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Mother's Day

This Mother's Day we asked people to share their stories of mums, motherhood and caring. If you have a story to share, we'd love to hear from you.

Nadine Mothers Day 2016Nadine: “The last three years have been a whirlwind of appointments, therapies, dirty nappies, sleepless nights, tears, laughter, heartbreak and utter chaos”

Nadine is a single mum who cares for her three year old daughter, who has a rare condition and learning difficulties. She’s set up a blog to share information and ideas to help others in her situation feel less alone.

"The last three years have been a whirlwind of hospital appointments, therapies, dirty nappies, sleepless nights, tears, laughter, heartbreak and utter chaos. When I first became a mum my life changed, completely. I was super angry – angry my daughter had this 'thing' and angry that life was now unpredictable in a different way. Scared something was wrong with her, that I might miss something important. Confused as to what her future might be like.

"Being a parent is scary. Being a single parent is even scarier. Being a single parent of a children with special needs – it’s emotional, scary, tiring, lonely, joyful, rewarding, painful, exhausting – take your pick! It is such a mixed bag of emotions.

"Fast forward to 2016 and everything has been a blessing. I did not return to my previous job so I could care full-time. I have an appreciation for life in a way I did not before – having a child is a miracle, and raising them whilst keeping your sanity – another!"

Claire Mothers Day 2016Claire: “What keeps me going? Tucking both my kids into bed and kissing their smiling faces goodnight.”

Claire has two daughters, Shannon and Ellie, who both have care needs. She reflects on the struggles they have faced to start getting the support they need.

"I first knew something was wrong when my youngest daughter Ellie was struggling with toilet training. Little did I know there was a long battle ahead to get the right diagnosis and treatment. She’s on all sorts of medication and has been through countless tests. When I wasn’t busy changing pads or bedding I was in tears – not sleeping, and constantly stressed out because I couldn’t stand the thought of my daughter having to go through this. We finally got some answers when she was referred to Great Ormond Street, and last year she had an ileostomy.

"Shannon has also been through many operations to remove cholesteatomas in her ear canal which has eroded her small hearing bone, so she now needs a hearing aid for life.

"Being a carer certainly makes you view life in a completely different way. It’s the most stressful thing I’ve ever done. People tell me I do an amazing job, coping with what I have to go through. But I would do anything for my children – I wish I could go through it instead of them.

"There are bad days where I sob all day, I’m fed up arguing trying to get anyone to listen to what my girls need. But the good days are amazing – when people are listening and my daughters are smiling. 

"My happiest memories are when we manage to get away on a holiday and forget the stresses of daily life at home – to laugh together on rides in a theme park without a care in the world, or to teach the girls how to swim in the pool or lie on a beach together after building sandcastles, wishing the hours would go by slower. That's what helps me feel ready to face whatever challenges lie ahead – along with the love and support of my family and friends."

George Herschel mumGeorge: "She did so much for others she fully deserves all the care support she can get from me"

George cares full-time for his mam, Betty. He also cared for his father from 1997 until his death in 2006.

"Way back in the 1920s my mam was known as the "little mother", for the way she cared for the children in her street. When war broke out she lied about her age and joined up. She was sent packing when the war office found out, but returned to be in the ATS (women's army) within a few months with her father's permission.

"My father first saw my mam on a special train for ex-Prisoners of War in 1945. She was returning home to Newcastle. It was the only train to Newcastle that night, and when the soldiers onboard saw her uniform they asked the train guard to let her travel with them. My father had been a Prisoner of War in Poland since 1940, and was returning home after walking some 1200 miles to freedom.

"A few weeks later, mam had her demob party at the Crow’s Nest pub in Newcastle, where she met my father. On their first date they walked down Northumberland Street, and my dad presented her with a ring saying, "If it fits, we're engaged". They were married in 1947.

"After the war mam worked as a nurse in a psychiatric hospital. She was probably one of the first whistle blowers, which resulted in her being forced out of her job. She raised two children and cared for her mother. During the 1950s and 60s she also worked as a home help for local authority.

"She did so much for others she fully deserves all the care support she can get from the likes of me. Like millions of others, I don't need to send a card on Mother's Day – I show her how much I love her every day when I care for her."

Katie Ben and Rhys photoJane: "Seeing my little girl in hospital with her new baby in her arms... was a beautiful experience"

Jane pays tribute to her daughter Katie, who’s been a carer for most of her life, firstly to brother Ben, who has special needs, and now for her son Daniel, who has autism. This year Katie is looking after Ben so mum Jane and her husband can have some time to themselves.

"My son Rhys – Katie’s beloved brother – passed away from complications from type 1 diabetes. Our whole family has been left devastated, but I do try to think about the happy memories I have of them growing up when I can. One of my happiest memories is less than three months before Rhys’s death. My husband and I were going away for a few days for our Silver Wedding Anniversary – the first time we’d been able to get away in our whole married life. Katie was the main carer for Ben, and Rhys came over from his flat to be with them both. They worked so hard to make sure I had a wonderful, relaxing break. When we came back, the oven wasn’t working. Rhys and Katie pleaded ignorance, and it wasn’t until after Rhys’s death that Katie told us she set the oven on fire and Rhys helped her put it out!

Katie and son"Katie is a wonderful mother. Seeing my little girl in hospital with her new baby in her arms after a long labour and emergency Caesarean Section was a beautiful experience, and the delivery of her second son via planned C-section was even more amazing. I was there with my daughter, and it will remain one of the most precious moments of my life.

"Katie has a difficult life, with many hospital appointments (especially for Daniel, who has autism), but she makes sure they don’t miss out on anything. They’re always out and about in the garden, the woods, the beach, whatever the weather. Katie encourages them to have confidence and enjoy things they might otherwise be afraid of. I could not be prouder to call her my daughter."

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