Mum who lost 3 litres of blood during labour opens up about brutal childbirth – admitting ‘I thought I was going to die’

A MUM who lost three litres of blood during childbirth has opened up about her traumatic labour.

Jessica Hood, from Australia, who gave birth on Boxing Day last year, said things got so bad she "thought I was going to die" in a piece for Mamamia.

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Primary Postpartum haemorrhage There are usually 4 causes Tone , trauma , tissue and thrombin My PPH was caused by tissue. A retained placenta. A situation I never thought I would be in . In passing during my induction with Harrison the words “ acreta placenta “ was thrown around but it was brushed off as it was only noted from one of my ultrasounds. Infact it was never brought up again even after almost losing my life, but the words still are clear in my mind . A few hours later , I was nearly bleeding to death. A total of 3 litres of blood lost . I ended up in surgery , having my placenta manually removed , a bakri balloon and a giant piece of material inserted into my uterus and almost undergoing a hysterectomy at the age of 30 , and while my body has finally physically recovered , the mental scars are forever. There isn’t a day that goes by that the events of that day the 26th of December don’t somehow enter my mind. I could be washing the dishes and then it’s there. As in drifting off to sleep, it appears like a nightmare . A lot have heard my story but many havent. This is simply a post to bring awareness to birth trauma. A reminder to not bottle it up but to talk about it. A little reminder that you aren’t alone . Birth trauma – what are the risk factors? – your childbirth experience not going to plan, or not matching your expectations having a difficult labour that was long or painful experiencing labour complications needing intervention during labour, such as an assisted delivery (using forceps or ventouse) or an emergency caesarean you or your baby suffering birth injury your baby needing medical attention after the birth stillbirth or neonatal death not receiving the care or support you needed at the time of birth, or afterwards previous birth trauma a tendency to experience anxiety . . . . @birthtrauma.org.au #womansupportingwoman #womaninbusiness #supportsmallau #childrensboutique #girlbossau #nothingisordinary #healthyfamily #myeverydaymagic #aussiemums

A post shared by Jessica Hood (@houseofhoods_) on

Primary Postpartum haemorrhageThere are usually 4 causesTone , trauma , tissue and thrombinMy PPH was caused by tissue. A retained placenta.A situation I never thought I would be in . In passing during my induction with Harrison the words “ acreta placenta “ was thrown around but it was brushed off as it was only noted from one of my ultrasounds. Infact it was never brought up again even after almost losing my life, but the words still are clear in my mind .A few hours later , I was nearly bleeding to death. A total of 3 litres of blood lost . I ended up in surgery , having my placenta manually removed , a bakri balloon and a giant piece of material inserted into my uterus and almost undergoing a hysterectomy at the age of 30 , and while my body has finally physically recovered , the mental scars are forever. There isn’t a day that goes by that the events of that day the 26th of December don’t somehow enter my mind. I could be washing the dishes and then it’s there. As in drifting off to sleep, it appears like a nightmare . A lot have heard my story but many havent. This is simply a post to bring awareness to birth trauma. A reminder to not bottle it up but to talk about it. A little reminder that you aren’t alone .Birth trauma – what are the risk factors? -your childbirth experience not going to plan, or not matching your expectations having a difficult labour that was long or painful experiencing labour complications needing intervention during labour, such as an assisted delivery (using forceps or ventouse) or an emergency caesarean you or your baby suffering birth injury your baby needing medical attention after the birth stillbirth or neonatal death not receiving the care or support you needed at the time of birth, or afterwards previous birth trauma a tendency to experience anxiety . . . . @birthtrauma.org.au#womansupportingwoman #womaninbusiness #supportsmallau #childrensboutique #girlbossau #nothingisordinary #healthyfamily #myeverydaymagic #aussiemums

A post shared byJessica Hood (@houseofhoods_) on

The stay at home mum-of-four went into spontaneous labour with her three older kids, but had to be induced with her youngest son Harrison.

Jessica began to worry when midwives revealed she had placenta accreta, meaning her placenta had grown too deeply into the uterus' wall to detach naturally after childbirth.

She gave birth to a healthy baby at 3.26pm, but this was only the beginning of Jessica's labour pains.

