I feel I need to write this for certain individuals to understand how life has been for me, how their nastiness and back stabbing have really affected me and how although this is a big big world, it isn’t big enough to escape some people on the internet who, every single day, are hell bent on making my life THAT much more difficult.
As many of you know, I work from home owning a few seamstress businesses and a tea rooms. Life is never quiet. I never wanted to stay at home with children, I’ve always been itching to return to work. In January I found out I was expecting baby number three, just as my husband’s work hours changed to days. As I had suffered from hyperemesis for the last two pregnancies, I knew my chances were high to suffer again. I wasn’t wrong. I was knocked off my feet and spent the first 20 weeks in hospital for at least one night a week for fluids, steroids and vitamin IV. The seamstress company I own mainly operates on Facebook, it used to be website only but Facebook became more popular for sales, with that you become known as a WAHM (work at home mum). A title that throws you into the world of other WAHMs, many in the same line of work as you, many competing for the same business. With the recession, the pride and of course the hormones that go with women working in a “close proximity” of business, comes problems. People talking about other people, people falling out, people copying, people unpicking other peoples’ work and criticising, and more often than not people getting hurt in the process. I experienced this first hand with another maker who started making cloth nappies around the same time as me, we were unfairly targeted as the “newbies” and both stayed head strong and became good at what we did and more importantly, in deman; and she has gone on to do some amazing things despite the hard time she was given (and still gets behind her back even now). Most WAHMs are in a clique of some sort, some WAHMs team up with bloggers (in it for freebies) in exchange for reviews/products. Some WAHMs go one step better and team up with the NCT and Bounty and local breast feeding/ante natal groups. I digress.
I’ve always been fairly open, and unafraid to speak my mind if I think people have been treated unfairly, like a friend being accused of copying an embroidery design, or another friend who had her nappy pattern quite clearly ripped off. I’ve approached people who have been horrid about me (it always comes back around). When I was away with hyperemesis, the last thing on my mind was making any products. I was incredibly poorly, my husband was working long hours and I had both boys at home with me; I was away at hospital relying on family to look after my children while taking a hit on my income. I decided at 10 weeks that I didn’t want to continue with my pregnancy. I felt too helpless, depression set in and I wanted out. I didn’t want to abandon my children any more, I didn’t want to stop working and I didn’t see how I could escape this illness without ending the pregnancy. I went to my GP and he said “You’re 13 weeks, I can’t refer past 10 weeks, unless you go to England or get a private referral”. I posted on Mumsnet in sheer desperation, sat in tears, cross legged on the floor with my poor two tiny boys looking up at me and wondering why mummy was sobbing. Elijah sat beside me and stroked my face, and I knew I’d hit rock bottom for allowing him to see me like that. I cut off my friends, people I know and love, and people I have only met on Facebook and Twitter communities. I contemplated suicide as a way to escape. As soon as several people on Mumsnet said that it was unlikely to be a “chemical” procedure (a tablet) but an operation, I decided against it…more afraid of being under anaesthetic than anything else. I sat and thought about ending my life for days on end. Calculating a way that would least affect the boys, how I could do it without being found by them.
It turns out I was only 10 weeks, not 13, and I could’ve had the termination.
The vomiting settled at around 20 weeks, and at around 24 weeks I decided to go back to work. One of the friends I fell out with is a blogger in the industry in which I work. By the time I came back, she had deleted and blocked me (quite rightly so, I had told her I didn’t want to be her friend, but to be honest, when you’re thinking about killing yourself the last thing on your mind is a Twitter friend who you have never met). It didn’t end there. People I knew before I was sick were no longer friends/acquaintances. People were being out rightly MEAN to me for no apparent reason that I could see. I fell out with one person who I cared about, yet this seemed to give other people a reason to “dislike me”. Now these people mean little to me, they’re not WAHMs, they’re not IN my industry, they merely get free stuff in exchange for reviews and people talk about THEM in a negative way, I’ve only been back a month and I’ve heard some awful things. I’m just past caring. However, I’ve learnt how horrible it is to be on the receiving end of such nastiness, I’ve kept it all to myself. I’m still not 100% better. I’m no longer physically sick, but I am taking anti depressants, I’m still struggling with staying at home with children and more than anything I’m struggling to try and fit back into a world where I don’t think I belong any more. I’ve seen other women be ground down in this industry, reduced to tears by bullying and some gave up their businesses and some have persevered and done really well for themselves. I’m at the position where I don’t know if I’m strong enough to persevere. My children need me, my body needs me to be kind to it and I’m unsure that my mental health will come out unscathed.
Lucy, if you’re reading this (and I’m sure it’ll be linked back to you), I’m sorry for upsetting you, and for cutting you out. I was in such a dark place. The fact I’ve come out uninjured (physically) and my bump is alive and kicking is good enough news for me. However, I need to know that you forgive me for not taking your feelings into account when you were there trying to support me.