Thursday, 30 August 2012

A letter to Sharon

I went to university with a girl called Sharon.  Sharon is excellent.  In fact, I didn't realise just how great a friend she was until we didn't live in the same country anymore.

Anyway, Sharon is about to have a baby.  Her first baby.  A little boy.  And even though I haven't seen Sharon in around 10 years, I wish I was there.  I wish I was there to spend the last of her non-mummy days together.  And I really wish I was there when the baby comes.

But I won't be.  So I thought I'd write her a letter instead.  And then I thought, well, this is really a letter that applies to anyone who's about to have a baby, so why not put it out there, and maybe it'll help someone else too.

Hi Sharon

Before Kalani was born, so many people gave me advice.  "Oh, you'll never get a good night's sleep once the baby comes, so get lots now", "Make the most of this time before the baby comes because you won't have anytime to yourself for a long long time" etc. etc.

And I ignored all of it.

I smugly thought that my baby would be the best, sleepiest baby in the whole world, and I would handle this motherhood thing without raising a sweat.  What a joke.  Now I really wish I'd listened, really listened to some of what people said.

So this is a mixture of advice I did receive, and some I didn't, and you definitely don't have to even read this or take it to heart or anything, but I really want to pass it on, so just humour me, okay?

1. It's going to hurt.  Quite a lot.  Take the drugs when you're in labour and then DEFINITELY take the drugs afterwards as well.  They (those medical people) know what they're doing.  They don't want you to be in pain either.  So take everything you're offered.

2. Everyone says to sleep when the baby sleeps, and instead you'll try to do stuff - like washing or cooking or having a shower.  Don't.  The beginning is hard, and you'll feel like your insides are about to fall out of your 'bits' (and if you have a c-section, then your abdomen is in all sort of pain and coughing is the least fun thing to do in the world).  This is one of the ONLY times as a mother that lots of people will offer to do stuff for you.  So let them.  Let them do everything they can to help, and try to have at least 1 nap a day.  Because that little bundle of gorgeousness probably won't let you sleep at night.

3. (This was the thing I found the hardest) If you breastfeed then you spend a LOT of time just sitting around.  This can be so hard, particularly if you're used to being up and doing things.  Try really really really hard to enjoy it.  Seriously.  Just be happy to sit and not have to do anything other than just be (and feed your baby obviously).  Watch TV.  Watch lots and lots of TV, because when he gets older (with K it was around 4 months), he's going to start to realise that there's a lot of bright lights and loud sounds coming from over there, and you're going to have to stop watching tv whilst breastfeeding (though the good news is that later on Dora and the Backyardigans will become your best friends when you realise they cause all noise and movement to stop in your otherwise crazy toddler).

4. Don't worry about your weight.  You won't be thin again directly afterwards, and you might not be for a while. This sucks.  A lot.  But one day you'll get there.  The mental and physical energy that you expend in worrying/doing something about this is NOT worth it.  You have way too many other things that are sucking up your energy at the moment - why add something else to the list?

5. Another thing that everyone says is to enjoy them when they're small.  All I could think was "Are you f-ing serious?  This sucks - I'm not getting any sleep and everytime I cough I wet myself and he just won't stop crying.".  BUT - they are so sweet when they're small.  And they don't talk back.  Or move.  You can put them down and just leave them there without worrying that they're going to get into the cleaning cupboard and poison themselves.  They're so innocent and beautiful and wonderful.  Really enjoy his newborn charm.

6. Join mummy/baby groups.  They're not for him, they're for you.  So when you're having a really bad day, you can say to another mum "I'm about to lose the plot - I only slept for 2 hours last night", and she'll reply "Me too".  And that Sharon, is a wonderful moment.  When you realise that it's not just you.  That you're not in this alone.  That when you're up at 2am nursing or changing his diaper, there are a million other mum's who are doing the exact same thing.  Seriously - please do this.  It will save your sanity more and more as he gets older.

7. This is almost my last point and it's maybe the most important.  Don't be too hard on yourself.  It'll probably be really tough but it really does get better and you're going to do an amazing job.  Yes you'll have bad days, but you'll have good ones too.  Really good ones.  The kind of day where you just think "Holy crap - did I CREATE this adorable little human being?". 

8. When people give you advice just let them (*cough* - I guess this kind of includes me!!).  People LOVE to give advice to expecting/new mum's.  It makes them feel like they're really helping you (yup - this totally includes me).  Let them.  You don't have to listen to anything they say, but you'll make their day - maybe even their week - by letting them think that in some small way, they're there to help you deal with the chaos that is a new baby.

9.  And finally, please take lots of pictures and send them to me.  I cannot wait to see him and I hope that one day I'll get to meet him too.

Good luck Sharon.  I really do wish I was there with you because you're about to have the most amazing wonderful adventure ever.  Tough but awesome.  Enjoy it.

All my love

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Ya'll have the power

Kalani's having a nap and I'm sitting here with my cup of tea and a great big slice of chocolate cake.  And while I wouldn't say that I'm ecstatically happy, neither am I sad anymore.  