Midwives struggled to remove her placenta and, when she started bleeding heavily, they pushed an emergency button, summoning a team of surgeons, nurses and other midwives.

Life doesnt come with a manual…. it comes with a mother 💐Happy Mother’s Day to you all . Today we thank our mothers . We remember all the grand mothers and mothers who are no longer with us. So put your feet up , drink that tea and get pampered , and by pampered I mean with love . 💓#mothersdaylove

A post shared byJessica Hood (@houseofhoods_) on

She said: "It seemed like I was laying there forever with the team of medical staff working on me. With every minute passing, I felt like I was closer to death. My anxiety was out of control; I was living my worst nightmare.

"I was going to die giving birth and leave my children, my new baby and my husband."

A surgeon asked Jessica to sign a document, giving permission for a hysterectomy, and rushed her into surgery.

She said: "I was feeling weaker by the minute, I knew if I didn’t I would die."

Postpartum haemorrhage: the facts

Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) is a complication where a mum bleeds heavily from the vagina after her baby's birth.

There are two types – primary (taking place in the first 24 hours) or delayed (taking place up to six weeks later).

It normally happens because the mum's womb doesn't contract strongly enough after birth, because part of the placenta is left in the womb, or because of endometriosis.

Bleeding after childbirth is common, but PPH causes heavy bleeding (more than 500ml).

Five in 100 mums get PPH but severe haemorhage (more than 2 litres) is much rarer, affecting six in 1,000 mums here in Britain.

Mums-to-be can get more info from the NHS here.

When she woke again three hours later, at 6.30pm, Jessica was told she had suffered a severe primary postpartum hemorrhage.

Jessica learned her placenta had become stuck and was manually removed. She had lost three litres of blood but managed to avoid a hysterectomy.

When she was finally reunited with her husband Karl and baby son, Jessica broke down in tears.

And it wasn't an easy recovery either. Jessica, who already had a low iron count, was kept in hospital for days receiving blood transfusions – and said the mental scars remain.

Jessica admits she still thinks about her traumatic labour most days.

She added: "I’m telling my story because birth trauma is real and isn’t spoken about enough. It’s something that affects so many women every single day."

Yesterday, we revealed how one dad had the fright of his life when his wife washed a T-shirt with his baby's face on it.

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E-boys and e-girls: The moody new trend spawned by Gen Z

VSCO girls and Instagram husbands, meet e-girls and e-boys.

The “e” stands for electronic — and members of this style tribe are the latest alternative subculture. They’re obsessed with the style of the early-aughts, but instead of hanging out in malls, these emo-kids spend their time online. And they’re as meticulous about their makeup and hair as they are their carefully curated T-shirt collections.

“E-boy style” and “e-girl style’ were the second and third most Googled fashion searches of 2019, according to year-end data released this week.

“I know a lot of people consider me an e-girl, because my style includes 2000s fashion and really grunge fashion,” says Lois Appiah-Agyeman, 19, a native Brooklynite who attends Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY.

Appiah-Agyeman, who was born in 2000, runs an Instagram account dedicated to Y2K style and shops on Depop, an app where users can buy and sell used and vintage clothes.

The patron musical saint of e-land is undoubtedly the late Lil Peep (real name Gustav Åhr), who got his start on SoundCloud with his genre-bending emo hip-hop sound and amassed a fervent fan base before his death in 2017, at the age of 21. E-teens regularly recreate Lil Peep’s collection of face tattoos with makeup on their own faces.

Another arbiter of the style? The sad and punkish 17-year-old singer-songwriter Billie Eilish.

The e-crowd tends to congregate on the short-form video platform TikTok. That’s where e-boys such as Noen Eubanks — an avatar with black nail polish, bleached hair, thick chain necklaces and ironic Harley Davidson button-downs — got his start lip-syncing and pouting for his young audience.

Eubanks, 18, has a clothing line, 7.5 million followers on TikTok and is the new face of French fashion label Celine. She doesn’t shy away from makeup: the e-look is anime-inspired, with loads of pink blush applied to the cheeks and nose, plus tiny hearts drawn with eyeliner under the eyes.

Cute fake freckles, barrettes and pigtails feature heavily, too, contrasted with heavy silver jewelry and cross earrings.

