A letter to my 21 year old self

Dear me,

I bet you’re feeling real grown up and old right now. Just wait until you’re 34. You know how you always think people in their 30’s pretty much have their lives together and sorted? Yeah, you’re not one of them. And possibly, just possibly, the people you looked at who were ‘old’ and in their 30’s didn’t have their lives as together as it may seem. Anyway, enjoy some of my mature realisations passed from me to….well, me.

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Enjoy your perky boobs while you can 
  1. Stop spending all that future house money on facial products. Do me a favour and go buy some oil. Yes, I know it sounds crazy to put oil on oily skin but trust me, it works. Mix some sunflower oil and castor oil and there’s your new cleanser. Same sentiment for spending money on shoes – trust me, there will come a day when you don’t wear heels anymore and a ‘shoe collection’ is not really very practical.
  2. Think about the planet. This is the home of any future children you have (oh – you have a daughter! Should have mentioned that before) and start trying to reduce plastic usage. You won’t ever be perfect and that’s ok – just be mindful and not wasteful.
  3. On the topic of your daughter. Pregnancy and birth will not be what you imagine. You can not stub your toe and pretend to breathe through the pain to practice being in labour. This will be unlike anything you have ever felt. Don’t worry, you won’t split in two although you might be convinced you have. Also, right this second – get that absolutely stupid idea out of your head that you want FOUR CHILDREN. Seriously, are you trying to kill me/yourself?
  4. Also on the topic of your daughter. You will connect with her 100% when she finally makes her way into the world. All that worry about becoming depressed when she is born will be for nothing, so try and sit back after your daily morning vomit and relax. She will be the best thing you ever did. She will be your daily joy.
  5. That boy next to you in the picture – he will grow into the man who becomes your husband. You both have a LOT to learn. But the midst of the bad times, just know you will make it through. He will continue to make you laugh everyday. He will continue to drive you mad with his laidback attitude – but one day you will appreciate the fact that he can see the silver lining in situations and is forever trying to make your life more positive and fun. He isn’t obsessed with becoming a father – but once he becomes one he will excel at it and absolutely adore his little girl.
  6. You will move on in your career and lose a lot of the early attitudes you picked up in your first workplaces. The more ‘strict’ you are does not make you a better educator. You can guide children’s behaviour through love and gentleness. Don’t worry – you’ll learn all this when you do some more study and are mentored by some amazing teachers. You will develop your own culture that guides how you work with children and how to develop strong working relationships with them. You want to enable them to feel comfortable enough in their environment to learn through the most important work a child can do – PLAY. This just popped up in a fictional book you are reading now:

    It’s strange how teacher’s go off to college for all those years to learn how to become teachers, but some of the never learn the easy stuff. Like making kids laugh. And making sure they know you love them.                                                                                                           Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend – Matthew Green

  7. It may not feel like it now, but you will become more confident. You’ll still have bad days and days where you think you’re not good enough. But you’ll stop caring about your body shape – you’re bigger in the future so appreciate that teeny tiny waist now! You will be able to talk to people easier. You will work out that if you’re in an intimidating situation, admitting that you’re nervous about it to whoever is in charge will take away the power anxiety has over you.
  8. Church. This is a bit of a hard one. Obviously church is really important for some people and you don’t want to upset the anyone. But rejoice – mum and dad have given you a very solid foundation, and you have very strong ideas on what’s right and wrong, and the aim of the Gospel. You will develop so much from these early days of your view of Christianity and what it means to be a christian in the world today. Embrace it. There will come a day where you can get a lot of your teaching from podcasts, IG feeds and facebook. You don’t have to go to church to be a christian. Sure, the company is good but there are people out there that act more ‘christian’ than a lot of the people you have known in church. One day maybe you’ll find somewhere you fit again. Keep your mind open.
  9. Don’t buy that cheap hair straightener. Get the GHD from the beginning.
  10. Everything will be ok. Some days it will be hard and some days it will be beautiful. Remember this quote by L.R Knost:

    ‘Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale through the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful’.

There you go. That’s 10 things that will hopefully help you somewhat. Oh, just quickly, you and your sister will not hate each other for ever and she will go on to be one of your best friends and give you 2 beautiful nephews, who you will adore. Your brother will learn to put on deodorant, shave and stop listening to Nickelback and will turn out to be a teacher and land a beautiful wife – who’d have guessed?

From me xx

P.S – Don’t own up to anyone that the Nickelback CD he had was actually yours.

 

Life – January 2019

I’ve decided to keep the life posts going (as inspired by Kylie here) because they’re a great way to document – even as simple as documenting the books I’ve read or the movies I’ve seen! Plus 12 people said they read it (I did a poll on my IG) so to you 12 people, hello and thank you.

Loving: Throughout January I have been blown away by the support I’ve felt from sooo many people during the miscarriage. So many people sent messages, flowers, little gifts, care packages in the mail and phone calls. All I can say is how grateful I am for all of it and how humbled I feel to know so many kind and loving people. I can only hope that when others are going through hard times I am as generous. I have to especially thank my husband for his support during this time. He has been right there for me every step of the way. He’s given me as many cuddles as I needed and time to cry and talk it out. He’s given me little pushes when I’ve needed it and permission to grieve the way I feel is right. I am so grateful.

Happenings: I’m not going to talk about the miscarriage in here – there are previous blog posts if you want to read about it.

