Mummy Fail?

“Mummy Fail”. I had never heard or used this term, before I had my daughter. I had always believed there were either ‘good mothers’ or ‘bad mothers’. I know, how could I have been so naive, so black and white? I had no idea. I have no idea.

19 months since becoming a mother to my daughter, and most days I can’t even tell you if I am a ‘good’ mother or a ‘bad’ mother.

I can tell you that some days, by the time I put my daughter to bed, I am so exhausted, so stressed, so strung out from the tantrums, or the crying, or the battles over food, or a combination of all of the above that i just sit and cry. I wonder what the hell I’m doing wrong that makes this so freakin hard.

I can tell you that by the second or third time that she has woken overnight, I sit next to her cot, crying, as I try and pat her back off to sleep. And when that doesn’t work, sometimes I shout at her ‘JUST GO TO SLEEP!’. Then I hate myself, a little , for shouting at her. I go and wake my husband, because I know I’m losing it. I tell him I hate my life, and I crawl under the doona and cry, whilst he takes his turn to try and get her back to sleep.

I can tell you that some days I am so tired, so mentally and physically exhausted, that I put one TV show after another on for her, just so I can breath, and think, and not lose my mind. Then I hate myself a little, as I remember all the articles I’ve read about how bad television is for children, as they shouldn’t even watch any television before they are 2 years old, let alone two episodes of Hi5 in a row.

I can tell you that sometimes I honestly feel like I hate being a mother. That I am no good at it, that I am failure, that I am messing everything up. The term ‘Mummy Fail’ should hang around my neck, like a scarlet letter.

I can tell you that I wish someone had told me being a mother could feel like this. That there is no such thing as a ‘text book baby’. How can there be, when every damn book is different?? That being a mother is wonderful, and amazing, and joyful, however it is also the hardest thing you will ever do. That you will doubt every decision you make, that you will be so tired some days that from the moment you wake up, you will be focused on just getting through the day, and getting back in bed again. That your worst enemy, at times, will be other mothers. That some women will cut you down, tell you what you are doing is wrong, attack your choices, and, the biggie, judge you. It will happen, at least once.

I can tell you, that no matter how many other mothers judge you, it will be nothing, NOTHING compared to how harshly you will judge yourself. As a mother, you are your own worst critic. At the risk of making assumptions, I think I can tell you why that is too.

A good mother is never going to be able to meet her own expectations. A good mother, loves their child so much, that they want to be the perfect mother. A good mother is always going to declare a ‘mummy fail’, as there is no such thing as a perfect mother. They are a myth, along with the ‘text book baby’. A good mother is going to make mistakes, and is going to feel guilty about every single one . A good mother knows there is no such thing as black and white when raising a child, just all shades of grey, mixed with a kaleidoscope of crayon colours.

So, maybe today, I can tell you that I’m a good mother. That I love my daughter more than I ever imagined possible, and I tell her that several times a day, even on our worst days. Maybe today, I can believe that I am not doing such a bad job.

I can tell you, beyond a doubt, that good mothers are not perfect, they just wish they were. xx

Hospital Daze.

On the 24th of November 2010, we finally walked out of hospital with our daughter, after a month in the NICU and Special Care Nursery. As far as I was concerned, I never wanted to see another hospital ever again. Ironically I had planned on writing a post about our NICU experience this week. Instead, I am writing about Milla’s latest experience in hospital, just last week.

She hadn’t been well for a few days. Her temperature kept spiking, it would come down with medication, then as soon as it wore off, straight back up again. She would wake in the middle of the night, burning up, and vomitting from fever. She had been to the Dr already, and he said it was a virus, keep her fluids up, etc etc. We just couldn’t keep this damn temperature down, as her medication wore off, she would become flushed, lethargic and miserable.

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When I took her temperature on Tuesday, and it read 40 degrees, I felt my heart jump into my throat. I took it twice more, just in case it was wrong, 39.9 , 40.0. CRAP.

