Wednesday, November 26, 2014

how disaster strikes

Today Emma went to the store with her daddy, just a normal outing.  They left like usual, and came back like usual, and nothing seemed out of the ordinary, until they told me that Emma choked very severely on a piece of candy and just about passed out.  Thankfully, MrH had the knowledge and presence of spirit to administer the Heimlich maneuver, but I cannot stop thinking that if this happened with the nanny, maybe things would not have been the same.  Perhaps it was not a piece of candy, perhaps it was just saliva causing her throat to close up (laryngospasm), in which case she might have recovered.  Regardless, Emma could have just as easily died in the store today.

And that is how disaster strikes, swiftly, unexpectedly.  One moment your kid goes to the store to get fruit with her daddy, the next moment she can choke on candy and drop dead. Gone from your life forever, just like that.  One moment you are pregnant and loving your round belly that is growing, the baby that is kicking, and the husband that thinks you are a miracle in transformation, and the next moment you start leaking amniotic fluid and in less than a few hours, or days, all is over and you are alone, no baby, no belly, and no miracle.

How is it that knowing this in the depth of my bones, I can still go through each day completely oblivious to this universal truth?  Is this mercy or blindness?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

clothing style

I am wrestling with my clothing style again.  I say again because it is one of my periodic areas of upheaval, at least since I have been pregnant, not pregnant, skinny because of losing Adrian and being sad, a bit overweight because of IVF with Emma, then pregnant with Emma, then post partum, then fit but not very skinny until Daniel, then pregnant with Daniel, then back to fit and not the skinniest ever but normal BMI weight again.

Are you dizzy yet?

I am.

On top of that, I have started work again after being a stay at home mom for eight months after having Daniel.  But I am only working half days, so that leaves half days of being with kids at home. My work and the kids require vastly, vastly different clothing choices.  I work in an office, and although the environment is very forgiving, I am a professional, and I feel better if I dress as such.

Lastly, I am torn between my equally strong pulls towards minimalism and order on the one hand, and creativity and choices on the other hand.  I need to respect both, as if I forget about the minimalism/order side, I feel overwhelmed, and if I go too spartan in that direction, I feel bored and drab and blah. I have been down to one pair of pants, one skirt and two sweaters on the one hand, and up to a very full walk in closet of which I pretty much wore everything, as everything fit and had a cousin to match.  I now do not have the time to sit and fold and look after so many clothes with the TLC that they deserve.  I like my clothes ironed.  I don't like stains or pills, and I spend time getting those out.  I fix small holes immediately, no kidding, I have a needle and multiple threads next to my toothbrush in the bathroom.

My actual style is forever changing as well...I am talking about my style at work.  At home, I have a simple formula of 4 jeans (or 2 lululemon crops in summer), and four nursing tops (long sleeve in winter, and short sleeve in summer).  Ugg boots in winter, and flats in summer.  All done.  Summer is short, winter is long, so I allocate proportionally more clothes to winter, and more money to that department.

At work, I mostly wear wool skirts with boots and cashmere sweaters on top.  I have just acquired (this year) two wool trousers, one dress, and two blazers.  I am branching in that direction now, so as to avoid the repetitiveness of skirt plus sweater.  However, as a wannabe minimalist, I should love the repetitiveness of my very defined tendency towards skirt/boot/sweater. See what I mean? I am pulled in the direction of variety and my minimalist side feels uncomfortable with the expansion, but my variety craving side was feeling bored and wanted to break some new ground.

I am reading style and fashion blogs, and find that even stylists don't have their own style sometimes!! Some people alternate so much from earthy/warm colours to cool/black/white, from whimsical/boho to clean/sharp lines, from patterns to solids, that I am thinking IF I WANT TO BE A MINIMALIST, I CANNOT READ FASHION/STYLE BLOGS.  I would say it is definitely a good idea that they vary things, but man, I need to see a trend, a pattern, a tendency of the wearer, not just nice outfits creatively put together.

