Categories
Life

And Then The World Changed

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.

So.

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.)

Life is both foggy and good, for now.

And to me, that is perfect.

Perfect.

Just the way it was meant to be.

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Categories
Life

Waiting For Baby Again

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.

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Categories
Life

100 Years Pregnant

I love being pregnant.

I love the way it looks, I love the way it feels.

I love it.

Love it.

Love it.

But.

I do feel like I’ve run a marathon and a half.

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.

I

am

knackered.

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.

How frustrating.

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 all good.

Photo by Rafael Henrique on Pexels.com
Categories
Motherhood

Waiting For Baby

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.

I’m home in this softness.

I’m well and truly home in this place.

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Categories
Life

I’m Here

I’m here, at the moment.

I’m not lost in some dream.

I’m not missing the things or people I don’t have.

I’m just here.

I’m tired, feeling the heaviness of my eyes.

I’m growing new life, feeling baby stretch within my tiny human frame.

I’m feeling the cold in my right foot more than my left.

I’m here, at the moment.

I’m here.

I’m here.

I’m here.

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Categories
Life

Fertility: A Mother’s Story

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.

William Shakespeare

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 lose the 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.

Disney’s Moana

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.

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Categories
Life

Octopus Mum

I just fell in love with an octopus.

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.

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Categories
Life

Changing Seasons, Finding Home

We had small children. Three and six years old: button noses, tiny hands. When my husband and I separated, we needed to because that was the next and only step we knew how to take. We’d forgotten how to breathe our own breaths, and breathing each other’s breaths had taken both our souls.

The first nights away from each other after 11 years together were strange. We said, ‘How are we going to do this?’ Neither of us knew. We didn’t belong together, anymore, but we still loved each other…we didn’t know how to be apart. Not from each other, and certainly not from our children.

The children. I was ripped into a million flimsy shreds of soul tissue. I admit, a part of me was relieved at the thought of the new found freedom I’d have when the children stayed at their Dads house. I’d have time to find myself. Time to learn who I was as a human being— I’d never truly done that before. The rest of me grieved for the half of my children’s lives that I would miss.

No one ever talks about that part when discussing divorce. No one ever presents the true reality of what ‘splitting the children 50/50’ means. It means missing precious moments, it means not being there to hold their tiny heads when they vomit, it means not being able to comfort them the way a mother needs to at a primal level. I was learning this new, startling reality for myself. It tore me to pieces.

A friend had mentioned how I might like to keep an open mind (and heart, perhaps.) That maybe down the track we might rekindle what we had—she had travelled a similar path and found joy on the other side of separation. A second chance with her husband. A new love for each other beyond the grey. They’d even gone on to have another child after the devastation had faded; which was lovely for her, I thought, but not a likely scenario for us. Our broken parts had solidified. There was nothing of the old us remaining to encourage us to remember the beautiful pair we once made.

Months passed and though I thrived in my new world, finding and learning to nurture new and beautiful parts of myself, I was depressed. My soul howled when my daughter cried for her Dad. Three years old. (I still ache when she picks up the photograph of him that laid beside her bed while she was without the real thing.)

Although there was no shame for me around the idea of divorce, I was crippled when it came to my daughter. My little girl is highly sensitive. I am too, and no matter which way I spun it: we would both lose if this separation continued. I couldn’t see how future good times would outweigh the depths of that kind of despair; it was a joint pain, mine and hers. We all know what empathy feels like, but my empathy goes to the extreme. I embody the pain of others, as if that pain is my own. As spiritually strong as I had grown in my life, even I wasn’t sure I could handle such a heavy dose of pain, every few days.

Then COVID struck. I couldn’t believe the timing. As if a marriage falling apart wasn’t enough pain and confusion to navigate, now the world was falling apart. Supermarket shelves were bare and people in the streets walked around with frightened eyes, wondering things they’d never wondered about others, before.

I’ll never forget the eerie feeling in the supermarket; shelves of silver I’d never seen beneath the normal abundance of household items, not a toilet roll in sight. It was a feeling of doom, is the only way I can describe it. A feeling of charcoal and cold-grey stone. Who had I been sharing the world with all this time? I thought I had known. Now, I was frightened by the realisation that I had no idea.

Fragile me both thrived and fell, during COVID. I used my skills in writing to entertain and help others learn more about books and writing while in lockdown, and this brought my life colour, confidence and inspiration. I became a version of myself I’d only ever dreamed of. Intelligent.Wild. Sexy. Empowered. Free.

Still, I was depressed. Divorce, and what divorce would mean for our family’s future, weighed so heavily on my mind. I tried to frame each negative I found with a positive, and yet always I would find myself back in the same place. Not home. Home, for me, was where my babies were. Where my family was. My husband was a part of that family, and divorced or not, I would be damned if I would allow us to become emotionally separate. So we started spending time together as a family, and though it was odd and uncomfortable at times, it was home. Both of us knew that, both of us needed that.

I sit here, perhaps eighteen months later, twenty-four weeks pregnant with our third precious babe: my two little ones in the next room, my husband at work. I often think back to that conversation with my friend, the one who told me to keep an open mind. It’s hard not to giggle, thinking of the absolute unlikelihoods that have come to pass. A healing marriage. A new member of the family on the way. It’s broken, beautiful life: messy and glorious, and it’s mine. It’s ours.

Is my whole soul entirely happy? No.Will it ever be? Perhaps not. I am, and always have been, as deep as the ocean, as free as a bird, as soft as a petal. Very few people, places, things have ever truly fulfilled me.

But there is hope and there is home. There is a beautiful, supportive husband, who truly is a magnificent human being and father. I adore him. He adores me. We are good.

And, of course, there are my babies, still so small, still so in need of their Mum.

And I am here.

Still so achingly human, I am here.

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Categories
Motherhood

A Beautiful Mess

This messy home,

an incorrectness:

something broken

needing to be fixed.

The wars we rage inside ourselves

just to keep control,

to maintain clean,

to maintain ‘right.’

It is a mistake of the eyes

and the heart

not to see the true beauty

of a home:

messy, chaotic,

beautifully lived in.

These crumbs on the floor.

They are not bad or wrong.

They are a reminder of my children.

How lucky I am to have them at all.

This beautiful mess a child does bring.

Mess is life.

And though a pristine home

is a gift to be treasured,

so is this mess.

This mess of sweet

imperfect

life.

Categories
Writing

Super Mum

She hides in the bathroom and cries.

She places her palms over her ears and breathes into her belly. ‘Don’t wish it away. Such a precious age,’ she’s heard it a million times. She smiles politely. Tells them, silently, they’ve forgotten. Blocked out the bad times, remembered only the good.

She wants to say to them that every coin has two sides; every story, multiple themes running at once. And love. Even the love of a parent has two sides, always. When it’s easy, and when it’s hard.

Bathroom days are hard.

She counts the hairs stuck to the bathroom tiles. She won’t have time to pick them up, piece by scraggily piece. Too busy being an excellent mother, not wishing too loud for peace and quiet to find her once again.

She belongs in the bathroom.

They belong in fresh-white homes, lovingly tending to their overgrown toenails.

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