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Follower Focus: The Windsors

We have so many fantastic followers on social media. Each and every one of them has an amazing story to tell and we wanted to share some here on thebreakingdad.co.uk. Our first ever Follower Focus is from one of our earliest followers, @WindsorFamLife, an amazing mum of five from Dorset!

I’m Gemma, 40 and a Mum of five from sunny Dorset on the South Coast, married to Darren and together we make up The Windsor Family!

My eldest daughter, Lottie (Charlotte) is 16 and she was diagnosed as having autism in June 2019. My eldest son, James is 15 and was born with Down Syndrome. My youngest son, Ollie (Oliver) is 13 and my youngest two daughters, Emily and Lucy are 7 and 5.

So, if your maths is good, you will have worked out that I had James when I was just 25, which isn’t at all common, as most women that have babies born with Down Syndrome are older mothers.

Darren and I met in 2002 and we had bought our first house together just a year later! A year later again in 2004 we had our first child and in 2005 we got married.

This brings us to December 2005, when we bought our next home and within 2 weeks of moving in we had James!

We didn’t know James had Down Syndrome and at the 12 week scan (which was the day before our wedding) they told me that I had a 1:400 chance of having a baby with Down Syndrome. Not to worry they said, you are very young! So we didn’t think of it again, until the night before I went for my C- section when it suddenly popped into my head! However as quick as the thought was there it was gone again as it was exciting to be meeting our second child.

James was born 5 days before Christmas and as they laid him on my chest in the operating theatre I was going cross eyed looking at his little nose trying to work out whose nose he had as it didn’t look like mine or Darren’s.

In recovery I tried to latch James on for a breast feed but he was so floppy and sleeping, he just wasn’t interested. So the nurse did his baby check on him instead and said to try feeding him again later.

While they did his baby check, a nurse brought me some toast and a drink, so I tucked into that not really watching the baby check but Darren however was watching and later told me they were spending extra time this time compared to our first baby’s check.

A few minutes later, the midwife went off to get a second opinion of another midwife. It was at this point they said they think our baby may have Down Syndrome as he showed several physical characteristics.

  • A flattened face, especially the bridge of the nose
  • Almond-shaped eyes that slant up
  • A short neck
  • Small ears
  • A tongue that tends to stick out of the mouth
  • Small hands and feet
  • A single line across the palm of the hand (palmar crease)
  • Small pinky fingers that sometimes curve toward the thumb
  • Poor muscle tone and loose joints

There are several different characteristics and James had most so they said they would send for a blood test to confirm if he had Down Syndrome but it would be 5 days for the results.

We took one look at him and it was like the penny had dropped! That’s why we couldn’t quite place his little nose, why he couldn’t latch to breastfeed and why he was so sleepy.

They then said he needed warming up and a tube feed of some formula as he hadn’t fed since birth, so they popped him in the hot cot for the night while I was on the ward expressing breastmilk like fury!

I didn’t get to hold him again until the next morning which was really hard. Once I was able to get up and walk I was straight in to see him and it wasn’t long before he was on the ward with me again.

We stayed in hospital for 6 days, which included Christmas Day which was heart wrenching as it was our first Christmas in our new house and our baby girl was at home without her Mummy on Christmas morning.

We came home Boxing Day night once James had finally managed a bottle feed and had his tube removed!

It hit Darren hard the first day he was told James had Down Syndrome and he came home and cried.

For me, it was a case of carrying on being James’ Mummy. He was a baby who needed me. However as the months went on and all my other baby friends’ children hit their milestones, it started to sink in that James had Down Syndrome and what this meant for him. It hit me hard around 6 months – I went onto antidepressants and was at an all time low.

However with time and support, I got better and excited that James is just an absolute superstar!

He is 15 now and has proved to me he can do anything he wants to in life!

If you’d like to share your story, drop us an email on [email protected] and let’s talk!

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Nawal Houghton Divorce Coach
Guest Posts

Guest Post: Is Narcissism All That Bad?

