Sunday, 30 October 2011

Grooving Older Mum

In the Celtic calendar Halloween is the New Year festival of Samhain. It marks the time of death and rebirth, of letting go of that which no longer serves us and celebrating our new intentions. With this in mind I have been appraising my life and where I'm at in the grand scheme of things.  I have also found myself drawn to Kate On This Ice's 'Getting Your Groove Back' blog hop. I have read some lovely, inspiring stories of women rediscovering themselves and their love of life outside the remit of mother. One tale I particularly enjoyed was by Mummy Plum in which she described a wonderfully self indulgent day out in West London involving an eclectic mix of antiques, books, clothes and acupuncture.

So this has got the mental cogs turning. Who am I now? What are my priorities? What's happened to the ME in the last two years? I have to admit to feeling particularly out of balance. Additionally I've spent so much time on my website and blog recently that its threatening to consume me. That's not healthy. So I need to take a step back and reconsider what's truly important.

So on my quest for equilibrium I wanted to share a couple of **memories with you BLA (Before Little A). **I had originally included photos of myself but decided to omit to preserve my anonymity.

1. Circa 2007 I went on holiday to Italy with Younger Dad. I was happy and carefree. I remember spending an afternoon in a bar with Younger Boyfriend, as he was known then, getting drunk on Chianti and playing a game of truth and dare. I can't remember the last time I was that squiffy. Oh yes I can, it was on my wedding day. Since Little A came along I've hardly touched any alcohol which is no bad thing as we are still breastfeeding or enjoyed a decent night out.

2. I don't think I have ever looked more elegant, more glamorous, more bling than I did on my wedding day. But when I reflect upon this momentous occasion I feel a little melancholic. You see Younger Dad and I never really had the chance to enjoy life as a married couple and I find myself lamenting this fact. Because I was already 38 we cracked on with mission baby on our honeymoon finding ourselves surprisingly pregnant one month later. Pregnancy and acute antenatal depression over shadowed our nuptials and within the blink of an eye we had Little A. Suddenly from newlyweds to parents. A couple no longer.

3. I recall Christmas 2009. I'm eight months pregnant and blissfully ignorant of what lies ahead. When Little A arrived I threw myself into my new role of utterly devoted mummy. I can confidently say that I am a wonderful mum to Little A. But where I succeeded with my beautiful little girl I failed in taking care of myself, my needs fell by the wayside, and I lost myself in the process. My health suffered in every way. A split took place between my old life and new life as a mother and I have often found it a challenge reconciling both these aspects of my identity.

So its time to start reclaiming me and pay a little more attention to my needs. I hereby declare myself a grooving mum. In the spirit of the Celtic New Year and Kate On Thin Ice's call to arms here is a list of self indulgent things I could do to help renew my mojo and replenish my spirit. I only intend to take this one step at a time and will promise to report back with any successes I may have.

Older Mum's Grooving List .....

1. Rest, relax and indulge: Hot bubble baths, hot chocolates, nights in front of the TV instead of geeking out on my PC and blog, reading, meditation, facials and holistic treatments.

2. Get up and go:  Swimming, cycling (I spent two years cycling around London back and forth to work and college), yoga, tai chi and lots of time spent walking outdoors in the fresh air. I am going to purchase a Zumba DVD; I read on a birth trauma charity website that it can assist healing the connection to ones body after physical shock.

3. Out with the old, in with the new: Not only do I need a haircut but my whole wardrobe needs an overhaul.  I haven't bought any new clothes in over two years. Yes, I know. I am still wearing my now very misshapen maternity and nursing tops. You can only imagine the state of their crusty armpits. Yukkity yuk.  Needless to say I am feeling very dowdy and in desperate need of an apparel adjustment.

4. You are what you eat: My current diet sucks. I used to be such a healthy bod pre baby. I'm eating too much of the wrong foods which I also happen to be sensitive to like wheat and dairy. I can see some kind of detox on the horizon. And I need to drink a lot more water.

5. Nurture relationships: Whether on the phone or face to face it would be great to see more of my friends and spend more quality time with Younger Dad. I think it would be a good idea to set myself a challenge of going out one night after putting Little A down to sleep.

6. Empire building: I am slowly returning to work as a counsellor but the process is taking longer than I thought. I haven't felt particularly ready owing to the birth trauma symptoms I have experienced over the last year or so. I am currently undergoing EMDR therapy specifically for trauma which is proving very effective and I'm starting to feel like the older, calmer me again. Once therapy has finished I intuitively know that I will be in a better place to start rebuilding my practise.

And now that I have made my intentions publically known to the task of walking the walk. I think I will start with a long hot soak in the bath .....

