An excerpt from the book

If you follow my blog, you will be aware that behind the up’s and downs of parenting and life I have been writing a book. It’s in the final process of writing, but I would like to share a tiny bit of it with you. These paragraphs are taken from a chapter after the arrival of the triplets, In finding my own way around fatherhood.

Thank you for reading.

Having triplets is a journey of rolling with the punches. It is a constantly changing situation that you must adapt to or sink. For us it was mostly a case of figuring out the next best move as we went along helped only by Stacey’s motherly intuition. Our world became consumed with taking care of the babies. There was no life outside of that bubble in the beginning or for our foreseeable future. I started to understand how my Fathers resentment had set in when my brother was born, followed by myself. He had plans to be a famous musician, his heart set on bigger things until, bang! We turned up, both unplanned, and forced him into a life of struggling parenthood that he was ill-equipped for. We became a burden to him.

The arrival of newborns is all-consuming. In all respects. There is little room for self-serving ventures or free time away from the duties at hand, especially in the early days. Every single move we now make revolves around the needs of the triplets. And I cannot afford to resent that. All my past relationships, bar none, failed because of the bitterness and frustration that life seemed to be constantly moving in the opposite direction of my expectations, and of what I felt I deserved (it makes me cringe to think of how I used to be). I also feared responsibility. Partly because I spent most of my time drunk, and partly because I was not great at dealing with life even when sober. My Dad was a young man with dreams to fulfil and problems from childhood bubbling under the surface, and overnight his dreams were squashed by the arrival of my brother. Then thirteen months later I came along and washed the last of them down the drain. And he could never let me, my Mum or my brother forget that because he was unable to forget and forgive himself. And I truly understand his state of mind looking back now.

Had I been forced into parenthood whilst still locked in my self-driven existence I would have created only problems to those involved. With the arrival of a child there must be a change in a man’s attitude and understanding, not only towards himself, but also towards others and his place in this world. An altruistic spirit must become central to his existence. And the rewards of that selflessness will be endless. It took me a long time to realise this and it was only when I’m became conscious that I saw it within myself. I believe the only way a man can really fail at Fatherhood is if he resents his situation, because ultimately it is his children that will pay the price for his bitterness

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Si.

Baby steps back to normal

I don’t want to end up one of those writers that goes on about their illness all the time, It’s not what this blog is about. It is relevant how-ever to where I am at the moment in life so I promise to make this the last one. And there’s some nice pictures of the triplets if you don’t want to read about my wonky nervous system and what I now know.

So after 3 months of being at home I will be back to work next week. Having now met with the pain clinic and had a clear diagnosis which has given me a better understanding of my condition.

After a difficult six months It will be good to get back to a routine of work and home-life again. Although I’m still taking it in that my life is going to be different from now on. In the simplest terms I have a broken nervous system. And because of the haywire pain signals it is producing, and getting better at producing as it takes on a life of its own, I have been told I have to learn my limitations, in moving around and physical exercise. Not easy with triplet toddlers.

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I have a lot to maintain a level of emotional wellness for

I cannot push myself at all as I used to, it will only create flare up’s of immobilizing pain which can take days to overcome. I have been advised by the pain clinic to take baby steps in everything I do. Something I’m not used to doing one bit. I have tons of energy so it will be tricky to adjust.

So my mission, if I choose to accept it, is to find a balance of movement and rest. The management is down to meditation and learning to observe the pain and the horrendous thinking that comes with a flare up of round the clock spinal electrocution and facial burning. While my wife and Frankie are having to do everything to manage the triplets while I wait for attacks to settle down.

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On the plus side though, it was explained to me that because I’m relatively fit, and the right weight for my hight and age that I have an advantage. Apparently people over weight who wind up with ‘Central nervous system hypersensitivity disorder’ go downhill very quickly.

It’s going to take a while to get my head around the fact that this bizarre chronic pain is now permanent. An existing minor problem, originally caused within my years of active alcoholism, with only short attacks years and months apart that has now been most likely exacerbated to its current level of intensity since a car accident last summer. (a month after the accident I also got electrocuted pretty badly which probably didn’t help it).

So I’m looking up (slowly) and ready to start getting on with this thing (even slower). At least I have a legend of a wife, and without Frankie helping out as much as she does this would be a whole lot harder.

Good day’s and bad

Having been home since Christmas, pain aside I have had the opportunity to spend everyday with the triplets.

I have seen Blakely take her first steps, heard the girls clearly say ‘Mama’ for the first time and been able to see the important changes in the way they play together and interact.

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Blakely has found some independence since finding her balance

For identical triplets they are completely different in their personalities. Yet there are many traits they share.