This is an exciting one for us this week, as Nawal Houghton from Your Divorce Coach has kindly written our first ever guest post on TheBreakingDad.co.uk on a subject I think many people will be interested in – particularly those who are going through separation.

If you’d like to feature as a guest blogger drop me an email.

Ah yes this word “Narcissism”, it’s everywhere isn’t it? And certainly for me as an expert at divorcing/separating from narcissists, it’s the main reason my clients come to me seeking clarity and strategy in their divorce process.

Some of you may have heard some horrific stories about people having narcissistic parents, members of family, co-workers, bosses and even partners. I am willing to bet that for the most part, all you’ve heard is the bad stuff, I mean all you have to do is Google Narcissism and it’s all bad, bad, bad.

Just in case you don’t know what we are talking about here, Narcissism is a personality disorder where a person has an exaggerated sense of self, a deep need for attention from others and a total lack of empathy amongst a long list of other traits.

I am going to pivot slightly here now.

Narcissism isn’t always bad. There is ‘Healthy Narcissism’.

So hear me out and this may shock you. The vast majority of us are Narcissistic to some degree.

If we weren’t we wouldn’t brush our teeth, go to the hairdresser, go clothes shopping for the latest trends, and other run-of-the-mill daily tasks that we have come to accept as perfectly normal.

This is good, healthy Narcissism.

Healthy Narcissism is related to self-esteem and self-worth.

Narcissism needs to be identified looking on a spectrum.

On one end, you do have the malignant, covert Narcissists who will manipulate, gaslight and abuse you in order to achieve total control over you.

At the other end, there is healthy Narcissism. This is what we need to be conscious of when we talk about Narcissism.

We need to be careful about branding the word around and really try to understand what arena we are talking in and where on the spectrum this Narcissism that you are experiencing is falling on.

We almost need to be Narcissistic in everyday life.

Let’s talk real life. We are currently living in a pandemic. After a shocking rise in mental health cases around the world, the need to feel good is key.

If we are able to experience feeling joyful at these difficult times, then this is an example of when Narcissism is a good thing.

People have come to realise that Narcissism is acceptable to some degree in most aspects of our lives. For example, the need to big ourselves up a bit when we are in job interviews; my goodness we’ll even do this on a date.

Does this mean we are narcissistic? Again, it’s all about where they fall on the spectrum.

If Narcissism allows you to be more self-confident about certain things then again depending on how it is being used, that’s no bad thing.

We can spend hours scrolling through images and videos on the likes of Instagram, TikTok and Facebook, is everyone on there Narcissistic?

No, not everyone.

Yes, their selfies are exhausting, the display of perfect faces, bodies and lives hitting us at our core and causing us to come to realise the difference between Real life vs Insta life.

But, what do we know of their stories?

What do we know of their struggle?

There are so many factors we need to consider.

Perhaps what you may consider Narcissism is someone’s personal battle with their self-esteem and what you are seeing is their expression of gratitude.

Maybe if we were grateful about ourselves, would we have the ability to see their actions for something else other than egoism?

So how do I tell the difference?

If we think that we are dealing with someone narcissistic, what do we need to ask ourselves when we are trying to identify if we think we are dealing with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Consider the traits that you are looking at.

When trying to identify whether someone is Narcissistic, look at their behaviour.

What are the traits that you are seeing?

  • Are they verbally abusive? Are they mentally abusive?
  • Are they unable to understand the consequences of their actions?
  • Do they project?
  • Do you feel manipulated?
  • Do you feel unsafe?
  • Do you feel controlled?
  • Does it feel like you are walking on eggshells all the time?

These are all strong red flags and warning signs that you are dealing with a narcissist – And this where I help my clients.

Divorcing a Narcissist is harder than being married to one.

If you need help divorcing or separating from a toxic personality and/or Narcissist, then please feel free to contact me at [email protected]

Nawal offers a free 15 minute discovery call and you can check out her Instagram for free daily content.

You can also download of her ‘Top 20 Phrases to use when communicating with a Narcissist’ on her website: www.yourdivorcecoach.org.uk.

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