We soon found ourselves in the emergency department of our local hospital. Where we waited for over 2 hours, with our toddler who was burning up, and screaming. Actually, the screaming was probably a good thing, as eventually I think we were ‘rushed’ through, just so the waiting room could get some peace and quiet again.

Something to know about Milla, she’s not really a fan of other adults. She is a very sensitive little girl, and rarely tolerates being held or sometimes even spoken to by anyone other than myself or her daddy. A health nurse told us once that it could be due to her time in NICU, every time someone came near her, it generally brought pain. Blood tests, drips, feeding tubes, breathing apparatus. She did not have a gentle introduction to the world, and it seems to have affected her social/emotional development.  With this in mind, being examined by drs and nurses does not go down well.

She screamed hysterically when they just tried to listen to her heart. When they said that they were going to have to put a drip in, I felt a clench in my stomach. They said we could wait outside. No. I would be there for my daughter. They wrapped her tightly in a blanket, with just her arm out, whilst they attempted, several times, to put an IV into her little tiny arm. I wondered if she remembered this pain from when she was born? Did she have flashbacks to her time in NICU? I know I did. I stroked her forehead, and whispered shhh, over and over again. I think this was to calm me, as much as it was to calm her. By this stage though, she was almost beyond burning up, and was so lethargic, she was slipping in and out of sleep, even as the Dr was still working on the IV. I didn’t know whether to be relieved that she was not screaming, or panicked that she seemed so out of it.

They finally gave her something to bring her temperature down, which had been hovering around 40 degrees. She slept for a while, somehow in that noisy emergency department.Then we had to take her for a chest xray. I held her down whilst she screamed. At least I knew it wasn’t hurting her, she was just scared. (just scared? That’s bad enough really)

Back came the Dr. Her blood results showed an infection. Despite managing to get a urine sample, which also showed infection, the Dr decided she wanted a more accurate sample, which involved inserting a catheter to get it straight from the bladder. I felt that clench in my stomach again. By this time we were on the ward. As I carried my little girl to the procedure room, already with an IV in her arm, I tried not to think about what was going to happen. Where I was taking her. I had the option not to be in the room, but again, I said no. Of course it would be easier for me to just wait in another room, not see what they did to her, not hear her crying. But why should I have the easier way out? She was the one going through the pain, I would be strong for her. As I held her down, whilst another Dr held her legs, and yet another Dr inserted the catheter, she screamed and screamed and screamed. She fought against me, she fought against the Drs. Again I kept whispering ‘shhhh’ ‘it’s ok’ ‘it’s nearly over’ and ‘I’m sorry’. And I was, so so sorry, that my baby girl had to go through this. I tried to be strong for her, but the tears escaped, spilling from my eyes. I imagined her wondering why her mummy was letting people do this to her, why was her mummy helping them do this to her? Finally it was over, I held her so tight, and just kept whispering over and over again, ‘I’m sorry’.

She screamed most of the night, on and off. She screamed when they came back in to hook up antibiotics, and discovered her IV was loose and had to reinsert it. She screamed as her temp crept back up, and she started shivering and shuddering. She screamed when she threw up all over herself, the cot and me. She screamed and cried and screamed all night.

At about 5.30am, she finally fell asleep out of sheer exhaustion. At 6.30am, her temp spiked again, and she woke up vomiting. I was exhausted, I had vomit on me, my body ached from leaning over the cot all night, from holding her down for one procedure to the next. But the worst pain was in my heart. Watching my baby girl go through so much, hearing those screams, wondering what she was thinking, did she feel betrayed by me? Imagining how scared and confused she was. Relishing the few moments that she managed to sleep, grateful that she had at least a little peace.

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When the Dr came and told me that she wanted to put a feeding tube through her nose and down her throat, my instant reaction was NO. Please, no more procedures, please don’t hurt her anymore. I desperately tried to get her to drink. ‘C’mon baby, you have to drink, please drink’ I begged her. The Drs were adamant. I tried to be strong, but I couldn’t stop the tears, as I tried to convince them to give her fluid through the drip that she was already connected to. No.

