My Heart, Your Home: 2013   

Friday, 20 December 2013

Three, three and under



Each and every day I walk through life holding the hand of a 2.8 year old and carrying a now 9 month old on my hip. My days are busy and full. Demand seems to be much higher than supply and often I find that I cannot keep up. But, I love spending every single day with these two beautiful girls. They have been a blessing in my life and have become my two best friends. Our household is about to dramatically change. It is a change that we had not planned yet it is only 6 months away. It is a change I am having to prepare each and every person in this house of.

There have been many different emotions and reactions to announcing that I am now carrying my third child. I will be raising three children, three and under. It is going to be intense. Busy. Crazy. Full. It is daunting and a little terrifying, but, by no means, am I unhappy about this change. The main and most consistent reaction has been to say to me, "well, I just don't know if you're happy about it?" or to say, "well, how do you think you are going to cope with three then?" or in response to my mentioning that I may be feeling a little overwhelmed, "dont be so negative". Or, and this is my most hated question of all, just simply say "are you happy?".

When I first found out I was pregnant, I will be honest, I was absolutely terrified and I truly did not think that it could possibly be true. I did not think that I was strong enough or capable enough to bring another child into the world and then continue to love the child and raise the child right. For days, perhaps even weeks afterwards, I continued to be overwhelmed by the thought. I doubted everything about myself. I had convinced myself that I am not a good enough Mother to the two children I already have, how will I possibly be able to give myself to another? All these people in my life, these people who are meant to be loving and supportive friends and family, were planting seed after seed of doubt in my heart. I truly began to believe that I would not survive.

Until this one moment, when I was sitting on the couch with my Father visiting. I had Evelyn climbing all over me and I was tired and feeling very nauseous. I said, "sometimes, at this point in the afternoon, all I want is a little bit of personal space". That is when he spat how, "well, how do you think you are going to cope with three then". That was the first mention of this baby. There was no congratulations, no how are you, nothing. Just this extremely negative and unsupportive and doubting question.

In that moment I realised that I will cope better than he ever did as I wont ever be walking out on my children. I wont ever start a new family and I wont ever make them feel the way he makes me feel and that, to me, would be a parenting success. I responded to him with a simple shrug of the shoulders and said, "same way every one does" and right then I believed.

I still find myself completely daunted. I worry about how I will possibly get a defying three year old, a just-learnt-to-walk toddler and a newborn out of the car. How I will ever be able to go to medicare, or the bank, or the RTA, or shopping... ever again. I wonder how on a scorching hot day I will be able to take my children to the water to cool down. Can you get a pram that will push three children, so far (yet so close) apart in age? Will I be able to fit three seats across the backseat of my car? How can I afford this? Will I ever make it back to work?

Three children, three and under, is terrifying and I am okay with being terrified. But I have been watching Mothers of three, I have even been talking to them and asking them all the questions that keep me awake at night. It is possible, many woman have done it before me and many will continue to do it afterwards. 

I am trying to gather all the emotional support I can between now and the time of this baby's birth from my friends as I know that I am going to need them. I am trying to be as open and honest as possible as I know that I am going to need all the encouragement, the words of support, the love and the help I can possibly get my hands on. I have built such an amazing little community of friends around me in the last 3 years, they have been so kind and so loving of me and my girls and I know that they will continue to be throughout this pregnancy and the birth of this new child. I really hope that I can give them the same in return, once my world begins to slow down again.

So... to answer any questions about how I am feeling about three children so close together. I am rightly terrified. But I am extremely excited and overjoyed and blessed to be able to carry my third child. I do not take this for granted. I am thrilled that we have been so lucky and I simply cannot wait for Baby BooBoo to grace us with their presence.

Ps. Im totally convinced BooBoo is a boy!



Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Our Big News...

For weeks now I have been completely out of sorts physically. Falling asleep while parked in the car, falling asleep in waiting rooms. Catching every single bug that has passed through the northern beaches, constantly feeling nauseous and vomiting. Off food, off my normal glass of red wine.

Normally all of these "symptoms" would lead to one conclusion... But, the thing is, my head didnt conclude that because 7-8 weeks ago, when my period was one and a half months late, I had a blood test that screamed NEGATIVE.

Soon after the symptoms begun and I put it down to the side effects of the medication I have been on. So I stopped them. Because the reason I was on them was to make me feel better, not worse. Yet, the side effects continued.

Then I felt the give away sign, the twinge in my tummy and I said to Anthony I think I may be...

And so, I took a test...

