I’m NOT glowing

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I’m NOT glowing

Who ever said pregnant women glow? Do glowing, serene pregnant women even exist? I’m not glowing and I’m not serene. At least I’m over the 24×7 nausea – that started to let up around 18 weeks – only to be replaced by chronic hip and leg pain from sciatica. My working days are long, I have a 1.5 hour train ride between work and home and while I used to find it relaxing the sciatica now means that by the time I get off the train some days I’m almost in tears of pain. It’s my left side, the side you are supposed to sleep on, so that’s going just great too.

For a long while there were relentless pressures. There were left over issues to resolve from our residential move – the unpacking that took too long due to the exhaustion; the fight with the landlord over the bond as he tried to claim for things that he wasn’t entitled to; and the need to complete my last subject at uni while battling the exhaustion, nausea and competing priorities, which included working out why after 6 weeks they still hadn’t connected our internet at home. That makes it particularly difficult to do an online university course I have to say. I got allocated a new project at work that involved learning new technologies and mastering them to consultant level asap. My eldest son’s problems at school escalated, adding regular phone calls at work from the school about his behaviour that cumulated in a 4 day suspension. Teenage hormones and Aspergers just don’t mix. He then ran off to his father’s place to avoid punishment, bringing dealing with my ex-husband into the mix, like things weren’t stressful enough. Oh, and Mr Z was still only working 2 afternoons a week as my maternity leave looms and the mortgage remains a constant.

Amongst it all I got an email from Mr Z’s mother – she wanted to get to know me, which weekend (during my peak uni assessment time) was going to suit me for a visit? Did I mention I don’t have a good relationship with my mother and my last mother-in-law lived up to the quintessential MIL reputation in what could have been an award winning way? I felt pressure on my pressures, I cried, mothers scare me and I didn’t need yet another one in my life to show me disapproval, to kick me while I’m down. I developed a case of mild shingles due to all the stress, which just further exasperated the stress because now the baby was at risk. I felt like I was on the verge of a breakdown.

Then suddenly it all stopped. The rental tribunal came and went having ruled in our favour; the school princIple turned out to be lovely and not at all on the verge of expelling my little trouble maker, she wanted to know how better they could help him; the new mother-in-law was kind and very supportive; I got my uni assignments finished and will graduate after all; Mr Z has several great looking opportunities for work; and the school holidays arrived and the kids went away, my mother’s duties disappearing along with them.

Now I find myself sitting in the resounding silence, feeling disoriented. Spring has arrived, there’s warmth in the sun, the blossoms are out and I even have time to enjoy it. My over-wound nervous system seems to twitch though, I have moments of panic that there’s something I should be doing and it takes a minute or two to mentally run through the issues and reassure myself that no, I’m not dropping any balls, and my breathing starts to return to normal. I feel agitated, not knowing how to cope with having nothing pressing to deal with. Then bub kicks me and I spend a moment focused on her and let the peace and joy I should be feeling finally wash over me. Maybe I might get a chance to glow serenely after all, even if it’s just for a week.

…or not

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…or not

It wasn’t the pregnancy itself that was the problem, that was something we said we’d like in an ideal world, the problem was that we were not living in an ideal world. Far from financially secure I had just invested every cent I had in a Sydney sized mortgage and already had two kids to support, and Mr Z was still a couple of months from graduating from his master’s, after which would follow an internship type year that paid next to nothing. At 43 we had decided it would not be possible for us before time ran out. Apparently the universe had other plans. 

It wasn’t only the finances that concerned me, there was the issue of my previous miscarriages and the emotional rollercoaster that early pregnancy brings, every day waking to wonder if today would be the day it would happen. There was a lot to get my head around if this baby was going to hang in there, but I didn’t want to think about it too much and get too attached because the chances of it working out seemed so slim. Even if I didn’t miscarry, at 43 the chance of there being a serious genetic issue is 1 in 30, and what then? Add to that the hormones, the 24×7 nausea, the exhaustion, the stress of moving house, managing university assignments and still looking after kids through it all and it was a recipe for emotional volatility and copious amounts of tears. Hello relationship strain – just what we needed with our past history! 

I couldn’t even bring myself to go to the doctors at first, I was 7 weeks before I did. We were in the midst of the move and I didn’t even know which doctor to go to, I had to find a new one. I had been experiencing pain and assumed it was just a matter of time, but it was pain, not cramps, and after the previous miscarriages I was well aware of the difference. Finally I made an appointment. The doctor was lovely and sympathetic and sent me of for a scan. It was still another 4 days before I had it, but it was a relief when I did. There was the tiny little jelly bean with a clear heartbeat, and a giant fibroid that evidently was the source of my pain (an inconvenience but not really a risk). I felt so much relief. Finally it became real, finally I started to allow myself to think, what if…?  