Once again, I carried her to that damn procedure room. They bandaged her hands so she couldn’t pull the tube out. Once again, I held my baby down, whilst she screamed and thrashed around. Once again, I whispered meaningless words, that she wouldn’t even be able to hear over her screams. My tears flowed freely now. “I’m sorry baby”.

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Can you believe, a couple of hours after this photo was taken, we were allowed to take Milla home?! She was so upset, so distraught, that’s the real reason i think she wasn’t drinking or sleeping. She needed to be at home, where she felt safe and comfortable. The Dr agreed. We could give her antibiotics at home, they had already pumped so many through her IV over the past 24 hours or so. As long as we could get her to drink, otherwise she would need to come back. Thank God we were right, and once she was home, she drank nearly her whole bottle of milk.

Later that night, when I finally went to bed, after being awake for around 40 hours, I lay in bed and cried, silent tears. My body felt like I had run a marathon. My muscles were so sore, so sore from holding my daughter down, whilst people hurt her. Her screams still echoed in my head. I’m not silly, I know the reality of the situation was that she wasn’t actually that ill, that the Drs were helping her, that so many children go through far, far worse than she did. But she is my daughter, I am her mother. It is my role to protect her. It goes against nature to pin your child down, whilst they scream in pain and terror.

Being a parent can be hard work, every day. It can be tiring and exhausting and frustrating. Being a parent, when your child is sick, is not just hard work, it is heartbreaking. The reward is, when they get better. They smile and laugh, and seem to forget all about the ordeal they went through. And as a parent, it’s our job to dust ourselves off, harden up and move on.  How does the saying go,  Motherhood is a piece of your heart walking around outside your body”. xx 

The Way Forward

Welcome to the new home of The Hesitant Housewife. Thank you for embarking on this journey with me. I have been simultaneously excited and terrified of launching my own blog, on my own website.

First and foremost, I must pay credit where credit is due ~ to Michelle from Little Hero Hosting, who fixed my blog, after I broke it within 24 hours of signing up, and over a long weekend. I kid you not. I am that bad at this!

To Kristy, from Kristy Gray Designs, who designed my logo for the header on my website and the profile pic. for my Facebook page. She did such an amazing job. Especially considering she created four different profile pictures, only to have me change my mind, and settle for the first! She also designs gorgeous invitations, party packs and birth announcements. She  designed my daughters naming day invites, first birthday/(wedding!) invites, and thank-you cards. Kristy is so easy to work with, creative and open to any design ideas. She is also very affordable.

(The above are in no way paid endorsements, simply a grateful acknowledgment and a personal recommendation based on my experience.)

As some of you may know, I have no experience in building a website, or any of the jargon that goes with it. Zip. Zilch. Nada. In fact I am so useless with technology, that I spent an hour tonight trying to figure out how to download the episode of Glee I missed last night. To no avail. So, needless to say, there have been much tears and frustration whilst putting this site together. My poor hubby has copped so many tantrums, so many screeching’s of “I CAN’T DO THIS!!!”  and throwing things around. So many declarations of “I will sell my soul to pay a designer to do this!!!!” And the tears. So. Many. Tears.  I do not understand HTML. I do not understand CCS.  I have had no idea what I’m doing. Yet here we are.

I did it. I know it’s not perfect. I worried about it not being perfect. However, I realised, that it doesn’t have to be perfect. It is a work in progress. And isn’t that what The Hesitant Housewife is all about? This blog is a work in progress. My posts will never be perfect. I am not the perfect writer. Nothing about my life is perfect, without flaw. Yet here I am. Writing this blog, on this site. That I did all on my own. (Well, apart from the help of my new best friend, Google!) I am a work in progress.  We are all works in progress. Let’s embrace our imperfection, as an opportunity to grow. As an opportunity to explore, to reach for new goals, to achieve. As long as we don’t forget to look behind us, from where we have come, at the path we have already traveled, and think, “I am here. What a damn good job I have done to come this far already.”

