Everything Happens For A Reason

When I fell pregnant with twins nearly 11 years ago it was quite a shock and I remember bursting into tears when the sonographer told me there were 2 heartbeats. There were no twins in my family and for just a few seconds I felt a little scared! I soon began to get excited and started planning for my multiple birth. However at around five and a half months pregnant I became really unwell and was admitted to hospital with liver disease and an enlarged spleen. The doctors thought I had hepatitis A as I had been abroad and this can be contracted through eating and drinking. I was discharged home a few days later after the doctors decided my symptoms were viral. Unfortunately I had contacted Cytomegalovirus (cmv) and my beautiful twins were born 3 months early with congenital CMV which a lot of people aren’t aware of, but it is one of the biggest causes of deafness, blindness and learning difficulties.

Three years ago I had a pretty good life,  I had a career that I loved as a clinical specialist nurse and a very happy home life. Bringing up five children on my own brought challenges of course but so many happy days too! Back then I didn’t really have the best understanding of chronic illnesses, I specialised in psychiatric disorders in children and I knew my mental health but little knowledge of chronic illnesses and how life altering they can be.

So when I was hit off my feet in 2013 it came as a hard shock to my system. I spent days, weeks and months on the sofa which even now is still quite a blur to me. That very same year my eldest son was diagnosed with autism and my youngest son was severely bullied. My world fell apart and the only thing I could do was to remove my three children from school and homeschool them.

A few very good friends and my ‘online family’ helped me through those dark months. I lost family and friends because I was not able to explain why I was not showing up to life or being there for them like I used to be.

Slowly a picture of my health problems was formed and a year later I was diagnosed with a few chronic illnesses. My children settled into a new school and I set up a business to help my son sleep. I taught myself to sew using my mum’s sewing machine sat on my lounge floor. I created a brand new product that’s helped children with special needs like my son, physical disabilities and something that could be used for sleepovers, camping and a general space saver. I got my product protected by the IPO and my business was born.

The Cuddle Bed Company (formerly Snugglebedz) became something I could focus on and craft became my friend. I taught myself how to sew in zips, make cushions, blankets, floor mats and beanbags until I had a whole range of products.

Over the last few months I have learnt how to juggle my business and my illnesses. I sew whilst my children are at school and I manage my symptoms the best I can.  If I didn’t have fibromyalgia, malabsorption syndrome, chronic fatigue and arthritis I would never have my business and I would not have been around for my family when they really needed me.

Believe me life can be a struggle but I can save my ‘spoons’ and gather them up when I need too. I am proud to be a spoonie and I love being able to create, design and provide a product that I truly believe can make a difference.

By Chrissie Lowery

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