I always feel such a desperate need to apologise when I haven’t posted in a while. I have written three or four separate posts since my last one and have either deemed them unworthy, or haven’t had time to type them up and post them. For me, if I don’t write and post all in one go, whatever I have written seems irrelevant if I then publish it days (or weeks) after I originally wrote it.
Hunter and I have been working through a fortnight of sleep regression and growing pains and teething and everything else in between. It’s been a challenging couple of weeks, but out of it I now know Hunter a little bit better and Pete and I are even closer to one another as both Hunter’s parents, and as each other’s partners.
I have been reading to Hunter for about an hour each day, I still make sure that we get out of the house for a good chunk of the day and he is just starting to be able to entertain himself (even if it is only for ten minutes at a time). The changes in him – mentally, developmentally and physically – have been absolutely astounding. It’s no wonder he has been so unsettled and all over the place. I said to Pete last night that what Hunter is going through is much like what I went through during the pregnancy. Even when I spent all day at home, lying on the lounge doing ‘nothing’, my body was still working overtime creating a small human. Hunter’s brain and body is doing the very same, even when he is sleeping (actually, especially when he is sleeping), there are serious changes happening inside his small body.
Strangely though, the challenges of parenting this week have brought up something in me that I thought I had long put to bed. I have been really struggling with body image and my self worth. It has been a very long time, years, since I have had any qualms with the way that I look and the way that I feel. I bounced back pretty quickly after giving birth to Hunter and am incredibly grateful for the fact that my body works and was able to provide Pete and I with such a beautiful, wonderful, amazing son. But this last week, and especially these last few days, I have been really critical of how I look, convincing myself every day that I have put on weight, that none of my clothes look good on me and that I will never feel attractive, or sexy or desirable ever again. It’s exhausting to constantly be focusing on the physical, rather than celebrating everything else in my life because really, that’s what it’s all about.
It has been interesting rifling through my thoughts lately. When I look in the mirror and don’t like what I see, I make it mean so much more than that. All of a sudden I am concocting really negative, hideous thoughts – and, what’s more – I am believing them. I’m not a good mother, Pete could do so much better than me, I’m not achieving anything, what the hell am I doing with my life, etc., etc., etc. Why, I wonder, do we connect our body image with our self worth, especially when everything else (literally, EVERYTHING ELSE) is so much more important.
Over the weekend, I managed to catch up on a lot of sleep. I did so by falling asleep on the lounge Friday, Saturday and Sunday night at about seven. I woke up at about ten to feed Hunter and them got myself into bed. Those extra hours made all the difference to my energy levels, but my self worth was still suffering. Every morning after falling asleep so early, I found myself apologising to Pete. “I’m sorry,” I kept repeating to him, “I’m so sorry that I fell asleep so early.” He always met these apologies with kindness, reminding me that that is never something I need to apologise for.
I don’t know what triggered this period of self loathing, but I am making a conscious decision to stop. My creativity has suffered from it. I went from writing about 1,500 words of my manuscript a day, to absolutely nothing. Writer’s block reappeared and I stopped writing freely, chastising myself as I sat there, my pen hovering over a blank page. It’s awful and hideous and I can’t stand it. It’s also the reason why I haven’t posted in a long time. Everything I write, I think to myself, “No one is going to care. No one is going to want to read that.” I am thinking that now, as I type, but I know that I need to break the cycle and post it anyway. Even if no one reads it, it’s about writing the words, getting out of my own head and taking steps towards something positive rather than wallowing in this sadness for any longer.
Instead of focusing on what I am not doing (exercising enough, eating well enough, making my own money, keeping up to date with the laundry), I want to focus on everything that I am doing. I am taking care of my beautiful son and I am an incredibly devoted mother. I am making two batches of cookies a week for the cafe and have two events that I am also creating custom cookies for. I have really big goals for myself, and a (VERY) rough plan of how to see them through. I have written almost 20,000 words of a novel and will definitely, definitely finish it (a life goal of mine). I have the support and love of an incredible man who I am thankful for each and every day.
And most importantly, I need to remember that this will all be a memory soon. Both the good and the bad days are going to pass, and I will look be able to look back on them warmly because these are the days that will get me to where I am going.