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“Success is not a place at which one arrives but rather the spirit with which one undertakes and continues the journey.”  Alex Noble

Bears of Hope.

In 2007, my whole world changed forever when my first pregnancy ended in miscarriage, made even more traumatic with the discovery that I was carrying twins.
For 12 months, I suffered in silence, not understanding my grief, thinking I should be ‘over it’. Crying every day, in secret, trying to ignore the ache in me that just wouldn’t go away. Then one day, I stumbled across a facebook page called ‘Bears of Hope’.  I visited the website, joined the online forum, and finally began to heal. I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for the Bears of Hope, I think I would have eventually had some kind of breakdown. I was carrying so much grief, and guilt, and felt so alone, until I met these beautiful, amazing Angel Mummies, who have become lifelong friends. I was sent two beautiful bears from another mother, who had also lost twins, Jacinta and Madelin. I treasure these bears, and like to think Jacinta and Madelin are playing with my girls, up in the clouds, and looking after them.

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Bears of Hope do so much fantastic work for bereaved parents. The website has a wealth of information and support, not just for parents, but also for friends and family. There are also links to forums for parents to connect online, as well as a number of  ‘in person’ support groups in NSW.
Bears of Hope work tirelessly to raise funds, so they can continue to donate bears to families who have experienced loss.  (From their website): “Through the donation of a bear of hope, parents are provided with the comfort of knowing they are not alone from the very beginning, and offered significant ongoing support to heal their broken hearts. This includes support for all parents who experience miscarriage, genetic interruption, multiple loss, stillbirth, neo-natal & infant death throughout Australia.”

How can you help this amazing organisation continue with their fabulous work?

Firstly, please help raise awareness by ‘liking’ their facebook page, and sharing it amongst your friends. You just never know who is out there, suffering in silence like I was.

You can donate a bear or a care package, with the option of doing so in honor of your own or a loved ones angel baby.

For all my Sydney followers, Bears of Hope are holding their annual Benefit Ball on the 28th of July. This is a fabulous night, where not only are you contributing to an incredible cause, but you will also have a blast! Ticket includes canapes and drinks on arrival, beer, red, white & sparkling wine, and soft drink, 3 course alternate serve meal, dancing, candle lighting, prizes & auctions. As an extra incentive, Bears of Hope are offering an amazing prize, drawn at random, from all persons purchasing tickets by the 31st of March ~

One Lucky attendee will win the Cinderella Treatment for the night. Prize includes:

  • 1 Night acccommodation at Novotel Sydney Olympic Park,
  • Have your hair done in the privacy of your room by Treuly Inspired Hair & Makeup
  • $200 StyleTread Gift Voucher to purchase your very own Cinderella shoes for the Ball.

Tickets are selling fast, so book your tickets here to go into the draw for the Cinderella Treatment

It’s such an honor for me to be able to share my experience and how Bears of Hope have helped me, and to hopefully raise awareness about all the work they do. I encourage all my fellow bloggers to please share this on your blog/facebook page. You really never know what pain people may be harboring around the loss of a pregnancy, and like in my experience, not know where to turn for help. Thank you  xx

Missing “ME”.

I want to preface this post, with the fact that I love my daughter and husband more than anything in the world. Would die for them, either of them, in a second. I know how blessed I am to have them, not for one day do I forget that. But still. Tonight, this Friday night, I miss ‘Me’.

There is a reason why I named my blog ‘The Hesitant Housewife’. Because I want to be that person, so badly. I want to be the housewife, the stay at home mother. I want to completely rock it, to be honest. I want this life, to be me. But, just quietly, I wonder if I will always be hesitant. I wonder if it will ever come naturally to me, whether I can 100% commit to the person I want to be. Because tonight, I miss “Me”. I miss the person that wasn’t my daughters mother, my husbands wife.

I miss the ‘Me’ that could be ridiculously irresponsible, and the only person who would pay would be me.

