I can honestly say that yesterday may have been the worst day of my entire life. Many of you will know I have been struggling with stress and mental health problems recently and there has been a background to this which I haven’t shared with you.
My marriage ended at the beginning of February 2016. Many of you know this but what only my family and close friends know about was the emotional abuse I had been suffering. Finally managing to stand up for myself and building up the courage to leave was a huge step for me. I was very poorly with my Crohns flare at the time which meant things were not easy. However, once I had had my ileostomy and resection, things started improving. I had told my ex that I would be staying in Essex for the foreseeable. It was extremely hard being away from my family but I felt the boys had already been through a lot, and removing them at that point from their school for example, was not a good idea.
As my life started to improve, unfortunately, my ex husband continued to make things difficult. He was still attempting to be very controlling, was cruel and started to accuse me of things, mostly involving the boys and not looking after them properly. As this got worse and worse and time went on, I took the decision to move to Derby.
My ex has never been physically violent towards me, I would like to clarify that. However, he does have a temper and has been emotionally abusive and extremely abusive by texts and verbally during confrontation. We lived in a town surrounded by his friends and family. While I had some great friends, it is not like the support you get from your family. I was terrified of what his reaction would be to me telling him this news. I looked into it legally and found that he could have an emergency order placed on me for up to two years preventing me from leaving Rayleigh. By that time, I was struggling mentally and just needed to be home, I could not bear to wait possibly two years. Had it gone to court we would have almost certainly been granted the right to move as well, being only 2.5 hours away, his visits with the children could be maintained and due to all my family living in Derby there was a legitimate reason for me wanting to be there.
He was obviously extremely angry when I told him that we would not be returning from our half term trip to Derby, which was understandable, but I explained his every other weekend could stay exactly the same. I thought that as he was close to his family and knowing how poorly I had been, he would understand my reasons.
I submitted divorce papers earlier this year and was shocked a few days later to receive papers from the court stating my ex was taking me to court for custody of the boys. His reasons were listed and made me feel sick – he accused me of not feeding them correctly, physically abusing them which turned out to be by moving them from Essex to Derby, not as one assumes, when they hear physical abuse as being an act of violence. The list was four pages long and the lies truly horrified me.
I do not want to bore you with the ins and outs of the whole case but yesterday was the day of the final hearing. Yesterday was the day I never saw coming and one which has turned my world upside down, torn my heart apart and left me in a complete and utter daze. Although the judges said it was no reflection on my parenting ability, they are sending my boys to live with a man who emotionally abused me throughout our marriage and has continued to do so since we separated. A man who is out of the house for 12 hours every day and admits his mum and dad as well as other family members will be doing the lions share of the childcare for him. The man who has systematically brainwashed my oldest child, at one point telling him that my Crohns was my own fault and I caused the issues which led to my operation. The man who asked me for a present for looking after ‘your kids’ in his words, while I was severely ill in hospital. The man who used my illnesses against me, even though I have raised those boys almost single handedly all their lives, despite always being ill, to be bright, confident and amazing little boys. Who contacted a ‘pharmacist’ friend who has told him the possible side effects of medications he believes I take and accused me of suffering psychiatric problems due to these. Who has made my eight year old feel sorry for him and think that by saying he wants to live in Rayleigh that he can help his Dad feel better. Who won’t accept the younger child’s views, as he is completely happy where he is and does not want to leave his Mummy. Who went for custody as he wanted to win. It is not for the children, and with their best interests at heart. He wanted to hurt me after I left him and he has done it in the worst way possible.
I admitted I was ill, and will always be ill. But I get up every day and fight for a life, fight for my boy’s lives. They have never once had to care for me. Never missed out on anything important because of me being ill. I have been at all their shows, assemblies, sports days and parents evenings. I take them to after school events and clubs.
I can honestly say this news has devastated me. I have questioned whether to continue my blog – The Spoonie Mummy – but a Mummy who has been court ordered to only see her precious boys every other weekend. Questioned whether I give up on life itself once the boys have gone. I have considered ways to end my life. On how I could do this in the most effective and least painful way. I do not write this to shock or alarm people. I write this as currently my state of mind is okay. I have acknowledged these thoughts, I want people to know. Today I am ready to fight but tomorrow could be a different story, and the family and friends I have supporting me have been amazing. Some of them know these feelings and are keeping a close eye on me, so I feel safe. I know talking about this issue is the way to make sure I can get through this. I have talked about mental health and the most important thing that can help is by talking. So here I am, telling all of you.
I have had to conversations today with two of my most amazing friends, as well as members of my amazing family and so many other people I love and am so genuinely grateful to have in my life. I realised I fought the good fight, the honest fight. I faced that awful man in court and I told people what he has done and said to me. I never lied to get my own way. I have been a good mum and I will continue to be. I will continue to fight for what I think is in the best interests of the boys. I do not have anything to be ashamed of, even though admitting this all to everyone is mortifying as I feel like it means I have done something wrong.
I was born with this illness and I will die with it. It does not and never will be allowed to define me as a person. As a woman, a partner, a daughter, sister or friend. I will continue to spread awareness so people realise the strength of people with chronic illness and the awful stigmas and assumptions that are still placed on us. I will continue to work hard for parent’s who have chronic illnesses. We are not bad parent’s because we suffer, in fact, I believe it often makes us stronger as people and we have empathetic and loving children because of it. I will continue for my two amazing, handsome, clever and happy boy’s who mean the entire world and more to me.
Leo and Riley,
This is not what Mummy wanted to happen. This is not what Mummy wants to happen. I will be here for you always and I will keep fighting and doing what I can in your best interests. Ste and our families are so terribly hurt and upset. Everyone here will miss seeing your smiling, happy faces every day. You mean the world to me and being your Mummy is the greatest gift I have ever been granted.
”I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always.
As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be”
Please know I will always be here my little ones. Endless love, lots of kisses and the biggest cuddles,