They are very conscious of each other. If one gets a juice bottle, they will get the others and take them to them first before drinking their own.

Ava found a packet of biscotti biscuits, she got them open and shared them equally with her sisters.

If one is upset the other two will comfort them by patting and stroking them. The traits they share seem to be more from a loving connection rather than anything else. They care for each other. For the most anyway.

Being home isn’t ideal for many reasons, and some days are better than others. I have finally been diagnosed with a rare nerve pain disorder in which the pain varies from day-to-day. There is little relief when it flares up. Two days ago I managed to take the girls for a walk. Today I am struggling to move and cope with the pain.

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Making the most of the better day’s

It frustrates me sometimes that I struggle with the triplets, to play with them and help Stacey out. The frustration doesn’t help the situation. I’ve never had physical limitations before so I’m still finding my way mentally around this new situation. The meditation is the only real saving grace in dealing with the daily stress of it all. working with the pain clinic will give me a better understanding. I meet with them next week.

But as long as I’m here I am with the most important people in my life. And have ringside seat to the most entertaining show I’ve ever known, and will keep doing my best with home-life a day at a time.

Emotional consistency – a commitment as a Father

Children are front row observers of us as parents. What they see and feel from us is transferred to them and reflects in their own spirit and the behaviours they develop.

If I was to live in a permanent state of emotional Instability, whether it be anger, agitation, impatience, anxiety or simply overreacting to stressful events in life, it is my children who will ultimately collect the spiritual debris of my failing to meet those pressures.

And as I have recently discovered with my health, I cannot afford to let the inevitable problems that will arise from time to time take over my awareness of dealing with what’s in front of me and the responsibilities I have.

When I left home I left a fragmented and stressful environment. My dad’s morphine addiction and drinking had reached dangerous proportions. I was 15 years old and it was inevitable that his over emotional nature would affect all of us as a family. Neither my mum, brother or myself left that home unscathed.

My dad’s anger became mine. His spiritual dysfunction was transferred to me. I grew up hating him because he was angry and emotionally unavailable. I became as unbalanced and unhinged as he was, and I would never know freedom or recovery from mental health symptoms until I forgave him. Until I gave up anger.

It’s important to me that don’t make the same mistakes now being a parent myself. My children deserve the best beginning in life and I see this with a clarity.

I believe is my job as a dad. Not just to provide for them, but to be present and raise them in a spirit of love. With emotional consistency so that the stability I project will reflect In the confidence they deserve to develop while they find their way in their formative years.

Painfully overwhelmed

There are areas of my life I do my best to stay on top of. Especially since now having three more children to provide for. I had lots of fears arise during the pregnancy, the worry filled ‘what if……..’ Thoughts  were constant as I prepared for our future with the triplets arriving. I had a lot to stay on top of mentally and physically for the health of all of us as a family. The responsibilities for me as dad are huge.

Over the last six months there has been another massive change that I have had to get my head around, which has literally knocked me for six some days, and the fears and worries have overwhelmed me.

Six years ago I felt electric shock pains across the top of my head and burning in the side of my face. It happened for a split moment. I didn’t give it much thought until it continued to happen, first the attacks came months apart. Sometimes lasting a few seconds sometimes minutes. I was offered medication but didn’t feel the crappy side effects I would have to put up with were worth the occasional burning shock to the head.

Since then I have experienced it more frequently as the flare up’s of pain began in other areas of my body. Still I never chased it up and put the body pain down to the physical work I do. And I had no intention of taking medication.

Last August the electric shocks and burning started one night and have yet to go. The random flare up’s across my back become excruciating to the point I can’t stand up and there are day’s I struggle to walk with the pain in my hips, and as I discovered quickly there is not a pain-killer on the planet that can alleviate the pain.

There have been night’s I have been so overwhelmed with the pain in my head, I’ve been sat rocking on the stairs in tears while my wife deals with Frankie and the triplets.

There have been MRI scans and blood tests to begin eliminating what the cause may be and it has been narrowed down to a rare nerve disorder. My central nervous system is misfiring in various parts of my body and sending pain signals back to my brain. And without much known about it there is no cure. Just a life of pain management.

looking at all I have to support and provide for in my life, it has worried the hell out of me over the last six months. As well as the pain, day in and day out, I have been lost in fear and full of anger under the surface around my situation. Resentment has made the problem ten times harder to face. I am no good for anyone lost in my head.

I have a boss who has been understanding of my situation and I will be returning to work in a few weeks after months at home. He has given me a new position as I am unable to work in the department I am trained to work in as it too physical for me to carry on working in, and there are days my head is too foggy to concentrate. On the plus side I no longer have the fear of losing my job, which had also been a weight on my mind since being absent from work.

