Hello, my name is Jenifer.
I’m 36 years old, turning 37 on the day of the finale for this round (Yippee!). I have a partner, Dave, who I have been with for nearly 19 years (Oct 28 is our anniversary) and we are getting married on that day the year after – our 20th anniversary. I have three boys, 6,8, and 12yrs old and they are all ‘special needs’. My eldest has Asperger’s syndrome, my younger two have verbal dyspraxia. With my youngest, the problem is has been quite severe and he has only just started talking this year. Some people seem to give me a lot of credit for this.. they tell me I must be a wonderful mum to cope with them but that is just so not true! Any mothering talent I have is because they are wonderful kids. They are not extra work, not really – speech therapy and dealing with the social side of my eldests asperger related behavior has been the hardest part – but I wouldn’t trade them for all the world! They are the ones who go the raw deal, not me!
Now, wife and mother may be my most important ‘roles’ in this life, but it is only a small part of me. I have been studying for many years now and have my degree and Honours, in Biomedical Science and am now doing my PhD – I just started this year so it is very much a work in progress! I love what I do and am very lucky to blessed with the intelligence to be able to do it.
On top of those commitments, I have one more aspect of my life which presents challenges.. my mental health. I have a panic disorder with agoraphobia. I am mostly recovered, in that I can live a normal life without panic attacks, but the shadow is still there. It comes up as I try to get near the edge of that comfort zone.. the ‘I can’ts’, the ‘What if’s’, and even the ‘I don’t want to’, these happen because sometimes it is just too hard. I mean, who ‘dreads’ a night at the movies or going out to dinner? What is a life where ‘having fun’ suddenly evokes fear – a commitment to do something, anything seems to be my trigger right now. Just in case it is ‘all too much’.
I want to change, need to change, fear the change… but change I will.