Emotional Fallout

Sigh. I’ll try not to make this post too rambling and all over the place.

This is a long post – 3,400 words.

I’d suggest that you avoid it if you’re not feeling up to a journey through someone else’s messed up head!

I am suffering from an extreme case of self-loathing at the moment. My head is like a bubbling cauldron, full of a million and one things, mostly from the past, but also anxieties about the future, and I’m having a really hard time maintaining a ‘stable’ outlook.

Okay, so to try and break down what’s going on, I’ll try and lay out what’s bothering me (again, please don’t feel you have to read – simply the act of writing this out will help me get my thoughts clearer in my head).

1. Self-loathing

This is the big theme, and I think it’s a side effect of the other things I’ll talk about below. I am eating junk, every day. I’m not cooking proper meals for my family, we’re eating too much takeaway food, and instead of lunches, I just pick all day long at stuff that is no good for me. It is like an addiction, and I hate it. I think eating crap all day every day is also affecting my mood (loads of studies about sugar and depression). I don’t seem to be able to get control of this at all. And I think the reason for it is the comfort that it provides me while I’m eating. That nice feeling that sugar/fat gives you when you eat it (oh so brief, sadly). I seem to be hanging onto those pleasurable moments of actually eating bad stuff as some kind of crutch to get me through all the other stuff that’s going on in my head.

But then of course, because I’m aware of how important diet is, and how important it is especially now, I literally can’t bear myself for eating this way. It’s a horrible cycle of desire, brief happiness and then self-hatred. I know this is edging towards the emotions of a genuine eating disorder, and that scares me. My diet right now is the worst it’s ever been in my life.

There is a part of me, as well I think, that is rebelling for having spent three years obsessing over everything I eat in case it was affecting my fertility. The irony of it is that now I’ve actually got a baby to support, I’m eating the absolute worst ever. Yesterday for example, I had cereal and milk and a hot chocolate for breakfast. Then I ate food in the canteen at Ikea (chips and cake). I had an ice-cream in the afternoon, and egg fried rice and a glass of wine for dinner. I mean – practically ZERO nutritional value in that lot, and that’s just about a typical day.

Sigh. Anyway, as I said, looking at it objectively, this is in large part a crutch for my other emotions and in smaller part a rebellion of three years of being on the straight and narrow. Phew. So now I’ve quantified that issue, let’s look at all the other shit.

2. Parental angst

By this I mean angst about my own parents (primarily). In particular my mother. Becoming a mother for the first time resulted in such incredible feelings of love and protection that very slowly I drifted into total disbelief at the way my parents looked after me and my brother. Becoming a mother focused the reality of my own childhood and in a way, it took it away from me. I knew that my upbringing was different – I was aware of that even at the time, but it wasn’t until I knew how it felt to be a mother that I realised the enormity of the responsibility and how immensely my own parents failed to take that on board.

I’ve done a bit of work over the years, trying to move to a place of acceptance about my parents, and I think with my father I have finally got there.

He was overly critical of me and my brother (criticism was pretty much all he said while we were growing up), and very judgemental of us, but knowing him as an adult I get the sense that a) he is aware of this on some level because he always makes a point of encouraging my boys and telling them well done – words I never, ever heard as a child, and b) I can see other traits in him that I misinterpreted at the time, but that I can now see as a deep caring for my and my brother’s wellbeing. For example, my Dad is nervous of everything that could cause an accident. He’s the same with the boys – he tells them don’t touch this, stay away from that. And it’s because he fears for them. He was exactly the same when I was a child (and I have picked up this trait with gusto, inadvertently). But it comes from a caring place – a fear, as a parent, that a child could get hurt. I understand that now. When I was growing up, being told that everything I did was never good enough, and being told to stay away from everything that could cause me any danger at all made me  rebellious and angry, and sowed a deep inner feeling of low self-worth. I understand all of that now.

My mother on the other hand.

