letting go: the extensive lessons of motherhood

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I stand in the kitchen chopping up pumpkin to roast and feel my baby kicking: low in my pelvis.

Instead of feeling elated at my baby saying hello, I feel drained. My darling number three is currently breech. Those of you who have been with me for a while will know that one of the reasons our Pixie is nicknamed as such is due to her stubborn breech positioning – for the Entire Pregnancy until an external cephalic version just after 36 weeks.

While my logical mind tells me all of the things that could be happening which would be much worse than this, when you are faced with a situation that is entirely out of your control and is also on a schedule, it doesn’t feel good.

I don’t mean to complain or whinge; simply to write and to figure things out in the process.

When I was pregnant with Pixie I could barely even say out loud that she was breech. I internalised this “malpositioning” and couldn’t make sense of it. Why would my baby do this? Is there something wrong with me? With them? Don’t they see the big neon flashing sign saying EXIT DOWN HERE? What is wrong with this partnership?

I took myself off for endless appointments: acupuncture, moxibustion, chiro, massage, NET, yoga, and on and on. I remember one week where I was so overwhelmed with turn-the-baby appointments I just crumpled. This was not what pregnancy was meant to be like. I wanted to enjoy my baby. I wanted to relax into pregnancy, not fight it every step of the way. I wanted to connect with my baby.

In prenatal yoga, my teacher repeats often: “Trust in life. Trust in breath. Trust your body. Your body knows what to do.”

I completely lost trust in my body and my baby. And now that it is happening again, I feel that maybe I haven’t regained that trust. Now when I hear those words, I imagine all the other women in the yoga room who are able to trust their bodies and their babies, and I long to be one of them.

I promised myself this pregnancy would be different. But now looking back, who am I to promise anything about my pregnancy? It is not in my control, after all. This is one of the biggest lessons I have had to learn – and am still learning – about pregnancy, birth and parenting. For the first time in your life: things are not in your control. You cannot choose how your body “does” pregnancy. You can’t choose who your baby is or what they will decide to do. You cannot choose how you will birth, or what your baby will be like when he/she is born. You can prepare, certainly. You can read, you can practice, you can prepare. But you can’t control.

I look forward on my calendar for this week. I have appointments jammed in either side of my working hours and kinder pick ups: acupuncture, chiro, yoga, massage. I have times of the day where I will hang myself over the edge of the couch and pray for that beautiful rounded head that is nestled comfortably up in my ribs to make its way down south. I walked around the house the other day with my iPod down my pants to try to get the baby to turn to the sound of music. I hold an icepack over the top of my stomach and then hurl it away again, feeling terrible when my baby starts to wriggle around in the cold – how could I?

I had a horrible week last week fighting this baby, this pregnancy. I was consumed by it, it ate away at me every waking moment. I dreamt about the baby, I dreamt about appointments, about hanging upside down and doing headstands in the pool. My friendly, logical mind reminds me that I should be kinder to myself and to my baby, so this week I aim to be.

I woke up yesterday morning and I felt better. I am practicing acceptance. I am doing what I can. When I feel my baby kicking and moving, I try to replace any feelings of dread (Where was that kick? Where is the baby if I am feeling the kick there?) with positivity and loving kindness. I think about baby names and holding this baby in my arms, soft and sweet smelling.

I try my best.

and I find myself thinking…

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I made this while I was pregnant with Pixie… it was way too hot for her to wear! I’m hoping it will fit little Number 3.

 

What will it be like?

When I went from one baby to two, I found it a much more difficult adjustment that I had imagined. Those that read this blog will know that my number two, the Pixie, was aptly nicknamed due to her mischievous ways – both in and out of the womb… so perhaps that added to my difficulties. But there are also all the other things – you’re so used to that special 1:1 time with your first, how will you make room for another?

Some say going from two to three is an easier leap than one to two because you have already learnt to juggle, your world is larger with two children, you know that your heart truly does expand. And expand. And expand. You do have enough to give. All I can say is that only time will tell!

In the last week my mind has shifted from the I’m-pregnant mindset to I’m-pregnant-but-very-aware-it’s-not-for-much-longer. Once you hit the 30 week mark you do start to feel you’re on the final stretch. Now at almost 33 weeks appointments are being booked left right and centre – acupuncture, birth debriefing, massage. Baby paraphernalia is appearing from forgotten places in the back of cupboards. Furniture is being moved around. We stand in the centre of our small house and wonder where we will all fit. Time after 7pm doesn’t seem to exist for anything other than being horizontal.

I start to imagine a new baby: his/her smells, sounds. Warm, soft newborn skin against my cheek. The quiet darkness and isolation of the deep night. My brain is a fog of… fog… nice and warm and snuggly.

