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letting go

We got 2 nights of sleeping through this week and thought we’d finally turned a corner with the baby. Glad I didn’t hold my breath!let go

At the moment it feels like we’re going backwards. He’s eating less but more often and giving us less and less sleep between feeds. I know he’s only 8.5 weeks old and I’m probably expecting too much but frustration and devastation can drive you to hope for the impossible sometimes!

It’s almost midday and I am un-showered, quickly eating a piece of toast for breakfast and writing this on my iPhone because I don’t have time to set up the laptop in case he wakes up, which he will any minute. I’ve just realised I have his spit up on my shoulder and part of a nappy stuck to my pyjama pants. My life really has inexplicably changed.

Sitting here in my state of distressed motherhood I can’t help but wonder, when it comes to the big changes in our lives can we ever be truly prepared? With all the information at our fingertips are we still left clueless about the true reality of things until we are stuck right in the middle of them?

Change will come in our lives whether we want it or not. It doesn’t matter if we cower in the corner of our living room or go out in to the world with our swords drawn. The only thing we can do is learn how to cope with it.

I don’t know how many times I’ve said “I can’t deal with this anymore” or “I’m just not coping” this year. Many a night has passed when I have wished I just had the gift of acceptance. For me it all comes down to control. For most of my adult life I have made sure there aren’t many aspects of my day that I can’t predict or manage. I don’t feel comfortable putting plans in someone else’s hands, even planning my own Hen’s night and relieving my best friend of all her Maid of Honour duties at my wedding. I am a classic control freak and it’s served me well up until now. I have a good job, amazing friends and married the love of my life. I leave the flying by the seat of your pants business to my sister and mother who don’t seem to be able to live their lives any other way.

Being spontaneous to me is booking a holiday without researching it for a few months first… hold on, that’s way too risky, I have to check Trip Advisor and all the reviews! Living this way ensures I pretty much always have very comfortable, drama free holidays but aren’t the best memories of any trip usually the parts that weren’t planned for? Like the amazing, secluded bay you found when you took the wrong turn on your way to the main tourist beach or the quirky little antique store you found when you got lost looking for the new Pottery Barn?

So maybe I can look on the next few months (18 years!) of sleepless nights and unpredictable days as a lesson in letting go. After all, I’m already leaving the house on a daily basis in tracksuit pants with unmanicured nails and no makeup (and I must admit, baby spit on my t-shirt more than once!) and nothing bad has happened to me. I haven’t been shunned by society or banned from my circle of friends.

Maybe I can harness some power from this crazy unscheduled life. Will it kill me not knowing what’s going to happen today or how much sleep I am going to get tonight or a month from now?

It’s going to take some time and I probably won’t enjoy it but I am innately aware that I have no choice in the matter. Of all the things in my life I have been able to undo, re-do or not do at all, parenting is not one of them. I will never regret the choice to bring my perfect little man in to this world, now if I could just get him to fall in to line with all my plans and expectations…! 

the next j.k.

jk rowlingWatching the Sunrise morning show this week I saw an interview with a young writer being touted as the next J.K. Rowling. As a writer my ears always prick up when I hear these sorts of statements. I’m always interested to hear what the public is reading and who the next big thing in modern literature is supposed to be.

The young writer’s story sounded interesting enough that I will most likely buy it to read and see what all the fuss is about. I’ll let you know what my verdict is.

In the last few years I have been astounded at some of the work that has made the best seller lists and catapulted the authors in to fame and fortune. Not J.K., in my opinion the Harry Potter series are among the best books ever written. I’m talking about a couple of series about blood sucking teenagers and over sexed millionaires. How some of these books even get published is beyond me, I swear I wrote better and more compelling tales in exercise books when I was 16 years old!

Is that resentment and jealousy you sense in my tone? Absolutely! Do I dream about being the next millionaire author to join the New York Best Sellers List? You better believe it!

Watching yet another writer find international success prompted me to make a long overdue decision. It’s time to start work on my own masterpiece. As a teen I used to write every day and have 2 completed novels that have sat in dusty boxes for the last 18 years. I reckon it’s time to dig them out and give it another go.

After all, if there’s another future billionaire J.K. Rowling out there somewhere, why shouldn’t it be me?!

let them come

parentingI’ve just survived another relatively sleepless night and finally managed to put the baby down for the first time since quarter to six this morning, it’s now 9am. I might be lucky and get 20 or so minutes to use the bathroom, have some breakfast and maybe a quick shower, but it won’t be long before he’s grunting and groaning because he’s ready for another feed or just wants to be held.

