For all of the mother’s out there celebrating Mother’s Day this weekend, what can you do to make Mother’s Day enjoyable for you? Do you need to buy yourself a gift, plan in some quiet time on the day, tell your partner what you need them to do on Mother’s Day (because they are not always good at guessing!), or do you need to lower your expectations? I had quite a lot of Mother’s Day’s where I felt disappointed that I couldn’t get the day I wished for… until I learnt that I needed to lower my expectations of others and do something for myself to make Mother’s Day more enjoyable for me!
What you you want people to remember about you? Is there one particular trait or thing that you want to be remembered by? Friendly, kind, funny, intelligent, your smile, your energy?
I haven’t written a post for a while, and haven’t really felt like it. This post is why. This is what I have been feeling and grieving and I just haven’t felt like I could write anything because this was what was in my mind, taking over my mind. The ache of wanting another baby.
Firstly, I want to acknowledge that this post may seem selfish to some. You may wonder why I can’t be grateful with what I have, why do I want more. I completely recognise that I am extremely lucky to have three children, extremely. I know many people would just like to be able to have one child and here I am with three, saying I am grieving not having another. I can’t imagine their pain and grief.
My youngest child is 3. I tried to convince myself when I was pregnant that I did not want any more children. It didn’t work. I have had an ache for a fourth child that just hasn’t seemed to go away no matter how much I wish it would.
Unfortunately, my husband doesn’t have the same desire. He is done. I do not feel like I am. It is a horrible place to be in, for both of us I am sure. I think I thought he would change his mind. I wanted him to so much that I think I forgot to consider how he really felt and his reasons and just focused on my intense need for another child.
The intensity of my wanting another child has been so strong, so primal for me. An ache that is there in my chest, in my gut, an ache that can bring tears to my eyes easily.
I wish I was one of the women who could say that I knew I was finished having children. I imagine it would make it a lot easier. Instead I have felt consumed at times by my need, and by my grief at knowing that this will not be my reality. That there will be no more children for me. No more growing a baby in my belly. No more feeling them squirm in my belly. No more birthing babies. No more nights where I feel like I am awake all night feeding a baby. No more falling in love with a little person I have birthed. No more watching a new little life that we have created develop and grow. There have been many, many tears.
I am coming to a place of acceptance. Acceptance that I will not get to do these things again with my own child. Acceptance that my husband does not want any more children and I need to respect his decision. Acceptance that I do not want to change his mind, I do not want him to resent me. Acceptance that I am grieving the end of my baby growing years.
It isn’t easy, and I still feel deeply sad about this. But I will be ok. I will hold my children extra tight and be grateful for them and all the beautiful, crazy, mischievous, wonderful things they do. I will choose to try to look forward to getting a full night’s sleep and to a new season of my life. A season of growing children rather then babies. I will look forward to new nieces and nephews coming in to my life and being able to get my baby fix from them. I will be ok…. Eventually. And my tears flow….
The full moon tonight provides the perfect opportunity to release and let go of anything that no longer serves you anymore. By that I mean emotions,thoughts, ideas, beliefs, relationships or things that do not benefit you any longer. Letting go of some of these things can make space in your life for new things to enter your life.
What do you need to let go of to make room for the new, or to give you peace? Forgiveness is a way of letting go also, is there someone you need to forgive? Or something you need to forgive yourself for?
What five things (or more) are you grateful for today? A few months ago I wrote on the blog about how a daily gratitude practice has helped me. You can read it here.
This post is part of my weekly self discovery question series. You can find the rest of the weekly questions here.
I have been reflecting on the similarities between me now and me as a teenager. I started this blog post months ago when I was recognising similarities between myself and my teenage daughter. Today I was listening to music that I listened to all the time as a teenager and it reminded me of this post. Excuse the quality of the photo! This was taken in 1994 when I was all of 13 and probably thought I knew everything.
Listening to the music today (Nirvana), I felt like me. It felt good.
I think I probably stopped listening to the music that I liked as often because I had kids and my taste wasn’t exactly their taste. And honestly, it probably wasn’t exactly the music most of my friends and family were listening to either.
My music taste is similar. The other day I was making a playlist of songs that make me feel most like ‘me’. My music taste has always been a little unlike most of my friends and probably still is. Metallica, Guns n Roses, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chilli Peppers still all make the list (as they have since I was 12) and some country-ish music thrown in occasionally for something different. My Cher phase has passed however…. Although now that I have remembered my pre-teen love of Cher I may find myself looking for a Cher playlist on Spotify!
My taste in clothing hasn’t really changed much. I still wear mostly black much to my family’s insistence that I become more colourful. I still own a denim jacket and I still only wear makeup if I am going to something fancy.
I was a messy teenager… nothing much has changed there. I was always 10 minutes late…. Now I would say I am always running late but generally get there right on time. Except kinder… always late to an 8.30am kinder start.