We had that amazing week away in Coolangatta. We took our electric frypan and did most of the cooking in our little motel room – things like sausages, pancakes, rissoles. We had to be careful of budget because a week is a long time! We treated ourselves on the last night and went to Hogs Breath Cafe. Staying near the beach for that week was honestly just heaven. It recharged us in ways we didn’t even realise needed recharging.

There was also the beginning of Prep. I’m no ‘helicopter parent’ but geez, having a kid start school gets you right in the feels! She’s been to daycare since I went back to work so I’m used to leaving her and letting her ‘go’. But something about uniforms gets me. I think it’s also because school is the first step in her letting us go. Of course, she’ll always need us, but it will be less and less. It’s like the beginning of the end or something. And watching her go off and sit on the mat after giving us a big hug – I don’t know if I’ve ever been more proud.

Reading:

The Little Paris Bookshop – Nina George: This was a really sweet story about a 50ish year old man who lost his love many years ago and then shut himself off from the world. He runs a bookshop on a canal boat, but one day decides to throw caution to the wind and goes on an adventure travelling in his book shop. He meets new people and has to let go so he can learn to love again. I really enjoyed it, once it got going.

Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig: I’ve been following Matt on Instagram for awhile – I really love the quotes from his books regarding mental health. This is a combination of a self help book, and overview on mental health and biography of his personal journey through depression and anxiety. I found the book quite helpful – he described panic attacks to a tee and he basically wrote to just give hope to everyone out there that if you hit the bottom, hold on, because there is hope. He has a strong message of hope through his book.

NW – Sadie Smith: She was described as the Queen of Literature by Matt Haig (and her name kept popping up everywhere) so I thought I should give her a go. Nope. This isn’t for me. I didn’t love her style of writing and this book was just kind of depressing. I am positive I am not the ‘cool’ kind of person who this book is aimed at so I’m probably not a good critic for it. Not my kind of thing.

Charlotte’s Web – EB White: I read this with Miss 4 and I did an IG post on it so I won’t elaborate too much here. Except to say LOTS of people love this book and used the names ‘Charlotte’ or ‘Fern’ for their daughters because they love it so much! And now I wish I had!

What Alice Forgot – Lianne Moriarty: THIS. This is my type of book. Alice is a 39 year old woman who hits her head in the gym and when she wakes up she’s convinced she is 29. She is completely missing 10 years of her life! She even still thinks she’s pregnant, as she was first pregnant at 29. Doesn’t remember the fact that she actually has 3 kids now! It runs parallel with her sister writing to her psychiatrist about her infertility and her adopted grandmother’s blog about her life. Everything is woven in so well, and the ending – it was just perfect.

What Makes Love Lasts, How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal  – John Gottman: I have a bit of an obsession with books on marriage and especially John Gottman ones because I think he’s the best. You don’t do work on your marriage only when things are bad – it’s better to do the work when things are good so you have a foundation when things inevitably go through bad patches. And they will. This book goes through all the ways your partner can betray you, why marriages end up in such bad places, step by step guides for having hard discussions and includes many real-life examples and quizzes you can take. I don’t do the quizzes but I did make photocopies of the conflict resolution discussion plan so we can try and implement it at home. I like that he knows there is no one person who is perfect for you, and that you have to put in lots of effort to make it work long term. He’s also really positive and always says a relationship can be turned around as long as both people want it. It was interesting that a big factor in whether your love will last is how you view ‘the story of us’ – how you got together, any trials you have faced, tough times in your marriage. If you view it with positivity it’s a really good sign, if there’s bitterness or an unwillingness to even remember it then it can be a negative sign.

Eating: I’ve written ice cream, which I think I wrote when we were at Coolangatta and having many ice creams by the beach.

Drinking: I’ve written cider – see above comment.

Watching: (we got a Chrome Cast this month and I LOVE it)

The Marvellous Mrs Maisel (Amazon Prime) – the end of season 2 was fantastic and I had to message Kylie at Black Tea White Pages here immediately to discuss the finale. She said she had to watch it twice! I need to go back and watch it again I think.

The Child and The Fox (SBS On Demand) – this is an absolutely stunning children’s movie. It’s sort of part documentary. A girl sees a fox on the way to school one day and decides she is going to try and ‘tame’ it. She has to do a lot of work to persuade the fox – he is a wild animal of course! We watch the fox in the winter when life is dangerous for her, then we watch the fox meet it’s partner and have babies. It’s filmed in the most beautiful way – SO MUCH NATURE, almost like a child discovering the world for the first time. I would heed a warning though – it probably wasn’t age appropriate for Miss 4 as I didn’t realise there was a couple of scenes exploring death. Whilst I know it’s good for her to experience it, I should have watched it first before showing it to her so I could prepare her for what was going to happen. Essentially, the movie encompasses the message about love and letting something be free if you love it.

Sex Education (Netflix) – It took until about the 3rd episode before I felt like it had any heart. Before that I was pretty tempted to turn it off because it’s very full on sexually. It follows Otis, a 16 year old boy who has sexual troubles himself. But his mother is a sex therapist and he has grown up around sex his whole life. So when people are having sexual troubles at his high school, his friend Maeve convinces him to start up sex therapy sessions with his school mates. They really built on the characters and each one had a good side and a bad side – making them a lot more relatable. Good dialogue, good soundtrack. Don’t watch this if you’re offended by genitals, swearing, in depth discussions of sex or sex scenes.