I have no idea what any of this has to do with the topic of my blog (nothing?), except to say that, as with anything in life, we hold inside ourselves two opposing sides, and they pull us in different directions at different times.  If I were to listen to miss minimalist on the left side of my brain today, and severely cut down my wardrobe today, miss creative on the right side would be very sad tomorrow...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

comment

Hey, if you are reading, comment just to say hi.  I am curious who is still reading my blog!  At one point I thought it was becoming a journal, since I am the only one that is still showing up here, but I see I am still getting over 100 reads a day, so can I please  find out who out there is reading my journal???  HAHAHA

Saturday, November 15, 2014

failure

This is so very true!!! I felt like a failure when I could not get pregnant, then definitely felt like a failure when my cervix gave way and I lost the baby at 20 weeks, then felt like a failure some more when I could not get pregnant or had chemical pregnancies, and then when I did have the baby I felt like a huge giant failure for not producing enough breastmilk. By the time I got to having the third baby and developed a rare case of severe preeclampsia, and on top of that had a placenta accreta, I was so used to being a rare bird kind of failure at the whole reproduction thing that I no longer felt ANYTHING about it and just got on with life. I think you have inspired me to write about my feelings and how they just atrophied with repetitive injury...

I wrote this comment in response to a very good post that I read at No Kidding in NZ.  I used to feel like such a failure, that it is worth repeating the concept in my words as well, if only to help others who are at the point that I was.  

When I could not conceive initially, it was a shock.  Prior to that, I thought of myself quite highly (why exactly, I don't know, and it bears examining, since being healthy, smart, tall, beautiful or any other adjectives that I might have self-attributed or heard from others actually have nothing to do with my own achievement really and have everything to do with the gifts received from God, genetics and the luck of the draw).   I still hold myself up to extremely high standards, and it will be part of me for the rest of my life to bear the burden of my perfectionism.  However, suffice it to say that I got quite the shock when things were just not working as planned, despite no obvious problems.  

I took some time to accept that not all things can be done perfectly, that conception was out of my control, and hence that I could not hold myself accountable for the outcomes.  Then, I got pregnant via IVF and lost the baby due to incompetent cervix.  The sense of guilt coming out of that "failure" is still around to this day, but I have learned to live with it.  There was guilt about all of the subsequent failed IVF's, and sense of guilt about not being able to breastfeed Emma like I thought all mothers SHOULD (ha!  good word, should...). 

By the time I got to Daniel, something interesting had shifted in me.  I simply became immune to guilt, more or less.  I just accepted that that is the way I am built, that my luck of the draw was this never-ending series of mishaps, some more monumental than others.  And I suddenly felt free of a giant burden.  Yes, occasionally the burden can be triggered again by a senseless comment that I unwittingly do not filter, usually when I am tired and run down.  But somewhere in my subconscious mind, I have accepted the futility of trying to do anything to change my reproductive "failures", and that acceptance was a huge relief.  

I don't know how this happened, I just know that it did, and it did not happen right away, but after many, many times of being hurt.  I guess I just decided that I can no longer be bothered to be hurt by these judgements, whether they came from me or from others. 

My hope is that this healing happen for everyone eventually.  Every emotional pain, including guilt, and the sense of failure, has to dull down at some point.  The initial intensity has to diminish, otherwise we would not be able to function.  I think that is what happened to me, it was just too much to feel badly about, so I just stopped feeling badly.  And when I did, I felt relief.  But it was not something I had chosen to do, it just came about (and I am glad that it did :). 


Friday, November 14, 2014

mother to a stillborn baby

I don't often post about Adrian, my stillborn little boy, but that does not mean that I don't think about him every day.  I find it hard to write about him.  He belongs more in my thoughts than in my everyday life, and the people that I hang out with don't know much about my past, and about my pregnancy with him, about losing him.  Since he came into my life and left, I have moved to a different city, got a different job, had two more children, and the hospital in which he and Emma were born was completely demolished and the ground is now bare.