It was weeks before I started to feel better, but even then every day that I wasn’t horribly ill I wondered if it was a sign that the hormone levels were dropping and I was going to experience that loss after all. I told my eldest about the baby because he had been causing me a lot of stress by fighting going to school (every day) and he didn’t understand my volatility and lack of patience with him about it, which I felt extreme guilt over. I thought he would be better if he understood, and he was. In fact he was delighted with the news. I waited until after the 12 week scan to tell my youngest though, he is a much more emotional soul and I didn’t want him along on my rollercoaster ride if I could help it. 

The stats on the genetic risk after the scan came back low so finally I told my youngest, that same day. I had told very few people that I was pregnant and clearly needed a bit of practice because I struggled to get it out. Or maybe I subconsciously had anticipated his reaction. Let’s just say he needed a bit of adjustment time before he could say he was happy about the news, not least because he was concerned someone was going to have to move out to make room! For a good three days I can say I crashed and burned from my position as cool mother to the most embarrassing mother on the face of the earth, but finally he came round to being as happy about it as the rest of us were. Thank God. 

Finally, out of the chaos that had reinstated itself in my life with renewed force, there came a little bit of joy.

Goodbye chaos, I’ve gained control…

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Goodbye chaos, I’ve gained control…

It’s hard to believe it’s the end of August already. I mean I know the years go by fast at this stage but this one, this one has gone by in the blink of an eye. If in the last few years I felt my life was a little on pause, a little stagnating, this year it has shot forward with a jolt in a way that has left me standing here wondering what on earth just happened. In hindsight, the previous years were all a lead up to this, what I thought was stagnation was actually preparation and planning.

So what has happened this year? Well I’ve been away for so long that there’s some catching up to do. Mr Z and I benefited greatly from some time apart, realising that we still had a strong friendship and foundation of caring that meant we were able to resolve our differences and come back together with renewed and more realistic expectations. I had time to remember what my own plans had been for my life prior to having met him, and spent time getting those back on track. 

I re-committed to my studies and finally saw that financial planner and got back into the mortgage game, buying my own place before being completely priced out of the Sydney market. As it was I’ve moved to the very outskirts of the universe to do it, my commute to the office in the center of Sydney takes two hours door to door, with just over an hour and a half of that being on a train. No matter, I reasoned, the trip is comfortable and gives me time to study, the results of which will enable me to get a job away from the corporate city life in the future. The kids aren’t young anymore, they are old enough to travel to and from school independently, and I’m lucky enough to have shorter work hours that mean I still leave and arrive at home at the same sort of times that many of my friends that work close to home do anyway. 

It was an awesome plan, I’d lined up all my ducks in a row, I was in a relationship but still independent, money would be tight but I was fully in control of my life. No more landlords, no more moving, no more stress for an uncertain future. The future was here, finally I could take some time to kick back and enjoy life a little. My backyard is my own little bush oasis, I could hang pictures on the walls in my home, I could build a vegetable garden. Sure it’s a long way away from the city but I’m a mountain girl at heart anyway, my soul is at peace out there, it’s a place I love going home to and the kids love it too.

Now the last time I thought I had finally reached a position like that was when the kids were a lot younger and had gone away with their father on a holiday for two whole weeks. Rather than despair at the emptiness I decided to invest in myself, telling the naturopath I booked that it was my time to finally look at myself and my health and get everything in order – for me. I was a single, working mum but life had settled down into a regular, manageable routine, and it was time to factor in some self care. Two days later I got the news that my ex had broken his leg in multiple places, I needed to fly out to the remote location he was in and bring the kids home, and look after them for the next several months on my own, he was out of action. I’m just lucky I managed to hold onto my job and pay my rent during that time, and needless to say my stress related issues I had been determined to tackle doubled overnight. We all survived though. Just.

I know you know where this is going, the writing was always on the wall wasn’t it? Here I was thinking similar things, not having learnt yet that life is not like that, well not mine anyway. No sooner than I had committed to the purchase of a small, three bedroom house on the edge of the earth that was just perfect for us, and just affordable for me, feeling quietly just a little bit proud of my complete independence, I found out that I was pregnant. 

My theory of life

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My theory of life

I have a theory about life. My theory is that it runs in cycles between periods where you have to turn inward and work on yourself and your life and learn and improve, followed by periods of time where that stronger, wiser person that you have become can expand outward with renewed energy to give to the world, helping other people to learn their lessons and become that stronger, wiser person that they need to be.