This is a relationship that I didn’t even realise had hurt me until I had children of my own. It will take too long to go into detail over this, but to summarise:

  • My mother is the daughter of an abusive parent. She had an alcoholic father and a mother who beat her (and did other things – locking in cupboards, force-feeding until sick, just horrible stuff), for 17 years until she left home and married my Dad. She’s tried to commit suicide several times and been in and out of mental hospitals.
  • My mother hardly ever hit me – I literally remember one or two occasions where she lashed out.
  • She was so depressed throughout the majority of my childhood that she mostly slept on the sofa, watched the washing machine, stared out of the window and generally did not interact with me very much at all.
  • She had pets – birds, dogs, fish, tortoises – and they all got as much, if not more attention than me and my brother.
  • She avoided any kind of public encounter and pretty much hid herself away if my friends ever came to play. I walked to school by myself from age 5/6 and on one notable occasion aged about 10 I spent an hour waiting on a platform 3 miles from home, for a train, in the worst snow the UK had seen in ages. I was so numb and cold that I cried with pain when I finally got back from school after a near two hour journey, door-to-door. My mum was sat at home the whole time. With her car on the drive. I don’t know how long it would have been before it occurred to her that I might need help. Personally, if my 10 year old was two hours late coming home from school in a snow-storm, I’d be concerned enough to go looking. I have hundreds of stories like this.
  • She did the absolute minimum for me and my brother as kids. We didn’t get trips to the hairdresser or dentist. We didn’t go anywhere with her at all. I started cutting my own hair at age 10, and I was buying my own clothes in jumble sales at age 11 with my pocket money because my mother had stopped clothing us. I did 5 years at school wearing the same shirts I was bought when I was 11 (yep, they were miles too small).
  • She laughed at me for my entire childhood. I don’t really know how to explain this, but my mother’s emotional abilities were (I can see now), severely damaged by her upbringing. She has three main moods. Vacant (where she is going over the past, which she could do for hours at a time), angry (where everything is an annoyance, including me when I was a kid), and amused. She never really displayed love. She laughed at me all the time. It was her way. I see it now with the boys. One of them needs sincere attention over something, or the two of them are trying to explain something to her in earnest, and she laughs at them. She laughs in that “oh aren’t they funny” way, but she applies it to everything. She just laughs at you. Have you any idea what it is like to grow up with a mother who laughs at everything? Who laughs at your first period (and then sends you to the shops with your Dad to buy sanitary towels)? At your first bra? Jokes about your small breasts? Who laughs at your prettiest clothes? At presents people buy you? She simultaneously made me terrified of upsetting others and saying the wrong thing, and yet ridiculed almost everything I said and did by laughing about it. It wasn’t nasty laughter, it was just that she seemed to find everything inconsequentially amusing. I had clothes I couldn’t bear to wear because she’d laughed when I’d tried them on. I detested pink, and make-up, because she laughed at my attempts to be a woman. You can imagine that, combined with my father’s constant criticism. Fertile ground for a fucked up child, huh?

Anyway, I could go on and on and on about my mother. The facts today are that I love her, in some way, because she is my mother. I mean, I’d be sad if she died (possibly more for what never was than for what we had). But I do not really like her. And I am angry that I missed out on a decent mother. I have no idea what people are thinking when they post mothers day tributes to their own hard-working mums on Facebook. What a nice feeling that must be, to have a mum that cares for you and looked after you.

Hah. Anyway. The whole point of this is as follows:

1. I still have a lot of unresolved anger and self-pity for what I didn’t even know was wrong at the time.
2. I am absolutely terrified that this baby will be a girl and how the fuck will I know how to be a good mother and a good role model??

So there, I’ve said it. I was so relieved, SO relieved, when I gave birth to two boys. But this time around – this pregnancy has been different… I just think it might be a girl… but then it might not. I don’t know. If it isn’t, then that’s fine, I can do boys, I looked after my brother to a certain extent as a kid. Boys and mums – a bond that is unassailable.

Girls? Jeez. How can I ever be good enough for a daughter? How can I teach her self-respect, to stand up for herself, to look after herself, to make the most of herself, and to be a kind person?

I am terrified.

