Jenny and her husband were referred to Kids Inspire when a set of life-changing circumstances turned their life together upside down. With two young children at the centre, a course of Family Therapy was the care plan that the Kids Inspire team prescribed.
Read on to hear in Jenny’s words, the transformational journey their life took after she woke up one morning not being able to move her legs…
My name is Jenny, and this is my story:
The 20th January 2016 was the day our small world got turned upside down. A day for however long we all live will never be erased from our memories.
I woke unable to move both my legs. Frightened, scared and in total panic there was no way of knowing what hell was yet to follow. Our perfect but sometimes shaky world was torn apart this very day. I went to hospital for six months; my children were 3 and 2 years old at the time. My husband had to leave his job to care for the children and I underwent months of tests and physiotherapy. I was ripped away from my children and I missed my daughter starting pre-school, I missed my son riding his bike, I missed the many very ‘firsts’ that a mother should witness.
Eventually we ended up in temporary accommodation after a three week stay in an elderly dementia care unit (I was 35 at the time) as our own home was not wheelchair compatible. The accommodation however was not adapted, there was no accessible bathroom, or adapted kitchen, there wasn’t even any ramps to enter or exit the property.
I ended up wheelchair bound, I could no longer walk, I could no longer use the bathroom on my own, I could no longer cook for my husband and children. I couldn’t even put them to bed. I lost being a mother and a wife. My husband lost his job, no longer was he earning money and providing for his family, no longer was he with his colleagues and friends, no longer was he the man that he set out to be in life. Our children lost the mother that they knew, they lost the life that they knew, they lost their home, they lost the stable and familiar, safe surroundings that they were born into. My list could definitely go on, it was clear that we needed help. I reached out and was lucky enough to find Kids Inspire. I made a phone call, explained our circumstances and from that a meeting was set up and a lovely lady came to meet with us while I was still in hospital and completed an assessment and application with us.
A few months later and we were offered sessions with Kids Inspire and we started to attend (my husband and I). It was instantly natural, it felt comfortable to talk, comfortable to express, easy to articulate, reveal and convey. We felt supported, listened to, helped, understood, there was empathy, compassion, understanding, advice, guidance, strategies, solutions and we soon developed a relationship with Kids Inspire.
My husband and I only managed to hold onto our relationship because of Kids Inspire. We only managed to hold onto ourselves and who we were thanks to Kids Inspire. We only managed to look after, support and nurture our children effectively due to Kids Inspire. Without Kids Inspire it is evident that our journey would have been unbearable, we would not have survived and our world would have been unimaginably insufferable.
Since losing the movement in both my legs we have fought hard to get our own home adapted, to be able to move back with our community, our neighbours and our family. Our goal has always been to return home, become independent once again, for my husband to return back to work and for him to fully support and provide for us, ultimately to get our lives back on track and somewhat normal again.
However, there have been many obstacles in the way, many setbacks, hospital stays, hospital appointments, complaints, appeals, juggling reality, dealing with the loss of what we once had, trying to protect and bring up our children the best we could. We had to deal with the loss of friends and family who couldn’t come to terms with the situation, the daily struggle of what life brings with being in a wheelchair. Even a trip to Tesco with the children, a wheelchair and my husband as my carer became incredibly distressing and unmanageable. Weekend trips out with the children became miserable as we had no idea how to live life with a wheelchair and the fact that a lot of the world is not equipped for wheelchairs. My husband and I would sometimes argue over the fact that I could not access a particular toilet while we were out, or how we were going to get into a particular shop, or how we would manage going to a busy place with a wheelchair and two small children. Our lives turned into a complete battle and partly to do with the fact of emotions we had no idea how to control.
However, life became tolerable, manageable, easier and much lighter knowing that Kids Inspire were there. We would bag up our crazy thoughts, feelings, emotions and experiences and take them with us to our sessions where we would be able to safely talk about them, discuss them, evaluate them, practice coping techniques, learn processes, try new methods of expression, approach feelings and thoughts, deal with anger and resentment effectively. We would lay out plans and models together, come up with ideas to manage better and survive on a daily basis. All of which could not and would not have been done without Kids Inspire.
You assume that in crisis you will survive, that your instinct will set mode to ‘cope’ and deal with and fix the situation, and the problems. You assume that you will stick by your partner, understand them, support them, help them, but the truth is that it is not that easy, especially when the crisis affects you all. How can you stay standing when what you are standing on is crumbling beneath you all? How do you take care of your partners mental health when you cannot take care of your own? How do you protect and look after your children when ultimately you are feeling like a complete failure? Well our answer was found in Kids Inspire and they answered our prays in the darkest moments of our lives so far.
We truly have so much to thank them for. My husband and I have been together for 14 years and married for 8 years, we have two beautiful children now aged 6 and 5 years old. Luckily, we found Kids Inspire and they saved us, they saved us as individuals, they saved our marriage, they saved our children from being hurt in this entire horrific journey we have unfortunately been set upon.
With Kids Inspire’s help we can hopefully unite for many years to come and have a long and happy family life together.