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 ♡

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Nostalgic

I’ve been reflecting a lot lately.

I’ve been trying not tear myself down for my mistakes as much as I have been trying to congratulate myself for overcoming other things. I’ve been looking back on purpose, but not to depress myself. Instead I have been doing it to uplift myself, and to encourage myself to take the next step in my journey.

There’s a certain era in my life that I keep going back to, not just in conscious thought but in my dreams too. It seems like there’s something unfinished, like I didn’t get closure somewhere and I’m trying to seek it out. But mainly, when I’m feeling nostalgic about that time in my life, I realise it’s a feeling I miss.

In my first flat, at the age of 16, I would often find myself thinking “I can’t believe it’s mine!” as I came home or when I was enjoying my own company. This barely happened by the time I left that place, moving in with an ex-partner (I’m still kicking myself for giving up so much stuff!) because I hated it by the time I left. But! There were so many times in that era of my life that make me feel wistful when I look back.

But was it really that great?

Because, I know exactly what was going on in my life in the three years I lived there and it wasn’t pretty. It was painful. And sure there were good times and the new-found feeling of independence was the sweetest thing, but was I as happy as my memory is trying to convince me?

The simple answer is no. The slightly longer answer is occasionally.

When I really think about it, what I miss is how I loved my independence when it was new and my naivety. Those were the days when my Nana was still alive and I had a circle of friends in actual real life (which probably the saddest sentence I’ve wrote to date). When I was not yet aware of my internalised misogyny or my PTSD which was bubbling under the surface, undiagnosed and repressed. I had dreams and goals, yes, they motivated me through my darkest days but… I was yet to get a very rude awakening.

So I’d say late 2011 to 2014 was my era of naivety and hope. Sure, the later end of that scale is on the darker end of the gradient but it was a time in my life that I vaguely remember and am nostalgic about.

I was ungrateful too. I had my flaws. I still do, I’d be an absolute arse if I said I don’t. It’s just, back then, they were of a different nature: Hormone-fuelled and manipulated, naive in a time when there were stars in my eyes.

I suppose it happens to us all.

We don’t love or believe like we used to when it was new. So I guess what I really miss is the Rebecca who still trusted people, who still had friends and who could actually love. She was often stupid but good at heart. She was troubled but she tried be kind.

I’m not sure I am anything like her. I am untrusting, and often lonely, but loneliness isn’t as bad as finding myself in another soul-crushing relationship where my attempts to love are… Well, eroded by another dysfunctional human being. I am, by no means, perfect. I can be toxic, too. I’ve made mistakes. But I try to own up to that, I try to apologise and make amends for it. But I have changed. I’m sort of dithering between who I want to be, who I am and what I think I should be. Always confused about how I should be in any given social situation.

And maybe I should just be me.

Therapy outlined a lot, but I realised finding out who I am without trauma, is not just about discovery, it’s about creation.

‘Mom Standards’|Collab

Hello everyone,

For my first ever collab, I am joining up with Bex from raisingfletcherandeden!

Bex is a wonderful mother of two beautiful children, married to a lucky bloke named Jon and her photography is incredible too. We have been friends, and even penpals in the past, for years now. You should totally follow her blog!

We were discussing a relatable post when we realised that despite our different situations, we share the same struggles as mothers. Naturally, this was an awesome opportunity to collab!

Without any further ado, I’m going to let Bex take over my blog…


Hi everyone, it’s Bex here taking over Rebecca’s blog. I’m also a Rebecca too but more commonly known as Bex or “momeh” if you’re my cheeky two year old Eden. Anyway…

I recently came across an image on my Instagram feed, a quote actually, and it made me laugh a little, it was just so fitting and so true to me that I reposted it to my stories.

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Soon after, Rebecca messaged me and it turned out that it was also very fitting for her too and I wasn’t alone with my messy hair amongst other things, things that we both have in common since becoming mothers. We had a great chat about it and decided to get together and do a collab on the subject. We may both have different backgrounds but one thing we both share is motherhood and how it’s changed us and how we think about things.

Before I became a first time mom (to my now 3 year old Fletcher), my life was completely different, for instance, I had a full time job which I enjoyed. I was still living at home with my parents and once me and my other half got engaged he moved in and we agreed that we’d start saving to buy a house.

I thought nothing of going shopping on a weekend with my mom and easily blowing £100 maybe £200 on clothes and make up. Also, Primark, never heard of it!

Fast forward to my now 27 year old self and here I am lying in bed as I type this in my good old primark pyjamas and very comfy Bridget Jones pants, also from Primark (good old Primark). Did I mention the little stain on my pyjama top from my dinner that is definitely not going to come out but I don’t care because I’ve had worse stains ruin my clothes? Oh well, it’s only another stain to add to the collection. I’m not bothered at all, honestly.

I actually can’t complain because I had the luxury of putting make up on today and even dying my hair. Why is it as well on the very rare occasions you get to do your hair and make up, dig out your best bobbly Primark jumper and jeans from last year and you’re feeling great, you don’t bump into anybody you know? Step outside the door looking like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards with bags under your eyes so big they’ve now turned into shopping trolleys and you see absolutely bloody everyone, even people from school..oh em gee. It used to really bother me when I couldn’t do my hair and make up or feel comfortable in my clothes but not anymore. I’m not embarrassed by my mom appearance, it’s bloody tough! I’m just amazed if I can get everyone in the house fed, watered and clean before 9am, not including myself.

I love to shop at Next, H&M and small handmade clothing shops online for Fletcher and Eden. I just love buying them clothes and shoes and don’t get me wrong, there’s also a fair share from good old Primark in their wardrobe too and a few hand-me-downs from my friend. I think nothing of spending money on things they need or just because it’s cute. I’d happily spend my money on Fletcher and Eden, no matter what the cost and 9 times out of 10 it leaves very little left for me. When it does come to me though, no way am I paying more than £15 for a pair of jeans these days! Motherhood has turned me into a bit of a tightarse.

Being a mom means that you’re bottom of the pile, you come last because there’s always something popping up more important. You make do with what’s left at the end of everything and you know what?

I don’t care (maybe a bit).

Bex
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I just want to say a big thank you to Rebecca for letting me collab with her and letting me lose writing this post. Keep up everything you’re doing, you’re doing a great job momma :o)