Day 13: A Letter to a New Mum

Dear Mumma,

I’m going to attempt to write you the letter I wish I’d been given when I first found out I was pregnant. It will probably fall well short of being what you need, but even if one thing I say makes your journey a little easier, then at least I made a difference.

Motherhood will never be what you expect it to be. It will be so much more. The love you feel will be deeper, more profound than anything you’ve experienced before. However, so will a whole host of other emotions, there is no such thing as a normal mother so don’t even try to be one! The fact is that no one knows how they are going to travel upon the road of motherhood, but I have learned one thing – you don’t have to do it alone.

These days we are surrounded with false and misleading representations of what it means to be a mother. Television advertisements tell us that our children should be happy smiling angels, our washing should smell like a summer breeze, our kitchen benches should be so clean you can see your reflection in them and that we should look like the next character on Desperate Housewives. However, most of the time – especially for the first year or so you may in fact look like this:

 

And this is at 2pm in the afternoon. In fact if you did have curlers in your hair I would call it a win for you!

What this letter is not going to be, is one of those heavy-on-the-irony jobs filled with anecdotes of dirty nappies (daipers for all non-nappy speaking countries), vomit adorned clothing and a doom of sleepless nights. The fact is: poo, vomit, crying, fear, sleep deprivation, dismay, goofy joy, frustration, pride and a million other things are simply a part of the package. When it comes to babies, unless you have a host of servants assigned to all the messy bits, then you’re going to experience both the good and the bad. It’s a fact – moving on.

What this letter is going to beis a friendly note to say that you’re doing great. I don’t care if you are tucking a calm and peaceful little bundle into bed where they will sleep through the night, or if you are a sobbing puddle crouched outside your screaming infants door feeling like your world is collapsing. You. Are. Doing. Great.

Babies are like Ikea furniture with Japanese instructions. They look so basic in the showroom: eat, feed, sleep.  However when you get them home… Trying to figure them out on your own is just plain bewildering. So here are some things you really need to know:

Mother really does know best: If your gut is telling you there is something wrong with the health of your child, don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion. You know your baby better than anyone else. With babies it is always better to be over cautious and every doctor worth their salt will tell you the same thing.

Crying won’t hurt your baby:
So if you are in the shower and they start to cry, don’t panic. As long as they are safe, a little bit of crying wont do any lasting damage.

Don’t compare your child with anyone else’s: Every single one is different, they have different needs, bodies, temperaments, and abilities. Your child is exactly who they are meant to be.

Ignore all stares when your child cries in public – most of the time other mums will either glance at you in sympathy, or they will be thanking God that it isn’t their child crying today. We have ALL been there, take a deep breath and simply do whatever it is you need to do.

Baby wipes are little slices of miracle never ever be without them.

Choose your advisors wisely. When it comes to children and how to raise them everyone is an expert. Unfortunately many of these experts are actually secret nazi’s who would judge your every move. You just don’t need people like that in your life. Surround yourself with people who encourage and uplift you. If your baby is healthy and happy then you are doing a great job.

Hint: Look at other parents you know who, in your opinion are doing a good job raising their kids. These are the people who will probably be your best source of advice and help because they more than likely share common family ideals to you.

Take a deep breath, it’s a roller-coaster. Anyone who tells you different is lying or heavily medicated. The journey is different for everyone, you look at that little plastic strip and think you know what you are in for, but then every day from that point on is a learning curve. You aren’t alone. Just ask.

Love you xxoo

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Production Line

* This week’s workshop piece from Uni. Written in 7 minutes, no editing.

She smiles benignly as she attaches the band around my wrist. It’s almost robotic, ther’s no real significance in it for her. I take back my arm and study its new addition. I am labelled, named and identified. “Yes, that’s me I sigh” my name is bold letters, followed by a number and a barcode.

Shuffled off, bags in tow we are herded like pre-schoolers on excursion; to be weighed, measured and re-dressed for ‘the procedure’. A new one grabs at my wrist; she is blonde and has blue eyes but her lanyard swings too wildly for me to read her name. She simply quotes the number on my band, checking it against a sticker on a file. “That’s you” she smiles, I feel like asking; “yes, but what’s my name?”.

To them it seems this is just another day, and I’m just another number on a list. A box to be ticked, then moved on through to the next stage in the production line. Inside I am screaming “STOP! Don’t you realise what today is? It’s his birthday!”. Soon, very soon this swollen, distended belly will be violated only to reveal the sweet and ripened fruit within.

This is not something mechanical, This is not surgical; this is flesh and blood and love and fear. I am a name, not a number, I am a life within a life. We are a family about to be. Take a second. Wait. See. Meet. Me.

One of my Favourite Places…

The following is a short piece I wrote for one of my workshops at uni..

