blogging, motherhood, pregnancy, self-discovery

Accepting help

I wrote recently about how having Jenson, my son, is teaching me more about asking for help (and being ok relying on others) than I could have ever imagined. And I feel like this will be the lesson for me in 2018, being ok asking for help and also being ok with being specific about what help I need.

My lovely parents-in-law are here in Brighton visiting for a week – partly to spend time with Jenson, their first grandchild and to also give us some support and help as we transition into parenthood.

I’ve been surprised with how hard I’ve found it to even contemplate being specific about what they, particularly Kathryn, can do to help me.

Partly it’s because I feel awkward asking her to clean my bathroom or wash my bedsheets – things that I feel shouldn’t be up to other people to do (but things she has specifically said she’ll do if it would help us). But when I ask myself what else is underneath it, there are some specific things which are making me feel uncomfortable making the requests.

Rejection

Yes, I’m afraid of rejection. Afraid that I’ll ask for something and it will get slapped down or I’ll get laughed at for asking for what I need. It’s easier to just be a lone island, to be completely self-sufficient, than to risk having my requests (and by association, me) rejected by others.

Unworthiness

There is part of me that also doesn’t feel worthy of such practical displays of support and affection from other people. It makes me feel uncomfortable to need other people. I’m used to being ‘strong’, used to being the helper, and so this new reality is challenging who I am and what my use is in this world. It’s making me ask hard questions – am I worthy of people just doing things for me out of love where nothing is expected back?

Vulnerable

When people help me, I feel vulnerable. Like Katniss in the Hunger Games (apologies if you’re not a fan, I bloody love these books!) who has the need to repay every good deed done to her, I feel that every good deed done to me has a price which will one day need to be paid back. And not knowing the price that will need to be paid, the deed which will need to be done, I’d rather just cope alone. It makes me feel vulnerable.

But I want to trust that these acts of kindness can be just that – acts of kindness – with no price to pay back, no expectation from anyone else. And I want to feel able to show others my vulnerability.


So there are lots of things under the simple acceptance of help from other people – things I know I will need to unpack. But for now I feel that it’s simply ok to acknowledge them, to know they are there, and perhaps just by knowing this, I won’t be as enslaved by them.

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blogging, Love, motherhood, pregnancy

Happy tears

I’m being driven back from Bristol to Brighton by my husband and, sat here in the back, watching over my son, I have tears running down my face.

Happy tears.

I feel so lucky, so happy, so full because of where I am and all that I have.

I’ve been on the brink of tears so often since Jenson came into my life and that’s ok because they have mostly been happy tears.

Tears of gratitude for the NHS

As I wrote in a previous post, my experience of giving birth with the national health service was totally and utterly amazing. My midwife was so kind, supportive and I knew she had everything in hand.

At one point, towards the end of the labour, she asked me where I wanted to be (in what position) to give birth and I said ‘the position which will make me the most powerful…what is that?’

She replied back to me ‘you already have all the power you need inside you. So what feels right to you?’

Throughout the labour, she guided me to trust my instincts and showed me that I had everything I needed to get through the experience.

Gregg and I returned to hospital to give her and the staff a thank you present for all their support and luckily when we arrived, our midwife was on shift – I got to see her again and thank her personally. And when I saw her, I felt my eyes well up with tears of gratitude, as they are doing now, for all she had been to me.

It’s particularly sad to hear in recent days how the NHS is under such strain and, through conversations with friends who work in healthcare, to learn how under pressure staff members are. To hear that the stress is such that some (particularly those in training) are even turning to suicide as they feel unable to cope.

I don’t know what I can do about this but I do know that I owe so much to the medical professionals who looked after me so diligently and with such care and that I want to fight for the NHS to get more funding, more support and for its staff to get more respect for the amazing job they do.

Tears of gratitude for my family

My family have all been super heroes to me in the lead-up to and the week following Jenson’s birth. They have shown their care and love in every day actions that have taken the edge off the difficulties of being a new parent. Taking Jenson for an hour so I could have a much needed nap, cooking loads of delicious vegan meals, popping out to get essentials, bringing me chocolate, encouraging me to rest up even if it meant spending little time in my company, holding me when I cried, listening to what I needed from them…and the list could go on.