Below the neck, striped shirts, wallet chains, baggy pants or plaid skirts are outfit essentials. As for shoes, chunky ones such as the Buffalo London platforms made famous by the Spice Girls, Fila “Disruptors” or Vans sneakers, are par for the course.

Appiah-Agyeman’s most recent wardrobe scores? An era-appropriate Sean Jean denim jacket, a Guess denim corset and a Dior tank.

“My dress code in high school was policed heavily, so I felt like I had to fight back,” says the teen. “I want to wear what makes me feel like myself.”

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The Hands-Down Coolest Ear Piercings We Saw Everywhere This Year

The Hands-Down Coolest Ear Piercings We Saw Everywhere This Year

It used to be that — much like tattoos or ripped jeans — piercings were reserved for people with Steven Tyler haircuts, cigarettes, and Sex Pistols jackets. Now, thanks to modern-day celebrities redefining what it means to “look cool,” they have become far more mainstream — and anyone with the capacity to play air guitar has been pulling them off with aplomb.

The last few years especially have seen a meteoric rise in ear piercing trends — from where you get it to the sheer number of jewelry you use — and it only got more exciting in 2019. “What makes the piercings [right now] fresh and interesting is this idea of being able to work with what you already have, as opposed to needing to create an entire new look,” said Cassi Lopez, piercer at New York Adorned.

Ahead, we’ve asked NYC’s top piercers to share the styles that everyone has been getting this year. Walk this way.























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Home Bargains is flogging a stick-on wall clock for £4 but shoppers can’t get their heads around how it works

IT'S A place for quirky home decor ideas that won't empty your bank account.

But Home Bargains shoppers have been left a little confused by their £4 stick-on wall clock.

In a post on Instagram, the popular budget brand unveiled the new product in a stylish picture.

"Give your home a feature wall with our 3D Sticker Wall Clock," they captioned the image.

"Only £3.99 in stores now."

However, while the post received more than 1,000 'likes', some social media users were a little confused by it.

Can see a lot of people messing this up.

One person wrote: "Does it actually work?"

Another commented: "Who's gonna be able to place the stickers into an exact perfect circle though?

"Can see a lot of people messing this up."

A third joked: "Do them opposite it's great fun."

  • Frameless large 3D DIY wall clock, £14.99, Amazon – buy here

But others were fans of the design, which can be applied to any wall in your home and comes in a sleek silver finish.

Tagging their friend, one person shared: "This would look good in your room."

Looping in their pal, another noted: "This would look nice on your living room wall."

And a third added: "Ohhh love this."

If you can't reach a Home Bargains store, Amazon are selling their own version for £14.99.

In other homeware news, we told you how a cleaning-mad mum uses a lint roller to get her dusty lamp shade fleck-free.

We also revealed how B&M's bestseller £20 teddy bear duvet now comes in three cosy shades.

And mums love B&M's £7 "walking in a winter wonderland" Christmas tree skirt.

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Do home teeth whitening kits work and are they safe?

Thanks to our penchant for delicious yet staining delights such as coffee, red wine and cigarettes, many of us long for whiter teeth.

Going to the dentist for professional whitening is expensive, so it’s no surprise that cash-strapped individuals turn to cheaper, home whitening options.

You only have to open Instagram to find yourself bombarded with ads for at-home devices that claim to take your gnashers from drab to fab.

However, do these kits work, or are we being duped with heavily edited ‘before’ and ‘afters’ and utterly useless products?

How does teeth whitening work?

Teeth are made up of an inner dentin layer and a harder outer enamel layer. Enamel is mostly translucent, so despite it being on the outside, it’s largely dentin that determines the colour of your teeth.

Teeth whitening products generally whiten teeth using one of two active ingredients – hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide – which penetrate the porous enamel and lighten the colour of the dentin by breaking down the stains. This explains why toothpaste alone can’t get rid of those stubborn coffee stains.

Hydrogen peroxide is the more aggressive of the whitening agents, while carbamide peroxide is the more chill option, slowly breaking down into hydrogen peroxide and urea, making it a better choice for those with sensitive teeth.

These days, most home kits contain either strips impregnated with whitening solution or dental trays that you fill with whitening gel.

Getting your teeth whitened at the dentist will either involve having your teeth whitened in the dentist’s chair in one appointment, or taking home a set of custom fit trays and teeth whitening gel to do it yourself over the course of a couple of weeks.

