Jane’s Caring Story

Becoming a carer for my husband is something I knew may happen, but I thought I would be retired with grown up children – not mid 30s with two young children. I don’t think anyone is ever fully prepared to take on the challenges a caring role brings, but we muddle through as best we can.

There are times when muddling through is not enough. It can be that I’m not feeling well myself or I have to be up through the night with one of my children or my husband. Being tired, stressed, unwell or stretched too thin can make even the simplest tasks too much. On those days I find myself avoiding eye contact with other parents or teachers in the playground – scared someone will ask how I am, causing me to fall apart in public. It can be lonely, even when I’m surrounded with people.

I found Portsmouth Carers Service quite by accident scrolling through Facebook. I had never heard of them or ever been offered any kind of support from GPs and other professionals, so I was interested to see what they were all about. What got me was the photos of carers at the cookery sessions – they all had such happy faces. Smiling and laughing, just having fun. It made me think that I could have that too. So I sent them a message.

After a few messages back and forth, I arranged to have a carer’s assessment. Having a conversation with someone who understands made me realise that I haven’t been looking after myself. Even things like eating/drinking properly. I realised that I am not alone, it is okay to ask for help or to say I’m struggling.

I am still a work in progress – I haven’t been brave enough to go to a cookery session yet. But with the help of my keyworker, I am working on my own health and wellbeing. I have been going swimming and asked grandparents to help with the children so I can have a bit of time. Even 10 minutes here and there just helps me destress. I think it makes me a better carer for my husband, a better mum for my children and a better me for me!

Written by Jane, a carer from Portsmouth. September 2022.