Sunday, 19 October 2014
There is a chaos in my home which is both beautiful and wild. There is a noise, musical yet piercing. A feeling, one of extraordinary love and of extreme desperation. There is a mess, one I look at and see that happiness was created yet I look at and feel defeat. This is a home of contradictions, I am carrying many twisted emotions, multiple confusions.
I have been a Mother for three and a half years and within that time I have succeeded and I have failed as triumphantly as any given Mother. I am no one special, just a young girl who carried a child and birthed her into this world. I have raised her with a nurturing heart and I have loved her with passion and intensity. I have fought darkness, I have survived it. I became a young woman who grew her family by two more; who have joined my home and bought with them love, fun, chaos, challenges and beauty. Over the past three and a half years I have grown, blossomed, changed. I have risen and yet I have fallen only to rise again.
Motherhood has shown me corners of the world that I wasn't aware existed. It has shown me a true and beautiful happy. It has given me unconditional and incomprehensible love. It opened my eyes to a dark and twisted depression and it has given me a strength that can overcome it all.
While I carry my three precious babies within my heart, along with the incredible love I have for each of them, today I carry a heaviness. I have come so far over the past 18 months and yet I feel as though I am at the beginning again. I look at the chaos within my home, the noise, the mess and I feel as though I have fallen short. My time is spread so thin, can they all know how I love them so? Our lives are so busy, full of demands, needs, spills and falls, kisses and cuddles, how can I be there for them all equally?
This weekend I watched my kind and gentle heart, Evelyn lean down and cuddle her baby brother. A beautiful moment. Until he shrieked with fear and pain, her cuddle was merely a mask for the set of teeth she sunk into his hand. Once I realised what had happened I had to practise so much constraint not to smack her and scream. Rather sending her to her room and hoping to find my cool. I was in absolute shock and terror of what she had just done.
Zalia, my wild and spirited girl, has been learning how to stand her ground. Shadowing her elder sister and projecting her treatment down onto younger children. She is loving, of course she is, but she is experimenting with asserting her independence. She requires me to hover above her, showing her what is acceptable and what is not and her reactions are huge, they are heightened.
With my beautiful Son Asher, comes the common demands of a breast feeding baby. The cries to be held close to my beating heart, the fight for sleep, the angst in not enough sleep, not enough milk, too much wind. He is a beautiful baby, a wonderful child. However mixed with the demands of two older children, I find I can quickly become overwhelmed by how I can tend to all of their needs.
I adore all of my children and my life brings me great happiness. I am proud of my family and incredibly proud of myself. There is love, great love. But today there is this heaviness that I have been unable to lift for some time.
I find myself at the very ledge, disappointed in how I have been managing my time with my children. Disgusted in the state of my home. Saddened by how my children are behaving to earn my attention. Motherhood is hard, it is challenging. When you think you have control, the reigns slip and you are taken on a wild ride.
I am riding out this wildness, trying to cling to hope, trying to keep on top but I fear my head is about to slip under these pounding hooves. I fear I am about to be flattened by the incredible weight and pressure.
Won't someone pass me the reigns, please let me get my foot back in the stirrup and get back up...
Thursday, 25 September 2014
On Friday night, the 20th of June, I could feel in the depths of my body that it was time for you to arrive safely in my arms. As far as I was concerned, Daddy would not be returning to work on the Monday and our family was going to grow by one. We were going to grow by one more beating heart, another smiling face, ten little fingers and ten little toes. My very own son.
As the weekend drew to a close on Sunday night I still found myself holding you in the safety of my womb but there was still a determination within me that this night was going to be our last night as a family of four. I had been feeling tightenings across my stomach for days now and on this night, something felt different. I did not want to say the words out loud, I did not want to interrupt your concentration, your journey into the world. Before wrapping myself up in the depths of my doona for a night of sleep, I found myself readying the house for labour, packing my bags for hospital. I found myself waiting. Waiting for life to begin. I crawled into bed just after midnight and drifted off into an impatient sleep.
