The Lesson in a Beautiful Wedding

On a gusty Friday afternoon, with our umbrellas in hand, my 8-year-old daughter and I braved unseasonal heavy downpours to attend a very special wedding.

I remember, as an 8-year-old girl, being enthralled by everything to do with weddings. The flowers, the romance, the fairytales, and yes, even the kissing. But more than anything else, the bridal dresses had me utterly entranced. And, as a budding seamstress, I would spend hours on end sketching the most extravagant designs as I daydreamed about my own wedded future.

My daughter is just as fascinated with weddings, and was simply thrilled when, earlier this year, her beloved school teacher announced her own engagement. The upcoming wedding soon became a daily topic of conversation in our home, so it was exceptionally exciting news when Continue reading

Balancing Fear Between Husband and Child

It likes to visit in the early hours after midnight, cutting through the hush of night so abruptly, so intensely, it will not be ignored for a second.

But ignoring it never crosses our minds when we wake suddenly to the cries of his distress. With three children, it’s far from the first time we’ve been through this. But even after three children, it’s by far the worst we’ve encountered when we haul our toddler from his bed, gasping for breath.

Many parents know the tell-tale barking cough of croup, but whereas in its mildest form it will guarantee a disturbed and sleepless night, the other extreme can be frighteningly critical. As my husband and I try to reassure our frantic child, there are three things I immediately know  Continue reading

What I Would Say to My Pregnant Self

I saw myself today. And at first, I didn’t even realise it was me.

She was huddled against the cold of winter in thick folds of grey and black, stepping carefully out of the car. Her husband – one hand closing the door, the other instinctively, lovingly, resting on the small of her back – said something in her ear that brought a brief smile to her tired face. He guided her slowly towards the brightly-lit supermarket, past the rows of trolleys, past the other parked cars, past me in another time.

Her belly swelled out from her woollen layers, tightly hugging the baby it still sheltered. But for how much longer? A week, two at the most? So sweet that he came along to help with the pushing, the lifting, and the carrying that her heavily pregnant body was struggling to manage. People were always calling her husband sweet.

I watched her. A woman today, but a mother one tomorrow very soon. She was, of course, completely unaware of what that would actually mean, Continue reading

Answering the Raw Truths of PTSD

It was meant to be a good day. A day full of positive distractions. A day of moving forward with new ambitions. The type of day when we least expect PTSD triggers to strike. The type of day that we both happily let our guard down. Though maybe it was because of that, when the intrusions unexpectedly began to flood his mind I saw they had hit him that bit harder, and for that bit longer.

But that’s not what upset me the most that day.

He came home and let me know right away that his day had been a particularly bad one. No, he didn’t know what he felt. No, he didn’t know what he needed. There’s no easy way for him to escape the memories, and no possible way for him to normalise them. In his torment, he craved space, but I could also sense he still desperately needed to stay close to our love and support.

It’s always upsetting to see him like this, but that’s not what upset me the most that day. Continue reading

5 Treatments You Need to Stop Giving Your Children

After more than fifteen years working as a pharmacist, it still surprises me how often I find myself encouraging people not to take medications.

Whist striving to do the best for themselves and their loved ones, I discover that many people are unnecessarily taking and giving treatments that may actually do more harm than good. And the biggest offenders are parents.

In an effort to reduce unnecessary harm and potential side-effects, I regularly encourage parents to stop giving their children certain medications and treatments. Unless otherwise directed by a medical professional, these are the top 5 treatments I encourage you NOT to give your children.* Continue reading

Why Ignoring My Son Was the Best Thing I Did Today

The best thing I did today was ignore my son.

Yes, it’s true that he’s unable to fix his own meals, true that he can’t manage to dress himself, and true that he can’t even go to the toilet on his own. Yes, it’s also true that I am my son’s main carer, but today I still chose to ignore him.

My method may surprise you, but my reasons hopefully won’t.

Now before you label me as a terrible person, an indolent carer, or a neglectful mother, the first thing I need to point out is that my son has only had Continue reading

What I Tell My Children About Their Father’s PTSD

“Mummy, why is Daddy so angry?”

I feel my throat tighten as familiar tears prick at the corner of my eyes. My daughter sobs into her pillow, she doesn’t see me trying to empty my face of the distress that rattles me. The turbulence of my husband’s anger still hangs in the air, even though he left the bedroom – and the house – a while ago. “He really frightened me, Mummy.”

My children do not deserve this, and neither do I. But this is their father, the only one they’ll ever have. And this is my husband, who I vowed to love and support. PTSD is part of our lives now, and we live with it as best we can. No more playing it down. I need to be honest in admitting that these rages affect us all. And no more making excuses for him. It’s true that he didn’t ask for PTSD, but Continue reading