I miss the ‘Me’ that didn’t wake up every morning, and have to be responsible for a whole other life.

I miss the ‘Me’ that was fun, and crazy, and spontaneous.

I miss the ‘Me’ that put make up on, straightened her hair, wore clothes other than singlets and shorts/tracksuit pants.

I miss the ‘Me’ that left the house, and went to work. Chatted and joked with people, adult people.

I miss the ‘Me’ that was a coordinator, that demanded respect from people. People who didn’t giggle, and laugh, and run across the room. People that listened, because they had to. People who, though I didn’t realise it at the time, validated me, and what I had to say.

I miss the ‘Me’ that cares. Cares that I hadn’t shaved my legs, cares that I am wearing the same maternity shorts that I’ve worn for the last 3 days. Cares that I really don’t care anymore.

As much that I have wanted this, to be a mum, to be a wife, for my whole life, surely, I must be more? Surely I have not been dissolved by all that I have attained to be?

I love my daughter. I love my husband. I want to be everything to them. But, I want to be ‘Me’ too.

If only I knew who ‘Me’ was.

Am I the only one that feels this? Or are other “Mummies’ fumbling their way back to “Me” too? xx

One Pink Line.

I have an issue. It started just over 4 years ago. After I lost my twins. I became addicted to home pregnancy tests. From that day on, I became obsessed with carrying life. I’m ashamed to say, it didn’t matter what circumstance I was in, I just wanted to see two pink lines. I did use birth control, but nothing is 100%, and as it approached ‘that time of the month’, there was alway a part of me that wondered, (hoped?) if I was pregnant. So I would pee on a stick. And see one pink line. And would feel disappointed, despite knowing that I was nowhere near a situation that bringing a child into would enhance. But damn. I wanted to feel that life again.

So, three years later, with my boyfriend of three months (who turned out to be my soulmate, thankfully!) imagine my shock, when I finally saw those two pink lines! (I think this was the 3rd test into our relationship. I told you, I have a problem!) 32 weeks later (!) I gave birth to our darling premature daughter. She is now a healthy 16 month old, and I am married to her fabulous father. I am also nearly blind. The combination of my pregnancy and my diabetes have caused a condition in my eyes, which, according to my specialist, if I hadn’t have given birth 8 weeks early, I would have gone blind. I am still undergoing treatment, in the hope that I will regain enough sight to be able to drive again.

Here’s the thing. I have started peeing on sticks again. Despite being blessed with my beautiful daughter, I want to have another baby. I have always wanted a big family. My husband is one of seven. I want to feel life in me again.

I had an ‘anterior’ placenta last pregnancy, which meant I didn’t feel movement until late in my pregnancy (about 28 weeks) My waters broke at 31.5 weeks. A week before my baby shower. My daughter was born at 32 weeks, by emergency cesarean, after her heart rate dropped, and didn’t come back up. I wish I could say it was the best day of my life, but in reality, it was the most terrifying. I thought my baby was going to die. My daughter is now 16 months old, and is doing fabulously. And I am peeing on sticks.

I want another baby. But it’s not that easy. I can’t just say ‘I want another baby’ and start trying. I am high risk. I have type one diabetes. High risk. I have a history of miscarriage. High risk. I have a history of twins. High risk. I have a history of prematurity. High risk. I could go blind, if I fall pregnant again. HIGH RISK.

There is really nothing in my favor. And I know, I KNOW, I should just be grateful for what I have. I am so blessed to have my daughter, to have a child. I know so many people who haven’t even had that opportunity. I know I am blessed.

But still. Still I pee on a stick, every freaking month, and I cry when I see that one pink line. At the same time, I am terrified that I will fall pregnant again, terrified of the threat that I could lose a baby. Terrified that I may go blind, and not be able to look after the baby that I have. Yet still, I want to see those two pink lines so badly. I suddenly feel myself back where I was before, tears welling at every new pregnancy announcement, every ultrasound picture, every new life, that I am not carrying. I have carried three lives, yet only can see one. I am selfish. I know of people that have carried more than I, and still have no children on earth.

