It’s been a while since I shared a World Mama guest blog. But I’m so glad you can get to know Lexi, from Wilmslow, Cheshire. She is one of the kindest and bighearted mamas I have met on Instagram. She is so strong and brave and I am honored she is sharing her story on the blog. Lexi is married and has three beautiful children: Luke (6), Isaac (2) and daughter Isabella (1). Her oldest son has autism. Her youngest son had life threatening complications during birth. Today Lexi is sharing how she dealt and deals with all of this. You might want to keep reading…
“It is a good few weeks ago now that I read Kari’s blog “What the Instagram squares don’t tell you about our family trip.” When I first read it I shed a tear, as for many years now I too have suffered with anxiety. At it’s worst it was crippling and I would spend many sleepless nights worrying about anything and everything and blaming myself for everything that went wrong in my life. You see, all parents worry about their children.
My anxiety started as a teenager, although it was only about exams and other trivial things a teenage girl worries about. It really came to the forefront after the birth of Luke in 2011. Everything was wonderful for the first 6 months. We loved being parents to our beautiful little boy. However, as he neared his first birthday we realised he wasn’t developing as other children his age. He didn’t hit his milestones. He wasn’t babbling or talking. At the time, we didn’t think anything of it. We just thought he would catch up. However, as the years passed he wasn’t catching up and we really started to worry about him. Other people started to voice concerns about his development as well and we were referred to a paediatrician. We had many appointments and then in June 2016, just 2 days before Luke’s 5th birthday, we received a diagnosis that would change our world forever.
We were told Luke had Autism.
I remember sitting, listening to the doctors. I can’t remember what they said, but I managed to hold myself together until I got home. At home I could not control the tears. It felt like my world had shattered. But I put on a brave face as we had a birthday party to plan for the weekend. Over the next few months I grieved for the life that Luke probably wouldn’t have. I worried about Isaac and Isabella and wondered if they would have Autism. I worried about their futures, I worried about everything you could possibly think of. I also blamed myself for Luke’s Autism. It was completely irrational. My anxiety was out of control.
Our second son, Isaac, was bon a year and a half earlier, in January 2015. I had a difficult pregnancy but it was nothing when it came to his birth. I was adamant I wanted a natural birth. I was so happy when, only 2 days after my due date, I went into labour. Luke went off with his grandparents and we went to the hospital. We were sat in the labour ward being monitored and everything was great and then very suddenly everything started to go horribly wrong.
Isaac’s heartrate became very erratic. I started to feel very unwell and slipped in and out of consciousness. I remember the midwife coming in and knowing something was wrong. The next thing I know is there is lots of people in the room, saying to me ‘we need to get this baby out’. I remember sobbing that this wasn’t meant to happen and then one of the midwives said the worst possible thing:
“I can’t find the heartbeat.”
I can’t describe the feeling. It was just sheer terror. That is the last thing I remember. Whether I passed out or have deliberately blocked in out of my memory I don’t know. The next thing I remember is waking up in the recovery room with no baby. I panicked. I honestly thought in those brief moments that my baby boy had died. But very calmly my husband walked into the room with our little bundle of joy. He was perfect and perfectly healthy we were both over the moon.
But that happiness didn’t last very long.
Just 24 hours after giving birth to him both Isaac and myself became very poorly with the same symptoms. We were both diagnosed with Sepsis and Meningitis. Isaac was taken from me to go to the special care baby unit and I was on the critical care ward. Two days after we were both back on the postnatal ward. Over the next two weeks we recovered and were finally able to go home. Physically and mentally I was not well.
I completely blamed myself for what had happened.
It took me a long time to get over it and to not blame myself. Not blaming myself for the things I have no control over turned out to be my first step in overcoming my anxiety. Over the following months I began to see things more clearly. There was no defining moment when it got better, but gradually it started to get better.
After two difficult pregnancies and births everyone was shocked that, just 6 months after having Isaac, we found out we were expecting again. We were so happy! Just before Christmas 2015 we found out we were having a girl and in April 2016 our daughter was born and our family was complete. Everything was just so easy. We had a nice pregnancy and a planned caesarean section. Everything was perfect. She is an absolute joy.
She completes our family.
Now I look at my children and they are happy and healthy. Luke is developing at an incredible rate, he is happy, talking more, hitting more milestones and for once everyone is so happy with the progress he is making. Isaac and Isabella are hitting all their milestones. We are all happy. As silly as it sounds, I now realise I have three beautiful children, an incredibly loving husband and a very supportive family.
I do still have anxiety but I refuse to let it control me, I have learnt not to worry about the things I have no control over. I don’t blame myself for things that go wrong. I do not understand why Luke has Autism but he does and I have no control over it. The day he was born I fell in love with him. To this day that hasn’t changed. He is still my beautiful (not so) little boy. He does still have some struggles, but all families have struggles at some point in their lives. We are no exception.
There is no quick fix for anxiety.
However, one thing that I have learnt is to not dwell on things that go wrong. I always find something to smile about each day and find the silver lining in every situation. The power of positive thinking is truly amazing. I am so grateful to Kari for writing that blog because it is nice to know that I am not alone. Because in all my life of battling anxiety it felt that I was alone and that nobody understood how I felt or that I was overreacting to everything. Our anxiety stems from our children, yet I cannot imagine a life without my children as I am sure Kari can’t imagine a life without Aya. I will take my anxiety every day of the week than a life without my children!
The day they were all born were the best days of my life and I wouldn’t trade them or my life for anything. So, I made peace with the fact that my anxiety is part of my life. It makes me the way I am and that is okay, because the rewards of parenting far outweigh my anxiety.
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