Mum I wanted to be a bus driver because I liked to travel and meet new people! For a lot of my youth and early twenties I swung between wanting to be an actress and wanting to save the world. In amongst it all I got a criminology degree, and a psychology degree because I wanted to be Poirot! Throughout everything I’ve always written, so without knowing it, I’ve always been a writer, it’s only the last couple of years I’ve actually got paid to do so. And that just covers a small array of career plans. That doesn’t touch the vast journey of my ideals, hopes and dreams. 
In your teens and early twenties, they change almost daily. By thirty you’re supposed to have worked it out but the worst kept secret is that nobody really ever does. As individuals we are constantly changing and developing and growing. We have different friends at different stages of life (as well as some precious lifelong friends who stick with us even for that few months you decided you were only going to eat grass and wanted everyone to call you Sister Nature). And it’s healthy for our goals and ideals to adjust and develop.
There is no guarantee that your partner will grow and develop on the same path as you or in a compatible way. I’ve had some brilliant past relationships where we started as ‘soul mates’ because we were both from the same school, or liked the same band or could down the same number of Jägerbombs on a night out. As they start to end, a lot of the time you realise it’s not necessarily that something’s gone wrong, you’re just not right together anymore, it’s time to disembark from the Jäger train! The chances of this happening decrease as you get older, but we also as people tend to connect with people on a deeper level, for example whether you have the same morals, similar life goals. Taste in music is still important but aged thirty you’re much less likely to decide to marry someone just because you love their Nirvana tattoo..! This of course is a generalisation. There are some teenagers who absolutely have their crap together and know exactly what they want and there are most likely some thirty year olds who decide that it’s enough that their Tamagotchis have the same name to build a life together! The point is, you can’t make a decision on a life partner based on who you will become, only who you are. And if and when that changes, it may change things. 
This may seem like a list to try and make the point that no-one should ever decide to get married because at some point, one of the above points will prove that your relationship is doomed..! NOT SO! If I had to say I was making a point, it would be that you don’t have all the answers, and won’t even necessarily recognise if you’re considering the right questions. And that’s ok. It’s kind of why life is so great. If you’ve just found out that you’re house is about to be repossessed, your husband has dyed his hair green and wants to take the kids to a cult he’s just joined on the way back from voting Tory whilst you decide actually maybe you’re now a vegetarian who wants to train to be a lawyer instead of a midwife, it’s all ok. Give yourself (and your husband) a break. It may seem like a lot, it may seem that everything you felt so sure of on your wedding day is now a sham. Not so. Life is happening to you. Firstly, cults aren’t generally safe do maybe do put your foot down on that one..! He maybe Tory and you Labour but is that important enough to make you forget how much he makes you laugh? His hair may now be a green you don’t like but maybe it brings out the hazel in his eyes? And if you want to be vegetarian and a lawyer then why the hell not! Give it a go, change your mind back and get in a double pack of bacon! 
Obviously I’m not suggesting that dramatic changes every five minutes are a sensible idea but now and then, it’s ok for things to be slightly out of your control and just see where life takes you. You can try and learn every little detail about your chosen life partner but however much you try you’ll every so often be thrown a curveball. And for some people the above causes rifts, or an individual changing is too much for the other and the relationship breaks down. And that’s really sad for all
involved but again, it’s not your fault. 
Luck has a huge role to play (as does fate if you believe in that kind of thing!) I was incredibly lucky to find my husband and I look forward to any and all of life’s curveballs for us to dance around and mould into part of our story. I hope to pass on these thoughts to Scarlett and any other children we may have in the future. 
I guess my point is, above are five things you don’t or can’t consider until they happen in a relationship. And if you can’t plan for those things, why worry about them. After all, you’re left with everything else. Does that person make your heart swell, do they feel like home, do you want to choose them as your family? My sensible advise to my children would always be to choose a life partner based on life morales and outlooks on what you want your future to look like; but just as important is that feeling. The one we can’t explain, the one that makes someone feel like family. 
So comrades, whomever you choose to spend your life with, hold on tight when the rollercoaster give us bumps and drops and let yourself adapt without worry. And wherever your journey in life takes you, hold your head up high, slap on a smile, and enjoy!