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Posts Tagged ‘parent’

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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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.

They Grow Up so Fast

In It's My Year, It's Only Words on 06/16/2012 at 07:28

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It seems like only yesterday I was gazing down at my newborn daughter, eyes wide as she took in the new world around her under the bright lights of the delivery room. I remember those first minutes, hours, days, weeks so clearly; how she looked so tiny in her clothes, how much I panicked if she so much as coughed, how many changes she went through every day.

Now she’s four months old and I’ve just boxed up all her newborn and 0-3 month clothing, shedding a silent year as I did so. Then there’s the issue of where she sleeps; we still have her in with us sleeping in her Moses basket but before long she will be making the transition to her cot. Discussing such a momentous move with my fellow mummy friends, there was a general consensus that while it will be painful to relocate our bubbas to their own rooms it will mean the return of dressing with the light on, reading in bed (among other activities!) and not tripping over the baby on the way to the loo in the middle of the night.

The truth is that as excited as we are to see our babies grow up we are equally saddened to know that their newborn days are over. We spend 9 months awaiting the arrival of our new babies, forgetting that they will grow into little people.

But they do and it’s amazing but that doesn’t mean we’re not allowed to be a little tearful about it!

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!

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26 and Pregnant: Keep Calm and Carry On

In It's My Year, It's Only Words on 04/09/2012 at 07:43

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There are a lot of changes that emerge when a baby enters the picture, particularly for the woman who aside from being relabelled with the perpetual ‘Mummy’ tag must make undue changes to her person.

Jewellery with any appendages sticking out can never be worn (for fear of imprinting in baby’s skin), make up should only be applied in aesthetic emergencies (for fear of adding to the wash load by inadvertently transferring foundation etc to nearly every item of baby’s clothing – which in most cases is white or at least pastel), and handbags enter early retirement as the ever-practical nappy bag becomes the only accessory a mother dons (in addition to her baby of course!).

The one change I did not predict was this… my temperament. Most people who know me will attest to the fact that I am at best a control freak and at worst a bit of a biatch – prone to entering rooms in the manner of a whirlwind and effectively crushing everything in my wake as I note just how many things do not meet my specific requirements. Neurotic for much of my pregnancy as I worried about …well pretty much everything, not averse to the odd bout of hypochondria and nursing an unhealthy need to clean and tidy as a form of “relaxation”; it came as quite the shock to most, myself included, to find that motherhood has mellowed me.

Having a baby has endowed me with an inner calm that I’ve never had. Imbued with Earth Mother essence I appear to have taken to motherhood as a rubber duck takes to a child’s bath water.

In fact, calmness is what everyone who has met my baby comments on – that she’s so good and calm, and that this trait is down to my own calmness. My little princess is at present asleep in my lap as I rock in the nursing chair typing this post on my iPhone; in fact, I think I’ll join her.

Peace out!

26 and Pregnant: Keep Calm and Carry On

In It's My Year, It's Only Words on 04/09/2012 at 07:43

20120409-081435.jpg

There’s a lot of changes that emerge when a baby enters the picture, particularly for the woman who aside from being relabelled with the perpetual ‘Mummy’ tag must make undue changes to her person.

Jewellery with any appendages sticking out can never be worn (for fear of imprinting in baby’s skin), make up should only be applied in aesthetic emergencies (for fear of adding to the wash load by inadvertently transferring foundation etc to nearly every item of baby’s clothing – which in most cases is white or at least pastel), and handbags enter early retirement as the ever-practical nappy bag becomes the only accessory a mother dons (in addition to her baby of course!).

The one change I did not predict was this… my temperament. Most people who know me will attest to the fact that I am at best a control freak and at worst a bit of a biatch – prone to entering rooms in the manner of a whirlwind and effectively crushing everything in my wake as I note just how many things do not meet my specific requirements. Neurotic for much of my pregnancy as I worried about …well pretty much everything, not averse to the odd bout of hypochondria and nursing an unhealthy need to clean and tidy as a form of “relaxation”; it came as quite the shock to most, myself included, to find that motherhood has mellowed me.

Having a baby has endowed me with an inner calm that I’ve never had. Imbued with Earth Mother essence I appear to have taken to motherhood as a rubber duck takes to a child’s bath water.

In fact, calmness is what everyone who has met my baby comments on – that she’s so good and calm, and that this trait is down to my own calmness. My little princess is at present asleep in my lap as I rock in the nursing chair typing this post on my iPhone; in fact, I think I’ll join her.

Peace out!