Hot Ones (YouTube) – This is my husbands doing and now I’m obsessed. There are heaps of episodes available, with so many different celebrities. Basically, some dude named Sean has a row of chicken wings, all marinated from least hot all the way up to deathly hot (hot as in spicy). He has a row and the celebrity has a row and they work through them from least to most spicy together. As they go, Sean asks them some really great questions and I was surprised with some of the information I’ve learnt. By the end of it, some of them literally can’t talk. Some quit halfway through because they can’t take it, and some get right to the end without too much trouble. We’ve watched Terry Crews, John Mayer, Charlize Theron, Post Malone, Henry Rollins…..the list goes on though.

Hearing: The Hottest 100 took place this month, I put my usual votes in and as usual didn’t like the top 10. But I don’t care! I still love it. People keep saying Triple J is losing it’s relevance blah blah blah but it’s still the place where I find the best new music and I can’t listen to any other radio station.

Wearing: My togs a lot, and at the beach I wore no make up. Freeing – no effort required!

Learning: About this wonderful poetess Mary Oliver. I’m sure if you watch my stories you will see I’ve been posting quote after quote. I didn’t know about her at all, but she died and suddenly she was all over Instagram. Her poetry is exquisite – and I’m not really a poetry person. Actually, I guess I am because I adore song lyrics, which is basically just poetry really. Anyway, I love her work and keep discovering new ones every day.

Procrastinating: I basically procrastinated life while we were away for that week. A tiny little room with minimal belongings = not much cleaning or tidying. My husband pretty much took over the cooking so there was little for me to ‘worry’ about. It was a good feeling.

I can announce that I actually finished my first children’s book – so that is not on the procrastination list anymore! I may share it one day, but I’ve been reading it to Miss 4 every night so for now, that’s where it’s staying.

And that was my January! How was your January 2019?

Belinda xx

In this moment….the beach

After the last few weeks we needed to get away. Thankfully we already had a week booked at Coolangatta – and it just couldn’t have come at a better time.

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Everyday I told my husband I was going to get up before him and go for a walk/swim by myself. Unfortunately I like sleep too much and this only happened a couple of times. But on one of the days I found myself at the beach by myself – armed with a (disgusting, overpriced ‘healthy’) smoothie, some paper, a pen, an umbrella and a magazine – I gave myself a goal. That was to write in this moment. Here it is.

I haven’t ever been to the beach by myself. When I was young it was always with family and friends, as I got older my boyfriend/husband was included in that mix. Sitting here now, I’m wondering why I never have because the beach is the best place to be by yourself. No one cares what anyone is doing, no one cares what you look like. Maybe I’m appreciating being by myself at the beach because once you’ve had a kid and you go to the beach all you can dream about is being by yourself there! But no, I wouldn’t give up those squeals of delight at the waves, or making sandcastles together.

I have sandy legs. Wet hair. Salty skin. I floated on my back in between wave breaks for a while, there was a strong sweep to the left. I watched families. I watched body shapes. I didn’t judge the body shapes – I just looked at them. Everyone is so different. No one cares about it at the beach – everyone is so intent on getting into the salt water.  At the beach everyone is squinting from the sun, dodging waves and making sure sand isn’t getting on their towels. No one cares. Everyone is free to come to the beach just as they are. 

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As I floated in the water, a wave approached. I took my sunglasses off and held them up high as I dipped my head in under the wave. Crisp, cool, clean water. 

I’m reading my magazine in the sun now. I am lying on my stomach under the umbrella with my legs sticking out. I just realised I think I forgot to put sunscreen on the backs of my legs. 

Now I’m wondering how I can wrangle just staying here all day. But I promised my daughter a bike ride. Plus, maybe the best part is that I can pack all this up and go back to a husband and daughter in a hotel pool together. There is something/someone waiting for me. 

This year. A year of unknowns. I don’t have a job. I don’t have a plan. Right this minute, as I sit on the beach, it feels good. I know it will probably change tonight and I could panic – but right now I feel free. Because what will be will be. Doors will open. God has a plan, even if I don’t. Life will continue – I can’t stop it anymore than I can stop these waves from rolling in one after the other. I will find my way.  

Belinda xx

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The Aftermath

When I wrote the first blog piece about my miscarriage, it was only 4 days after the fact. I don’t think I’d really gotten my head around it – I was angry and sad. I hadn’t yet felt the pain – for some reason the really hurt-y stuff didn’t kick in until day 5/6. There was a lot of paracetamol and ibuprofen taken, and heat packs and crying in weird places. It really really hurt. Not as bad as labour – but much worse than a normal period. I can work through normal period pain, but I wouldn’t have been able to work through this. Even when the paracetamol and ibuprofen had taken their effect, I could still feel a weird, dull pain. And the not-knowing! Not knowing what was normal. Not knowing whether there was a possible infection. Is it normal to bleed this much? For this long?

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I’m putting this here for future’s sake. One day I might like to look at it – I never took a picture of my first one with Miss 4! I think I was too shocked 😂

It is now 3 weeks after it. All the bleeding has stopped. I still sometimes feel angry and sad, but it is becoming more fleeting. Weird things set me off. Like the other day, my husband made his famous spaghetti bolognese. I realised the last time I had eaten it was a really bad morning sickness day, and he had made it for me. And it was like I had never eaten it before – I couldn’t get enough of it. It was the best bloody bolognese I had ever eaten. Of course, the next morning I couldn’t even think about bolognese – but for that couple of hours I was in heaven. I ate it tonight, and it was good. But it hurt. It hurts when I put on a dress and think ‘the last time I wore this I was pregnant’.

