I am authentically myself when I am not at all myself, and it is magical, beautiful, wonderful.
What do I mean by this? Well, I’m not sure. It’s a little too obscure to understand or explain, but I’m certain you’ve felt it. I’m certain you’ll know what I mean when I tell you.
I’ve been reading the BFG to my son. He’s seven, and the best, and so naturally I want to give him the most beautiful experiences life has to offer. Reading is one of those experiences, and the magic of Roald Dahl is…well, it’s magic. There’s no real way to capture that feeling, for me.
And when I read this beautiful story to him, I so often find myself transformed. Every night I become the BFG. I put on my unusually accurate english accent and off I go. I am the BFG (or am I Roald Dahl, it’s hard to really say.)
It’s what I loved so much about acting. Embodying and expressing energies that are not my own is so intoxicating I could easily become addicted to the very thing. The deep booming cutesy tone that flies from my mouth every time the BFG speaks to Sophie: it fills my whole body, it resonates down to the bone.
I so love it.
I so love being authentically me, without being me at all.
I sang about fairy lights as we drove. I remember. My tiny head bobbling about in the back seat while Mum drove us through the darkness to her weekly game of basketball.
‘I love your beautiful songs, Brooke.’ It was a line she’d repeat all the way up until I left home; the warbling six year old I was never did stop making up songs.
Fairy lights. They really were beautiful in the distance. Just window lights shining from houses on the horizon, a lot of them. So many it looked like a sea of twinkling stars dancing beside us as we drove.
I’m not in the most peaceful of places. Looking after a newborn is not the easiest of things, and it’s especially difficult when your body begins to misbehave. Mine has done so spectacularly of late, many thanks to all the regular post birth complaints. Crunch, screech, ache, sob. But life can’t stop because I am in pain.We cannot pause our children, we cannot pause the laundry and the cooking that must be done in order to keep us all happy and healthy.
Fairy lights. I needed something to get me through the chaos and through these achy, sleepless days. And here I am, typing away, every now and then gazing up at our ornamental bookshelf, tired but grateful for the unexpected burst of creativity that found me earlier. Fairy lights. I’ve strung some up around the bookshelf frame and it is the most beautiful thing to stare at them and just…let them take me somewhere.
I love my children beyond it all and I am grateful to even have a home and things to care for. But sometimes I need a breath. Sometimes I need to raise my head above the water and find one of the joys of my soul waiting to soothe me.
Fairy lights. Beauty bringing me back to peace, once more.
It’s funny, isn’t it. How we zone in on the things that happen in life that signal an ending of something and the beginning of something else.
They roll on in, these momentous happenings, and soon they pass: although we do wish we could cling to the beauty of them. We do wish we could hold on to their quiet precious hands just that little bit longer than they allow us to. So we can breathe them in. So we can close our eyes and know something bigger than ordinary is actually happening to us.
That’s a lot of waffling just to get to the point isn’t it, my lovely bloggy friends. And yet I’m certain you all know me well enough to understand that waffling is my way of holding on to the precious moments of my life a little longer than the average human might.
Without further ado…
It’s a girl.
A beautiful, darling, button nose girl: isn’t that just the loveliest thing?
She’s been flip-side of my belly for a week and a day. It’s been a foggy time. A time where my hormones have screamed abnormal things and my rational side has begged to make it all feel a little more normal than that. But I am perfectly okay, and that is just about all I am asking of this post birth phase.
I am being so, so, so well cared for by a husband I love even brighter the second time around. I am kept busy giggling at my other children who tumble around, daily, and so often remind me of tiger cubs at play (especially when the tiger mum nudges them away and gently snaps at their tumbling bodies, in order to pull them into line.)
Eight years ago it was, when I sat on the couch, a day before my 30th birthday, suspecting today might be the day I’d meet my very first baby.
There was a muslei bar involved. Four AM insomnia. And I suppose there must have been some sort of mild lower belly/back discomfort that had me thinking this particular morning might be different to other mornings. Waiting for baby. How epic a wait it had become.
Today, I sit upon the couch once more, again at an extraordinary hour, again watching the morning show and dealing with certain pregnancy discomforts. I am smiling quietly as I think of the years to come where I will reflect on the days I once ‘waited for baby’. Usually eating something grainy. Usually at ridiculous o’ clock.
I’m nearly 38 weeks pregnant, now, so it’s lovely to think that baby will be with us any time from now on. Just when it will join us is the greatest of mysteries and, I suppose, one of the most beautiful of life’s epic frustrations. It is one of the many times in a woman’s life where she is utterly out of control, and all that truly can be done to remedy the pain of resistance is relax and let it be. Let it be. It’s not an easy concept for a human mind to grasp, is it, and yet here I am. Having to give it my very best shot.
It’s come at the heals of a good few years of learning to ‘let it be’. Learning to release control and understand that life is only ever what it is, as opposed to what I always thought it was meant to be. What I often try too hard to make it.