I thought about a butterfly and cocoon analogy but it’s not really like that because the cycle inevitably repeats, and neither cycle is completed in isolation, there is interaction with other people, either to give help and guidance or receive help and guidance, and that is exactly the way life is meant to be. That is life in all its wonderful, challenging, fulfilling perfection.

Sound healing

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Sound healing

While I like the new area I moved my family to and I do feel it is a better place to raise my boys than where we were living before, being new in a pseudo-regional mountain area as opposed to the city is not an ideal situation when you find yourself suddenly single. I needed to build a network in my new area and sooner rather than later. I’m quite comfortable in my own company, but I prefer it when it’s a choice and not when it comes with a lead-weight feeling of isolation, so I hit Google and attempted to find myself some places to be when the boys are with their dad.

It took me a few weeks to find an event that both interested me and suited my free time schedule – a new moon meditation and healing using crystal singing bowls. I’d been looking for something in the yoga/meditation direction given my recent life changes and current need for a bit of self-focus and this sounded perfect. It had the added bonus of falling on a Friday night, and for some reason going home to an empty house on a Friday night is the worst part of being single for me and I really do work hard at trying to avoid it. If I don’t have any place to be I’ll head down to the gym, put headphones on, crank up some energising music and jump on the treadmill until blissful exhaustion overtakes that almost physical pang of emptiness and loneliness.

I didn’t really know what to expect at the sound healing session but I have to say it exceeded all expectations. The beautiful sound swirled around the large studio and I felt completely immersed in it. I left feeling uplifted, energised and peaceful at the same time. During what I tend to think of as the ‘death throws’ of my relationship I had started drinking a lot more than usual, not enough to be a problem, just one or two every day, but they were a necessary one or two every day and I wasn’t comfortable with my growing dependency. Since the session however I have found I naturally have started to lean away from the alcohol and junk food  and my natural leanings towards good, nourishing choices is returning.

I was prepared to start becoming mentally strict with myself, imposing self-discipline to overcome these negative habits and indulgences in order to restore my physical and spiritual energy based self, but it was like I had bypassed that mental process. I felt like the sound healing had worked on my energy body directly and the physical effect flowed naturally in response, all I need to do was go with it and nurture it. Mental discipline is hard, this was definitely much easier!

I spent some time wondering how I could bring more of this sort of sound healing into my life on a more regular basis. I had previously asked Mr Z to put a Tibetan singing bowl on my Christmas list but now that wasn’t going to happen I decided to do it for myself and I went out this weekend in search of my own bowl. I really enjoyed the process of search for one, listening to many different shapes and sizes and choosing the right one for me. It now sits on my bedside table and when I feel that creeping sense of unease as to my potentially empty and lonely future, I pick it up and I focus on running the wooden mallet smoothly around the rim to allow it’s beautiful sound to envelop and sooth my soul. It’s such a beautiful mindful activity.

Just quietly, I have this feeling that something really good is waiting for me just around the corner. I keep catching glimpses of something in the corner of my mind, like memories of a dream fading away that you just can’t quite catch hold of, and there is a little, growing sense of anticipation. I feel like something is quietly knocking at the door and all I need to do is work on me, keep my thoughts and energy positive, push away those nagging fears that keep trying to take over my mind and clear space in my life to let it in.

There’s a new chapter being written, and that’s exciting.

We broke up

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We broke up

Looking back now I can see I stayed far too long in this relationship. I wonder if I hadn’t been supporting Mr Z through his master’s degree and felt if we parted ways that it would affect his study that I might have done it sooner. The truth is that my needs weren’t being met and I had been unhappy for a long time, but there always seemed to be a reason not to give up. If I was a bit more tolerant, if I was a bit more patient, if I managed my own emotions better, if I was more understanding, if I appreciated what I did get out of the relationship a bit more then it would all get better.

The thing was Mr Z was soon to finish his study for the year, and he would have time for me at long last. As it got closer though I realised I was dreading that. Yes, I had been feeling isolated, yes I had been feeling very lonely and really needed to make some plans with someone and have things to do together, but the divide between Mr Z and I was so wide now that I felt lonelier in his company than I did when actually on my own. It wasn’t working.

I had given too much, there was nothing left to give, if the relationship was going to heal it was because he would recognise that and do something to fix it, he would give back. I knew though that he wasn’t capable of it. He wasn’t capable of noticing, he wasn’t capable of putting himself in my shoes and seeing things from my point of view and working out my needs. I had been telling him what my needs were quite directly but it had become the endless drone of demands and nagging to him, I could see it. He wasn’t listening, he didn’t want to.

