Christine's story

30 years, 30 stories

Christine's story

30 years, 30 stories

“I want to tell carers that you can achieve whatever you want to achieve. Don’t allow being a carer to stop you from fulfilling your dreams. Somehow or other you can fit it in,” says Christine.

Christine’s daughter Jacqui was just one year old when she was diagnosed. As far as Christine was aware Jacqui was a healthy baby, but when Jacqui didn’t reach her expected milestones doctors sent her for a number of tests and a sudden diagnosis was made: Cerebral Palsy and a number of other complex conditions that would mean Jacqui requires high-level, full-time care.

Previously a high-school teacher, Christine never returned to her teaching role once the diagnosis was made. Over the next ten years, Christine devoted herself to Jacqui’s intensive therapy program, which amounted to six to seven hours each day. During this time, Christine says she and her husband became “nothing but carers.”

“Caring is this other world that you live in with not a lot of connection outside of it,” she says.

“I never considered myself to need the support. I didn’t think I was relevant, as Jacqui’s needs were much greater than mine.”

When Jacqui turned 14, she went off to school for the first time, which allowed Christine the time to start up a clinic for children with hypersensitivity conditions such as autism and ADHD. In her clinic, Christine used music at specific bandwidths to desensitise the parts of the brain that are overactive in people with these conditions. While starting her clinic was a rewarding and exciting time for Christine, it also coincided with a very difficult period which saw her separate from her husband and become a sole carer to Jacqui and her two other children. As a result, Christine’s mental health spiralled.

Music became Christine’s saviour at this time. For as long as she could remember, Christine had wanted to sing but life circumstances had always stood in the way.

“I wanted to be a singer, not just doing music. I wanted to be on stage, I wanted a microphone,” she says.

So Christine joined a choir, “And for one night each week, it was just me,” she says.

Fast forward to today and Christine has just released her first album “One Woman One Day” which she recently performed live at the Thornbury Theatre with Jacqui in attendance. Jacqui is 32 years old now, and while being a carer is Christine’s top priority, she knows the importance of making time for her music “even if it means writing songs at 3am.”

“I want to tell carers that you can achieve whatever you want to achieve. Don’t allow being a carer to stop you from fulfilling your dreams. Somehow or other you can fit it in,” says Christine.

Christine’s album is available now for purchase at www.christinemanetta.com