I can not put it any better than that. And I imagine a lot of people can relate it to a moment in their lives.
Dixie was my moment. My life altering moment. And she has changed everything about the life I lived before her. The way I see things. What’s important.
There is almost certainly some kind of divide in your life when you move along into motherhood.
Things initially turn upside down as you adjust to life as a three.
Gone are the days of last minute plans or drinks out when the mood takes you. Your priorities change. In its place is a life that involves lost sleep, a dwindling income, less socialising.
Your child is suddenly number one and you often feel like you lose some of yourself as your needs are put on the back burner.
But it’s worth every lost minute.
I think when you have a child with complex needs, that divide becomes almost a gulf. It is such a significant change your life becomes unrecognisable to how it was.
There is definitely a sense of a before me and an after me. In pretty much every aspect.
The before me took the T9M information booklet given to me on diagnosis day, and decided to pick out the most positive pieces and decide Dixie would be all of those things.
The after me realised Dixie would write her own information booklet. She would set her own goals.
The before me used Facebook purely for entertainment. To post pictures, keep in touch with friends afar and most importantly stalk!!
I never came across the pages following children with rare disabilities, common disabilities, health conditions, cancer! I never thought to go looking. It never crossed my mind that Facebook could also be a huge support network for some. A lifeline even.
The after me MADE a Facebook page. How ironic. I tentatively joined a couple of Facebook groups and found my first taste of that support.
I found the charity UNIQUE (who incidentally had put the info together about T9M which I had received on diagnosis day!) They put me in touch with other families and introduced me to a few support groups on Facebook. Yes. A lifeline.
The before me had a handful of friends. Those from work, some since becoming a mummy and some stragglers from my school days.
The after me met and connected with a variety of parents. All walking similar paths. Some here physically, some virtually. All who keep me sane (ish). They are a mix of people that had I not had Dixie we would have never crossed paths. I’m so thankful for them.
The before me I like to think was a little bit silly. A little bit daft. Talking a mile a minute!!
The after me is still that same silly girl. I just don’t have a lot of opportunity to let her out anymore. I spend so much of my time having to be serious. Make big decisions.
The before me was relatively carefree. I had worries of course. But nothing hugely significant and things most parents can relate too.
The after me still has all those same worries. Plus a huge dollop of ‘this is too much worry’on top. With a cherry. And a flake.
The before me took a lot for granted. That milestones would be a given, that friendships would withstand tough times. That my life would be ‘normal’.
The after me realised that there is no such thing as normal. That friendships often dwindle, that milestones aren’t met. That life can be far from average.
The before me had it pretty easy. I didn’t appreciate at the time how easy. I had child free nights and time to be me again. Not mummy. Not carer.
The after me hasn’t had a child free night in a year. There isn’t one even on the horizon. I can’t remember how it feels to be free of worry. Free of anxiety.
The before me was a little bit selfish. A little bit naive to the suffering that some families faced. The battles. The fights. Every day.
The after me lives those fights too. And I will continue to fight. And continue to grow in strength to get the very best support. And the very best care for my girl.
The before me was looking forward to the future. To see how Maisy would grow and who she would become.
The after me is scared of the future and what it will bring. But also excited to see both my girls reach their full potential.
My pre-Dixie life was a breeze in comparison to now. Im not saying that my worries were insignificant. Just that mostly the things that ate my brain passed as Maisy got older and I got wiser.
My post-Dixie life is a whirlwind. My emotions are up and down like a yoyo. And I worry all the time. I don’t see a time that will EVER stop! I didn’t think hospital appointments and therapies were a lifestyle. Turns out it’s ours.
I can’t ever go back to the person I was before Dixie. My eyes have been opened so wide because of her, and ultimately I’m grateful for that. Because I would have missed out on so much beauty. So much strength.