Baby BooBoo
A baby brother or sister for two very excited girls
Due June 28th 2014



Friday, 22 November 2013

I am woman

It has been quite some time since I lasted shared with you. I had decided that in order to recover my mental state of mind I needed to take a step away from the outside world and focus on myself with the people whom are closest to me. With this week being post natal depression awareness week, I thought that there is no better time than now to write again and share my journey. 

It has been a roller coaster ride, highs and lows, in life, in love, in emotions and in mind. I have had days where I truly have not recognised myself or my thoughts, days where the I am trying to survive the day by the second. The kind of days where I have broken down in tears, or have snapped and screamed at the most minute things. Panic attacks have taken hold of me for longer than any panic attack should last. Over the past several months I have spent more time on the bathroom floor, hiding behind a locked door than I care to remember. I have been unmanageable, unlikeable and impossible. 

I had begun to question everything I had ever known about my self. I struggled with the contradictive emotions I was feeling. How could I possibly be feeling so angry and so sad when I am actually living the happiest version of my life that I have ever lived? How is it possible to have two beautiful Daughters whom I love and adore with very last breath of my body and yet feel so trapped and desperate? 

It has been some extremely confusing months. It has been heartbreaking. It has been enlightening. It has been weakening and it has been strengthening. I have had some wonderful support from some beautiful friends. It has built up friendships in ways that I cannot begin to describe. People who have kindly and quietly been in the background allowing me to fall upon them if and when I ever needed them. Friends that have expected very little from me and understood that I have not been my usual self.

Yet, on the other hand, I have had perfect strangers expect the world from me and when I wasn't capable of delivering they put a mountain of pressure and guilt upon my shoulders. Telling me of their disappointment in me and my lack of giving. They actively chose to break me down, knowing full well that I was in a state of despair and have caused me to question the very essence of my being. I now avoid a place that used to pick me up but now just creates discomfort and panic. Their expectations and my failure to be the person that they wanted me to be has become a very recent hurdle in my recovery and one that I am finding very difficult to jump over.

It has taken me a long time to get to where I am, both negatively and positively. For months I was unaware of what it was that I was feeling, knowing that I wasn't feeling "right", that there was something not quite there. But it took me months to finally say the words out loud. To ask for help and even once I had said those words to Anthony, it continued to take time for me to actually seek the help.

Reaching out has been one of the most difficult and confronting things that I have ever done. In my eyes I felt as though I was admitting defeat, that I was failing. I am still learning that this is not the case and still often feel like I have let everyone down, mostly myself. I have had a life full of trials and tribulations. It has not been the most difficult life to have ever been lived, but it certainly hasn't been the easiest. There were times throughout my journey were I feel like I should have crumbled and yet I managed to stride through those moments. I feel as though I have always been strong and always held it together and often feel so disappointed in myself that now, when I have two dependant children, is the time that I have chosen to let it all go. 

Reaching out has also been the most rewarding thing that I have done for myself. Each fortnight I speak with one of the most abrupt, upfront and honest woman I have ever met. She is incredibly harsh and intellectually brilliant. With her I have cried, I have screamed, I have laughed. I have told her things Ive never said out loud and she has responded with things that I have both wanted to hear and hated to hear. From her, my panic attacks have become minimal. Through her I have found the strength to take a daily pill. With her I am surviving the hardest battle of my life. 

She has forced me to review my life, my entire life and see that there have been moments where I should have crumbled, yet I have strived. She is helping me to change my mindset, to believe that I am more than what I believe I am, I am more than just a girl with nothing to offer. She is teaching me the tools I need to become more than a bundle of nerves, more than a girl with anxiety, more than my low self esteem. Because of her I am learning to laugh again and feel again. Because of her, I have found the validation I needed, to feel the things I am feelings. I have finally felt like I am allowed to be sad, allowed to struggle. In her words, "this is shit, jess and it is a wonder to me that you do not have a personality disorder, be proud".

You know what is the most incredible thing? It has taken me to completely fall apart to learn that I am actually kind of incredible. I have survived a life that others may not have. I have strived to be better, I do yearn for self growth, I do fight to be a better version of myself each and every day. It took me to believe that I had no light, that I was in fact, a loser, to believe that I am actually so very much more than that. 

I am fighting and I am surviving and it is an incredible and scary and confronting and amazing journey that I am on. One day I get to wake up and I get to say that I survived the darkest days and on that day I get to live knowing that I am strong. I am wise. I am a survivor. I am free. I am woman.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Here's the thing about mental illness

There is this song that I used to hear a lot when I was younger, it was on one of my Mum's all time favourite albums. I used to sing along to it, enjoying its melody and tune. I knew all the words but never understood the message. Until recently, when that song has started to play in the back of my mind, like a soundtrack to my life. The song I am talking about is Eric Clapton's "nobody knows you, when you're down and out".