I’m tired. I don’t know when I’ll meet this baby, I just don’t know.
But I do know I’m about to roll back into bed for the morning, which will be lovely.
I do know that first breakfast was lovely, and second breakfast (‘I don’t think they know about second breakfast, Pip’) will likely be wonderful, too.
Either way, I’m certain I’ll look back at this uncontrollable life, fondly.
The days I waited for my sweet, sweet babies to come with such frustration and desperation.
The days life happened sneakily in the background while I waited for something else to arrive.
At the end of the day (this day, to be specific) I feel like a 38 year old mother of twenty. I’ve managed a super healthy lunch, yoga in the morning…and yet.
My husband just came in from work and said the most beautiful words I’ve ever heard. He said, ‘Honey. You can go and hide away, if you want.’ In other words, ‘Honey. I’ve got this. Off you go. Pop your feet up. Go be a lovely, shiny pregnancy unicorn, again.’
I cannot tell you how those words (even the less dramatic version) made me feel, but I can say I’ve done exactly that and I feel the world melting off me.
I had to giggle, the other day. Thinking of my first pregnancy, versus this one (I’m currently 35 weeks pregnant with baby number three). Back then, I specifically remember shouting across the rooftops with glee in my third trimester. Boundless energy. Very few aches. So much lovely, delicious time for life.
Even though I was pregnant during summer, my ego happily yapped to the world, ‘I don’t know what every one is on about. I feel completely fine.’ It was the absolute truth of things. I did. And I didn’t even think twice about judging those who’d complain about every ache and pain of pregnancy because, for heavens sake, it really wasn’t that bad.
Fast forward eight years and two small children. I still try to maintain that beautiful glass half full attitude I’ve come to value in life, although I’ve got to say, I look back now and think: ‘Oh my goodness. How funny my ego was to be so gloriously blind.’
Obviously there are many factors that contribute to whether the third trimester of pregnancy is going to be sunshine and rainbows, but with my limited life experience at the time of my first pregnancy…I wasn’t to know that. I thought: If I can do this, all of you can do this. It is as simple as that. Really quite black and white.
Well, it’s not, actually. It’s really not.
A huge amount of energy goes into raising children, and it’s lovely to have this current pregnancy reality check keeping me real, however awkward it is to look back at the old me and giggle (with a slight edge of horror) at my naivety.
Childless pregnant me wasn’t wrong to celebrate the ease of pregnancy, but I do wish she had been able to see the wider perspective in advance. She didn’t know that one day she’d be heavily pregnant, homeschooling and caring for a house and two little ones (during a pandemic). Even if she had have known, she probably would have said, ‘Oh, you’ll be right.’ Because she was alright. So why wouldn’t I be?
The truth is, I am alright, and really quite proud of where I’m at given the exhaustion that quite often pops up and zaps me in all the places I wish I was more alive. For instance, in a perfect world, I’d bound out of bed and get straight into painting and gardening: our new home is calling for me to do those things all the way.
But I am only human.
And because I am human, I am limited to only the things my body will allow.
But how beautiful, too. Because without this pregnancy, and the limitations my waning energy is presenting me with, I’d not have had the chance to tell my ego to back off and stop being a dick to myself.
I have been forced to see the truth of what is, as opposed to what I wish it was…and completely surrender. To adjust. To learn to be happy with taking baby steps in getting the house done, in getting life done.
So, good on you, baby number three. You’ve been a wonderful lesson.
And even though you’re taking all my energy, I adore you.
It’s a beautiful time, for me. I’m seven weeks away from meeting my sweet little baby number three, and nesting has well and truly begun.
Life has been busy and forceful, if I look at it carefully and agree with the truth of it. Lockdown and homeschooling. Rushing to finish painting our home before baby arrives (I simultaneously love painting, and never want to see another tin of paint again.)
Beneath it all, though, lies a quiet hum. A hum so lovely, I’m certain it’s the stuff a summer breeze is made of. Lately, it’s been with me when I open the baby’s wardrobe; I stand there a little longer than I need to, just because it’s so lovely to be with my baby in that ‘real’ kind of way.
It’s the same loveliness that occasionally stands with me at my children’s doorway while they sleep. And, although I’ll never deny that motherhood aches and destroys at times, I’ll always be grateful for the quiet moments it brings my soul.
My fertility story is really quite extraordinary, when I think of all the ups and downs I’ve faced on the road from then to now.
It’s time for me to share the whole story.
To those of you who are currently struggling to conceive, or suffering through the pain, confusion and hopelessness of multiple miscarriages: this one, my darling friend, is for you.
Please take my story (and all the strength, love and encouragement I have to give) and shine it over your world. Hold in your heart this nightlight of hope.
Because there is hope.
And I am living, breathing proof.
We know what we are, but not what we may be.
