Festive feelings.

What a lonely Christmas this is going to be.

I keep trying to put on a brave face and remain positive, I am determined to make the best out of it and really enjoy my day with Reuben… but it’s still just going to be me and Reu.

And today, a wave of grief hit. I found some of my Nana’s socks that I must have borrowed and never gave back. They were in the back of my drawer, fluffy, and still smelt like her laundry detergent and her home – over four years after her passing. I put them on and I wept.

I haven’t cried about my Nana for a long time. I remember when she first passed I cried all day every day. And then it was every other day. And then it was once or twice a week. To say I was heartbroken was an understatement. It absolutely crushed me. But there was a shift a few months after she passed, and following the birth of my brother. I decided I wanted to make her proud. And I also decided that I was in no fit state to have a child of my own, I was extremely broody and dreamt of motherhood (have done since I was 15 in fact) but I realised that the depressed insomniac on antidepressants needed to make every area of her life more stable before she had a baby. But that’s, that’s quite a tangent I went on, isn’t it? Oh dear.

Anyway, it’s been a while since I cried. But these socks, they really brought it home.

And Christmas? Christmas is creating such an ache in my heart because it screams family and festivity. It screams of indulgence and religion too (but I’m not religious). But here I am, knowing full well it’s going to feel like just another day for the most part.

Well, actually… I’m going to try my best to enjoy it. I could really enjoy Christmas Day but there’s a possibility I will be crying wreck when the day comes. That’s what happens when you run out of family.

Not that they’re all dead mind. Some I cut off, some I don’t like and some just don’t want me around.

I envy people will close families.

Because as much as I adore my online community of friends that I genuinely do care about. There are days when you really notice how alone you are.

I know, I know, I’m not truly alone, I have Reuben. I know this. It’s just that we can’t exactly strike up a conversation and he’s very independent. If I try to play with him with his toys he looks up at me, eyebrow raised, until I move away. He is the sweetest little boy though, I do my best to laugh with him all day long.

Today in fact, I turned the TV off after breakfast, because I’m doing a little experiment. I’m trying to see how much more I do, and how much more Reuben plays, if the TV isn’t distracting us. I’ll probably turn it on around dinner time though.

That’s the thing though, it’s such a distraction from all my thoughts and feelings. When Reuben took his nap (and he’s 95 minutes into this nap), I got studying and got through all the online activities – well not all some I labelled ‘irrelevant and annoying’ and blatantly dismissed them – so I’m now up to date. Hey, I got 14/15 questions right on the survey I just did about the week’s studies and I’m impressed with myself.

But back on point, it’s Christmas and that makes my heart heavy. But I’m going to do my best to have a lovely Christmas with my Reubs.

We will play Christmas music and movies, have the fairy lights on all day long, eat lots of food and I’ll try to stay off my phone as much as possible (I like taking pictures but then I get distracted by notifications and then I end up scrolling – it’s a trap!). I’m going to love seeing Reuben open his presents and completely ignore the contents! Haha. No but seriously I think he’s going to love them… and probably the balloons I intend to buy, since the ones from his birthday are pretty much stress balls at this point.

On a very soppy note…
Reuben is my link between heaven and earth. I had a psychic reading done in December 2016 where my Nana told me she was sending me my baby back. I was told he’d make it. And so, when I look at my sweet boy. And people tell me he’s an old soul, that he’s been here before, I just know in my heart that he is. His eye colour is settling but sometimes they go the colour of my Nana’s eyes and that always makes me a bit emotional. And even if people think that I’m silly for believing this, I will still believe it. That little boy, saved my life, and keeps saving my life, and although I know he’s his own person… he’s still my link between heaven and earth. And I intend to give him a wonderful childhood.

I think he must have heard that; he has just woke up! Time to give him cuddles!

Thank you for reading!

With love, Rebecca ♡

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The Extended Insta Post #1

I’m awake way past a reasonable bed time once again, and why? Well I’m sure that many of you will understand the desire to get in some me-time. And there is always the realisation you must pick between getting the nightly chores done and seeing to yourself. Sometimes (*ahem* all the time!) you find yourself procrastinating too.

I finally sat down with some hot orange dilute, a cold-and-flu tablet and my brand new notebook at 23:17 tonight. That was my me-time today; writing a journal entry for what I want in 2019. I felt eager to write something in it because I bought it on impulse knowing I couldn’t afford it because I was sad. I do that kinda thing a little too often, I think we all do.