Here's the thing I have learnt: "Nobody knows you when you're down and out. When you get back on your feet again, everybody wants to be your long lost friend". I have always believed that people suffering mental illness should not feel like they have to suffer in silence, that we, as a collective community, should listen and support them. No one should suffer in silence because mental illness is lonely enough. But the thing is, that unless you have been through it, you can't possibly understand it and unless you are going through it, then you don't want to hear it. I say this, because this sentiment has rung true to me over the past several weeks. 

Since writing my last blog post I started to think that I shouldn't be pulling my support from my blogging community alone, as great and supportive and wonderful you all have been, you cant hold my hand when I fall down, or wipe my tears when I begin to cry, or give me that hug that I sometimes so desperately crave. I have a wonderful group of loving and beautiful friends who I adore and trust. So I decided that I needed to open up to them, start building myself some foundations as I worry that my suffering is only going to get worse before it gets better.

Mental illness; depression and anxiety, it is "like an onion" to quote Shrek, it has so many different layers and affects its victims so broadly. Not two people feel the same, no two causes are the same and no treatment is the same. It is hard to describe, hard to vocalise and it is, of course, hard to hear. 

People have a very difficult time hearing, believing. The conversation is often shut down before it even begins. I cannot be struggling because what do I have to struggle with? I cant be depressed because what do you have to be sad about? Why would you feel like a bad Mum, when your Daughters are both happy? You must be doing something right. 

I love both my children, with the absolute core of my being and I fight every day to remain patient and tolerant and loving towards them. I fight to be calm and level headed. I fight to stand up and be the Mother that they deserve. On the exterior, sure I probably do look together and calm, but I invite you into my mind, hear the thoughts, feel the emotions. I invite you in so that you can believe. 

In the depths of my stomach I feel this constant rolling snow ball of nervous energy. I wake up with it in the morning and each time I hear a scream, it builds. Each time I cannot get my Daughters to sleep, it rolls faster. Each time I have to discipline the naughty behaviour of my 2 year old, it takes out all the trees. All day that nervous energy gets bigger and louder and my entire body starts to shake, I lose my breath, the tears start to form and my chest starts to ache. I fear I am going to have a heart attack. I fall to my knees and I try to catch my breath, breathing in and out faster and faster until I become dizzy and I lose my sight. I have to remind myself to breathe. That this is just an attack, it will pass, if you breathe. So I sit on the ground, worried about my children seeing their Mother like this, and I count my breath. In, 1, 2, 3. Out, 1, 2, 3.

In the back of my mind I have a constant running narrative that tells me all day what I am doing wrong. Who I am doing wrong by. Where I am failing. This little reminder that pops up in every single scenario to tell me I am not good enough. Some days I am really good at pushing that lousy narrater deep down and ignoring it, but mostly, by the end of the day it becomes me. I doubt myself and my abilities, as Mother and as a person.

Most days I forget to eat and drink. I am just trying to put one step in front of the other, trying to make it to 6pm where I know Anthony will be home and I can take a step back and try and escape these awful feelings and thoughts I have. Evelyn doesn't sleep so there is not a single moment in the day where I get to take 5 minutes to remind myself that I need to eat to feel better. I can't even get her to sit in her room for 10 minutes of quiet time, so I don't get to have that time I so desperately need to be able to be a better person. 

Nobody knows you, when you're down and out. Those words have become so true to me. You can't help but suffer in silence. I may be sick, but I am sick internally and there are no true physical symptoms of my illness. If you haven't suffered then you don't understand and if you have, then you don't want to know. I hold no resentment about these facts, if I wasn't feeling this way then I, too, would want to avoid being reminded of these feelings. Its a lonely and confusing place to live. 

I won't be writing too much here, not until I can clear this haze. So I just wanted to say thank you for letting me write to you, giving me a place to say the things that I need to say out loud. Thank you for giving me my safe place. You have been more supportive than you will ever know. I will come back and write again once I have managed myself.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

You are SIX months old



You are six months and eight days old, to be exact, and I have been wanting to write this post for days and days. But each time I sit down to write I just cant seem to find the words to summarise the last six months of my life, the first six months of yours. Mostly I just want to say I'm sorry.