When I was 5 my Dad took me to the hospital to visit my mum after she gave birth to my brother. Back then, having a baby was a several day hospital stay, so Mum hadn’t been home for a while. I remember Dad gave me a drawing to give to Mum of her and the new baby, which he’d done himself. He told me to tell her that it was from me. I was embarrassed because I knew that she’d know I hadn’t drawn it, and it seemed silly for me to pretend. But most importantly of all, I wasn’t even missing her. As a 5 year old, I didn’t miss her when she wasn’t there. Because when she was there, she wasn’t really there either, she was off with the ghosts from her past.

And I am terrified that my children might feel the same way about me.

So yeah. That’s a lot of parental angst floating around in my head at the moment.

3. Getting older

My god, I think often about the fact that I am forty. Forty!! And here I am with a big pregnant belly… I see other girls half my age carrying bumps and I feel… embarrassed. A kind of niggling embarrassment that “at my age” I am having a baby. I never gave age a second thought with the boys. I felt a LOT younger at 36, when I had my youngest, than I do now. And I looked younger. 5 years of parenting two boys, many miscarriages and a whole pile of emotional stress has left me looking older, and more importantly feeling older. I know now that people look at me and can tell I am older. It’s a hard thing to deal with, ageing. Especially for women – you lose your looks, your figure, your hair greys, the end of your reproductive years looms… For men (if they look after themselves), they become distinguished, wise, mature. A mature man is a good thing. A mature woman? Not as good as a supple and fecund young woman, eh?

Sigh.

So, I know in part this is all about self-perception, but dammit, I just feel OLD some days. It’s not a lack of energy, or physical problems (thankfully), it’s just that I know I don’t look as fresh as I used to. The plumpness of youth has vanished. My cheeks are more hollow. I have the beginning of jowls (they run on both sides of my family). My eyes have clear wrinkles when I smile. My legs are developing thread veins at an alarming rate, like old lady legs I used to stare at when I was small. I wonder if the boys look at me and think I’m a pretty mummy or not. If I have a girl… (back to the girl thing again), she’ll only ever see me as way past my best. I would never want a daughter of mine to grow up afraid to make the most of herself (like I was), covering herself in ridiculously baggy clothes and hiding her youth and beauty. I have mum friends who manage to be super-glamourous and their daughters follow their lead, with an interest in clothes and make up and fashion. I wish I could be more like that. How can I teach a daughter about dress-sense and fashion, when I have so little of my own? I still cringe at the idea of painted nails (there’s my mum laughing again), but I know mums who paint their own nails and their daughters nails to match. What a wonderful thing to do – how I would have loved that when I was a child! To be initiated into the grown-up world of beauty instead of being laughed at for my attempts (from a woman who wore neither make-up, nor nail varnish, nor perfume, nor much in the way of jewellery).

This might seem a highly superficial concern, but the fact is, our outward appearance, whether we like it or not, has an impact on the way we are treated all through our lives. So I have a double issue here – my own ageing process, which is alarmingly rapid these days, and the fact that I want to be a mum that my kids are proud of – not a baggage lady!

You might say kids don’t notice these things – but my Dad admitted to me once that he was embarrassed by the way his mum used to hide at the back of the crowd on the school run, with no make up on, while all the other mums were dressed up and looked so pretty to him. He used to wonder why she wouldn’t just wear some make-up and dress like everyone else did. How awful would she have felt, if she’d known that’s what her little boy was thinking?

4. Expectations and Anxiety About The Future

Now’s not the time to get into my whole breastfeeding saga – I’ve written more than enough already – but this, among other things, is weighing heavily on my mind. The birth, the aftermath, feeding, how we’ll manage… how it will all go down. Will I be as broken as the previous times?

And then – family. VISITS.

I’m pissed off already that everyone will want to visit. People will want to congratulate. Hold the baby. Sit in our house and expect tea, and nobody will bring food or anything to help. I’m angry about how everyone imposed themselves on us before, spending hours and hours here, expecting tea and lunch and more, when all I wanted to do was cry over my bleeding nipples and have a house that wasn’t full of other bodies, upsetting my newborn with all the passing around. A week after giving birth to my second, I still hadn’t made it into the shower (yeah, gross I know, but I had a toddler to look after and was sleeping maybe three hours a night), and my in-laws were here for HOURS. In the end, the husband had to ask them to leave. It was awful. I just wanted a wash, and to be left alone. Awful.