You see, I truly never thought this pregnancy would end without a baby. I know now that a pregnancy does not equal a baby.

I have been humbled by the many many women who have come forward and told me about their experiences. These women are true warriors. It is sad that there is a need to cover miscarriage up – but perhaps this is what these women wanted. Or maybe they didn’t feel comfortable in sharing. There is a sense of ‘failure’ associated with miscarriage – even though it’s the furtherest thing from a failure. I have felt it.

I have been able to get comfort from random IG and blog stories that I’ve found. It alleviates the loneliness. I am not great at talking about it – and being able to read someone’s story without having to verbalise my own experience or feelings is freeing. I can take what I want from their story. I seem to be able to write about it much more effectively than talk about it.

I feel terrible saying this, but for me it wasn’t about the individual baby. Yes, I was sad that the baby hadn’t stayed but it was more because of a future I had already started mapping out. It was the fact that finally I was pregnant, no more worrying about fertility. It was the fact that we could say to Miss 4 ‘yes, you’re going to be a big sister’. I didn’t know the baby – it was a dream, an imagination. But in my head, the future was concrete and there was going to be another in our family.

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I found this on @miscarriagematters Instagram feed.

I don’t spend much time wondering if it was a boy or a girl or what it would have looked like, or been like. In both of my pregnancies (Miss 4 and this one) I don’t connect much to the baby until the very end, and even then it’s not proper connection until they’re out. It could be because of the morning sickness, it could be because I don’t like the feeling of my body being taken over. I don’t know what it is, but pregnancy is certainly not the belly-rubbing, glowing-face thing I had thought it was.

So now we’re back to square one. Trying again. Or deciding not to try again. Is one enough for me? This is the question that goes round and round in my head everyday. I don’t have that long to think about it. I’m 35. If I was to fall pregnant soon-ish Miss 4-almost-5 would be heading close to being Miss 6. Is that too much of a gap for a close sibling relationship anyway? Do I want to put myself through pregnancy again – this time with the added fear of miscarriage? I’m not sure I can mentally cope with it.

I have 2 quotes competing in my head. One is ‘you never regret the children you have, only the ones you don’t have’. The other is ‘sometimes you have to be brave enough to point your life in a different direction’. Yes people, I know I’m overthinking it. Hi, my name is Belinda, I am a chronic overthinker and hate making big decisions.

What is very important to me is not making this decision out of fear. I’ve let fear hold me back way too many times in my life. This cannot be a decision made because I’m too scared. It has to be a decision made because I’ve weighed up the pros and cons and decided that this is not for me. I am meant to be the mother of one. I will be fulfilled enough with one. Oh, I know that nothing can be compared to having that sweet little baby handed to you at the end – I know that it is more than worth it. But, I have to make this decision for me – and me alone. I have to be happy with it and be able to live with it. Of course, even if I decide to try again there is no guarantee I will get another baby. I may forcibly have to live with the reality of one child. But in that scenario, at least I can say I tried. But at what point do you stop trying? All these questions have to be dealt with and thought about. But I want fear out of the way – which is going to be very hard for me.

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This is my ‘one’. Photo taken by my husband on our recent Coolangatta trip. She is everything. 

I don’t think I will write about the miscarriage again – maybe just in passing. I need to move on. I still feel sad, the other day I was in the park with lots of mums with multiple children and/or pregnant and I felt sad. I guess even if I decide not to try again, I have to grieve that life that I thought I would have. But I have to grieve first so that I can be ok with it in the future. If we decide to try again, I have to accept that it still may not happen.

Belinda xx

(I should note here that my husband is happy with whatever I decide. He’s on the side that I will be sad in the future if I don’t try again, but ultimately it is my decision).

New Year’s Day

I’m sitting here in my undies, a dull period-y type pain aching in my belly and eating chocolate. This is not the post I was meant to be writing. 2 pages before in my note book I have listed all the reasons I knew I was pregnant. They are funny and were supposed to make you laugh. Instead I’m writing this.

Miscarriage affects 1 in 4 women. I never thought I’d be that 1, it never really occurred to me. Even though women close to me have experienced it. I bought into the lie that is if you have really bad morning sickness the baby is well and truly stuck in there.

What I’ve come to realise is that every woman’s miscarriage story is different. I guess birth is like that too. We all have different feelings about it, different approaches and different reactions.

Now I have a story to add. I wish I didn’t, but I do. And I’m not telling it for attention or sympathy, I’m telling it so that maybe someone else has to go through this and wants to read another’s story. I’m telling it so that I can maybe release some of the grief, process it just that little bit more.

It was on our holiday at Coolangatta in December 2018 that we realised. We had been ‘trying’ for almost 2 years. 9 months of ‘just seeing what happened’, a few months of taking temperatures and timing everything, then heading off to the doctor to see if there were any issues. Turned out I had an underactive thyroid and I was put on medication.

After I was put on the medication in October 2018 we decided to wait until January to start properly trying and probably see a fertility specialist. So we just had fun for a bit. Stopped thinking about it.