Sorry that you had such an unkind welcome into the world, sorry that it took me so long to work out that something was a little off. Sorry if I didn't fight hard enough for you. Sorry that you were in pain. Sorry that I fed you for so long, unawares that my milk was, in fact, not the best option for you. Sorry that I haven't been able to offer you the very best version. Sorry that our first six months together has been... misunderstood. 

I want you to know that I fell in love with you before I even knew you were growing within me. I continued to fall in love with you every single day of our growth together. Our hearts beating in unison, our bodies growing around and within each other. I bonded with you while we laboured together and once you were finally in my arms, I knew that you and I were going to create something beautiful together. I have loved you every day since.

I dont remember much about our last 6 months together, but I do know that there hasn't been a day where I haven't been completely and totally devoted to you. I have watched you grow from being completely dependant on me, to being a small baby who is desperately trying to become a big girl like her older sister. I have watched you learn to sit, learn to eat, learn to sleep and survive reflux.

In the last month, you and I learnt that breastfeeding was no longer an option for you. Once you were on formula your entire personality changed. There were no more screaming matches for hours upon hours. You began to sleep longer at night. You smiled more and laughed harder. Your eyes were brighter and we were connecting on a new level. As a result we then decided to no longer medicate you, in that decision we have seen even more improvements and I now have a baby who is happy.

These six months have been long and hard, on you and on me. I feel like I am almost grieving this time as we were both living in such a haze that I don't feel like we were allowed the time to enjoy each other. I miss your newborn, your smell, your tiny body. But I look forward to growing and learning with you. I will make the most of your next 6 months and I promise to give you every thing I have.

I love you, my darling Zalia Sky. You are strong and wild, you test me and challenge me, but you melt me. You mean the world to me, and to our family and we have loved getting to know you.

Love Always,
Your Mumma 
xx

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

I am...



This is a reveal; an honest expose on who and where I am.

I am a 26 year old girl, who has an incredibly hard time accepting that I am, in fact, a 26 year old woman. In my mind I am still 23 years old and living a carefree, responsible-less life. When I think about the life I lead now it feels completely surreal. Like I am looking at my life happen before me. Watching on in wonder. My life is beautiful and wonderful, I am completely blessed and fulfilled, but I often feel detached. 

In my past life I have experienced many incredible things, and many damaging. I have fought to survive and I have come out the other side, always with a smile on my face. I am a survivor, I have survived great love and great loss. I have been mistreated, disrespected and discarded by my closest girl friend, time after and time. I felt rejected by family, a disappointment, an outcast. I have experienced tender care, and survived violent abuse. 

I have felt judged, criticised and un-liked for the majority of my life and as a result began to invert into myself. I had become accustomed to having people walk away from me, only talking to me when they needed something or when all their better options had run out. I allowed people, for years, to walk in and out of my life when it appeased them. Now, I put my effort into those who choose to put effort into me and am shocked every time when some one chooses to be my friend. Today, I have many great and wonderful girlfriends whom I cherish and love and adore more than they could possibly ever understand. Each time I walk away from seeing one of these girls I go home beaming, amazed that these beautiful girls are in my life.

My parents divorced when I was young. Both went on to marry new partners and both went on to lose those partners to cancer. This is not my story to tell, yet it has effected me in ways that I actually cannot begin to articulate. I don't feel like I am entitled to own any feelings when it comes to the loss of these people, yet I have many of them. I feel anger and sadness. I feel regret and I feel disappointment. But mostly I just feel like there is something missing. I have watched many people I love lose someone important to them and watching these people suffer has been impossibly hard. I have lived a life where I just want to help the people I love to not hurt anymore, but I cant do that. I always let them down, let myself down. 

Throughout my life I have loved many boys. Some of them have been kind and gentle, others have been disrespectful and reckless. One was emotionally abusive and irrationally controlling. I will forever love all of them, for each one of them taught me lessons. Lessons about boys, about love, about myself. But most importantly, each one of them taught me that they were just a moment in my life, a moment that was to come and go. They taught me that they were not for me and to wait for the one who is. Each one of them walked me along the path to find my one true love - Anthony.  

I am an awful housewife, choosing to sit on the floor amongst the mess and play and talk to my Daughter's. I chose to walk out the front door, closing it on that mess, and take an adventure in the big wide world. I feel guilty each and every time Anthony walks through the day and I have not cleaned the house, yet he would never say a single word. He is patient and understanding, supportive and kind. I feel like I let him down, daily. 

I have had trouble, for years, to feel. I suffer terrible panic attacks, often curled up on the bathroom floor unable to breathe and truly believing I am having a heart attack. I have suffered these attacks in silence. Until very recently, I have not said these words aloud to the people in my life. Why? Because I have never felt like I am entitled to feel. Because I have always believed I have had to be strong. Because I was embarrassed and ashamed. But, only weeks ago, I said aloud to Anthony; I think I may need help. 

