I've been hesitant for a while whether or not to write this blog, once something is out there it's out there isn't it.
However, I'm trying to raise my neurodivergent children to be proud of who they are and not hide anything about themselves, so I guess I'd be a hypocritical mother if I didn't share my story too.
I'm 37 years old and I think if you asked most people who thought they knew me they'd say I'm confident, outgoing and strong and whilst on the forefront that may be apparent if you really know me, and I mean REALLY know me you'd know that couldn't be further from the truth.
From my early teens I have struggled with my mental health and that's absolutely nothing to be ashamed of and I wouldn't change that knowing what I know now. It's made me who I am.
I have self-harmed (you'll notice I have a full sleeve tattoo and plenty more tattoos on my legs) and whilst I didn't necessarily have them to hide my scars from myself, it avoided the questions or judgment from other people. We live in a world where people are still judged for how they look no matter what.
I also struggled with bulimia, and it wasn't until recently I realised, I still have an eating disorder called ARFID (Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder) which goes hand in hand with previous eating disorders. It's not because I think I'm fat or because I'm obsessed with my appearance (before some judgemental person jumps on me) it's something I literally cannot control.
As we get older, I think we learn more about ourselves and understand that we don't all have to fit into this "normal" that society expects of us, and I've met so many people who actually understand me. That's come from being in a creative industry and learning about autism and adhd. Being around people like me who don't judge and are similar to myself.
My mind is never quiet. I don't mean just normal noises I mean it's constantly noisy - every single moment to the point I can't even get to sleep. The minute I wake up it starts. It makes me cry sometimes because it's overwhelming and I just want a few minutes to hear silence. Welcome to the adhd.
I can't sit still. I can't be bored. I have to be doing something. That in itself is draining (never mind the lack of sleep and 3 children) and because my mind is full of clutter, I have to have my surroundings tidy - welcome to the OCD.
I have anxiety - I won't go anywhere new on my own and this has got worse as I've got older. I don't like busy places and the thought of meeting new people literally makes me feel sick to my stomach. I over think every single scenario.
Someone said to me not long ago, if you're not confident and you have anxiety how do you do your job? That's the thing, my job Is the only thing I actually think I'm good at and I can do without really thinking about, it's second nature to me. I'm also not me. I'm Kath Evans photography. I do it day in day out and it's a replay every day. What you don't see is before the session I arrive 1 hour before to make sure everything is ready, of course everything's ready I have a studio it's all there! I go for a wee about 15 times haha! I message my other photography friend and she tells me I'll nail it (she's a gem).
I've been pregnant 10 times, but I only have 3 children. Miscarriages are brutal. It's not something I talk about to many people and probably many will be shocked if they read this but it's a part of my journey. My first born was an easy pregnancy with no problems apart from awful sickness all the way through (she was born at 42 weeks)
My 2nd pregnancy wasn't as plain sailing. At 28 weeks I was told I had Polyhydramnios (where there is too much amniotic fluid around the baby during pregnancy) and Obstetric cholestasis (a disorder that affects your liver during pregnancy).
He had to be delivered at 32 weeks and I was induced, thankfully the induction was fast (16 mins), but he spent 2 weeks in NICU which was incredibly hard as I had to leave him there as I had my daughter at home.
I would visit him a few times a day, but this took a toll on my mental health, and I suffered with post-natal depression.
My 3rd pregnancy I was warned that the same problems would likely re occur and at 26 weeks, they did.
I made it to 36 weeks this time and after another fast induction (22 mins) he arrived safely and needed no support from the NICU.
I breastfed all of my children, the longest until 2.5 years old. I was faced with judgment from those who didn't breastfeed. It was tough from someone who was already emotionally, mentally and physically on edge.
I'm filled with self-doubt. I guess that may be hard to believe for some. I've done well for myself don't get me wrong. I've built a successful business up on my own whilst having 3 children and a home to look after. I've won numerous awards and I'm super proud of them, but I always get that imposter syndrome. I never feel like I deserve them.
I'm not sure if that feeling will ever go away, it's horrible I wish I could just enjoy what I've got but I just can't.
I guess the point of this blog is in the title - you never really know someone. You should always be kind because people are facing battles that you may not realise.
For all the people young or older who may look up to me, I'm posting this for you, if I can do it believe me you can to.
Push yourself because no one else will, cry if you need to and then wipe those tears and start again.
Most importantly - be you, your own you whatever that looks like - it's amazing x
So, holidays are supposed to be a relaxing break away from the fast-paced race of life, the stress of bills, the early morning wake up calls and the endless bickering and squabbles of the kids complaining that they're bored. If you've got kids, you'll probably be laughing along with me as I wrote that knowing full well it all comes along with you times by ten. Not only are they filled with excitement and sugar, but I swear the little minions spawn into these crazy little demons determined to make you never want another holiday EVER AGAIN. Add into that a yappy dog who hates people, hates other dogs just generally hates life, and a husband who wakes up stressed and moans about everything.