Yet still. I am selfish. I want another child. I want it more than anything. I would have to risk everything, really, to have it. Could I risk that? Should I risk that? xx

How it feels.

Once again, I am down low. In the hole. In the jaws of the black dog.
How does it feel?
I feel like I don’t have the energy to exist. That functioning is just such hard work. If I stop for a moment, and think, I cry. I don’t know why. It feels like everything is just too hard, and I just don’t know why. Nothing has happened, there was no instigation.  No straw that broke the camels back. It just all got too hard. I want to crawl under my blanket and cry, and stay curled up in a ball until it all goes away.
I wake up in the morning, and have to make myself get up, get up, and function. Do what needs to be done, get from now, till I go back to bed, and not have a complete breakdown. Put one foot in front of the other, and just exist, until the end of the day. Then go to bed, and hope that when I wake up, the darkness will have lifted.

I know it will lift. It always does. For no reason that I can think of, I fall in these holes, I feel like I’m drowning, and then I get through it, because I have to, because I can. In my darkest days, I have to remember that this is not real. This is a trick, an alternate reality, that the imbalance of chemicals has created in my head. It will pass, and I will be able to breath again. Existing will become natural again, not something I have to force. I will smile, and mean it. There is always light at the end of the tunnel, just sometimes it takes a little longer to reach it. xx

This Blind Eye Can Finally See.

This is the first ever post, that I have spent days agonising over. Mulling it over in my head, thinking about what angles I’d take, what I want my message to be. Every other post I have ever written, I have just sat in front of the computer, written what’s in my heart, read it through once, then hit ‘post’. No time for second guessing, no regrets. Why is this post so different? Because it has really made me think about who I am, who I want to be, and what I want my blog to be about.
Lately there have been struggles I have been facing within my on-line community. Nasty words have been written, I have felt attacked and ostracized. Basically, I feel that I have been bullied, by people I once considered my friends. When this first all blew up, I had grand plans of writing a post about bullies, and people hiding behind computer screens, blah blah blah. But then I realised that is not what my blog is about. This blog is about me, about my experiences, and most importantly what I have learned and how I have moved on. I will not use it as a passive aggressive way to get back at people.

The truth is, this whole episode has actually lead me to think about my past actions, in questioning why some people can turn a blind eye to such attacks, I have realised that I have done the exact same thing, many many times. I am very ashamed to admit, that I have witnessed subtle attacks on people, nasty comments, little digs, I have witnessed these things and I have never spoken up, and at times have giggled along with the perpetrators behind the victims backs.

It hurts to have to admit this, to think that I am that kind of person. However, I really believe that I am not alone. That many people reading this have been guilty of the exact same thing. Knowing something was wrong, but keeping quiet all the same. Choosing to keep the peace with the ‘bully’ as opposed to standing up for someone who has found themselves on the outer.  But why? Why do good people choose the side of a person who is causing pain or humiliation to someone else?

When I think about it, this has been going on for so long, particularly in circles of women. Think back to high-school, and the popular or ‘cool’ group of girls- were they the nicest girls, the kindest girls, the girls who would do anything for anyone? Or were they the ‘bitchy’ girls, the girls that could cut a person down with one nasty comment? It seems, quite often, the latter.  How do they become so popular? Because everyone is scared to stand up to them. Because they know, if they stand up to these ‘bullies’ when they pick on someone else, then they will be the ones to be picked on. The ones called nasty names, lies spread around about them, ‘kicked out’ of the group, lose friends. So, of course it is easier to just stay quiet. Perhaps even feel smug that they are not the ones being picked on. That they are ‘friends’ with the bully, so therefore immune to such treatment.