Since saying those words aloud to him I have felt liberated and free. Free of the guilt, liberated from the blurred emotions. I have been getting help for the last few weeks and intend to continue for the weeks to come. 

I am a 26 year old woman who has had neither a hard or an easy life. I am a Mother to two children who I love dearly. I am in a loving and strong relationship. I have family. I have friends. Yet I suffer from depression, anxiety, major self esteem and am on the verge of a nervous break down. 

I struggled to hear these things about myself, for many reasons. Mostly I struggled because I do not feel like I should be struggling. I have never felt entitled to feel negatively about my life. I have talked myself out of grieving. Talked myself out of accepting that bad things have happened. Then when good things happened, I was still numb and so the cycle begun. 

Why I am I telling you all of this? I guess because I feel like I need to say it out loud to someone and I am not brave enough to say it to the people in my life. I guess because I feel like if I actually talk about it, some where, that it may help me to accept that I need to break down the facade I have learnt to put up. I know that my posts over the past few months have probably implied that I am suffering depression, but up until my first session, I had not been diagnosed and I was not truly aware. I struggle knowing that I am suffering when my life is full of such beauty and happiness. I feel hypocritical to be so happy, but to feel so numb. 

I am strong, I am a fighter. I have fought to survive some brutal things throughout my life and it is time for me to start owning my feelings, it is time for me to survive. 

Monday, 16 September 2013

Whoa Mumma! Slow down




I cant help but notice the pressure we put on ourselves as Mothers and, just as importantly, the pressure we put on our children. We are living in an age where parenting has become a competitive sport. Where children are the trophies. Where our children's abilities and achievements are compared. Where the speed at which our children are learning new skills, or not learning them, is critiqued. We compare, criticise, judge, yearn... better, bigger, bolder!

From the moment our children are born we are encouraged to visit the child health nurses with our little blue book which is full of milestones that children should be reaching by what age. If your child doesn't happen to tick off one of those marks in the allocated time then we are advised to worry, to try harder, to push harder, to obsess. Where nine times out of ten that child is perfectly fine and is just taking their time to concur such a huge achievement. 

We worry about why our children aren't speaking words, then when they are speaking words we worry about why they aren't speaking sentences. Then they speak sentences and we worry about why they cant count to twenty, why they don't know the difference between a square and a rectangle, why they cant sing the entire alphabet. We worry about our children not knowing everything they need to know before they start preschool. Then school. 

Ballet, netball, soccer, martial arts, swimming, music. One thing to the next, rush, quick children quick. We are running late. Running through life from one event to the next. One worry to another. One pressure, three pressures, eight pressures... explode. 

I remember a day where children were free to play without boundaries, without limitations. Where children were allowed their time. Where children were allowed the luxury to learn naturally, without pressure, without expectations and without fear of failing or disappointing. I remember a day where life was slow. 

I have seen these pressures and these expectations and I have found myself placing them upon my family. But today I am taking a stance. I choose to parent slow. To allow myself and my children the luxury of stopping to count the ants on the pathway. To say goodnight to the moon and all of the stars. To pick every single yellow weedy flower we see. To sing another song and read another story. I choose to walk slowly behind my Daughter and learn from her, from her enthusiasm for life and for the world around her. 

Rather than rush my Daughter's to their next activity, or carry them so that we can get there "really fast". I am taking the time to remind myself that my Daughters are only little for such a very short time. Do I want this time to be so full of activity's, of lessons and of expectations or do I want this time to be full of memories? 

I intend to fill their childhoods with water fights and bubbles in the back yard. I choose long, slow walks along the beach talking about the sun, the sand and the ocean. I hope for love and laughter, for cuddles and kisses. Rather than setting my children up to feel like they need to deliver on the pressures our world places on them, I believe in setting them up to choose and to deliver for themselves.

I will hold their hands, answers their questions and kiss all of their hurts. I will pick the flowers with them, I will stop and gaze at the clouds with them. I will take more time to just be with them and less time herding them. I will make more effort to sit and chat about the world and less time worrying about their milestones. More acceptance, less comparison. More love, less pressure.  

