Marriage After Trauma – How We Coped

When I talk about my relationship I always use the term “the things we’ve been through should have broken us” but it didn’t. Having two pregnancies that included bleeds and a rare pregnancy condition, a stroke diagnosis in a newborn, two brain surgeries in three months, an emergency c-section that resulted in me losing 4 litres of blood and our babies heart-stopping and a two-week stay in neonatal where our baby was ventilated. This was all in two years.

We had an original plan to have three children but after all that has happened, we’ve decided that two healthy (ish) children are all the children we’re going to have. In all honesty, there was an element of me that felt totally irresponsible when I got pregnant with Holly. We didn’t know how Poppy was going to develop and the idea of adding another baby into that mix was daunting. Not her being born but I was scared that I would have another complicated pregnancy. Which I did.

I look at Oliver (my husband) and think “wow” how have we managed this, and I wonder what I did in a previous life to deserve such an amazing partner and father to our children. He works hard and makes sacrifices that sometimes means he doesn’t spend as much time with our girls as he’d like. But he’s working to provide our children with a future we both want.

This is a picture of us from our recent honeymoon to Florence, Italy. Our other Italian holiday was nearly three years ago and it amazes me to think how different our lives were then compared to now. And I thought that I’d be missing the life we had 3 years ago. But I don’t. I love and appreciate this man more than I ever have done or than I knew it was possible.

Not only that but we have much better quality conversations, about meaningful, important things. And that to me is so valuable. We don’t always agree on everything we talk about. But we don’t argue, we just value each other’s opinion.

We are very much a 50/50 team, without each other we’d be screwed. We are genuinely each other’s other halves. And I honestly love that. Before Oliver, I was fiercely independent to the point where I’d rather struggle by myself than accept any help. It was only until we got married this year that I finally felt comfortable with our financial situation and realised that being a stay and home mum until our girls are in school is valuable.

The biggest thing I’ve learnt from all the trauma we have been through as a couple is to not sweat the small stuff. Things that would have annoyed me a few years ago don’t even bother me. And if something begins to annoy me, I step back and think “I could be stood here, childless and without a husband, but we got this far, that’s what’s important” and that annoyance soon disappears. That wouldn’t work for everyone, but be really grateful for what you have in those moments and I promise it helps.

We both haven’t had the biggest family set up during our own childhoods, mine is definitely lacking more than Olivers. So surrounding our children with the best quality family as often as we can is a big priority for us. We don’t need people to see our children all the time, we just need them to care and love them from where ever they are. And those people that are present do just that. Now that doesn’t mean everyone who was around in my first pregnancy is around now, but that is for good reason.

My main aim for my children is to give them stability in whatever way they need it, there’s also a lot of other things I hope to provide for them but stability is definitely a big one. And I may not always make the right decisions but if I’ve given them a stable upbringing I’ll happy with that and Oliver is definitely a massive part in making that possible.

So I love you, Mr Swan, this is a little post for you.

Your wife Danielle Swan x