I Love(d) you.

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I loved you when you were but two lines on a stick,

I loved you when I could feel you move and kick.

I loved you when I thought I might die from the pain,

I loved you when I could cuddle you and we were no longer the same.

I loved you when tears fell from sheer tiredness,

I loved you when you would sleep in all your helplessness.

I loved you when you smiled and coo’ed for the first time,

I loved you when I pushed you in your pram, proud that you were mine.

I loved you when I felt so alone, like a good mum I wasn’t to be,

I loved you when you’d settle in my arms, those worries would go free.

I love you when I kiss your cheeks so red and bare,

Ill love you when I have to kiss them full of stubbly hair.

Ill love you when I imagine comforting your upset heart,

I’ll love you even though that would actually tear me apart.

I loved you then,

I love you still,

love you forever,

I promise I will.

 

Em 💙

From my heartbreak to my hero

We’re at the beach. After an hour and a half of preparation including the baby crapping up his back and toddler pretending he’s a dog and licking everyone’s sun lotion off their legs, we finally made it here. We’ve put up the parasol, watched as the toddler walks sand over our freshly laid towels and the husband has checked out where the topless women are and positioned himself appropriately. Then it dawns on us that we haven’t brought a life vest for Henry. He’s only just learnt to doggy paddle with it and won’t go in the sea without it. Humph. Off Jim trots to go get it from where we’re staying and takes baby Joey with him to sleep on the way.

I watch as Henry attempts to make sand castles with dry sand. I feel cruel after the fourth go and he’s stamping his feet because they won’t stay up so I tell him to fill his bucket with water and we’ll wet the sand first. As he toddles off the short distance to the shore, I feel a small pain in my chest. He’s cute as hell in his swimsuit and hat. My little Mr independent is careful not to walk over other people’s towels and is excited by the waves. And there it is again, a stab, deep within me. His first bucket of water wasn’t good enough so he fills it another two or three times, he’s smiling and waving at the little Spanish girls. The charmer decides to return to his mummy, proud as can be with his collection of water. I realise I’m crying and not just a little, but great, big, fat baby tears. Thank god for sunglasses.

Watching my boy doing what boys do best on holiday just opened up all the emotions of my pregnancy with him. It was difficult and we nearly lost him. Twice. I thought I’d got over it but clearly not. We spent the first half of the pregnancy being told there so little fluid around him, he might not survive. If he did survive, there’d be a massive chance he’d be disabled. His body just hadn’t room to form properly. I had an amniocentesis to try and shed some light on this condition called oligohydrominios. Anyone who’s had this procedure knows it’s crappy experience that in itself carries risks of miscarriage. We did it for an answer or some hope at least. But, nobody could give us any hope. I’d ask the consultant, the supervisor midwife, my midwife, anyone who was slightly medically trained. I’d just end up watching them squirm whilst they tried to manage my expectations. It was awful. Each little kick I felt, each scan we had was purely confirmation he was still growing and had a heartbeat. Each time we wondered if it would be the last kick or the last heartbeat we’d see.

Im not a fan of belittling other people. I’m not one to discredit the empathy of others to our situation but honestly, until you’ve been through it, you don’t know the sheer heartbreak of carrying a baby that no one has faith that will make it alive or healthy. I sometimes think these little pains I get when I watch him are little needles of love stitching up my broken heart. And maybe one day, it will be mended and truly be behind me.

You see, when we reached 20 weeks in the sonographers words, the fluids miraculously went up to a normal level. He was perfectly formed and everything was as it should be. finally, some hope. My husbands face lit up in way I had never seen before. “oh, ok, there’s a slight problem” I remember her saying. Hopes dashed in a bloody second. A problem with my cervix meant my waters could break in any moment and I was rushed in for an emergency stitch. My boy had fought to grow and now my body would fail him again. At 20 weeks, if he was born, he was still too small survive. And everyone was worried. But he withstood the operation and I rested as much as I could for the rest of the pregnancy. So yet again, we weren’t sure he would make it full term and spent hour after hour consulting with Dr Google on survival chances and birth rates with cervical stitches. By this point my heart was shattered, but you can’t really find a cure for that on Google. Believe me, I searched it.

He made it though. After a horrible labour (but that’s for another day. Maybe.) He made it to 37 weeks and he was so very, very beautiful. And every day since, this fierce little soul has made me so very happy. Maybe these pains are little alarm bells of mindfulness. Maybe these tears of joy come with the territory of a heartbreak. Maybe I had to go through that to have these beautiful moments that others will take for granted. As he plods towards me, struggling with the heavy bucket and sticking his tongue out in concentration, I wipe my face, embrace the pain in my heart for what it is and put my arms out for a cuddle. He trips over a lump in the sand and drops the full bucket over my legs. The moments gone and we laugh (him more than me.)

Heres to you little Henners. You clumsy little hero.

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Em 💙

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. ❤️