I giggle when I think back to pre-Imani days. “I’m tired,” I would say. Coming home from my eight hour job, having my thirty minute lunch break, unlimited toilet breaks and then having a long hot shower and a completely uninterrupted 8-9 hour sleep at […]
For a very long time, my family has found it extremely hilarious and entertaining how punctual, organised and time-aware I am. Where my brothers and mum are relaxed and keen believers of ‘going with the flow’, I am the stark opposite. I would rather be […]
I had another piece that I was going to post today (or three days ago, actually) about how wonderful I think it is that Instagram is trialling the hiding of ‘likes’. I had a whole spiel ready to publish but now, it all seems irrelevant. What I am about to type is something that I would normally keep private; something that I would normally keep tucked away within the pages of my notebook but this morning I thought fuck it.
About three weeks ago, Hunter was in a pretty good sleeping routine (and I say routine very lightly as anyone with a kid knows that there is no such thing as routine, really). He was getting a solid five hours straight up, waking up for a feed around midnight, then waking again at around 2am and then awake and ready to start the day at about 5am (which I realise seems early for most but considering he was waking up at 4am for a while, 5am is a sleep in for me). We were going great!
These last few days have been really difficult. I am going to do my best not to sound whingey, or martyr-ish or negative, instead I am going to simply relay facts and express all the feels. The day Pete went away, Hunter got a really bad cold. He was snotty and blocked and teething and constipated and feverish. It was a lot of fun for both of us. When I put him down as I normally do, he was that blocked that he started choking on phlegm. I became worried that during the night he would stop breathing, which I realise sounds extreme but he was so blocked and struggling to breathe. I brought him into bed with me because Pete was away and he slept through the night. THROUGH. THE. NIGHT.
He is on the mend now, but because of that interruption to his regular routine and also because I couldn’t let him self-settle due to the fact that whenever he cried, he got more blocked, so then he cried more and then – well, you see what I am getting at – he now has no idea what the fuck to do with himself to get himself to sleep. For the last few days NOTHING I have done makes him happy. He has grizzled his way through three days and almost all of my sanity. I pick him up, he cries. I lie him down, he cries. I sit him up, he cries. I put him in the pram, he cries. I hold him in my arms, he cries. I read to him, he cries. I take him on walks, I take him to the park, I feed him. Nothing. It’s been exhausting. He is still getting over his cold, his two front teeth are mere moments away from cutting through his gums and his belly is still getting used to solid food – so I get that there is a lot going on for our little man, but FUCK ME it’s exhausting.
Last night he went down at a quarter past six. Woke up screaming at eight so I went in and fed him. He slept until midnight. Then, he decided that he was awake. He was talking and giggling. He stayed awake from midnight until 2am when I took him out to the lounge. He then started thrashing his head around, trying to shove his hand into his mouth to help ease the pain of his gums so I gave him some panadol and we slept on the lounge until 6.15am.
You know when kids first start drawing and it’s just one big scribble that takes up the whole page? Well, that is what my fucking spine feels like from sleeping on the lounge. A scribble.
I can’t help but automatically think that I am doing something wrong. Why has he been so off for the last three days? Am I not stimulating him enough? Should I be doing more with him? Should I be taking him out even more than I do now? And then, thanks to a scribble back and exhaustion my thoughts then morph into: why can he not sit up fully yet? Why can’t he roll over yet? Should he be able to do more than he can do? And it snowballs and snowballs until my brain is an avalanche and I just want to bury myself in it.
I have also fallen into the trap of comparing myself, my skills as a mother, my mothering style and my child to other mums and babies. Which you know, really helps.. At 1.30am this morning when Hunter was awake, all that I could think of was, “I bet other babies are sleeping through right now.” Which, although true, is not helpful to me to think of. Because those babies are not my concern, right? Hunter is. Fuck, there were some nights before I fell pregnant that I struggled to fall asleep and stay asleep all through the night, whose to say that it isn’t that simple for Hunter as well. And I can’t imagine that cutting teeth is all that fun either. It really is difficult though, in those harder moments to simply be with the toughness of it all and try and have some hindsight in the moment.
I came to the cafe today to see my mum and all but collapsed at her feet. “What am I doing wrong?” I asked her, “What should I do?” In that moment, I realised exactly what I had to do. I had to write this post and stop asking what is wrong with me and what MORE I should be doing. My whole world revolves around my little dude and there is nothing else that I could be doing for him than I am already doing. The natural thing to do when met with a ‘problem’ is to seek the help and advice of those closest to you, and while that is all well and good, this morning I realised that I have stopped listening to my own maternal instincts. I have been so caught up in what I should be doing and what other mums are doing and what my mum did all those years ago when I was a newborn.
I also haven’t been writing – not on here or in my notebook. I haven’t written anything for about a month and I hadn’t realised how detrimental that is for me. I am a writer. I need to write. For me, writing isn’t wholly recreational, it is a need. I need to write to clear my head, to see things as they actually are as opposed to what my mind creates them to be. When I don’t write, I’m not my best self.
