I had intended to reply to all the lovely comments on my last post in a timely fashion – I truly do appreciate your words of support and understanding and wanted to thank each of you – but, that night, as I washed what felt like the millionth load of dishes and lamented how long it was taking our landlords to okay getting the dishwasher fixed/replaced, I got a call telling me that my beloved Aunty Jilly had passed away.
The news took my breath and sent me to my knees.
Aunty Jilly with my Nan at Nan’s 80th birthday a few years ago
I wanted the world to stop. To be able to stay crumpled on the kitchen floor with my grief. Having lived my early teenage years with my grandparents, much of my time was spent in an odd kind of awesome foursome with my grandparents, Aunty Jilly (my nan’s bestie) and myself. We did everything together and she was a massive positive influence on me in my highly impressionable years.
Sitting in my grandparent’s lounge room after the funeral, I half expected her to walk through the door, just as she always had. But, she didn’t. THAT had changed while everything else just kept on. Lunches needed to be made, dishes and clothes needed washing, kids and husbands needed feeding.
I felt frustrated that life went on as normal.
A week on from the funeral, I was in Canberra celebrating my Mum’s wedding.
It reminded me that if we stop the world in our darkest times, through our grief, depression and struggles then we won’t get the chance to witness the beginnings.
It’s all just moments. We have to endure the harder moments to enjoy the simpler, joy-filled moments.
And then keeping those happy moments close when things feel tough and overwhelming.
Watching Felix master new skills*
Watching Jasper in his Hip Hop class – he’s the tiny one
Happy moments with my girl
Ruining Felix’s life by making him playdough
Watching the cross country
Watching Ellie master handstands and cart wheels
They’re just some of our recent moments I’m hanging onto.
What moments are getting you through?
Linking up with Jess for #ibot
* Musical Lion Walker gifted to Felix by Fisher Price
Hello, my name is Becky. You might remember from my most recent post. Or maybe not. I’ve been thinking about this blog a lot lately but not getting around to actually blogging, even though I promised myself I would give it a good go this year.
I want to be here but I don’t have the energy to put together words and thoughts into something that makes sense and is worth reading. Although Felix’s sleep has been improving, I’m still struggling badly. It’s too late for it to be an easy fix with some more sleep now. And I don’t want to come here and carry on and whinge about how bad my life is, because it’s not bad, but I’m finding it so hard to enjoy the things I should be.
I also don’t want to not be here, not sharing my struggles because I know the value of sharing the truths of parenthood and postnatal depression. For others and myself.
Mostly, I am furious with myself. That I’m here and can’t find a way around or out. That I feel so frustrated when (all the time) any of my children follow me anywhere (everywhere) and want to share their stories and thoughts constantly. I’m heartbroken, because I love that and it won’t be long before they won’t want to do that but it is SO draining right now.
I hate that, instead of being happy to hear Felix’s waking noises, I sigh and think “Really, already?”.
I’m insanely lonely. I have started feeling overwhelming jealousy when I see mothers out having coffees, doing lunch or posting happy snaps on line with all their mummy friends. I’ve spent three years standing at the front gate at pick up and am still not finding much in the way of friendship. I’ve met some lovely ladies but the people I am expending my energy on while waiting at pick up are mostly those who are happy to move on when someone better to talk to arrives (my favourite time was recently when the lady who approached me stopped midway through her own sentence to go talk to someone else).
I’m hanging in there. Trying to go gently with myself and embrace what I can. Holding onto the idea of the holiday James has bought plane tickets for in August (please, please, please) and just doing what I can.
What else could I possibly do?
Thanks for letting me vent, got anything to get off your chest?
Linking up with Jess for #ibot
Late the other night, after one of Felix’s numerous night feeds (he hasn’t gone back to good sleeping since his bronchiolitis), I sat in the dark kissing his chubby little cheeks, putting off when I would lay him back in his bassinet for just one more moment. I held his warm body to me, listened to his soft snores and thought about how, even though he is the biggest of my babies and by far the heaviest; this babyhood feels so much lighter.
I can’t remember taking those little night time moments with Ellie, Kahlei or Jasper. I hope I did. I do remember how desperately I wanted the feeds to go faster and to be fewer. I remember just how exhausted I was and how lonely it all seemed.
When I was pregnant with Felix, I was so worried about suffering Postnatal Depression again. I made sure I was aware of my triggers and the signs that I was struggling. I made sure James was on top of all that, too. To be honest, I thought it was practically a given that I would again suffer, having done so with every other baby – each time worse than the last.
I braced myself, tried to put processes in place that would work for us and not see me hospitilised, except the fog didn’t come.
Being finally able to enjoy one of my babies as a baby is a huge joy and is something I didn’t think would ever happen. Yes, I am exhausted and I would certainly like a bit more sleep and sometimes life is overwhelming but it’s on a completely different level.
And, my past struggles mean that even when I’m at the end of my rope I can still work from a place of gratitude that I have a beautiful baby boy and that I am able to experience this time as if I am a brand new mother. It is truly that different.
I know, when you’re in that dark place, feeling like you’re dragging your body through waist deep mud which drags you down and holds you back that you can’t see the way out. People say there is light at the end of the tunnel but when you look up there isn’t even that pin-hole of light that those words made you believe would be there.
Plodding through despair, surrounded by darkness and not knowing if there really is a brighter day on the horizon, I concentrated on moving through the muck and being the best for my family. On getting help and holding steadfast to hope. I had my eyes on my feet and didn’t realise when I turned that corner and the light started to touch the edges. I thought my eyes had just adjusted to the darkness.
Mumma, if you’re struggling, know you’re not alone. You’re doing your best. Your family love and appreciate that. Don’t be afraid to speak up and seek help.
And remember; there is hope.
Linking up with Jess for #ibot.
