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14 days until due date

14 days until due date

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 […]

2019, indeed

2019, indeed

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 […]

53 days until due date

53 days until due date

I was doing a little bit of recon work on the back-end of my website – looking at stats, etc. – and it seems as though people connect a lot more with my regular content than with my Christmas content! This is neither here nor there, however it did get me thinking that perhaps it would be better for me and for my audience if I were to just speak from the heart and post whatever I feel inspired to post as opposed to keeping to my content calendar.

Today is a good day for me to share some raw and honest content that doesn’t have anything to do with Christmas. I had my second last hospital appointment last week and I was asked by the midwife, “How is your mental health? I only ask this because it is around this stage of pregnancy that you get another big surge of hormones.” I responded that I felt fine, that I felt happier and more stable than I have ever felt.Apparently, my appointment was a week too early because yesterday, I completely fell apart in what turns out to be the best way possible.

I am a co-dependent partner. In life, in my work and in my hobbies I am independent; from a very young age I assured my mum that, “I can do it myself” and you will rarely hear my asking for help. I don’t like to go out all that much, I enjoy spending time by myself and my hobbies of writing and reading are very much solo ventures. When it comes to relationships however, I am needy and have pretty bad separation anxiety.

At the heart and soul of the issue,I have a deep-seeded fear of abandonment and being forgotten, particularly when it comes to men. My biological father didn’t meet me until I was nineteen –something that I initiated and fought for and made into a reality when I flew to the north of England to meet him. Even after getting to know me, he didn’t have it in him to be any kind of father to me, abandoning me once more. I have had a similar experience with my step-father who, when separating with my mother reminded her that I am not his child nor his responsibility (financially or otherwise) even though he is who I have called dad since I was eleven months old.

Put simply, I have been of the belief that I am not worth much when it comes to father figures or men in general for that matter. My thinking very quickly became, “Even after getting to know you, they still chose to have nothing to do with you.” I took that belief into every single relationship I have ever had. Initially, it didn’t affect my relationships too much. Sure I was a bit needy, but it was nothing really to get into a fight over but slowly, as my relationships ended and I jumped into new ones trying to find the love or validation I ever had from the men in my life growing up, I became dependent on them to make me feel whole. If ever they were to go out, or want to spend a night at their place or with their mates instead of me, I took that as, “They don’t want to be with you.” So for as long as I can remember, I have made sure that whoever I am with has me around as often as possible.

Great idea, Leah.

I have always been sensitive and always a little bit anxious in places and around people that I am not familiar with, but it wasn’t until one particular relationship that my mental health depleted almost to the point where I didn’t want to go on anymore. I chose to be with someone who was emotionally manipulative, condescending and cruel. He starved me of affection and love often, but when he did show it, he showered me with praise and presents before taking it back again. I’m not sure how it happened because he did it so slowly, but I completely lost myself in him and his misery. He was incredibly confident in himself and preyed on the fact that I wasn’t, often keeping me in the dark with where he was or whether he was coming home at all. He would often leave in the middle of the night without explanation, and I, not knowing where he was or why he left was made to feel like it was my fault upon his return. He was dominating and instilled fear in me, but I thought that that is all that I deserved. My family and friends all saw my light and my entire person completely fade away. I was a shell.

It took a lot of my strength to leave that relationship, and I am still picking up the pieces of myself that are lying around, shattered. For the most part, I have moved through and dealt with a lot of the grief I feel around my father/s, as well as the shame I feel at allowing myself to be treated so poorly by so many men for as long as I was.I have been abused both physically and mentally and yet I am the one that carries the guilt and the blame. I am proud of how much I have grown this year,both within myself and as a part of a relationship. What I am yet to deal with however, is that attachment I have to my partner. My co-dependency is the last thing that I need to shed to be the woman, the partner and the mother that I want to be. I came to the realisation yesterday that I see my life through the lens of my past. I still rarely believe men who say that they can’t wait to be dads because for me, that is not something that is real. I feel like I am constantly waiting and expecting to be let down by my partner because that is all I have known. I am absolutely petrified to trust someone so completely forfear that if they do make a mistake (like all humans do) my heart will bebroken and everything will fall apart.

I am irrational and I make mountains out of mole-hills. Whenever a partner of mine goes out with friends,I make it as hard as possible on them no matter how hard I try to be okay and calm and loving and supportive. My fear taints everything and it is the one thing about me that I truly dislike and I don’t want to be that person anymore.Yesterday was the first time that my actions have been shown to me in a way that I can actually acknowledge and, instead of defending my behaviour, have been able to look at it from so many different angles and come up with ways of moving far, far beyond it. Like a lot of people, I have always sought advice from those that I knew would either agree with my point of view or coddle me and however I was feeling. But now, for the first time in my life I am surrounded by people, friends, work colleagues and family who challenge me and who call me out on my behaviour, and do so with love, respect, understanding and patience. I don’t need people to agree with me anymore, I need to be questioned and be open to the opinions of those close to me because that is how I know I will grow. I am getting more and more comfortable in exposing myself to new experiences and people, as well as learning more and more about my emotional triggers and where they are coming from.