And seeing my nephew, Oscar, with Jenson (or as he calls him ‘Golden Jenson’) brought such warmth to my heart – I can’t wait until Jenson is toddling after his two cousins, trying to keep up with their antics and games.

As we left my family to travel back to Bristol this morning I held back my tears of gratitude, not wanting to make the goodbye more difficult than it already was. But I know my family read my posts and I am glad that they’ll know, through this post, how thankful I am for everything they’ve done for me.

Tears of gratitude for good health

I’ve got a wonderful group of new parent friends thanks to the NCT classes I attended last year. One of the little boys who was born on the same day as my Jenson had some serious heart conditions and this morning went into surgery which had a 10% chance of him dying.

I’ve just received a message from the parents saying that the operation went well and when I heard this news I cried with relief for him and his family.

It is so easy to take good health for granted but knowing how ill little Charlie was makes me realise how lucky I am to have a healthy little baby. And knowing how fiercely I love my little son, I feel relief for the parents who will, hopefully, be able to start life with him properly soon without fear for his life.

Tears of happiness for how full I feel

I can’t describe how I feel as anything other than ‘fullness’. Full of love, full of incredulity for how happy I am as a parent, full of the richness and wonder of life.

And this feeling of fullness is even more acute because I didn’t know how I would feel about becoming a parent, right up until the birth.

Gregg and I wanted children at some stage in life but we never had the feeling that we needed to have children to live a happy and fulfilled life. So when I found out I was pregnant, I was happy but also unsure about what this would mean for my life and the beautiful relationship I have with my husband.

And I had several twists and turns in pregnancy which took me back a little bit;

  • learning that I was having a boy when I had hoped slightly for a girl,
  • having the placenta situated on my stomach wall, which meant that I didn’t feel the baby move as often as you usually would in pregnancy (and so feeling a bit disconnected from the pregnancy experience),
  • finding out we were expecting a baby a few months after I started in new job and not knowing how this would impact my career.

It feels wrong to share this with you – that anything other leaping for joy and happiness is unacceptable – but it’s the truth of how I experienced my pregnancy.

So I feel this fullness so greatly, because it is so unexpected. Such happiness, such fierce love for my son, such richness in my life.

So yes, I’m crying a lot, but they’re good tears. Tears I know will keep coming over the coming days, weeks and months. But I’m not going to hide them – I’m going to welcome them; let them pour because they remind me of all I have in life and just how lucky I am.

blogging, compassion, eating disorder, motherhood, pregnancy, self-discovery, self-esteem, self-judgement

My incredible body

When I was pregnant, I was slightly worried about how I would cope with my body after labour. How would I feel about being in a body that was slightly flabby, potentially a bit broken and not like the one I had pre-pregnancy?

I knew that part of my thoughts were due to the struggles I’ve had in the past with eating, having spent a period of my life locked in battle with anorexia and, up until recently, dealing with stress and anxiety through compulsive comfort eating. I remember standing in front of my mirror so many times, pinching the fat on my tummy and judging the dimply skin on my bottom. I would look at other people who were slender with such envy; I couldn’t comprehend how they were able to eat a sensible amount of food and stop when they were full when thoughts of food constantly plagued my mind.

So it was normal for me, in advance of giving birth, to be concerned about how I would feel about my postpartum body.

I have to tell you, dear friend, how much I’ve been astounded by my actual experience of how I view my post-pregnancy body. Instead of judgement at how I look, I’m filled with a sense of wonder and amazement at it.

My body, which is capable of producing enough milk to feed and make my baby thrive.

My body, which went through the most physically challenging experience I’ve ever experienced – labour – and is still standing strong.

My body, which was able to grow another human being.

Another human being!

And it is so much more than that. It is capable of healing itself when hurt, warming itself when cold, has ways of coping with famine and has such strength and resilience.

I remember looking at my stomach the day after labour – it was a bit flabby, still rounded like in early pregnancy – and all I could think about was the amazement I had for it. And I thought to myself ‘how could I have ever been judgemental about my body when it is capable of so much?’