Today I choose to parent slowly, without boundaries and without limitation

Sunday, 15 September 2013

37/52




Evelyn: A girl of many colours
Zalia: Chubby cheeks waiting to be squished

                                                        


Monday, 9 September 2013

With eyes as blue as the ocean

Over the last couple of weeks I have been building a friendship with a girl that I grew up, side by side, with. We were never friends, but never not friends. We shared many of the same friends, our social circles crossing, but we don't share any memories together. I had an image of who I thought she was growing up, who our small town had created her to be, as she did me. But through talking, and reminiscing, and sharing, I have found that she is not at all as her reputation would have you believe. As I hope I am not.

We grew up in a small town with a passion to gossip. You could not sneeze without the entire town having heard about it through five different people. Tales of your adventures would often become misconstrued, misstated and misunderstood. Once one person disliked you, if they had the power, the popularity, they could have an entire crowd dislike you. Once you were disliked by the right (or the wrong) people, your life and your reputation would now be in jeopardy. Once you had a reputation, you could not shake it. 

I had a reputation. A bad one. But my reputation was created for me before I had even committed my crimes. I was known as a drug user, as a slut. Yet, I'd never even smoked a cigarette let alone touched any drugs. In actual fact, I didn't even know what any drugs looked like. I had only ever kissed a boy, then been too afraid to talk to him the next day. I was actually a prude, "frigid" if you will. 

I still remember my first kiss like it was yesterday. I remember my tummy being tied up in knots, the sweaty palms, the confusion, the fear. The people. Oh do I remember the people watching me, egging on this first kiss. The first kiss that I felt pushed into doing in the corner of the room at a "Say No' disco. With a boy whom I barely knew and a crowd watching on, laughing at me for keeping my eyes open, slapping that boy on the back, asking me how do I feel. I felt terrified and wanted to go home. 

After that first kiss my interest in boys grew. I was still terrified and still didn't know what I was doing, but I was interested. My reputation was created for me by my naivety and my trust and faith in a boy that I met on a beach. A boy who was nice to me and talked to me for hours upon hours. A boy who called me at my home and whom I called at his. My very first crush, which at the time I thought was so much more. I would dream about him and I would think about him daily. 

He and I were at separate schools, in separate towns, so he was able to spin whatever he pleased and I was so young and impressionable that I thought that he was truthful and trustworthy. That was until after the holidays, I changed schools from my school in taree to my local school, to his school. My very first day, as I walked out of my classroom and into the playground for lunch, the very first thing I saw was that boy sitting on a bench with his longterm girlfriend that I had no idea about. The girlfriend who he had told I was harassing him and who then proceeded to make my life a living hell. 

From that very moment, my reputation was built. I was a boyfriend stealing, slut. I hated that word. That word used to be hurled at me across the playground. It used to be screamed at me as my hair was pulled from my head. Or screamed down the stairs at me after she had attempted to push me down them. The people yelling that word at me grew daily. One girl, two girls, six girls, twenty. 

That one girl and her tormenting words still ring in the back of my mind every now and then. How quick she was to jump to conclusions, assumptions and how easy it was for her to hang that reputation upon my shoulders. Her actions caused my schooling career to be tainted by the titles she gave me. Groups of girls, girls upon girls, had decided before even knowing me that they did not like me. I felt very much alone through school. I had friends, sure. But I never felt like I quite belonged. I grew up to believe the things that were said about me, I began to live, in a sense, the way they told me I was living. 

Sharing old tales of life in Forster with this new friend, who was not a friend, has made me question what I always thought I knew about people. How easily we form an opinion on another based upon the stories we have been told. I wonder, had any of those girls given me half a chance, would they still have hated me so intensely? How easily we paint people with the same brush as their friends. I wonder, how differently my life would have been had I never of met that boy on the beach? Words have such power, they are dangerous. I wonder, does she remember the way she treated me? Does she know how she changed me?

Growing up with all that hated pointed toward me has affected my self image, made me care about how people see me, made me believe I am unlikeable. But this new friendship is helping me learn that perhaps I always had more to offer and that it was not me that was unlikeable. But, the girls who were throwing such hatred across the school yard. This new friend is helping me to see that, just as I may have misjudged her, then people may have misjudged me. 

I was just a young naive girl who trusted a handsome blonde headed boy, with a smile as sweet as the sun and eyes as blue as the ocean and in that... my life had changed. 

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Friday, 6 September 2013

35/52





Evelyn: Getting to know your way around a surf board, just like your Daddy
Zalia: my darling water baby




Welcome happy girl




Two days ago I hit an all time low, I sobbed to Anthony and told him that I am worried about myself. Two days ago I said some words out loud that totally shocked me, words that I was ashamed to say and yet, so very relieved to let out. Two days ago I admitted to my "real life" world that it is all getting too much and that I am not sure how many more days I can survive without walking away. Two days ago was one of the darkest, yet one of the lightest days of my entire Mothering journey.