Silent Sunday

Friday, 28 October 2011

Mishaps One, Two and Three

Lately I've been doing a lot of reprocessing of Little A's birth hence the theme of the last two posts. On a scale of 0 to 10 where 10 is God Damn Awful I give the birth a 6. Probably not as traumatic as some of the horror stories I've read but the birth still affected me deeply all the same. I'm now undergoing EMDR therapy for PTSD symptoms to lay to rest the wounds that opened. EMDR what? Stands for Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing and it's proving to be very effective. Will share more details in another post.

So anyway this is another birth story post but this time I want to inject some humour into three almost comical mishaps which happened during my 20 hour birthing extravaganza. I sometimes find that humour can help lessen the impact of shocking events ..... it's a useful defense mechanism of mine.

But first a quick detour.  What I had originally envisaged for Little A's birth was an 'almost pain free' hypnobirthing fest at home with music, candles and incense. I had imagined spending most of the second stage in the bath, probably morphing into something beyond a prune in the process, and then birthing on a lofty plateau of towels, plastic sheets and duvets by the bookcase in the living room. How intellectual of me.

Sad but true, I had even arranged specific pieces of music to be played at particular moments during the birth. If I can recall I had chosen a piece by Beethoven for the moment Little A crowned. I used to be a DJ so Younger Dad really had his work cut out on the ones and twos. No pressure at all then .......

Reminiscing I now find my head shaking in disbelief. What feckin planet was I on? How spectacularly naive of me. In hindsight I was so obviously in denial of what might actually happen. And on another related note who's idea was 'the birth plan' anyway? Numpty. I know its only meant to be one page but mine resembled a novella. Yes, it made me feel in absolute control of this imaginary birth, the control freak that I am, but didn't count for tuppence when proceedings eventually got under way.

So the due date, 12th January 2010, came and went, and after throwing everything at oiling the cogs of labour (raspberry leaf tea, nipple stimulation, acupuncture, acupressure, shiatsu, reflexology, cervical sweeps and star jumps in the local park which wasn't a pretty sight I can assure you at over 42 weeks gestation) I was booked in for an inpatient induction on the evening of 27th January.  And so finally to the three mishaps.

Mishap Number One

So Older Mum and Younger Dad rocked up to Queen Charlotte's for the inpatient induction. I was given a bed on a post natal ward with lots of new mothers getting to grips with their newborns. Their babies were out. Mine still resided under my mountainous bump. The doctor arrived to administer the prostaglandin and uninvited cervical sweep.

Younger Dad went home thanks to rather odd hospital regulations leaving me to brave the twilight hours on my own. He then arrived all bright and breezy the next morning to an ashen faced Older Mum. 'Are you ready to start a family' he said cheerily. 'What?' I said exasperatingly.  I hadn't slept at all. My waters literally exploded an hour after the prostaglandin was administered.  This ushered in labour and strong contractions which became more powerful as dawn beckoned. By morning my 'birth waves' (hypnobirthing speak) were so painful courtesy of Little A lying back to back that it felt as if Beelzebub himself had pronged a white hot fork into my back and left it there. Add to that I felt vulnerable and humiliated after several internal examinations during the night.

'Get the tens machine on me now!'

Younger Dad fumbled about nervously hooking up the wires and then ..... and then ..... turned up the dial full whack sending an electrical volt to rival the the national grid's maximum outage through out my body. I would have preferred shoving a wet finger in a live socket. The hospital walls reverberated to the sound of 'You stoooopid maaaaaaaaaan!!!!!!!!' (exclamation marks do not do this justice). To add insult to injury the shock dispatched a massive back bone contorting contraction. 'Gas and air ...... NOooooW!'

Mishap Number Two

Fast forward about 8 hours. I have a stubborn, nonchalant, underachieving cervix. It wouldn't dilate any further than 2 cms. We were now housed in a private room situated on the birthing suite. To encourage my idle cervix to open its doors I decided to augment to syntocinon which proved too much for my diminutive frame. Contractions were off the scale and I demanded an epidural. As the anaesthetist's assistant removed the tens machine from my back what happened? You guessed right. She accidentally turned up the dial to maximum strength blasting my body with another full force voltage. Oh dear dear. Again, I would have preferred sharing a bath with a live radio, tuned into Radio Four's Woman's Hour of course. I screamed and almost flew off the bed in shock. My midwife gave me a huge hug. The poor assistant's eyes said it all, 'please don't sue me, please don't sue me'. Cue mass apology. It was an accident. Apology accepted.

Mishap Number Three

Syntocinon was running through my veins. I couldn't feel a thing thanks to the epidural. But the contractions proved too strong for Little A. She became distressed and her heart rate plummeted. Before I knew it I was being rushed towards the operating theatre like a scene out of ER for an emergency c-section. I was truly terrified that Little A was going to die. And what song was being played on the operating theatre duke box?  I still can't quite get over this. Only 'Killing Me Softly' by the Fugees. WTF !!!!!! Now the fact that I used to be a DJ assumes I have an ear for music. And this really wasn't a good choice of tunage. Next time I have a c-section I'll request the Empire Theme from Star Wars instead.