It was as if a light had been switched on and I could suddenly see my body for what it truly is. It’s not something to be scorned, punished or hated or an object to be toned and sculpted to perfection.

It’s truly incredible, amazing and worthy of all my love and respect.

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blogging, motherhood, pregnancy, self-discovery

First steps

I’m awake next to my newborn son at 5:30am, five days after the birth of my son and want to spend a few moments just reflecting on this wild ride that has been motherhood so far.

Giving birth

Before you stop reading, don’t worry, I’m not going to go into blow-by-blow detail of the birth. But here is what I noticed about my experience:

Gratitude

I knew that I wanted as natural a birth as possible and was lucky to give birth with gas and air, a bit of morphine at the start and a TENS machine. It was a very intense experience (hey, I don’t think that any labour could be described as anything but that!) but I feel real gratitude that the labour went according to my wishes.

Total surrender

In order to feel able to survive the labour, I found myself having to give in totally to the pain. This thought stuck with me from a book I had recently read (the Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy – a book about Queenie, a lady dying of cancer). In the book, Queenie gets an infection and she is only able to deal with the pain through imaging that she was the pain itself. I knew I could resist the pain but if I did this, it would just prolong the experience. So I gave in time and time again to the pain, I became the pain, and it saw me through the experience.

Support

Going through this experience makes me appreciate how amazing the NHS is and how fortunate I am to have had Gregg side-by-side with me the whole way. My midwife, Lisa, was so supportive, encouraging and had such a warmth and care about her. There were times with the labour where I felt I couldn’t do it – I didn’t feel able to get past a certain point – and it was only with the amazing support from Gregg and Lisa that I felt able to push on.

Rolling with the punches

After giving birth, my uterus didn’t contract properly and I lost a fair amount of blood. Suddenly I found myself surrounded by doctors and nurses who speedily got things under control. I then spent 2 nights in hospital recovering and getting some breastfeeding support as my son is tongue-tied and might have trouble feeding. I suppose this experience reminds me that parenthood is, to a large extent, rolling with the punches. Being wildly out of your depth and choosing to take the best next step forward, doing what you can where you are.

Becoming a parent

I don’t think I really knew what to expect about raising a baby. I had a lot of thoughts in my head about what I’d want to do and not want to do but the truth is that I’m already seeing how beautifully challenging the reality of raising a child is.

And here are some of my initial thoughts:

Sleep

As you may have gathered from the time that I’m posting this, I’ve not got the world’s best sleeper. Well, that’s not 100% true – he does sleep really well – just not in his Moses basket. He either sleeps on the person looking after him or not at all. I thought I wouldn’t be someone who would contemplate co-sleeping but the reality of sleep deprivation and wanting the best for my son is such that I’d do anything in order to sort his sleeping out. And so I have tried co-sleeping tonight with a fair bit of success (and a lot of research about how to do it safely). To work out how to cope with this reality of not having a great sleeper I’ve asked for advice, done everything I can to get him to settle and remembered that this state isn’t permanent. Because the reality is that he is 5 days old and that this may pass or it may be that we will have to make some tough choices about sleeping and how we manage it. We will just need to take it a day at a time.

Help

Before I gave birth, I wrote a message to my unborn son exploring what I hoped for him and for me on this journey of becoming a family. I said how I knew I’d need to reach out for help to model this way of being for him. But now I see that he is teaching me about asking for help more than I could have ever anticipated. He is helpless, dependent on me for each and every moment and, in being his anchor to the world, I have needed to turn to people for support. To realise the reality that I am just as dependent on others as he is on me. And that it’s ok. It’s normal. It’s part of being a human.

And in reaching out, I have been overwhelmed by how much I’ve been held with love by those I’ve connected with. From friends checking in with me, advice offered from people on Facebook, my dad holding me in his arms as I cried with exhaustion, my husband standing by me and taking over the lion’s share when needed, my mum making me nourishing food to keep me going, cards and gifts of celebration, my sister coming over to just hold the baby and let me sleep.

This experience shows me how rich I am in love, support and connection.

