I am sure most loss parents will be able to relate to my overprotective nature of Beau. Surprisingly however I have always been very protective of him. I remember worrying when I was pregnant how I would feel about other people holding him when he was born, especially with family members I was not close with at all. Because after all, babies are like magnets. Suddenly the people who have never really been interested in your life before want to come visit you at your home and hold your new born baby. It was a terrifying prospect to me. Thankfully I did actually manage to cope pretty well.
Throughout the years only a select few family and friends have been trusted to watch over Beau. I’ve had family members offer to look after him. Unfortunately, because I didn’t feel confident enough to make it clear to them exactly how I wished him to be taken care of due to not having a rapport as adults with each other and I didn’t have the confidence in them listening to me if I did make things clear, I even restricted certain family members from taking care of him. It was silly little things like Beau’s diet, or swearing in front of him and I also didn’t want him to be encouraged to watch television or have people using mobile phones in front of him. I needed to know he was in an engaging yet safe environment with people I wholeheartedly trusted. I was very lucky that when we did start weaning him and it was easier from a breastfeeding point of view to leave him that I had a small collection of people I felt truly confident with.
I still of course worry even when others are looking after him and want regular updates. Thankfully I never leave him more than a couple of hours with anyone and its usually for appointments, especially with Silver’s and Leilani’s pregnancy. If it is ever overnight the only people I trust of course is my parents to have Beau. I know their home inside and out, I know that despite not following a vegan diet they fully understand what Beau can and can’t eat and will even eat vegan friendly food in front of him so if he wants to share he can do. I know he absolutely love’s going to see nana and grandad, playing in their secure garden, watching the frogs, birds and fish along with chasing Poppy our labradoodle who just loves playing with him. We don’t often require Beau to stay overnight but it was a life saver to know my parents could look after Beau for the two weeks we were up at Newcastle with Silver. I missed him like crazy but not once did I worry about his wellbeing. They brought him several times to visit too which just warmed my heart even if it was hard to interact with him post-surgery.
You might be wondering about the title of this blog post then if I’m telling you I can’t even trust family members with Beau. Well let’s erase the taboo and stigma of social services right now. When child social services become involved you expect it to be due to negligent parents who don’t care about the wellbeing of their child and are not putting their child first. There are times when this could be the case. This could not be further from the truth in our circumstances. Firstly, if you are pregnant with any mental health diagnosis you are automatically submitted for a social services assessment without much of a choice. I had one whilst pregnant with Beau and they deemed there was no risk to Beau so long as I had a safety plan in place should I feel my mental health deteriorating whilst alone with Beau.
Unfortunately, over the years I have had many mental health break downs. These have resulted to police being called. Not because Beau was in any danger, but because I was suicidal and a danger to myself. In certain cases, ambulances like police to go in first with suicidal cases to ensure they are then safe to enter to treat the patient. Unfortunately, if Beau is present in these moments, despite perhaps seeing absolutely nothing and him being unaware or even asleep through the whole event the police have to make a referral to social services. Since an incident when I was pregnant with Silver social services have been supporting both me and Fabian. Every single time they have come to my home they have always said how well Beau looks, that he seems well cared for, safe and has plenty of age appropriate toys.
We’ve had issues in the past where they’ve said this, and then dismissed our case because Beau was safe and well. The only problem is we have still been struggling with the same issues, still not receiving the appropriate help we know we need and have asked and begged for, resulting in us getting re-referred. It is so frustrating when you keep asking for help because you are desperate to get better and improve your situation and no one is willing to help. Fabian had gone to the doctors not long after Beau was born to say he was struggling with stress and anxiety. Beau is now two years old and he has only just been told he will get counselling (in about three months’ time!). You can imagine the struggles we’ve had over two years of desperately asking for help and not receiving any. I am so thankful to say I am also getting a lot of mental health support since moving house and generally we are both progressing and moving in the right direction.
With things being much more stable now and updated safety plans in place the social worker recently decided she no longer needed to be involved and wanted to step down the care to a prevention worker. I can’t tell you how lovely this new woman is, she seems so jolly and down to earth but most importantly approachable and proactive. We expressed our concerns with Beau’s recent behaviour of hitting and the tantrums we are struggling to manage with the health visitor but didn’t feel we were getting anywhere. We were so glad for our prevention worker to suggest a parenting course which would be not only free for us but included creche for Beau too.
In theory this seems like a perfect solution. We would finally get the help we needed to sort out these few little niggles before Leilani arrives and we wouldn’t have the worry with childcare which is always so much hassle and stress. We agreed to attend the course and all was well, until I started to think about it more and more. I am so overprotective I am even planning on home schooling Beau because I don’t trust teachers to keep him safe and don’t want him to be subjected to bullying and the peer pressure that comes from the government curriculum. He has literally never been left with someone I don’t know before. I can’t even find the courage to let him go to preschool for myself to have a break so I suddenly had a last-minute panic on the Friday before the class started the following Tuesday.