And finally whilst we are all in the recovery area and I'm eagerly awaiting to hold Little A  what did the mid wife say whilst putting on her first nappy? She only warned her what a cruel world it is out there. Welcome to the world Little A! Younger Dad and I looked at each other aghast.

Friday, 21 October 2011

A letter ....

Next to my laptop lies a letter. One which has been opened and then duly discarded. On the envelope there are crossed out to do lists and names of friends I want to hook up with. Down the middle of the envelope is a tear that extends from top to bottom. The envelope is shabby, the corners curled and its contents willfully ignored. I had another letter like this months ago but it got shoved in the bin. This current version is a reminder of the first. What is this letter you ask? It's a communication from my dear friend the NHS. So I have begrudgingly taken the contents out of the envelope. Emblazoned across the top of the letter is ......


My body tenses in response to these words. My 'feminine den' (er sorry, for some reason I can't use the 'V' word as this feels too clinical and 'fou fou' would have been woefully out of context) tightens and barricades itself like the sudden and definite slam of a shop's shutters being pulled down. I know I need to do this. I know I have to have the test done. But I can't bring myself to pick up the phone and make the appointment. My heart beats faster. The thought of any medical stranger shoving a cold lubricated speculum up me makes me want to SCREAM. My throat burns.

I have had these routine tests administered before. They never affected me then. I am a responsible person. I don't want abnormal cells. I don't want cervical cancer. I want to look after myself. BUT I don't want a strangers doctor's fingers anywhere near my vagina intimacy. Legs are now crossed and thigh muscles have tightened. My face feels flushed. I have lost faith in the NHS.

When I look at the letter I am vividly reminded of the blood on the doctors hand when she withdrew her fingers from me.

Heart beats faster. Tears coalesce.

It was the night of my inpatient labour induction. The female doctor arrived to administer the prostaglandin.  That felt okay but then without any warning she started stretching my cervix apart. I don't remember consenting to a sweep as well. God it hurt. A stranger's fingers prising me open as if she was yanking on a stubborn drawer ........ And the blood. The blood on her hands. Numbed, shocked, I sought refuge in my head. A place I still reside unwilling to step back into my carriage. My body no longer belonged to me. It felt hijacked by her fingers poking, prodding, making contact with areas I had never been. She planted her territorial flag on me.

I recoil at the remembrance of what I felt. My cervix burned and cried and imploded on contact with those alien, indifferent fingers. How it burned. How it felt so tender. There were more fingers that night. Perfunctory midwives fingers' checking, stretching, circling some more. It hurt so much. My cervix, the holding, sentient protector of my unborn child now so violated and harmed. All in the name of progressing a labour.

I forgot that I could say no.

NO. NO. NO. F**king No.

I wish I could have become an untamed dragon, banshee, dervish, flailing mad eyed woman and held a shield to my body. Oh how I wish. My body would still feel like it belonged to me. Now my cervix was public property. I cannot remember how many internals I had that night. But it was enough. By morning I felt ashamed, humiliated, and totally vulnerable. All I could feel was my wounded cervix. I really couldn't see it dilating now. Lets face it, it wasn't being shown the love.

So this is why I dread having the cervical smear. I have to have it done but I feel terrified of another intrusion to my body.  After the birth my body went on lock down. You can only imagine how this has affected my relationship with Younger Dad. If I have another baby, this is what the birth plan will simply say .... treat this vessel with respect.

......And do you know what's interesting? When my regular midwife performed three sweeps on me prior to my inpatient induction it never hurt. Not once. And do you know why? Because she treated my body with gentle respect informing me at every stage of what she was about to do.  So my body relaxed and yielded to the process. AND at that point my cervix was soft, ripened and ready for labour. So it just goes to show how much force that doctor used. Maybe I should keep remembering the care my regular midwife took. This might help me to relax when I finally turn up for a smear test.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Why I Love Blue ......

Blue ranks amongst my favourite colours; navy blue, cornflower blue, baby blue, azure, cyan blue, steel blue, agate blue, cobalt blue, royal blue, aquamarine, periwinkle, powder blue, indigo, sapphire blue..... It calms, soothes and clears my cluttered mind. It's the still waters of a silent lake. The volatile waters of a turbulent sea. The endless vista of an unblemished sky. I love blueberry pancakes and Spring time bluebells that dress woodland floors. Blue is the colour of protection, freedom, loyalty and faith. Blue spreads her dominant wings across our entire globe. I have blue grey eyes which morph into electric blue beacons when I'm tired. I think exhaustion causes the shade to change. The deepest blue also happens to be the colour of Little A's eyes. The brightest most enquiring eyes I have ever met. And I cannot forget the first time my eyes really, truely met hers. It wasn't just a meeting it was more of a communing. So I am writing this to immortalise that moment. A moment which etched an indelible mark across my heart.

