Girl Tribe Tales Part Five – When Life Goes “Pop”

Today’s Girl Tribe Tale is written by Jackie and describes her feelings around diagnosis and finding out she is a carrier of the fragile X gene.

A lot of feelings described here that I can relate to ❤️

You go through life thinking you know who you are, what you’re about, then life throws you a curve ball that explodes all that you know or what you thought you knew about yourself, your relatives and what makes you you. It basically “pops” that safe bubble.

I’d had a few minor “pops” in life from cheating first loves to an abusive partner whom I had my 1st child with. These “pops” you can pick yourself up, reevaluate things let them make you stronger as a person.

When my 2nd child Olli was born, he was lovely and cute, all the things a newborn should be but as he grew and developed I knew things weren’t right, I questioned the Health Visitor who just kept giving me the same crap about “all children develop at their own pace”. Well I’d had enough of this just before his 2nd birthday, I went to the doctors and demanded that I be referred to a paediatrician. The doctor was more than happy to do this.

When Olli was two years and three months old we finally had an appointment, I went armed with research about delayed speech and what I wanted. Anyway what knowledge we left with after that appointment was a “wow” moment.

As soon as the lady saw Olli she gave him a diagnosis of “fragile x syndrome” and ordered bloods to confirm it. She then outlined what it was, what it meant for him, where we could find support and sent us for genetic counselling. We had an answer but not one that was expected.

What was this “fragile x?”

How did he get it?

All these questions were now spinning round our heads.

Fast forward 3 Months, we got the results that confirm the fragile x syndrome, the following week we saw the geneticist who gave me my biggest “pop” she told me that I had passed this gene to Olli that I am a carrier of this syndrome.

33 years of life, knowing who I am and what I’m about to be told actually some of the strange things you do maybe because of this gene. Then to be told that the child I was pregnant with could also have fragile x as the more children u have increases the risk of the mutation on the gene expanding.

My life suddenly went Bang, I had no idea of this gene ran in my family, I had unknowingly given it to my second and third child. The guilt was awful, the guilt that I probably wouldn’t give my lovely new partner a “normal” child after I had given my nasty ex a “normal” child broke my heart because this man saved me from that horrid beast, he deserved the best of everything but I couldn’t do that for him. This ate me up so much.

I thought I knew who I was.

It took me a long time to accept that Olli and Finley would probably never leave home, Olli most probably will never have kids but Finley maybe as his fragile x is a lot milder than Olli’s.

Life with two children who see the world so differently from me, you and each other is hard at times, but in a strange way it is rewarding.

They have shown me a new way to love my children, to engage with them and a new joy for life that yes involves the occasional bite mark or scratch when a hug isn’t wanted.

Written by Jackie

Girl Tribe Tales Part Three – A Punch in the Face

A Punch in the Face

By Adelle Spindlove

Odd looks

Lengthened stares

Fear in knowing what to say

Forced optimism, it will be ok

Exclusion, inclusion

Mainstream or SEN

My child is different, can’t play that game

Don’t single him out, treat him the same

Birthdays, milestones

Bullshit forms

Confusion and doubt on what is best

Who fucking knows, I need a rest

A glimmer of hope

A small leap each day

Wouldn’t change my child but change the world we say

Talk, ask questions

It’s the fear of unknown

You’ve got friends here to gain

Acknowledge our pain

Watch and learn

We’re just the same

Slow down to my child’s pace, but

Pity me? You’ll get a punch in the face

Girl Tribe Tales – Part Two. I wish I had a different Mum.

Today’s Girl Tribe Tale comes from an anonymous mama.

I wish I had a different mother…

Everybody always seems to be shocked when I say I don’t have a good relationship with my mother. Like its abnormal to not get on with the person who gave birth to you. To be honest I’ve never got on with her and that just makes the whole situation worse. I’ll start from the beginning.

So as a child I was the youngest of two, my older brother was always the ‘bad’ one so when it came to me I always had to go above and beyond to not be following in his footsteps. That always irritated me feeling like I had to be perfect constantly, no one is perfect especially not a child, if I even dreamt of doing something naughty I’d have the worst telling off while my brother would get a slap on the wrist. I still don’t understand why she’d have two kids if she treated them so differently. I’m sure the punishments would be illegal now and I would never dream of treating either of my kids like that!