I was in the pool at the hotel in December when I realised the water was making me feel yuck. My tummy felt weird. I knew my period was late but that didn’t really concern me because I have a long-ish cycle and it is often ‘late’ (which has lead to many false ‘thinking I’m pregnant’ thoughts). Then later I snapped at my husband and he said ‘Are you premenstrual?’ and I said ‘hmmmm’ and he said ‘um…are you pregnant?’. We were 90% sure that I was, especially as I started to feel a little nauseous and hungry all the time.

We came home and I did a test. Positive. I was happy but shit-scared. This is the time I lost my marbles last pregnancy. The realisation that this was actually happening and that I would have to be pregnant for 9 months and then give birth. I don’t like change, I don’t like a lack of control and I had also taken a redundancy package from my job literally a week before. I had a couple of panicky mornings but I breathed through them. I told myself it was just a feeling and it would pass. And you know what? It did.

Then…..the dreaded morning sickness hit properly. It  had just been teasing me for a few days. ‘Hey Belinda, maybe I won’t be as bad this pregnancy? Maybe you’ll just feel sick in the mornings, but eat something and you’ll be fine. Maybe I’ll just hang around for an hour and then go visit some other poor schmuck………BANG. NOPE. Here I am again!’ I don’t even have it as bad as some women. But it’s so debilitating carrying around little biscuits everywhere you go, thinking something works then it doesn’t, going over speed bumps in the car and wanting to hurl……constant nausea. It’s every couple of minutes saying to yourself ‘this too shall pass’. I felt like I couldn’t give my 4 year old daughter what she needed and she spent a lot of time looking at screens. So also, cue #mumguilt. Yay. Christmas Day was especially bad for some reason.

We decided to tell Miss 4 the news and she reacted with a long drawn out ‘rrreaaallllyyyy?’ and then proceeded to break our hearts with cute little pictures of all of us holding the new baby, and naming it names that she had chosen (we didn’t like them, but hey, we had a few months to change her mind). Her and I lay in bed one night and talked about how we could be a family of ladybugs so we nicknamed the baby ‘ladybug’. She repeated quite a lot over the few days ‘are you REALLY having a baby mummy?’

New Year’s Day. Nothing exciting. We all went to bed at 8:30pm on New Years Eve so no late night. The sickness was especially bad that night, and I do remember saying to my husband that I ‘felt weird’. There was a tiny bit of blood – like a tiny tiny spot – before I went to bed, but I knew it was normal to spot lightly. I’d googled that.

11:30pm – I woke up and went to the toilet. Blood. Woke up my husband. I was upset. Put on a pad. Didn’t want to go back to bed in the big bed with him – felt like I needed space, just wanted to be alone, went to Miss 4’s room. Maybe it would go away. Fell asleep.

2am – Woke up. Went to the toilet, turned on the light but the lightbulb died, so turned on a light in another room so could just see a tiny bit in the toilet. Blood everywhere. Pad soaked through. Sat down and felt something ‘fall out’. Changed pad, went back to bed crying. Sat up feeling so hot, dripping with sweat. Couldn’t breathe, almost falling over raced into the main room and hit my husband and said ‘call an ambulance’. After telling me to lie down and breathe and me saying again ‘call an ambulance’, he did. I have never felt like this. Apparently it was my blood pressure dropping, I hope I never experience it again.

The ambulance officers took one look at me and asked me a few questions, at which point I said ‘I’m sorry for wasting your time’. The male officer laughed nicely and said ‘Sweetie, this isn’t a waste of time, we’re taking you straight into the Mater Mother’s now. You should see what else we’ve seen tonight – then you’d know what a waste of time is’.

The ambulance ride was weird – apparently because my blood pressure was dropping over and over on the ride. I burst into tears as they removed me from the ambulance because I saw all the Mater Mother’s signs…..I’d seen these signs the day I gave birth to my daughter. I thought I’d see these signs again coming in for midwife appointments and ultimately the birth of this child……but not now. Not this way. The female ambulance officer went running off and returned with a wad of tissues.

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Needles 😩

Everything the hospital did was calm and they treated me with dignity and respect. I can’t fault them. But when this is happening the last thing you actually want is people poking and prodding down there. Which is exactly what they had to do, to determine what was happening. After a lovely young doctor performed a pap smear type examination complete with some scraping actions and very long tweezers, she sat down next to me and said ‘From what I can see, you are having a miscarriage. Your cervix is open’. She was very gentle and spoke quietly. She kept getting phone calls from other nurses in delivery rooms right at that time, asking her questions about women giving birth. I found it ironic that she was picking pieces out of me at the end of my pregnancy and then she would go out the door and deliver a baby in a few minutes.

I slept in a little room for a bit, and at 6am they told me they would really like to do scans while I was there, and that I could just stay in and get them done that day. I agreed, I might as well do it while I was there – get it all over and done with. What I forgot was that I had been there overnight – complete with no bra, tiny pyjama shorts, unshaven legs. My husband had been thoughtful enough to pack a large jumper with me in the ambulance because ‘hospitals are always cold’. But the ladies arriving at 8am were coming in for appointments – they had time to shower, put make up on  – hell, they even got to put on deodorant! I was a stinking, teary mess. It was like a bad dream, the one where you go to school naked. This one was the adult version though – you’re in a birthing hospital surrounded by pregnant women and you just lost yours. And to boot, you look and smell disgusting.