The challenge for me moving forward is learning how to separate what is real and what isn’t, what is logical and what is emotional. And, for the first time, I feel that I can actually achieve that. I have such a beautiful support system around me, and whether I acknowledge it or not, I am a lot stronger than I give myself credit for and this last year is proof of that. Another thing that I need to learn to strengthen is my own self-love and self-care. When I am in a relationship, I completely lose myself to the other. I spend every waking moment worrying about them, wondering what they are up to, wanting to know what they are thinking. I have always struggled letting my partner simply be. Again, not a great quality.

I often find myself admiring characters in books, characters in television shows and movies, and other real-life personalities, peers and sometimes (ever so rarely) celebrities who are strong, outspoken, fierce, independent women. I admire women who are everything I’m not. I am petrified of everything. I am scared to call out someone’s behaviour for fear of how they will react. I rarely speak up when I don’t agree with something or someone. I don’t think I am strong or fierce or independent – and I want to be.

I have seven weeks until I deliver my son into this world, and I am determined to be the woman and the mother that he deserves. I want to be able to look up to myself. I would love, one day, to be someone that others look up to.

Pregnancy is hard. I did not expect it to be this challenging, I really didn’t. Pregnancy has thrown things at me that have seriously challenged me and I have had to admit things to myself and come to terms with a lot of things that I have kept hidden and ignored for a very long time. I have found myself being much more negative than I ever want to be and it has forced me to make decisions and changes that I have been too scared to make previously. I am hot from the inside out and feel so NOT myself that I cannot put words to it. I miss being able to wear my clothes and to getup off the lounge without groaning like a beached whale. I only have seven more weeks of being pregnant though, and why the hell should I spend it feeling sad and annoyed? This is my first pregnancy and I will never get this time back.

I have been victim to these feelings and this co-dependency for too long now and you cannot imagine how excited I am to NOT be this person any more. I know that this post has probably come from left-field for most of you, but that’s how this kind of stuff works, right? You learn things about yourself when you least expect it. More often than not it is painful and it hurts to look (and I mean REALLY look) at who you are and who you have been, but it is so worth it.

Day Thirteen: Christmas Morning Breakfast Menu

Day Thirteen: Christmas Morning Breakfast Menu

When I think of Christmas morning, what tends to come to mind first are the smells that come with it. The smell of the real Christmas tree, the smell of fresh coffee grinds and steamed milk, the smell of bacon and slightly burnt toast and […]

Day Twelve: Christmas Table Setting Ideas

Day Twelve: Christmas Table Setting Ideas

Do you love entertaining? Yes. Do you love Christmas decorations? Yes. Do you love food? Yes. THEN THIS IS THE POST FOR YOU. Combining all things festive and Christmas and food and hosting and entertaining and eating and being merry, today we will be looking […]

Day Eleven: Homemade Christmas Cards

Day Eleven: Homemade Christmas Cards

Who doesn’t love a decent pun? Or a well-timed pop culture reference? Or the odd insult every now and then (all in good faith, of course)?

Greeting cards, more often than not, are so impersonal, each of them similar to the next feigning well wishes and generic celebratory sentences. It is rare to be given a greeting card that makes me laugh or makes me feel and I think this comes down to, obviously, the fact that they are produced for the masses. Once again, you can’t beat something that is homemade, something that is crafted with someone specific in mind. That’s why, this year I have decided to hand-make a range of Christmas cards for my friends and family, featuring quotes from televisions series and movies that they love and appreciate, simple one-liners and of course, the standard Christmas puns.

I have used references from television shows such as The OfficeSeinfeldFriends and Community. My brother isn’t a fan of Christmas anymore (no idea why), but for him and for whoever is the grump in your family, I made a Grinch card and one for people that are just absolute pricks. I had my Mum in mind when I made the Elf card – the message o the inside says, “Have yours-ELF a Merry Christmas”. It isn’t my best pun work, but she will love it.

Like I said, I get the most joy when I am sitting at my desk thinking about those that are close to me and trying to come up with something for them that will bring them joy and make them laugh. So for me, homemade Christmas cards are a must.

Day Nine: Christmas Gift Wrapping Ideas

Day Nine: Christmas Gift Wrapping Ideas

Much like my cocktail post, I had planned buying a shitload of wrapping paper and decorative elements and wrapping presents and taking pretty photos but the pregnancy is catching up with me, the hours in the day seem to pass without me realising it and, […]

Day Eight: Christmas Traditions (and the ones I want to start)

Day Eight: Christmas Traditions (and the ones I want to start)

As I have mentioned in a few of these Christmas posts, my family has a few things that we do each and every year that make up our own little traditions. The visits from Santa, the morning trips to the cafe, the mojitos in the […]

63 days until due date

63 days until due date

Sixty-three days?! That’s nothing. I have all the feelings.

I am thirty-one weeks today and oh boy, do I feel it.

Generally speaking I am doing well! I feel healthy, I have enough energy each day to get me through until about 1.30pm and although I don’t sleep through the night, when I am asleep it is a deep sleep (before my bladder or my son wakes me up).

