Posts Tagged ‘mother’

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.


26 and Pregnant: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

In It's My Year, It's Only Words on 05/05/2012 at 17:06

The first time you leave your baby is one of those moments plagued with reluctance, anxiety and emotion. It throws up any number of concerns and you find yourself concocting excuse after excuse as to why you shouldn’t go out and leave your child.

From that amazing ultrasound scan to meeting her for the first time at the end of an exhausting and painful labour, any thought for yourself (and anyone else) goes right out the window as your life becomes about this little person that started life inside you. So how can you leave her, even for a second?

This week was mine and my husbands’s second wedding anniversary and tonight we have asked my mother to babysit for a couple of hours so we can go on a date and enjoy a meal which we will eat at the same time as each other and not gobble down at record pace.

I – who have had great problem with expressing – have pumped out two bottles of breast milk which are in the fridge should baby get hungry in my absence. However, this past week she’s had a cold and on two occasions has refused to take a bottle from both myself and my husband. This does not bode well…

In addition, as a pleasant development in my otherwise peaceful daughter, she is now showing signs of reflux; arching her back, crying and being unable to settle easily.

All these things have only increased my reluctance to leave her, albeit for a short time. Add to that my anal control complex over how someone else will change her nappy, attend to her needs and of course feed her, and you can see why I may have trouble detaching for one evening.

I know that an evening being a couple is both necessary and a rare luxury to be treasured and I know that I need to learn to relax when it comes to my baby, but it is a difficult thing to consider when she’s barely been apart from me since she was born. The responsibility and love you feel for your child, particularly when they are so small and helpless, is overwhelming so the thought of not being there to tend to their every need – even for a short time – is unthinkable.

But, though I adore my daughter more than words can say, I also love her Daddy and so for him – and yes, for me – I will entrust her care for one evening to my mother who at a similar point in my young life did the same with me. After all, everyone needs a bit of romance in their lives …especially exhausted new parents!


26 and Pregnant: To My Daughter

In It's My Year, It's Only Words on 04/22/2012 at 07:44

Her hand in mine

Waking up to that beautiful smile, her little face full of joy,
Reminds me each day of how lucky I am (that I didn’t end up with a boy!)
Seriously though, no matter the sex, my baby has changed my life,
Now I add ‘mother’ to my list of roles, as important as daughter and wife.
The relationships that remain consistent and true, not forgetting sister and friend,
It is our ties to these people that make life worthwhile, getting us through till the end.
I, the self-confessed shopaholic, have rechannelled my spending ways,
No longer intent on needs of my own, I buy baby something new every day!
The only person I get up for night after night without any complaint,
She is my focus, the star in my sky, my inspirational saint.
Convinced my first child would be a son, I suppressed my desire for a girl,
Because ultimately though it would not have changed my heart, a daughter completed my world.
Someone to share my experiences with, to provide support through puberty, school and boys,
To exchange clothes and secrets, offer advice and pass on to her all my old toys.
Perhaps when she’s ready she’ll want to wear the dress from my wedding day,
As she takes her steps as an independent woman who knows she can go her own way.
The things that I wish for my darling daughter are to be healthy, happy and good,
And to find someone by whom, she will be loved, cared for and understood.
Lying beside me in her basket taking in the world that surrounds,
My heart bursts with a deep true love, a love that knows no bounds…


26 and Pregnant: Week 36 and Counting

In It's My Year on 01/17/2012 at 13:30
What a cry baby!!

Completing my course of NCT antenatal sessions last night, it was rounded off with an opportunity to meet two new sets of parents who brought their one month old and two and a half week old complete with Maxi-Cosi car seats. Following a caesarean, the one month old had been giving her mother trouble over breastfeeding initially and though that had been solved the parents had been unable to instil any kind of routine. Having been observing my neighbour with her fortnight old baby boy who so far has been playing by the rules of a three-hourly sleep, feed and change pattern with minimal howlage, I found it hard to empathise with a mother who seemed to be allowing herself to be dictated by the whims of her newborn. 

However, the extent of my maternal experience over the period of the course had been to hold a doll – assigned by the course leader to each couple to provide a glimpse of how tricky daily activities become when your child won’t go down – and to cuddle my friend’s baby on a few occasions before handing him back to her.

