As a single mum, we want to make sure our children have love in their hearts, as we nurture them with everything we have and more. We make sure they don’t miss out and if that means we do, it doesn’t matter, because our children are our life.
But what happens when you realise you can’t give them everything and the reality that we need to look after ourselves is so important.
Maybe we ignore it to the point where we are made to stop and make sure we are in fact at our best first.
As our children become older, they are more responsible for themselves, but we are always there for them, to love them, to support them to be their everything. At the same time, we need to teach them the rights and the wrongs, we need to teach them how to be independent and we need to ensure they grow up to be wonderful human beings.
I laugh, each day after the school drop off, I let out a breath of ok we did it. We all left the house looking presentable, we all ate a breakfast to nourish our body and we packed a nutritious lunchbox. We smile, laugh and argue all at the same time as we chat on the way to school. Most days I take my children to school and it is a wonderful time to bond with them (there is no escaping my questions...)
But the reality is, in the past 8 months, I have been doing this with some pain. You know, the usual, I’m a woman and it’s that time of the month, or it’s almost that time of the month, not it’s because I’m just getting older, excuse after excuse. I began to just think it was normal and kept going on with life. Pushing through as a single mum. My life being one of always on the go, as there is always someone to support, or something to do, someone to meet for lunch or dinner, the list goes on meetings, networking, travelling, motherhood, friendship, all of this was happening at a rate of 100 miles an hour. It was and is my normal, the ability to not sit still and keep going. It is the way my life is and I love every bit of it.
Exhaustion would kick in and I would refuse the changes in my body to be anything but normal…
The past couple of months had given me a shake up and it was then I realised it was enough. It wasn’t right. The thought of my menstrual cycle continuing for weeks on end didn’t seem normal. So last week I went in for surgery. Almost five years ago I had a procedure, a Mirena saved my every month struggles, this surgery was to remove it. This time round I had a hysteroscopy, laparoscopy and salpingectomy along with endometrial ablation. These procedures were to have me in bed for a few days and then back to it. This was supposed to hopefully give me relief and fix the issues, although my Dr had confirmed it should be fine, he did recommend a more invasive procedure was highly recommended, a hysterectomy. Major surgery with 5 weeks plus recovery was not inviting to me at all. Surely do this less invasive one and look at more natural options moving forward. I said no thanks, I don’t have time for that. And the thought of my body changing with the procedure wasn’t something I wanted.
Unfortunately the procedure wasn’t a success and there is more surgery to come. The findings found I have severe endometriosis and the procedure was not completed. Some of you reading this will understand what I am going through. Being told in recovery, we couldn’t proceed because of XYZ and the end result is a hysterectomy made my heart break, my emotions took over and I couldn’t stop crying. Strong independent woman me being told, it’s not over and we need to organise another surgeon to help with the procedure, almost killed my soul. Yes it makes sense how I am feeling, and once this is done, I should be ok.
Thoughts of I don’t have time for this, who is going to watch the kids, I live alone how am I going to do everything, were stirring my every moment.
I don’t ask for help EVER.
A friend of mine highlighted to me, when I vented I don’t ask for help, I help people, that’s what I do. He said “Perhaps the lesson is to let people help. Asking for help I think is a sign of strength not weakness”. Of course he is right.
It took a lot for me with my surgery last week, to let go and allow people in my life to come and help. It was a huge lesson. One I need to accept as I come to my next lot of surgery. This time round I prepped all my food, made it all so heating was the only thing to do for a few days. I had it sorted. My children, thankful for their father was there on hand to care for them.
The realisation that I can’t be superwoman, knocked me down.
It was for the first time in my life, I felt helpless and vulnerable, vulnerable in a way that I know I can’t do this alone. It’s funny how friends and colleagues see single women as lonely people, “but you are all alone you need someone”. Is that true? Do I feel lonely? Am I alone? I’m far from it, but have I become so caught up in my life of Independent Jo that I am not allowing anyone in?
Things like this make you look at life in a different light. I’m not sad or lonely, but I was pissed off. Pissed off at my body for doing this. Pissed off with myself for not going to have this checked sooner. I take good care of myself. Even if 90% of the time you are doing the right thing, there at times can be a hiccup and it’s about how to deal with it, when it shows up.
Right now, I gave myself some time off, time to accept what is about to happen, it’s not life threatening, and I will be in good hands, it’s the realisation today I am no longer super woman to my children, to my family and friends, and to you. And that is ok.
What I am going through is nothing compared to others. It’s another lesson to learn. So let me just say, try not to be superwoman and make sure you are looking after yourself first. Without you being there 100%, you won't be able to give your whole self to everything you want in life. Let the lesson there be for your children too.
Let me ask you, when was the last time you felt a little off and you put it down to it being just normal?