I have spent the best part of the day trying to catch up on laundry (there is now a mountain of washed laundry residing in the travel cot as well as a mountain in the laundry basket awaiting their transfer to the washing machine), keep my newly clingy baby – though i hate using that word it’s true – entertained & I have made a start on the deep cleaning of the kitchen. I have washed the Christmas dining set ready for use and cleared out the cupboards. I’ve found an alarming amount of things that needed throwing/donating/recycling hiding in there. And I’m not yet done. The bottom half of the kitchen will need cleaning tomorrow. But why am I writing about this? Well, it’s because I’m proud of myself. I’m going to bed knowing I made my baby happy and the place is clean and if that’s not a win, I don’t know what is!

I even tried to study today, and it didn’t work out because Reu is a little harder to settle lately, but I did make a start and I have an action plan. I am genuinely interested in actually reading the chapters of my textbook (except the methods book that accompanies it, what a load of boring shite that is) so that does make it easier when I do find the time to study.

The truth is, lately I’ve been really trying to find the balance between motherhood, housework, studying, and finding time for myself. I thought since I literally have a 24 hours break from parenting every week, I would have plenty of time to accomplish everything, but I’ve discovered it’s not as simple as booking in appointments of self care or studies. I’m a human being and sometimes I just don’t feel like it and then I find that I’m often just too sad when Reu is away to be productive. If I am productive then I haven’t taken the opportunity to rest, and if I have rested then I haven’t taken the opportunity to be productive. But I’m slowly finding that it doesn’t have to be one or the other; I don’t need to plan everything. Because somehow, it always gets done and then it’s there again tomorrow. So why worry?

Like I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been feeling very nostalgic about this time last year. That pang of sadness I keep getting when I look out of my window and see the way the lights look at this darker time of year, isn’t fading. I know it is my heart clinging onto a time when the world felt as though it had been renewed. I had this brand new baby and I was a brand new Mama. It was an incredibly special time. I acknowledge that it makes me feel wistful and melancholy, and I accept that – it’s okay to feel sad.

The sadness is easily outweighed by the big sloppy kisses Reuben plants on my cheeks, by the sound he makes when he cuddles up to me – he loves doing this thing where he sticks his arms by his sides when I cuddle him and he tenses up (I think he’s stretching?) and makes this “uuhuhmmmm” giggly kind of sound. It’s delightful. The sadness also doesn’t overshadow the way I have felt my heart heal recently. I have started to move on from certain things/people that I were grieving for; certain songs don’t hurt. I have been healing from these experiences and that’s an incredible feeling.

And yes, lately, I’ve had bad days and weeks with my mental but that’s okay, I got through that too… It got kinda scary but luckily I wasn’t alone when it all came to a climax and I couldn’t hide it anymore. I’ve learnt it’s okay to reach out. I’ve learnt more about the people around me recently too because of it.

And on that note, I bid you goodnight!

Thank you for reading,

With love, Rebecca ♡

This Time Last Year

I remember the way I felt this time last year. The way the air felt, the white noise of something mechanical humming at night (I still can’t figure out what it is), the way the lights across the city seemed crisper… It all reminds me, like the most wonderfully enchanting memory. There is no doubt in my mind that I’m remembering with rose-tinted glasses. But I know for a fact, also, that I remember that the person I was before Reuben was born felt a kind of excitement, naivety and apprehension that I’m scared I will never feel again.

The selfie I took before heading to the hospital to be induced.

I remember feeling dreadfully uncomfortable, completely DONE with being pregnant and massive. And moreover, I was done being told how massive I was. As if I couldn’t tell!? I was sick of the sickness, the acid reflux, the endless peeing, the pain I was feeling around my ribs, the ridiculous amounts of discharge and the sweating. You know, I was still trying my best to cherish my pregnancy but I think I spent more time trying to film baby kicks than I did actually appreciating the moments (something I will remember if I’m lucky enough to have a second). I would rest my hands on my bump, take endless photos, but by 37 weeks I was done. So when I was offered an induction days before my due date, I leapt at the chance.

I’d seen a lot of inductions on One Born Every Minute and I’d read the leaflet but nothing could have prepared me for the days that followed. I felt like I’d been in hospital for a week before I was actually induced – in a different hospital – on my due date.

But my mind seems to have fixated on the little details of the hospital I was supposed to give birth in, when I was waiting to be taken to delivery suite to have my waters broken. In all honesty, it was quite lovely but I was so impatient and being in a hospital bay all day waiting around was driving me a bit nuts. I wasn’t very well prepared, I hadn’t brought much to entertain myself – which is probably why I remember the space around me in vivid detail. From the way the light hit the blue flooring during the day, to the way the overhead lamp created a calming ambience at night. I remember bouncing on that big purple gym ball for hours hoping labour would come on spontaneously but I now realise, it was doing very little for me, and it was probably making me all the more impatient.

