Occasionally, it rains.

I made it through the storm of depression. The winds were strong and the waves were high. My boat was rocked, it took on water, heck, it even capsized at points. But I made it out the other side.  I found land and my family is happy. I am happy. 

I now say things like “I suffered with awful Post Natal Depression when I had my first child” and “I’m so lucky that this time around I’ve been well”.  I am well.  I am no longer depressed.  The sun shines and I have been happy for a long time. 

But, occasionally, it rains. Like all habitable climates my mood experiences the odd scattering of clouds. Sometimes the sky is a bit darker and, yes, occasionally it rains. 

Rain is not depression.  Rain is a bad day. Actually rain allows the flowers to grow, in turn making the sunnier days more attractive and more appreciated. The bad days allow us to cherish the better days with more passion and more love. 

Rain is real life.  Rain is an inevitable, unavoidable part of life. Noone wants the sun to shine all the time.  It would be too warm, too bright, too dry.  We wouldn’t appreciate it.  It only takes a week of sun for people to complain, but, let that sun break through a dreary, wet weekend, and it is loved with more passion than cake at a party.

I will say it again because it’s important: rain is not depression.  
A bad day is not a storm. 

The sun shines, the sky is bright, the breeze cools us and yes, occasionally, it rains. 

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Switching off and Logging out. 

The era of technology has taken over.

And I’m fighting back. 

Before I start this post, it needs an explanation, a disclaimer perhaps.  

The TV is on in our house pretty much all day, and it’s rare that I don’t have a phone or ipad in my hand.  Even at the dinner table. I know far, far too much about the residents of Adventure Bay (canine or otherwise), and can identify each of My Little Ponies by their cutie marks alone. 

I basically suck at being with my children without technology. 

But, the increasing anger of my 3.5 year old is concerning me. And my observations show that she gets the most angry when she, or I, are plugged in. 

So we are going off grid. A bit. Just a tiny bit. In fact not off grid at all really.  Just switching stuff off for a bit. 

We’ve always done ‘stuff’ as well as watch TV, but it’s usually been on in the background.  This week it hasn’t.  

In the middle of the day my phone is put in another room and the TV is turned off and I engage Mummy mode.  Full mummy mode. I mean obviously, I’m always a Mummy, but I’m usually a wife, teacher, friend, person in my own right at the same time. 

It’s about being in the moment. Whatever I’m doing, I’m going to give it my full attention.  Be that playing a game with the big one, singing songs with the little one or having a conversation with my husband.  I’m going to be in that moment, and only in that moment.  

It’s early days, the moments are short.  But they are increasing. 

And, do you know what?  It’s bloody hard work! But do you know what else?  I’m enjoying it. More importantly, so are my children.  Tensions with my eldest are lessening.  I’m shouting less. So is she. 

“Mummy, it’s been a lovely day.  Thank you” 

So, the experiment continues.  Can we get our TV viewing down to once or twice a week? Probably not. I need it.  Paw Patrol allows me to wash up and Ben and Holly provide a chance to make dinner. But can we stop watching TV when we could be doing other things together? I hope so. 

The morning rush. 

Daddy left for work an hour ago.  We have snoozed and snuggled in the big bed too long.  You watching cartoons on the tablet, me drifting between sleep and feeding your sister.

We have to get up.  Now.  Get up, get dressed, have breakfast, get in the car and drive to nursery.  

Our morning is routine only in it’s lack of one.  I rush you into your bedroom to get dressed.  You get distracted; by a new Christmas gift, a sticker that has made its way upstairs on someone’s sock, by a dragon, a dinosaur, a teeeny tiny fairy, by your own imagination.  

I shout.  I shouldn’t shout but I do.  Eventually you are dressed, your sister has her nappy changed and she too is dressed.  Somewhere in this I have, miraculously, manage to dress myself, and, with me still nagging, we make it downstairs. 