I’m already angry about what hasn’t happened yet! I’m fantasising about booking myself into a birth centre for days after the birth so people can visit only between certain hours.

With my first baby, I was in the kitchen making lunch and my mother in law (who is a smoker) sat with my brand new, perfect baby on her lap and put her finger in his mouth for him to suck on. She got my father in law to take photos and I missed it all – I was in the kitchen.

When I later saw the pictures I was absolutely livid. I was trying to breastfeed and was paranoid about “nipple confusion” (bloody midwives – don’t listen to them, babies never get confused about what a nipple is), I hated the fact that she ‘tricked’ him into sucking her finger, not to mention I freaked out about the idea of nicotine residue making into my son’s system… I was so ANGRY and felt like he’d been violated while I wasn’t there.

And of course, because my mother never taught me how to set boundaries and be assertive, none of this was ever confronted, or assertively mentioned. We just let it all go, swept along on a tide of crippling exhaustion, desperate to make it to some kind of shore of stability as soon as possible.

And as if all that isn’t enough, I’m still carrying a lot of anger and resentment over how everyone has dealt with our miscarriages. Fuckers!! Seriously – the thought of them being all happy and wanting to get involved in holding the baby and cooing over the baby… eugh!!! The same people who told us it wasn’t meant to be, that a third child wasn’t a good idea, that things happen for the best. FUCK all that. Hypocrites.

So yeah, I’m pretty much dreading all the excitement and cooing that will happen when this baby is born.

(Hey, maybe it won’t. Maybe everyone will leave us alone! Then I’ll really have something to complain about, lol! I wonder if I can arrange emmigration to a warmer country before the birth? Might be a bit optimistic. Perhaps book an extended holiday in New Zealand for the 5 of us? Hmm. Possible. If I win the lottery. Ha! How AWESOME would that be??)

Anyway, I’m feeling tons better already having written all this out. I sure have a lot of shit swirling around in my head, and I need to get it all straightened out before my due date. Clearing my todo list right down has given me more time to think about things, which is good – I need to get them sorted. And partly this is, I suspect, the aftermath of three very stressful years with zero support from our real life folks.

I know I need to be more assertive, and clearer about my boundaries and what I will and won’t accept. I know I need to reach some kind of peace over my mother. I know I need to lay to rest these thoughts of not being a good enough parent.

I’ve just got to work out how.

20 Week Scan

I am HALFWAY there!!! I had my scan today and everything is fine. More than fine – it’s even better than my last pregnancy where I had to go back because the placenta was just over the edge of the cervix. In fact, everything was just wonderful – in that eerie way that everything about this pregnancy has been so far. Baby was in the perfect position for everything, and they checked the whole caboodle, from skin and face to brains and kidneys and hands and feet. No more scans required – I’ve been sent home to grow the baby and give birth in 20 weeks time. Crikey.

So, a brief update.

Firstly, I am feeling a MILLION times better now. I think in the last week or so I’ve finally reached a point of balance. I feel well, energetic, healthy and happy.

My skin is now halfway between awful and completely fine. It’s no longer a total embarrassment to be seen outside with, but it’s not quite gone. I really think the probiotics, and extra vitamin C and D have helped. I suppose also it’s longer since I stopped the prednisolone so my whole system should be settling down.

Exercise – I have started to exercise!! I’ve downloaded a great app called Moms Into Fitness and am following the second trimester workouts. They are short, and I have really enjoyed them this week – for the first time it feels really good to be moving again. I’m feeling really excited about getting fitter and I am finally going to get back into running after this baby is here – I’ve waited years to resume my running habit (always postponing it because I might get pregnant), and I’ve found myself thinking about it so much recently – it’s like the right time is finally coming around. In the meantime I’m building up my strength and cardio and doing some yoga too and I’m loving it. Ahhhh – I love that feeling of getting fitter!!!

