I MOVED IN WITH MY LOVER AND HER HUSBAND
When Aimee’s baby was stillborn and her relationship crumbled the only thing that kept her sane was throwing herself into charity work to help other grieving mothers.
But when she joined forces with another mum, their passion for fundraising soon turned into a passion for each other…
As I tapped away the keyboard, telling other mums about my little girl, Megan, I couldn’t help feeling proud.
But I wasn’t on mumsnet, or another baby website. No, I was talking to other mothers who, like me, would never know the joy of seeing their baby grow up, learn to walk, talk, start school…
You see, I lost my daughter Megan – or Tinks as I nicknamed her – to a hemangioma placental – basically a tumour that burst suffocating her 33 weeks into my pregnancy.
The other mums on these online support groups were the only people who really understood what I was going through. Yes, I had my partner Tony but although he was hurting too, he didn’t like talking about Megan and it was pushing us apart.
Six weeks after losing Megan I started looking at a website called BornWithWings.org.uk and started to chat to ‘George’s Mummy’ – whose real name was Kirstie – the founder of the site.
Her son had died before he was born in 2003. In time Kirstie and I became very good friends. When I told her about my plans to start a Facebook page, Megan’s World, in memory of my daughter she couldn’t have been more supportive.
Megan’s World was a place where mum’s without children anymore could still be mums, not like in the outside world where it felt like people didn’t want to talk about stillborn babies as if they have ever really existed.
More than 300 mums joined in the first day. Unlike me, some didn’t even have to graves to go to. After spending all their money on baby gear, these parents hadn’t even considered needing to pay for a headstone for the newborn…
It gave me an idea. I decided to fundraise to help other mums afford headstones for their stillborns.
‘It’s a brilliant thing to do,’ Kirsty, a married mum-of three – Rachel, nine, Ben, six, and Sam, three – encouraged.
So I threw myself into fundraising and Kirstie helped me to set up ‘Megan’s World’ fanpage on facebook and we became a registered charity.
It really took off and I even opened my own Megan’s World charity shop raising money to help other grieving parents. So when I discovered I was nominated for Fundraiser Of The Year the following June, after all her efforts it only felt natural to ask Kirstie to go with me.
I was nervous about meeting her. I’d only ever spoken to her online. What if things were awkward?
But when she stepped off train at Liverpool Lime St Station, I felt like I’d known her for years.
‘We’re going to get in so much trouble!’ I giggled as I poured her another glass of free champagne.
It was a brilliant night.
‘I’ve had such a great time I don’t want you to go home!’ I said to her the following morning.
‘Well we do need to organise raffle prizes for our next fundraiser …’ Kirstie replied.
The next thing I knew, she’d phoned her husband Dave and said she wouldn’t be home that until the following day.
We spent the next day visiting local shops and businesses asking them to donate prizes. With Kirstie there too, it felt more like a girly day out than working. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d smiled so much.
That evening, we met mum and dad for something to eat down the pub. After a few bottles of wine we were all feeling quite merry.
‘Come on, I’d better get you back to mine,’ I said to Kirstie eventually.
As we settled down on the settee, our day’s haul spread out around us, I poured us another glass of wine. We started wrapping prizes in front of the TV.
Suddenly, as she leant over to grab the Sellotape, Kirstie kissed me.
Afterwards, we just laughed and looked at each other. It didn’t feel awkward at all.
It was obvious that Kirstie wouldn’t be sleeping in the spare room that night.
I’d never been attracted to a woman before, but this wasn’t about gender. There was just something about Kirstie that made me want to be with her.
The next morning, I overheard Kirstie on the phone to Dave, telling him we’d kissed.
‘What did he say?’ I gasped as I handed her a cup of tea.
She shrugged. ‘He just said we’d talk about it when I got home,’ she said.
Kirstie had told me that their relationship wasn’t great. Over the last seven years they’d slowly grown further and further apart.
My stomach knotted as I drove Kirstie to the station. I really didn’t want her to go.
‘I’ll speak to you later,’ she said, giving me a hug.
I missed her already. All day I moped about, not knowing what to do with myself now she’d gone.
‘So how did it go?’ I asked her that night.
She told me she’d asked Dave to leave but he’d refused.
‘It’s just a phase,’ he’d said, refusing to discuss it further.
I wondered if he was right. Kirstie was a married mum-of-three, I’d never fancied women…surely we’d have known by now if we were gay?
Still, we spoke daily on the phone and every time her name would appear on my mobile I couldn’t help smiling.
‘What are you doing this weekend?’ Kirstie asked a few weeks later. ‘Why don’t you come and visit us?’
I was nervous about meeting Dave but the pull of seeing Kirstie was too strong. Soon I’d booked a ticket to fly the 300 miles from Liverpool to Lowestoft.
‘Hello!’ the kids beamed, bounding out of the house to greet me. Sam, jumped into my arms as soon as I opened the car door.
Dave was friendly enough too. ‘Alright?’ he said. ‘Want a cup of tea?’
It was great spending time with Kirstie. We exchanged glances, stolen kisses when Dave left the room.
‘I need to see you,’ I told her. ‘It’s driving me mad not being with you.’
The following weekend we agreed they’d all come up to mine.
Dave seemed to have forgotten all about our drunken kiss, seemed happy that we were just good mates.
In fact we all acted like we were just good friends but truth was, whether we wanted to admit it or not, Kirstie and I were falling in love.
That September, I was due to go on a girly holiday with my friend Alex to Fuerteventura. We’d been planning it for months, had been looking forward to long days laying on the beach, cocktails in the evening, lots of flirting with guys, maybe a holiday romance…
But now, I didn’t want to go. All I could think about was leaving Kirstie behind.
I called her every day of the holiday. Alex started to get suspicious.