I have realised this week how much I have to be grateful for since this change has occurred to my health. It has scared me, angered me, frustrated and frightened me. All negative emotions that I cannot afford to live with if I am going to be present for my family. And as a good friend reminded me yesterday, the pain isn’t for a lifetime, I don’t need to be looking so far ahead. I only have to deal with it 24 hours at a time.

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5 reasons to stay out of fear and resentment

Life can change overnight, as I’ve experienced many times in my life, there will always be challenges to face and this is no different.

For now, without any real relief, it will be more a case of managing the emotional strain of being in constant pain while dealing with the job of parenting and knowing my limits of what I can and cannot do. I need to Stay out of fear, and stay out of resenting a situation I cannot control. If I can do that, I think It will be half the battle.

 

All men are as*holes? The angry mum’s destroying their children

It is a self-evident truth that men and women are different. We live in a world where this truth is becoming less tolerated as genders are becoming blurred to accommodate individual preference and growing trends. Boys are ever more demonized at school for being born with different hormones to girls and encouraged to see it as a bad thing.

I don’t mean men and women should be treated any differently. What I mean is that both have different spiritual qualities that if are consciously guided and nurtured as they grow, will form healthy men and women who will both bring different strengths into their lives, relationships and the families they might go on to raise. A child needs both in their lives.

I recently observed a bitter rant on Twitter from a single mum, with many other’s jumping in to add their agreed poisoned opinion that “They don’t need men in their lives, and all men are assholes” And these women may not want men in their lives for whatever reason, they may well have had experiences that added evidence to their claim. But what about the child? How healthy is it for a child to be raised in an over emotional mud swamp being taught to believe that all men are assholes.

To selfishly neglect a child from having a conscious male in their life will only ever cause damage because it is a decision made in anger and bitterness. And as for the child, the daughters will grow up with an ingrained distrust and anger towards men passed onto them by the woman who should be teaching her how to respect others. These girls will never form healthy relationships because the good men they find they will push away. And they will have to settle for what they understand. Selfish slugs of men who will only reinforce their learned beliefs that ALL men are assholes.

And as for the boy’s raised in the environments of angry mothers? How will they ever grow to have a healthy view of themselves? in short they won’t. The spirit they were born with will be snuffed out as they fight to find their identity in themselves and their place in the world, forever resenting and questioning who they are. They will be set on a path of confusion and frustration born from the anger and bitterness, transferred to them from the woman in their lives who should be raising them to embrace and respect themselves.

To deny a child the presence of a conscious man in their lives and to raise them to believe good men don’t exists amounts to child abuse. It’s no wonder more children are growing to be ever more stressed and confused with this type of pressure placed on them. Growing up is confusing enough in this ever more distracting world. The need for honesty, forgiveness and truth when raising children is needed as much as the two different spiritual dynamics that contribute to their emotional wellbeing.

There are good men and good women in the world, as there are bad. But unless we forgive those who have caused us upset and harms it is always others who will suffer from harbouring our resentments. And some resentments will cause more damage than others.

 

 

Where did our babies go?

The last four months I have been adjusting to living with chronic pain. It’s been a difficult time that has had me feeling separated from my family and life. Lost in worry and limbo as to the cause and my outlook for the future, I have been missing what’s in front of me.

The last time I checked we had three babies, who were finding their feet with walking and developing social skills, and who didn’t fight like Ferrel animals when we changed their nappies. I have realised this last couple of weeks, as I have returned back to earth that the babies are gone. That phase of their lives is behind them and it’s strange to think it’s now over.

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My wife said to me at can be difficult to move on from each stage as they grow. She said at can be almost like grief as you lose the little personality you had to a new and different one. One that no longer sits still to play but has figured out how to get on the sofa and run about and laugh at you when you sternly tell them to “Sit down or you’ll hurt yourself”.

We no longer have babies but toddlers. Blakely has finally began taking her own unaided steps, and with the other two charging about like miniature drunk rhino’s it’s safe to say they have lost the baby title.

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They may have become toddlers but along with their new stage in life comes a new set of personalities, and some serious high-octane entertainment, that without eyes in the back of our heads we would need a red line type bat phone to A&E. I love this stage they are now in though, they really are hilarious. Hard work but worth it in so many ways.

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The word of the day is “Lexa!”. The unison cry’s for the Amazon gadget can be heard through the baby monitor at bed time, and as soon as they awake. They still have their own language which is quickly expanding as they continue to communicate in a way we will never understand. It may be jibber-jabber to us, but they know exactly what they are on about. They have all now taken to dancing at every chance music comes on, busting out moves, pulling duck faces and mouthing along in song with a passion I’m proud to see as a musician and singer myself.