My favourite part of this pregnancy has been knowing that there will be challenges, but having the faith and knowledge that although they may be difficult, they will be short lived. Knowing how quickly things, phases and time passes is a reminder to be thankful for each moment. That is what I aim to take with me into the final phase of my final pregnancy.

winding down, paring back…

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I ran a workshop today (I am a trainer with a not-for-profit in my other life outside this parenting game) and found myself completely tongue-tied trying to find words and phrases that I use on a daily basis. I had to apologise for my slow and steady loss of vocabulary as the day went on.

As frustrating as it is in a professional environment, I am all too familiar now with the brain’s sneaky way of exiting us slowly out of the daily grind, and forcing us to focus inwards as our babies grow and birth becomes near. It’s almost like a slow moving fog descending over my head. Sound familiar?

I fought it a bit during my first pregnancy, but this time around I am relishing in the easy way in which I can float around the place, knowing that this feeling doesn’t last forever. I love that it is happening in sync with the onset of Autumn, and that this baby will be with us at the beginning of Winter. Perfectly timed if I do say so myself. I only have three weeks of work left, we are talking of bringing the baby stuff up from under the house, we’ve packed up the Pixie’s cot and put her into a “big girl bed”… the time is coming near… things are happening… I will remain in this blissfully vague state for as long as possible, thank you.

Apologies if you come across me in the next little while. I hope I can remember your name ;)

that quiet magic

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I went to my prenatal yoga class last night. I have to drag myself there most weeks. I’m tired and there’s chaos abound at home at that time of night – kids needing baths and cuddles and dinners and a couch or bed begging to be laid upon – and a body begging the same. Once I walk in the door though, I’m happy. I have been attending the same clinic/studio for six years now – pregnant and not pregnant. It feels like home.

At the start of our class we do a whip around the room and everyone tells the group how many weeks they are and how they are feeling. During my first pregnancy it was my favourite part of the class. Hearing the stories of other women and relating to how they were feeling. Sharing remedies and ideas on how to get comfortable in bed at night, or what to do when you wake at 3am and your partner doesn’t want to make you a sandwich. How to last the long days at full time work. Now on my third pregnancy, I catch myself rolling my eyes and willing these girls to hurry along so I can get into stretching my aching body before this precious weekly me-time is up and I head home to washing, toys and usually cranky kids who are kicking the walls, jumping on beds and still not asleep because they have just one more very important question to ask that they absolutely must get the answer to before they can possibly contemplate even the mere idea of sleep. It comes to my turn: “I’m almost 30 weeks and feeling great!” Next!

I went home last night feeling a bit guilty at my inner monologue towards these innocent first time preggy ladies, wishing I could recapture those first pregnancy moments – the quiet magic of it all. Getting home after a long day and having no one to worry about but yourself. Finishing up at work and being able to have a nap whenever you want and watch videos to your heart’s content while you wait impatiently for your baby to make an appearance. Pacing around the quiet, empty house touching and smelling new baby clothes and wondering how on earth a baby could possibly be so tiny. I remember those long days at home, and having to build a new life during the working week. I remember what it was like and know that I too once felt the need to go into great detail with the group about my left hip that had been niggling me a little while I watched Home and Away each evening after work.

So I resolve this week to learn from those mamas, to remind myself to pay attention to the beauty in these moments, and to be intentional about recreating that quiet first time baby magic. This baby might be number three in line, but I think he/she deserves it too. And perhaps this is just a memorandum of what is to come for them… etching out their space in this big boisterous family.

school lunches // take two

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(rainbow chard fritters + a sneak peek at my massive 29 week belly)

Thank you so much for all your lunchy suggestions! I am finally finding my feet in the kinder lunch box department and Birdie has only had the odd sandwich thrown in the last few weeks (once after I asked her what she wanted for lunch and she looked at me with pleading eyes – “Mum, can I just have a vegemite sandwich, like the other kids?” :/ )

On the agenda this afternoon was a big batch of fritters for this week’s lunches. A few weeks ago we had an influx of rainbow chard in our veggie box. When this happens I always have good intentions to eat said chard, but I don’t like it very much so those good intentions seem to turn sour quite quickly, ending with a soggy heap of green stuff at the bottom of my fridge. So this time I tried chopping the whole bunch up, blanching it briefly and then froze in small lots to use (hide) in meals. Fritters seemed like a good way to get these nutritious greens into not just the kid, but into me too!

Rainbow Chard Fritters – with millet and corn

:: 1-2 cups blanched rainbow chard (or other green veg like spinach or maybe even kale… they would also be delicious with coriander added)

:: 1 cup millet

:: 1 can or 2 cobs of corn

:: 2-3 tablespoons of arrowroot flour or similar

:: 2 eggs

:: salt/pepper if you like

You can really do whatever you like with these – any grain or flour would do the trick really. Quinoa? Oats? Or you could start with just your basic pancake recipe and add veggies… whatever works. I’m so haphazard with cooking and generally just feel my way. Trial and error – there’s no better way! Lucky for me, these turned out well.

