Friday, May 2, 2014

Notes from the aforementioned gurgler

So, I did what any mature, self-respecting adult would do: I posted a handful of tweets, outing myself as a fraud and inviting my followers to judge me as harshly as I'd been judging my self. Then a few moments later, I deleted them all in shame.

I'm not sure when it started to unravel for me. The first few weeks after our baby arrived were hard but then I knew they would be. There's all the crazy stuff that happens to your body post partum, including some killer hormones. Then there's the sleep deprivation. And then there's all the stuff that comes up when you're caring for a tiny defenceless being whom you love more than you ever thought possible, and who is fully dependent on you for survival (and whose crying frustrates you to the ends of the earth).

Then there's the truth that none of this happens in a vacuum, for you or for other people. There's work and school. There's a house to clean and meals to be cooked and laundry to be done and bills to be paid. There's relationships that need maintenance. There's commitments and expectations. There's other people's "stuff". There's wants and needs and dreams that wait patiently (and those that pester and niggle).

There's a lot To Do.

A dear and wise mentor observed:

You are in one of the very few positions that the developed world says are occasions to rest: new motherhood. So milk it. As it were. Lots of rest, as much as your little chap allows. No guilt.

She was right. Of course.

But unfortunately, her reminder arrived during a busy long weekend, between visitors and cooking and swimming lessons and insane levels of sugar consumption and cleaning and a six year old birthday party and baths and baking and constant washing up and catching up on blog posts and ironing and misunderstandings and vacuuming and seething and endless feeding and settling... much of which I did not have any intention of doing. But the invitation to rest seemed to be the catalyst.

And then came the inner critic, accompanying every action with a running commentary, helpfully pointing out that everything I did -- including thinking negatively -- was bad or wrong or just pain stupid.

At least one person saw those pathetic cry-for-help tweets of mine. It took a two word Direct Message from a knight in shining armour to wake me up to what was really happening.

"You OK?"

The truth was: I wasn't. And I couldn't really pretend otherwise. And it was pretty clear that I had to do something about it, otherwise things were about to get a whole lot harder.

So I did what a real, flawed, self-compassionate adult would do.

I got in touch with someone who is qualified to hold my hand through this. I committed to meditating every day for the month of May and, for once, chose to see it as something that would help rather than just another thing on the To Do list. I also got a small group of gals together for a "mums and bubs" fitness session in a local park with a personal trainer. And I teed up another mentor to walk me through the emotional eating stuff.

Between all these things, I know I am going to emerge stronger, fitter, happier. More me.

I don't find this stuff easy to talk about in person. There are a lot of people that I really don't want to know that I am struggling, as it will just make it a whole lot harder for me.

The truth is, I know I'm going to be OK.

Just don't ask me to rest.


  1. I'm sorry to hear you've hit a rough spot. I've also been in a rough patch with both an ill husband and dog-that I am not allowed to blog about, so it makes it rather hard to keep it bottled up.
    I've enjoyed getting the April Moon prompts from you, but have been in a heavy writer's block for any sort of introspection or even decent writing lately.

  2. *waves*

    I think this is something about being allowed to be human, and being allowed to find things difficult, and being allowed to admit to finding things difficult. Particularly when there are babies involved. I spent yesterday with a couple of dear friends and their two sons, the younger of whom is the kind of baby who Does. Not. Stop. Screaming. I am filled with admiration for them, you, and all parents.

    *hugs*, if you would like them.

  3. I'm sorry that you are struggling, dear one. I hope that you've had some time to breathe, some time to step back for a moment, and some time to find some calm. Blessings to you.