Thankfully, on this particular day, we had a night in the city planned. We were due to see P!nk and spend a night away from the kids. By the time we were due to leave home, I really just did not want to go. I felt like disappearing beneath my covers, not to resurface for a good couple of days. But, I did go and I am so very thankful that I did!

Not only did I have an amazing night, enjoy a spectacular show and have a sleep-in, but I left Zalia behind with no expressed milk and therefore she spent 24 hours on formula. My night in the city turned out to be a true blessing. It refuelled me, gave me the strength to come home and fight another day, rested my weary mind and uplifted my spirits. I came home, ready to take on my screaming baby. But she is yet to scream. Last night, Anthony and I noticed just how happy she was and put it down to no breast milk. So, in that moment we decided to trial our theory and see if she remained happy today if I continued the formula. 

Yesterday as we sat down to lunch on Sydney's Harbour a couple walked in with their baby, who would have been the same age as Zalia. For a moment I seriously considered leaving, as I deal with a screaming child every day but this day was meant to be my day off. I quickly shut down those thoughts, as I knew as a Mum, that I would be heartbroken and feel horribly judged if someone did that to me. So I stayed and gritted my teeth in preparation. Only, that child never once screamed, he barely made a sound. I commented to Anthony about how unusual that is. 

Today, I have learnt that this young baby was not unusual, he was normal and now my Zalia seems to be normal too. I had become so accustomed to the constant screaming that I began to believe that this was how babies behave. I had stopped attending Evelyn's social events because it was too hard. I didn't go to the shops. I didn't go anywhere that anyone would hear me, where anyone would look at me. With those eyes full of pity, of judgement, of shame. Those eyes became unbearable and my broken spirit just could not take any more.

But today has been different. Today I don't feel like burying myself beneath the covers. Today I don't feel like walking out the door with out turning back. Today I feel light... and, should I dare say it, happy!

There has not been one single scream. There has not been a battle to sleep. There has been no tears. There has been no cranky baby. In her place, is this placid, happy and super content little girl who is almost unrecognisable to me. She has slept her morning nap. She played and danced through Evelyn's music class. She slept in the pram while her Sister and I went shopping. She didn't protest when being put into the car. She went to sleep in just seconds for her afternoon nap. She has smiled and laughed. She has played and talked. She is becoming the happy, beautiful little girl that I only saw mere glimpses of before today. 

I spoke to my Paediatrician and explained to her the situation and she was just so excited for me and by the end of that conversation I made the final decision to no longer breast feed my baby. It is far earlier than I had planned for, than I had hoped for. But, as I learnt while trying to breastfeed Evelyn, sometimes breast is just not the answer. I have successfully been able to breastfeed my baby for 5 and a half months. I have been able to breast feed when previously I could not. For 7 months of pregnancy I walked around with a suction cap on my nipple to break my physical hurdle and I did it. I fought for something that was extremely important and I have made myself so proud.

But, now it is time to say goodbye to breastfeeding and say hello to my beautiful, happy and content darling baby Zalia. Its time to say goodbye to feeding but hello to my happiness. I am sad to loose that intimacy and that connection but I am so excited about moving forward and being able to live our lives as a happy family of four. Rather than a broken one. I am so excited about no longer crumbling to pieces, no longer feeling like I am a failure and no longer feeling like I am letting my entire family down. 

This is the beginning of the rest of our lives!

Thursday, 29 August 2013

34/52




Evelyn: When I look at you I see beauty greater than the sunrise
Zalia: Your smiling face is like coming home



Friday, 23 August 2013

One more scream...


I am not coping.

There, I said it. 
I have sat here for days trying to write this post. I fluff about avoiding those words, filling my paragraphs of stories and theories that do not actually confront the issue at hand. Then I delete it. Then I try again. Then I delete it. But I have decided today to just start with those words.

I am struggling.

Not only am I not coping, I am not coping with the fact that I am not coping. I wanted my family to grow so desperately and I love my family desperately and yet I sit here with a chest full of tension. A head full of fear. A heavy heart. How can it be possible to crave this, to love this and yet... resent this, somewhat? How totally hypocritical of me.

Five months ago I welcomed my second born Daughter, the second time in my life I have ever witnessed beauty such as hers. The second time in my life I have delivered into the world a being that I know will change the world. The second time in my life that my heart swelled with such magnitude that I could feel it bursting. Five months ago I was strong and capable and powerful. 

