So, this is me…
Life has taken me on a journey that was not my original intention. It was supposed to be easy, full of creative successes leading to self discovery and the possibility of acknowledgement and admiration. I should be flaunting around in a flow-y dressing gown, back stage of the biggest theatre hit of the year, sipping honey and lemon surrounded by lilies and roses in my en-suite dressing room ready to receive my many guests…
To be fair, life wasn’t too far away from that scenario until that all familiar pang that so many women feel all over the world. That feeling that their mothers felt and their mothers before them and so on and so on… I’m talking about that basic need to mother a child, to feel that little peanut growing inside of you, that peanut that you would nurture from the moment you see those little blue lines on that stick that you waited patiently to see after the longest three minutes of your life! To hear a little voice call you ‘mum’, that little person who depends on you for their every need, that looks to you for guidance through their own incredible journey. ‘So?’, I hear you say. ‘Women have been having babies since time began…what’s your problem?!’ I ask myself that very same question time and time again. ‘Come on Di, get a grip!!’
I honestly thought that after a good training at a top London drama college and over a decade of experience working in my chosen field of theatre, it would be a breeze. I’d simply pop a baby after working through my pregnancy which would consist of a cute little bump and a glowing complexion, take a little bit of time to bond while breast feeding and returning to my size 10 jeans. Yeah right! Pfft… I ballooned through the first trimester eventually gaining FIVE STONE. My boobs were ridiculous, Mothercare told me that if they got any bigger I’d have to have bras specially made for me! I remember catching sight of myself in the mirror at the swimming pool while waiting to go in for an aquanatal class. Those of a certain age will know what I mean if I simply say ‘Big Daddy’…yeah, that! By the end of the pregnancy I couldn’t wear shoes due to my feet each looking like a blown up rubber glove. I had nerve damage to my feet which I still suffer with to this day, I could barely walk due to pelvis issues and that cute little bump appeared to have taken over every inch of my being…huge, beached whale!!
The birth was no picnic either! One dislocated pelvis, stitches where nobody likes to talk about and that huge beached whale turned into a great wobbley jelly thing resembling ‘The Blob’. I had a baby who refused to sleep or take the ridiculous boobs. All the other ladies from my baby group would sit chatting and smiling with their babies snuggled neatly under a muslin cloth feeding while I hobbled around with a recovering dislocated pelvis, desperately trying to shove a bottle of formula into a constantly screaming mouth! Of course, that’s how I saw it. I’m sure every one of those ladies had their own issues but at that precise moment in time, I felt like the only one struggling and failing at what should be the most natural process in a woman’s life.
It wasn’t long before Post Natal Depression set in. The lack of sleep and the constant screaming of an unsettled baby took its toll on me. That perfect dream of returning to work to carry on where I left off was fading along with the memory of my waistline and pert bum!
When my son turned one, I was offered the role of Beatrice in a production of A View From The Bridge by Arthur Miller. After such a break, could I handle it? I was brave and that bull was taken very firmly by the horns. Boy was I glad I took that role. Nightly sobbing and wailing over the body of my dead onstage husband was the best therapy anyone could wish for. To be given full permission to let rip from the old tear ducts…release!
All was good for a while until the discovery that my son was on the autistic spectrum. Okay…not a complete shock to me to be honest but it sure started to make life difficult for the poor boy as nursery then school became a time of stress and trauma until I had no option but to pull him out of school and homeschool him for the foreseeable future. There came a time of great study and learning for me as I poured my time into my boy to make life easier for him.
So, it was another set back for me but out of it came the realisation that THERE WAS MY ROAD OF SELF DISCOVERY AND POSSIBLE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND ADMIRATION! It was there, not as I’d envisioned but there it was nonetheless.
This was the road that brought me to where I am today. To cut a long story short (and yeah, I know it’s been long enough already. I promise to never post quite as much again!) it’s taken me on a journey of discovering ways to stay creative for me while being there for my son. Today I await with baited breath the release of my first ever audiobook which has taken me on a great learning curve learning to record, edit and master from my home studio built on a budget in my little house in the middle of the Somerset countryside far from the hustle and bustle of the city of London where I thought I’d be. I still float around sipping my honey and lemon though…