So that’s what I had to say today. Hunter is asleep in the pram next to me. I am sitting outside at the cafe with a blanket over my lap and a gas heater blaring next to me. As hard as last night was, nothing compares to the joy that Hunter brings to my life. I’m not me without him.
Guaranteed, at least once a day someone will come up to me and ask me, “So is he a good baby?” I cannot tell you how sick of that question I am – not just because I get asked it so often, but because when […]
Samantha Michelle Fishburn and I went to high school together. We were in the same Maths and PDHPE classes together. We crossed paths regularly, saw each other every day, but we were never close, we were never friends. We both sat with different groups of […]
If you were to ask me how my nigh was with Hunter last night, there is no way that I would be able to tell you. I don’t remember it. All I know is that at some point in the early hours of the morning, Hunter and I ended up wrapped in a blanket on the lounge. On Monday, we were awake from 2am onwards. Yesterday morning we were up from 3am onwards and today, like I said, we were just awake.
For the last week or so, Hunter has been going down easily from about 6pm and will sleep until just before midnight. He was in this (glorious) pattern for about ten days when all of a sudden it was as if he regressed. He has gone from waking up once in the middle of the night, having a big feed and then passing out again, to having lots of little, restless and fidgety feeds every hour and a half or so and then screaming at 2am.
Was it me? Was I doing something wrong? Why is he so unsettled all of a sudden?
Yesterday, Hunter and I met up with our friend Jess and her baby girl, Imani, who is the same age as Hunter. Imani had been pretty much sleeping through the night for about a week (lucky Jess), but when we sat down for coffee yesterday, she described the exact same situation that Hunter and I are in. Imani has been having shorter feeds, been waking up every hour or so during the night and has completely thrown her routine out the window. Jess and I both breathed a sigh of relief at the knowledge that we were going through the same thing. This is just a phase, this is just a phase, this is just a phase.
Yesterday afternoon, Hunter refused to be put down. He would be fast asleep in my rms, mouth hanging open, but as soon as I tried to tuck him into his pram he would wake up and scream. When Pete got home, I burst into tears. Even though I have had far more challenging times than that, for some reason (compounding exhaustion) I just needed to have a big cry. There was nothing specific that set it off other than the fact that I have been deprived of some serious sleep this week. What was amazing though is that Pete didn’t try and stop me from crying, he understood that I just needed to get it out. He put his hand on my leg and simply said, “It’s all okay, I’ve got you.” Ad then obviously, I cried some more.
I trust Hunter. I trust that he knows what he is doing in this life already. I tried to have him sleep in his room, but it lasted two nights before I realised that he isn’t ready for it yet. Pete said to me yesterday, “He will settle, he will let us know when he is ready to sleep in his cot.” I am still putting him down in there for naps when I can, but I have let go of the stress I was holding around the idea that he should be sleeping in there. Hunter is twelve weeks tomorrow and everyone that I have spoken to has said that once bugs hit that three-month mark, everything settles down. I trust my son and I am loving each and every stage that we are going through together.
I think that what I am finding most difficult is that I can only pursue my interests and hobbies and what I hope to be my business one day when Hunter allows it. I know that it won’t be like this forever, but it has been a challenge. I will bake a batch of cookies while he sleeps for ten minutes and then they sit not he bench, uniced for three days because I am tending to little man. The (Oblivious) New Mama as a business is going to be a slow process, but what I need to focus on is that I am making progress. With each word I type, each idea I have, each cookie I bake, it is progress. I know that one day I will look around the office for T(O)NM (yeah, I have big, big dreams for this humble site) and reminisce on its beginning.
I guess what I want to say to all you mamas (and papas) out there today is that everything you are feeling is normal, and perfect and wonderful. Sometimes it is as simple as that. Sometimes we all need a Pete in our lives to say, “It’s all going to be okay. I’ve got you.”
Thirty-eight weeks today. It doesn’t seem real, while at the same time it definitely feels like the pregnancy should be over and done with. This last month has been the most challenging and the most incredible period of time for so many different (and completely […]
It is almost unbelievable to me that we are all now in the year that my son is to be born. I know that that is making the new year all about me, but for the moment, the imminent arrival of our little man is my world, my everything, my every waking moment.
On the nights of both the 29th and the 30th of December, out of nowhere and at the same time each of the nights, I was experiencing insanely powerful and almost unbearable stabs of pain in my left ovary. The pain shot down into my pelvis and all the way down my left leg until it reached my toes. The pain was akin to what I felt last year when I had a cyst on my right ovary that then haemorrhaged (when I went to emergency when that happened, the nurse said that the pain I was experiencing was the closest comparison to childbirth that they have been able to make). The first night it happened, I didn’t think too much of it – I knew that it meant that I had reached some new phase in the pregnancy (even though I had no idea what was causing the pain), and with the pain so similar to what I had felt the year before I found myself wondering, “Am I in labour?”