It wasn't the moment she was literally plonked on my chest for the first time. That was the strangest moment ever. Detached. Wounded. Unsure. Was this baby really mine? I couldn't connect or understand that this now rooting angel had come from me or that my womb, yes my incredible organic greenhouse, had spent 9 months ripening this little cherry tomato.  She came out blue and frighteningly still. Resuscitated and apgar approved she was handed like a baton from doctor, to midwife, to Younger Dad and finally to me. I came last in the relay. Stunned. Disconnected. This was a heart breaking moment. I couldn't bond. I could only stare. I already missed the wriggly sensations of her presence within me. And now she suddenly existed in the physical world, a separate entity, courtesy of a surgical knife and the doctors' skilled hands. My body shook violently from the impact of the cesarean and the epidural now loosening its cloying grip. Numb, I was unable to hold her properly. Horizontal, I could only gaze at the white ceiling of the operating theatre.

The moment didn't come during our first night together. We were totally totalled after our 20 hour marathon day. You slept in your little 'fish tank'. I lay next to you on the elevated hospital bed. I wanted you with me. I wanted to spend the whole night cuddling and cherishing you but I was so weary worn. We both needed sleep. I felt numbed, alone and vulnerable in this indifferent setting of the post natal ward. There were other mothers just like me, in shock, worn out, resting and readjusting. A very disrespectful midwife tut tutted at me for daring to request that she perform a first nappy change on Little A. She sternly ordered me to change her nappy next time.  I sternly reminded her that I still couldn't move my feckin legs from the epidural. Officious b**ch.

No, the moment came during our second night together. It was around 2 am. The ward was silent. The only sounds came from the occasional punctuations of half hearted snores and newborn snuffles. Little A was due a feed. I awoke to find her looking towards me with dribble bubbling and flowing from her mouth onto her baby grow, blankets and bedding. Time for a change. I sat up, lent over, acknowledging the inhibiting stretch of my scar, and prised Little A from her tank. I sat her on my knee. She looked up at me. I gazed down upon her.

And then...  And then...

And then our eyes locked in an endless moment. It was just me and Little A. Our togetherness. Our world. And her eyes. Her stunning eyes. Two intensely shining royal blue pools which beamed intelligence, brightness and an exquisite innocence yet untouched by the trials of life. So pure. So trusting. And so utterly full of love. And I felt naked, stripped to the bone, unable to hide anything as her eyes focused intently upon mine. For a fleeting moment I doubted that I was good enough. Was I worthy of the title role of mummy? I gazed on and became lost in this precious soul. My heart danced, soared and seated Little A on it's central throne. The tears rolled down my flushed cheeks virtually unnoticed. In that moment the deepest recognition happened between us and it was simply this ....... hello mummy, hello baby.

I like to imagine the following silent conversation took place between us during that magical time .....

''Hello. I'm your mummy. You're my darling baby. My beautiful, beautiful little girl. I can't believe you're here. It's you. You're really here.''

''Hello. You look really nice, snugly and friendly. I especially like those two huge dangly things."

"What's a mummy?''

''Well a mummy, me, is someone who will keep you safe, protected and love you to the moon and back. I will love you forever and ever.''

''Ooooooh lucky me. That sounds nice. What else will you do?"

''I will be your endless provider and nurturer. My arms will envelope you in times of joy and woe. I will feed you, clothe you, entertain you and make you feel good about who you are .... (and probably lose myself in the process).''

''Wow. That sounds fantastic. I'm soooooo lucky.''


''Yes darling''

''Can I have an iphone and a pony?''

''What ????!!!!''


''Er, yes, what?''

''Can I have some booby milk now?''

''Okay, go on then, and it's not booby milk, it's mummy milk.''

Lifts top up, clamps babe on <slurp>.

And that's why I love blue .... Because apart from jeans, seas, skies and flowers it captures that eternal, private moment between Little A and I.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Younger Mum, Older Mum, Who Cares?

A really cool thing happened this week which took me by surprise. A journalist from a magazine contacted me for my humble views on being an older mum. What she really wanted to know and this being the angle of her story was what I thought the differences were between being a younger and older parent. I hope she got something. I did waffle on and on about everything other than her main question.

Would you like to know my line of thinking? There's actually not very much to it. Only one thing shouted out at me. Yes, just one.  And that was WEAR AND TEAR. I now know what my sagging, sun bleached, plastered in yogurt stains and sticky crumbs sofa feels like. And while the thought meanders in my frazzled head I'm still WEARing the same friggin clothes from two years ago .... and er, the same nursing bras, yes, I did just say that. Ugh. Oh God. Shakes head. Mental note - buy new attractive bra (s) and dye grey silver hair immediately.