I just want to put a little disclaimer in here, when I say overprotective and mention home schooling etc. I am however aware of his social needs. I most certainly want him to join clubs and engage with other children but feel for my own peace of mind I would be happier with this being under my supervision. The prevention worker has actually been really great at helping us find clubs and activities for Beau to go to. We do have a plan at the moment to hopefully sign Beau up to a gymnastics club, a weekend dance class and hopefully re-joining swimming early next year too. I also have plenty of play dates in the pipeline which I just need to confirm and arrange. So don’t worry, I am making sure he’s interacting and hopefully going to make some friends very soon! We all parent differently and I just have my own way of doing things, after all I don’t see the point having a child then allowing a teacher to raise the child for me. I want to be the one to teach him about the world and share my morals and principles with him.
The thing that worried me the most was there wasn’t really much time to go to this creche and meet the people first. Thankfully our prevention worker came to visit us on the Monday to talk through it all. I felt relieved to know she was willing to meet us the next day and go in with us to introduce everyone and help us get comfortable and settled into the creche before the class started. I researched the creche the night before and checked their Ofsted reports and felt my anxiety was manageable. A few years ago this would have been a completely different matter and I would have been hysterically crying and hyperventilating all night and adamant I couldn’t cope and wouldn’t be able to attend or leave Beau. I am so glad in this aspect that my mental health has drastically improved. Night times before events were always one of my worst moments and hardest to manage, usually ending up in a trip to the hospital to see the crisis team (who are completely useless).
The next morning I became very nervous. Thankfully this time it was not actually about Beau and the creche. I was worried in case it was a group full of people who had perhaps been forced to attend and actually all they were going to do was complain about their children. This was a group for 0-3 year old parenting so I was very nervous of anyone complaining about their new born, something I should have had this year and would be so grateful to have in my arms. Thankfully our prevention worker introduced me privately to the woman running the class and helped me express those feelings prior to going into the room. She reassured me if I needed to leave at any point that I could do and that’s why they had two people running the course. So if I needed any support I would have that available. I am pleased to say all the parents were absolutely lovely and to be honest I think we all had children around the same age, with the same problems!
I must say when we got to the creche I was very pleased with the layout. It was basically one big child friendly room with only about three other babies. I felt very nervous so Fabian went to fill out the paperwork as I was too scared to talk to the people in charge. Beau was actually pretty shy too which was a surprise considering his rambunctious personality at home. At first he held my hand and I had to go everywhere with him. I was terrified of the other children – I’m just not a natural with other peoples kids! I don’t think I could have managed if our prevention worker hadn’t been there with me. She interacted with Beau and got him playing which helped me relax, its kind of embarrassing but when I’m in public I don’t know how to act with Beau. I think I fear getting judged so it looks like I’m the most awkward parent not interacting with their child whereas at home I’m rolling around on the floor with him!
The longer we were there and Beau was playing the more I felt at ease. Beau seemed happy and was engaging with the toys. He was also being respectful with the other children and not feeling he needed to hold my hand anymore. I double checked they knew about his vegan diet to give myself the reassurance and signed a few forms. I don’t know why but I never even thought of taking nappies for him. Thankfully we did have the changing bag in the car but it was such a new thing for me I just completely forgot about the essentials. Once we felt he was settled and I felt comfortable I had seen the staff interact with him we sneaked out while he was engrossed in playing with a truck. It was so reassuring to know our class was actually only down the hallway too so should an emergency occur we would be close by.
The class itself went better than expected and I left feeling really positive and motivated. We had homework to do and I now had some ideas of different things to try with Beau. Fabian had gone to look through the window and check on Beau at “break time” half way through the class to find Beau happily playing away. I was very pleased to learn they’d given him a banana and they were thoroughly impressed when he asked for another – my boy could live off fruit! (I’m pretty sure in total that day he ended up eating four bananas!)
In conclusion. I’m now comfortable enough to continue with him going to this creche and feeling proud of myself for overcoming this fear. It was a tough thing to do after losing a child and already being a protective parent. I actually missed the class this week but Fabian attended with Beau and I’ve been told he had two bananas again and thoroughly enjoyed himself. I’m not going to suddenly be taking him to pre-school or leaving him at clubs without me but I do feel confidence in myself enough to hopefully get him started in all these new clubs where he can engage while I sit back and watch from a distance. I’m also super pleased that since we have started reading him his bed time stories in his bed and not downstairs it has made bed times so much easier. He is a much happier chap going to bed and we are feeling like winners right now in the toddler game! Let’s hope it continues to improve and both me and Beau grow in confidence alongside each other.
Until next time,