HI, I’M TINA…..
I don’t know about you but I find it quite hard to introduce myself to people. As an introvert, I am usually done at “Hi, I’m Tina” and most of the time even that’s a struggle. Once I know someone and I am comfortable around them, it’s hard to shut me up. It’s the in between bit that I find awkward. I find it easy to share the “Entrepreneur” part of my life story because I am so passionate about it.
This journey has changed my life in so many ways and taught me a lot about myself. It wasn’t an easy path here and sometimes walking this path is challenging but the future that I am building is for myself and my family. Everything I do herein will benefit us and not the owner of the company I would otherwise be working for. So, without further ado, here is my story. This is likely to be a lengthy read so grab a cuppa and get comfy.
YOUR PAST DOESN’T DEFINE YOU BUT IT MAKES YOU WHO YOU ARE…..
There was a time, long ago, that I was embarrassed to tell people about my past. When I look back it’s very easy to see that we were a poor family. My mum was a stay at home mum to four children and my dad wasn’t around. Our clothes were quite often purchased from nearly new shops or hand me downs. Money was budgeted down to the last penny and there was rarely any spare cash for anything considered a luxury. School items required to be purchased from the school were done on a payment scheme basis of £1 per week per item and we never went on any holidays of any kind. Like, NEVER.
In the run up to my 16th birthday I was told I’d need to get a part-time job and I did. I worked 9 whole hours a week at a whopping £2.80 per hour. When college enrolment came round the following summer I was told that I could study but I’d still be expected to contribute to the household financially. The course hours were long and I knew I couldn’t attend college and work. So, I made the tough decision to give up the course and got a full-time job instead. I never resented my mum for putting me in that position but I did feel like life was very unfair. Whilst my friends were enjoying their college experience and dreaming of their futures I was doing adult “stuff” and trying to figure out what my future had in store for me.
As an adult and mum of two I now understand how hard that situation must have been for my mum. I am truly thankful for the life lessons she taught me. If offered the chance to do so, I’d never change my past. It doesn’t define me but it has definitely shaped me into the person I am today and for that I am truly grateful.
CHOOSING MY OWN PATH IN LIFE…..
At the rip old age of 17 I left home and moved 200 miles away. I felt guilty for abandoning my family but I felt like I had to live my life. And I did. I starting working as a Mortgage Assessor and was later a Mortgage Underwriter. After 4 years of living away and after spending a few life changing months in New Zealand I finally ventured home. I busted my butt for a further 3 years working as a Paraplanning Manager and studying to obtain financial services qualifications. When I met my husband David in 2007 I decided to move to Gibraltar. In 2008 I did just that.
10 YEARS HAVE FLOWN BY…..
The past 10 years have whizzed by. We have endured redundancies and suffered infertility. We have added 2 beautiful children to our family. I proudly watched my husband become a Police Officer. I got a job in Corporate Finance as a Compliance Officer. We have both lost loved ones and welcomed new arrivals. We have purchased a home, set up a business and got married. There have been close calls and near death experiences as well as work place bullying. Amongst these events there has been an endless amount of love and support and a million happy memories shared. Some of these events changed my life and lead me to where I am today.
WHEN LIFE LEADS YOU DOWN ANOTHER PATH…..
I am not religious but I do believe that life is pre planned before we are born and the path where life leads us is where we are supposed to be. In 2015 a series of events happened that ultimately lead me to where I am today.
In March 2015 we discovered I was pregnant with our second child. After being told I was infertile in 2011 and conceiving our miracle child in 2012 we were over the moon that we were going to be growing our family. My first pregnancy and birth were close to text book. My second pregnancy and birth were not so. I was diagnosed with Placenta Previa at 17 weeks. It was a bumpy road to our 38 week scheduled c-section.
Life was pretty tough at this point. Our first born was undergoing assessments for autism, my pregnancy was troublesome and I was a victim of work place bullying. As a result of the bullying I was suffering from anxiety which was causing me to have contractions on almost a daily basis. The Obstetric Consultant advised me to leave work at 30 weeks due to situation at work and the high risk nature of my pregnancy. I left work at 29 weeks and commenced my maternity leave. At 29 weeks and 5 days what we were hoping to avoid happened and I started to bleed. We were told to prepare ourselves should the worst happen.
I was lucky enough to carry our son to our c-section date at 38 weeks after spending 9 weeks on bed rest. Although my pregnancy was deemed high risk the c-section was thought to be relatively straight forward. Due to unforeseen complications the procedure quickly turned into a emergency situation. Both my son and I are lucky to be here to tell our story.
WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE…..
When your life flashes before you it leads you to evaluate your life. It was some time before that happened. Between the various events outlined above and my evaluation I suffered greatly with my mental health. The anxiety I experienced due to work place bullying continued throughout my pregnancy. The anxiety continued despite being on maternity leave. I realised after some time that I was suffering with PTSD due to birth trauma and everything came to a head all at once. It knocked me for six. Right there and then I decided life was too short and something needed to change.
My husband and I had a frank discussion and we decided that I wouldn’t return to work. The plan was to stay home with our two boys and work on building the business I’d always dreamed of owning and that is how Little Chiqui Paperie was born.
On the 29th of March 2016 I resigned and in April 2016 I officially registered my business!