Just Breathe

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Small little cramps that disappear very quickly,

not really painful, they just feel niggly.

Getting on with your day, asking yourself if this is it?!

you’re overwhelmed at the thought, admit it.

Just breathe.

It soon becomes clear these pains aren’t shifting,

It doesn’t matter what you do, they’re still persisting.

You take a paracetamol and have a sit down,

Your mind is a whizz, spiralling round and round.

Just breathe.

They’re no longer cramps, they’re big waves of pain,

not long since gone and they come again.

You have a long soak in a nice warm bath,

youre a mother hen waiting for your chick to hatch.

just breath.

The pain is unbearable but what can you do?

its not stronger than you, after all, it IS you.

You can do this, like millions of women before,

you have strength inside you,down to your core.

just breathe.

The burning is intense but baby is almost here,

building the push and praying for no tears.

You birth the most beautiful baby you’ve seen,

you’re not quite with it, it feels like a dream.

just breathe.

saviour this moment, your baby’s first breath’s,

you hold them tight to your breast.

theres nothing more natural than mother and newborn,

a bond unconditional, never to be torn.

just breathe.

 

 This poem is for all mums and mums to be out there. Labour will be one of the hardest, most beautiful, most enduring things you will ever do. Whether you do it naturally, have a c-section, have no pain management or everything they can legally give you. Whether you hypno birth, water birth or opt to surround yourselves with Drs and nurses on a hospital bed. You do it and you give it your best. Sure, there might be times you doubt yourself but don’t, the female anatomy is truly amazing, you’re amazing, you’ve got this.  

I remember I had to have a stern word with myself in my last labour, after 28 hours of contractions, my waters medically broken and being prepped for surgery as I was getting weaker with stubborn baby. I begged (I say begged, but I cried and pleaded like a toddler) for an epidural, yes the pain was intense but I was just exhausted. I’d looked after my one year old all day with contractions. Then up all night as they got worse but baby wouldn’t budge. And I’d truly met my endurance threshold. As they were just about to administer the injection I felt the need to push. But I’d gone beyond wanting to push and so I didn’t tell the nurses. Dangerous, I know. Each sensation, I bottled up until I told myself the ultimate relief would not to be pain free, but to have my baby in my arms. I turned, and pushed and pushed. He was born, he was a massive 10lb2oz and he was so handsome. I cried as I held him in my arms (something I sadly didn’t get chance to do with my first).  And I cursed myself quietly for doubting myself, the midwives, my husband and most importantly, the whole birthing process.

You can do it. However you choose. Even if it’s not how you choose. It’s still the greatest thing you’ll ever do that actually matters. I’d do it all again given half a chance (But don’t let on to the husband).

Em 💙

Just a mum ❤️

I’ve traded afternoon shopping trips, looking for shoes and dresses,

just to be a mum to you.

I now do it online and buy you outfits with matching bibs for messes,

because I love being a mum to you.

I’ve swapped nights out on the town, dancing the night away,

just to be a mum to you.

I have nights in, maybe a couple of gins after a long day,

because it can be hard being a mum to you.

I’ve substituted cute little dates nights with your dad,

just to be a mum to you,

for film nights with a cheeky pizza in our pad,

because I’m a dedicated mum to you.

I’ve changed nice trips to the salon getting my hair done,

just to be a mum to you,

for doing my cleaning with hair dye slapped on,

because I’m a prudent mum to you.

I’ve switched late nights and late get ups,

just to be a mum to you,

for early nights and early start ups,

to be the ultimate hands on mum to you.

 

❤️ I might look like ‘just a mum’ to everyone else. But I’m giving it my all ❤️

 

Em 💙

 

 

 

Twinkle Twinkle Purple Star, how we wonder where you are.

I lost a friend a few years ago. She was poorly but it was still unexpected. It was a long time ago yet I know my other friends still cry over her too. Its horrible to lose a friend when you’re just 20 years old, you’re at uni, making new friends and really, your adult life is just starting. To see your friend lose her fight for life before it’s really begun is unbearable. Un-bloody-bearable. There’s some resilience in youth though. You grieve, find comfort where you can, move on and convince yourself that time is a healer.

Its true, time is the greatest healer of all. But it’s no magic wand.  It doesn’t reverse anything. There’s no backsies. The scar will always remain, it’s faded, it maybe barely visible now but it’ll always be tender to the touch. It will never go away. Thank god. Because it means she’s never forgotten in day to day life. Yes there’s the birthdays  and the anniversaries. The 14th of April will never be the same again for us. But the little stab of pain I feel when I see a purple star, an old mini car or watch Dirty Dancing means she will be with me and my friends forever.

