Thursday, 20 June 2013

What's Better Than Britmums?

Even though it was my choice not to attend Britmums Live, in the run up to the event I still couldn't help but feel a teeny tiny bit jealous of those attending. Meeting up with other bloggers I'd love to meet in person. The wonderful buzz of excitement of the attendees on Twitter over the last few months leading up to the event. Then I heard about the wonderful selection of Keynote speakers I was going to miss out on too. I was really starting to wish I had decided to go after all. I was actually pondering the possibility of devising a last minute plan to go.

Then fate intervened. Fate dropped in my lap something far more exciting and precious. A special visit. A reunion. A much anticipated return. The Australian relatives were coming over! To say I was excited would be a gross understatement. Now to be clear, they aren't actually MY relatives. They are David's. Well one of them is. David's cousin and his wonderful girlfriend will be here on Saturday!! Some people ask why we are so excited as "it's only his cousin".  Well really David and Pete  are more like brothers than cousins. They were born 6 weeks apart and spent most of their childhoods together. Playing, fighting, but most of all laughing. They have a truly special bond. David and Pete are so very alike in lots of ways I can't even begin to explain, you really have to see them together to understand the magical bond they have. Seeing them together is a real joy to behold. It's not just Pete though. There's also the wonderful Sarah, Pete's amazing other half. Laid back, witty and fun. The pair of them are like a force of nature. It's like getting an injection of sunshine when they come to visit. Pete moved to Australia roughly 9 years ago after finishing uni and comes back to see family roughly every 2 years so time with them is precious. The last time we saw them I was 20 weeks pregnant with Holly, and now she is 18 months old! I am so looking forward to introducing them to our little toddler. I hope she likes them (she can be funny with strangers)! I'm hoping though that she senses somehow that they are family and grows to love them as much as we do. 

Fun Times!

 We have so much planned for while they are here, and so little time. I just know it is going to wonderful. So sorry Britmums. I know you are amazing, I know you are wonderful, but this year I have something better.
Friday, 7 June 2013

Bring Me Back To Life...

I won't lie, having Holly was the proudest moment of my life. The most amazing moment of my life. There are other achievements in my life I'm proud of like gaining a degree, but bringing another human into the world is by far the most special. Yet as I am being honest I have to also say that afterwards I was a mess. A whirling tornado of hormones, I didn't know what I was doing or who I was anymore. I expected having a baby to be hard, and I was happy to cope with the sleepless nights and exhaustion. What I wasn't prepared for was the emotional & psychological effect. The worry. The guilt. The fear. The pain. I was consumed. Overwhelmed. I felt like I was drowning. Drowning in not a sea, but a thick, dense fog. Everything was cloudy. Everything in my life was dull, in shades of grey. I would smile, but it would be a neutral smile, with undertones of grey. If I am totally honest, maybe the blue had gone from my eyes, leaving only the cold, hard slate grey in it's place.  I loved my child, I could not have loved her more fiercely, but life beyond her paled by comparison. In the cold days of winter all I wanted to do was hide away. Take my precious family and hibernate. I wasn't ready for the world. I felt exposed, inadequate and scared.

Time passed and things grew easier. Warmer weather came to stay. I was more laid back. The fog had lessened. There were still times when it seeped back, as thick and debilitating as before, but those times grew less frequent.  Still though, I didn't feel myself. I felt empty of me. I was full of love for my baby, my partner, but not for myself. I was nothing without the baby. A non entity. I loved and laughed with my family around me, but without them I couldn't remember how to be. I didn't know who to be. Who was I, without my family?

All too soon, winter returned and while I had moved on and relaxed, the same feelings reared their heads. Hard wired into me psyche. I felt the fog come over me. This time though, I had the strength to fight. Things weren't the same. I knew I had to stand firm. It wasn't easy,  but I got through and found joy that I didn't know I had. I found strength. This time, despite the fog, I was able to breathe.

So what about now? The fog has come and gone. In this, the 2nd summer of motherhood. I feel like it has finally lifted. I almost feel like me. The me I was before. Yet not less than before. Even more. Stronger, and fiercer for all the demons I faced.  Having a baby changed my life, and it would be entirely foolish to tell anyone that it doesn't.  Having a child changes you forever, you shouldn't expect to adjust to it quickly. A child is a living, growing thing, they change as often as the tides of the sea.

This summer is a revelation to me.  I am starting to see the true shape of the wonderful family we are.   I don't know what it was that finally tipped the balance. That let me breathe again. I owe a lot to friends.  Who were gentle with me. Not expecting too much, and having the sense to hold back when I needed it and hold out a hand when I was ready.  New friends showed me that I wasn't alone. That I had more to look forward to than I ever dreamed possible.

Dear friends, thank you for helping me. For helping me to be me. For showing me that while being a mummy requires sacrifice, I can still be me.  Thank you for bringing me back to life.

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