What was interesting, and what I felt to be one of the more significant takeaways from these sessions was that witnessing different parenting approaches and different babies gave me the opportunity to ask questions that I may have just taken for granted. While I was sitting there judging this new mother, having not even given birth to my baby as yet, I wasn’t considering the individual requirements and temperaments of every individual baby. As the course leader pointed out, when I challenged the lack of routine in this family’s life, would I make myself wait for 3-4 hourly periods before allowing myself to eat or drink? No, I suppose I would not. 

It’s easy to assume righteousness in the matters of “appropriate” parenting but until that precious bundle of joy arrives, it is quite impossible to determine how we will cope and what their demands will be.

Having the opportunity to meet a wonderful crowd of fellow impending parents I know already that I will be grateful for the support and friendship of these women, and likewise for my husband he will have a support network of his own as he enters the unfamiliar territory of ‘Daddy-ville’.

Understanding and patience are but two of the qualities we as a group brainstormed at our very first session, as being important for parenting, but I believe these should apply to all areas of life. The wonderful thing is that we are all entitled to live our lives and parent in our own unique ways, using the advice we are given as and when it comes in useful; but the last thing we should be doing is passing judgement on those who do things differently. 

Parenting is one job that we should not be graded on – unless there are extenuating circumstances that call for severe intervention – but indulging our newborns in the first few weeks of their lives is not one of them. I remember running into that heavily pregnant woman at the elevators all those months back, the morning I had taken the contraceptive pill, and asking whether she was excited. ‘Nervous,’ she had replied and now that it is my turn and people are searching for my excitement, although I am beyond overjoyed to be welcoming my little one into the world, the reality of being a new mother is inescapable. So my answer is this: ‘It goes without saying that I am so excited to meet my baby, but I am remaining realistic that it will be a lot harder than the time I unwrapped my first doll from Hamleys. But though it may be harder it will undoubtedly be the greatest gift I will ever receive.’

Daddy’s Girl

In Let them eat cake!, We're Reviewing the Situation on 05/27/2011 at 08:58

...because he's worth it!

The time for honouring our parents always springs at the start of the year, while New Year’s resolutions and good intentions are still somewhat present in our ever-harried minds. Case in point, Father’s Day approaching with quickening pace on 19 June and for all of you who feel your Daddy is worthy of some appreciation, why not find out what Heather, owner of blooming London cake company CompletelyCakes.co.uk, has in store…

1)      What does Father’s Day mean to you?

Father’s day for me is a great opportunity to show my father that I care and appreciate all he does for me. Since we are all so busy with our everyday lives, it’s great to be able to take some time out and remember those important to us.

2)      What ideas have you had for celebrating this day in true baking style?

At Completely Cakes, we like to come up with something new and original for every season and event. Since cupcakes, and especially novelty cupcakes, have become so popular, our Father’s Day cupcake range this year features gorgeous ‘shirt and tie’ cupcakes, alongside other hobbies and more traditional ‘Happy Father’s Day’ cupcakes.

3)      You offer personal and bespoke designs across your ranges – can you give us some idea of the requests you’ve had in advance of Father’s Day?

People often tend to be stuck for new ideas for times such as Mothers and Father’s Day, when they really want to come up with something special. We find that a lot of inspiration comes from seeing our unique designs on our website. In view of this, we always aim to have new and exciting ideas on our website well in advance of every season/event to keep our customers inspired!

4)      What’s the most bizarre request you’ve received so far?

I would have to say that the most bizarre request we have had so far was from someone wanting to order a ‘saucy’ cake, carved to exact specifications…….!!

5)      How will you be treating your Daddy this year?

I always struggle for something to buy my own father, as he has had plenty of ‘Best Father’ mugs and socks over the years! This year, instead of this, my sisters and I will be taking him out for a lovely Father’s Day lunch, which we are all really looking forward to. He will also be receiving some of our new ‘Shirt and Tie’ cupcakes!

6)      Looking ahead, what treats will you be serving up next…?

There is always something new and exciting coming up at Completely Cakes. The next main event is Wimbledon, so stay tuned for our tennis-themed range!

