Mothering & Borderline Personality Disorder.

Another symptom of my BPD is impulsive behaviour. Luckily, I have managed this and can now internalise the impulses purely because I worried that if anyone else knew about them or witnessed them maybe I wouldn’t be allowed to keep my child. This has been assured to me would not have been the case but when I get an idea in my head I obsess. An example of my impulsive behaviour would be touching electric hot plate that had a pan of boiling water on it to see just how hot it was. In case you are wondering… really fucking hot, I don’t recommend it!

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Forever Triplets

But Essie continued to fight and survived over 10 episodes of pneumonia during her first year of life. And as she fought, I grew stronger. We fought for Essie, as she couldn’t fight for herself. Hearing ‘no’ constantly is relentless and draining, but ‘no’ wasn’t a word in our vocabulary and it just was never an acceptable answer. We always asked for help as there is no support. There is no understanding. There is loneliness and isolation.

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Money talks and so should we.

Did you know that less than 10% of us have savings? As we have and raise our children, our incomes can fluctuate vastly. Maternity pay, paternity pay, tax credits, universal credit, carers allowance, part time or term time working and let’s not mention child care costs. Over the last 10 years of being a mum, I’ve worked full time, part time, been self-employed, not worked at all and any other possible variant going. Our family finances change frequently. 

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When Mummy Isn't Dearest.

When I was about 8 years old I used to have a reoccurring nightmare. I would be on the bus standing by the rear doors, which were in the middle of the bus back then. At a particular stop two little Martians, close to my height, would come and stand next to me and ask ‘if I wanted to come with them’ or as they glanced over their shoulder towards my mother, ‘stay with her?'

My choice was to go into the unknown with aliens or stay in the misery that came with my mother.

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Our Adoption Adventure

‘It was decided that Introductions would begin the first week of March, with us briefly meeting the children ahead of time in February to ensure the match was, in fact, a good one.  Introductions started a few weeks after where we spent just over a week getting to know the children in their foster home, days out and then in our home.  The days seemed to go by in a flash but dragged as well.  We got home every evening exhausted but too excited to go to sleep straight away and would talk for hours about what had happened that day.  Eventually the day came where we packed them up in the car and drove them to their new home.  The days that followed were a complete and utter blur. I can look back now and say were just surviving day to day, we had brought two children into our lives who needed more help both emotionally, physically and academically than we could have ever imagined.  It was so hard. ‘

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Hello Madness, Goodbye Joy

His life enabled me to walk with elated joy, then his death left me to walk broken and in pain. The only thing that remained was the same was the love I had for my son. It grew from October 17th, 2001 the day I found out I was pregnant, it burst June 27th, 2002 when I first  held him in my arms, then multiplied October 17th, 2017 the day I heard he had been stabbed, and overflowed October 20th, 2017 the day I held him In my arms as he died.

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The C Word

I left in January 2013 and at the time, the thought of Christmas and all the logistical stuff that would now come with it as a Single Mother never crossed my mind. I had more important things to consider than Christmas, the small matter of finding us a home and filling it with everything we needed from teaspoons & toilet roll to beds and a fridge.
I make the sacrifices.

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Maternal abuse, narcissistic mothers, and the products of toxic parenting.

I recall one incident in particular when I was around 8 years old. I had been struggling with maths at school, so my teacher had given me some extra maths homework. That particular day my mother and I had some kind of argument about it. I don’t remember what was said. But I sat down to eat dinner and I remember her starting to shove meat (cold sandwich meat) into my mouth and down my throat causing me to gag and choke. I can’t remember when or how it stopped. But I will never forget that. My childhood best friend was also abused by my mother, she remembers her stabbing my hand with a fork.

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Eating For Who?

The weight gain is hard. I don’t know what I should or shouldn’t weigh but it doesn’t stop me weighing and criticising myself anyway. From about 6 weeks in I have repeatedly asked my husband whether I look pregnant or not, to the point where he refused to answer for fear of getting it wrong. I cried at my 16-week appointment because I felt like I looked so fat. My midwife was fantastically supportive. 

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Dealing with the death of a loved one during pregnancy.

So when he passed, as you might imagine, it hit that little bit harder. Carrying my daughter made the experience all the more surreal. For a moment I wondered if he had to lose his life for my daughter to have hers and then I thought about my mum and couldn’t begin to comprehend the pain she must have been feeling but I knew it could have killed her if she let it.

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Black & White

It had not crossed my mind to watch the royal wedding. The royal family reminds me of the empire, of colonialism, of oppression, of the fact that people in my country still think that British culture is better than our own. Just seeing the royal family can make me furious.

And all that ostentatious wealth just makes it worse.

One of my strongest griefs is the unfairness of our societies. I believe that there is enough to go around. That everyone could be fed, and housed, and educated, and as healthy as is possible given medical science. It’s just that there is not enough for everyone to have excess.

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My Battle with Bulimia

Anyone who’s had an Eating Disorder knows that ultimately it’s never about weight or how you look, although you think so at the time.  It runs much deeper than that.  So from 17 onwards whenever times got hard, or I got stressed, I would binge on food and throw it up.  I would get lost in the cycle.  Sometimes I would be in control of it, sometimes it would be in control of me.

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Mothering Autism

Arthur was diagnosed with autism at age 3, a year after his little sister was born.  From the age of around 18 months, I was less and less able to identify with others experience of motherhood.  From the slowing down of development, the lack of speech and the extreme meltdowns, it was becoming clearer that what was happening in my house, wasn’t happening in others. 

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Stop the damaging myth of absent Black Fathers.

She told me that she was uncomfortable going out with both her toddler and her newborn because she felt that people were judging her. She felt self-conscious when the baby cried or when her toddler acted up because people shot her disapproving looks and were unhelpful, she thought they assumed that because she looked young (she is 27 but looks much younger) and is Black that her babies had no Daddy (or Daddies). The myth that Black men are useless had hurt her even though the Black man who is her children’s father is her husband and very much present.

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Candice Brown-Brathwaite
Mothering Memories

We don’t look like mothers, those of us that whose children have died, and yet mothers we are. I had all the thoughts of a mother, all the feelings, and no outlet for them. I had had the experiences, birth, feeding, bad nights, good nights, I knew what to do and yet these things remained inside me

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Candice Brown-Brathwaite
Without Hope, there’s no Faith. With Faith, there’s Hope.

IT WAS TOO EARLY. I can still hear them preparing the intensive care cots. It went from my fiancé and midwife to around 8 additional people just waiting for my girls to come. When my firstborn arrived I just kept on asking if she was OK. No loud cry like the TV, rather the sound of suction and doctors chatting to each other. Yes. I was told she was fine now I had to push the second one out.

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Candice Brown-Brathwaite
Elephants

When some people encounter me, they have expectations of who I am based on the boxes I tick. Because of these preconceived notions, a verbal dance of sorts can ensue. I’d love to give you a play by play transcript, however, I have a plethora of various encounters to choose from. The most common questions I get are: “Wow you’re young…, Are you still with your daughter’s father?” “Don’t you want to get married?” or the most intrusive experience we have “Her hair looks so (thinks of an adjective other than afro) … dynamic, how do you manage to maintain it?”. They then usually proceed to tangle their fingers in my baby’s hair without invitation and tell me a story about their black or brown friend with afro/ curly hair.

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Candice Brown-Brathwaite