First of all I am going to be honest in saying I never wanted to be a parent.
I was brought up with my aunt and uncle who I called mum and dad after I was removed from my real parents because of abuse and neglect.
I've kind of grew up to not be ashamed of saying that now and when people ask me then give me that look of them not wishing they had and say that awful word ''sorry'' as if it was a dirty secret I didn't want to reveal, I have to tell them '' I'm ok'' and ''I've learnt to deal with it''.
Fact of the matter is I have learnt to deal with it although there are always going to be days where I remember how much hurt it still causes and how much the things that have happened still to this day effect me, I feel I have learnt to balance the good that came out of the bad .
My past is my past and I've been through some pretty shitty things but I'm not here to go through absolutely everything , I don't feel I need to try to explain it all now I've grown to just try and let it lie but although I have had a small amount of people there to help me through life from then, it still seems very much a lonely one except for the fact I have my ow family now who are my only compfort.
From being only 7 years old I seem to remember only ever having my mum , dad , brothers Michael and Trevor and older sister Glynis and of course the many Social services , weekend respite carers and councillors that came and went .
I loved my new family so much and they were the only family I could ever truly feel I belonged to.
I seemed to have a new social worker etc every two month and over the span of 10 years I must have had so many I cant actually ever remember one name other than the one man that stuck in my head after an encounter where he totally changed my life for the worse during my teenage years .
See I was not an only child , in fact I did have a younger sister who I literally played mum to before we were removed and added to the care systems list. She was two years younger than me and I was placed in one aunts home and she the other.
We made regular holidays visits to see each other and we grew up never having that sister bond, infact councillors warned for us to never be placed together and marked us down as chalk and cheese and a danger to each other if we were ever put together.
It is not the fact that we simply just did not like each other but I think the obvious way she was always made out to be the favourite by our birth parents made me spill more hate for the fact she made me feel unwanted . I suppose I merely became that child that was pushed to one side as a new child came into the equation and as the younger one was being smothered with effection , I seemed to be the one being pushed out .
We were aloud supervised visits with our real mum, she rarely turned up and one Christmas I remember meeting her in a nursery which was used on rare occasions for times like this.
I remember being very young only about 8 or so and being excited not to see her but to see my sister .
You see, even being very small , I was never truly able to let go for what she had done to us before we were removed and if I'm truly honest never had that mother / daughter bond.
I suppose it stems from being locked in a bedroom at age 5 while you know shes left you alone to go out , you only know that because you hear her falling in drunk hours later and with numerous men at that. She never made me feel protected ,in fact when I was with her I felt so scared and alone , so much so it still scares me now being alone .
There were many occasions where my Aunty who eventually became my mum picked me up from school because she forgot about me. I would walk to school on my own at age 6-7 and she would not pick me up so my aunty would and then only a week later when she returned home would she come crawling back to get us.
It was not much longer after that ,I was about 7, that my baby brother died from SIDS (sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and our neglect was highlighted and brought to the attention more that my aunty took me to live with her and her family.
Anyway, so I was so excited to see my sister and our real mother turned up.
We were told that she would be bringing our christmas presents and when I seen a big black back in her hand I gave the biggest smile ever.
All I ever wanted was to be accepted, loved and thought about and although this looked like a small gesture from her and not anywhere near the mother I desperately seeked.
She soon took that smile and turned it into a frown when that big black bag was passed with tons of presents to my younger sister .
I stood there waiting for her to pass me one ,maybe she had another in the car and was just letting her open hers first.
Maybe theres one in there for me right at the bottom.
I sat there hiding inside the nursery role play toy phone booth alone watching my younger sister rip open every present in excitement and our mother watch her every move with that look I never seen her give me.
I know now that look was a mothers love , she never looked at me like that,ever.
I remember being sat there so upset and staring at the look on her face hoping she would turn it to me ,I so desperately wanted her to just turn around, " Just look at me please" , I kept saying to her in my head, but when she did it was not the same look.
At 8 years old I realised the look my mother gave me was not that of love but infact hate!
At just 8 years old it was then I realised she was not my mother and I infact hated her too.
I forgave her for the neglect,
I forgave her for letting me feel scared ,
I forgave her for allowing me to be abused and even forgave her for her abusing me but that was it.
I decided then to never want to see her again . That look of emptiness ,that dead stare of loneliness was the one sure thing that made me realise I was alone.
I grew up trying to forget her and my aunty and auncle brought me up as their own.
I finally found what I had always wanted and that look I so desperately seeked for came from my new mam every single day.
It felt amazing and I never wanted it to end. Finally I had a mam and she loved me.
We spent so much time together, I went everywhere with her and the happy memories of us dancing to hot chocolate or Shakespear sisters doing the side shuffle in the hallway together will always stay.
When I was 11 and had just started my new school , my new mum and dad lost their eldest son. He was my big brother and I wrote my letter to him while he was away working in the Army not long before that , his reply letter is all I have left of him now .
The social services thought it best that I was to go and stay with my sister in a different city while they grieved for the loss.
We agreed that after his funeral that I would attend , I would return home.
