I wasn’t going to write this post. Because I felt a little strange doing so. I felt like it was a pointless post to write and that it didn’t fit.
But then I realised that I’d just be hiding the reality away. And maybe even putting pressure on mums just like me.
In the last week, since I’ve arrived home from holiday, I felt like someone had stripped me of all my good bits. I felt like someone had pulled my plug and I was completely drained. I found myself falling asleep on a train back from London first – something I never do. Then I started to feel nauseous. I didn’t want certain foods – going straight for carbs. And my skin flared up. And, to be frank. my period was AWOL.
And, for a moment, I thought I’d be writing pregnancy updates in a couple of months’ time.
And I’m sorry to disappoint (maybe in a year or two) but the tests were negative.
But I wasn’t feeling any better. And I wasn’t feeling like myself.
I was starting to fret. I just had this real sense of things not being right and, like any parent does, I started to worry that something serious was wrong and think ridiculously about William’s future and me not being in it. So I booked an appointment today at my local GP to hopefully work out what was wrong with me. And to stop worrying.
The nurse was lovely. She took my blood pressure, felt my abdomen, took a urine sample, did a pregnancy test, arranged for my sample to be sent off, and then she sat me down and asked me about my life, while she made notes.
It was a strange thing to do. I felt like I was enduring a job interview for my role in Life. Once I’d finished answering questions, she took a long hard look at me and diagnosed me with stress.
She said I also likely had a virus, which was prolonged due to the fact that I’ve not been resting or giving myself a break. I mentioned my holiday again and she said that things like that are often a sort of catalyst. Where your body goes: “Sod it.” And you end up unwell as you’ve finally stopped for a second. Your guard goes down and then you get attacked by Mr Common Cold and his gang.
But I gave an awkward laugh as a response and said that I couldn’t be stressed, because I am lucky and I am happy. It didn’t make sense to me.
And she explained stress didn’t have to have negative links or be down to how happy someone is. Stress is, most of the time, our body’s way of telling us to hold the fort, watch a 90’s rom-com and eat some carbs in bed.
In a matter of minutes she’d learnt that I’ve been managing on my own financially, working full-time, blogging most evenings, trying to fix up a house, trying to lose weight and becoming healthier, trying to be Super Mum, Super Girlfriend, Super Daughter, Super Enter Title Here.
And when she relayed that to me. I ended up getting upset.
Because I am doing really well. I am managing far better than I ever thought I could. And I am really very happy. But I do try and put on my coping face more than I care to admit. And that isn’t something that is exclusive to me, or working mums, or single mums, or even mums. It’s people.
There’s no cure for stress that comes printed on a label to hand in at a pharmacy.
It’s down to you. But, when you have bills to pay, jobs to do, mouths to feed and a house to make a home, ‘rest’ is a hard prescription to get your hands on.
And I walked out and I promised that I would call on Thursday for my urine sample results. And I promised I would go home, take advantage of my last night without William (missing him is killing me in itself) and rest. So I bought nutritious food (and possibly chocolate) from the shops on my walk home.
I turned on the lights. And I sat down on my sofa. And updated my family. And a couple of my friends.
And then I wrote. And I contradicted myself I suppose. Is this work? Sometimes it feels like it is. I want you to enjoy my blog. I want to make you smile or share something fun or even inspiring. I need to hold on to the moments where it isn’t work. Even though this blog has been a saviour in many ways.
I just wanted to write and say – if you are having a shit time, or you’re exhausted, or you find yourself in tears and feeling emotional and wanting to face plant a bowl of chips and hook up to an IV of wine, please do. It’s okay.
When she first said that word to me I tried to say it back and it felt foreign on my tongue. I’m always saying: “I’m so stressed!” But this has made me think. And I have thought and I’ve thought about the people I know and how I’m sure they must feel more stressed than me. And how I want to contest i and say: “Don’t be daft! This is just life!” But I think life, however yours panned out, can be hard at times.
And yeah, okay. It’s been a hard year. But I’m really lucky. And I’m not about to sit here and say that I need a hug, or someone to look after me, or for reams of sympathy.
I just need to quit trying to be everything and start focus on being something – and that’s just a happy person, to the people I love.
So I’m going to bugger off now, and take her advice, and eat a Wispa bar (medicinal) in bed with two cats and YouTube.
P.S. Silver linings. She weighed me and I’ve lost five kilos since the end of April when I was last there. Which is enough to make any grumpy mother smile.