I am a conker

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I am a conker

A discarded shell on the ground.

My spiky exterior once housed new life. The rough edges of my shell have a soft white centre, ready to grow and protect that within it.

I grew as it grew and I opened myself, tearing apart to let life out. The life continued to grow without me. A seed growing into a tree. Bringing joy.

Now I lie barren. So empty. Ready, in my heart, to grow another life. So ready to share more love. Ready to protect, to shelter and to give. To give myself. To grow more and, to once again, open myself, break my shell and allow life out.

But instead I lie. With the leaves of Autumn. Brown and red. Like blood.

I was a conker. I gave life.

I have more life to give.

Please let me grow life again.

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Mundane is amazing.

Supermarket shopping made my Saturday.

I stood in the cleaning aisle of my local Tesco, and I had one of those moments. A ‘grin like a lunatic, sing to yourself and start skipping’ moment.

There I was, my 11 month old sitting in the trolley, looking at bin liners and the complete normalness of the situation overwhelmed me.

Mundane is amazing.

Boring is great.

The bread and butter of everyday life is what makes the world such a great place.

I’ve started to notice things more now. I don’t mean that in a hippy, look at the sky and the flowers and hear the birds way. I mean this. I notice life. I notice all the little things about family life that I do everyday. I notice the opening of the curtains in the morning and the pop of the toaster. I notice when I am stuck in traffic listening to the radio and I notice when I get the bus to town to meet Mummy friends for lunch.

The small things matter.

I love noticing them and I love the fact that they happen to me.

No.

I love the fact that I make them happen.

I’m leading a normal life and doing normal things. Mundane things. Yay. Go me.

I’ve found it! The Meaning of Life.

I stumbled upon it, almost by accident, tripping over it as I searched for happiness.

It came to me in the form of Stephen Fry. Or rather, in his voice. Stephen Fry has just narrated a series of short animations for the British Humanist Association.

I do not belong to any Humanist groups, but I do consider myself a humanist. My husband and I did not have a religious wedding and we chose a Humanist Naming and Welcome Ceremony for our daughter rather than a Christening. I respect other peoples religions and views on the world but I have never felt religious myself. I first researched Humanism after my grandfather’s funeral, saddened by the suggestion that God will comfort those who believe and that if you are Christian then you will receive support. It angered me that a time of grief I felt was being lectured about God.  I felt that there had to be a way to celebrate life and to guide people to live good and just lives without it being because God told them to. For me, humanism fits. It makes sense. It just works.

So, anyway, I stumbled across this animation, and I had a light bulb moment.

At first glance, I can see that a video about death, being the catalyst for me finding a reason for life, may seem a little contradictory, but, think about it.

Here and Now.

Meaning and Purpose.

For the one life we have.

This is it folks. I realise that to some that may seem a bit depressing, frightening even, but for me it has given me a burst of energy and positivity.

This is it.

This is all there is.

ENJOY IT.

I will live on in the minds of those who I loved, and who loved me. The good things I have done with my life, will have an impact on the world I am in, the world my daughter (and any future children and grandchildren) will grow up in.

This inspired me to watch the other animations on this page, and “How can I be happy” sums up exactly the conclusion I had come to myself.

The time to be happy is now.

I can do it,  and I will do it. In fact, I’m doing it now!

These animations have really given me the kick I needed to get up and get on. And to do that with a genuine smile on my face, not a mask, a genuine smile.

I am not naïve, I have post natal depression and I know that this will not go away with the discovery of a cool cartoon. But it will go away with support of medication and with a practiced new way of thinking.  For now I have found that, and I am working hard and practicing hard.

I will enjoy life, and live it to the full. I will continue to strive to make an impact on the world and to  develop myself through creative and intelligent projects. (I have one simmering right now.)

Stop the ride, I want to get ON!

There is a blog post going viral at the moment. “The truth about maternity leave” has once again reminded me of the one thing I have never forgotten. YES, I KNOW IT GOES FAST.

For me, (as I have mentioned many times!) maternity leave is already over.  Daily reminders of the things I wanted to do, or more importantly, the time I wanted to spend, are nothing more than salt in the wound.

On one of my expressing breaks last week, I received a picture from one of the NCT girls, a picture of 4 of the beautiful NCT babies enjoying a baby sensory class.  My daughter’s Baby Sensory class runs on my day off, so this fun has luckily not been stopped by work, but I was still left with a deep feeling of regret, of time lost, and of missing out. My daughter is at home with her Daddy, enjoying an opportunity that most of her friends are not lucky enough to get, but I still feel like she is missing out. Missing out on the social time with other babies and missing out on time with me.

I feel deeply selfish, in a similar way to the dog in the manger, but the truth is, I’d like everyone to wait for me. I’d like the world to stop while I am at work. I’d like my daughter to stop learning, stop growing. I’d like my friends to stop having fun. I’d like lunches to stop and coffees to wait.

I’m selfish I know, but I hate the feeling of missing out. This is all mixed up with my intense sense of regret associated with my daughter’s birth and the early days of her life. I have talked before about our early issues with tongue tie which made me scared of my daughter at the start of her life, and issues surrounding the birth is an area I still need some support with. These early hurdles are not the worst people over come, they are not, by any standard, serious issues, but for me they hold so much regret. As a result of these things my daughter and I did not share much skin to skin in the early days. Skin to skin between mother and baby has many benefits, including its ability to help regulate hormones.  F and I share skin to skin on occasion now, and I love it. It fills me with the kind of love that overwhelms me. Yes it makes me cry, it makes me remember the time I missed, the time I will never recover, but it also reminds me that all is not lost. I have a beautiful baby girl. Now, at six months, she has to be in the right mood for skin to skin. She values it, but only when she doesn’t want to play, or ‘talk’ or laugh. But, in a beautiful regression, now I am back at work she values it more. Our time together has become more special and skin to skin is helping us both adjust to the changes we face.

Anyway – I digress again. Life doesn’t stand still, life won’t wait for me to not be working. F won’t stop learning, she won’t wait for me to be at home to speak her first word or to stand for the first time. I can’t expect others to wait for me, to stop having fun until I clock off from work. I must instead learn to make the most of the time I do have. To value it, to not sit at home watching TV while F plays on the floor, but to get down there and play with her, to get out and experience life. Watch her grow, hold her tight and not blink, not miss a second. There is no waiting, the world won’t stop for me to join it, I have to run and jump, and join the ride when it’s already in full flow.

Here I go! Wish me luck.

Read the blog post I refer to here, (this is not my blog)
http://gasandairblog.com/2014/01/15/the-truth-about-maternity-leave/