Love Cupcakes

If you would like to order a bakelicious treat for your Dad this Father’s Day, you can place your order with Heather at www.completelycakes.co.uk and discover what other delicious surprises she has to offer.

Follow her on Twitter at @completelycakes or join the facebook group facebook.com/completelycakes.

B is for Baby …or is it Book?

In It's Only Words on 03/25/2011 at 14:39

Following the arrival of my author friend Sasha’s new baby girl this week I have decided to dedicate today’s blog posting to babies …and books.

Let me see when I can book you in...

Developing a major obsession with Channel 4 drama/documentary One Born Every Minute, closely followed by Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant; the subject of babies is one that is very much on the pop cultural forefront at the moment. Acting as pseudo-councilor to one of my best friends who is starting her journey towards having IVF and needs lots of support and reassurance, I can’t help but wonder about the amazingly strong pull of the natural female vocation. Motherhood.

With half the female staff in my office at varying stages of impending or actual motherhood, spring 2011 is certainly living up to its flowering reputation! Perusing the baby-wear in Marks & Spencer this lunchtime to look for a gift for baby Daisy Amelie I shared gleeful smiles with my fellow female shoppers also rifling among the teeny puff ball dresses, cotton cardi’s and lace-trimmed socks. There’s something about the notion of having a baby that fills people with hope and joy. The idea of a new life coming into the world, untouched by all the rubbish that already exists offering a clean slate, fills us with the thought that this might just provide a chance for something new and good. Adding a new member to the family to promote those values of togetherness, loyalty and community; it all makes us feel incredibly positive. In the same token, the generation of creativity and ideas to be transformed into works of literature is also something that makes us writers feel über-positive and excited. It is also that something new, made with love and filled with characteristics pertaining to us as the writer. Can two things as equally important as babies and books co-exist successfully in a writer’s life? This may sound strange but it really is something that clouds my mind every so often when I allow it to reside there.

When someone has a baby, people want to associate themselves with that new life in any way that they can, either by buying gifts or looking at pictures or inquiring after a pregnant friend’s health. My boss gave birth on New Year’s Day and barely a month ago, my other boss announced she’s four months gone, while our senior designer made the same announcement shortly after. Meanwhile two ‘maternity-leave new mothers’ are due back this year, one in the next two months and the other towards the end of the summer. It got me thinking about that all-important work-life balance we all try so hard to achieve. It’s so difficult to make that choice to start a family, particularly when your career aspirations are equally as great. As a writer close to completing the first draft of my debut novel, I feel like I may be doing my writer-self a disservice by having a baby before I’ve even launched my literary career properly. But then for the increasingly broody feelings that have been churning up inside me there is also the maternal-self to think of as well. And I know many of my writer friends who are successfully balancing the two. It may not be easy, but then nothing worth having ever is.

So here I am, caught between two strong desires: the desire to procreate with my wonderful husband and the desire to procreate with my equally wonderful laptop… I am determined to do both because, well why shouldn’t I? Surely a woman is allowed more than one great love in her life and after all, who said we shouldn’t have it all. We’re the only ones standing in our own way with rules of professional and personal life each meeting our individual lists of criteria and demands. Well I am giving myself permission to throw the list out and rewrite the rules because it’s doing and having the things we love that makes life worth living. My destiny is in my hands and I choose to type and nappy-change my way to a blissfully happy ending…

The Writer’s Prerogative

In It's Only Words on 02/24/2011 at 12:04


A room of her own...

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

Virginia Woolf

Never a truer sentiment has been voiced aloud, and by a truly distinguished voice nonetheless. It is one that particularly means something to me at this current moment in time as I struggle to grasp half an hour here and a few hours there, aiming to fill those moments with nothing but unadulterated scribing.

I’ve gotten myself into a bit of a self-perpetuating cycle. I come in from work of an evening and inevitably end up staying up late to write after I’ve participated in the evening routine of finding out how everyone’s day was, joining them for dinner and showering. The alarm sounds at some unearthly hour – between 5 and 6am – and I fight with the snooze button to make time stand still so that I simultaneously get extra sleeping time and get my work done.

