After much to-ing and fro-ing on salary and commissions she joined the company as our Sales Manager. My role was to oversee the operational side of the business and allow my husband to carry on coding as that was what he loved doing and what he did best. I also got involved in the Malvern Cyber Security Cluster, the Malvern Festival of Innovation and other cyber security initiatives in my area to help with my work at our company. As a spare time interest I founded a literary festival in my local area, which had huge success in its first two years.

My husband and I also had some personal challenges because we had been trying for a family for years, but I had had six miscarriages all around the six to eight-week mark, which was devastating. After many tests and after I had endured lots of poking and prodding we were told that the only way that we could have a baby together was to have ICSI treatment. Ten days before I was due to begin the first cycle of that treatment, on a Saturday morning in February 2012, my world completely changed when my husband said the following words to me, “I’m so sorry, but I don’t love you as a wife anymore.”

Those words cut through me like a knife. Not only was it the end of my 16-year marriage, but it was also the end of my career having joined my husband’s company. I begged him to reconsider, to go to marriage guidance counselling, that I would change whatever it was that he was unhappy with, but it was no use. His mind was made up, and off he went that very same morning to his parents.

I honestly didn’t know how I would ever recover from it, or what I would do next, or how I would rebuild myself. I had lost everything overnight including my career, and one of the most heart-breaking calls I ever had to make was to cancel the ICSI treatment we were due to start. Little did I know that not having that treatment potentially saved my life.

The divorce from my ex-husband came through in August 2012 and he married my friend who I recruited as the Sales Manager into the business a few months later. As for me, I had a limbo period where I didn’t know what I was going to do next, or what I wanted to do with my life. It was all I could do to pick up the pieces of my life and there were some days that I just didn’t want to go on or be here anymore.

Eventually I picked up a contract at a locally based national charity, and I found love again and remarried in April 2013 to my husband Russell. We had met many years before in 2002 as he used to work at the same disaster recovery company that my ex-husband worked at, and I met him through my ex-husband, but we lost touch until he contacted me again on Facebook in 2012 after my ex-husband had left me.

Just after I got married again to Russell I joined BT (British Telecom) to work on the marketing for their Assure Cyber product. I had missed working in the cyber security industry so much since I had to come away from my ex-husband’s company and it felt good to be back in it again. I realised that I had been more upset about having to come away from my ex-husband’s company than I was about the end of the marriage itself!

Then out of the blue in May 2013 I discovered that I was pregnant.

I got to the 6-week mark, then the 8-week mark, 10-week mark and finally to the 12-week mark – I couldn’t believe it! Due to the previous miscarriages I had suffered I had a scan every two weeks to check how my baby was developing, and every time I saw my baby on the monitors my heart would fill with love. I was finally on my way to becoming a mother!

When I attended my 20 weeks scan my husband and I were thrilled to find out that we were having a son. But our world completely fell apart when we were told that our unborn son had a severe cleft lip and palate. What followed was a myriad of appointments, more tests and more scans, and I was also told that my unborn son had a type of talipes (club foot) that meant it was very unlikely that he would ever walk.

At the same time that I was reeling from finding out that my unborn son would be severely disabled, I was betrayed by a set of people who I brought in to help me with the literary festival that founded. Their actions and behaviour were cruel and unjustified but having caught me at such a vulnerable time, I had no fight left in me. I let these bullies win by handing over the festival to them, which was my idea, and walking away from it. Bullies should never win, but nothing was as important to me as my unborn son and his care and needs at that time. Had I not been reeling from finding out about my unborn son’s disabilities, I would not have walked away from what I had founded and started, and I wouldn’t have let the bullies get away with what they did to me. As a result of this and what happened I do not trust people easily, and today I am a very guarded person.

I prepared for life as the mother to a son who had significant disabilities and would need round the clock 24-hour care. But on 29 November 2013 my son Francesco “Frankie” Enrico Ventura, who I named after my Dad, was stillborn, and my heart was broken all over again.

Coming in part 3….how I somehow, although goodness knows how, started all over again with my heart forever broken, and how I persevered in cyber security industry despite the knowledge that I would never, ever be a mother, and that I would forever be an empty armed mother.

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Lisa Ventura is an award-winning Cyber Security consultant and is the CEO and Founder of the UK Cyber Security Association (UKCSA), a membership association that is dedicated raising awareness and educating small businesses, SME’s, large corporate companies and the general public as to the importance of cyber security. Lisa is also a thought leader, author and keynote speaker and has been published in various publications globally. She is fascinated by all things related to nuclear war and loves dogs, the gym/keep fit, the rock band Queen, Freddie Mercury, sci-fi, films and TV series from the 1980s, especially American soap operas such as Dallas, Falcon Crest, Dynasty and Knots Landing.

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