My childhood home was a dingy 3 bed flat, I say dingy but I bet the people living there now probably love it. All I remember is mess, she never cleaned, she never even tidied just simple things like putting rubbish in the bin. Either us kids did it or it didn’t get done. She did however do one big clean in the living room once a year at Christmas when family came round but basically it was just piling the mess into our bedrooms until company had left then it was back to normal. There was no heating but I wasn’t allowed extra clothes or blankets so once winter arrived I could literally see my fingers turning blue. We were only allowed to bath once a week to save on the bills, I think thats why I bath and shower so much now just because I can.

It’s not like she didn’t have money, she had a good job she just spent all the money on herself instead of us kids, smoking, alcohol and food for her came before her kids. She used to blame my father. She still does. He left when I was only around 4 or 5, he found someone new. At the time I hated him, how could he leave me here with this? Why would my daddy want to leave me? Now I’m older and married myself I completely understand, she was just as bad at marriage as she was being a parent.

We didn’t see my father for a few years, we always asked for him and were told he didn’t want to see us. He’d moved on with his life and lived far away with his new girlfriend. It wasn’t until I was a bit older that I found out from a friends mother that he lived round the corner and was begging to see us. So thanks again to my mother I missed out on many years with my father. I do know courts were involved but I’ve never asked for details of what happened in court, I can only imagine what would’ve been said on her part. After finding out he lived so close I finally got to see him again and thats never stopped. I still see him all the time and I love his wife. Yes it was wrong to cheat on my mother with his now wife and I will never agree with how he left but I do understand that he deserved happiness.

Anyway, since my dad left we had a string of men appear in the house. I never liked them they always seemed really sleazy. I would stay in my room and avoid them, it was easy really as my mother had locks on the outside of our doors so if I wanted to be locked in I’d just be naughty when I knew they were arriving and I’d be locked in my room for the rest of the day, I also placed my drawers in front of the door so they couldn’t open it and come in. They never stuck around though, thankfully. Bar one he was with my mother for around 4 years I think from the ages of about 7 to 10. He was moved into our family home straight away. He had his own kids who they’re mother never liked him seeing and when he did he’d just be shoved in one of our rooms and left until his mother picked him up. I didn’t like the man or his kids. The man would just constantly shout and hit us, the only good trait he had was the house was spotless when he lived there, shame our bodies weren’t. We were constantly black and blue but obviously it was in places that wouldn’t be seen by anyone so he could get away with it.

I remember having a physical fight with his son, god knows what it was about but I floored him I was a 10 year old girl and I floored an 11 year old boy and god I was so proud. His dad was livid though so I was ready for the beating of my life but instead I thought fuck it I’m going to stand my ground, I’d floored an 11 year old I could take on the world right now! It was the first time I stood up to him, I shouted in his face that he didn’t scare me and he couldn’t touch me. I was so little but I felt about 7 foot tall at the time. He stopped and walked away I still don’t know to this day if I broke him but he moved out of ours not long later. I recently found out both him and his son are in jail for pouring an abusive substance over someone, I’m so glad I stood up to him that day. After that there was only one more man and then nothing since. I do feel sorry for her but I also think she brings it on herself.

In my high school years I was never at home, I made sure I was always at a mates or in some park drinking. She didn’t care. I used to go on little trips with my friends to meet lads we met online and if their parents found out it was hell on not for me though. As long as I was still doing well in school it didn’t matter where I was or what I was doing. Things started to slip at school in year 9 though. I gave up I couldn’t be bothered to be that perfect girl anymore, I was getting detentions and truanting. I left school with some GCSE’s but definitely not what I would’ve wanted looking back now. I went to college just so I could stay with my mates, we all did beauty therapy, although none of us are actually in the beauty trade right now. We all feel like our college life was pointless. I ended up quitting college when I was 18, partly because my boyfriend wanted me too, partly because I wanted to piss off my mother because she wouldn’t get money for me being in full time education anymore. I moved in with my boyfriend not long after meeting him on my 18th birthday. I was desperate to leave my family home, I would’ve loved to move to my fathers but he just didn’t have the space, I still wish now he could’ve moved to a bigger place and let me live there. How life would’ve been different.

