A few years ago on the 28th December I became a step mum to two amazing boys aged two and six.
I was in my early twenties. My husband to be Jock and I had been going out just over a year and he called me up at work to tell me there had been a development in his life and perhaps come home ASAP to discuss. He sounded very anxious and nervous.
I rushed home and on arrival the boys where there playing happily with their cars... my husband to be on the other hand looked awful.
He asked me into the kitchen to tell me that he now had the boys full time due to a very unexpected development and would fully understand if I wanted to end the relationship as it would be a lot to ask of me to suddenly to become mum to two children.
It was a shock as I had only really spent time with them at weekends - however it was something I was more than delighted to be part of as I love children.
When I fell in love with Jock I knew he had children so I accepted him no matter what.
Without question we began to start out life properly together and got out first house.
It was a wonderful time as the boys were so sweet it was a pleasure to have them. It was as if they had always been part of my life and I loved them instantly.
Due to a traumatic divorce of my own parents and subsequent issues with anorexia I was very mindful about sensitivities of children in a divorce situation. This was traumatic for them no matter what way you looked at it or how happy I was trying to make them... but at the end of the day their mum had chosen to leave and the boys had to accept that.
There were one or two small concerns I had so I looked for organisations that would be of benefit to everyone - The Children's Panel not only to understand young people's situations more - but also to use my own experiences to make a difference to others' lives. It was without question the best thing I ever did. I was able to use all my own experiences to help other young people in similar situations in a positive way.
I also gained access to various children's experts and guidance thus allowing me to raise the boys with the best advice I felt I could get. I hoped that whatever issues they could potentially have would be mitigated by the way I raised them as I anticipated some going forward. I would spend many hours reading as much as I could about children's behaviours: how to be a good parent and how to raise stable happy children. I genuinely did not want to let them down in any way as I felt they already had been.
To be honest I need not had worried - like every other family on the planet we had our ups and downs. But it was all part of raising a family. Jock and I went on to marry and have two more children and we all became one big unit seamlessly - with love and respect for one another.
All the children have turned into wonderful, happy, healthy and successful adults. As a mum I could not have asked for anything more. They are all very respectful of each other and themselves. They are all so different and I could not be prouder.
To date raising all the children is the most rewarding thing I've ever done. It's been an honour for me to have raised them the best I could. I can honestly say hand on heart I've given it my best shot - also to watch them become happy adults has been everything I had hoped for.
I know over the years there has been horror stories of step families or blended families. But in my experience it's been a wonderful life and one I know no different from.
Sometimes people only focus on the negative stories - trust me when I say I'm not alone with my hugely positive one.
There are many incredible families like mine that have blended seamlessly and with no problems at all... so please don't be scared or daunted if it happens to you.
Embrace the challenge and make the most of it as you have the incredible opportunity and gift to help the children have a happy, stable and healthy future.