When life gets bittersweet

Well, it seems there was never any chance of a quiet or restful end to my pregnancy!

10406362_10152792247775892_6067117807930430941_nMy due date was yesterday, and unlike most pregnant women at this stage I am currently praying that every niggle, contraction and surge in pelvic pressure I am getting is not a sign that birth is around the corner just yet, as much as my terribly aching body desperately wants this to be over now. This is because we’ve had some news. Some pretty major news in fact.

We wanted to wait until we had final, complete confirmation of all of this before announcing the conclusion of what has been a long, difficult and emotional journey, but naturally it has not happened quite as we wanted or expected, and I guess I have now reached the ‘write or implode’ stage about it all. Continue reading

Third trimester: Growing pains and gender speculation

29 weeks pregnant

29 weeks

Humidity’s rising, but it’s not raining men, and if it were they would surely run a mile the moment they set eyes upon this waddling hot mess, for I am now 32 weeks pregnant and not tolerating the heat very well in my first ever stint as a summer baby grower.

It’s okay really, just as long as I don’t, y’know, leave the house or turn the oven on or let the house get above 28 degrees, or do anything besides lying somewhere shaded, groaning and fanning myself. Sorry kids, fun mama has left the building this summer. And I am acutely aware that, as my seasoned Kiwi friends are only to keen to remind me, by far the hottest and most humid chunk of the year is still approaching in line to nicely coincide with the final 8 weeks of my pregnancy. Wooo! Continue reading

Grief: Six years on

I have not really been compelled to blog in the last few weeks, or rather I have, but everything I would have liked to write about lately has been too personal to talk about here, and to write about anything else would have seemed dishonest. I have regressed into that glazed-eyed, painted-smiled state in which I feel as though I am leading a double life: my life as presented to others, even those closest to me, and my life as it is lived internally, which is a secret. I guess I find it hard to be honest with the screen, or anybody for that matter, when I am in this frame of mind.

Today, though, I did feel that familiar finger-twitching return as a blog post etched itself organically into my mind, for today is six years to the day since my mother died, and this morning I found myself wondering what I should do. I now live 12,000 miles away so I cannot visit her grave. Should I post a Facebook status? I wondered. You know, the obligatory tribute. Think of some fluffy words to say and say them, throw in a heart-shaped emoticon for good measure. Remind her how much she’s missed, as though our only medium of communication might be this commercial social media machine. Perhaps I should change my profile picture to one of her, or one of us. I could write another poem. Therapeutic. I wrote one last year; I have had plenty of new thoughts since. Or shall I write a blog post in tribute to her? You can never express your love and grief too much, after all. Continue reading

5 things I said I would never do as a parent, and then some

sniperIt is a truth universally acknowledged that the best parents in the world are those without children. There are certainly many idealistic parenting philosophies I once grasped onto as a non-parent that have rapidly slipped away in the years since, as the realities of parenthood made themselves known to my naive, hopeful little soul. Furthermore, there are a great many things I have promised myself I would never do even since becoming a parent, in some cases as recently as this year, that have subsequently been delegated to the dumping ground of Stuff That Didn’t Work Out And Other Crap. Continue reading

Empathic parenting and the fear of tears

empathic parentYou cannot read many parenting articles before you will inevitably encounter a confusing array of jargon. Attachment parenting, free-range parenting, gentle parenting, continuum parenting, natural parenting, mainstream parenting; these are just a few of the terms you may stumble upon when exploring the cavernous world of child-rearing. You would be forgiven for wondering what it all means and where the heck on this entirely subjective spectrum you sit. I therefore want to open this by assuring you there is no need to go away and read a catalogue of finger-wagging advice guides about ‘empathic parenting’ in order to understand this post or to figure out if you are one.

There are many pages on the web talking about empathic parenting, and whether my definition of the term matches up with theirs is beyond my scope of giving a crap. When I personally use this expression, it is a ‘what it says on the tin’ job. Parenting with empathy; that is all. I believe that can manifest itself in many different forms. No two empathic parents will necessarily look or behave the same. Continue reading

When it all just gets a bit too much

You know you’re having a bad one when you find yourself getting back out of bed an hour after first climbing into it, more awake and stressed out than ever, and opening up WordPress in order to bleakly offload your thoughts.

I had two blog posts etch themselves into my mind tonight when I was putting the kids to bed (always when I’m putting my kids to bed), neither of which were this one, and when I eventually get around to writing them up they will be well thought out and at least in part coherent. I cannot make the same promise for tonight. This one is straight from the heart to the screen and bypassing all of the usual internal filters. Continue reading

“Your son is displaying signs of Asperger Syndrome”

As anyone who regularly reads this blog will know, I have three babies (and a fourth en route). They are all very special in their own wonderful and individual ways, as is every child. However my eldest, six years old, is special in a different kind of a way. He is quirky. Atypical.

autismWhen he was younger he was very noticeably different to other children. This first became obvious to me when he was 15 months old (no, I don’t believe vaccinations changed him, no, this doesn’t make me a sheep, and yes, I have done the research), but looking back, especially now I can compare to my younger two, even as a baby he was different. Continue reading

Emigrating: First anniversary reflections

departure gateJust over a year ago we wept a pained goodbye to our family before boarding a plane destined for Los Angeles, where we experienced a whirlwind few hours with a wonderful friend. Later that same day (and it was a very, very long day) we stepped aboard our second and final flight. After years of dreaming, months of planning and weeks of panicking, we were Aotearoa bound. Continue reading

The first of many lasts, but by no means the last of the firsts

Upside down view of the baby's head. The mouth was open and appeared to be smiling in this still, and the hands are clenched and raised either side of its head, as if it's jumping for joy.

Upside down view of the baby’s head. The dark area is the brain, the little pointy but at the top is its itty bitty chin. The mouth was open and appeared to be smiling in this still, and the hands are clenched and raised either side of its head, as if it’s jumping for joy.

Twenty four hours ago I was sinking into a comfortable recliner, absorbing the sights and sounds of my surroundings as the sonographer massaged my abdomen with that familiar, warm jelly.

No healthcare system is perfect, and I think Britain’s NHS – which supported me through my first three pregnancies – is admirable in many ways. Continue reading