Having been at home off work has not been the ideal situation for us as a family, but in finding a little acceptance now around my health I have began to enjoy the fact I get to spend so much time with them. They are such bright lights it’s difficult to get lost in the dark for long.

Mental health screening for new dad’s. If you are a struggling dad, you need to read this

With ongoing public awareness of the increase in mental health problems in the U.K, and with frightening numbers of men committing suicide and growing campaigns for screening new dads. There is clearly a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

But what lies ahead in terms of help for those going into fatherhood who do choose to seek help for their problems? With little funding available for support groups the first port of call with depression is usually suggested to be the local GP. With a minimum waiting time of six months to speak to a professional, if you are suffering with depression or anxiety around the arrival of your child there will probably be little offer of anything more than drugs that can cause more problems in the long run.

Ironically there was a study funded by the pharmaceutical companies last year that concluded that more people who feel they may have depression should take antidepressants. But are medications that influence different chemicals in the brain to create a false sense of wellbeing really the only solution on offer? Sadly it seems that way.

You may be open enough to finding online support groups but then be overwhelmed in finding the experience of others walking the road you are facing as an expectant dad. The weight of the job head, and seeing that every parents situation is different, because every baby is not the same, can bring only more anxiety and fear. Many new dad’s feel alone with the pressures they face as all the focus is on mum, as it should be. Never the less, we face our own stresses and concerns. We can be closed books at the best of times, it can be difficult enough to reach out for help.

Men more than ever need to be present in the lives of their pregnant partners and newborn babies. Becoming overwhelmed by fears and anxieties during the pregnancy only adds extra pressure on a pregnant woman. An unstable emotional state in dad can bring problems and complications to mum’s health and that of  the baby she is carrying. awareness of what is in front of us as new fathers is vital to the health of our families.

The solution to depression in expectant fathers needs to be solved – fast. Women cannot be left to face the pressures of early motherhood alone. We fathers need to be emotionally present for the event. Not disconnected and lost in thoughts and fears.

Depression is simply a symptom of suppressed fear and resentment. We have emotionally reacted to events in the stream of life and stuffed down the negativity we experience. Like our fears and concerns around parenthood. This negativity culminates and creates and internal conflict. Big events or small events it makes little difference. They both have the same ability to disrupt something within us. suppression then creates the feelings you cannot shake under the surface and the thoughts you struggle with.

When these conflicts take hold we lose consciousness. It’s as if we fall asleep to the world around us as our awareness becomes shadowed by negative thoughts and worries. Self pity and doubt takes the place of a natural intuition. The more we suppress our problems, the more disconnect we feel to the people and situations in front of us. The less we are able to face life with courage. There has to be a way to safely face the trials life. And there is.

Recovering from depression, wether lost in the fears around becoming a dad for the first time, or going into fatherhood already suffering years of conflict within yourself is not the arduous mountain climb you would expept it to be. All it takes is a return to consciousness. Back to a place of neutrality where you are able to be present, free from negative thoughts and emotions. To reawaken to the now. Where life is happening and you are needed more than ever.

Now this isn’t a sales pitch. The solution I point to is completely free and available to anyone. No matter how much you may be suffering

Non contemplative meditation is like no other exercise out there. Through a simple practice we can observe thoughts and emotions. In the meditative state, there comes the natural ability to observe negativity without becoming overwhelmed. As suppressed negative emotions are expelled, suddenly meeting stress is no longer the cause of suffering. Because without hanging on, and being affected by the emotional pull of the events we have to face each day, we begin to build resilience.

Courage replaces fear and we are free to become the men of support our partners need, and the fathers our children deserve to have as they begin their own journeys into this turbulent world.

Life is never going to be easy, but neither should it break us from the inside out. If you are in desperate need of help, here it is. You don’t need to suffer in silence.

You really don’t need to suffer at all.

https://schwarzhoffmedia.com/non-contemplative-meditation/

 

I wasn’t really going insane – I was just a new parent

In my finding my own mental wellbeing through meditation I became aware more than ever of the impact my emotional state has not only on me, but those around me. It is an understanding I placed at the centre of my role as a husband to Stacey and father figure to Frankie. I became a father figure in Frankie’s life when she had just turned six, so there was a whole chunk of parenting that I had missed. The really hard part.

Then the triplets came along and our world turned upside-down. The emotional rollercoaster we were set on in those early days was always going to take its toll on me as I adjusted to a situation that I had no experience of. I had never changed a nappy in my life, or had to function on so little sleep. I feared for the strain it was putting on my marriage and was hard on myself for becoming overwhelmed with a situation I wanted from the first scan.