Finally, my weight gain has exploded over the last three weeks. I am gaining well over a pound a week now, whereas before it was much slower. I started to track my calories (on MyFitnessPal), for the first time in years to see where I was going wrong. Turns out I’m eating almost a third of my daily intake in snacks (oops), and consuming around 2,300 cals a day (far too much for my size and weight, even allowing for extra pregnancy cals), so now I’m trying to eat larger main meals and hold off on all the stuff in between.

The average weight gain in trimester 2 and 3 is supposed to be about pound a week (after none in trimester 1 – yeah, right!), but that just seems crazy to me – I’ll end up the size of a house.

However, saying that, my total weight gain for 4-20 weeks is 3.6kg, or 8lbs, which I am pretty pleased with. As long as I can get a grip on my current eating habits, I should be fine.

Here’s a photo:

IMG_7854

The eagle eyed will spy the new moses basket (yep – I actually ordered a baby item – when it turned up I almost cried), and our old baby car seat. This is the spare room, which was used as an office and it’s still being cleared out. The main computer is now downstairs, and I need husband to help me get the desk out. The changing table is currently sitting in the middle of the room. It’s all a work in progress 🙂

I’ve retrieved all the baby clothes from the loft (not that we had many saved after all this time), and once the desk is out we’ll set up the cot that’s still up there.

Now we’ve reached the halfway point I am feeling SO much better about everything. I lie in bed at night and in the morning, feeling the baby kicking and punching and wiggling around and I just feel like I am the luckiest and happiest person in the whole world. I’d relive every moment of the last three years, all over again without question, to get here. At the time, when you lose yet another pregnancy, or you’re haemorrhaging away in A&E, or you see what feels like the billionth pregnancy announcement on Facebook, or you sit praying and praying for that second line on a test and you get another effing NOTHING, it all feels so awful, so overwhelming, so endless and so depressing. For every person that told us we should stop doing this to ourselves, and for every person who said maybe it was meant to be… I know in part that these comments come because people who care about you don’t like to see you suffer, but they are not helpful.

I had weeks when I felt I had no fight left. When I wanted to curl up and die from the pain and unfairness of it all, when it felt like I had become a complete ghost of the person I was and I hated my own bitterness and cynicism, when my default mood was anger and jealously and I thought I’d never, ever be the same again, when I drank too much and hated the world and every pregnant person in it, and took it out on my own body.

In some ways I am grateful for that time. It’s been the hardest and longest journey, but it’s taught me so much about myself. About self-acceptance, about allowing for good days and bad days, about standing up for what I want, about being more assertive, about clarifying what it important to me, and about the overriding importance of self-care, above everything else. Because if we do not look after our bodies and minds, how can we fully care for anyone else?

But most of all it has taught me that time passes. Maybe it’s partly a wisdom that comes with age, but in the early days of my journey I was desperately aware of every single calendar day that we checked off. Here we are, three years later, and does it matter? Actually, not at all. It doesn’t matter that it didn’t happen when we first started trying in April 2012. It’s okay that it’s now 2015 and we’re only just getting there. Time passes, no matter what you do and I think that has been the biggest revelation. Life doesn’t run on a schedule, and thank goodness. I feel richer in time now than I ever have done, even though I’m older than I’ve ever been in my life. One day I won’t be around any more, but until that happens, I have all the time in the world.

And so do you.

Much love

Fxxx

Day 6 Skin Detox – A Difficult Day

I wrote a big post, but didn’t finish it. So I am starting again with a short one. Today was a hard day. Despite eating really well, I’m still struggling with persistant sinusitis and now have a gum infection too. Also my skin is just not improving anywhere near as much as I thought it would. All this healthy food and I feel physically awful!

I also felt really miserable and depressed and by the end of the day I fell off the wagon properly. Dinner was 100% comfort food.

However, after that I watched an amazing lecture from Dr Robert H Lustig. And I am firmly commited again:

As an aside, sugar withdrawal apparently follows a similar path to cocaine withdrawal, so I can expect cravings and depression for several weeks while the brain rebalances its chemical transmitters (sugar works like an opiate).