:: cook millet on stove

:: whiz up blanched greens in blender, then add in two eggs and other ingredients. Depending on your blender you could blend a little, or if it will get too chop-happy, tip everything into a bowl and mix through with a wooden spoon. You want the corn to be whole, not blended.

:: use fat of choice (I used coconut oil) and cook up in fry pan or on BBQ.

:: eat!

I’m on kinder duty tomorrow so I’ve also packed a lunch for me – I mixed some sweet chilli sauce and cream cheese together to go with these… I don’t know if this is completely weird or if it is normal, my pregnancy taste buds have got the better of me at the moment. For Birdie I’ve packed a small container of yoghurt for her to dip them into. If she eats them, I’ll be super duper happy.

you’re massive!

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(and other things best avoided in dialogue directed at a pregnant woman.)

You’re pregnant. You’ve spent the better part of the morning going through your wardrobe trying to find something to wear, hurling pants and tops over your shoulder and onto the floor. You then spend ten minutes trying to reach the floor to pick up said items thrown in fit of rage. You examine your backside and wonder momentarily whether the baby is in fact in front of you, or behind you…

You finally find something acceptable – by acceptable I mean the skin of your stomach isn’t showing (much) and your bottom isn’t flaunting the love heart pattern of your knickers through the fabric of your pants which are stretched too tight (much). You carefully select a pair of shoes and ever so delicately balance yourself on one foot, bending the other leg up behind you and attempt to flick the shoe over your toes. Your other children drag on your leg in an attempt to “help”. You finally get your shoes on. You bribe your kids into picking up what is left of the debris on the floor. You brush your hair and straighten yourself out. Yes, you think, I’m ok, I may not be able to see or reach my feet, but I’m clothed and shoed and brushed: today is a good day! You smile at your glowing self in the mirror and run a hand over your blossoming stomach.

Throughout the course of your day you pop into the shops. The lady at the cash register gives you a pitying smile, “Much longer to go darl?” she asks. “Oh, about three months,” you reply. Her jaw drops, “Three months?! Geez…” Her raised eyebrows say it all.

You pull yourself together and bump into a friend of a friend in the street. “Wow, you’re massive!” They say as a greeting, laughing.

A little further along you decide to grab some fruit and veg quickly before heading home. “How many weeks now?” the grocer asks. “About 28…” you say hesitantly (rounding up). “Gosh…” (awkward glance at your stomach) “You’ve got a way to go then…”

You start to wonder about your outfit choice that day and try to suck your stomach in as you walk to your car (to no avail). You catch sight of yourself in a shop window and get a bit of a fright.

You’re nearing your car when a fellow kinder mum bounces past in her gym gear. She looks at your tummy. Please don’t, you think, please, please! “Oh look at you!” she smiles, “Imagine how big you’re going to be by the end of all this!” (Laughs heartily). “Yeah, imagine that…” you reply with a pasted on smile.

You get home and kick off your shoes. Your father in law knocks on the door. “Hi Fatty!” he says with affection. You glare at him: “Hi.” “Bad day? You look like shit.”

Moral of the story: We’re pregnant, we know we are growing: our clothes don’t fit us anymore and we can’t reach our feet, also – there is another human inside of us which we are quite aware of. Please, next time you see a pregnant woman, no matter how huge or massive or gigantic they might appear, a simple “You look great!” could go a long way in drowning out the many other (albeit well-meaning) comments on her physical appearance she has no doubt already received that day.

Rant over ;) xxx

P.S. Oh, almost forgot my favourite: “Are you sure there aren’t two in there?!” Laughs, laughs! Oh, the hilarity…

doilies

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We had a birthday party this morning for a friend of Birdie’s. I’m always searching for new things to make and sew for small people – post toddlerhood, pre school years. This skirt has been a bit of a go-to pattern over the last six months. This time I sewed on some doilies of my Nana’s my Aunty was – shock, horror – about to throw in the bin. I gratefully snaffled up an entire garbage bag of these gems and they have found a place in my overflowing sewing cupboard. How could she! Now aged in her seventies she was both bewildered and bamboozled that I wanted anything to do with a doily, and still can’t really understand what I wanted with them.

Well, here is one reason why I wanted them. A good reason, no? I also use them to wrap presents, to give faces and wings to my felted chooks, to put hot cups of tea on, to put vases on, to throw around the place and let them rain down around me… no, not really.

I do like a good doily. Do you?