So speaking from personal experience all I could think of was that middle aged motherhood is by and large a more tiring experience. Pause. Rewind. Did I just call my self middle aged? I did. Blimey. I am. Middle age was something that always happened in my distant future. Something that beset others. But it's here. I finally caught up with time. When did this happen? Have I missed something? You see I look in the mirror and still recognise the youthful adventurer and foolhardy risk taker shining back from  the vital gaze of my blue grey eyes. That whipper snapper is ever present but now masquerades in M&S. Move over Twiggy there's a new girrl in town. I digress with finesse.

Anyways finally reconnecting with the first paragraph, one optimistic study found that later motherhood gave women a new zest for life. Really? Who are these older mothers? What's their secret? Little A has blessed me with infinite opportunities for maintaining my youth, vitality and acting the clown, silly mummy, but I have to admit to feeling completely knackered at times. Let's face it I had truck loads more energy in my twenties. I used to go out, party all night and wouldn't feel the effects the next day. When I apply this to being on nocturnal duty with a baby I can see a clear winning formula for being a younger parent.

So was becoming a mum at 39 a foolish thing to do? Should I have done it when I was younger? One thing I worry on and on and on about is whether Little A will be an only child. The thought of her being alone in the world makes my stomach knot and heart beat faster. If I'd had children when I was younger time would have afforded me the opportunity to have more.

But I am still undecided about baby number two. I know I need to make up my mind as time will run out. Aggghh I'm feeling the pressure. You see I'm frightened of repeating the depression I went through in pregnancy and having another cesarean to recover from. How would Little A respond and cope if mummy was incapacitated? And then there was that exhausting 'bye bye sleep' first year. So do I want to go through all that again?

Yesterday while I was in my local park I struck up a conversation with a very sanguine woman in her early thirties as we were pushing our toddlers on the swings. She asked me if I planned to have another one.  ''Mmmmm, I'm not sure, I just don't know at the moment'' was my vague response.  She on the other hand was refreshingly decided about sticking with the one child. Nope, she didn't want to go through the sleepless nights and teething again. Nope, she didn't want to put her marital relationship under further strain. Totally resolute in her decision. As far as she was concerned her daughter has lots of friends to play with along side the visibly suffering pet greyhound.

I really wanted some of her parfume de certainty to rub onto me. It sure smells good. I'm caught in this continual net of doubt as to how to proceed; do I do what's best for me or Little A? I just don't want her to be alone. Maybe this fear is mine. There were many times I felt totally alone as a child. And maybe, just maybe Little A will be fine. I can't have another one if it's just to provide a brother or sister for Little A.  I have to really want another baby. You know, the whole kit and kaboodle.

BUT then I keep coming back to the fact that this is how it was supposed to be. I was meant to be mother later on. Yes, I might have had more energy in my twenties but a baby was farthest from my thoughts during a decade in which I gallivanted about, got wasted and revelled in my freedom.  Anyway I was a DJ spinning the bestest house and techno all over Europe for nearly ten years. I kid you not. I was.  It was a wonderful life but hardly conducive to bringing up baby.

So when I look down the history scope I view a person who was far too wrapped up in her personal dreams to consider the insatiable needs of a tiny new life. In a nut shell I was too damned selfish.  Then there was the small matter of 'daddy material'. Boyfriends came and went including an alcoholic and a Colombian sociopath, er and that's another story, but no one I could really foresee meshing my genes with. I didn't meet Younger Dad until I was 33 and by that point I was in the throes of a career change having committed myself to a four year diploma in counselling. But Younger Dad was the first man I really considered having children with; solid, kind, big hearted Younger Dad who is a wonderful father to Little A.

When I eventually arrived at the 'final countdown', interpret as 'late 30's', I had reached a place where if I had a baby, wonderful, but equally if I didn't, that was okay too as I had a new career as a therapist to grow and immerse myself in. But Older Mum and Younger Dad got lucky. I was 'with child' after only two months of trying and the pregnancy luckily stuck the whole nine yards. Time sooner rather than later will tell if I decide to have another one. But for now I feel totally blessed that Little A has lighted up our lives with all her love, giggles, made up jibber jabber songs and cool bustin' dance moves. She is the love of my life.

And do I really see myself as an 'older mum'. No, not really. I'm just a mum but a more weary one. And is it worth it? ....... Hell Yeah!

The Liebster Blog Award - Moi? Really?

Now I've gone and done it.  I've only won an award for my erm attempts at writing. I've only been blogging 5 minutes - how did this happen? And who is Liebster anyway? I googled you but all I could find was an epidemic of other Liebster award winners. Where are you hiding Liebster? I know you're up to something ....Why the anonymity? Are you really Charlie from Charlie's Angels? Been out of work a long time haven't we eh?

