What The Feedback Did

I’m under water, that’s all I know, I’m thrashing my arms trying to reach the surface way above me. It’s dark but I can see the faint light from above, my arms will move but nothing else will. The panic has set in. I wake up gasping for breath and soaked through with sweat. Another nightmare. Inevitable that it would happen, I’ve spent the last few days reliving my past through my writing, they were bound to return. When I wake from a nightmare I feel lost alone and scared. I don’t always remember them, I’m glad when I don’t. Sometimes as soon as I’ve woken I’ll have forgotten exactly what it was that happened, but unfortunately I’m always left with the same feelings. On the worst days, those feelings don’t go away and I’m left feeling anxious, exhausted and vulnerable all day long.

Jon’s fast asleep next to me, he hasn’t been disturbed by my nightmare tonight, I know this mainly from the volume of his constant snoring. I’m restless, it’s the middle of the night, my damp top is making me feel cold. I want a cigarette. I get out of bed and grab my phone, there’s a notification from reddit. Whilst I smoke in the garden I read the comment posted in response to my post about my new blog. I feel sad.

The comment made sure I didn’t get back into bed and settle to sleep. It made me restless and set me up for a pretty emotional and raw tired state this morning. It made me question myself, and my family and friends, about why I’m writing this blog and if I’m parenting my children the way that I should be? It made me sad that the first comment somebody chose to make was a criticism, that someone accused me of doing harm without thinking about the harm they themselves could cause with their own comment. It wasn’t long before I realised, with a little reassurance, that what I am doing is my best, with every good intention. It gave me confidence and determination to continue with my blogging journey, safe in the knowledge that I have done the right thing for myself and for my children.

In their response they questioned my need to document that Martin had had an affair. They felt it was an unkind thing for my children or their friends to discover by reading my blog. They felt by mentioning the affair, I had portrayed Martin to be a bad person.

I protected my children from the knowledge of Martin’s affair for a couple of years. It wasn’t me that decided to eventually divulge it. It was the advice of Isla’s bereavement counsellor. Isla had reached a point where she needed more answers, she needed to make sense of her past and to try and understand what had happened back in the summer of 2014. I was asked to tell her everything. It was an incredibly hard thing to have to do. As a parent, who wanted to desperately save her child from hurting, I had to relive the trauma myself and try to explain it to her. I started with the affair. Because for me, that’s where the story begins. 

I explained to her, like I have in my blog, in a non judgemental, non critical but honest way. I didn’t blame Martin, I explained to Isla that people can unfortunately fall out of love as quickly as they can fall in it, and that affairs do happen. I also made it explicitly known that I forgave him.

I do not have all of the answers to my children’s questions and sadly I never will have, but where I do have those answers I will share them, because they have every right to know them. If and when my children choose to read about what Mummy did with her writing, then I hope that they see a Mum trying hard to write honestly and to tell their story with only her children’s best interests at heart.

What the feedback did, was to prompt me to continue to write my blog and to write this post. It showed me that one negative response must never out shadow the kind, supportive messages and responses of others. It reminded me that I am doing my best, for myself, for others and most importantly for my children.


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