There is so much more I could write about this experience of becoming a mother…more that I’m sure I will write about. But for now I’m going to return to staring at my newborn son with wonderment and perhaps get a bit more sleep.

blogging, pregnancy, truth

The waiting game

After nine months of waiting, I’ve now passed the due date for my baby’s birth and am tussling with the to-and-fro waiting game. Swinging from patience and a philosophical ‘he’ll arrive when he arrives’ to a childlike frustration and inability to comprehend why he’s not here right now!

There’s nothing for me to do…with the move to maternity leave I’m left without the purpose that I’m used to having in my life. All I can do is just be. And it’s uncomfortable for me to occupy this space. I mean, sure, I’ve revelled in the past week where I had 2 hour baths every day, read five books, wrote loads of blog posts, met up with friends for coffee and spent time with family.

But I don’t know how much longer I can continue at this slow pace and yet I don’t have a choice.

I’m in the waiting game.

I’m partly anxious for his arrival to be before the New Year because we need him to be one year old in January 2019 so that he can attend the nursery we’ve found and love but which only takes children from the age of one onwards…and we won’t have enough leave to cover the time we’ll need to have off from work if he decides to arrive at the latest possible day in mid-January.

And I know how ridiculous this is…worrying about something that will take place in 12 months time and that we will face together if needed. It shows me that:

  • I could benefit from having some coaching to consider how I can live more in the moment, projecting less into the future
  • I’m still not comfortable with the idea of asking for help. I know that I have people in my life who love me and would be more than keen to support me and my family, potentially stepping into the gap. Yet the idea of asking for and accepting their help is of such magnitude and feels so uncomfortable

But it’s not just the future projections that are making the waiting game so uncomfortable. It’s the space, the vacuum, that this waiting game is creating in my life. I’m not really in the adult world…not able to drink and be merry, book in coaching clients or really do much with my life as I wait for my waters to break, for my contractions to start, for my life to change forever.

But neither am I in the parent world where my every thoughts will be consumed with nappies, feeding and overwhelming love. The pattern of life which will come with the arrival of my baby.

I know that I need to accept, I need to surrender, I need to just be in this space. But it’s so bloody difficult and I find myself again in the childlike space of foot-stamping frustration.

It’s not like there’s anything I can do, this post isn’t really meant to help me sort through my thoughts but instead to just vent and express how difficult this moment is. I know that when my little boy arrives, I’ll think ‘why didn’t I enjoy this time of space more?‘ but this is how I feel at the moment – frustrated – and there’s no point in denying it.

The waiting game will eventually end…it’s just a question of when.

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blogging, husband, motherhood, pregnancy, self-discovery

Neediness

I asked my husband a while ago how I’ve been during my pregnancy. I’ve felt myself be needy; leaning more on him for support (both physical and emotional) and have felt uncomfortable about this at times. Because I’m used to being strong, being self-contained, able to stand on my own two feet without needing anything from anyone.

To be honest, I was surprised by his response. He said he preferred me pregnant with all the neediness I’ve displayed.

I’ve been digesting what this means for me now and what this could mean going forwards.

From my head to my heart

I’ve been thinking about my recent blog post where I acknowledged that I needed to reach out more and ask for help and support from others in order to show my soon-to-be-born son that it’s ok to need the support and care of other people.

When I wrote this post, I knew in my head that this was what I needed to do, but it hadn’t reached my heart and hadn’t really changed my behaviour.

However, hearing Gregg say that he prefers me as someone who asks for help has started to shift something inside me. It’s made me curious to what life could be like if I continued to ask for help and reach out to other people.

Melting the ice queen

Over the past months of pregnancy, I’ve become aware of what I’m capable of doing and what my limits are. I haven’t been weedy and weak – in fact, I’m bloody impressed with myself about how much normality and lack of change my life has had despite growing a human being. Ive continued to work full time, coach outside of work, stayed socially active and walked over an hour a day to get to and from work.

However, there has been a change and this has been how I’ve voiced to Gregg what I’ve needed from him.