I was shy but once I felt comfortable I could talk and talk and talk. Nothing much has changed there.
I used to write and read all of the time. I would develop characters and stories and draw the characters and what they were wearing. I kept a journal with all my secrets. I only took up journaling again about two years ago and have only been writing this blog for a few months and still finding my writing style but I am doing it. When I was working as a Social Worker I used to love the part where I had to write up my client’s life stories.
I have always been a kind person and sensitive to other people. I think that I lost it a little when my youngest two were very small because I felt so ‘needed’ by my family constantly that I didn’t have the emotional space to be there as much as I normally would for others. Hopefully now that has come back, it feels like it has.
I have always been highly sensitive. To smell, sound, emotions, other people’s needs and feelings, to events in the world.
I wanted to work ‘helping people’. I still think that this is my purpose.
My hair…. Hasn’t changed much at all, except some grey ones!
I would never begin a conversation. I would now.
My self-confidence is higher.
I used to hate being introverted. Now I accept that as part of me and work with it.
I have realised life is so much more complicated than I thought as a teenager.
I used to love a microwaved tomato and cheese croissant at school. Now only a toasted one will suffice.
In reflection, I am probably pretty similar to how I was as a teenager, with a few positive changes. There are a few things like listening to the music I love that I need to remember to do more.
How similar are you to the teenage version of you?
What do you need to do this week to look after yourself?
If you need some ideas check out one of the first blog posts I wrote on the importance of self-care here.
A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a friend and when I mentioned journaling she asked what I did when I said I journaled. I thought maybe there were others reading who might like to know more about journaling so I have written a little about how I journal and how it helps me.
When I was a teenager, I used to have a lockable diary that I would write in. Often, I would write important events in it, but I would also write about how I was feeling and what was going on in my life. I found this useful particularly when I was sad or angry. A place to get my emotions out.
As an adult, I only journaled occasionally, generally when I was going through a difficult time or record events such as when I was going through IVF or when my Dad passed away.
A few years ago I began to journal more frequently. I have found it to be beneficial for various reasons.
I have found journaling can be beneficial in the following ways:
- As an emotional release, particularly when I am feeling frustrated, upset or angry.
- An opportunity to clarify my thoughts. Journaling can be a very useful tool to sort through the thoughts, emotions and ideas circling around in my head.
- It provides an opportunity to reflect on my experiences and thoughts.
- After writing things out I gain a different perspective or insight in to what is going on for me.
- I can keep a written record of my goals, ideas, and experiences.
- It can be useful when my mind feels overloaded. I often use it as a ‘thought download’ – writing down everything that is going on in my head. Sometimes it helps just to get it out of my head and on to paper.
- Journaling can help me come up with answers that I need.
- I learn more about myself.
All you need to start journaling is a notebook and a pen. I personally like a hard-backed spiral bound notebook, or a hard-backed journal. I like a hard back because I usually write when I am in bed on lying on the couch and find having a hard back easier. I also like a good pen that flows well because once I get going I can write quite fast and hate my pen feeling like it can’t keep up with me!
I like to journal when it is quite so that I can just tune in to my thoughts and write without distraction.
When I started journaling, and even some days now, it can feel like I don’t know what to write. It can feel forced. Honestly, I have found the best thing to do is just to start writing and keep going. After a little while I find that my thoughts start flowing on to the page. Sometimes I just start by writing out questions that I need answered and then the answers start coming after a few minutes of writing out the questions.
I don’t always expect (or get) answers via journaling. Sometimes there is no clear answer. I do find that it helps sort out my thoughts, calm down if I am angry, or at least get my thoughts and feelings out.
Sometimes I use journaling prompts to learn a little more about myself, such as the weekly self-discovery questions that I post for my readers. I find that answering it by writing in my journal lets me explore the answers more deeply than just thinking about it.
Some things I find helpful when journaling are:
- Privacy is essential. Knowing that no one is going to read your private thoughts means that you can feel comfortable to write. If you do not feel comfortable with having a written journal you can use online password protected journaling websites such as Penzu or 750words (I have never used one so not sure which site is best to use sorry) or write it on a piece of paper and burn it.
- Don’t censor your thoughts. You need to be open to being honest with yourself. This isn’t always easy in the beginning but will come over time.
- As I mentioned before, a good pen is ideal!
- Do it regularly. Even if you set aside 5 minutes a few times a week to begin, or even once a week. You will probably find soon enough that that 5 minutes turns in to more.
- Just keep writing until your words flow and the answers come.
Essentially, the key to journaling is just to put words on a page! So what are you waiting for? Grab a notebook and pen and put pen to paper.
I would love to know if you already journal or if you are inspired to start one, let me know in the comments.
Happy International Women’s Day!