45 minutes later and I awoke to an intensity that would not leave me. I was sure that this was the beginning, however this intense tightening was not slowing down, five minutes had passed and the pain was becoming more intense. I made my way to the bathroom in shock and confusion. Then took to bed again telling Daddy I must just have an upset stomach. Laid my head down to rest again when another tightening began. No, this was it. You were just making sure I was awake and ready. You were coming. I had a job to do today.
I moved out to the lounge room and I began to find my positions that would help be to be more comfortable with each tightening. As each sensation hit my body, I knew that you were peeling back another layer of my cervix to work your way closer to me. We were very calm, quiet and peaceful. The house was dark, lit only by fairy lights. I found my position on the ground in front of the lounge and I timed our sensations. They were already 5 minutes apart and lasting 45 seconds and rapidly becoming longer and closer together.
After two hours I began to feel pressure within my pelvis and decided it was best to call on Bev to watch your sisters and Emma to document your journey. Within half an hour they were both at our door. I remained calm, breathing and groaning my way through your movements. Chatting and drinking teas in your breaks. Bev took herself to bed and I focused. Still extremely calm and a little deterred by the calmness, questioning wether this was really our moment. I put 'House Husbands' on the television as a distraction and a comfort. But before I could invest any interest into it I decided it was time to take ourselves to the hospital.
So Daddy and I made our way across the road, stopping on several occasions to be allow my body to feel you. When we made it to the hospital the tightenings became much stronger and I begged to get into the bath. From the moment I immersed my body into that all encompassing warm water my mind and body calmed. Before long, the torturous feelings I was feeling grew less and less. I was back to just moaning through the feelings, rather than the primitive noises I was beginning to make. Something wasn't quite right. The bath was slowing us down, the bath relaxed me too much and my body became closed down to the idea of labour. I was working against you, or you were working with me? We were too relaxed. For several hours I waited in the bath, hoping that things would change. I really wanted to deliver you in the calmness of the water. But as with most things planned, this was not meant to be.
As the sun rose, so did I. I removed myself from the water and I laid on the bed to check my progress. We had not moved from when we first arrived, still at 5 centimetres. The midwives offered to break our waters, to which I agreed. Before I was even able to stand up from the bed after the procedure I was hit with wave after wave of sensations, tightenings, intensity. I could not find a 10 second break between contraction to catch my breath. I lost my calm. I was rolling off the bed onto a mattress on to the ground, trying to stand to gather myself only to collapse to ground again. I could not find my centre and I began to beg for relief, screaming at Daddy that I cannot do this, please get me help. As I started to vomit, I lost every inch of faith I had in myself and I requested an epidural. I couldn't catch my breath in order to breath through these moments.
The midwives attempted to give me a cannula to prepare me for the epidural but I was unable to stay still, rolling and vomiting. After what felt like a lifetime, but was in actual fact mere moments, they checked my progress and advised there would not be time. Within an hour of breaking my waters, you were ready to make your way through the birth canal. In that moment, I finally found my breath, my centre. I propped myself up on the bed and with sheer will and determination I knew that I could do this. That we could do this. I took a moment to connect with you, a moment to build up my strength and then you and I worked together and we pushed.
Our pushing was magical. It was primal. It was animalistic. It was raw. I had fight and you had strength. I had determination and you had love. It was time, after 9 months of growing, building, creating, loving and bonding, it was our time to see each other. You, tiny and naked, wailing and searching for me, your Mumma. Me, exhausted and exhilarated, with arms wide open to embrace you. We pushed, we fought hard, we connected and within less than 5 minutes, within 4 huge, powerful and inspiring movements you were in the hands of the midwives, in the air before me. You were tiny, you were man, you were mine.