It’s easy when he’s quiet like this to sit and watch him and forget the endless nights. He’s so peaceful and beautiful that it makes my heart melt. But then I’ll notice his eyebrow furrow or his lip curl and I know that in a few minutes he’ll be awake again. My short break is over, I’m being called back up to bat. Even in these few peaceful moments, I’m always on duty. And I didn’t quite make it to the shower!

Everyone tells me, enjoy this time with him, they are only little for such a short amount of time, he’ll be all grown up before you know it… What is it about people that makes us think we will regret not enjoying or appreciating difficult moments in our lives? How many times has someone told you to “just try and enjoy the experience” or “I know it’s hard but it’s really only such a short time in your life and it will be over before you know it”. I heard it all through my pregnancy and ever since he was born.

Yes, I’m sorry I didn’t get to enjoy my pregnancy but am I sorry that it’s over and I didn’t have longer to appreciate it… hell no! Am I sorry I wished every day for it to be over and that I got my wish 3 weeks before my due date, saving me another 21 days of pain and sickness… no way!

Watching him now and wanting him to be a little older made me wonder, will there come a day when I look back on these weeks and wish I could have them again? What am I missing out on by wishing away this time?

I take photos and videos of him every day because I realise how quickly he’s changing and growing. I can already look back at pictures of him and see the difference in his face and how big he’s getting with each day that passes. I’m sure in 20 years I’ll look back on the same photos and with my grown son no longer depending on me for his every need there will be a part of me as a mum that will wish for this time again and who will regret not enjoying every second.

Right now though, all I can think is bring it on. Send me the days when my child isn’t only happy when he’s attached to me like a baby koala. Bring on the days when he will be able to smile at me and acknowledge me for all the attention and time he demands.

To those days when I get to share my life with him rather than give up every semblance of it just to ensure his survival I say, let them come!

a state of naiveté

mom-memeThe dictionary defines naiveté as “the state or quality of being inexperienced or unsophisticated”. By this definition I have been naive about many things in my life, not least of all, parenthood. What a fool I was believing that pregnancy was going to be the hardest part of my journey in to motherhood. “Just you wait”, my friends would say, and I’d reply, “you haven’t had my pregnancy, it can’t get any worse than this”. Well my dear, sweet friends, you were right. I didn’t know what I was in for.

The first thing I experienced as I lay in my hospital bed that first night was a strange separation anxiety, not from my newborn who was in special care for the first 24 hours with breathing difficulties, but that my pregnancy was over. My big tummy was gone, the long journey was over, and because I’d gone in to labour 3 weeks early I hadn’t had a chance to process the idea before I was being wheeled in to surgery for a c-section. I didn’t get to say goodbye.

The experience of holding my tiny son in my arms the first time was surreal. There were tears. But not the undying love kind of tears, the holy shit what have I done, how will I ever manage this kind. I was all together overwhelmed and bewildered. Looking down at this little, helpless baby, I was utterly terrified. Even now, over a month later, I still look at him and wonder how something so small and powerless can be so scary.

The feeding, changing, settling and nurturing have come much more naturally to me than I expected. And it’s easy to love him, he’s part of me, and he is utterly gorgeous and delicious. He’s a well behaved baby, as much as a newborn can be. He only cries when he’s hungry or uncomfortable. He’s not particularly whingey or difficult. I just never expected it to be so intense and so all-consuming and constant.

I said he only cries when he’s hungry… But he’s hungry every 2 hours, day and night. He goes from sleeping peacefully to screaming down the house and writhing in the pain of starvation in about 30 seconds. A bottle takes a good 5 minutes to prepare and heat up (oh how I wish I’d been able to breast feed!) so that doesn’t really give you enough time to be ready before all hell breaks loose.

Everything about my life and the person I was in January has changed. I am already a mum first and foremost in people’s minds. Even my birthday cards last month were all about celebrating my first birthday as mother. And my greatest fear was realised within days of getting home from hospital. My marriage is neither mine or my husband’s priority anymore. He had to go back to work after a few days and goes to bed early every night while I stay up on night duty with the baby. I sit in the lounge room each night waiting for the next feed to roll around and all I want is to be in our bed, in his arms. I miss him. I am exhausted all the time and don’t feel or even look like myself. I can’t imagine ever having the energy for passion or fun again.

I love my little Bug and sometimes I just sit and stare at him, unable to believe he’s mine. But I am lost. All my friends tell me, it gets better. The first 8 weeks are the hardest. Enjoy it as much as you can because he’ll grow up so fast. I am too tired to be able to even fathom the idea that life will get back to normal one day, that I will feel like myself again eventually. After almost an entire year of being this sick, miserable, scared woman how will the person I was before even remember how to exist?

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