Heads up – it’s a good idea to get your teeth professionally cleaned before doing any whitening treatment as plaque and tartar can create a barrier between your teeth and the whitening agent.

Teeth whitening will not work on dentures, crowns, fillings or veneers.

 

Is home whitening as good as dentist whitening?

Put bluntly, in the UK – no.

EU regulations ensure that over the counter teeth whitening kits sold in the UK can only contain up to 0.1% hydrogen peroxide, while dentist-supplied kits can contain up to 6%.

Can home kits at this strength work?

‘They will likely help remove just the surface staining that collects on our teeth,’ dentist Dr Guy Barwell, co-founder of The Implant Centre, Hove tells Metro.co.uk.

‘The peroxide level is so low that it is unlikely to remove any of the intrinsic tooth discolouration, so some users will be disappointed, depending on precisely why the teeth are unsightly.’

The strongest strips you can buy in the UK are in the Spotlight Oral Care teeth whitening system (£40 for 14 treatments), which contain the maximum allowed level of hydrogen peroxide. They’re also the only whitening strips sold in the EU that contain hydrogen peroxide.

Spotlight whitening strips were developed by Irish dentists to ‘safely and effectively whiten your teeth with minimal tooth sensitivity’ and their newer kits contain toothpaste tubes that are 100% recyclable, which is a bonus considering the world is burning.

‘We use a super seal technology so when you place the strip on your teeth it goes on very tightly, so the active ingredient is right next to the enamel which increases the efficacy of our strips,’ explains co-founder Dr Lisa Creaven to Metro.co.uk

You have to wear the strips for an hour once a day, which as I found out when I tested them, is quite an investment of time.

I used the strips in conjunction with their whitening toothpaste and while I noticed my teeth did get a shade lighter after about a week, I wouldn’t say the difference was worth dribbling for an hour every night for 14 days, especially as my teeth since appear to have gone back to their regular colour.

However, I didn’t experience any sensitivity whatsoever compared to stronger strips obtained from the US (more on those later), where I was subjected to what can only be described as excruciating pain.

 

Do products that don’t contain hydrogen peroxide/carbamide peroxide work?

My Instagram feed is flooded with pics of influencers showing off their Ross Gellar-esque teeth, peddling whitening kits that don’t contain any peroxide at all

One such kit is Hi Smile which claims to lighten your teeth by up to eight shades in just six 10 minute treatments, and has been promoted by the likes of Kylie Jenner and Conor McGregor.

The Hi Smile kit costs $59.99 (£46) and contains a teeth tray with LED light and six applications of whitening gel.

The gel contains phthalimidoperoxycaproic acid (PAP) which is an ‘active bleaching agent that whitens the discoloured molecules inside your tooth’, potassium nitrate to desensitive nerves in the teeth, and sodium chlorite for stain removal and prevention.

Can these ingredients work to lighten your tooth colour?

‘They may lighten any stains that are on the surface of the tooth, in the same way whitening toothpastes will remove or lighten some of these stains,’ Dr Barwell tells Metro.co.uk.

‘There are some concerns in recent scientific literature that the sodium chlorite in these substances may cause harm to the enamel, and this component is not currently illegal to have in whitening products.’

There are also questions raised about the effectiveness of LED lights in home whitening kits.

‘The LED light will be as effective as Buzz Lightyear’s laser was,’ says Dr Barwell.

‘Just a toy with nothing in the product that this tiny amount of light will have any effect on. May be fun, but little else.’

While UV light is used to speed things up during professional whitening treatments – this is regulated and can only be used by dentists.

Earlier this year, the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that Hi Smile were running misleading sponsored ads on social media.

By using the phrase ‘White teeth in 10 minutes’, they said that Hi Smile was misleading consumers into thinking their product could dramatically alter the colour of teeth in just 10 minutes (which is unrealistic even for a professional treatment done at a dentist).

At time of publishing this article, Hi Smile is still running these ads.

Dr Grant McGrath from Method Dental has previously criticised Hi Smile for having a one size fits all tray. Professional whitening systems give you a custom fit tray to ensure the whitening gel is held precisely aganst your teeth.

