Image by Anilorak Photography
There are places in your heart you don’t even know exist until you love a child but that doesn’t mean it’s always an easy ride. Last week, I came across my hospital notes from a year ago when I was about to attend a mental health tribunal to fight to get out. The consultant who wanted to keep me in longer to recover, read the following words out, that were written by my husband.
‘Jojo is in my opinion the best mother in the world. Our children are perfect inside and out. That is an absolute testament to the way she has brought them up. This has been very much a team effort but Jojo deserves endless praise for what a fantastic mother she is and the values she has instilled in our children. I love her and them with all of my heart.
Due to this I could also tell that she was not herself as she had distanced herself from the children and I. This has been happening gradually over a period of time. She would always ensure she had a bath at night with the kids and would be there for them when really needed. When she began to seem unwell, she stopped having the baths and could be snappy with the kids, eventually becoming aggressive in her manner, never physical but just not her loving self. These were all alarm bells for me.
Looking back, I could only parent in small doses as my mind was in overdrive. I would buy the kids gifts to try and compensate, knowing I wasn’t myself. As for acting like a big kid, going down water slides and blasting tunes, I was all over that. But the day to day ‘routine’ stuff was hard, I needed help.
Over the years, I’ve heard things like:
‘If they loved their kids, they would be there fully’.
If someone is struggling with their health, then being there fully isn’t always possible. But even if this is the case – there are places in your heart you don’t know exist until you love a child. That love never ever dies. In fact, it only becomes stronger when you go through a life changing event like a health scare. But sometimes you must work on loving yourself before you can love others 🤍
Mother’s Day brought memories back of this time last year. My first weekend home from the hospital fell on Mother’s day weekend 2020. All I wanted was to be able to snuggle my kids and tuck them up in bed each night. I missed bath time and our routine of ‘stories from my head’. They always love the made up ones. The simple things are precious. I remember feeling sheer joy as I woke up that morning in my own bed. The kids, with help from their Daddy, brought me waffles and whipped cream with fruit. I’ll never forget that feeling of contentment. I’ll never forget my little boy, waking up and screaming with glee when he remembered I was now back home. I cherished every hug and held them that bit tighter. I was all in and fully present.
This week, on time for a mojo injection, episode 120, I am talking about rejuvenation when you feel drained. I share a quote that I love, which comes from Tyson Fury:
People who glide through life without getting to the deep or choppy water only see the surface of things and lack the depth of someone who has sunk to the bottom and fought hard to swim back up to the light. It’s only then that you can appreciate how precious a thing this life is’.
BOOM BANG BOSH, I love it.
So, for the times you have struggled to ‘be there fully’, don’t beat yourself up. Your physical and mental scars are beautiful because they give you depth. Just don’t stop swimming because that light and fire inside you never goes away. You got this.
Jojo Fraser is an award winning author, coach, podcaster and motivational/TEDX speaker. She has been a mental health researcher for the past 7 years and helps to empower, motivate and uplift the leaders she works with. She is known for her straight talking and bold approach. Her mission is simple – to normalise what many see as ‘the hard’ conversations and in breaking the stigma, save many lives.
She is a regular speaker on BBC Radio, a keen foodie, lover of trail running, wild swimming, spa days and she loves to sing. Jojo writes about all things mindfulness, relationships, positive psychology and lifestyle.
You can purchase her first book here.