‘Why do you keep calling her?’ she asked. ‘What’s going on?’
‘She’s going through a tough time,’ I lied. I couldn’t admit my true feelings, not yet. After all, I was known for being a real girly girl – one he loved guys – so I didn’t know what my pals would make of me falling for a woman. Especially a married one.
But as I said goodbye to Kirstie on the phone one evening the words just tumbled out – ‘I love you,’ I said.
There was a pause. Then – ‘I love you too.’
I knew then I had to be with her.
Back home, tan fading, I started to feel low. I couldn’t stop thinking about Megan and how now, I was being kept apart from someone else I loved too.
That evening, I booked a flight to Lowestoft for the next day
‘I’m thinking of moving down here,’ I told Kirstie that evening.
‘Move in here if you like,’ Dave piped up. ‘Until you get yourself sorted.’
Kirstie and I exchanged a glance. Was he for real? It was almost like he was offering his wife to me on a plate…
I moved in the following weekend.
Everything seemed to just slot into place. The kids adored me, their ‘Meemee’ and Kirstie and I looked after them and ran the house. Dave seemed happy to be able to spend more time on the Xbox.
For weeks things plodded along easily. But as Kirstie and I grew even closer Dave was starting to get jealous. He started to avoid leaving the two of us on our own. Had he finally twigged we were more than just best mates ?
It was easier not to ask.
Then, five weeks after I’d moved in I was playing with the kids in the garden and heard raised voices coming from inside the house. I went in to check Kirstie was OK
‘What’s going on?’ I asked, seeing Dave’s stony face.
‘Are you in love with her?’ he demanded.
‘No, don’t be stupid!’ I stammered, thinking of Kirstie and the kids. ‘I’ll leave if you want,’ I said. Dave stomped off.
‘We can’t go on like this,’ I told her. ‘I’ll move out, get my own place.’
But as the days passed, things seemed to blow over. Dave never mentioned me leaving.
And caught up in family life, there never seemed time for me to go looking at houses.
So I stayed. Autumn turned to winter and we began to prepare our first proper family Christmas. The kids were beside themselves with excitement.
Kirstie and sat snuggled on the sofa watching the kids squeal with delight as they opened the presents we’d picked together.
I’d given Dave an Xbox game to keep him busy upstairs so we could enjoy the moment together.
Two days late, Kirstie had made a decision – ‘I want us to be together properly. I want him to go.’
Scared of how he would react, she sent him a text while he was at the pub telling him it was over and asking him to move out.
Racing home, he begged her to change her mind. But this time when he asked if we were having an affair we both admitted it.
Begrudgingly, Dave packed his bag and left and a few days later started divorce proceedings against Kirstie over her relationship with me. Although when the local gossip started, people wrongly assumed it had been me and Dave having the affair.
Now Dave had gone, it was time to start being honest.
We told the kids first. Kirstie explained that Mummy and Meemee were in love and Daddy had gone to live somewhere else.
‘OK,’ they said. ‘Can we go and play now?’
They took it all in their stride, the way kids do. My mum though found the news particularly hard to deal with.
‘Give her some time and she’ll come round,’ Dad said.
And a few days later Mum texted me: ‘I can’t do this anymore, I love you so much,’ she wrote. I was made up.
Slowly people started to accept us and a few months later we even started talking about getting engaged.
But as it grew closer to Megan’s anniversary I started to feel down.
I had a charity do to go to and I was dreading it.
As I was moping in the bedroom, supposedly getting ready, Kirstie came in and sat on the bed next to me.
‘I’ve got something for you,’ she said, handing me a small box.
I opened it up, saw a diamond ring sparkling inside. I looked up at Kirstie.
‘Well?’ she asked.
‘Yes!’ I cried. ‘Of course I’ll marry you.’
‘Come on,’ she said. ‘We’re a family now. We got the kids dressed and took them to the event with us.
But as much as I loved Kirstie’s three kids, I couldn’t help thinking there was something missing. I still desperately wanted to be a mother myself.
We’d started talking about having a baby together just before Dave left but now, we start researching properly.
We looked into IVF using a sperm donor and decided on egg share because we wanted to give someone else the chance of having a baby too.
When Kirstie was left some money we seized our chance.
I conceived on our first attempt. I was over the moon. ‘I can’t believe it!’ I wept. ‘I’m going to be a mummy.’ ‘ Me too,’ sobbed Kirsite beaming with joy.
When I lost Megan I thought I’d never be happy again. I certainly never thought that I would fall in love with a woman and have a baby with her. But life works in mysterious ways.
Kirstie was my best friend and now she’s my partner and I know we are going to be brilliant mummies together. After all, how many people can honestly say their partner is their best friend.
Sometimes I think my little Tinks must be looking down on me and working her fairy magic and I know Kirstie feels the same about her little George.
We’ve even opened another Megan’s World charity shop near our home in Lowestoft.
I’m 20 weeks gone now and in October I’ll give birth with Kirstie by my side. But we’ll never forget Megan and George. They broke our hearts but they also helped heal them too by leading us to each other.
Kirstie says: ‘ I’m not sorry I fell in love with Aimee, but I’m sorry I was married to Dave at the time.
‘I never expected to fall for Kirstie, she really was just a very good friend and it took us both by surprise and neither of us really knew how to handle it. It was such a crazy situation.
‘It had to come out sometime, we couldn’t all go on living together. I’m not proud that Dave got hurt but you can’t help who you fall in love with.
‘I’m pleased he’s settled down and found happiness too. I wish him all the best for the future, he is still my kid’s dad at the end of the day.
‘And I can’t wait for Aimee to give birth to our baby.
‘I’m happier than I have ever been in my life and I know I have Aimee to thank for that. She was my best friend and now she is my lover soon to be wife. I couldn’t be more proud.’