Currently still living at my mother’s house – husband in tow – finding those moments to write is akin to locating the cliche-ridden needle in the haystack. Thanks to wonderful services such as the Urban Writer’s Retreats (http://www.urbanwritersretreat.co.uk/) and utilising my work computer after everyone else has left, I do manage to get my writing done. However, with the obstacles of a 9-5 working day and the absence of my own space to write in whenever the muse strikes; Ms Woolf is most correct in her assertion that the act of writing fiction becomes mission impossible.

Being the resourceful person that I am, I have come up with ways of utilising the “wasted time when I should be writing but can’t”…

1. I keep two notepads on me at all times: one is a small A5 pad used for scribbling down anything and everything that inspires and intrigues me relating both to my WIP as well as future projects; the other is a larger, and thicker, (but smaller than A4) pad used solely for my WIP. In this larger pad I write out the sequencing for each and every chapter, which I can then add to as and when necessary. So if I’m on the tube (provided of course that I’m sitting down – though not always), at my desk or having coffee with friends – I can still be working on my WIP even if no actual typing is happening.

N.B. The other fabulous thing about this is that you always have hard data to back up your work. Which brings me to an important point: until recently I was only saving my WIP onto ONE memory stick until my husband pointed out that if for some crazy reason this stick was to befall some terrible tragedy (lost at sea, frazzled in a house fire, stolen!) I should have my work stored in several other places to avoid the anticipated histrionics/tantrums/suicide attempts that would inevitably follow said tragedy. So I have saved the WIP onto my computer at home and I have emailed it to myself, which I will do after every update. Having saved some files (including the WIP) onto a second memory stick which was subsequently wiped – for seemingly no reason – I am even more convinced of the absolute necessity to save save save EVERYWHERE!!! Am also tempted to print out WIP and store hard copy – though have yet to sum up the anti-environmental justification to print out on so much paper…

2. Anyway, back to the writing. Oddly enough, and I know people always say this. Reading. Yes, you may not be working on your own piece of fiction, but reading others’ work can aide you in figuring out if that tense you’ve been using really sounds right, or if really your book would sound better in third person instead of first. Also assessing the chapter structure of other books (written in the same/similar genre to yours) will really help you structure your own work. Sophie Kinsella (a.k.a. Madeleine Wickham) analysed other books excruciatingly to help with her own writing – if it works for her, I’m so game!!

3. Research your market. What are other authors writing? What are your friends reading? What is at the top of the bestseller charts? What are people writing about and reviewing in magazines, newspapers and online? Plus in these ‘spare’ moments why not take a look at literary agencies (if you haven’t already got a copy of The Writer’s and Artists’ Yearbook… why not?) – go through it and see who these agencies represent? What are their author’s writing about? Is it selling? Think about the advent of e-publishing that is fast overtaking the beloved print press – will your work fit in with this new format of Kindle, Sony e-Reader and iPad that seem to accompany every Tom, Dick and Nancy everywhere they go? Asking yourselves these questions and doing the relevant research will save you time in the long run and may make the difference between seeing your name on the shelf in Waterstones/seeing your words illuminated on Nancy’s Kindle and not.

To end on a Personal Note…

Hopefully, HSBC will soon relieve my husband and I of our current lodger-like status at the Mother Ship and grant us our mortgage. And I will finally be able to look forward to furnishing the third bedroom in our potential new home, thereby granting me the room of my own that I’ve been craving. From Virginia Woolf’s lips to HSBC’s bureaucratic ears… let it be!!


Gym Bunny

In It's Only Words on 02/02/2011 at 09:38

Henry didn't know what was worse, how many pounds he'd put on or how much he'd have to pay for it

In light of this morning’s headlines pertaining to the intended £1,000 “fat” tax to be imposed on fast food eateries in a bid to curtail the British obesity epidemic,  I thought I would dedicate this morning’s post to the gym. As someone who rarely (if ever) eats anything that comes under the heading: Fast Food (I’m not allowed or my trainer will personally see to it that I pay for consuming said food), I think this is good news though I am unsure what the impact will be. In the meantime however, it would be advisable for those people consuming the fast food to head to the gym for some fast classes… or slower ones, whatever takes your fancy.  Plus, the more you work out the fitter you become and the less likely you’ll be to encounter eejits like the following…

So I was at the gym the other day busting my moves on the cross trainer and eavesdropping on the conversation going on beside me between a trainer and a new member. I later got chatting to the member (who incidentally was female, for your reference) deciding to impart my own gym-related wisdom to an exercise virgin.