There have been times when I’ve felt the brittle anger of my inner Ice Queen start to form because I’ve approached the edge of my limits. Whether it’s that I’ve wanted to go home early from a night out with friends or needed him to step up and take greater care of me around the house. Usually I would have bottled up my frustration or my anger but I’ve found myself instead voice what I’ve needed from him and have found that he has been receptive to my needs. And with this receptivity, my Ice Queen frostiness and anger have melted.

My neediness has enabled me to navigate through these different situations with Gregg by my side.

It’s nice to be needed

I know from my own experience that it’s nice to be needed by close friends. To know that you can bring a smile to their face or can lighten the load when they’re going through periods of difficulty. But I don’t think that I let myself need other people as much as I’d like…because I don’t want to be a burden or cause problems for others.

But I’ve seen Gregg step up and enjoy being needed by me – whether it’s me needing a cuddle from him, asking him to sort dinner out or rub my feet when the dreaded restless leg syndrome strikes as I’m trying to go to sleep.

Now that I think about it, I’ve seen myself start to reach out to other people and have relationships strengthen as a result. My sister, close friends, workplace colleagues.

Starting to allow myself to be needy has allowed others to enjoy being needed.

So I’m going to continue to explore being ok with my neediness to see where it takes me.

blogging, motherhood, pregnancy

The past and what is yet to come

I was in the supermarket a week ago and, searching for some jam, came across a packet of blancmange. For those of you who don’t know what this blancmange is, picture a cross between milk and jelly. For me, it is a memory of weekends at my grandparents. A bronzed fish or a plastic rabbit mould which my grandma would use to set a blancmange.

To me it tastes of comfort, the warmth of family love. It calls back so much time spent in play at my grandparent’s house in somerset. Each bite of blancmange I enjoyed this morning (yes, I have eaten dessert for breakfast!) took me back to this sweet bundle of memories.

I think with happiness about what my grandma and grandad were to me. Acceptance, generosity, love. Not rough-and-tumble grandparents, not a get-down-on-the-floor-and-play-for-hours presence. But a constant solidity. Two people who I knew were proud of me and were invested in me and my future. Who would talk with pride about me.

And then I turn to the future and think of what my parents will be to my little unborn peanut. And I have such hope and happiness for what is yet to come – seeing my parents as grandparents to my child.

I think of my mum who will spoil him rotten and will tell him how loved he is. Who will sing to him and hold him. Who will secretly (ok, not so secretly) hope that he shares her love of musicals to justify even more trips to the theatre. Who will provide the same level of security and stability I felt from my grandparents.

And I think of my dad and how he will be with my little boy. How he will tell him terrible (grand)dad jokes, will blow raspberries on his tummy, tickle him and play games with him. And more than this, I imagine him showing my boy that it’s ok to be sensitive, to like cuddles and be affectionate, to show kindness and gentleness.

I feel so hopeful for the future, so grateful for my past and so content in this present moment.

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motherhood, pregnancy, self-judgement

Nappy conundrums

I’ve been spending time looking at nappies today (oh how glamorous my life is!). I’ve been really lucky to have a friend, Charlie, who has given me her reusable nappies to try out but I’ve been feeling quite overwhelmed by them and if I’m honest with myself, after looking at what it would take to use them, I know I’d rather use disposable ones.

But I’ve got such a weight of guilt about this choice.

I already fear the impact that bringing another little being into existence will have on the planet. How he may struggle with hunger, thirst and lack of resources that we currently have in such abundance. How he’ll contribute to using up our finite resources. How he might not give a damn about the planet and becoming a little consumer monster.

And I know that even the most ethical, sustainably sourced, kind reusable nappies will not biodegrade in our landfills, because landfills don’t have enough oxygen to allow products to breakdown. Plus there’s the additional cost of the ‘ethical’ nappies which might be outside our budget on the latter months of maternity and shared parental leave.

But then, washing so many reusable nappies brings its own challenges as the heat, water and cleaning products have their own impact on the planet.

And they bring an additional workload of continual washing on top of baby clothes that will get covered in sick, the occasional poonami and baby dribble.

I feel blocked and stuck each way I turn, and on top of that, self-indulgent and over-privileged for being in a position which allows me to consider all these options.