I saw you and my body beamed with an energy full of love, pride and adoration. We did it little man. You and I, we were incredible. You were the most beautiful sights of a boy I have ever laid my eyes on. You were fair of hair, you were small of build, you were loving of soul. You looked at me and you looked at your Daddy and there was no doubt that you knew us and you loved us completely and intensely. You were placed, your bare skin, on to my bare skin and in that moment you imprinted on my soul. In that moment my life became yours, my heart begun to beat with yours. In that moment you made me the Mother to a Son. To my son.
To my darling Son, I love you with the utmost strength. A love that is indescribable. It will not falter, it will not sway, it only grows with each look, smile and kiss.
Born at 9:30am, June 23rd
8 pounds - 3.6kgs
*All photos were kindly taken and provided by the very beautiful Emma from ten little toes photography*
Friday, 12 September 2014
Asher is 12 weeks old next Monday and I don't feel like I have time to even breathe. So much has happened, so much I would love to share with you, that I plan on sharing with you. But sadly, the reality of actually being able to sit down and string words together to form a sentence, a story, just does not exist.
I know there are many of you who are waiting for me to share our birth story. I do intend to. It is coming. I promise. But for now, I am just waiting for the day that I can actually think straight as our birth story is precious and beautiful and it deserves more than just a mumbled, incohesive ramble of words. Which, I apologise, the following may very well be!
Life has become extremely busy, in a way that I was completely unprepared for. I finally understand how people rarely watch tv, or don't get the chance to sit down, or say they are on the go from dawn until dusk. Because I honestly do not stop, from the minute I roll out of bed, to the minute I roll back in. I am trying to raise three beautiful, but extremely young and completely dependent children, while maintaining a home (kind of), ensuring healthy (enough) eating, completing a university degree, building and maintaining friendships and helping my relationship remain steady (if not, grow). It is intense, it is full, it is completely and totally exhausting but it is amazing! In amongst all of that I seem to have lost my passion for words. Wether it is because my head is so full and jumbled, or if I am no longer wired to enjoy writing my stories, I am not sure yet. So please excuse any of the above, or the following, words that just do not flow like they used to!
I have been asked by people, both through social media and "in real life", if having three children is 'ridiculously hard'. So that is my reason for coming here and writing today. I wanted to share my thoughts on that question and show you my reality.
Is life ridiculously hard having three children?
Let me start first about how I feel about my three children. My eldest Daughter, Evelyn, is funny! So truly funny, she is honestly a laugh a minute. She is quirky and unusual. Not like many other young girls I know. She is quiet and reserved. The kind of girl who stands back and watches her surroundings before she inserts herself. She is unconfidently, confident. Always needs her Mumma close by, but always willing to give life a go. She is beautifully kind and she is a genuine and loyal friend. She always asks about her friends, after seeing them she tells me how much she loves them, she worries for them if they run too far from their mums, she is concerned if they hurt themselves. She is a lover. She is my kind, gentle, loving and soft heart.
My second Daughter, Zalia, is wild. She is going to bring great adventure to my life. She is completely cheeky, follows anything naughty with a big, toothy smile, that makes you instantly forget about the incident. She is stubborn. Throws the worlds biggest tantrums if she does not get her way. She is insanely protective. If anyone so much as comes near her Brother or looks like they may hurt her Sister or Mum, she will attack them. She is affectionate, gives cuddle after cuddle, kiss after to kiss, to her loved ones and to strangers.
My Son, Asher, is happy. He spends his days smiling and cooing. He follows me, his sisters and his Daddy, around the room at all times. Never taking his eyes off us. He is loving, in a different way to his sisters. He is easy. Only ever cries over hunger. He is relaxed, allowing his sisters and all their friends to climb all over him with kisses and cuddles, he never has a complaint.
To spend my days in the company of these three children, who are so completely different and yet so the same, is an absolute honour. I love my time in their company. They teach me so much, about them, about me, about life and what is important. I get to spend my days filled with gummy smiles, tooth smiles, and big beautiful smiles. I am able to watch them grow and learn. I am the centre of their universe and as a result I feel the full of effect of their love. It is the most wondrous thing.