Let's start at the beginning. I pack the week before we go. My stuff and the kids' stuff because I have to be prepared. The husband packs the night before, which infuriates me because how can one live life on the edge like that, you can tell opposites attract here can't you! The day before we leave, I have to clean the house and empty the fridges and clean those too, all the while everyone wondering why on earth I'm doing this - we won't be here what does it matter? Surely, I'm not the only one who does this? Everyone cleans before they leave for a week right?
Within 10 minutes of being in the car the kids are moaning, one of their siblings is breathing on them, touching them, annoying them, generally in their space. How long till we get there, I need a wee, I'm hungry, I'm thirsty, I NEED A GIN!
We arrive at the caravan and already the kids are arguing over who's sleeping where. I'm tempted to sleep in the car. They're hungry and we didn't bring food, schoolboy error 101.
We head to the beach, one thing that really gets on my nerves is people who don't keep their dogs on leads. I don't care how well behaved your dog is I just don't care. It's irresponsible on a beach full of young children and other dogs, I don't even care If the signs say you can let your dog off a lead. People cannot control their dogs, and this was blatantly obvious within 2 mins of being there with the number of dogs who came up to see my dog who was of course ON A LEAD! I'm a dog lover, however you've no idea how unpredictable they're behaviour will be when faced with screaming children and other dogs who may or may not take kindly to having their buts sniffed. My dog is a little dog who thinks she's rocky balboa and she's feisty so needless to say she doesn't appreciate a dog 6 times the size of her checking her out.
2 of my kids have Sensory issues (along with myself) so having sand in their shoes made for an unpleasant and rather funny moment of them laughing and fretting. Cue us making a plan to buy beach shoes. We decided to make a bet of who was going to actually go into the sea up to their knees and because money was involved the kids decided they would go in right up to their shoulders, crazy things - it was freezing. Cue the moaning afterwards when they realised the walk back to the caravan meant they'd have to wear Said clothes which were now soaking and freezing and covered in wet sand.
Of course, it wouldn't be a holiday in Wales without rain would it. Have you even been stuck in a caravan with 3 kids, a dog and your husband? Give. Me. Strength.
Doesn't someone always get hurt on holiday? My youngest decided he wasn't going to look where he was walking and as it had been raining the decking steps were super slippy he went flying down them resulting in him scrapping his back down the bottom two and hitting his bum on the bottom one. Oh. My. God.
Can anyone else not sleep in strange or new places? We are all exhausted. Between the new noises, uncomfortable beds, uncontrollable temperature of the caravan none of us have managed to get any decent sleep so far. My dog isn't keen and she's sulking around wondering what the hell is going on with life.
Finally, some sunshine, thankfully the beach is only a few minutes' walk away so it's easy to do a few trips a day down to the sea. It feels like it's minus 50 degrees in there, but the kids just pile straight in, even though they come out looking like they have hypothermia they have fun at least.
We go into the town and feel like proper tourist with our little rucksacks in tow.
Anyone else find their kids eat SO much food when they're away. They've not stopped, like seriously how are they still hungry! Mind if they're eating, I suppose they're not arguing!
Overall - although I find holidays stressful it's nice to have a break from work and take the kids away from technology.
Of course, I took my camera because I can't resist getting some nice shots on the beach! I'm looking forward to getting back into work mode because I'm re charged and ready to go x
So, I've been told blogging is the in thing now - there's so much to keep up with these days!
When you first become self-employed you dive into this self-delusional world thinking you can pick and choose your hours, take as many holidays as you'd like, and basically have a great work life balance. Man, if only I could roll back 14 years and laugh at myself when I first started this rollercoaster of a journey!
It seems admin, website, Facebook, Instagram, emails, TikTok and now blogging has become a forefront of the business even though I'm a photographer, go figure? Not sure that's what I had signed up for but OK, some of it I don't mind but the rest, urgh it's mentally draining.
This is my first blog, and already I'm off on a tangent because if you've not already guessed I've got adhd so staying focused on one task is kind of challenging especially if I don't find it particularly thrilling. I do however enjoy writing so perhaps blogging should be an easy one for me.
A little about me. I'm 37, I have three children aged 14, 11 and 8.... 2 of whom have autism and adhd and the youngest is just plain crazy (clearly take after their mother) and one crazy little cockapoo who may as well be my 4th child.
I've always been into my creative arts be it painting, photography, drama, and music and I'm happiest when I've got my camera in my hand. My mind is always busy, and I don't like to be bored.
I'm known as the baby whisperer; I can read newborns better than most adults. I have a calming nature and I find this quite funny seeing as I'm normally quite hyperactive due to the adhd, but newborns seem to calm me, and I seem to calm them.
Work is my life; I'd like to say I have a good work life balance but I'm an all or nothing kind of person. I put everything into my little business, and it's just me behind the brand. After all, no one can quite do it as perfect as yourself can they x