As a new dad, with no experience of a baby before apart from whanging my sister's dolls out of the way by their arms when we were much much younger, knowing that a baby was arriving imminently was quite scary and no amount of antenatal classes, even with life like dolls, could really offer the reassurance that I was looking for.
I have always been someone who was career driven, with clear work ethic and never shied away from hard work. It's was instilled in me growing up. I remember my dad telling me of when I was a baby, he had 2 jobs so at 5pm he'd finish work come home, eat, get a bus into Central London and then work into the early hours.
My 10 year old son is a good and keen footballer. He plays for a team and it's getting quite competitive. He was playing an away cup match a couple of weeks ago, the usual Sunday morning stuff. The referee didn't turn up and so one of the dads from the home team stepped in. You can see where this is going...
It's funny how a small stick with wee on can change your life so dramatically!... well that, and having sex without wearing 'waterproofs. Obviously I didn't wee on the stick, I was tempted though as I'd heard this myth that if you do, and it changes colour or something, it's to do with a faulty prostate.
It's my husband who is helping me up and down the stairs, in and out of the shower, cooking every meal, washing every dish, helping me up from the sofa, being chief chauffeur, doing all the shopping, handing me Baby Boy when I can't bend and lift, settling the toddler next to me for cuddles whilst trying to mind my scar.
"I don't think my dad ever loved me." This is the statement I hear my clients repeating time after time. It's irrelevant who says it, men or women, although it is more common coming from women, given that an unhealthy relationship with their dad, i.e. 'Key Male Figure', tends to reflect in their relationships
England is on the verge of breaking into full spring at the moment; some trees are in full bloom, some are only halfway through while others are only just starting to show signs of life. Seeing the resilience and beauty of nature is reassuring and feels somehow symbolic of how my dad is willing me and my family to move through our still overwhelming grief.
The low point probably came several months ago when I raced upstairs, put on my best suit and pretended to go off to work. It was 5pm and the children were due back from school. The truth that I wasn't able to tell them was that I had lost my job 72 hours earlier and was acting out this increasingly ridiculous charade partly out of shame, embarrassment and, well, I just didn't know what to say.