A Woman's Guide to Survival

Sometimes life is unfair. 

Without any rational explanation shit happends and life can become utterly overwhelming. 

Jessica has been forced to face her own mortality 3 times. Jessica survived.


What makes a woman strong?

Self belief. Everything you are stems from how you view your situation and go about responding to it. I've faced cervical cancer, a separation from my husband, a miscarriage and nearly died from sepsis in the space of one year - I refuse to see myself as a victim in any of those situations. I'm actually the luckiest person I know - my cancer was treatable with surgery, I survived sepsis and my ex husband is a great father to our son.


What makes a woman weak?

Self - doubt. No one can undermine you except you. This one took me years to master.


What does survival mean to you?

Survival is a funny word because survival doesn't suggest abundance and I like abundance! Survival makes it sound like you made it by the skin of your teeth.


What did you learn from your time in hospital?

Patience, compassion and trust. I had to have patience with myself and doctors, I learnt compassion for people in similar situations to myself and I learnt that I had to hand my body over completely and trust that my surgeon would heal me and that I would return home to my son.

How do you deal with fear?

I cry. I let myself feel fear and then I let it go. From the tests I had it became apparent that I would be told I had cervical cancer. The night before I met with the doctor I cried my heart out to my mum, I grieved for what was about to come and then, when I was sat in her office and heard the dreaded words, "You have Cervical Cancer" I was able to ask "What are we going to do?" That doesn't mean I wasn't afraid but it does mean that I had released a lot of my fear to prepare myself.


When you're at your lowest how do you keep going? 

I switch off my phone, I spend time with my son and I laugh a lot. Then I go to Waterstones and buy books like The Secret by Rhonda Byrne or 1,000 Paths to Mindfulness and I read. I eat, I read, I spend time with my son. Those things literally light something within me and restore my happiness.


How can women empower each other?

By starting with themselves. If you are a confident women you know that you are unique and you have so much to bring to the world at large. It doesn't matter if you feel someone is prettier or more successful, because you know you are also beautiful and successful. When you know that appreciating other women and rooting for other women doesn't take anything away from you - that's powerful.


How can a man help empower a woman?

Truly I don't think we need other people to empower us. I do however have a wonderful relationship with my father who has always believed in me and I look at my friends who have wonderful marriages with men who support, encourage and adore them (rightly so) those things are empowering. Love and respect empower people. 


What helped you survive?

How I chose to view my situations -and Eddie of course. Of all the wonderful things that have happened to me, Eddie is beyond! There are no words to describe what he brings to my life. He is the love of my life.


Women are...

Complex and fascinating. 

Jessica Rose Knowles is an ambassador for Jo's Trust and a blogger for Hello!  and owns www.mumplusone.co.uk Follow her on her Instagram