Eight years ago. I was 29 when I conceived my little boy. Such fear lives in that first trimester, doesn’t it, if you allow yourself to wander down the path of what if. Of course, I repressed most of that fear. You know that thing us humans do when we sweep our true feelings under the carpet because we are afraid to look at the dark side of life: well, I did that.
But I was afraid. Deep down inside I was afraid of not making it to that glorious light we all call ’12 weeks pregnant.’ When 12 weeks came, the relief was lovely. I found myself in the sweetest little bubble of waiting for baby that, actually, I really had rather expected to be a breeze. And it was. My friends called me the magical pregnancy unicorn and I had to agree. It truly was an accurate label, to my absolute delight.
There were very few aches and pains, no health complications at all, and at 39 weeks, my precious little man was born. To say my life changed that day would be far too small a statement. My soul expanded, that day, would be a more accurate way of putting it. Because that day (and as fate would have it, three hours before I turned 30): I became somebody’s mother.
A year after our little man’s birth, it was time to start trying for baby number two. We’d conceived within two months of trying to conceive baby one, and secretly I imagined our second try would be just as simple. And it was. The magical pregnancy unicorn had done it again. Until she hadn’t. Slight spotting began at 6 weeks and I miscarried, days later. Shock. Miscarriages were something that happened to other people. And it was terribly sad for them, but it was never going to happen to me…until it did.
Over and over again.
I had five miscarriages within eighteen months, and yet, each time, I was certain this would be the one. But every time I began to bleed, and every time, my heart fell. It was the most intense frustration. I so desperately wanted to allow myself to fall apart, to grieve, to voluntarily and entirely losethe plot…but I had a little boy who needed his Mum to not fall apart.
Five miscarriages, one after the other. I was 33 by now and my body was quite obviously saying, ‘No. Brooke.We’re done.You’re going to have to accept this, soon.’ I was losing these little muffins, without good reason, and…I really didn’t want to do that, actually. The dream was multiple children. Not one, at least three. I wasn’t ready to give up. Not yet.
There comes a day when you’re gonna look around and realise happiness is where you are.
After a D and C to remove any remaining placenta from my first pregnancy, I found myself in the hands of an extremely caring, empathic obstetrician. He agreed, despite my hormone levels measuring normal, to try me on progesterone treatments, although his prognosis had been: those eggs had simply not been the ones. We will never know if he was right or not.
Nine months later, our beautiful baby girl was born.
The whole entire sun.
I didn’t even announce the pregnancy until about thirty weeks, you can imagine why. But when my little girl was born it was as though every moment of frustration, every distant day of secondary infertility had been erased.
I went on to have one more miscarriage beyond the birth of my daughter (another very early one, at only 5 weeks) and although it was sad, we weren’t really desperate for another child. I could happily come to acceptance the journey was over, now.
Only it wasn’t over, of course it wasn’t. According to the mystical forces of the universe—and despite my husband and I separating and rekindling our marriage once again—baby number three was going to be a real and actual thing for us. Unplanned. Unexpected and there it was. Pregnant. Right there in front of my open, yet smiling, mouth.
Today, I am only days away from 30 weeks pregnant with baby number three.
So tenderly grateful.
So joyously amazed.
Because, for a little over a year of my life, I suspected I would never achieve the dream of Mumming a little team, and yet every time this tiny human stretches inside of me…well. Let me just say, I am very much aware of the miracle of it all. The preciousness of life. The need to remain hopeful during even our darkest days.
Back then, in ‘my infertility days’, I searched and searched and searched the internet for stories like mine that had a happy ending. Stories to give me hope, to keep my candle burning and bright despite the pain. Now I am my own happy ending, and it is with such love and compassion that I hand my shining, beautiful story to you.
Don’t give up.
Follow the quiet voice inside.
Meditate. Do the energy work they’re telling you is bonkers. (It’s not, I assure you, it is not.)
Do whatever it takes.
Just don’t give up. Not until your heart quietly whispers, ‘Sweetheart. It’s time. And everything will be so beautifully, perfectly alright again someday.‘
It was an octopus mum, to be specific, a mum just like me. And my mum, and yours, and his mum and hers.
I wouldn’t say it was the octopus herself I fell in love with, exactly…
It was the love.
The love I somehow absolutely knew she felt for her little tiny octopus babes. It was grace in motion, the way she bundled her precious little ones into the ocean, the way she held them with her soul.
Maybe it’s because I’m pregnant (29 weeks, not that I’m counting down or anything.)
Or maybe it’s just because love is what connects every living creature on this earth and I think that is the most beautiful miracle, regardless of the motherly hormones surging through my veins.
I think it’s the miracle thing.
The love thing, the complete and utter mind boggling beauty of it all.
I am so saddened it took me this long to connect to all of life, truly I am, but I’m also beyond grateful to have had a chance to know this depth of connection with my fellow planet dwellers. It really is the most magical, wondrous thing.
Now, If you’ll excuse me…there must be another adorable octopus video on the internet somewhere. I mean, surely.