There was no point in my husband coming in with Miss 4 I decided, I didn’t want the added stress of having to entertain and worry about her too. Plus I didn’t want to explain to her what had happened yet. I was still processing it. After an internal scan another lovely doctor took me into a room and explained that there was no signs of a baby and I had indeed suffered a miscarriage. As I cried, she teared up. She gave me the nice little booklets about ‘early pregnancy loss’, as she is required to do. But her empathy for me was the thing that made the difference. She understood, she felt my pain. Maybe she had been through it too.

As I slipped out of the hospital to wait for my husband, I watched a few families come out with their newborns. A couple exited with a newborn and a little girl. That’s when the anger hit me. It wasn’t fair. I wanted to walk out of there with my daughter and her new sibling. That’s what I wanted to give her – a sibling. Why had I had to struggle through almost 2 years of not falling pregnant, a few weeks of disgusting nausea and controlling my mental health and…for what? Nothing. What was the point to all this. I had imagined a future. A future where I gave birth and then could fully connect to the new baby because I wouldn’t feel nauseous anymore. I had imagined my daughter meeting her sibling, I’d even thought of who I’d ask to look after our dog when I went into labour, I’d thought about how snuggly and nice it would be to have a winter baby.  I’d thought how nice it will be to send Miss 4 off to Prep, knowing that this wasn’t the end, I had another one coming who would need me just as much as she had needed me.

I still don’t know what the point of it was. It’s been 4 days. I’m still bleeding. I get angry. My husband lies down and rubs my back and says he doesn’t have any answers. After we left the hospital he asked me where I wanted to go. I hadn’t eaten properly for a couple of weeks, and what I wanted was food. He drove to the felafal kebab place we love, went in and got some takeaway ones and we went down to the river. I was still in my stinky clothes. But I ate that food and it felt good. Then I felt bad – how could I be enjoying the fact that I didn’t feel nauseous anymore? Because if I still felt nauseous I would still have been pregnant. Cue guilt. It keeps coming – did I do something? I know everyone and everything will say I didn’t…..but secretly, did I?

I feel like I can’t do any of this again. My husband says don’t make any decisions now – I don’t have to do that. Right now I just have to ‘be’. But I’m 35 this year. I have to make decisions. I don’t have the time not to. I can’t go through month after month again seeing my period. I don’t want to go through weeks of nausea again. I don’t want to stress everytime I go to the toilet that I’m going to see blood. And I don’t want the guilt of the days when the nausea is so bad and I inwardly cry out ‘please just make this go away!’. See? More guilt. I did that. I’d told myself ‘you will NEVER have to do this again – every day is one less day you ever have to be pregnant again – just get through each day one by one. Then you will have everything you want at the end’.

You come home from the hospital and there’s a bag of biscuits in every corner. Folate on the bench. You realise that literally nothing has changed, except the future. What was a dream – it will not happen in August now. You have to ask your husband to go to August in the diary and scribble out a little love heart you’d put on one of the dates. Bills still have to be paid, floors still need to be mopped. You have to tell the love of both of your lives that there will be no brother or sister this time – it’s not in mummy’s tummy anymore.

If there is one positive, I suppose I would say it has made my marriage stronger. My husband said that to me the other day and I admit he is right. I think I should try and focus on things like that. But I can’t see any other positives right now.

Maybe one day in hindsight I will be able to see the point.  That was my experience of miscarriage – I am sure that many, many women have got a different story to tell. Some will have ‘sadder’ stories – maybe a pregnancy further along. I was just under 9 weeks. I feel silly sometimes grieving because it was early. Sometimes I don’t think it’s the actual baby I am grieving for – it’s the future that will now no longer happen. I didn’t know the baby….but my mind had created a whole life for us including this new member of the family that we all loved. It’s the fact that I thought I had achieved the pregnancy – finally, it had happened and I didn’t have to worry about not being able to fall pregnant again. It’s getting through a few weeks of feeling shit….telling yourself you never have to do them again. You’re a few weeks closer to the end. I don’t enjoy pregnancy. But I adore the end result that you get handed. Maybe there will be another go, maybe there won’t. Right now I don’t think so. But maybe it will change.

Belinda xx

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I took this photo on the 2nd of January at West End in my stinky hospital clothes, eating felafel. I don’t know why I took it, but the day was actually really beautiful. Maybe it was to remind me that despite what I was feeling, there was still beauty around me

 

Life – December

I couldn’t not do the last month – I am very bad at leaving a job unfinished! I won’t be mentioning the miscarriage in this post because that didn’t happen until New Year’s Day. And I don’t have as much to write because I was pregnant for the second half of December and therefore didn’t actually do much/read much/eat much/wear much (clothes make me feel icky – anything touching my belly doesn’t agree with me!) But I shall make do with what I’ve written down and see what we’ve got to flesh out this blog post.

Considering: December was a strange month. I ended up deciding to leave my wonderful Kindy that I’d been at for 8 years. I needed more flexibility for my daughter next year starting Prep. So, to be honest, I have no idea where I’ll be for 2019. I do need to work though, but it’s looking like relief/casual will be the best way forward. I found the last few days of work really emotional. I’m not sure whether I made the right decision. I guess only time will tell.

Happenings: Going into the city at Christmas is an exciting time for our family. We went to Coolangatta for 3 nights and my husband and I had a date night at Jamie’s Italian. Of course, there was Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Due to pregnancy hormones, most of December was spent either sleeping or wishing I could be asleep. One day I put on The Little Mermaid for Miss 4 and woke up when Ariel is marrying Prince Eric #imissedthewholemovie.

