Thursday, 31 January 2019

Young Carers Day - Our Story Of A Child Carer

Today is Young Carers day and it is a subject that always touches my heart because Kim was a young carer from about the age of 5 years old. This fills me with the utmost guilt and its even worse when I say it out loud because I feel like I failed as a parent because I should have been caring for her, not the other way round.

I had a breakdown after my husband left, I held it together for about two years because I was determined to prove that I could do this on my own and I didn't want to give him an excuse to take the kids away. This was 23 years ago when he left and like I said I functioned okay-ish for 2 years before it finally came to me falling apart. I remember it all like it was yesterday, I was such a bitch to my kids. Not that I did it on purpose but I was having a breakdown and I didn't even know I was doing it. I would get out of bed with them in the mornings and go downstairs, where I would then sleep on the sofa for the day.

Kim would be in charge of making her brother and sister some lunch and getting them drinks. Sometimes she would even get me something to eat. Her sister was 2 years old and her brother was 3 and a half. Even as adults we struggle to look after kids of that age, can you imagine having to do it when you're a kid yourself? I was lucky and I got help and although Kim had become a mother hen for her younger siblings, she didn't get left to care for them anymore whilst I slept the days away. It's funny because people used to say that I was such a good mum, yet here I was struggling to hold it all together.

There are so many kids out there that are carers to their parents and nobody knows, nobody can see what's hidden behind your closed doors, can they? So because people didn't know, Kim didn't get the support she needed. These days its great to see agencies that help young carers and their families. Even Matilda's school has sessions for child carers.

Kim became a carer for me again when she was 18 after I had Tilly and was suffering from severe PND, but this time she was also caring for her newborn baby sister. I developed severe anxiety and Kim became my support person, the person I could rely on and the person who would hold my hand as I stepped out of the door. She became my rock. This time however we had a support network put in place for her too, she went to see someone weekly where she would go to laugh, cry and shout with all of the pressure she was under. I took a part of her childhood away without even realising it, I will NEVER forgive myself for that.

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