For the past five months I have tried to grasp those attributes as tight as humanly possible. The strength, the capability, the power. I want to be that woman. But she has slowly been slipping away from me and today I felt them disappear. I no longer feel capable, or strong or powerful. 

The last few weeks especially I have been questioning my ability as a Mother. I know I love my children, I adore them. They have made life something that I never could have dreamed it to be. But am I good enough for them? Am I strong enough to hold together through another scream? Another night? Am I powerful enough to pull us all through this?

The last several weeks I have felt my head aching with the tension, the hairs on my skin are standing on edge. My spine is riddled with the quivers and my chest is tight with anxiety. I am losing my breath and I am losing clarity. I am losing touch with my inner core, that safe place that I usually revert to when the world is spinning uncontrollably. My inner core is spinning even faster, I am dizzy.

Five months ago the most beautiful baby girl that ever possibly existed was born. She was born and placed into my arms. She looked at me with her big steely blue, soon to be deep brown eyes. Then she screamed and she hasn't stopped screaming. For five months I have listened to her in pain, I have watched her writhe and arch. I have watched her and I have been powerless. Her pain is my pain. For five months I have crumbled because I just cannot make it any better for her.

I cannot get her to sleep, I cannot get her to feed enough to satisfy her. We pass thrush back and forth between each other. My body becomes possessed by the infection that is mastitis. I cannot sleep. She screams and I cry. I beg for her to stop screaming. Then I beg her to forgive me. With every scream I can feel that little dial wind up a little more. With every scream I know my jack in a box is about to pop screaming and laughing at me. 

One more scream.

I am desperate to be the Mother to my children that they deserve. I am desperate to be able to withstand that scream. That scream that makes my skin crawl and my eyes fill with the heaviest tears. For five months I have felt each layer of strength be peeled away from me and I know I am down to my final layers.

Perhaps these final layers are the strongest? The most revealing? Perhaps these final layers are where my strength has been hiding. Because, today, when the screaming had not stopped for hours, when my baby had not slept since morning, when I had packed my children into the car, again, in search of some silence. I found myself just moments away from stopping the car and getting out just to find escape the noise. Yet, I chose, in that very moment, to stay and to do something different.

In that moment I decided that yes, I am not coping. I decided that it was time to say the words out loud. I can no longer keep this secret and I need help. In that moment, where my body was about to take over my mind I realised just how desperate I am. It is time. So today, I have requested the referral that Zalia's paediatrician has been pushing on to me and once I have that piece of paper I will be begging tresillian to take me.

Because we cannot survive like this. These final layers are my strongest but I will not let the last layer be peeled away. I will not watch myself crumble. 

It is time... time to pick myself up and give my children what they deserve. Time to find my capability again. My power. My strength. 

One more scream and I will still be here rocking, shushing, kissing, singing loving.
One more scream and I will still love you as fiercely as ever before.
One more scream, will not push me away

Happy One Year ~ My Heart, Your Home



My Heart, Your Home turned 1 on August 11th and I totally missed it! I had grand dreams to put together a collaborative giveaway to celebrate the year that was. But, the reality is, that life with a refluxy baby has been somewhat busy and distracted. So I just plain forgot about the giveaway and the blogiversary all together.

So, instead, I will celebrate merely by just saying - Happy One Year - My Heart, Your Home. It has been fun, revealing, therapeutic, rewarding, exhausting and fulfilling. I am proud of the words I have shared and the connections I have made. I feel like I have a very heavily engaged community here and I value each and every one of you who reads, makes comments and shares your stories in return. Some of you had made me cry, some have made me laugh and some have warmed my heart. 

I love that you have gotten to know me and my family. That you share a love for our lives, for my daughters. I love that I am getting to know you and that we are building a supportive, loving and safe place to share our stories and words. 

This blog started as a place to record my days with my children. A place that I can bring them to in the future to remember our lives together. But it has become so much more than that now. It is now a place of friendship and encouragement, a place of love and support, a place of advice and help.

I cannot thank you enough for making the last 12 months what they are. For supporting me through out my pregnancy with Zalia and onwards through our reflux and sleep deprivation journey. I want to thank you for you love of both of my girls, for your kind words. Thank you for shining light into my life when my days were feeling dark. Thank you for instilling confidence and courage within me. Thank you for all of your kindness and support. Thank you for letting me share our story with you.

You, and me, have made this place a very special place that I love and treasure and look forward to coming to. Coming here is like coming home to a group of loving friends. Thank you for giving me a village.

All my love and light,
Jess
(Evelyn & Zalia)
xx