Last Thursday, Felix fell asleep in the car on the way home from town, as babies tend to do and because we had nowhere to be and didn’t have a 4-and-a-half year old to get bored with us, so I decided I’d park somewhere and let him sleep.
Waking a sleeping baby is something I hate to do, yet I do at least once most days because, life. So, this day I took the opportunity to let my little man sleep. It was a beautiful day. Warm and sunny, with the waves lapping at the rocks, birds soaring through the sky.
Felix slept and slept and slept. I didn’t have a book and spent the time creating a Steller story aptly named ‘Out my window while baby sleeps’. Listening to Felix’s little-man-snores, I thought about how lonely I have been feeling. Somehow, this time around I have found life with a baby to be more isolating than I did when I was stuck home suffering from postnatal depression, knowing nobody and going nowhere.
I’m finding it frustrating and ridiculous that I feel surrounded by people yet still feel like I’m talking to myself most of the time.
During my woe-is-me session, I looked out the window to see whales frolicking out towards the horizon. One, in particular, caught my eye as it leapt from the water.
And just as it caught my attention Felix woke up. With an hour until school pick up, we got out and watched the whale for a moment and as we sat he disappeared but we stayed, soaking up the sun and playing in the grass.
It was a perfect afternoon, leaving me feeling warm, happy and recharged.
It was the perfect reminder that this parenting gig (and life in general) is a mixture of the good and the bad. Moments of sadness can be changed by moments of happiness. Moments of happiness can be tinged with sadness. As our children grow we celebrate their milestones while mourning that they are not our little babies anymore.
He wants to grow up so fast and I can’t believe that this big boy was my tiny little baby just four short months ago.
Sometimes, you need a little sea air and sun to remember the loneliness won’t last forever and babies don’t stay little for long. I’ll take those lonely hours while he sleeps so that we can then share our special moments before we need to be rushing about again.
I’m looking forward to this Thursday, when we can do it all again. When it can be just him, me and the sea.
When did you last sit and just enjoy the view and company?
Linking up with Essentially Jess for #ibot
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I have readily agreed to Switch Off for myself and my family and wanted to share with you in case you also would like to switch off. I was sent a digital detox kit to help with our ‘downtime’. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
In this day and age we are constantly connected. At any given moment, we can be checking our emails, flicking through facebook, tweeting, posting photos, playing word games, drawing games, messaging, blogging, reading blogs. Or, we could even be making phone calls. Through these amazing technological advances we are able to keep in touch with friends and family near or far and we are able to do it where ever we are, whenever we feel like it. We no longer have to wait until we a home to sit at our computer or haul out our laptop. The whole world is accessible and we keep it in out pockets, bags, or in my case, bras.
As a stay at home mum of three children, I certainly appreciate that I am never more than a moment away from adult interaction. Having spent the first two years of my parenting life feeling completely isolated, I find much comfort in the knowledge that I can reach out when I need to and I often do.
At one stage I was always checking my phone or always getting on my laptop to check my comments on the blog, on facebook, on instagram. I found solace online as I struggled with Postnatal Depression and it was all too easy to get lost in the cyber world.
Then, I happened upon Hands Free Mama, her beautiful words broke me. I was hiding in a world away from my children and it was a painful reality to face.
I implemented rules for myself about the use of my phone, my online time, blogging time and when I could have my laptop out. I moved all blogging, writing and reading, to when the children were sleeping. No phones at the table. No social media when my children wanted to be interacting with me.
If you’re connected with me online you probably see lots of photos on Instagram. I do take heaps. But, generally, I wait for a more appropriate time to upload them. I take a snap or a video and then put my phone away. Or, if I needed to upload straight away (for reviewing experiences and so on), my rule is to upload and move on.
If there’s a quite minute I might update a status or check my blog comments, but my rule is to not get distracted and only when the children are happily engaged elsewhere.
Obviously, the above is easier said than done. If it was easy to not get sucked in there wouldn’t be a problem, would there? I’ve just been sent some research revealing that one third of people are connected to technology for between 8 – 16 hours every day*. At reading that I was slightly alarmed but then I thought about it and I know how it can happen. You get sucked in.
While my rules guided my usage strictly for some time, I have noticed recently that I am getting my phone out more, scrolling through facebook instead of doing the things I promised myself I would be doing. At first, I denied it but more recently I’ve noticed that the longer it is since having some quality alone time (with or without James) to get my mental state realigned, the more I find myself ‘escaping’ online to try and grab what normalcy I can. Because I am struggling and I have to do what I can to find calm and balance. (If you have a holiday to offer me please contact me pronto).
I am not happy with it and it’s not okay.
Because of this I have put my hand up to participate in Switch Off Sunday this weekend. While I know nothing of Amaysim as a provider, I am pretty impressed that a company which makes it’s money from us being switched on and connected is initiating a campaign to help us take some downtime.
James is thrilled. I think his exact words (via SMS) were ‘Switching off is not my favourite lol’ but I think (hope) he will be surprised on the day. I believe we need it. I certainly do.
What about you? Do you ever have a day to switch off? Do you think about it? It’s a daunting idea and can readily be seen in the comments on the Switch Off Sunday post. People freak out. I panic about being contactable, but my kids will be with me, as will most of the people who contact me!
While being able to reach out into the world is such an amazing privilege which has blessed me with many friendships that see me through the tough times, it is also so very taxing. On our families and friendships. On ourselves. I don’t need to be constantly wired. I don’t need to know every little thing that’s going on. Right. Now. I can live and be free without the constant distractions and enjoy my connectivity on occasion.
I am going to challenge myself to stay off for as long as possible during the weekend and come back next week to tell you how we went and what we did. Are you interested in joining us?
* Research conducted by Pure Profile on behalf of Amaysim. March 2013.