So anyway this award is really, really very cool.  What are the Liebster Club rules? There are no rules.  Only kidding ..... here they are:

Leibster Award Rules
1. Thank my Liebster Blog Award presenter (s) on my blog
2. Link back to the blogger (s) who awarded you
3. Copy & paste the award to your blog
4. Nominate 5 blogs to receive the award
5. Let them know of their nomination by leaving a comment on their blog

Finally, try to pass the award on to blogs that are fairly new and have less than 200 followers.

Drum roll please ........ Firstly I would like to thank the wonderful Love in the Nest and Bling Buoy for bestowing this award upon me and for taking the trouble to read and enjoy my blog. Big thank you !!!! Sniff. Cue Gwyneth Paltrow histrionics.  It's actually really nice to know my words aren't just randomly floating about unnoticed in cyberspace. Bottom lip wobbles uncontrollably.  Need a tissue. NOW.

Now Liebster I'd like to present the award to, if you don't mind, 6 worthy bloggers.....
  1. Caught Writing: This lovely lady has been such a support to me during my first tentative outings in blogland. She also writes a very eloquent post about well everything. I also really enjoy her book reviews.
  2. Flossing the Cat: For writing really dry, sarky, witty, funny blogs which really make my week.  I salute you. My Gwyneth 'effing' Paltrow histrionics are coming atch ya.
  3. .....And PND Makes Three: I really like the way this lady writes about her experiences of PND. Honest, brave, she really breathes life into this horrid illness.  Women like you make the world a much safer place to just be ourselves without fear and shame.
  4. Minibreak Mummy: Came across this lady in Love New Blogs this week.  Sat shaking my head at her top worst five jobs. Great writer.  Looking forward to reading a lot more.
  5. Comfyslippersandlittlenippers: Apart from the fact that she was the first kind person to leave the first comment, that wasn't spam, on my blog, I really enjoy her writing. Flowing, funny and imaginative. Send some of your writing to Love New Blogs !!!
  6. Older Single Mum: For her beautifully written, witty, and very creative posts. She has some thing really important to say about the stereotype of single mums.
And there we have it .......

Friday, 7 October 2011

What's Occuring Older Mum?

Well quite a bit actually ..........

1. So I'm trying to get my feet under the table with blogging. I've found myself feeling sad and brewing with regret that I didn't start a one sooner. I now feel like I'm playing catch up with retrospect stories. Oh well better late than never.  I wished I'd started one during pregnancy though as I could have chronicled the hour by hour hell that was my depression during the first trimester.  It would've been very therapeutic and might have helped to hold my falling apart self together during some very dark and threadbare days.

2. Hooray, hooray, hooray.  Drum roll please.  Mummy car has come home all shiny and new. My pearly blue grey Peugeot wasn't written off.  All the creases in the bonnet were ironed out. Thank goodness.  I knew she would pull through. That little, nippy car has been a very good friend; she helped me tentatively venture into the world during Little A's first few months when I felt anxious and scared.  It would've been such a hassle to buy a new one. Phew.

3. My husband, Younger Dad, who is seven years my junior (get me) is flying home tomorrow after a two week business trip Stateside.  It's been a long two weeks.  But I have to say how enchanting it was to witness Little A affectionately wrap her arms around the laptop and kiss daddy on the screen when we had our all important family video catch ups. Thank you Skype.  

Little A was led to believe that daddy has been in a groundhog loop of work and sleep on an aeroplane for the last fourteen days. So daddy was simultaneously in the computer and on the plane. Perfectly plausible. She has adapted amazingly well to his absence.  It has helped that we are in clear view of the landing path into Heathrow.  Every time Little A spyed a plane she felt overjoyed and reassured by daddy's omniscient presence in the sky. I too also like to imagine that Younger Dad has been living out his existence over London in a flight path holding pattern for the last fortnight.  Can you imagine circling around for 336 hours with only plane food and the in flight magazine to sustain you? I shudder to think of the consequences .... Quick, let's move on.

4. Sorry newsflash.  Ever since I wrote the post 'Kiss and Make Up' I've been touching my c-section scar (Sorry) every night before I go to bed.  It's definitely helping the process of accepting it.  I've just this minute taken a quick break from writing to feel it.  As I was pressing down with my fingers I noticed that it still feels a little tender in some places which I am quite surprised about given it's been 20 months since the operation.  Now I look more closely at Sorry it's actually a smaller incision than I realised.  I can't quite believe they pulled Little A through it. Was my beautiful little girl really that small? Now my eyes are welling up ........ this can only be a good sign that I'm starting to heal the stand off with my scar.