We had our baby shower last weekend and it was such a beautiful day. We were surrounded by friends and family and there was enough food to feed our entire suburb for three weeks and alcohol was drank and our little man, Pete and I received some beautiful gifts. Since moving into our house, a lot of what we have been doing around the place was not only in preparation for the arrival of bub, but it was also in preparation for hosting our baby BUB-beque. It was the first time Pete’s and my family were meeting, and the first time that we were introducing ourselves to everyone as a little family of three in our home that we created together. We couldn’t have wished for the day to go any better; all of our family and friends introduced themselves to one another if they hadn’t met before, every room of our house was filled with conversation and laughter and the backyard smelt of delicious meat cooking on a coal barbeque.

At thirty-one weeks I only have two more hospital appointments before my due date. I only have two weeks of work left. It really does feel that the next two months are going to absolutely fly by and before we know it, we will be holding our son in our arms and weeping over how perfect he is.

I am getting bigger with each and every day that passes – and this is confirmed over and over again by my family and work colleagues – and so is Bub. He is so big now that by just resting our hands on my belly, Pete and I are able to feel his head, his feet and his legs; we are able to feel our son’s body and it is positively surreal. Not only is he big, but my god is he strong. I was sitting at my desk yesterday and he was kicking the hell out of me and it hurt – it really, really hurt. I had to press my hand quite firmly into the right side of my stomach to keep him away from what I sure are some of my vital organs. I tried getting up and walking around in hopes that he would shift his position or go to sleep, but no. Up until last week, I could only really feel him kicking or moving when I was sitting or lying down, but now it doesn’t matter where I am or whether I am standing or sitting, I can feel him constantly. He is my active little companion and he makes sure that I know it.

Pete and I were sitting on the lounge last night watching Vikings – and, holy shit, if you haven’t watched it, WATCH IT. I didn’t think I would like it, but I am obsessed. And Travis Fimmel is a bloody dreamboat – literally bloody. I never thought that I would find someone whose face is spattered with blood so damn attractive but I DO. Now I sit on the lounge and demand more battles scenes just so I can see this:

Good lord.

Anyway..

So we were sitting on the lounge and once again I got an overwhelming surge of love and adoration for our son. He has so much personality already and I love that he and I know each other already – because we do. I can’t describe the connection that I feel with him because it is so intimate. I love that he and I have to work together to get through the day. I love that everything I do is with him in mind – what I eat, how I sit, all the visits to the bathroom (which, by the way have increased once again). He is the biggest part of my days and my nights, my little companion and I truly cannot wait to meet him.

Pete also picked up the last piece of furniture for Bub’s room which was a Boori chest of drawers to match the cot and the change table that we got a few weeks ago. Pete is away this weekend and I am going to get our son’s room all set up for when he gets back. I am going to wash and fold and put away all of his clothes, and buy nappies to stack on the shelves beneath the change table and get out all of the picture books and set them up. Bub already feels like a part of the family and, once again, I am finding it difficult to describe what it feels like getting all of this ready for him. Pete is so proud of the room that we have created for our son and he said last night, “Our little man is going to love his room, and he deserves it all”. And he does.

I realised the other day that I have almost forgotten what it is like to NOT be pregnant. It’s weird. A colleague and friend of mine said to me, “I have never not known you pregnant” – and she hasn’t because I found out I was pregnant the day before I started this job. She then went on to say that she actually doesn’t know much of my back story either which got me thinking. I went through some old photos and almost didn’t recognise myself. Women are pregnant for ten months all up, almost a whole year, so I guess that it’s pretty normal to forget how you used to look, how you used to feel and even what you used to wear before growing a human. But even more than that, I realised that I will never be that person again. Ever. My body will forever bear the marks of having been pregnant and having a child, and I am in no way saying that as a bad thing, not at all. I just found myself really stopping and thinking about how I used to look and who I used to be, and wondering who I am about to become.

I have to say, I am excited to find out.

I am also excited, I will admit, to wear my normal clothes once again and not be restricted to a handful of comfortable items of clothing that I wear in steady circulation. I didn’t realise how trendy I was before everything stopped fitting me. Though I may not feel comfortable wearing the crop tops and short skirts that I used to wear (I am a mother now, after all), I am looking forward to having options, having the energy to accessorise and pretty myself up and to just feeling like myself again but in a new way. I am looking forward to feeling sexy again!

Overall, I can’t remember being happier than I am now. I can’t remember ever being more in love in my relationship, more settled and grateful for my home, more inspired to create or more ready to face whatever the future holds. My son and Pete are the catalysts for those feelings and every morning I wake up grateful for Pete’s arm around me and my son’s kicks against my belly.

I’ll leave you with this:

And this:

You’re welcome.

Day Five: Visits from Santa

Day Five: Visits from Santa

My mother is many things. She is creative and fun, intelligent and beautiful, entrepreneurial and hilarious. My mother is also Santa. For as long as I can remember, my mum has prepared the most epic Santa scavenger hunts, puzzles and presents for my brothers and […]