He also questioned the concentration and combination of ingredients, as well as the kit’s shade guide which shows bizarrely red shades of teeth and is nothing like the dental industry’s shade guide.

Dr McGrath used the Hi Smile kit himself and saw no change in the colour of his teeth.

If you do achieve your desired result, Hi Smile recommends you use the system once every two weeks to maintain your results. At $23.99 (£18.60) per set of gel refills, that’s quite the financial investment.

Activated charcoal powder toothpastes became popular on social media in recent years but again, any whitening effect will be superficial, removing only surface stains and not actually changing the colour of your teeth.

In fact, dentists have previously warned against using charcoal whitening toothpaste as it can be too abrasive and actually erode your enamel away.

It’s important to know that influencers promoting whitening kits may already have naturally white or professionally whitened teeth – that have nothing to do with the product they’re endorsing.

They could also have used different lighting in ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos to make teeth appear a different colour, or they may have edited their photos to alter the whiteness of their teeth. (This is actually illegal, unsurprisingly.)

Be aware of celebs with veneers who promote whitening kits, as veneers cannot be whitened.

 

Should I buy stronger over the counter whitening treatments from the US?

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Who said wearing white is just for the bride? 😉

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Professional treatments in the US generally use from 15-35% hydrogen peroxide, while the over the counter whitening strips sold there are also much stronger than the ones sold in the UK.

Because of this, many people – including myself – have obtained strips from the US, such as the popular Crest Whitestrips, either when travelling to America, or via potentially dodgy UK resale sites.

While you’re definitely more likely to get the whitening results you desire from these strips, you’re also at risk of unwanted side effects.

‘These can be very harmful to the enamel of the teeth, causing loss of the protective surface and allowing for decay,’ explains Dr Barwell.

‘The peroxides at high levels can burn the gums and cause all sorts of hypersensitivity reactions – most of us would not consider putting this level of bleach on other parts of our body, the mouth is surely no different!

‘Patients also seek this treatment without having had a dental check to see if they have other issues.  Imagine a patient with decay on a tooth, then filling the cavity with strong hydrogen peroxide – the outcome could be fairly catastrophic.’

I’ve personally used Crest Whitestrips after a pal recommended them –  her teeth are so white that Simon Cowell once complimented them, so I trusted her judgement.

However, while I ended up with sparkly white gnashers, I was also left with agonising tooth sensitivity which lasted long after I took the strips off. Go figure, with levels of hydrogen peroxide that high.

If you buy Crest Whitestrips in the UK from a dodgy website, you also run the risk of receiving a counterfeit product which could further damage your teeth.

Home teeth whitening kits in the UK can work to an extent, but generally only if you have naturally whiter teeth and are looking to remove superficial stains gained from chugging coffee and red wine.

As with most things in life, if a whitening product seems too good to be true, it probably is.

If you’re looking for dramatic, long-lasting results that don’t destroy your teeth, sadly it looks like your best option is to shell out for professional whitening at your dentist.

Better start saving, eh?

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Chloë Sevigny's Nordstrom 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

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We love these products, and we hope you do too. E! has affiliate relationships, so we may get a small share of the revenue from your purchases. Items are sold by the retailer, not E!. 

If there’s one thing for certain in this world, it’s that Chloe Sevigny takes the crown for the cool-girl factor.  So it’s no big surprise that her Nordstrom 2019 Holiday Gift Guide would be as artful and edgy as the ’90s east villager herself. For example: hello, tiny porcelain lobster figurine!

The director, actress, model and designer handpicked items—from museum-style animal print mugs to her very own signature fragrance Little Flower to her favorite footwear—you’ll be delighted pilfering through her unique finds and add them to your holiday shopping cart, no less!

Here are five of our favorites below. 

Read

Amy Sedaris’ Nordstrom Holiday Gift Guide

“Handcrafted and hand painted. Take a pledge to not use disposable cups or bottles.”

Chloe Sevigny

“I’ve always gravitated to the scent of roses and was devastated when my favorite rose perfume was discontinued. When the opportunity came up for me to create my own perfume with Régime des Fleurs, I grabbed it. Over a year and a half, we perfected the scent until it was exactly what I wanted. This perfume is fresh and dewy with a crispness to it-perfect for my New York City life.” 