So, here’s what I ate:

Breakfast: porridge made with water, topped with almond milk and blueberries
Snack: Chia/almond/cacao drink. Apple and peanut butter, some brazils and goji berries
Lunch: Large salad with avocado, smoked salmon and pine nuts
Snack: Two wholegrain rice cakes with almond butter
Dinner: gluten free veggie pizza from dominos, glass red organic sulphite-free wine, serving Bailey’s ice cream (yeah, bad dinner, but I was so bloody hungry by 5pm nothing else stood a chance really).

Insomnia

insomnia

Looking over this whole post, it really is a rambling emotional outpouring, which I am not planning on having as a permanent feature on this blog, but emotional growth is important, so for now, it stays ;-). 

Last night I had the worst bout of insomnia I’ve had in well over a year.

Since my oldest son was born, just over five years ago, I’ve suffered from fairly regular insomnia in two forms:

1). Restlessness, which I’ve finally linked to my blood sugar levels. I can pretty much keep on top of this as long as I eat sensibly and do a reasonable amount of activity each day.

2) Anxiety, for want of a better term. I wake up in the night, start thinking about things, and cannot switch my brain off – this is the more distressing of the two because it’s about my mental, rather than physical wellbeing.

In the last couple of years, number 2 has been less and less of a problem and it’s generally number 1 that keeps me awake, if at all. In fact, for the last couple of months I have been sleeping better than ever.

Until last night.

At 2:30am, my oldest son started crying. It’s rare for either of my boys to wake in the night for anything, so I got up to see what was wrong. He was disoriented, thirsty, and had a blocked up nose, so after a bathroom trip, a drink and some Vicks I settled him back to bed and tried to go back to sleep myself.

But I couldn’t.

I was wide-awake, and perfectly mentally alert.

So, then the thinking started.

And that was the beginning of a 2 hour 15 minute long marathon thought session in the darkest hours of the night – and it really was pitch dark last night, with the new moon less than 24 hours away.

For the first hour or so, I lay in bed, not really recognising what was happening. When I finally got to the point where I wanted to cry about everything I was thinking about, I realised I was basically anxious, so I got out of bed and went downstairs.

I then wrote down everything I was feeling and it all poured out of me. So much sadness for the difficult few years we have had. I realised I was grieving in the middle of the night, for how hard it had been for both of us, not only during this struggle to have another child, but for the way that our families and friends have dealt with our bad news and for the way that I have allowed myself to be treated by medical professionals, midwives, and even people I once considered friends.

And not just the sadness for our journey in conceiving, but also sadness for how poorly equipped I was to deal with the transition to motherhood, the lack of help from either set of parents, the lack of understanding about what it would be like. The chaos at home, the fact that our house was in a state of “renovation” when my first son was born and how we lived with doors that didn’t close, and carpets that were still disgusting despite multiple cleanings for years afterwards. About how I was embarrassed to invite people over, and how I ended up socialising with a group of mums that made me feel awful about myself, my parenting and my home, but I was too tired and lonely to break out of it. And about how I felt like an imposter when I first became a mother – like I wasn’t really a *real* mum because I didn’t know how and I’d never had any experience with children or babies. And about horrible mum and baby groups I went to because everyone said that’s what I should do, but I hated them and my little boy cried at pretty much every place we tried, and I felt even worse as a parent because he didn’t seem to like the stuff that other babies liked, and my son was always the one crying or running off.

I thought and thought and I wrote and wrote, until I had a kind of breakthrough.

It really was grief, that I was feeling. The same feeling of loss you get when you lose someone you love. I was grieving for myself, not in a self-pitying way, but in acceptance for what the last few years have included. And that’s not to say they have been all bad, because they haven’t, and there have been moments of wonder and joy and heart-bursting pride, but I have struggled, and I have probably been depressed for at least some of this time.

And I felt a wash of sadness last night for it all. I felt like saying to myself, “you poor, poor thing.”

Which is a kind of crazy thing to be saying to yourself in the middle of the night, so I didn’t do it out loud.