I also don't allow myself to feel the pain of losing him too often.  I worry that I am suppressing that part of my life a little too well.  I touch his urn every day, and once in a while I remember his limp body, his tiny chest, his vulnerable neck that I wanted to kiss but would have had no room to do so as it was so small.  Everything about him small, fragile, lovely, sweet, and tiny baby-ish.

I am his mother, perhaps (one could argue) in a different way than I am Emma and Daniel's mother, but still there is no doubt in my mind that I am his mother.  Mothering, I feel, is a way of being, not really something that I do.  I feel protective, loving beyond belief, courageous, firm, I feel like nothing can get in the way of what I perceive as being the best path for my children, and I am fearless  regarding what would happen to me when it comes to protecting them.

I know that mothering Adrian is quite different from mothering my toddler Emma, but hey, mothering Emma is different from mothering baby Daniel too.  They all have different needs.  Adrian needs to be remembered and prayed for and held softly and gently in my heart forever.  Emma needs lots of things, but mainly attachment and security and a happy environment in which she can thrive.  Daniel needs lots of food, and warmth, and a dry clean diaper, and to touch my face and pull my hair and giggle with me. I honestly just do the best I can for every one of my children, but I do not feel any less of a mother to one than to the other two.

I am writing this because I know that some women have not had living children after their stillborn babies, and because I would have wanted to know whether I was any less of a mother than a woman who has living children.  Having been blessed with having both sides of this experience, this is my take on things.  Once you bond, you are a mother, and bond you will, whether the baby is born alive or not.  For a little stillborn boy or girl, you want to do your best to make sure there was no suffering, you tell them and show them your love, you look after their body with care and reverence and take great pains to make sure that their memory is kept alive.  You never forget them, and you don't allow those who love you to forget your son or daughter either.  There are another hundred big and little things that you do that I am leaving out now, because I know I don't need to continue.  It is the love that makes one a mother, not the presence or absence of the child on her lap.

Emma's conversations

This is kind of like microblog Mondays, which I should sign up for.

I just woke up and am struggling to put back on her pi's (why she took them off is anybody's guess)

Emma:  You look stinky!!! (giggle)
Me:  I do? (worriedly smelling own morning breath)
Emma:  Yes!! you are stinky!!
Me:  Is it my hair?
Emma:  Ooops!  you made a silly fart!

I MOST DEFINITELY DID NOT.
Conversations with a toddler are the best.  So full of wisdom and compassion and logic.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

full of pie

This was me last night:  come home from work after working for four hours at a fairly fast pace, all wired up and full of tense energy.  Yell at kids and husband because house not clean.  Apologize and resolve to be a better person in the future.  Put kids to bed and, instead of falling asleep, have a wonderful time with my husband, just chatting and relaxing.  Feel like I have gotten over my tiredness and emotional fatigue associated with work.  Wander to the kitchen, just to make sure that the fridge is still there.  (Occasionally one has to check, you never know).  Find blueberry pie in the fridge, about a third of a double crust pie leftover from the day before.  Eat a big slice (with whipped cream).  Mmmm, very good.  Hit the spot.  Eat another slice.  Mmmm, still good.  Definitely not hungry anymore.  However, continue eating because this pie is so good, it is a shame to throw it away, and it would be weird to put in the fridge just a tiny piece left, all the while realizing that none of these reasons is a good reason to eat.  In addition, I felt like my hand was moving by itself, my jaw was chewing by itself, and my actual brain was somewhere else, on a tropical island vacation.

I have not been in a mind space like this in a very long time, and it shows that I am overtired.  I have decided today that any measure designed to help me do less work, or be more efficient at cleaning the house (or at work, if possible) is worth investigating.  Hence, I have ordered a dictation software for work, instead of typing, and also I have thinned out a bit the toys that are lying all over the place (particularly the ones with many small pieces, you know what I mean).  Anything that can help me streamline the process of tidying up a bit is worth the effort and sacrifice.  And a bounty of toys plus cranky mother is not as good as a scarcity of toys plus happy mother.  (Still aiming for the medium though :).