‘Have you been coming to the gym long then?’ she asked.

‘Yes, I joined Virgin Active about three years ago,’ I replied.

‘Oh I see,’ she said. ‘So did you lose a lot of weight then?’


I may be being paranoid but I think she was implying that I must have been very fat to have been coming to the gym for three years and look the way I do (which is not “fat” if you must know, I am a healthy size 12-14). Jeez this woman should join the club my mother started back in my teens called “Berate daughter about her weight and appearance whenever one gets the opportunity”!! The woman then pointed to a slender thing on a treadmill over yonder and said, ‘She’s nice and slim, isn’t she.’ To which I replied, ‘Yes, let’s all strive for that shall we!’ and promptly hopped off the cross trainer in pursuit of some other form of exercise to help me vent my frustration.

Speaking of venting frustration, I love my weekly Wednesday 7am boxercise class – it really gets the heart-rate up and the muscles working hard. Though it amuses me to witness the range of strength and boxing style showcased every week. Thanks to my trainer who showed me how to move and position myself properly I feel confident with my technique; however the same cannot be said of some of my sparring partners. To explain I have sequestered them into categories:

The Cat

She swipes her paws (gloves) playfully at you in a kind of ‘come hither’ slash fly swatting manoeuvre, with no real energy behind her.

The Gentle Giant

He’s built like a brick shithouse, probably takes heaps of steroids and prides himself on spending 5 out of 7 days preening in front of the mirror at the gym flexing his biceps and triceps with a 4 kilo weight. In short, his punch ain’t got no punch. He’s all muscle and no follow-through if you get my jist.

The Midget

She’s so teeny you probably didn’t even realise she was there until you heard a yelp from somewhere beneath you to alert you to her presence. Predictably she punches like a girl and thus when donning pads against her there is no effort required on your part other than to smile politely and hold still.

The Batsman

Pads or gloves, this guy is always in the proverbial ring. He just cannot help himself, he’s proud of his swing and that’s all he wants to do… All. Class. Long. So beware when you are sparring with him, he may dislocate your wrist.

The Pro

This is your ideal sparring partner, male or female, they know what they’re doing, they’re patient if you don’t entirely know what you’re doing and their technique is faultless. The only caveat – they’ll probably never partner with you again once they realise how shite you actually are!!

So there you have it, your 101 on boxing classes – take note, it will serve you well. Tomorrow I will be revisiting my love for Ashtanga yoga, again at the wholly unearthly hour of 7am (yes this means a 5.30am alarm and 6am departure from homely abode) – catch ya then!

Excuse me now while I go devour a gallon or two of water…

What a Hora!!

In For Laughs, It's My Year on 11/15/2010 at 10:38

What goes up, must come down!

Following on from my mother’s epic wedding speech comes my epic wedding crash!! It is traditional at a Jewish wedding for the bride and groom to be hoisted onto chairs under the support of as many men possible and bounced around while Israeli music plays and the wedding couple attempts to connect via a white cloth.

However, what is not customary is for the bride to be hoisted up (on a downward slope) and take a nose dive straight back to the ground. But, that’s what happened to me at my wedding this May. [Don’t worry I wasn’t hurt in the making of this Jackass-style palava – many layers of tulle and soft grass landing helped me retain all my facets].

Our videographer and video editor (Ben Gabay) has created a comic loop of the fall, complete with Star Wars music overlaid to really evoke the drama of the moment. Please bask in one of the most humiliating moments of my life, as I post it here for your entertainment!!

The Mother of all Speeches…

In For Laughs on 11/12/2010 at 20:53

So, I got married back in May and some of you may not know, my mother is a little… well, lets just say she ain’t no normal mother… my friend’s brilliant hubby has been threading together all our footage to create the wedding DVD and on my request, as it is her favourite song at the moment, overlaid Michael Buble’s ‘Cry Me a River’ on my mother’s speech. However, once he’d done it he realised the opening of the song coupled with her words created some hauntingly, epic effect… so with her permission (she found it hilarious) I am broadcasting it on my blog for your entertainment…

Sit back, watch, enjoy…