Does this ring bells with anyone? And more disturbingly, can anyone identify with this situation as an adult? I seem to have witnessed it mostly in the online community; forums, facebook, blogs, but I imagine that it occurs everywhere, in the work place, sporting groups, social groups etc. People think that if they just stay quiet, don’t cause any trouble, turn a blind eye to behavior they may not agree with, then everything will be fine. And by ‘people’, I mean me. I thought that. I allowed people to be disrespected, to be laughed at, at times even (the written equivalent of) verbally attacked. And I said nothing. I went along with it. I let the bullies think that their behavior was OK and acceptable. Hence, I am just as bad. Every single person who doesn’t speak up, who lets bad behavior slide is just as bad. Because if we all stood up, if we all questioned why a person was treating someone else with such contempt, then the bullies would lose their power. They would be the one on the outer, they would have to actually think about their actions, and how it affects other people, and how it makes people feel. Every time no one says anything, then their behavior is validated. “It’s OK to treat people like this, because I get away with it. ”
I know the majority of my followers are mothers- Are these the kinds of values we want to instill in our children? “When someone says or does something you know is wrong, just turn a blind eye honey, don’t cause trouble” “It’s better to be friends with the bully, than be on the receiving end” ?? Hell no. I want my daughter to be a strong, confident, independent woman, who stands up for what she believes in, who wont enable bullies to continue bullying. I will be her good example.

I am ashamed that it has taken me to be on the other side, to be the ‘victim’ , to come to this realisation. Very ashamed, and I want to offer my most sincere apology to all of those people I silently witnessed be bullied in one way or another. I promise that I will not enable that kind of behavior ever again, and that I will raise my daughter to be a kind, strong woman, who believes in herself enough to have the courage to stand up and speak out for what she knows is right. xx

Reality Check

I owe a lot to the internet. I met my amazing husband on an internet dating site. We then made our beautiful daughter. I have reconnected with old school friends, and made lovely new friends who I have gone on to meet and ‘click with’ in real life (there’s your shout out Rach!) I connected with an amazing group of women, who have supported me and helped me through pregnancy, premature birth and beyond. I started this blog, and connected with a whole new group of people.
But here’s the thing- somewhere along the way, I got a bit lost in virtual reality. Because it is so much easier to be ‘me’ on the internet. I do not have high self esteem. I do not think highly of myself. I am working on it, but most of the time, I am a bit of a mess. But the internet, well that has opened a whole new door. Here, I can think out what I’m going to say. I can delete sentences over and over again, till I get it right. I can read things over, analyse them, and then change it, so I sound smarter, funnier, less desperate. I can choose what images I portray to the world. I can photo shop all my pictures, before I post them to facebook. I can delete pictures where I look anything less than close to perfect. I can present myself to everyone else, however I wish I could be in ‘real life’. That ‘control’ over how you are perceived is great, awesome even. Until the virtual reality becomes your only reality. Until you become more comfortable with the people who you have built an image for, than people in ‘real life’.
To have people actually come to my house, and see the ‘real’ me, sends me into a panic attack. My house is so messy, I am not like all the blogs I follow, who have daily tasks, and lists, and housework checklists. If  I make it from the moment my daughter wakes up, to the moment my daughter goes to sleep, without completely losing m mind, I am having a good day. I live in maternity pants and maternity singlets (yes, my daughter is 14 months old!) my hair is rarely washed, let alone blow dried and straightened like in my photos. I wear my glasses unless I am going out, and replace with contacts. I don’t have funny, witty things to say. When faced with someone in my lounge-room, my brain rattles around my head, trying to think of something intelligent and interesting to talk about.
‘Virtual’ me, is so much better than ‘real’ me. However, sometimes the ‘real’ me needs ‘real’ friends. Because, as much as the online friends love and support the only ‘me’ they are allowed to see, It. Is. Not. Me.
So many times I sit at this computer, and I write, with tears pouring down my cheeks. And then I delete, and re-write, and re-write until it sounds like something I  think people may want to hear. Until I delete all the desperate, and the heartache, and, what I perceive as ‘drama’. And I post a watered down version of ‘me’. And, here’s the real problem- I wait for people to react to the ‘real’ me, the heartache and sorrow that I feel, but not what I portray. I sit on the other side of my PC, and I wait for people to understand me, people that I don’t even really know, people that don’t even really know me. People that have their own life going on, their own friends, their own dramas. I sit at my computer, and wait for them to notice me. I expect them to know that I am crying, that the flippant words I have typed, mean so much more. I am so immersed in this ‘virtual reality’, that I have lost the actual reality.
So I have stepped back. I am challenging myself to reconnect with real friends in my real life. Because, if I am sitting opposite you, if you can see me, in my less than perfect body, in my less than perfect house, with my less than perfect responses, then you can see my real smile, for all that is great in my life, and my real tears for all that I wish I could change. And that is the reality I need.  xx