Chloe Sevigny

“It’s meaningful to know how to take care of something fragile.”

Chloe Sevigny

“Ronan Farrow has proved himself to be an indispensable whistleblower in the movement to remove toxic predators from our society. A must-read.”

Chloe Sevigny

“Supportive and timeless.”

Chloe Sevigny

Check out Chloë Sevigny’s entire Nordstrom 2019 Holiday Gift Guide at nordstrom.com and for more shopping ideas, check out our full Holiday Gift Guide!

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Winnie Harlow Opens Up About Working With Kim Kardashian


Perfect pair! Winnie Harlow and Kim Kardashian teamed up for the KKW Beauty x Winnie Harlow makeup collaboration earlier this year and other than exchanging beauty advice, the two bonded over business too.

Winnie Harlow and Kim Kardashian’s KKW Beauty Launch Party Caps Off NYFW With a Bang

“I really admire that Kim didn’t start from much and has made an empire. I think that’s something that anyone, male, female, whoever, can look up to — just building,” the 25-year-old model told Stylish at Levi’s Haus Miami pop-up featuring premium products, a tailor shop, one-of-a-kind artist collaborations and more in the Wynwood Arts District.

While the collection features all the necessities you need to create a glam look this holiday season, (think an $18 sparkly lipgloss in three shades, a $26 powder highlight duo and a $49 eyeshadow palette with 12 shimmery and matte hues), Harlow admitted that she’s actually looking forward to going barefaced and giving her skin a break.

Stars Without Makeup: See Stars Going Makeup-Free and Loving It!

“I’m hoping to not be wearing that much makeup over the holidays and just be with family and friends and come back to work refreshed and skin all healthy and glowy,” she said.

When she does decide to amp up her look, the model tries her best to fit in her number one skincare tip, but admits she doesn’t always succeed.

These Are the Best Hair, Makeup and Skincare Products of 2019

“My biggest beauty secret is do as I say, not as I do… Wash your face before you go to bed every night,” she revealed.

For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!

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I'm a Liquid Eyeliner Pro, and These Are My Top 6 Formulas That Blow Others Away

I’m a Liquid Eyeliner Pro, and These Are My Top 6 Formulas That Blow Others Away

To say I’m a liquid eyeliner expert would be an understatement — I have tried at least 50 formulas as a shopping editor. Once you find a good eyeliner, you have to hold it near and dear to your heart. You should test a variety of options to understand what’s most important to you. There are a few things I look for when I dub an eyeliner worthy of my vanity: the opaqueness, the color, the staying power, and the quality of the applicator. If I’m satisfied with all four of these attributes, it’s a true gem.

Nobody likes a smudged, faded cat eye. If you need some guidance on what to try, I rounded up options from Sephora that are my personal favorites. All of these products are in my heavy rotation; I used them regularly and love them for different reasons. Find out which formula is perfect for you.

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A Focus on the Children and Losing Each Other

In Unhitched, couples tell the stories of their relationships, from romance to vows to divorce to life afterward.

Frank Smith and Katie Smith met in 1988 at a party and married in 2002. Both were young, he was still in college. They started a family almost immediately, and had three children in a period of 37 months. With the pressures of children, they drifted apart. But divorce came almost as a surprise.

Date of Marriage September 2002

Date of Divorce October 2017

Age when married She was 24. He, 21. Now 44 and 41.

Occupations She is a writer; he is a plumbing and heating contractor.

Children Three, 16, 14, 13.

Where did they grow up?

Both in Maine. Her parents divorced when she was 12 and she didn’t see it coming. She told herself she would never divorce. His parents were together until his father died in 2003. “I had an idyllic upbringing and was close with my extended family,” he said.

How did they meet?

At a party; she was 23 and he 21. After one date they were a couple.

What was it about the other?

“She had a great sense of humor and was manager of a retail store, which was impressive,” he said. “She was also an older woman, an added allure.”

To her, he felt like home and made her feel attractive. “I used to go for the bad boy, but Frank was sweet, kind and didn’t have wandering eyes,” she said. They dated for more than a year before he moved in. After he graduated from college, he joined the family plumbing business.

Why did they marry?

She wanted children. “I pushed too much,” she said.

“I wasn’t ready but she convinced me it was time,” he said. They had three children in 37 months. They also bought a starter house, on four acres, and began building their life together.