Yet stepping back and asking myself ‘what’s shaping how I view this situation?‘ as I explained in my last post, I can see a perfectionism – holding myself to the highest standard ever – which isn’t helpful.

Gregg and I have tried to make ethical decisions with the pregnancy and baby prep. I’ve bought only 4 maternity items of clothing, instead relying on the kindness of people who have shared their maternity clothes with me and staying in my non-maternity clothes as much as possible. We’ve only bought secondhand for everything else we need too in order to reduce our carbon footprint and have had such a wonderful time searching through charity shops for sweet little outfits and sourcing baby products on facebook marketplace.

So we are doing our bit – not as much as I’d perhaps like – but we are trying our best. And our best has to be good enough.

In stepping back and realising this, I know that beating myself up with guilt about what nappies we use isn’t going to help me or anyone else.

But it doesn’t stop me still feeling bad for wanting to go with an ‘easy option’ of disposables.

Easy Options

I suppose the thought that is coming to me in stepping back is that nothing about becoming a parent is likely to be an easy. A life full of joy, yes. Continual opportunities for learning, absolutely. Heart-bursting moments full of love, you gotcha.

But easy? Not likely.

And so I know I need to enter this journey with everything that can help me along on the way. And at this moment, disposables seem like a tool to help me. I want to be kind to this planet and part of that is being kind to myself, knowing my limits, allowing for my imperfections.

And with this realisation, I accept that perhaps I need to use disposables and I accept that this choice can be ok. I feel such a weight lift from my shoulders. Such a sense of relief as I follow what feels right instead of what I feel I ‘should’ do.

I feel a bit more confident in my first steps to parenthood. And that is where I feel my energy needs to go – into being a good mum. Not a perfect mum, but the best I can be.

And with this thought, I know that all will be well.

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blogging, pregnancy, self-discovery

Money

I’ve been thinking a bit about money in the lead-up to the shared parental leave that Gregg and I will be taking next year when our baby arrives. Since we’ve got a mortgage to pay and I’ll have good, but not outstanding, maternity pay, I’ve been trying to work out how much money we’ll have to live off and how much we’ll have post-bills for general spending.

And it’s raised some questions and thoughts for me about money and living with less that I wanted to share with you.

Gratitude

This look at finances has made me realise how much financial freedom I enjoy. I’m so deeply grateful that, until now, I’ve pretty much been able to buy everything that I desire. Don’t get my wrong, I don’t buy designer clothes or eat out all the time – I buy most my clothes in charity shops and eat at home. But I’ve been able to travel far and wide, I can afford to buy myself the essentials I need and there have been few invitations I’ve had to turn down due to finances.  Sure, I’ve worked hard professionally and committed myself to studying and working at the same time which has allowed me to progress. I’ve earned the money.

But I also started out in a fortunate position of having parents who encouraged me academically and who supported me financially and so in this moment of reflection, I am deeply grateful for all that I have.

Entwined

In looking at our money for next year, I’ve come to the realisation of just how financially independent my husband and I have been from each other. We each put money into an account to pay our bills and have a savings fund we both contribute heavily to but after that I have around £600 of my own each month to do what I we want with. When our new little person arrives, I’m starting to see how entwined our lives will become financially. This realisation brings fear, with the knowledge that I will no longer be an ‘I’ choosing to be a ‘we’ but part of a family unit that relies on each other.

We’ll be a ‘we’.

A team. For better or worse, richer or poorer.

Suddenly the fear I had in buying a house together and the trepidation I had in getting married seems like a minor detail. This is big stuff.

Anxiety in different clothes

Someone I’m coaching at the moment was talking about his career and said “of course, this concern I have is just anxiety dressed in different clothes”. I found something so deeply beautiful and truthful about his assessment of his situation. It’s true for me.

I know that consideration about money is needed so we don’t overstretch and have to live off beans on toast for 6 months…but the preoccupation I’m feeling about finances is, to a certain extent, anxiety about the future. The great unknown of welcoming this new being into the world wrapped up and disguised as anxiety about finances.

And I need to be in the moment, to focus on this little person kicking up a storm inside me as I write this post, and trust that everything will be alright. All that is truly important, after all, is this present moment. All that is truly true, after all, is this present moment.