So is it ridiculously hard? Spending my days with them is fun and wild, challenging and rewarding. Our days are full, from the very first wakening eyes to the last sleepy ones, of demands, tantrums, screaming, whinging, smiles, laughs. It is completely intense. But my days with THEM, no, I do not think it is ridiculously hard and I would have another in a heartbeat if we could.
BUT... trying to be on top of the rest of life? Yes! It is insanely hard and I have not yet mastered any other aspect of our lives. I am ashamed to admit a lot of what goes on here, but I have always had a strong belief in being honest here. So I am going to admit the ugly truths. The washing? It piles up for two weeks and I get down to our last pairs of underwear before I remember I need to be washing. The after dinner clean up? Once I have removed them all from the table, into their baths or showers, dried and dressed them, put them into bed with a story and then started on our own dinner I actually forget about the discarded dinner underneath the dining table. It often isn't until the next day where I scan the room and all of its mess and I see the crumbs (sometimes meals) laying on the carpet.
The bathrooms? That should be cleaned every week? Forget about it! Our bedroom? That place that should be our sanctuary? It is our place of hoarding! All the clothes that the kids have outgrown have been thrown in there to be stored away and I just havent had the time to tackle it! Our backyard which we intend on growing our own vegetables in? It is a pig sty! Covered in weeds and dead plants.
Finding the time and the motivation to attack all of these things that need dealing with, while raising our children, studying, trying to get some time to ourselves, giving our children a life outside of the house, it has been impossible. I have spent the last 12 weeks (and then some) humiliated at the state of our home. Every time a friend visits I feel the need to apologise and explain. It is unbearable! I spend a lot of my time feeling like I just don't add up, I don't meet the requirements of a stay at home Mum.
But what I am learning to accept is that something has to give and I would prefer to spend my time rolling around the ground in fits of laughter with my three wonderful, happy and fed children. I would prefer to have my house suffer than my children suffer.
Having three children, is challenging and busy, but it is wonderful. The hardest part that I find myself struggling with the children themselves, is trying to get them all into the car for a quick stop somewhere. It has become a bit of an unwritten rule that I will not put them in and out of the car if the occasion does not match the effort. We do not go for a quick shop, we go for a month shop. We do not go for a coffee, we go for multiple teas. I will not take them for a swing, I take them to the park, with a bike track and walking track. I will not leave this house for a 5 minute chat, it will be hours.
All in all, it is a wonderful, beautiful ride that requires my utmost attention and energy. It is embarrassing, yes, to have people see the state of my home, or my appearance. But it is worth it when I see Asher's eyes never leaving mine, or Zalia's arms reached out to embrace me in one of her intense cuddles, or hear Evelyn tell me "I love you so much Mummy, you're my best friend".
How can that be hard?
Monday, 19 May 2014
When Zalia was born 13 months ago my entire life was thrown in to a spin. There I was with one beautiful two year old and a lovely, bountiful newborn baby girl who was healthy. We were all healthy and alive and well. Except, I wasn't really ever well, not mentally. Once Zalia began to steal my sleep and scream at me for hours, upon days, upon weeks, I soon woke up to realise this fact.
I wasn't coping. I had a child whom I loved so deeply and so strongly, yet I held a sense of resentment toward her. I just needed her to be okay, needed her to sleep, needed her to no longer scream at me. I spent months curled in a ball in hysterical tears, I hid in the dark, I walked the streets for hours upon hours. I avoided people yet when I saw them, I didn't let them see how dark my eyes had become. I wished away the days so that Zalia could be better and I would magically be better too. It would all be better once she was better.
But it wasn't. I soon learnt that everything hadn't been "better" for a very long time. I hadn't felt any true emotions, nothing outside of anger and anxiety. I'd fallen from a happy, excitable and strong person to becoming a closed, shy and timid person. I was scared of crowds, scared of people, terrified of judgement, lonely within myself and I never felt like I could escape this cloud that was slowly strangling me. When I couldn't feel true happiness, or true sadness, irregardless of the sadness and happiness that surrounded my life, I decided that it was time to make a change.
