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Dreaming of You

In It's Only Words on 08/13/2012 at 17:33

Dream a little dream of you

I have always been prone to an especially sensitive imagination. One which when left to its own devices runs unabated, collecting every thought, fear and hope of mine and challenging me with a warped reflection of each.

It preys on  me when I am at my most susceptible, for example if  I am in a new place or have just encountered a trying experience. After I lost my grandfather, he visited me in dream-form twice in the weeks following his passing. The general sentiment of each dream indicated that he was happy and left me with a warm feeling each time. However, when my best and oldest friend of 18 years chose to end our relationship suddenly without a word of explanation, I watched her befall a tragic end in a plane crash that woke me with wracking sobs.

I know that my dreams are not necessarily based on fact, more that they pick up the fragments of my subconscious and amid the freedom of my sleeping state play out a version of how I’m feeling. Either revealing something my waking self is afraid of, behaving in a way I hope never to, or allowing someone in to pass on a message; my dreams often affect me even once the night is over.

Since becoming a mother my imagination has played host to a variety of dreams, mostly ones I wish to forget. They have come in sporadic waves as I get to grips with the many overwhelming emotions and fears that strike the moment the umbilical cord is severed. But the past week has left me inundated with nightmares, each featuring various scenarios involving a separation from my baby. Being forced to give her up for adoption, leaving her somewhere, someone snatching her and so on. I wake up filled with unease, rushing into her room to ensure she is still there and my overactive imagination hasn’t somehow gone all Freddy Kruger on me.

This separation anxiety is haunting me on a daily basis and whether it is a precursor to the fact that come 2013 I will be forced to leave her with a childminder on my return to work, or merely the internal ramblings of a first time mother; I don’t know.

It’s a terrifying love that engulfs you when you become a parent and the idea of not being able to control the world around you in order to protect your most precious possession only exacerbates that terror. Your own flawed humanity comes into play as you make mistakes like forgetting to strap her carseat into the car or burning the vegetables you are preparing for her lunch. Guilt stalks you constantly and perhaps that is what is driving my dreams, my own guilt at my maternal shortcomings?

Maybe my father leaving when I was young has a part to play? Maybe I’ve read too many articles and watched too many films about young children and babies being taken? Maybe I just don’t have enough love for myself to believe I am allowed something so good in my life? Whatever it is, it will most likely take more than a dreamcatcher to appease my imagination.

I just hope that from now on my dreams are sweet, instead of laced with a bitter after taste.

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Has Anyone seen Bobo?

In It's Only Words on 07/11/2012 at 06:41

Bobo the Bear looked about him. He had no idea where he was. No purple bedspread, no butterflies on the wall beside him and no Abi curled up under the covers. No, this room was small and dark and lonely. He put his chin in his paws and began to cry, ‘Oh how will I ever find my way home again?’

In a pretty brick house in a nearby town, Abi Flowers was desperately searching her bedroom for her favourite toy, ‘Mummy, I can’t find him. I can’t find Bobo!’
‘It’s alright darling, we will find him. He can’t have gone far.’ Mrs Flowers watched her daughter upturning the contents of her room for the umpteenth time and decided enough was enough. ‘Sweetheart, go to sleep now, we’ll look again in the morning.’
‘But Mummy, I can’t sleep without Bobo.’ Tears were pooling at the corners of Abi’s eyes, a fierce look on her face as she continued her search.

Later that night, with Abi unhappily tucked up in bed, Mrs Flowers decided it was time to call in a little assistance. She put out an S.O.S. via all the social networking channels – Facebook, Twitter and beyond – with a plea to help find her daughter’s beloved Bobo. She had already trawled the Internet looking for a replacement but the extra large size that original Bobo had taken didn’t seem to be traceable. Going to stand outside her daughter’s room, she peered in on the sleeping child and felt her heart break as she saw Abi’s little hand desperately clutching onto the bedcovers in place of her bear.

‘Please,’ she whispered. ‘Please get him to us.’

…To be continued.
This tale is based on a true story. A fellow mum is frantically searching for an EXTRA LARGE Crumble bear from Mamas + Papas (no longer in stock) – if anyone has one they’d be happy to sell her, please get in contact with me: hnymark@hotmail.com. Thank you.

The ‘How-To’ of Parenting

In It's My Year, It's Only Words on 07/01/2012 at 16:57

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It’s funny, since learning I was pregnant and then, nine months later, becoming a parent, my social circle has evolved to largely include fellow mothers, my conversation rotates around issues of nappy contents, which supermarkets are having sales on said nappies, weaning, sleep patterns, buggy model… Believe me, I could go on for days! And my sense of self-judgement has been questioned.

Mothers, and especially new mothers, are an interesting breed – we doubt ourselves constantly, look for reassurance on an almost daily basis and feel guilty over every action we have a hand in …and yet, ultimately we believe we are the only ones who know what is best for our child. Like lionesses fiercely protecting our cubs, occasionally we may look to the rest of the pride for help, but mainly we alone are the ones we rely on to make the right decisions.

We all do things differently. Some mothers are convinced that rigid routine is the way forward while others fly by the seat of their elasticated pants; some mothers feed their babies by bottle while others are staunch advocates of ‘breast is best’; some mothers know every nursery rhyme that was ever written while others rely on the musical numbers from their own childhoods – in the end, the differences are irrelevant because that is what makes us human but the most important thing and the one thing we have in common is the mere fact that we are all mothers.

Every mother I meet has her own way, her own neuroses and methods and while a handful choose to judge the practice of their parental peers – shooting loaded looks when they discover that Rudy goes to bed whenever he chooses to go to sleep while their little one is safely tucked away at 7pm sharp every night – the rest of us acknowledge that there is no right way to parent, there is just the way we each know how.

Motherhood, and indeed parenthood, is a remarkable adventure and one I am honoured to be taking. Being entrusted with the welfare of another person and the opportunity to enable them to realise their potential, their dreams and their own happiness – it is a huge responsibility but one that is hugely rewarding and exciting. Every step is paved with scary moments and moments that are wonderful and we want to share every single one.

Though we are all different, and may agree to disagree on a number of points, the truth is that my best references for ‘mothering’ are my fellow mums. They are the ones I call on for support, advice and reassurance. Because it is their experience, whether 30 years worth or just 3 weeks, that is so invaluable as I learn from how they have handled everything from labour to teething to potty training and beyond.

There is no ‘how-to’ for being a parent but you can always ask for directions along the way.