I went from being a happy fiancée and successful teacher to a broken mother who was also learning on the job how to become a carer, advocate, physiotherapist, secretary and advisor to everyone else who came into contact with a child I was expected to be an expert on.
I found myself thinking...
I dont know who I am anymore
It was such a tough time for me as I battled with clashing identities. The one I desperately wanted to cling to and the one that I was evolving into.
Now, I realise that I can be all of those things but I will never be the person I was. She's long gone. And the weird thing is that actually, I prefer the woman in her place.
This woman knows that perfection is a myth, that its who I am not what I do that makes others proud of me and that being a carer to my son is way harder than a full time teaching career! I also know that SEND parents are INCREDIBLE and don't deserve or want the pity that people like me so thoughtlessly gave.
Dont get me wrong, I still think about what might have been. As I watch colleagues climb the ladder I was on too, as I see people enjoying a disposable income and not having to fight for the basic things for their family, I do wonder how life would have looked for me. But that version of me would have had ups and downs and challenges too. No path is an easy one. No life is charmed. (Please read The Midnight Library by Matt Haig if you haven't already, to understand where my head is right now)
Ironically, over the past 16 years I have created a new identity that embraces all the things I once struggled with and being Harry's mum is an absolute privilege.
Now, I wonder who the hell I will be when the time comes for him to move into assisted living and away from me. But thats for another day.
For now, just know that who you were may not be who you will ever be again but who you are right now is more than enough.
With love from Our Altered Life to yours, Charlie xx