This past month I have found myself tangled in so many emotions. Absolute happiness. Complete gratitude. Deep sadness. Debilitating guilt. Heart wrenching disappointment. Total amazement. My days have been filled with the most amazing moments I have experienced in a long while, yet tainted with some of the most confusing and saddening. I have been overwhelmed by all these very contradicting emotions. Tonight as I sat in the back yard with my bare feet planted firmly in the grass, trying to ground myself, I thought back over the past 12 months.
With the patience and support of Anthony, and my girls, I have walked a journey that has turned my life around. I have stepped back from everything that was pulling me down and I spent a lot of time, solo, re-evaluating myself and my life. I made goals. I dreamt. I made decisions. I internalised and I found my reasons for wanting my life to change so I did... I changed.
I released the ties to what was making me feel like I didn't deserve to be happy. I stepped away from the expectations that other's had on me, so that I could live up to my own expectations. I turned my back on the guilt, as much as I could. I limited my exposure to all negative energy and I drew on the well of life that I had found within myself.
I focused all my energy on my family, because they are the ones who love me every day, unconditionally and unrelentingly. So I blocked out the rest of the world and I spent months just being with Anthony and my children. In that time I decided that I wanted to give them someone to be proud of, someone that would fill their chests with butterflies, someone who would inspire them.
So I enrolled myself in University to study a Bachelor of Social Welfare, an industry that I have always been passionate about. A degree that will give me the ability to support, care and nurture young children and women who don't have any support, care of nurture in their lives. My application was accepted and I dove right into my studies. I read, summarised and researched every week. I submitted three assignments and I have just completed my very first unit. Now I wait for the study materials to arrive for my next unit. I am full to the brim of self pride, confidence and utter amazement. In myself, yes. I could not be any more amazed in myself for actually pulling that off while pregnant with children. I did it, for me and my family, and I am determined to continue until I can call myself a social worker. I am proud.
I packed my girls up and I walked them out the front door and into the world. On my own. Without someone standing by me for support, without someone standing by me to hide behind when it all became too confronting. I took them to playgroups where I knew not a soul and we made friends. It was intimidating and horrifying. The first day I sat on the lounge and I felt terrified. But the next week, I talked... to real people, with real conversations, to women who I now consider my very dear friends. To women who I wouldn't ever want to live without.
I accepted invites from perfect strangers to meet with them, and their friends. I was stricken with fear, but I placed one foot in front of the other and reached the end of her driveway, where she was with another friend and a flock of children. I stripped down to swimmers and I got in that pool and I began to shred away the layers and the barriers that I had always hidden behind. Sometimes I am still shocked, but mostly I just love that these women chose to like me on that day, really like me. I have an unbreakable friendship with them and they would roll over twice for me.
I committed myself to fortnightly sessions with a psychologist. One who is abrupt, up front and completely honest with me. She calls me on any silly behaviour, but she also praises me for my achievements. She sends me home with homework and she has near cured my social anxiety. She has reminded my that with a past like mine, I am awesome. I have survived. I have succeeded. I have blossomed. She has taught me to see myself in the eyes of others. I may not be succeeding in the way that I used to define success, but I lived out of home at 14, I dropped out of school, I experimented with drugs, I fell pregnant. All before 16. She has shown me that where I am now, coming from where I have been, my life is full of success and beauty and awe inspiring moments. She has taught me to appreciate my strength.
I have spent months, MONTHS, focusing on making life better, happier and fuller for myself so that I can give more to my children and to Anthony. I have a long way to go but, my word, I have travelled so far. I no longer hide in the bathroom behind closed doors, I no longer collapse on the kitchen floor in tears, I no longer disappear from my family when it all gets too much. I don't vomit at the thought of attending a party, or meeting a new person. I am no longer awake until early hours of the morning in tears and unable to breathe. I no longer give my all to the people in my life who just take it all. I no longer allow myself to be punished by guilt placed on me by others, mostly.
