Category Archives: Chaos

Pregnancy and parenting teens don’t mix

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Pregnancy and parenting teens don’t mix

Well, our little mini break without the kids and school pressures on hold due to school holidays is over. And don’t I know it. 

I’d been rocking along ok for a while, yeah maybe I wasn’t happy that they still using that c word at me (cesarean) but that’s not the end of the world, just an inconvenience (I’ll have very little help after the birth) and a disappointment to get over if it happens. But by the end of that first week back at school I that wasn’t feeling  great. I reasoned it away: I was stacking on the weight, which was getting me down; I am approaching the third trimester and starting to get tired again, which is to be expected; there were some pressures coming up at work, I found out I was going to be the one left holding the fort over the Christmas/New Year period at eight months pregnant; and the first week of school term always hurts a little as I get back into the hectic swing of things. I chose to work from home on the Friday, I’m lucky to have that option, and thought I’d pick up over the weekend.

I didn’t. I had lots of plans, but I was tired and struggling to do them. Mr Z was a bit crabby with me, wanting me to do more. I was trying, but really I was pushing already, too hard. When everyone is used to you being the one keeping it all together ads getting things done they don’t react too well when you start dropping balls though. Don’t expect sympathy, expect a’get it together mum’ attitude. I tried.

By Monday afternoon, the first day of the working week, I was already struggling. I’d had yet another call from the school about my eldest son’s behaviour. The usual support teacher is away for a couple of months and it seems like everything is going to pieces, I felt on the edge of cope. I came home, cranky at my lack of help, made dinner then went to bed to watch Netflix on my phone with headphones in. An unspoken do not disturb. People weren’t pleased. I didn’t care.

By Tuesday morning I was exhausted just getting out of bed, I had a headache and my eyes hurt. I had a big row with both my eldest son and Mr Z. I felt over them both. I went to work in an upset daze, just staring out the window of the train, unable to do so much as read the news. When I arrived at work I told people I simply wasn’t well, had a bad headache (it was true) and was told I was looking terrible and pale in return. I had no appetite, I left work just after lunch, tears threatening to spill over already the train. I felt exhausted and the sciatic pain was overwhelming.

Mr Z got home late that night, again I was in bed. He didn’t so much as come in the room. It became obvious he intended to sleep on the lounge. At one point I got up and tried to talk to him, to tell him I wasn’t well, but he didn’t want to know. I ended up yelling it at him, that someone should know that I’m not doing ok, whether he cared or not, just in case something happened. He ignored me. I cried myself to sleep. 

The following day he was distant but kind, he brought me coffee in bed. I got out of bed long enough to get the kids to school, then returned, and so did the tears. I cried off and on for hours that day, unable to stop for very long between, my head splitting. I was texting a friend, trying to verbalize what was wrong, I couldn’t, the only words in my head were “I can’t”. Mentally I kept running over everything I have to achieve, telling myself I had to get it together, I had no luxury to go to pieces, but the only response to anything was “I can’t”.

Mr Z finally approached me, saying “You aren’t doing ok are you?”. My reply was yet another bout of sobs. He doesn’t do crying, he usually heads out the door till it’s over. He stayed, put on his professional hat and gave me an assessment. High blood pressure, he eventually concluded. I cried some more. He gave me an acupuncture treatment, frustrated that it wouldn’t provide an instant fix that would get his partner back to him, now.

I stayed in bed for the rest of the day, and didn’t go to work the following day either, although I had finally managed to get out of bed. The treatment was kicking in and my headache was letting up although I was still a bit dizzy. Then the vice principle rang. She was putting my son on a in-school suspension for a day, they were at wits end with him. I said join the club. 

I told her I wasn’t doing so well myself, the baby was starting to be affected. She said she didn’t push medication, and respected my decision to this point to not go down that path, but for everybody’s sake maybe it was time. She said he just was too disruptive to keep in the classroom, but was trying so hard and was starting to get down on himself that he just didn’t get it. 

I have always been on his side, always asking for understanding for him because he doesn’t think the same way as the average person, but now I wasn’t so sure. He was given a lunch time detention and simply decided not to go. That isn’t autism, that arrogant teenage  asshole-ism. I wasn’t so convinced that autistic thinking was behind his behaviour, so much as having been suspended and his father  (that he ran off to at that point) having allowed him to treat it like a holiday, a reward, a well needed break from having to behave himself at school. That experience, and his autistic view of it – that it didn’t matter how it affected anyone else, it was a good thing for him- I viewed that the biggest problem here. I’m not sure he needs medication so much as a good kick up the behind.

The following day I felt a lot better, the acupuncture treatment was kicking in, although a lingering headache persisted. It was Friday and rather than push myself to go to work I took the extra day to rest and go to the hospital antenatal clinic for a more formal checkup for peace of mind. My blood pressure had come down to the normal range and baby was doing fine but they put more through a lot of tests anyway, my risk factors for pre-eclampsia were increasing and they needed to rule it out, which they did. Not only that but I’d lost 2kg, probably due to the reduction in hypertensive fluid retention. I left relieved.

And so we trudge on. I’m still not glowing.

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My new friends

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My new friends

I’m really enjoying living further out in the Australian bush. It’s an ideal location, not quite rural, but far away enough to feel you’ve left the city behind. It’s tranquil, but I wouldn’t say serene. No, in fact, you are never quite alone out here, thanks to my new friends. Not that I mind a bit! The native parrots may be demanding when it comes to being fed, but they certainly are entertaining and beautiful to have around. I’ve captured a little for you to see what I mean.


“I know you are there, I can see you! Hey, look at me, it’s important, the food bowl is empty!”

By the way, that fake owl he is sitting on is sold here as a bird deterrent. The previous owners must have been a bit disappointed with it’s performance! 🙂

“Finally! Hey everyone, FOOD!”

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Beautiful, aren’t they?  From left to right there’s a Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Rosellas and a King Parrot. The big white bird in the other photos is a Cockatoo. Both the Cockatoos and the King Parrots are often friendly enough to eat out of your hand.

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. 

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