I was offered a transfer to the other hospital where I had a bed on delivery suite waiting for me on my due date, a few hours after my mucus plug went, and I jumped at the chance. I now wonder if my experience might have been different if I’d have stayed at the hospital that I wanted to give birth in. But nevermind, what good are what ifs? No good at all.

So there I was, in the delivery suite of this other hospital, taking a quick video of the room for my Instagram. I was telling people I’d no longer be replying. Although I did later on, at some point, I can’t remember when. And I had no idea what was coming as far as the syntocin drip was concerned.

I love that before they broke my waters and put me on that drip, I was blissfully unaware saying “whatever happens I’ll deal with it, as long as baby is okay”. I mean, that wasn’t a bad mindset to have but… Yeah… the girl on the ball in her nightie who just had her waters broken, and the girl on the bed who just got given the epidural were a couple of hours apart, and I can assure you the girl on the bed felt like she’s been through a kind of hell that she knew had changed her forever. The rest of it was a breeze though, if that’s any consolation – it was to me!

I gave birth to Reuben just over 12 hours after they’d broken my waters, and it was incredible. I felt the love instantly – it was euphoric! I felt the rush of love which I’d heard people say is indescribable and I was so relieved. I was so, so happy. When I had been waiting to push, I remember thinking “this is it, my dream is about to come true, I’m gonna meet my baby!” and that was an unforgettable moment too.

So is it any wonder that I feel this way now that Reuben’s 1st birthday is a day away? It’s so bittersweet. I feel happy and sad at the same time. I feel my heart aching so badly when I think back to it. I know this is common in mothers but I never really hear or read anyone talking about it.

Maybe it’s because I feel cheated out of enjoying those newborn days, maybe it’s because I had a vision of how I wanted things to be during pregnancy and it wasn’t like that. It’s not like my expectations were high but when you’re poor and feeling unsupported through both pregnancy and your newly made mother days, it’s very hard to feel like I got anything right at all back then… I don’t know. I guess I am overly critical but when I think back, I have regrets and I find myself saying “here’s what I’d do differently”.

Anyway, it’s hard to believe Reuben’s been on this earth for a year now. He’s turned into my little best friend & he makes me smile all the time. Even though we have been poorly recently, there’s still been smiles. And I’m far from perfect but I know I’m a good Mama.

I’m feeling very nostalgic and wistful about this time last year but don’t worry, I’m also concentrating on making this year’s memories count! Reuben’s presents are ready for Thursday, the flat is looking nicer than it ever has done (apart from the kitchen right now) & I’ve even put the Christmas tree up!

I love motherhood, it puts a kind of joy and resilience in my soul that nothing else can. I mean, there’s obviously sadness and mum guilt in there too BUT! Let’s focus on the good!

Thank you for reading,

With love, Rebecca ♡

November!

Hello November,

I love this month. I mean, there was always something about November that I loved. But this year, its not just home to Bonfire Night and the festive season kicking in, it’s also Reuben’s 1st birthday too!

I mean, I’m all kinds of sad that Reuben is growing up but first birthdays will do that to you! This the marker that my baby is no longer a baby. I mean, he will always be my baby but he’s nearly walking and is starting to cause mischief. So, he’s really officially becoming a toddler on that day.

I’m also going to slowly start decorating for Christmas. Last year I put fairy lights and the Christmas tree up in time for Reuben’s arrival because that’s what I wanted to bring him home to. I want this to be a little tradition so I’m going to make sure there’s decorations up for his birthday.

Wow, I am already emotional realising that it’s very nearly one year since I welcomed my little one into this world with a fierce and healing kind of love. I’m so excited to see him open his presents (and take interest in the wrapping paper in boxes, not the gifts hahaha!) and play with balloons and bubbles. It’s going to be lovely!

A personal goal now is to blog more frequently, find more time to study and not get my knickers in a twist over the housework building up. It’s overwhelming but it always takes a lot less time than I think it will.

So, hey November, be good please!

Thank you for reading!

With love, Rebecca ♡

The Wave of Light 2018

Nobody really tells you what it feels like, after you get that positive pregnancy test, and all the immediate emotions subside.

Nobody tells you how to deal with the anxiety, because there’s something really precious going on inside of you, and you’re already picturing the journey ahead – but you have no control over whether your pregnancy will go smoothly, or whether or not that baby makes it.

And sure, you probably found out when your baby was a poppy sized embryo, or perhaps a grain of rice, but if you were anything like me – that tiny undetectable-by-ultrasound baby already meant the world to you.

