My beautiful girls are worth every stitch

Cycle wisdom
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I  was brought up to be obedient and to respect my elders - regardless. A sensitive, creative and empathetic child, I grew up with no boundaries and low self-worth, which had disastrous consequences on the relationship choices I made. I married three times - to men who on the surface were strong, caring gentlemen (the first two were Army officers) but they turned out to be men with dysfunctional, controlling and/or addictive personalities. This in turn had a major impact on other areas of my life, particularly health and finances, and also for my daughters.

The first was so controlling that, for example, he frowned upon me having the heating on while there was 'only me' in the house, so I would sit with a duvet around me and a hot water bottle on my lap. I became ill and so low within myself that I would curl up on the floor of our bedroom and rock back and forth with the emotional pain. When I found the courage to leave, his response was "But you can't leave me, you promised to obey."!!

The second, the father of my daughters, with the advent of the internet became a sex addict and we began relationship counselling. A year on, just as we were about to complete our counselling, I discovered that he had been having an affair. His mobile answered my call without him realising, just as his lover was getting into his car. I heard their greeting and their kiss. A real punch in the stomach moment.

The third made us all laugh which was wonderful. He had alcohol issues but I was unaware of his deep seated anger issues until we were married. These two things, combined with a fraudulent personality, created a deeply unhappy marriage. When he badly frightened my youngest daughter I knew we had to leave:

One day I’m photographing a wedding and my daughter calls me, in floods of tears. She needs me, my husband’s drunken anger has badly frightened her and she wants me to come home. I can’t leave the wedding, I am contracted and morally obligated to photograph the story of this couple’s special day. It’s torture on so many levels. I feel helpless and torn, and incredibly guilty. What was I doing, staying with an alcoholic with anger issues? Putting my daughters through so much and for what? What kind of example am I? What kind of MOTHER am I? What is this DOING to my daughters? I decide that we are leaving; whatever happens, we are going. I finally make a CHOICE.

Having married three men with either addictive or controlling personalities, and endured so much pain and unhappiness, it is time to take stock. I will be on my own rather than in a bad relationship. I push myself consistently too hard and ignore my ‘body-mind’, resulting in further illness, eventual collapse, two lots of eye surgery to save the sight in my left eye, and fibromyalgia. What now??

My last husband left me with debts and no credit rating, and in 2016 I had to go bankrupt.

My experiences have ultimately made me strong; I own the part I played in them, understand why I allowed my fundamental niceness to be abused, and now I believe in my worth – with the help of sheer determination, my business/life coach, my family, friends and my career. Thanks to numerous women of spirit and their healing expertise, I no longer simply survive; I thrive. I bear no anger or ill will towards my ex-husbands. To those who bullied or hurt or abused me, I am indifferent. I meet the most wonderful people through my business and many of my clients have become friends. I’m respected, admired and loved – all a huge boost to my self-worth. And most of all, I have come to love my SELF.

What I really meant to highlight is that my daughters are just THE BEST part of my life! They live with love and they now know their worth and are happy and fulfilled in their careers.

I had 32 stitches with Lottie as she rotated as she came down the birth canal and then all 8.5 lbs of her (2 weeks late, had to be induced) came out in a rush! The consequences of so many stitches, inside and out, ranged from long term scar tissue and a weak pelvic floor, plus the challenges of having a highly sexed husband...

I had a miscarriage between my two girls, and Bea was born 3.5 years after Lottie. Another 8.5lb baby who missed being induced by one day - but only 7 stitches with her!

My beautiful girls are worth every stitch, every challenge, every worrying time.... EVERYTHING!!!

If I hadn’t been through these experiences I wouldn’t be doing what I am now. And what I do now – help women build their self-worth, really KNOW their value – gives meaning to all those traumatic experiences of my past. I use my experiences, my camera and my empathy, with a good dose of humour, to give my clients an empowering and confidence building experience. With a boudoir shoot, the empowering experience of the shoot leaves my clients feeling transformed, liberated and confident. Perhaps it sounds a little far-fetched, but some even say their boudoir shoot has changed their lives. Naturally, this makes me extremely happy – as well as validated.

I have published two books, ‘Women of Spirit’; anthologies of real women and how they have faced adversity – and won. My story is in Volume One. More books will follow. I give presentations to business groups and ladies lunches. I run workshops and retreats based on the first chapter in the books ‘The Road to Self-Love’. I am building a movement to help women become more self-confident by creating a more loving relationship with themselves so they can be excited about living a life of abundance and joy! I aim to go global!

I love helping women to become truly, deeply confident in who they are as WOMEN, regardless of their situation, background, career, age, size, shape, indeed any external circumstances – it is, after all, about the woman within, self-acceptance, and her innate sense of ‘self-worth ’.

I am authentic, living proof that it is never too late to change your life around. At 61, I am in the best place ever. My daughters are living happily fulfilled lives doing what they love, and we are all super proud of each other.

I choose to live with love. I choose to be more conscious, to honour my emotions and work with the flow of life, rather than live with anything that is second best. I believe it is never too late to find your ‘self’, your worth, your passion, and to build a bright, secure and happy future. I live my life ON purpose and WITH purpose.

By understanding that we have a choice, and by seeking help, anyone can learn to thrive, rather than simply survive, and I and Women of Spirit are all here to help with that journey.

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