I was unable to meditate and stay conscious of the rising fears and doubts within myself because every time I closed my eyes I fell asleep. Without the meditation I was sliding into trouble, and that only brought more fear.

I had expectations of myself as a father and wasn’t living up to them. I began to resent myself. The changes were immense and brought more emotional pressure on my family than I could ever have imagined it would. And all I wanted, was to be consistent everyday as I was before the birth. To keep spending time with Frankie as I did before the trio came along and promised I would. I had an idea of how I wanted it to be for us all and I felt I was failing at my role. I was losing my emotional stability and finding self-pity.

It was a while before I awoke to how self-centred I had become in the expectations I had. I felt the cloak of depression descending on me because my wife had changed and I felt so distant from her, Frankie was also struggling to emotionally adjust and I was too tired, too lost in myself to be of real use. And worst of all I was making it all about me.

Yet all that had happened was that I had become a new parent, thrown into trenches with no experience and consumed by the demands of three dependant newborns.

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Lacey

It was my wife that brought the stability in the early days after she had struggled so much with the pregnancy. It was her experience and intuition as a mother that kept the family afloat as I adjusted and found my feet as a new dad.

My mistake was, and always has been to put expectations on myself and others, it only brings resentment. And it was a mistake I made again going into fatherhood. And being hard on myself just created more problems for me and my family.

We did pull through as a family as the babies settled into their routines and I let go of my expectations, wants and needs. When my focus shifted back to taking care of those around me and when my conciousness returned I was able to find my place again. life became easier for all of us . It was never going to be easy. But looking back I didn’t need to make it harder. Living a day at a time is enough, especially as a first time dad.

 

 

Aspergers and me

I have shared many personal thing’s about myself in this blog. In the hope they resonate with other parents who may be experiencing the same emotional difficulties and may be seeking a way to overcome them, and to let them know that they are not alone and that there is a solution.

There is however one aspect of my life that I rarely share with other’s. Partly because it’s too difficult to explain to someone who doesn’t live with it. And also because it’s something I rarely think about. Yet now as a parent it is something that crosses my mind more as I watch my daughters grow and develop.

At the age of 34 I was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome. Autism runs in my immediate family, so for me not to get coloured with a brush of a neurological difference in the way I see and process life would have been a small placed bet.

As I child I was problematic (only to others) as my ADHD caused issues with my schooling and home-life. My complete lack of concentration and inability to operate at less than a hundred miles an hour was not really understood, so I was seen as a problem child. I struggled to learn as others did. I took everything that was said literally which also caused me confusion. As a result, along with other emotional problems I was experiencing I quickly felt my difference and separation from the world around me.

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The world became confusing pretty quickly

I soon made the decision that to fit in I needed to learn from watching the way others acted and interacted, and do what they did. I didn’t always learn from the best examples or get it right. That acting became exhausting and caused depression and anxiety. I became a bit of an oddball. I was either over the top and taking things too far, or sinking into depression at my inability to be like I wanted to be. And then came alcohol. And with alcohol came a new freedom and answer to my social problems.

In retrospect my saving grace (although it didn’t seem it at that time) was that I left home early. Just before my 15th birthday. I was forced to learn to live in a world I didn’t understand with people I didn’t get. In truth it was alcohol that gave me all I needed to cope and get by. And without alcohol, the traits of Aspergers along with my other mental health problems made my inability to react with others and deal with the stresses of daily life stick out like a sore thumb. My frustration’s only grew with my feelings of seperation.

Getting diagnosed was like a one-tonne penny dropping. And since understanding Aspergers more I have come to understand myself more. And nothing has helped me deal with the anxieties that I experienced with it more than the mediation I practice, the one I share the link to on my menu page.

Occasionally my traits become apparent. Now and again my wife will jokingly tell me to ‘put my Aspergers away’, she is more aware of my traits then me at times.

Nowaday’s it affects me less, as over the years I have become more comfortable with myself and realised It’s okay not to have to force myself into situations I don’t want to be in. I’m still not overly comfortable in social situations (unless i’m performing as a misician), and tend to stay away from interacting with others. It takes an effort for me to do things that others do naturally. I’m a crap conversationist but I love to write. So I have found a road to expression in this blog and the book I have written.

People have told me there is a good chance that the triplets may find themselves on the autistic spectrum because I am. And I do think about it from time to time. Perhaps they will be – or maybe they won’t. Even so, there is nothing wrong in seeing the world from a different perspective than most. And if they are, at least I have the understanding now to support and guide them.