It’s been a while since I posted…mainly because I spent an evening a while ago lovingly crafting a post (about the pressure new mums put upon themselves to be perfect since you ask) and WordPress lost it as I posted (incidentally, clearly when they say “draft saved” they mean the exact opposite…), which deflated me as the most maudlin of balloons under the sofa found days after a new year’s party. I attempted initially to rebuild the post, but the words and sentiment seemed flat when robbed of their spontaneity and flourish, so I put the blog to the back of my to do list once more and it’s sat here gathering dust ever since.
But now I am BACK with my fingers tinkling the keyboard, albeit with trepidation and saving constantly. Happy new year all! The beginning of the year always brings forth a sense of vigour and of starting afresh, perusing the empty wine bottles and crumbly cheeseboards and addressing things you wish you’d done differently over the past 12 months.
Everyone is in love with the concept of resolutions for the year ahead…a way of projecting a new improved image of yourself into the future. I’m all for that, all for setting and aiming for goals, but at the moment I’ve decided to focus on the present moment a bit more rather than constantly living a few moments away in the future. After all, what are we but the present moment?
I had quite a sad experience before Christmas, I was 11 weeks pregnant when I had a miscarriage. It has knocked me for 6 both physically and mentally. In the couple of weeks since it happened and as I try and steer myself back onto an even keel, I realise that I’d been so caught up in the idea of age gaps and the implications of having a newborn with a very nippy toddler to run after, the relationship between them that this would spark up, and how this would affect my bond with Mo (this little one would have been due on or around Maurice’s 2nd birthday – and the royal baby – so my mind was already afloat with dream sequences of being heftily and unglamorously pregnant at his birthday party, or missing it altogether due to being in the process of having a sibling to irrevocably disrupt his life)…I hadn’t stopped to really be focused on the now, except to note how exhausted and shoddy I was feeling and wishing that this part was over…I had forgotten how tough the first trimester is on your body! We had had a scan at 9 weeks and saw a strong feisty heartbeat so I was overly reassured that things would be…well, ok. And as it turned out, they weren’t, as sometimes happens.
It’s very strange and wonderful carrying around a little passenger in pregnancy, but stranger still in that first 3 months when generally you tend to tell only your nearest and dearest, plus perhaps the occasional random fleeting connection on the bus, or no one at all. It is your most deepest of secrets, held deep invisible inside your belly, hopefully poised silently for the day that you have the all clear at the 12-week scan and can celebrate happily with the world and breathe a sigh of relief that you no longer need to wonder whether people have been discussing whether you’ve eaten all the pies. So to lose the potential little being and its future life just as you’re approaching that finish line (or more realistically, start line…) is a very odd and overwhelmingly sad feeling. It seems a bit mean to then remain tight-lipped about the presence of this little soul, as then no one will ever know that it was indeed a beating heart for even the smallest of periods of time.
Quite apart from the physical aspect of an experience like this, there are lots of emotions that you feel when something like this happens…inevitably guilt, confusion, sadness, fear, perhaps anger, slight denial – so far into the first trimester I have actually still been feeling pregnant for the last few days, slightly nauseous and a bit “funny”, and wondering therefore how much of it was in my mind for the previous 11 weeks…I also feel wearily old and a bit vulnerable, as if my body hadn’t quite read and understood the brief, and I’m unsure as to whether I should approach it with the same job again.
So rather than new year’s resolutions, I am making a pledge to notice and celebrate the pure moments of greatness every day in my life. The little nuggets of gold such as Maurice learning and joyfully practising a new word…even if today that word was “naughty”, the “t” beautifully and thoughtfully enunciated, as he copied me telling him forcefully he had been so, which rather undermined my position of authority as it made me smile broadly.
It’s actually remarkably hard to remain at a low ebb when hanging out with maurice, as he’s such a brilliantly gutsy little man who is so ready with a face-enveloping smile and a wonderfully tightly embracing cuddle. But I think it’s important in this sort of situation to be unremittingly kind to yourself and offer yourself solace in whatever form you feel will make you feel better. For me that is a pile of magazines, a nice glass of red wine, a hot bath with lovely smelling organic-y potions. Warming foods to nourish the soul and body such as chicken soup will also be high on my list for the next few weeks. And, teaching schedule and rampaging toddler permitting, lots of early nights and rest. Maybe some calming yoga and Pilates thrown in for good measure. Basically be gentle and unpunishing, allow time for sadness but not allow negative emotions such as guilt or fear to overwhelm.
I had the pleasure of visiting a wonderful friend and her very new newborn today, a mere 8 days old little beautiful boy, and awesome things like this show that the world keeps on turning, day follows night follows day. And the key is to turn seamlessly with it, and embrace everything in your experience as something that creates you and builds little blocks of your soul every day. You need the dark just as you need the light.
Happy new year! Take a moment to reflect now on all the little insignificant things that make you happy.