Oh and thank you to all those lovely bloggers who commented on the post, it was very supportive.  

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Selfish, Selfish Older Mum

Dear Doctor Walters,

....... Or can I call you Barry?

Not happy.  Rather cross with you actually.  Why could this be? Well, there I was thinking that we were, to quote Little A, 'done, done' with all the pigeonholing of older mothers as 'self interested, career obsessed women' when I came across your simplistic views in the 'Western Australian'.  We are clearly not 'done, done' it seems.  Apparently I am 'selfish and self centred' for becoming a mother in my late thirties. According to your estimations I will be on the scrap heap with an abundance of geriatric ailments by the time Little A reaches her 20's and 30's thus unfairly ruining my daughter's life. Bad, bad, bad mummy.

So good to see that age related prejudice is still alive and kicking. Gotta love ya Mister Walters. It's opinions of your ilk that drove me to spend hours, and I mean hours slaving away over a little known site and blog going by the name of Older Mum.  To add insult to injury you then go on to add in a follow up article that your comments were intended ONLY for those over 40 but then reminding us AGAIN that it's downhill all the way from 35.  Great stuff.

Unsurprisingly alot of Australian women are now very miffed with you.  Cue commentary backlash. I also see that your employer, The King Edward Memorial, has also distanced itself saying that the 'opinions expressed by Dr Walters were his own personal views and not those of the hospital'. Good.

What are we going to do Barry?  Right now I think it's the naughty step for you while I get a few things off my middle aged chest which nowadays resembles a mountain glacier heading undeterred towards my feet navel. Ugh. Oh come on be honest, my 'bangers', thank you Gok Wan, were never on a gravity defying mission to mars.

So Dr Walters. Sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin .... and you are not allowed to interrupt. BE-have.

1. Medical Risk.  Well I don't disagree with you, of course pregnancy comes with more potential risk the older we get; miscarriage, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, longer labours, downs syndrome..... the list goes on. But when I finally pulled my socks up and announced  'yes! I am finally ready for a baby' at the tender age of 38, there was nothing more off putting than constantly reading all the dire warnings about age, fertility, health complications blah blah blah broadcast by doctors, obstetricians and journalists jumping on the latest medical research.

Look, us elderly primigravidae aren't completely stoopid you know.  Many of us are all too aware of the gamble we take by having children later in life. Contrary to the rather patronising belief held by some quarters of the medical profession we don't need continually educating about the dangers. So just occasionally nudge us about the risks in a gentle way. Not in the scary 'PANIC, PANIC, PANIC you need to STOP surfing the web and PROCREATE NOW lest to avoid the most AWFUL things happening to you and your baby' kinda way we've been so used to. And not to forget that younger women can experience problematic pregnancies too. AND why is all the focus always on women?  After all fertility also declines in men after 40. Research has shown links to older fathers and an increased risk of autism and schizophrenia in their children.

2. Burden on maternity units.  I smell a rat here Dr Walters.  Judging by your profile I distinctly get the impression that you are heading in the direction of retirement and would rather not be imposed upon by the hoards of 40 something mothers gracing your consulting room. Anyway after reading your 'medical opinion' I doubt many will be swinging by now. According to you older mothers are 'bloody hard work'. I get the feeling you want an easy life.  Buckle up you have to earn your keep you know.  And anyway don't you want a fresh challenge to keep you on your aging toes? Surely all those problem free pregnancies must get boring?

3. Right time baby?  According to you women should ideally have this procreation nonsense done and dusted by 37 because life really is that straightforward. NOT. Back on planet earth our lives are rather more complicated than you suppose from your medically imposed timetable. What's a woman to do if she's hit 36.5 and there's no suggestion of baby gros on the horizon? Go out, grab and bonk the first man she sees on the street? That's hardly an ideal scenario.

The fact is there is no ideal time to have a baby.  We are allowed to pursue our personal dreams before we settle down you know.  We do have our careers and lives to establish. It can take years finding the right manchild 'responsible partner' and not to forget we may not feel ready for a baby until later on. Yes. READY. That one very important ingredient. Not necessarily 100% ready but ready enough.  What kind of parent would I've been if i'd had a baby when I didn't feel right about it? Probably an unresponsive, resentful one. Nice. I needed to feel physically and emotionally prepared for motherhood.

4. Selfish and self centered.  Please see point 3.  There is nothing selfish in laying the practical, financial and emotional groundwork for parenthood. And this can take time. I spent years on the couch trying to work out whether (a) I wanted a baby, and (b) to clear away the cobwebs of my past so I could be a more conscious parent when the time came.

And as for your view that I'm going to be completely over the hill by the time Little A is an adult is quite frankly limited.  Okay so when she's in her 20's I will be in my 60's and when she's in her 30's I will be in my 70's.  Of course I really worry that I'm not going to be around for as long as I would like to be. But I'm not going to feel guilty over the choices I've made. They were the right decisions. I'm a good, responsible and very loving parent. And I intend on staying as sprightly and robust as long as I can.