Reading: 

Wundersmith – Jessica Townsend: Yes! I’d been excited to read this for a while. I loved Nevermoor. The second book was just as good, but it took a bit longer to get into it. Still just as imaginative and action packed (at the end) as the first. I read that she has planned this series to go over 9 books! NINE! Wow. I’ll probably be 50 by the time I know the end of Morrigan Crow’s story. #shitimold.

9 Perfect Strangers – Lianne Moriarty: Having liked all her other books, I gave this one a go. I didn’t not like it, but I didn’t love it. It was well written, but took AGES to go anywhere. It was a gripping read at the end though. Just a bit of a weird premise, but an interesting read.

Watermelon – Marian Keyes: I picked this up at an op shop for $2. In true Keyes style, it was funny and pushed the boundaries. Sometimes I read her books and I think ‘did she really just get away with writing that?’. But it was a sweet story.

Eating: Jamie’s Italian was delicious and has been delicious everytime we’ve been there. After that it was all downhill. Lots of water crackers were shoved down my throat at 5am to try and stop the nausea. Didn’t work, but hey, at least I tried.

Drinking: Much ginger ale. See above.

Watching: The Grinch (best line ever ‘hate, hate, hate, double hate, loooaaathhheee entirely’), The Christmas Chronicles (Netflix), the old Rudolph and Frosty cartoons from ages ago.

Hearing: Christmas carols. What else.

Savouring: Miss 4 finished Kindy, which was a sad day. Too much growing up going on around here I say.

Learning: I’ve written this. ‘Life does not happen on our schedule’. This was when I found out I was pregnant and that I had left my job a week before without knowing this. It’s still true, despite the new year disappointments.

Procrastinating: I don’t have a job so I should probably update my resume!

I have chosen to put in bits about the pregnancy because it did happen in December. Even though I’m writing this in hindsight that was what I jotted down. I don’t quite know where this blog will go for 2019. I do like doing these ‘Life’ summaries, because it’s like an overview-type diary of my life, plus a great list of books to read and movies to watch. I will be thinking this over in the next little while so watch this space! Or maybe not if I decide not to keep going, haha.

Thanks for reading,

Belinda xx

Life – November

Well, here we are, wrapping up the year. One more month left! I have been so lacking in motivation for doing this – but I want to at least make it through the whole year. After that, I have no idea whether this blog will continue.

Desiring: At the beginning of November I was feeling really unorganised about Christmas. During the month however I’ve got my shit together and become a lot more ready. Usually throughout the year I buy bits and pieces I see and put it away, but I had barely done any of that this year. So I was desiring a feeling of ‘readiness’, which thankfully now I have accomplished. I hate fighting for parks and dealing with crowds when  you have a lot of things to get – I’m much happier going to the shops in December for last minute things – not for the whole of Christmas. I’ve also desired a simpler Christmas this year again, just a few things for Miss 4. My husband and I decided for each other we would go out for a nice dinner together. Desiring more experiences – less stuff. Although I don’t count books in the ‘stuff’ category.

Loving: At the beginning of November I made headway with my children’s book and have done 5 pages and I was loving it! But mid – late November I’ve lost momentum  again so I need to make it a priority. I’m writing it for my daughter in the lead up to starting Prep so I need to get on it again. Note to self.

Happenings: A lot of November Miss 4 and I spent sick – she had tonsilitis and I ended up with a throat infection. I took 2 days off work to look after her, which has never happened before. I’ve taken one day off before, but never 2. She just needed me to be home with her.

Reading:

The Best of Adam Sharpe – Graham Simsion: From the author of The Rosie Project (which I loved) comes this story of a 50 something man who had a torrid affair with a woman 20ish years ago in Australia which ended in an abrupt manner. They both move on with their lives with no communication until one day she sends him an email. They reconnect and discover the feelings are all still there. What follows is a very strange meet up in Paris, with her husband in attendance too. This book was just a little too weird for me. I didn’t love it. I guess it was about being happy with what you’ve got and live without regret – but it just didn’t hit home.

13 Reasons Why – Jay Asher: I wanted to watch the Netflix version, but I couldn’t bring myself to. I knew what was going to happen. I definitely warn you not to read this (or probably watch it) when you’re feeling low. If I had a teenager, I would want to read this with them, and discuss as we go along. At first I was so angry at Hannah Baker. Why would she do this, and leave this for some 13 other people to have to deal with for the rest of her life? And some of it over stupid normal teenager crap? This stuff happens everyday to teenagers all over the world (except one of the things! I don’t want to give it away – but something one person does to her is NOT just normal teenager shit). I don’t agree with what the people did to her – they were mean and offensive and upsetting. But someone I was discussing it with said to me ‘But you can see that now, you’re an adult. As a teenager, this is their world’. And suddenly my mind set shifted. This is written on behalf a teenager. She doesn’t have the 20+ years life experience I have. Things might sound petty to me – but not to a teenager. I think it is a valuable resource to remind us to talk about suicide to our teens, and if they talk to us about it answer their questions and be open about it. It’s a very tricky subject to write about  – it was always going to polarise people. I can’t say I liked this book, but that was more the subject matter than the writing itself.

