Life is full of ups and downs, we know that, but when we are on an up we rarely think (or want to think) about our low points. Equally, when things are great we may not notice when things are particularly shit for someone else. We may see a few bad days, but unless they tell us themselves, we don't always appreciate the severity of the situation.
I have been reminded recently of a particularly low point in my life; when I was suffering with Hyperemesis gravidarum. Obviously it is not something I will ever forget, If asked 'will I have a third child' I have a quick recap of the events and answer, under no uncertainty, 'no'. However, with Kate Middleton announcing her third and suffering, and a good friend also struggling with HG, it has been on my mind more often of late. Finally last week I was reminded by Facebook of a post I made three years ago. I can't remember the exact wording now, but it was casually put. Something along the lines of, 'In hindsight moving to a new town (where I know no one) the week HG hits- probably not my best idea'. The wording is insignificant, what is important is how I felt while writing it. As I pressed those buttons on my phone my head was lingering over a bucket, tears were streaming down my face, my body felt broken, and killing myself seemed like a good option. Dark and depressing, yes, but did anyone know how I felt? No. My post had been a rather poor attempt at a cry for help. I needed looking after. I knew no one. My family and friends were hours away, and I wasn't coping. My husband was aware things were hard, but he had to work, particularly as he was starting a new job, and I had to look after my first born, who was running riot. I needed help. No help came.
It took me quite a while to get over the fact that no one came. Yes the post evoked a few 'poor thing' type comments, but I hadn't wanted sympathy. I felt worthless. Looking back now, from my good place, with my two happy, healthy children, it is obvious why no one came. Had I picked up the phone and said, please please come, I have been sick forty five times this morning, my three year old has gone feral and I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, I'm certain my Mum or Mother in Law or Sister or Brother would have dropped everything to help. If I told my husband how bad things really were, if he couldn't be there, he would have found someone that could. But I didn't. Even in my time of need I was too proud, too shy, too paranoid of being seen as an unfit parent, so I kept my lips sealed. Please don't be like me.
Luckily, we got through it, the good thing about HG is that it ends, but there are so many things that don't. There are so many things that feel like they will never end even when, deep down, you know there is an end in sight. We have all become just a bit too worried to accept help from other people that many of us would rather not ask at all. The saying goes 'it takes a village to raise a child' and as old fashioned as it may seem, it is entirely true. If you shout from the rooftop, the neighbours will come running. There will always be someone to help prep a meal, babysit your child, collect a sibling, and every little helps. I simply ask, when things get too much for my friends and family, if they are ill, sleep deprived, recovering or have simply taken too much on, please just pick up the phone. Don't be proud, I will always be there for you.