Moving in with my boyfriend was a huge mistake. He was verbally and physically abusive. I stayed with him for 2 years though until he decided I wasn’t good enough anymore and he wanted someone younger. I remember being devastated, I loved him so much and he just threw me out like I was trash. Since then I stayed with friends and went off the rails drinking far too much and pulling anyone who came onto me on a night out. It only went on for a few months but it was a few months that I felt like I was in control of my whole life. I didn’t have my mother demanding I was perfect, I didn’t have a boyfriend demanding I gave him all my money while he hurt me. I was just having fun with my best friend.

Around 8 months after my boyfriend broke my heart I met someone who I actually genuinely liked and it seemed he liked me too. I still had my guards up and didn’t let him in but he kept pushing. We started dating and after a couple of months I brought him to meet my dad, he was the first boy I ever brought to meet my dad. Even though I had lived with my ex for 2 years he always refused to me meet my family, I think it was because he knew my dad would take me away from him. My dad and his wife loved him they got on so well and I think I knew from that point he was a keeper. My mother though didn’t. He was younger than me and my mother just kept saying I should get back with my ex he was older with a good job he was better for me. She knew everything that happened in that relationship and still told me to go back. See what I mean about being a terrible parent?

I stuck with the new man though and we ended up married with 2 kids and it’ll be 10 years together soon. We’ve had a lot thrown at us. A lot revolving my mother. She ruined my wedding day, she ruined my daughters christening, she’s ruined so many christmases for me that I no longer see her on Christmas I spend it with my father and his family.

My mother lived with my brother in the dingy flat until my brother got sick of her and moved far away with his girlfriend. So that left me being her only child near her. She’s got a disease so if she just keep up with her medication she can die so can’t really live on her own. Obviously I suggested sheltered accommodation but no all of sudden she had moved into my home. 7 years later she’s still here, if I bring up the option of sheltered accommodation or her moving out she plays the depression card and kicks off. She still refuses to clean and her room is disgusting. Both my kids are starting to wish she wasn’t here too. Yet she still walks around having digs at everyone. It’s so frustrating but I’m stuck. I don’t want to be here with her and my husband is a saint for staying being around all this. Most of the things we’ve been put through has been because of her. I’m sure she purposely wants my marriage to fail because she couldn’t keep a man.

So now at the age of almost 30, I still feel like she still has a hold over me. If I throw her out and something happens its my fault. I’ll be the bad person. Its getting to the point though that I can’t take this for much longer. Again my brother gets to have his life while I’m stuck unable to live like a proper married couple. Everyday it gets worse and everyday I’m thankful that I’ll never turn into a horrible mother like her. I wish she’d realised a lot earlier she shouldn’t of had kids.

Anyone who doesn’t have a great relationship with your mother don’t feel alone, you are not alone just like I’m not alone. Although it does feel that way an awful lot of the time.

Girl Tribe Tales – Part One. Baby, why don’t you sleep?

Today marks the first instalment of the Girl Tribe Tales! A collection of stories and even poems from The Girl Tribe. It’s a celebration of womanhood, motherhood and all the joys, trials and tribulations that come with being a woman.

First off we have this fabulous poem from Jude. A little ode to her son 😍 that made me laugh so much I let out a little wee.

Baby, why don’t you sleep?

Sometimes I want to weep.

I’m so tired why aren’t you?

When will you sleep the whole night through?

6 months of so many wake ups a night,

And yes I look at you and feel delight,

And yes I love you more than words can say,

And yes I treasure every day,

And yes I even love your poo sick and farts,

And yes I can’t bear for us to be apart,

And yes you are the best best prize,

But jeez I’ve got big bin bags under my eyes.

Without concealer and mascara I’d cause people fear,

And I’ve aged about 2 decades in half a year.

If you slept, I’d love you as much as I love you every bit,

But wouldn’t it be good to have a mummy that doesn’t look like shit?

So a good night sleep would be the cherry on the cake,

Some glorious sleep from ten until eight.

Love mummy! xx