Mindfulness

I know that, despite not living a lavish life, I will need to curb my spending when the baby arrives. And I think to do this and not feel like I’m living a miserly existence, I need to cultivate a greater appreciation of what I do buy. When I go to a coffee shop to work on my blog or, in the future, to meet other mums and dads, I want to truly savour my cup of coffee, not just gulp it down. When I buy a face wash, I want to take pleasure in how it smells and feels on my skin. When I get myself a slice of cake, I want to pay attention to the texture, the taste, the experience.

I know that this true presence of an experience is being mindfulness and that, when I practice mindfulness, it’s like I see things that little bit clearer and I appreciate things that little bit more.

Final thoughts

It’s been so helpful to reflect on my musings about finances. Taking a step back, I can see that I’m part-wrapped in anxiety, part curious about how I can live a mindful life to enjoy what I do consume so much more. I know I need to let go of my anxieties and embrace the experience of this moment. And so that’s what I’m going to do.

 

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blogging, Love, pregnancy

To my boy

To my boy,

It’s the first day of my third trimester of pregnancy and I can’t quite believe that in three months or so I’ll have you in my arms.

You still seem like an idea, sometimes even a joke – how am I capable of taking care of another human being?! – and despite feeling you move more and more in my belly, it’s hard to imagine that you will soon be here.

I feel so much about approaching motherhood. So much fear (if I’m honest, that’s the overriding feeling I have at the moment), such a great sense of responsibility and so much anticipation of who you will be, what life will be like with you here and how we’ll navigate the unknown roads of being mother and son together.

I’ve heard so many things from other people about motherhood – how as soon as you arrive I’ll find it hard to recall how life could ever exist without you, how my heart will fill with such a depth of love and wonderment for you and how I’ll be willing to do the most mundane things because they’re for you.

But I can’t quite picture it yet.

I know I want to do my best for you – to raise you to have as little fear in life as possible; to accept yourself exactly as you are; to follow your passions instead of what the world says you should be.Adobe Spark.jpg

This is both my highest hope and my deepest fear.

What if I’m unable to provide these things for you?

And I also ask myself what I’ll do if this is not what you want for your life. What if your path is to live a safe life, not a daring one? What if you long to journey on a road well travelled by others instead of forging a new route for yourself?

I’m torn, wanting you to be independent and fiercely yourself and wanting you to feel that you can be exactly who you are meant to be with no sense of judgement from me.

There are so many values that I want to instil in you – a respect for the planet, a kindness for those less fortunate than you and an ability to view women as your equal. But I know that these are my values, ones that have taken 33 years to form and are ones you may not always share.

I know that I’ll also need to create space for you to be able to create and step into your own values, but I’m sometimes so passionate that I find this hard to do.

I know we’ll need the help of other people as we start this journey together – both friends and family – and that scares me too. Because if I’m strong and capable and handle things myself, I don’t risk getting let down by others and I’m used to living like this. But I don’t want you to learn that you always have to be strong, capable and handle everything yourself. I want you to be able to reach out and ask for help where needed. So I need to start doing this, for both me and for you.

I want you to spend more time outdoors than you spend watching TV, to be present in life instead of numbing your experience with food/drink/drugs and I want you to live offline more than through the fake reality of social media…but boy oh boy, that has some ramifications for me. The example I will have to set for you when I currently watch too much TV, turn to alcohol and flick from whatsapp to facebook to gmail more often than I’d care to admit.

Mostly, my darling, beautiful boy, I know that I’m going to fail you. Yell at you, lose my patience, weep with exhaustion, freeze you out when I’m exasperated and take over when you need to learn something for yourself. But I also know that I’ll be doing my best and that’s all I can do. And you will fail me too, as hard as it is to write this. You will have tantrums, overstep the boundaries we set for you, give me sleepless nights, be rude, embarrass me and rebel against me as you learn to find your own independence. And all through this time, I’ll try to remember that you’re doing your best, and that’s all you can do.

So I hope that you are able to forgive my imperfections, to see the good in me and in turn I will forgive your imperfections and see the good in you too.

With all my love,

Mum xxx

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