A Spark of Light – Jodi Picoult: I am a long term fan of this author, I picked up pretty much all of her books at Lifeline book sales over the years. Unfortunately I gave them all away in a clean out. Her books always deal with really important issues, and she usually gives all sides of an issue. This one is no different – it revolves around abortion. We have a multitude of characters, and each character is given a voice and how they view the situation. An abortion clinic is the focus of a shooter, who comes in to claim back the life of the child his daughter had aborted there. He kills many who work there, and then takes hostage the rest. The book is a heart pounding, thrilling ride of ‘what’s going to happen next’. Instead of following chronological time order, it goes backwards though – so you find out more and more about the people who have all happened to be in the center at that time. Why they did what they did, or why they work there, or even for some of them the moment the shooter killed them. She brings in the politics surrounding abortion in the United States right now – particularly in the state of Mississippi. She views it from both sides – the pro-choice and the pro-lifers. At the end she gives a run down of the current legality of abortion. Honestly, I couldn’t put this book down. Going backwards was kind of hard to get my head around at first, but in the end it really fleshed out the characters as we found out what they had been doing or thinking in the hours leading up to the attack. Worth a read!

Holding Up the Universe – Jennifer Niven: Oh I loved this book. Teen drama, will make a fantastic movie. About a very obese girl who has been out of school for 2 years after her mother died and she got so large they had to cut her out of her house and the typical high school “cool” boy who suffers from prosopagnosia (a neurological disorder that causes the inability to recognise faces). Through a series of events they are pushed together and fall in love. Difficulties arise and they are tested. Loved it – it’s written from both perspectives.

Recipes to a Perfect Marriage – Kate Kerrigan: This one has been in my collection for MANY years. The pages are starting to brown and there are dog-ears throughout it. I haven’t read it since I had my daughter though so I’m picking up different things than I did the last time I read it. 2 women in different times – Bernadine in the 1940’s who has an arranged marriage but was in love with a different man. And Tressa in the present, who is nearing 40 and married a good man but she’s seriously doubting her decision. They are grandmother and granddaughter, and Tressa only remembers her grandmother as happy in her marriage. She gets given her grandmother’s diary after her death, which helps her through her own marriage woes. I just love the realness, the truth, the way it clearly states that marriage and love are not fairy tale endings. We have to put the work in. We all have baggage and we all have failings – even the ‘good’ men that they both married. You can see the differences in the generations and how they viewed marriage. The grandmother is Irish too (so are my grandparents) so it has more meaning to me. Sprinkled throughout are recipes that the grandmother used and they are applicable to the marriage problem they are both working through at the time.

Eating: We had a free Hello Fresh box this month and can I just say, it was brilliant. But why does it have to be so expensive! There’s no way we could fit that into our weekly budget, even though I desperately want to. I can definitely see how this would suit a lot of people though. You still have to cook it, but the recipes are so easy to follow and the result at the end is worth it – the food was delicious. I hate thinking of what to cook for dinner, and then trawling through the shops for the ingredients. Would also cut down on waste because they give you the exact amount of ingredients needed.

Watching: 

A Star is Born – I did an Instagram post on this movie so I won’t go into too much detail here except I loved it. I wasn’t aware that it was a remake of an older movie so I had no idea of the storyline. So good.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – ooohh this was good. Edge of your seat stuff. I just love the whole world J.K Rowling came up with. Connecting all the dots from the Harry Potter books was fun and there were many times when I got out my phone to google where someone fitted in or what they meant to the world in the future.

Brooklyn 99: Back to this with my husband for easy watching, sitting on the couch together at night. Funny funny stuff.

Hearing: I completed a New Years Resolution! I wanted to see Gang of Youths live this year and I have done it – hooray! Gosh they were good. So worth it. Riverstage is a beautiful venue and the crowd was enthusiastic and everything was just great (except for the weird creepy guy in front of us who was super drunk and trying to seduce a girl with his gross dance moves – ewwww. We named him Calvin). I’ve been listening to their Live at MTV album on repeat and it’s beautiful.

Savouring: Miss 4 has finished her prep transitions, had her prep interview and last week we got her uniforms. This is a really emotional time for me and my husband. She’s so ready and she wants to go – so we have to balance our emotion with making sure we’re being encouraging and excited for her too. Of course I don’t want my baby to go somewhere 5 days a week! But on the other hand, I’m grateful for every stage we’ve already had and I’m excited to see her blossom in new experiences. I don’t know how I’m going to hold it together for that first day/week. She finishes Kindy in a couple of weeks so we will have 6 weeks together before all that starts. I want to plan lots of experiences and make lots of memories.

Wearing: Dresses every time. They are easy. Cool. Add jewellery and you’re done.

Learning: Bad times will come and bad times will go. Everything is a cycle. I experienced some panic attacks this month, but they have gone. I was diagnosed with a subclinical underactive thyroid at the end of last month, so this month has been about getting used to the new medication and working out what this means for me. Marriage has been shaky for a couple of weeks, but I think we’re on the up from that. Learning lots about myself and my husband as we try to work out where we went wrong and what we can do to safeguard ourselves against all the pressures of life getting into our relationship. Probably a blog post in itself – but maybe one for a bit down the track.

Procrastinating: 

I finally finished my 2017 photo book (we got it yesterday!) Now I’ll have to add my 2018 photo book to the procrastinating list.

I went to the dentist and had a filling – I have one more to go which I’m saving up for.

My Kids Book – I started off November with this off the list, but now it’s back on.

New vacuum – still on the list! I’ve been borrowing my mum’s and a friend has an old one set aside for me.

Thank you for reading!

Belinda xx