I don’t think anyone knows how to deal with it. Did I spent my entire pregnancy holding my breath? Yes. I often found myself holding back tears of panic and frustration, and sometimes, I couldn’t.

On social media, I posted weekly updates. I’d finish up by saying “keep growing strong, little one”. Every single week, I celebrated it was another week. Another milestone. Another step closer to holding my baby. Another week less until my due date. I refused to let myself see anything about miscarriages or stillbirths. I refused to acknowledge it. Or I’d have a panic attack. I had to believe that me and my baby were gonna make it.

Thankfully, as you can tell, Reuben made it. The relief when he was born was indescribable, much like that rush of love I was fortunate enough to feel straight away. It’s not like the anxiety goes away but at least I could see him – I could tell he was breathing. As long as I can see him, I can keep that anxiety hidden. I still worry now. I don’t like being away from him. That maternal desire to protect him never stops. But at least I know he’s here, he’s safe. He made it and I never take that for granted.

But not all mothers get their happy ending.

Chemical pregnancy. Miscarriage. Stillbirth. Taboo subjects. But they happen to 1 in 4 women.

And I am part of that 1 in 4.

2 suspected miscarriages (no closure there, huh?) and very recently, a chemical pregnancy. But this, this is a post for all those who have lost their babies. Not forgetting their fathers either, who will grieve for them as well. This is for them. This is for you.

It’s heartbreaking, because you really do envision your bump, and buying tiny outfits and everything baby needs from a cot to a thermometer, and you picture giving birth, meeting your baby, loving on that baby.

But some people never get to see it become a reality, or they’re given a taste for it to be cruelly snatched from them, leaving them asking “Why me? Why my baby?” wondering how they will cope, how they will ever survive the heartbreak. Seeing nothing but babies and bumps around them. They see the world is full of cruel people who hurt their own, whilst they would have given anything to keep the baby they loved so much.

I am thankful that mine happened early. Some people lose their babies much later on. They have to suffer what I can only imagine is heartbreak beyond words. I want you to know I hear you.

It shouldn’t be taboo. Your baby mattered.

These were our babies and they were loved and they were wanted. And then they were gone. Just like that.

With my heart, I hope that you get your rainbow soon.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. And the 15th, at 7pm, is when we light a candle to commemorate the little ones who grew their wings far too early and left tiny footprints behind.

I will be lighting a candle this evening, will you?

With love, Rebecca xo

recovery update; a little chat

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Last year, I said that 2018 would be the year of personal development (here’s written proof on my former blog) and you know what, despite feeling like someone was throwing cannons at my positivity ship, I am not wrong. Even the hard parts of life shape us, test us and this year I have made decisions that have definitely improved me and my life.

I find myself actually drinking plenty of water, I am talking 2 litres a day. Some days I can’t, if I’m out and about, but as a rule, I am. I do yoga now (time to activate some sleeping muscles). I am developing a healthier relationship with food – I’m actually testing out a little theory I have about why dieting doesn’t work. I am starting to feel as though I am emerging from a shell. I’m really finding myself spiritually and emotionally – not to mention, I am about to have my last therapy session tomorrow. I feel SO much better than I did when I started.

Have you ever had that feeling in your chest, a slow and increasing excitement, when you know good is coming?

It’s been there for a while now. I feel like I’ve really embraced the ‘learning to love yourself’ thing. I’m taking care of myself. And I have finally started to accept myself for who I am instead of trying to be something I’m not.

When I look back now, it is to reflect. I cannot pretend that the post traumatic stress disorder doesn’t have a tight grip on me, because it does, the difference is that I no longer let it define who I am. I read that anger is really grief, and it blew my mind. It seems to obvious to me now, but it’s changed the way I think about what I feel. It’s enabled me to let it go. I have realised a lot of things lately about myself and about what I want. It’s amazing because suddenly I have the ability to really appreciate the little pleasures in life, to really soak up Reubens’ laughter and stay in those moments.

So what can I say? What was the point in this post?

Basically, it’s what blogging is for me. I have blogged for years, and it’s always been about documenting the journey. I have often felt like I’m not interesting enough, just babbling on, but it’s so liberating to have somewhere to be yourself – even if it is online!

The rest of 2018 will be about appreciating life for what it is, continuing on this journey of personal development & making memories with my gorgeous baby boy. There’s also my return to studies this October. That’s going to be a challenge isn’t it? Oh well, I’m ready! Life is full of ups and downs and I am hopeful for the future.

Thank you for reading!
With love, Rebecca x