There is a part of me that doesn't fully comprehend just how unwell I was. I look at the person I am now and don't think that I have changed, progressed, recovered at all. But I have.
When you're a mum, you will come to know that a 16GB iPhone just isn't big enough - I don't even have any music stored on it - just photos of Cadence. I've had to buy a separate hard drive dedicated to silly selfies and celebrating milestones. But I came across a poem that I wrote in the notes section of my phone dated November 11 2015 - about the time that I requested a referral to the mother and baby unit. My heart aches to read it.
"Your innocence pumps the blood through my vein,
Kickstarts my shattered heart.
Your vibrance counteracts the darkness, the pain,
That has been there from the start.
I hide my faltering state from your eyes,
Hoping you won't learn a trick or two.
You're so quick - you see the lies,
My smile through my cries.
With tears streaming down my face,
I write a note you'll never read.
Because goodbye is forever and forever is the time I'm with meant to be with you.
The hope is lost,
And found in your smile,
Every aching second is a reason
To stay a little while.
It's hurting - but I'm here.
A promise I can't break.
Tomorrow is a new day."
Reading that again has left me breathless.
The desperation, the heartache, the hopelessness is so evident in that piece. It seems like a lifetime ago.
I still have bad days here and there - and I still have a long way to go - but how far I've come on this journey is something that I am proud of. I'm proud to be a courageous, authentic, hopeful soul. I'm proud to be a mother - a fighter. I'm proud to be sharing my story in the hope that I can help others. But most of all, I'm proud to be here.
I no longer have to search, hope and wish for the light at the end of the tunnel - because I am it - I am here - shining my light as best I can on the darkness that has surprised me, challenged me but not beaten me. #iamstrongerthanthestigma