As well as it being Cyber Security Awareness month, which is a huge deal in my work industry, October is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.
I am sharing this picture of myself holding my much loved and much wanted son Francesco “Frankie” Enrico Ventura. He was born sleeping when I was 33 weeks pregnant; he never opened his eyes, nor did he take a breath in this world.
After having 10, yes 10, early miscarriages all around the 5-6 week mark and losing my Frankie when he was born sleeping, I am one of the “1 in 4” who loses a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth or neo-natal death. It is a shocking statistic, and one of the things I do aside from my work in cyber security is to raise as much awareness of baby loss as possible to help break the silence and taboo around this subject.
I may not be a mother in the “traditional” sense, but I am still a mother, albeit an empty armed one. And being an empty armed mother brings its own challenges. The time I would have spent with my Frankie has to be filled somehow, and I now spend my time forging ahead in a career in cyber security. I always have in the back of my mind that the life I have now is the life I wasn’t meant to have. Today I should be the mother of a son who has not long starting school and is approaching his 6th birthday. But it is life I have got, so I am making the best of it and trying to achieve as much as I can.
Such is the dedication to my work these days that I’ve even won awards for what I do, and what I do has become, as Freddie Mercury says in the film Bohemian Rhapsody, a distraction from the in-between moments.
There is a scene in Bohemian Rhapsody where Freddie meets his future partner Jim Hutton for the first time. All his friends have just left a party he held at his house and Freddie says to Jim, “They’re not my friends, not really. They’re distractions”. Jim asks, “From what?” and Freddie replies “The in between moments I suppose. I find them intolerable. All of the darkness you thought you’d left behind comes creeping back in.”
That is EXACTLY how I feel today. And why I choose to put so much into my work. If I stop the in-between moments happen and I go back to that dark place where I was when Frankie was born sleeping. I know that he wouldn’t want me to be in that dark place, so I try very hard through my work in cyber security to stay out of it.
Whatever I do now work and career wise is for my Frankie, in the hope I can make him proud of me. I want him to look at me from up there, see me winning the awards I have won, see me being the best version of myself and see me making huge strides and headway into the cyber security industry as the CEO & Founder of the UK Cyber Security Association and as an author, blogger, thought leader and keynote speaker in the cyber security industry and say to everyone he’s up there with, “that’s my Mommy.” THIS is why I do what I do, and why my work means so much to me now. It helps me avoid and get through the “in between” moments. I know such wonderful and lovely people in the Infosec community (with one or two exceptions) and I’m grateful for all of you.
If any of you would like to read more about my awareness raising work in this area, please visit my blog www.frankieslegacy.co.uk.