Instead I just silently acknowledged it. That I didn’t imagine it all, that I didn’t make up how difficult things have been. I just acknowledged that I struggled, and somehow, we survived it all.

This might be premature in some ways. This pregnancy isn’t revealing any of its secrets yet, but I feel like the future is different now. I have a simultaneously terrifying and fabulous feeling that everything is going to be okay this time. And it’s a new beginning unlike anything else.

It’s a healing salve I can already feel washing over the wounds. A bright beginning of a time where I feel more confident in my parenting abilities and more able to stand up to what I expect in other people with regards to their behaviour.

It’s a cliche, but I feel like, if this were a movie scene, I’d be walking out of the smoke and dust and background fire, covered in cuts and bruises, black with soot, hair everywhere, looking serene and focused, knowing that the devastation, the utter madness and bitter circumstances left behind me were over. Done. Finished.

At 4:45am I went back up to bed and went straight to sleep.

I am taking prednisolone, which is notorious for causing insomnia (and other mental disturbances), so maybe I’m just freaking out on the meds, but I really felt a kind of closure last night. A kind of full stop after a big hefty chapter of life.

All I want to do right now, is tidy, organise, sort, and finish all those jobs that never get done. The husband says I’m nesting 8 months early, but when you’ve waited this long, it is not early. My life has been on hold and I am chomping at the bit to get it moving. I’ve known I am pregnant for nine days and I have almost three years of life to catch up on.

The Aftermath

Did you know that “aftermath” has two meanings?

The one we’re familiar with, the one we all know:

The consequences or after-effects of a significant unpleasant event.

And the one we’re less familiar with:

[Farming] New grass growing after mowing or harvest.

I’m sat here, submerged in the aftermath. I haven’t showered today. Husband had to drop the boys to preschool because I couldn’t face leaving the house. I’ve sat at my computer and listened to sad songs. Songs from my teenage years, songs from the angst of my youth. And I’ve cried for everything bad that’s ever been.

I’ve looked through old photos of me, wondered where the girl I used to be has gone:

bungy
Victoria Falls

I know I’ve said this before, but how did I get here? Where did my fight go?

This is about more than a miscarriage. This about where I am now, and what path I’m on, and how the fuck I got here.

My heart feels so very heavy. Heavy for having lost it’s way. And the worst thing is, even if I sit and ask myself outright, I don’t really know what I even want any more.

hosp
Hospital bed

What is all this grief about?

Is it the mourning of my youth?

Am I having a midlife crisis?

Why do I want another baby?

Why have I been so troubled for so long?

What do I really want to be doing anyway?

I need to move, to get out of this swamp of mediocrity I’ve been wallowing in. But I don’t know which way to go, or even if I can get out.

What do I really want??

For the first time in my life I want to ask a younger version of myself for advice.

Hey, 28 year old me, with the world at her feet. What do I do now? What’s wrong with me? Why am I so unhappy?

You know what I feel like doing?

I feel like chucking away every, single piece of clothing in my wardrobe.

Every item. All the crappy tshirts I slob around in, the jeans that are baggy enough to hide my less-than-flat stomach, the mediocre, boring, mummy-slob, clothes that I wear day-in, day-out. The practical shoes and the thermal tops. I hate it all, because it all came from supermarkets and it all says that I’m not important, I just need to cover up my post-childbirth-x2 body in a practical way until my children are 18 and I get the chance to think about how I look again.

God, I am having a midlife crisis aren’t I?

Yes, I am.

I have gone from Exhibit A – self-assured, confident, intelligent, well-traveled career-girl:

before

To this – Exhibit B (do I really need to say anything?):

after

(And by the way, if you recognise me, and you know me, for God’s sake ring me up and be nice to me.)

BIG SIGH.

But back to what I started with.

Aftermath.

The new growth after harvest.

That’s what I’m submerged in.

I think I know what I need to do. I know that change is the way forward, because what I am doing obviously isn’t working. Because if we all stay the same then where the fuck are we going to end up.

Thank you for reading this rambling, personal, crazy, post.

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