For the last year I’ve been ill. Not constantly, but more so than at any other point in my life.
I think it started with the swine flu whilst I was pregnant and I’ve just never fully got back to normality. If there is a bug going round I’m guaranteed to get it and get it harder than anyone else, even harder than the kids who brought it home from nursery in the first place. I’m currently on antibiotics for tonsillitis and this morning started a new wave of sickness.
It’s got to the point where the response is “Oh you’re ill again?” and “What is it this time?”
I’ve never been that person before. I’ve always been pretty healthy. I’ve had bugs, the occasional cold, but for the most part I’ve bobbed along without too much to worry about. Yet suddenly I’m that girl. I’m the sick one. I’m the one with the “that time I nearly died” story that reduces people to tears when we tell it.
I don’t know why. Is it possible the swine flu beat my immune system up so badly that I haven’t fully recovered, that the pregnancy was so straining on my body that I didn’t have the energy to properly build myself back up again? Is it possible that it’s simply that all my body’s strength has gone into growing and then feeding my baby, who is a huge and healthy girl, so there’s nothing left for me? Is it simply that I’m deteriorating with age? Is that possible at 31? I eat a healthy diet, loaded with vegetables, I’m not overweight, I’m fairly fit and I get a moderately reasonable amount of exercise, yet I’m the sick one.
The constant run of illness has brought with it a real sense of awareness about my own mortality. It’s niggling at me. I look at my little girls, at my family, and I know I could leave them. Then what would happen?
Jonathan would keep Baby B, obviously, and he’d raise he well with the help of grandparents and friends who would be guaranteed to step in and help. But what of Miss Rose?
Last night I had a nightmare, I’m having a little run of bad dreams at night recently (just to make sure my nights are stressful as well as my days I guess) and I dreamed that her biological father showed up and tried to take her. That I screamed for Jonathan to take her away whilst I fended him off, and he attacked him, declaring he had no right to take his daughter away.
Because he doesn’t. He’s not her father, not legally anyway. In every sense but biology he is, but he has no rights to her. If I die legally she would go to her biological father and Jonathan would have no access to her. In theory neither would her grandparents. She could be removed entirely from the life she knows, the people she depends on, and be sent to a stranger. A stranger I do not trust. A stranger who doesn’t love her. Who hasn’t seen her in over a year, and even then it was at best sporadically and at worst damaging.
I feel absolutely sick about it.
The idea of leaving my children at all terrifies me. They need me. But B? She’d be in the best possible position. Her biological, loving and devoted father would be there for her every day, her grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends would surround her with the love and support she’d need.
Rose could be lost. Alone.
I don’t think I’m dying, I’m not so melodramatic, but it’s definitely made me more aware that it could happen. That day when they thought I might not make it a year ago is very, very real. It’s something I don’t think any of us have moved on from yet. It haunts me, and by the way Jonathan speaks about it, I think it’s pretty clear it haunts him too.
I need to know that if I did die my girl will be kept here, with her family. That she would be raised and cared for and loved by equally devoted and loving people that Baby B gets. That she’d never be sent to someone who doesn’t love her. That she would be loved, completely and truly, with utter devotion, like I love her.
What can I do? Please. Help me keep my little girl safe.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!