Sunday, 20 November 2016

The Invisible Umblical

My little one is sick
and I am much too tired for nightmares,
but leagues away my mum wakes up 
a cold sweat all about her. 

Worried on my babes behalf,
 a child once removed,
The spooling thread of mother love
 stretched farther than she'd choose. 

We used to be so close, you see, 
our heartbeats knit together, 
but now I face the world alone
 even when I'm near her.

And it's the same for her, 
at seven months she feels it strong, 
turns around to check on me,
 a seconds parting is too long.

I look at her my tiny girl, 
so peaceful in her slumber, 
Will I wake up some day I think
 worried for her daughter? 

So time turns and turns again
as daughter becomes mother
hearts expand to its refrain
stretching yet still further.


I wrote this when Clara was poorly last month, its still a little rough around the edges but I wanted to share.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

The Thief of Joy

They say that comparison is the thief of Joy.

This is something I've been thinking about a lot recently and seeing as this blog is ostensibly about looking for ways to encounter Joy I figured that it was time I wrote about my recent encounters with the Thief of Joy..

This has been a problem for me for a long time. In this perfect Facebooking generation, we often don't cut ourselves or those around us much slack when it comes to reality. 

I vividly remember looking through the pictures of a mutual friend when Facebook was still new on the scene, she had long glossy hair, even longer legs and her life seemed to be one glamorous outfit and photo shoot after the other. She also jumped off stuff. A lot. I think mainly because it showed off her legs to perfection but there may have been a more practical  reason, who's to say?

Since being pregnant and becoming a mother this comparison has jumped up a notch (or ten!) this past academic year at Ridley there were ten babies born. So that's ten different sized bumps, ten mums with different needs and opinions and ways of doing things, ten different labour stories and ten wonderful, unique children born by the end. 

Even though in theory I know that the beauty is found in the differences I still found it a struggle to avoid comparison. 

On a couple of occasions during my pregnancy I was left completely crushed by an offhand comment someone made and I, in turn probably said some unintentionally insensitive things myself. 

It's so easy to forget that everyone's experience is different. I learned fast that I could not generalise based on my limited knowledge of what happened to my own body during pregnancy and birth. 

 It is such a vulnerable time, this growing and nurturing of a small human. 

If I thought it would get better once she was born then I was wrong. Emotions are running high in those first weeks and months with private battles being valiantly fought behind closed doors that we know absolutely nothing about. 

The mum of three who you regard as an oracle might actually only just be keeping it together feeling completely exhausted. Or the one who rubs you up the wrong way by exclaiming every week that your baby is huge, could be struggling from the constant fear that her own child isn't putting on weight fast enough. 

Even Post Natal Depression can be hidden by wonderful mothers who are secretly wrestling with untold pain and guilt, all the while carrying on in a heroic fashion. 

Over time I have come to the conclusion that it is inadvisable  to make any kind of specific comment about someone else's child, whether you perceive it to be a compliment or not, it can be received in the wrong light. 

Instead I try to be overwhelmingly positive in a more general way to hopefully encourage, also to be as open as possible about my own insecurities and concerns as an antidote to prideful comparison. 

Oh and I also deleted Facebook so no one can be fooled by my perfect profile picture. 

This is surprisingly hard and I do still struggle all the time with comparing Clara's progress to others, it's crazy - why am I in such a hurry for my little one to grow up?

 I recently came upon a Hollie McNish poem which exemplifies this. Here is an excerpt from it but I highly recommend the whole poem and her book 'Nobody Told Me'

From 'League Table Toddlers'

'As we pressure ourselves in league table fights 
I wonder if mother Theresa slept through the night,
Whether Gandhi crawled first or went straight into walking,
whether Rosa Parks spoke before others were talking. 
Whether Emmeline Pankhurst used a bottle to sleep,
 if Nelson Mandela sucked a dummy for peace.

And I smile like I care as I listen to those, desperate for babies to get up and grow. 

Then I stare at your eyelids sheltering dreams and I smile for those things that you're not going to be.

So please remember my dumpling, I could not care less, whether your stage is an average an advanced or a best. 

Let your legs rest a little,
Roll around a while more
Save your words for a rainy day 
And chill on the floor.

So when you finally stand up you won't be pushed down
and when you take your first steps
you'll step well and walk proud.'


                                'When I grow up I want to be a Christmas tree!'