I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but when I first became a mum two years ago, overnight I lost my sense of worth and identity. It was as if I no longer mattered, as my entire world was turned upside down and inside out, with no room for the person I’d been before J arrived.
My Health Visitor picked up on it quite succinctly when she said, “You know that you’re still Nicola, don’t you, and not just J’s mum?” It was one of the many wake-up calls that I needed to try and get myself back on track.
I was determined to shift the four stone that I’d gained whilst pregnant. I’m usually petite, and went from that to my ‘Jabba the Hut’ phase whilst I was pregnant. Afterwards, I had the will power of an Ox, and because I was on maternity leave and had no money, I did a swap for services with a personal trainer, in return for photographs. She really helped me on my journey to lose the weight and slowly but surely I started running again.
It was whilst I was out running one day that it occurred to me how special it was that my four month-old had recently stopped a little girl from crying. Just by reaching out, holding her hand and then smiling to her. It was incredibly powerful.
It also made me think, what if there was such a boy who could do that all the time? Through small acts of kindness, what impact would he have on the world?
Not long afterwards, I sat down during a two hour lunchtime nap, and I wrote the first draft of James and the Amazing Gift.
It’s about a boy who loves to spread happiness and joy wherever he goes. His amazing gift is that when you come into contact with him, he will smile, and you will feel instantly happy.
It’s a simple premise but when you consider that children smile almost ten times as much as adults, there is a big take away in there for us adults too!
I always thought that I would be a writer. It’s the most natural thing in the world to me. But somewhere between school, university and life, I explored other paths; Broadcast Journalism, Communications, Photography. Always though, it’s been the writing that has been at the core of everything.
Being able to write, has definitely given me back my sense of worth and identity. It’s not something that just happened overnight, and there have been a lot of hurdles to overcome along the way.
But if I’m really honest, I’d have to say my ‘Amazing Gift’ is my son.
Without him, I wouldn’t have been inspired to write. And without him, I wouldn’t be a published author. The story is dedicated to him, and I’m grateful every day that he’s here, and has been able to show me the way back to being me, without even realising it.