I will never forget what she once said to me after recovering from a stint in intensive care. “All I want to do is stay alive.” I was lost for words. “Why won’t my body let me?!” I still didn’t know what to say. “Even if it’s just until I know what it’s like to fall in love.” I must of mumbled something like “you will” and “don’t think like that”. All she wanted was a simple life, a job, a home, a husband and children. (You know, the stuff I probably moan about daily.) She wanted a normal life free of hospital visits and full of hope.

I’m not writing this in self pity for probably being a bit of a shitty friend or to make anyone else feel guilty. But the truth is, since having children I’m afraid of death more than ever. I’m afraid they’ll experience grief or (touch every fricking piece of wood available) that something might happen to them. Death of loved ones changes you. Hopefully, in the long run for the better. If my boys ever have to grieve, I know I’ll be there for them. I won’t be the “there, there, chin up” mum giving them little tap on the shoulder. I will give them big hugs and let them cry themselves dry. It means, no matter how many times they’ve made me shout, scream, cry and question my own sanity; I will stand over them in silence, like a crazy person, as they sleep and count my lucky stars that they’re here, alive and well. And for the record, I won’t stop this habit until they leave my home whether they wake up and it scares the hell out of them or not.

I wish it could’ve have had a more profound affect on me than it has. I wish it could’ve stopped me taking things for granted and stop me moaning about things that really don’t matter. You know, like the husband buying more crappy toys for the boys or that I haven’t had wee by myself for two and half years. Maybe then her death would have had more value. It seems it doesn’t work like that. I will still get upset about things that I shouldn’t. Like whether certain people like me. I will still get overly emotional when it’s approaching a certain time of the month. Because that’s me. And my friend was my friend despite all of these and many more flaws. All I can do is appreciate what I have. Because what I have is but a dream to others. The next time Im totally desperate with the boys because I don’t know what the hell they want from me, I’ll remember some can only dream of that frustration. The next time my husband tells me I’m a cow, I’ll remember that there’s people out there that don’t have anyone to apologise to. The next time I stand in the mirror looking at myself in disgust, I’ll remind myself I’m alive. Which is a privilege others no longer have.

RIP Holly. 💜

Em 💙

 

A Mother’s Prayer

 

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May my children be beautiful,

but I mean on the inside.

May their eyes always twinkle,

and their smiles always shine.

May my children be hardworking,

but manage to find fun in everyday.

May they show compassion,

and  help people along the way.

May my children never take for granted,

all that they are given.

May they use any disappointment,

to help them be more driven.

May my children respect their family,

and one day look after me.

May they know some of my hopes are now fantasy

just to see them be happy and free.

 

I called this ‘A Mother’s Prayer’ because I know I’m not the only one with this wish. I know there’s parts of this poem every mother (or parent) thinks of everyday. I could have called it ‘A mother’s wish’ or ‘A mother’s hopes’ but I think ‘pray’ is far more accurate. I don’t mean to belittle any religion. Not at all. But there’s similarities to having a faith when you become a parent. Your faith isn’t in the fact you live a good, respectful life doing everything ‘right’ to be judged for the afterlife. Your faith is to be a good, respectful parent who does everything ‘right’ to be judged when your children are old enough to judge you. You don’t go to a place of worship on set days to repent your sins and pray to a higher deity. You go baby and toddler groups on set days to repent on your ‘failures’ of parenting and pray the kids will nap after. You don’t follow a holy book that tells you what is right and wrong. You now follow an online ‘book’ called Google with hundreds and thousands of people telling you what is right and wrong. Your house isn’t adorned in religious ornaments or grand pictures but it’s full of photos of your babies and there’s sticky finger marks decorating your walls. On your neck hangs a locket of their first curl where there might have hung a cross. Instead of kneeling every evening and reciting a set prayer. You lay in bed and mentally pray for the futures of your children. And how wonderful is that?! Here’s to your new religion, may you be judged favourably when your children are older. (Which you might not be because they’ll always remember the groundings, the times they couldn’t eat ice-cream for breakfast and when you wouldn’t let them stay out late with their cool, misbehaved friend.)

If you could see what they see❤️

Wiggle wiggle, your bum again in the mirror,

you’re being cheeky but you worry about its size.

Your partner thinks you couldn’t look any fitter,

he’s right you know, you’re his prize.

Jiggle jiggle, your tummy in your hands,

It’s appeared over the past couple of years.

You remember how you’d flaunt it, to get a tan,

but the way he rests his eyes on it, stops any tears.

Shimmy shimmy, your boobs from side to side,

and notice they’re not as pert as they used to be.

But they still get attention and not one bit do you mind,

it’s just there’s no chance of letting them swing free.

Shake shake your legs, now a bit less toned,

because you’ve swapped the gym for a few nights in.

But he’s never noticed, never ever moaned,

He’s appreciated the film nights with lights being dimmed.

Nod nod your anxious little head,

when he asks you not to criticise your body.

He reminds you that’s it beautiful, especially in his bed,

he loves you and your body, in all its glory.