It’s my favourite, it has a physical effect on me. When I’m there nothing else matters. Like opening the window to a world I have spent my whole life searching for. My heart thuds as everything settles into its perfect position. I am whole, I am remade, I am discovered again. There is no beginning or end to the fathomless wonder that engulfs me where I stand. I have pushed open the door and fallen into peace, joy and love with a single step. I know it is a place sacred to me and only seen as through a dark reflection to others. This is my special dimension; where time and space conspire to let me slip away. I am lost, I am found, in the beauteous smile of my baby boy.

* This was a stream of consciousness writing exercise. We had to write about one of our favourite places continuously for 7 minutes. In this exercise you must not stop writing at all, you have to write whatever comes into your head without pausing to edit. I enjoy this exercise because I never know what will come out!

Busy Bee

Well, I wasn’t a weeping puddle of tears over Target. Nor did I win; I really don’t think I could have won given that I hadn’t entered week two of the competition. This had to do with my inability to correctly type my email address, and not realising I could have just entered as a guest member. Oh well never mind, as I said before, to be short listed was really a win in itself! Mind you, the worst part was I had already spent that first $100 voucher about 15 times over in my head. I guess I will have to tell Jarrod to suffer in his jocks a little longer. I mean that literally; the kid seriously needs new jocks!

As to the other things happening in my oh so exciting life (insert cricket chirp here) Sam is absolutely gorgeous! He isn’t 100% the poor bub, but that just makes him cuter! He has a croaky throat at the moment and he tries to cry but it comes out more like a squeek. I think I should appear more maternal and concerned, but the fact is that the poor little muppet just needs lots of cuddles, a little bit of panadol and as many smiles as he can get. I will be a happier mummy when this bout of teething is over for all of our sakes. On top of his croaky throat, sore gums,and a less than serious mummy, Sam had his fist day at childcare this morning. I won’t write anymore about that here. Trust me it’s a blog in itself! I love my little munchkanoo sooo much it hurts.

Jarrod is still both a champion and a good looking rooster, and I shall continue to tell him so untill my opinion on the matter changes (never). He is presently interested in something called ‘Mighty Beans’ or as I call them collectable choking hazards! It never ceases to amaze me the plastic landfill the market to our kids as entertainment. Half the time Jarrod will passionately proclaim that his 8 year old life cannot be complete without the addition of some new brain numbing video game. Then should we relent and gift him with said game it is usually forgotten about within days. Sigh, if only he would realise that he is actually far far happier outside in the garden or on his ripstick than inside in front of what my father calls the ‘idiot box’!

It is nice to be back at Uni, childcare guilt and all. I may sing a different tune in wk 9 but for the moment it is nice to be reassured that there is still a brain left in there after this pregnancy. I just have to keep my bag under lock and key, apparently a love of all things stationery is hereditary and Jarrod has inherited the gene from me. The child has about 173 pencil cases around the house, and he is always on the lookout for new additions. He reminds me of a squirrel storing away nuts for the winter! Don’t even get me started on his Smiggle addiction. I guess I can’t really point the finger; we can only ever go to Smiggle after we have gone to Kikki.K for my fix!

So to another day with a wonderful family. Now go hug someone you love! (preferrably someone who is aware you love them and reciprocates some measure of like feelings toward you)

xox

All Roads Lead To Target!!!

I just quickly wanted to tell you all some exciting news! I have been shortlisted along with 4 other awesome mummy bloggers to be the Target Ambassador for Kidspot !! I cannot tell you how exciting this is, not just because it would be such a cool thing to do but because it is the first time ever I have entered a competition and even been considered to win!!! The short list is a win in itself!!!

It still amazes me the way discovering something you are passionate about leasds you into a whole new world of adventures that you never would have dreamed of before. I will keep you updated as to whether I am jumping for joy or a weeping puddle of disappointed tears when the results are decided.

Now to other news, I have started back at uni this week and kicked it all off with a lecture for ‘Reading and Writing Place’ if you think the title of the lecture is confusing you should see some of the quotes we were reading, talk about mental contortions! I am going to be lucky if I can make it through the semester remembering where I left my car let alone figuring out if I am in a space, a place, a race or whatever!!!! I am also in the throws of figuring out what to do with the bubba on my one full day of study – I am crossing the childcare bridge and my heart hurts thinking about it.

The little one is teething and keeps spiking a temp, so it is mum-come-nurse I have become, administering bonjella, nurofen and panadol as instructed. The big one had swimming at school today and we forgot to pack his swimmers, so I was busted for not showering this morning as I had to make a special trip to his class to drop them off. Oh joy to panda eyes and a dicky fringe!

So thats just a quick update of my life the last couple of days….

Love Love xxoo

4 Things I Am Loving Right Now.

1. Words

I try so hard not to use so many of them but alas it is a skill I am yet to master! I love words! I love to craft them so that they say exactly what I want them to. I love that I don’t have to be satisfied with a mediocre sentence, when with a little effort and my trusty thesaurus I can turn it into something wonderful, emotive and tangible.