I breathed through the pain and about four hours of Bub moving really intensely, everything started to calm down. The following night at around the same time, the very same pains and rapid movements came flooding back – but this time, it was even more full on. My pain threshold has always been good, really good actually, but the pain was so severe that I yelled out in pain with each wave of it and then burst into tears. I managed to remain calm and breathe, but it was absolutely excruciating. I called mum and described the pain to her and she said that it wasn’t anything that she had ever experienced which, you know, made me feel just SO confident and fine and not at all concerned..
Once again, after about four hours and fifty-six different positions, Bub finally settled down and I was able to get to sleep. The next morning was New Years Eve and as soon as I woke up, the discomfort woke with me. Before Pete and I made the trek down to Clarke’s Point to settle in for the long wait for the fireworks, I called the birth unit at RNSH and told them about the pain I had been experiencing and described Bub’s change of movements. We got called into hospital.
Long story short, everything is fine – actually, better than fine. His movements were measured against his heart rate for about an hour and then the doctor came to give me an all-over check. The pain that I had experienced and the two nights of extreme movement was Bub getting into position to be born. His head is now fully engaged in my cervix, he is ready to be born. The movements are feeling more powerful and painful simply because of how strong he is and because of the different position he is in now they felt extremely foreign. The pain that I was feeling my ovary were his little fists and elbows ferociously punching my ligaments, muscles and nerves which is why I felt it all the way down my leg and in my groin. All very normal we were told. On top of that, to help him get into position I was experiencing waves of Braxton Hicks contractions and breathing into the pain actually allowed him to move. It was my first foray into what labour is going to be like and I tell you what – I am so fucking excited for it.
The new kinds of movements have been so exciting, the pain has been exhilarating in its own way and this whole new stage, the final stage, is the most fun, educational and magical time of my life so far. I also need to mention how amazing Pete has been throughout all of this. I may be the oblivious new mama, but he is just as oblivious. He is the oblivious new papa. Considering that he has never been through this before, absolutely everything that he has done over the past week has been absolutely perfect. He has allowed me to deal with my pain however I need to, helping me when I require it. He has reassured me that he is right there with me. When the discomfort has become too much he has lay next to me and rubbed my belly lightly, whispering to our son (more like pleading with him to let me relax). He sat with me patiently at hospital and always has the aircon on at home. Pete has been the most supportive, loving and understanding partner throughout this whole process and I could not be more grateful, nor more excited to see him as the beautiful father he was always going to be.
I feel that I have spoken about 2018 enough. Most of you can gather that it was a tough one – and it was so for a lot of people. It was a big year that was full of unexpected happenings and transformation. For me, this year has taught me more than I ever envisioned. I have been taught patience and trust, surrender and understanding. Last year I grieved the loss of a child and the loss of my sister-in-law. Last year I met my soul sister and watched her walk down the aisle. Last year I made two of the best friends I have ever made after landing the job I have been working towards my entire life. Last year I met my soul mate and he gave me the greatest gifts of all – love, understanding, laughter, some amazing bottles of whiskey and the gift of our beautiful, healthy, charismatic, adorable son.
Although we are only three days into this new year, for Pete and I they have already been three of the most wonderful days. Each and every day is different in our home and I have come to love that about our little family – him, me, our one-eyed cat, our goof of a dog and our over-active child who it seems cannot wait to escape my womb. This year has already brought its challenges too. Today is the first official day of my maternity leave and I feel way out of my depth and lost. I have had no motivation to write and what has taken its place is the pressure to write. When I was still working full-time, creating this website and filling it with content was such a pleasure, it was and remains my absolute world.. but now that I am without an income, it is so much more than that. I so desperately want The (Oblivious) New Mama to be everything that I have been envisioning over the past few months, and that in itself has been dangerous thinking because all of a sudden I’m not writing for pleasure or for my love of it, I am writing it with expectation. No, no, no. I have been working all day to come to terms with the fact that it is okay that I feel this pressure – I have never done the whole maternity leave thing before so it isn’t that surprising that it feels weird, right? Also the holiday period threw me, as it does everyone, and I have been rather preoccupied with the whole about to give birth thing. I know that I need to take the pressure off and write for the absolute love and joy that it brings me. I have loved writing to you, my audience, and I don’t plan on ever stopping.
I promise you that there are things in the works, there are draft posts sitting in the backend of my website and ideas scrawled all throughout my notebook. This year is going to be a big one, and though I cannot expect anything from my writing (it doesn’t deserve that kind of pressure), I am expecting big, great, wondrous, inconceivable things to happen this year.
So, from my lounge where I sit right now with both a fan and a portable air conditioner pointed at me while I continue to exist about seven degrees hotter than anyone else I want to thank you all for making my 2018 so healing and humbling and I look forward to connecting with each and every one of you in 2019. And even more so, I cannot wait to introduce you to our beautiful baby boy.