 

Just a little shout out to the men (or women) who support their partners body. Whether it’s changing because of age, children or comfort. Whatever. It happens. And there’s nothing more beautiful than a partner who loves you when you don’t think you’re particularly lovable. Nothing more adorable than partner who doesn’t see the wobble or creases you do. Nothing more amazing than a partner who embraces you regardless even when it’s taking you a while to adjust. Please do adjust too, learn to accept it and love it as much as your partner does. ❤️

No, Thank YOU 💙

I’ve had a few mothers approach me saying how grateful they are for my poems.  Being uneasy accepting compliments, I blush and mumble something along the lines of “you’re welcome” and “I’m glad”. I hope I don’t seem unappreciative. I’ve just never really felt good enough at something to accept praise easily. But the truth is, I’m overwhelmed when someone says my poem helped them through a bad day. I’m amazed when someone writes to me with kind words and support. The thought that somehow my words have helped others struggling blows my tiny little mind.

Id like to say that’s why I started writing, but selfishly it’s not. I’m not always the best at articulating myself with speech. Especially if I’m emotional. I shut down, distance myself and I write. If it wasn’t for my husband begging me to put myself out there because he was sick of reading my poems and nothing coming of them, I’d still be writing in my little note book. If it wasn’t for my best friend pushing me to write because she was a bit bored of my ‘baby and toddler’ stories, I’d still be projectile vomiting them at anyone who’d listen. And lastly, if it wasn’t for the voice in my head telling me I was a useless wife, incompetent mummy and a general waste of space, I wouldn’t have reached the rock bottom I needed to climb up from.

Rock bottom sucks. Whether you’re there for an afternoon, a couple of days or you’re renting a semi-permanent room there, it just sucks. You can’t muster the energy to get your head together nevermind look after other (albeit little) humans. But it  gets better, you might wake up the next day and feel ready for a new day. You might get a few hours ‘me time’ one weekend and feel like the old you, the one who can tackle motherhood head on. Or, like me, it might take every ounce of help and support to make you feel like you can punch self-doubt and depression in the face. However long it takes, you’ll get there. You will. I promise. And dare I suggest you might be a better mum for it?!

Let me clarify, not better than other mums who haven’t struggled (whoever the hell they are.) You’ll be a better version of you, the mummy. You’ll be stronger because you know hard you’ve fought to be you. You’ll be patient because you know what it’s like to lose your shit and regret it. You’ll be thankful of everything thrown at you, because you never thought you’d be where you are. And finally, you’ll be beautiful to your children because you ALWAYS have been and ALWAYS will be.

Thank you for reading and sharing. Thank you for words of encouragement and support. Please keep it up, poetry doesn’t get much recognition anymore but it needs to! Plus, it makes me feel like less of an idiot putting my heart on the line when I know others agree or appreciate it! I have to thank, while we’re at it, my amazing husband and bestie. Without whom I wouldn’t be where I am. They gave me the leg-up from rock bottom I needed. Sometimes all you need is people to remind you who the hell you are and how bloody good you are at it. 👊🏼👊🏼👊🏼

Moments are made of these

Wake up baby, rise and shine,

its a new day and the world is kind.

Wake up baby, there’s much to do,

when the world is an oyster to you.

Cuddle me baby, time stands still,

your breath heals me better than a pill.

Cuddle me baby, as if you’re cold,

because one day soon, you’ll be too old.

Play with me baby, clap those hands,

Let’s  bang drums but we’ll use pans.

Play with me baby, let’s read a book,

you know the one you like, with big red truck.

Eat with me baby, we’ll make you so strong,

bite after bite, it won’t take long.

Eat with me baby, we want you to grow,

well done, all gone, let’s go go go!

Bathe with me baby, with lots of bubbles,

one on one, time for naked cuddles.

Bathe with me baby, let’s have a splash,

now we’ll wet your hair and give it a wash.

Night night baby, the day’s soon over,

I sway with you on my shoulder.

Night night baby, in your little cot,

I watch you, my god, I love you more than a lot.

 

Lets be clear, this is not supposed to be a day in the life of a mother and child. I’m not trying to kid anybody. But there’s snippets of this poem in your day to day activities with your baby. Some days when you’re not rushing for a school run you might stand and absorb the morning light with them. Another day you might sit in the bath with them until the waters too cool because you don’t to get out with them. You might not always remember these moments. These fleeting, beautifully short times but they still happen. And your baby knows it too. So what if you didn’t have time to sit and colour with them? Instead you left them to it while you sorted your internet banking? Who cares if you sat them in their bouncer while you did a bit of ironing? Because I guarantee there will be other moments to balance it. And what do moments make? Minutes. What do minutes make? Hours and…I’m sure you get my drift….It all adds up. Life is only made up of lots of little moments. And it’ll be the lazy mornings, the cuddles, the messy dinners and nights you can’t stop watching them that you’ll look back on.

Em 💙