I am living my life, I am fulfilling my dreams, I am reaching my goals and I am making myself incredibly proud. I am the kind of woman that I used to always want to be. I inspire myself and I am make myself happy. I don't rely on others to do it for me. I have found that I am often punished for these changes by people who expect me to remain as I was. I have found that people don't support change if it may be seen as being at the cost of them. But I am trying to hold my head high and stride through that punishment. As I am surviving. Hey, I am more than surviving, I am succeeding with a huge smile on my face and I deserve to be rewarded.
My life is full of so much love, so much support, such great friendships.
It is full of moments that I will never forget. The beginnings of new and ever lasting friendships, smiling and welcoming faces. Hand holding and loving hugs that say you are loved. Moments where I have achieved what was the unachievable and been completely rewarded by the faces looking back at me. I am completely blessed and overwhelmed by all the beauty in my world
At the end of each and every day I get to sit back and look at this life I have created for myself in the past 13 months. At how far I have travelled and the journey ahead and I get to feel happiness. Sometimes I feel sadness. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed I just have to close my eyes. But the point is, I get to FEEL. Real emotions! Not just anger and anxiety, but true, deep and butterflies creating emotions.
All thanks to that very moment that Zalia was born and she turned my life into a spin, that very moment that I decided she, and Evelyn, and Anthony deserve better than the empty shell I was giving them.
I am succeeding.
Monday, 14 April 2014
There are actually very few words I can find that would be able to explain to you just how happy this day made me and my family. It was full of women who love my girls as their own, men who have shown my family an incredible amount of support and love, old friends who remind me of who I am, new friends who love us unconditionally, young children who are becoming like family, and family who are always there.
Each time I think about the smiles on my girls faces across the day, my heart explodes. It was an incredible day that was so full of love, celebration, support and warmth. My family is unbelievably lucky to have these people in our lives. I have come from a background of very minimal support, but today, my families lives are full to the brim of people who would lay down for us if we needed them to.
My girls are blessed to have many, many people in their lives that love them with such intense fire and passion. Not only do they have their parents that will always and forever love them unconditionally, they are lucky enough to have many other adults, who have become adoptive family, who will be there for them in any way that they need (in any way that we may not be able to). They have friends who fill their days with great friendship and laughter. They have love.
I can not be any more grateful or ecstatic.
The party was perfect. I could continue to babble all about my emotions but we would be here all day. So I will leave you with a million photos instead.
The party theme was 'A colourful party' with a warning 'Dress for a paint fight'.
It was simple and yet extremely effective. I did not have to put a great deal of effort into any aspect of the day as I knew the paint fight would be the main attraction.
Friends of mine sat with me and helped make them paper chain backdrop, the only decorations of the day. I think outsourced the catering with a wonderful friend. Anthony and I baked the cake. I was able to source some great art supplies at $2 shops to make an art pack as the lolly bag (they cost about $2.70 a bag). We purchased 30 squirters from Kmart and then a few bottles of poster paint. We premixed the paint with water and filled buckets. We filled water bombs with paint and water and we laid out paint in foils roasting pans with sponges. This gave the kids (and adults) many different ways to be involved in the paint fight, but the squirters were by far the most favourite weapon of choice.
The art packs each included 10 pencils, a small tub of paint, a paint brush, a glitter glue pen, a note pad and some colourful paper with mini pegs. The children that were Evies age each got a pair of scissors.
Oh and a freddo frog for good measure. They were a hit! I received many photos afterwards of the kids at home, covered in paint, painting with their new supplies.
The girls absolutely loved it, their friends had a great morning and I had the best fun ever organising it and watching it all come together.
Thank you to all of our wonderful and incredible friends for making it what it was, without your presence, our hearts wouldn't be as full.
We love you