Tale of the day

What do mothers do all day? What have I done today? Often I’m asked this question and I reply ‘nothing’ or ‘not much’ and the thing is that actually that’s completly untrue. I think infact I am busier than I have ever been. It’s just that the things that I’m busy doing, don’t make money and therefore society doesn’t value them and therefore we don’t talk about them. So I’m going to talk some of what I did today:

5am: and I am woken by a creaking door and the gurgle of a wide-awake baby. My amazing lover had taken her into the other bedroom to give me some sleep the last few nights. I miss him but sleep is nectar of the gods and I am SO grateful! He laid down our squirming, swaddled offspring, kisses my cheek and heads out the door.  I tried to prise open my eyes, she chortled up at me then screwed up her face and grunts. I knew what that grunt meant! I sat bolt upright to try to pick her up, unswaddle her and push myself out of bed in a swift, one-handed manouvere…. yeah right, my eyes were barely open, it was pitch black,  freezing, I tripped on the corner of the blanket, and sat heavily back on the bed,  narrowly missing sitting on my offspring, who seemed to find this hilarious and flailed her fists more vigorously tugging out a chunk of my hair in the process. Second time lucky I managed to stand up, free of duvet, babe in arms, I stub my toe on the corner of the door, swear much more profusely than I’m sure 3 month old ears are meant to hear….and hobble to the bathroom. By this point the reason for my attempted speed is seeping between my fingers and onto my nightie. I put on the its-still-night-time light we got for the bathroom intended to keep offspring sleepy….yeah…..anyway! Suffice to say the poosplosion that has occured is so intense it requires a full pajama change and a wash down for both her and me! During the change I worry that she is cold, so attempt to cover her in a blanket, (which gets poo on it) keep her feet poo-free, check that her poo is err ‘normal’, check she is-OK, stare into her big blue trusting eyes for a moment and get completly overwhelmed with awe, laugh at her chortles, fill up with joy as she grips my finger, tried to keep hold of her legs as she wees all over me and wondered if it was too early for wine…. Once we were both cleansed it was almost 6am but I decided to see if I could get her to sleep again…..

6am: I swaddle her up burrito style and lay her down next to me on the bed. Eyes like saucers. I half shut my eyes. Perhaps if she thought I was asleep…. She squirmed. She cooed. I gave her her dummy, she spat it out, I held it in place, she shook it away. After a few minutes SHE FELL ASLEEP. I couldn’t believe it, I shut my eyes…then she woke up. I gave up. It was THE DAY.

Just looking at that one hour of my day I am struck by HOW MUCH STUFF I DID! There’s loads there. Not just physically, but mentally, look at all the THINKING I did!!! wow It’s practically a PHD!! Pre baby a similar scenario could’ve been described in a single sentence: ‘Woke up in dark needing the loo, stuck nose out of duvet, decided it was too cold so I went back to sleep’ But with parentdom there is just so much MORE. Nothing prepared me for the relentlessness, the intensity. The responsibility sits heavy in my heart. It is the hardest job in the world and yet there are no instructions, there are no holidays and no weekends. And then there is also one other immense truth that I wasn’t ready for and that is the love. The Love. So raw and massive it is almost tangible, it seems to grow bigger each day. It is actually utterly terrifying it is so all consuming a thing. Unlike some women I didn’t get a rush of love when Rue was first born. In retrospect I think I was in shock. But then gradually, each day the love has grown and grown until I feel like when she smiles at me, my heart might genuinely explode with joy. It is wild and savage, horrendous, exhausting, beautiful and intense. It’s shattering. I didn’t know love like that existed. But it does, it does, it does. Experiencing it somehow, crazily, makes the world make just a little bit more sense. I am so grateful to be experiencing it. I try not to worry about the future. Try to be present, try to speak my truth and know that today, I did not ‘do nothing’.

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Ode to my Lover / Not because it’s Valentines!

Dearest one, ( I know you’re not keen on valentines, but-)

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I don’t need a day to tell you that I love you or vice versa.

I don’t need the date circled on the calendar

Or the shops to be hung with sickly pink hearts

I don’t need the commercial machine to remind me to love

And to tell others that they are lonely.

 

However, I’ll take the opportunity to tell the world how wonderful you are.

To let you know that I still remember that night

When an ambulance was at my door

You cycled across the city just to be with me.

And I do remember the (nearly), one thousand paper cranes you strew around my bedroom.

 

I do want to tell you that asking you to marry me was the best decision I’ve ever made.

And our wedding day was amongst the happiest of my life.

And I do want to reiterate that I don’t believe in finding ‘the one’

Or believe your mine and I’m yours

Or that two become one.

 

But I do want to tell you that in the last three months,

since our daughter came earthside,

Through your presence I’m glimpsing the true meaning of love;

 

It’s putting us first in everything you do,

It’s sorting out epilepsy meds and hand feeding me banana

It’s rubbing oil on my belly

And buying cabbages for my boobs

It’s cutting toenails, washing feet and easing them into shoes

It’s hair stroking, chant humming.

It’s breathing through contractions

It’s checking stiches and talking about periods

It’s buying pads and pumps and nipple cream

It’s doing every.single. night with our baby

Then going out to work without complaint

It’s never leaving me alone

It’s welcoming my family and turning off your video game

It’s making and not buying things

And staying present with me, day after day.

 

The words ‘Thank you’ seem pitifully small to express all I want to say to you,

They can’t begin to describe what I feel.