He was soon to finish uni, he would be free to get a job, and anywhere he wanted to, he wouldn’t need my support anymore. His relationship with his own children had deteriorated to almost non-existent – something that I was never comfortable with – and the only ties he now had were to me, and my family. He started making comments about my lead weights, my albatrosses: my children. I am a mother I told him, I love my children and meeting the challenges of parenting is fulfilling. I wanted to settle down, buy a property, grow a garden, get a dog. I want that life, he had told me he wanted that life, but clearly he wanted freedom.

As the end of his last semester approached his need for me diminished and his evasiveness over the future grew. He had never consistently pulled his own weight and it was getting worse now, arguments about him contributing to the rent and expenses escalated (along with his complaints about my children). He’d always claimed he would give back, later, when he had a full time job. It was increasing clear that he wouldn’t. My resentment grew, simmering inside me and too frequently boiling over into nasty arguments. I didn’t like myself anymore.

There had always been part of me that had seen this coming, but I had continually given him the benefit of the doubt. Classes ended, I had intended to let him stay until his exams were over at least, but I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t last that long. Feeling like the worst person in the world I asked him to leave; he went to his mother’s place, a four hour drive away. He returned only on the days of his exams, then he was gone for good.

I waited for the heartbreak, that almost physical pain. I waited for the feeling of emptiness and disconnection to wash over me. I waited for all those feelings to hit me like a tonne of bricks, but they didn’t. I felt some fear for the future, some fear at having no backup if something happened with the kids, and an old familiar ache at the prospect of facing a future alone, but I didn’t feel heartbreak. He hadn’t given me enough for me to miss anything when he was gone, he had only taken and drained, and now all I felt was relief.

I am free.

Blogger recognition award nominations

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Blogger recognition award nominations

I’d like to say a big thank you to Alyssa at Simple Alyssums for nominating me for the Blogger Recognition Award, it really did make my day, but I also want to apologise that it has taken me so long to respond. My blog is very new and it took me a few days to try and work out who I would nominate because I have enjoyed so many blogs. Unfortunately during that time my life turned upside-down as it became clear my relationship needed to end and I choose to stay away from blogging for a while, I was just not in a space in which I could write. I’m getting back there now though, and looking forward to enjoying it again. On a brighter note please do go check out Alyssa’s blog at https://simplealyssums.wordpress.com, she is a beautiful person with a great outlook on life!

The rules

Thank whoever nominated you and include a link to their blog

Write a post and give a brief story of how your blog started

Give a piece of advice or two to new bloggers

Select 5 other blogs you want to give the award to

Let the nominees know you have nominated them and provide a link to the nomination details.

My blogging story

This year has been quite a trying and eventful year for me and originally looked for a journal app in order to start journaling to help me manage my life, but decided to create a blog instead as I felt the potential that other people might read it would help to keep me more accountable to my thoughts and resolutions. I felt blogging would encourage me to think more carefully before I write so that my ‘journal’ didn’t turn into nothing more than a series of vents with little insight attached – and no action. I blog for me, not to entertain other people or to increase stats etc, but also to connect to other people, and I’ve found this WordPress space a great way of doing that.

What I learned recently is that in the inevitable ebb and flow of life there comes a time when it can get overwhelming and at that time I feel it’s best to put the blinkers on, live day by day without thinking too hard about what’s happening and just keep the wheels turning until the rough period is over. Emotions come and go through these testing periods and it’s best not to feed too much energy to them, but rather let them wash over without holding on. In that situation I prefer to keep busy and fill my life with things that distract and prevent over thinking, pretty much the opposite to why I blog, which is why I didn’t recently. If I had a blog that was hobby based I probably would have been on here every day, instead I did mindful type activities that capture my entire attention (like practice the piano) and threw myself into work, into a new gym routine, and unfortunately for my bank account, into some home improvements to create a nicer space to enjoy! My advice for any new bloggers would be to respect your own needs first and foremost, there are times for expanding outwards into the world and there are times for turning inward and withdrawing, so know and honour where you are at. Bottom line, blog based on what is right for you, not to please other people.
My nominations

I love talking to people and getting a view of their perspective on life, even if it conflicts with my own ideas as I think its healthy to have my ideas challenged. In keeping with this I do enjoy reading a wide variety of blogs, as you’ll see below. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

http://thelovebungalow.com/

http://deborahparise.com/

http://thelifewithowen.wordpress.com

http://oprahismyreligion.wordpress.com

http://thechastecyclist.com