I guess I feel that language is my art. Like a sculptor; I feel the words, weigh them and shape them. Like a chef I season what I write with sweet, sour, salt and spice. The pen is my brush, the page my canvas and my imagination the only limitation to what I can create.

2. Our Dog Winnie

We got Winnie the year we got married 1999. We were young, just 20 & 21 and the idea of starting a fur family was really exciting to us. So one December evening we saw a notice advertising free puppies and that is how Miss Winnie came to be a Hunter…

She is a Samoyed cross Kelpie who has run away more times than I can remember, but thankfully we have always got her back! When Jarrod arrived in 2001, she accepted him as the litter mate she had always wanted; the two have been fast friends and partners in crime ever since! I was very disturbed to find out that she is now classified as a canine senior citizen, to us she will always be the weird looking little black ball of fluff we fell in love with nearly 11 years ago!

3.  Brotherly Love

Yes these are my boys. Sigh… For 8 years it was just Shaun, Myself and Jarrod, we were The Three Amigos and we did everything together as a very tight unit. We even travelled to China and walked on the Great Wall.

Yet noting comes even remotely close to the wonderful privilege of watching Jarrod finally become a big brother. You see, while we have shared mostly great times as a family of three; one thing we also shared was a miscarriage in 2006. The very morning after we told Jarrod that there was a baby on it’s way, the worst happened. My special little man was there with me holding my hand while I cried, with wide eyed understanding of the profound loss . He still speaks of ‘our baby that died’.

So knowing all of that, you can see how full our joy has been at Sammy’s arrival. To describe the boys bond is impossible. They share a world of love to which I am not privy, and yet from my spectators seat on the outside my heart bursts with joy at the relationship so long awaited by one, and so wholly adored by the other.

4. The Rain.

I know it sounds cliched but I love the rain! I am a girl who grew up in Central Victoria under a corrugated tin roof.  So to me there is nothing quite like the sound of those first few drops thwacking on the roof, harbingers of the myriad drops to come. I no longer live under a tin roof, but after these drought plagued years, there is something decadently delicious about muddy puddles. There is something infinitely magical about the new cover of green over the land. There is something desperately romantic about the city streets and their rainbow reflections on a rainy night. I love the rain; it crystalizes my attention in the moment, yet gently coaxes the delicate flowers of childhood memories back into the light.


BIG is Beautiful

I am not a small person in any sense of the word. I am 5’9 and I am certainly not going to be a contender for ‘Next Top Model’. Ever. Yet, as I have matured I have learned much about myself, as life experience often leads us to do. I have discovered that while yes I am physically large, I am also large in other areas.

I have a big smile. It’s a real one, it crinkles my eyes and shows the gap where I had a tooth pulled out (I’m not a big fan of that bit). I have discovered that there is great joy to be had in laughing first at yourself. Fortunately; I provide myself many opportunities to do just that. It is remarkably difficult to think too highly of oneself when tumbling headfirst down the stairs at a crowded cinema. Secondly; when you have children, if you don’t have a robust sense of humour I am certain that insanity or depression or both would quickly follow at your heels. Between one child who had a compulsive habit of eating my lipsticks, and this new one eight years later who poo’s every time I put him in the bath; I have learned that to laugh first is usually the best course of action.

I am large in my faith. I believe in God. Lots of people believe in God. But Amelia without God is futility, a husk and profitless. Many may criticize this statement; perhaps see it as an insult or as a proclamation of weakness. But I have walked my life’s path and it has led me through great despair and loss as well as tremendous joy and love. Yet it has not been my faith in Him; but His faithfulness to me which has seen me through. It is this spiritual relationship, Father to child, Shepherd to lamb, Healer to broken which sets me apart. Any gift I have which makes me remarkable I know is first and foremost a gift from Him.

I am large in my heart. I could give you the full sob story of my childhood, of my self-loathing teen years and every tragic thing in between and since. But frankly that just makes me screw up my face and go ‘blurgh!’. I have a choice. We all have a choice. We as a human race are fatally flawed, and we always will be. We will be hurt, and we will cause hurt; but when this occurs do we barricade our heart? Do we make ourselves prickly and irascible to keep people at bay? Perhaps create a false persona, created from a mosaic of semi-truths we believe more acceptable to others than the real us. I choose not to, I know I am far,far,far,far,far from perfect, but I am me. I am sensitive and tough, I am honest and real and there will always be a little bit of me that is terrified of rejection. But I won’t let that stop me from caring and sharing simply being me. Living life this way has bought me the best kinds of people, and I am always excited to meet new ones so if you are reading this then please COMMENT and say hi!!

I am BIG in so many more ways than my body. I was never meant to blend into the crowd, I want to be that streak of flaming red, the blur of electric blue and a splash of vibrant orange on life’s canvas. What I offer is unique, because what I offer comes from me; and trust me… I am one of a kind.