He was amazing and he had an amazing big brother taken too soon from us , I know it broke mam and dads hearts so much but I had to be strong and let them grieve so I left hoping to be back in a week or two max .
My dad and I still come to tears when we get flashbacks of that day we attended Newton Aycliffe's Young persons Centre .
We attended a meeting not even 1 week later that was arranged immediately by social services where we presumed was for me to return home after but instead I was literally dragged screaming away from my dad to another room where they informed me I was not able to return and instead I was to be rehomed like a lost dog because the system decided it was in my best interest.
Those words still make me so angry. MY BEST INTERESTS? "LIERS!"
I have and always will hold Social services fully responsible for breaking my heart and turning me into the nightmare teenager I soon became.
I turned to hate everyone and came up with this sad unfortunate thinking that if I became close to anyone they would either get rid of me or die.
Being somewhere I did not want to be and being left to feel alone once again made me feel so angry .
I had fought for so long to have a family then had it ripped from under my feet instantly made me rebel.
I started to do things like smoking, drinking, taking drugs, self harming and hanging about with boys to get that attention back I so desperately needed . I misbehaved in school and at my aunties and fought daily with my younger sister. My aunty tried so hard with me but I simply just wanted to go home and Social services denied any possibility of that ever being able to happen.
I made my teenage years a nighmare for any parent and I promised myself I would never ever have children .
People kept saying it's a circle effect.
Basically because my real parents regected me that it was only natural for me to do the same if I became a mother too and so remembering that hurt myself , I knew instantly I never ever wanted to have anyone feel like that ever.
After begging to go back home through all of my comprehensive years I finally ran away, two days I wandered the streets of Sunderland before eventually getting my friend to steal a bike so I could attempt to ride 45 miles back to my family.
I was only 16, terrified, cold and lost and after reaching just 23 miles before being so scared that I stopped at the only place open at 11.30pm ,I decided to hand myself in .
The police had been looking for me for 2 days and I was classed as missing .
After spending 6 hours at a police while they tried to get hold of someone ,I fell asleep exhausted in a side room. There was no way I was going back after all that
Early hours in the morning, I was finally put into a car and reunited with my family I had so desperately been trying to get to.
Seems once your 16 years old the care system allow you to make your own choices and then dump you like the many social service ,carers and councilors before.
It was like I had never left although the loss of my brothers presence was definitely noticed , my mam and dad had a trophy cabinet made which held his beret and a british flag along with some of his other bits and bobs and it brought a little comfort to me knowing we were some what back altogether .
I moved in with my older sister Glyn and we grew amazingly close .
Mam and dad made me feel like one of the family again and I tried to spend as much time as I could with them .
I had signed up to join the Army before leaving Sunderland and so within months as soon as I was 16 I was in there doing the best I could to try and make them proud of me.
In all honesty I just wanted to be like my big brothers who were also in the army but I simply just could not cut it and only 6 months later I was medically discharged .
I moved back in with mam and dad and as soon as I was 18 I was given quite a generous compensation sum.
No matter what people say , compensation does not make things better , my past always creeps up with me and I have some really bad days where I remember or have flashbacks from some of the traumas I hide from my close ones. I simply just get on with it , it's part of me and it's part of my learning process I still deal with.
I spent it all on furnishing my new home and taking my mam and dad on holiday for a week to Turkey and we had a fabulous time.
Two years later mam and dad turned up to the birth of first child and were right there with me , mum holding my hand by the side of the birthing pool as I gave birth to my first daughter, their first grand daughter. The most amazing experience anyone could ever have and I wanted them with me all the way . My mum was amazing and it was as if we were so close she was feeling my pain .
As my contractions ended , she said she could feel my pain and it was as if hers were starting and so we fought for the gas and air through our rally .
We laughed, cried and then cried some more , most amazingly they held my daughter and saw her being born and for the first time I gave her that look that my mam beside me gave me.
A memory never forgot but cherished as soon after my mum found out that Cancer had taken her and only three months later she was gone from all of our lives.
The most amazing woman ever , the only person to ever understand me and give me love I desperately needed. The only person who has ever shown me THAT LOOK.
Looking back now , I can see it so much more clearly.
My life was a test. I proved to myself that not only can I be loved but I can also love others. More importantly love my children and that nature does not mean I will follow that cycle that others feared I would.
There is not one time ever I have looked at my children with that stare or hate and emptiness. I love them all too much to hurt them .
Obviously I am not going to lie.
It is not easy being mum to 8 and I don't think there is ever a time I get some me time, I certainly do not get time to go out with friends , treat myself to nice things or even do things most people take for granted .
I barely sleep , worry constantly about the kids getting ill or falling down and my clothes are older than the kids themselves and don't even fit no more as I've let myself go a little, feed them before myself if need be but that is a sacrifice a mother makes.
I don't favour one child over another , leave one out on special occasions or give them that look of hate.
So when you look at me with my 8 little ones, don't judge me on why you think I might have so many kids but think of those kids who are judged for being unwanted because me and our children will never feel alone again as long as we have each other.
You're only ever as alone as you make yourself feel.