The Wedding.

So, last weekend I got married. It was a surprise wedding, only our parents, and at the last minute, a few friends who nearly couldn’t make it, knew. I should preface this post by saying that I have been married before. I wont taint this with all the gory details, but the crux of it was, I was with someone for 7 years, and had the so called ‘fairytale’ wedding to the wrong person. We got married in a beautiful old church, I had the fancy dress, the band, we even had a harpist. We spent a ridiculous amount of money, on a day that meant nothing in the big scheme of things. We were separated after 10 months, and should never, ever have gotten married.
I met my husband 2 years ago today. We have a 13 month old daughter and have been married a week and 2 days. And I know, beyond a doubt, that this will be forever. I think we have both always known that. When I fell pregnant, after 3 months, we didn’t panic. Sure, it was earlier than intended, but it was always going to happen. We were in love, perhaps from the moment we first met. We talked about marriage, as a ‘one day’. One day when we had money, one day when we had the time. One day. We contemplated eloping, just the three of us, but knew that our parents would probably never forgive us.

So one day, about 3 months ago, as we ate dinner at our kitchen table at home, the idea came up of a surprise wedding at our daughters first birthday. All the people we loved and cared about would be there anyway. We didn’t need all the pomp and show. We just wanted to be husband and wife. We already knew a celebrant. The only other thing I really wanted was a photographer, as we had no really nice ‘family’ photos. So that night, it was decided, we would get married. In three months!
I organised everything over the internet and facebook. I ordered my dress from overseas, super cheap. (In the end, one of my beautiful friends paid for it, as a wedding present, you know who you are!) I found a photographer on facebook, organised a small bouquet of mixed flowers from a local florist, my ‘fiance’ hired a suit. All of that was just details. My previous marriage had been all about the wedding. This time, it was about the marriage. The commitment to the man I loved. I would have married him in my pj’s at a registry office, as long as I was marrying him.

Despite the haste, not for a moment did I ever doubt what we were doing. Not for a single second. We wanted the day to be mainly about our daughter, and celebrating her birthday, so we just wanted a simple, quick ceremony at the start, then make the rest of the day all about her. We didn’t want speeches, or dances, or presents. Actually, more to the point, we didn’t need any of that. We just wanted to be husband and wife, and celebrate our miracle girls first birthday.
The day arrived, and I will admit, there was a slight ‘bridezilla’ moment at the torrential rain that poured the entire day, (the ceremony had been planned for outside, along with photos in the winery) But once I arrived, and walked down the makeshift aisle towards my future husband, and saw him fighting back tears (he will hate me for sharing that!) I was just so happy. So damn happy, you couldn’t wipe that smile off my face. I was beaming. Everything I had ever wanted was standing in front of me, declaring his love and commitment to me. Hands down, best day of my life.

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When the celebrant announced us as husband and wife, and presented us to all our friends and family, I felt home. I felt that this was the moment, the place, that I had been striving for, all of my adult life.

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Marriage really does change things. Although everything is essentially the same, I feel different. I feel secure, and calm and at ease. I look at my husband, and I know, that no matter what life throws at me in the future, I will not be alone. That we will face it together. That even if it all gets too much, and I fall in a heap, for the first time in my life, there will be somebody there to pick me back up and hold me until I put myself back together again. I am not alone anymore. xxIMG_6626-199x300