It's a strange thing this blogging process.  For me, it's like therapy.  As soon as I write and then publish a post about something that's upset me (like the last one), then I immediately start to feel better.  Maybe it's the sharing.  Maybe it's all the positivity that you send back to me, either through comments or messages or maybe just through the power of thought.  

Anyway, whatever the reason - thank you.  

I feel a lot better.  I feel like I have the energy and the strength to face tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that.

So that's it really.  I just wanted to say thanks.  Your care and love and virtual hugs are helping to heal.  You guys rock.

Anyway, I'd better get back to my chocolate cake before Kalani wakes up and wants me to share with him. I may be your mum, but there's a line, made of chocolate, and you will. not. cross. it.  Hands off the cake.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Life = Heartbreaking

This is pretty raw, and I guess it's pretty personal and a lot of people wouldn't share it, but I always find that writing/sharing stuff on here makes me feel a lot better.  Lets hope it works this time.

It's happened again.  Once again I've lost Kalani's sibling.  This will be the 3rd actual miscarriage, and the 4th time we've thought we were pregnant only to discover that we're not.

It's just not fair.  I'm so sad and empty and full of rage at the unfairness of it.  Why is this happening again?

Now I know that we already have Kalani.  We're really lucky in that respect.  If you're not able to have children for whatever reason then I can't imagine how awful that must be, and forgive my rantings here because you probably think I have nothing to rant about.  You're probably right.

But there's this "thing" inside of me.  This primal feeling that's yelling "HAVE ANOTHER BABY RIGHT NOW".  And I'm really trying.  We're really trying, but you know what? It just isn't working.

Do you have a life plan?  An idea of how your life will map out?  Yup, I kind of did too, but none of it's really happened.  I imagine that's pretty normal.  There probably aren't too many people who plan out their life and then find that it all goes just as they expected.  I guess that'd be pretty boring.

BUT ....

I do want Kalani to have a brother or a sister to grow up with, and I feel so mad and helpless - that's it, I feel totally helpless, because I just. can't. do it.

Tomorrow is my birthday.  I'll be 38.  The odds of actually getting pregnant, staying pregnant and then having a healthy child aren't great.  So much for the plan.


So I think my life plan is going to have to change.  There's going to be less actual planning and organizing (which I love), and there's going to be more living in the present.

I'm not going to hold off decorating the other bedroom, I'm going to turn it into a playroom.  I might even book a holiday somewhere warm and lovely.


And I'm going to stand up straight and put a big smile on my face and keep going.  Because otherwise I would stay in my bed, curled up in a tight little ball, sobbing and sobbing until my heart finally breaks.

Life is tough. But so are we.  

Keep marching poppets.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Hot and Embarrassing

(Tut tut tut - get your mind out of the gutter!)

This has been an almost perfect summer in St. John's.  It's been hot.  Lovely and warm and sunny and sooooooo pleasant.  When it's like this I almost like it here! ;)

So what have we been up to?

We've spent a lot of time outside in the garden.  There were a few issues with some weirdo worms that eat all the leaves in the trees and then poop them out all over whoever's under the trees (Dan and I were sitting outside one evening having a drink, and there was so much poo falling that it felt like it was raining!), but apart from that the garden has been lovely.

There's been lots of pushing K around on his bike, and lots of soccer.  Even Jazzy has been getting involved...

Unfortunately (or not depending on how you look at it), because the weather has been so nice I've hardly taken any pics at all, though I did manage to quickly snap this one the other day.  It's slightly out of focus because Kalani was running away from me and didn't really want his picture taken (perhaps he knew that one day this is going to be uber-embarrassing for him)...

And finally, yesterday we all went to the St. John's folk festival.  It was excellent, though we didn't get to hear as much music as we would have liked because Kalani has a beaver obsession.  Yup - we stalked the beaver for a lot of the time we were there, and even when we were trying to watch/listen to some music in one of the tents, Kalani would ask (very loudly) "where is beaver Mummy?"...

Oh, and before I go I wanted to share an excellent group that we discovered at the folk festival.  You might already know them, but we just chanced upon them as we were leaving.  Definitely my favourites.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

All growned up

Today I was out walking Jazzy at lunchtime.  We were strolling (slowly, because Jazzy is old and isn't so keen on his walks anymore) across a park, when I noticed a gaggle of children playing.  They ran over to pet Jazz, but before I let them I looked over to where their mothers sat, and waited until the grown-ups had seen me, thus giving their implied approval.

Afterwards as I was walking away, I realised how I'd labelled those mums.  "Grown-ups".  I was probably older than all of them, but I still look at parents as grown-ups/old, and think of myself as (relatively) young.

It's not just random strangers either.  We have friends/acquaintances who are of a similar age to us, and a lot of them I sub-consciously think of as really old, grown-ups.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe because they act responsibly?

The only time I don't feel much younger than everyone else is when I'm at work and I overhear the conversations going on within the team next to me.  They're all mid 20's and their chat is always about how little they remember of their weekend, or how they have bruises all over them that they can't explain, or how much they can drink before throwing up.  

I listen to their chatter and think "Buddy, dat's nuttin'.  I was doing that 20 years ago".

And then I feel my age.  Every second of it.