Anyway Dr Walters you are also forgetting that a child born to younger parents can still sadly suffer the untimely death of one or both parents through illness or accident.  For better or worse life happens. Sometimes we just don't have the choice in the way things work out.

Now that I have addressed my points I am also pleased to see that many of your peers don't share your views. Apparently they say that it isn't the job of doctors to tell people when to get pregnant and that there are pros and cons to pregnancy at any age.  Yes older women can be more medically challenging but with the sophisticated techniques now at our disposal they can be taken care of in pregnancy.

You know it's has just dawned on me that I had a choice about opening and reading your commentary. I could have saved myself from feeling so rankled and uptight. I'm going to make a pledge to myself.  I'm not going to read anymore articles that intend to scare, pressurise, generalise and stereotype older mothers. Ignore. Ignore. Ignore.

So then Dr Walters I'm off to make myself another cuppa chamomile. You meanwhile you can stay in time out for ten more minutes.


Older 'calming down' Mum.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Befuddlement and Poo

I love the word befuddled.  It conjures up confusion in an eccentric white bearded wizzarding kinda way. The dictionary defines befuddled as so ......

1. To confuse
2. To make schtoopid with drink

This post is concerned with the former definition.  I wish it was about the latter but apart from the odd glass of pinot grigio I still haven't found the opportunity to make merry with alcohol since Little A stamped her presence on the world. These days its a cup of chamomile and I'm anyone's.  Oh well <sigh>.

Anyhow over breakfast I find myself confused about the direction my site is heading in (me and the site);  in particular about the writing style of Older Mum.  The site's static pages I like to think are fairly clear and informative.  Then I turn my beady eye to the blog and I have to sadly admit to cringing at some of my attempts at 'creative writing'. Is it too wooden? Is it too obscure? Most of all is it interesting? It's dawning on me that there is really quite an art to this blogging malarky. 'C'mon old bird' I say to myself, 'loosen up your letters.'

To add to my befuddled state I then get in a tizz worrying about clients stumbling across me on the interweb and therefore whether it's a good idea to include personal images .  But then I haven't disclosed my name and Older Mum might seem a tad austere without some friendly photos. 

I then started fretting - now I really am having a Woody Allen moment - about the domain 'Older Mum'. I don't want to marginalise anyone or myself for that matter with this name after all the experience of motherhood cuts across all ages. Maybe I should've just called my self instead.

So this morning as my brain was on hyper worry mode with all of the above unbeknownst to me Little A called forth a landslide filler into her nappy. This happened while we were both pottering in the kitchen after breakfast.  I can't believe I didn't notice but then I was too busy unravelling the spaghetti mess of thoughts busying my head. I then vacated the kitchen leaving Little A to follow behind me.   She was due a change anyway and as I awaited Little A's reluctant arrival in the bathroom for her 'go to the park nappy' I had no idea of the poo masterpiece taking place behind me.

Note - at this point Little A is only wearing a nappy and short sleeved vest with poppers on the bottom. Little A appeared.  I changed her enormous nappy which I noticed looked rather leaky.  

We then sang the nappy song which I really want to share as it's probably the best made up song I've conjured up thus far in my mummy career. Apologies in advance for the lack of musical accompaniment .......

Good bye nappy
Thank you for taking care of me
Good bye nappy
For soaking up my pee
Good bye nappy
Thank you for taking care of me
Good bye nappy
For soaking up my pee (repeat)

It wasn't until I left the bathroom that I noticed the treasure trail of peanut butter stylee plop deposits leading all the way along the corridor from the bathroom, into the living room and ending at the bottom of the stairs that leads to the kitchen (yes, its in the roof). Oh noooooooooo!  I hate poo!

When I arrived at the bottom of the stairs and looked up all I could see was poo smeared into the brand new carpet of each stair that Little A had bum shuffled down.  Like the parting of the red sea the line of poo divided the stairs with impressive precision. If my husband, who is currently overseas on business reads this, ''darling it's all under control and if there are any stains we'll just tell the guests it was curry.''

Cue military style clean up operation with soapy water, disinfectant and muchos cloths. Miraculously Little A amused herself with books as I crouched down with my water filled bucket to vanish the offending mess away.  I hate it when it gets in your fingernails. Ugh. Red faced and sweaty, note I am not perspiring and glowing but sweating (it's 27 degrees on 3 October!) I dive into the shower after mission poo is completed.  Then finally, finally we manage to make it out the door for a quick visit to the park. All in the days work of a tired older mummy.

Moral of this talebecome befuddled and you may risk ending up in the stink. 

The end.
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