You are telling me a story, about a game you want to play, I have to ask three times what you would like for breakfast. Your sister plays on her mat, watching you, with those wide eyes and the smile that she reserves only for you. Breakfast is on the table while I stick washing in the machine, pack bags and de-ice the car. I’m ready to load the last two things into the car. My children.  But you haven’t touched breakfast, instead you are deciding which of your toys you would like to take to nursery today.  Which item will receive the honour of being shown to your friends.

You have no concept of time, my increasingly more frantic and pleading voice means nothing to you.  So what if we are late?  What does late mean anyway? 

Nothing.  It means nothing.  

You teach me so much. There is plenty of time for rushing later.  There are alarms and clocks and deadlines galore in your future.  Now, this small window, of no work, no school, no expectations, this is our chance to slow down.

Slow down. Lie on the play mat.  Fight the dragons.  Tell the story.  Play. Laugh. Love.

Time: right now we have it.  Let’s not rush it. 

To a new big sister… 

Life changed 7 weeks ago.  For all of us. But, I now realise, the change was biggest for you. 

You’ve been poorly this weekend,  and as I lie in bed, feeding your sister, I am reminded of the times this used to be you and I. When your feeds were not on the sofa as they now are, but snuggled up in bed until you fell asleep.  

A weekend with a sick bucket has reminded me of how much you still need me.  Your energy and wisdom beyond your years makes it easy to expect too much from you, to forget that just 8 weeks ago you were all I had to worry about. 

You still need me.  And I still need you.   I’m sorry. 

Tomorrow will be different.  I will put the phone away.  I will leave the washing up. We will play. We will read that book. (as many times as you want!).  I will be Sula, or Ryder, or Marshall, or even Mummy Pig if that’s what you would like.  When you don’t eat lunch I will keep my temper.  I will not shout at you.  When you make a mess (on purpose!) I will stay calm and encourage you to help me clean up. When you make mistakes (as three year olds are inclined to do) I will help you learn. I will hold you and help you.

I’m saddened now that I have not been as patient as you deserve.  I understand now. You are learning, exploring, adjusting and accepting the new life we have given you.  Big sister.  A role you have embraced with full valour. 
Your love for your sister is entire. Complete.  Overwhelming.  You too cried with joy at her arrival. You too sob at the idea of her growing. And each day, you too show new amazement at her very existence. “mummy, she’s so cute.”.

She has a wide eyed look reserved only for you. She watches you, and learns from you.  She is already keen, it seems, to join in your games, to play with you, chat with you and grow to be like you. And if she does, I will be a very, very lucky mummy indeed.  

To have two such wonderful girls. 

My world. 

The Rainbow

What a year.  

Last year I lost what would have been my second child.  And now, I hold my third child in my arms at just a week old. 

She’s here. My rainbow.  Already brightening every single second of every day. Her big sister the sunshine and her lost sibling the storm that allowed the rainbow to shine.  She is here. She is safe.  Her existence helping to bring colour to the grey world.  Her birth healing my perceived feelings of failure at her sister’s labor.  Her willingness and ease at breastfeeding undoing the pain of her sister’s tongue tie.  

Her big sister, so proud of her new sister, so loving and gentle, that every day I fall in love with her all over again. I watch the two of then hold hands as I tandem feed and my heart melts. 

I am 8 days post partum and my hormones cause a river to run,to wash away the hurt, wash away the pain amd wash away the guilt.  We are a family. Our lost child will never be forgotten. Our Peter Pan.  The lost boy, the boy who never grew up. But he has allowed our rainbow, and for that we thank him.  He has allowed life to be perfect again.  

The light.

The chink of light that breaks through the curtains…

The torch that is turned on in the dark…

The pregnancy following the loss.

I am pregnant.

I am pregnant with a baby that has made it to the womb. I am pregnant with a baby, who, at 13 weeks looks to be doing well on the scan.

The light is shining again and my heart has hope.

This does not mean I no longer mourn my lost baby. The sibling we never met will always be with me.

But for the first time since the pain of loss there is hope.

I was lost.

I have found a map and I am on my way home.