Perhaps instead I’ll say I know there’s lots we want to do;

Move house, travel the world, learn languages and have adventures with our babe.

And I’m sure that all will come.

 

But for now, in this moment, I want you to know

I am living my dream life, with you, with her.

Here right now, everything’s as perfect as can be.

And because of you my heart is full of gratitude.

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Emotional Challenge

By far and I mean FAR the biggest challenge I face is a mental and emotional one. Something Doctors totally fail to realise. It is not the pain, not the ‘conditions’ themselves. The diagnoses: Two slipped discs, one herniated disc (That’s 3 prolapses folks!), sciatica, juvenile myclonic epilepsy and neuralgia might be the root cause of my challenge but they are by no means the worst of it.

I read through my blog, again and again. I count every ‘like’. I think of every friend and relative who has visited me, called me. I look at every picture. I scoure the web for resources and positive stories. I look out of the window and try to see the glory in the forget-me-notts and the blue-tits nesting. I save every message of love and support. I tell my husband every bit of positivity I can find. Yet I’m still choked up, I’m full of exhausted tears.

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I am only 28years old and yet looking after me was recently likened to someone who is 82! Over the last few months the life I have known has steadily disappeared before my eyes. ‘Managing epilepsy’ for so long has meant that perhaps I am closer to ‘the edge’ than others. My spinal injury seems like the final straw. WHY me? I think. Have I not done enough, handled enough, am I not enough?!

Enough

Ultimately this is why I can never totally believe in the Christian God. I believe in energy, in nature, in Gaia and the earth goddesses. Nature is cruel and hard and real. Natures energy passes from one thing to another, it shows no mercy and favours no one nor anything. It is a higher power than I, worthy of fear and worship. I stand humbled at the alter of Gaia not of Jesus.

Gaia music

I have always loved being a super busy active person. Previously I never let anything stop me. I have always been social, loved meeting new people and creating community events wherever I’ve lived. As I can’t drive because of Epilepsy I have always walked everywhere. Now I can’t do that.

Bashing the keyboard hard today feels good. Take it out on the page, show people what problems with my spine really mean. To not be able to go anywhere has been one of the hardest things that has ever happened to me. I can’t pop over and see friends, I can’t organise anything, I can’t go to a cinema, salon, restaurant, park, I can’t go on holiday, I can’t go anywhere new in-case I can’t lie down, I can’t go on buses, trains, aeroplanes…I can rhyme! I am totally reliant on other people to visit me, to take me to appointments. My darkest fear is that this injury is going to prevent me from being able to have and care for children…

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When I was diagnosed with epilepsy I remember thinking I should set a life goal. It was this: To find a loving husband and have healthy children and be able to make enough to support ourseleves independently, healthily forever. That is still it. That is all I want, all I have ever wanted. I have the husband bit, is it greedy to want the rest?

I feel that I am becoming a burden, something merely on people’s ‘to-do’ list, I can’t bear the thought that I can’t go and meet them or help them out. That is so painful a thought it actually burns my mind but I want to write down. Following this I also want to take a minute to refer people back to my blog where I wrote about how to not say the wrong thing.

I know these things are meant with love, but they are the wrong things to say. I got a wonderful email today all it said was “you are amazing. xxxx” It was the perfect thing to say and made my day. Thank you.

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My husband just appeared with a new Swiss ball for me. WOWNESS I ACTUALLY SAT ON IT! IT HELPED. He is a mind-reading hero. I am so blessed. Feel so much better writing this all down. I can breathe again. Off for a picnic in the garden which we’re going to pretend is the beach. Dream on. Choose Happiness. Choose Real Friends. Choose Love, One Love.

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Set Backs

Yesterday was a good day, infact most of the week has been good it has been easier to be positive. That was until out of the blue last night around 6pm things started to go downhill. I developed a constant deep ache on my right side, sciatica down my right leg and then shooting pains around my pelvis, hip and through my pelvic floor muscles, I filt sick and dizzy, my brow beaded with sweat.

I had to be helped up stairs, helped to get into bed, helped to go to the loo…. It was exhausting and terrifying. How am I supposed to know if this is normal for spinal injuries? I am trying so hard, but the fact is it’s pretty terrifying. I cried that I wanted Valium. I am SO tired of this. I just want it to stop. I haven’t walked more than half a km in over two months, I haven’t been anywhere except Doctors on my own for over two months! Surrounded by hot water bottles, I sung childrens songs I know to distract myself, did breathing excersises, Juan sung a Krishna chant to me as tears rolled down both our faces. I recited the names of all the gods and goddesses I can think of, visualised myself at Bantham. Slowly it started to work, the spasms lessened, my breathing eased, I didn’t take valium. Finally, with the help of rescue remedy, Neals Yard Relaxation oils, ibuprofen and paracetamol sleep found me. Today is better than last night, but I am weakened, I ache alot more and the excersises which have been so relieving are not so today. This morning I sent an email to my wonderful physio, who despite it being bank-holiday emailed me straight back with a message full of reassurance, which is largely all I needed. I am proud I haven’t succumed to drugged numbness and proud that I am smiling and laughing with my husband today.

Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, “This is what I need.” It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment—not discouragement—you will find the strength there. Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege!! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow. Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures, followed by wreckage, were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes. -Joseph Campbell

Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, “This is what I need.” It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment—not discouragement—you will find the strength there. Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege!! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow. Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures, followed by wreckage, were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes. -Joseph Campbell

 

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