I have so many friends that are heroes to me for so many reasons that I have wondered where to start. But I want to start with my friend Eleanor.
She is an amazing mum of 2 and a midwife in her other life. I have known her through church and our work with young people for over 8 years I think! We got on from the first time we met and have the same sense of humour and love of a bargain. We have had a similar upbringing in the Christian faith too - knowing the Bible is important to us and some may say we have quite set ideas on certain biblical principles!
Eleanor is my voice of reason quite a lot and she is someone who I can be completely myself with despite the fact I know she will be totally honest with me and tell me how it is, whether I want to hear it or not!! I know she totally cares about me and wants me to be the best I can be.
She is someone who I share a lot of parenting values with and I feel affirmed by her and like to think we support each other. Knowing that there are others who want to raise their children in a similar way is a hugely reassuring part of my life.
Eleanor did something last year for me that makes her a very special hero to me. She shared with Pete and I in the adventure of Sam's arrival into the world! I was in labour for what felt like days - all in all 37 hours and she was a constant source of strength and support for both of us. I was taken, rather quickly, to hospital after having quite a nasty bleed and she held my hand and got me to the right place while Pete parked the car. Being armed with all the facts is very important to me so having Eleanor explaining things really helped keep me sane and as calm as could be expected under the circumstances....
As things progressed VERY SLOWLY El stayed with us, looked after us both and said all the right things at all the right moments. (Including explaining to Pete that no one could 'force' me to have more drugs!) She held my hand when I needed it, gave me water, prayed with us, pushed my hair out of my eyes and told me I had given birth to a son. So precious, these words cannot sum up how special those hours were.
After Sam was born, the fun really began when my biggest fear was realised and I had retained placenta - a condition that had caused massive problems for my mum and she nearly died as a result. Pete had to look after Sam as I was taken quickly down to theatre. I was terrified and it was El I turned to to ask if I was going to die. She looked at me and told me I wasn't then scrubbed up and sat with me in theatre through the whole procedure. She answered my questions, held my hand and was just there. She gave up time she could've been at home with her family, time she could've spent asleep, time she could've spent blogging or shopping for real nappies online, but she chose to be with me in an operating theatre with all my dignity left at the door, as I cried and wondered how my son was. I can never thank her enough.
As I have faced and embraced being a mum she has always been there whenever I have needed some wisdom or support. I arrived at her door last week in tears after a rubbish hospital appointment and she invited me in, gave me a hug and offered me a sandwich. Who could ask for more!
She is my hero because of the friend and example she is. She has faced 2 very difficult pregnancies with courage and a stubborness in the face of adversity that no one can rival!! She is determined to enjoy her pregnancies no matter how her body objects and stands firm on her faith knowing that all things are possible through our God who proves himself real and true time after time. She sets a standard to be admired and aimed for, both as a wife and mother.