How were the early years?

“My story is that they were great,” she said. His business did well and she quit her job to take care of the children. When Frank’s father fell ill a little over a year into the marriage, they already had a newborn. Frank was overwhelmed, he said. “My job was to take care of my wife and my kids and my father and also run the household,” he said. Their baby was four months old when Frank’s father died.

First signs of trouble?

When pregnant with their third child, she had no social life. He felt financial pressure, and she resented him spending time with friends when she was consumed with the children. “It didn’t seem like too much to ask for three weekends a year to fish, hunt and go to my high school reunion,” he said.

“Had we taken the time to invest in each other, having time apart wouldn’t have been too much to ask,” she said, in retrospect.

“We lost each other, the focus was all on the kids,” he said.

Did they try to work on things?

They did, but did not see a therapist. “I tried buying flowers, but she told me not waste our money,” he said. “With all my energy going into the kids, I didn’t have much left over for Frank,” she said.

What pushed them apart?

For six years they drifted. Her drive for intimacy was gone. They had spells where they connected, but they were inconsistent about making time for each other. “We fell out of love with each other and I think we were both sad about it,” she said. More than once, he said to her, “You always think the worst of me.”

She agreed. “I took him for granted, I was harsh and said things that were critical,” she said. “My patience was worn thin and I was snappy and wasn’t very forgiving.”

“I thought someday sex would come back, I was in denial that we were running on fumes, but it was hard to feel sexual after taking care of the kids all day and I didn’t know what to do or how to fix it,” she said.

He thought about divorce, but planned to wait until the children were out of high school.

Who asked for the split?

He did, when their youngest was 10. “I couldn’t imagine her being happy, and I knew I wasn’t,” he said. “When she didn’t make a move toward divorce, I did.”

She barely reacted. “I didn’t feel emotional, maybe I was in shock or denial,” she said. In January 2017 he moved into a condo.

Initially, they called it a separation, but even though they talked every day it soon became clear they were not going to get back together. She helped him decorate his condo and gave her blessing for him to start dating.

How did they move on?

He began dating and soon started the relationship he is in today. He introduced her to his new girlfriend and the women bonded right away. “I liked her very much and wanted the kids to see I was good with the way things were going,” she said.

The worst time for her was about a year in, when the reality of their split really hit. “I missed the family and realized that even if I married, I would never have that nuclear family feeling again,” she said.

How did they fare financially?

Together they worked out alimony and child support. She threw herself into building a career in order to get back in to job market and augment their alimony agreement, which extends seven years from the divorce date. “My goal was to make enough to support myself and my children,” she said. “It makes me feel better to know I can do this by myself.”

What did they do to start over?

They split the week with their children: he has them three nights a week, she four. She threw herself into work, redecorated the house, took the children on trips, and read a lot of self-help books. It took her a long time to date. “I’m not in any hurry for a relationship,” she said.

“My new relationship has opened an entirely new chapter of life,” he said.

Is their new life better?

“It’s better in that I have a healthier relationship, but worse in the loss of time I have with my kids,” he said.

For her, it’s mixed. “I’m more me, have great friendships and am in the best shape in my life, but I’m still sad and I mourn the stability I had,” she said.

Would they have done anything differently?

“I don’t think so,” he said.

“I wonder if I should have tried harder, but I had plenty of time to talk him out of it, and I never did,” she said. “Deep down we couldn’t put together a future.”

Looking back, what advice would they offer?

“Keep nurturing the relationship when kids come along,” he said.

“Move toward what feels right, there will be really hard times and you will miss each other, but staying together because you are lonely is not a good enough reason to stay married,” she said. “Like isn’t the same as love and kids deserve to see parents who love each other.”

What is life like now?

“I miss being married, but new doors are opening and I have three nights a week free,” she said. “I am more confident knowing that I don’t have to depend on a partner financially.”

“I’m traveling, enjoying my relationship and generally feel good about life,” he said.

Advice for others divorcing?

“The kids will be fine, and hopefully I’m not fooling myself,” he said.

“You will likely find that you are more capable than you think you are,” she said. “I used to think I needed a man to take care of me, but it’s not true. Don’t think of the what-if’s, take it a minute at a time.”

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