On new motherhood

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Both images by Deun Ivory

 

I had a multitude of emotions when I first found out I was pregnant. I was nervous and excited about being a mum. Although we planned for it and I knew that I definitely wanted children, I was not sure that the timing was right. I had so many goals that I wanted to achieve, and wasn’t sure how I could accomplish them whilst being a mother. I was scared about being responsible for someone else’s life and worried that I would lose my identity.

At the same time, however, I could not wait to meet my baby and dreamed about all the joyous moments we would share. I smiled at the thought of having a mini-me wrap their finger in mine; gurgle, crawl, walk, come for cuddles and talk. I looked forward to being part of the network of mothers who put their heart and soul into loving and raising champions.

When they handed my daughter to me in the hospital, I lay there shocked at the intensity of it all. It felt like the most natural thing in the world but it also felt traumatising. I felt like I was part of a miracle. I was in physical pain, mentally exhausted and didn’t even have the energy to comprehend that they were handing me a baby and how my life was about to change, but I was so grateful to God that she was there, alive and well. I vowed to be the best mum possible to her.

Now that I’m actually living the daily grind of motherhood. I can say that it is 🙂 😦 >:D 😥  😀 :/ ^^’ ❤ 😀 o_O. It is constant prayer and compassion. It is over-worrying that I’m doing everything wrong and amazement at my ability to do things I have never done before. It is playing breastfeeding by the ear and hoping that my child is not starving. It is trusting in my motherly intuition that my child is not sick, whilst googling every symptom just to check. It is feeling guilty when my child is crying and I simply just want a moment to myself in silence – to do nothing but stare at the wall, peruse Pinterest for DIY ideas I don’t have the time to do, or read a book.

Motherhood is believing in yourself. It is being patient as you and your child both learn and grow. It is trusting that you have that mum magic. It is willing your child to sleep so that you can sleep and then staying up all night staring at them to make sure they are still breathing. It is crazy. It is repeat insomnia. It is being tired and overtired. It is being somebody’s safe space and giving all you have. It is learning to love your self correctly. It is being in love and having your heart live its own life outside of you. It is delivering on your goals and dreams. It is people questioning what you do all day. It is you questioning what you do all day and then wondering how you did all you did some days. It is unmet deadlines and messy rooms. Motherhood is spit up on your new outfits and baby smiles. Motherhood is delightful and it is hard. It is continuously connecting and incessantly learning.

Motherhood is truly a gift and whilst it is crazy, I’m evolving and I’m grateful for it.

Utter Chaos!

I sat gobsmacked watching the news last weekend. There was carnage in Paris – dead bodies sprawled out on the floor, attacks in 6 locations, every news channel repeated that there were over 100 people dead. It looked like a scene from a horror movie. I watched a shaky video recording of a pregnant woman hanging from a window trying to escape and an astonished young man relaying how his phone had saved him from a bullet. He missed death by about an inch. Utter madness.

Although it wasn’t covered in the news a great deal, the day before there was also a suicide attack in Beirut. 43 people died and 239 were seriously wounded. Reports stated that a man called Adel Termos who was walking with his daughter tackled a second suicide bomber to the ground and prevented him from killing more. Sadly Termos died in that attack. He will be remembered by many as a hero.

On the same day as the Paris attacks, in Baghdad, there was a roadside bombing and an explosion at a funeral. Just like that…innocent people were massacred whilst simply going about their normal activities. My heart goes out to all of the people affected. There are no words to describe what they must be going through.

Several people who knew about the latter incidents also highlighted that there was a lack of coverage in the media about Beirut and Baghdad and several other atrocities taking place in the world. On Instagram, many people criticised Tiwa Savage (a Nigerian popstar) for posting a ‘pray for Paris’ picture and asked if she had also remembered to pray for Nigeria.

Whilst I agree that the Western media should provide a much wider coverage of all terrorist attacks, I had to roll my eyes at some of the comments. Many called Savage a hypocrite, yet they have no idea how much she prays for or what anguish she feels for her own country. Wherever one is in the world, should one not have a right to mourn or show compassion for whoever they want without being told that their empathy is misdirected? Are people who live in Europe not allowed to feel shock that terrorism, which always feels so far away, has now been brought to their doorstep?

What happened in Beirut, Baghdad, Paris and everywhere there are such vile attacks, is incredibly sad and entirely devastating. However, I also believe that rather than criticising people who choose to show compassion for a specific incident, we as global citizens should take much more interest in what is going on in the world.

The mainstream media will respond to the demands of their consumers. Indeed, there were some news outlets that covered the Beirut and Baghdad bombings, but many of us didn’t see it, ignored or scrolled past it – because we have the misplaced perception that war in Baghdad, Beirut etc. happen all the time and is not our concern. That thinking needs to change. The attack in Beirut, for example, was the worst experienced in Lebanon since 2013, when 2 mosques were bombed in the coastal town of Tripoli. Attacks like that are not everyday events in Lebanon.

I’m not going to lie, I was completely shocked at what happened in Paris and as I took the train to work this morning, I pondered on the idea that the busy train we were on could be a pawn in some geo-political strategy and suddenly blow up at any minute. I mused on the consequences of France’s defiant retaliation strategy. I felt sad about the state of our world. I reflected on the fact that the UK was so close to France and wondered if we would ever need to get used to the idea that our homes could become a frontline of warfare. Life is fragile and it is precious everywhere. I whispered a prayer under my breath for God’s protection because we never know what tomorrow may bring.

 

 

The space to write

I was asked, where do I like to write.

I like to write wherever I feel comfortable. This is usually in the evening, when everyone has gone to sleep, when I’m warm and have salvaged some ‘me time’. When the house is silent and ideas have slowly begun whirring in my mind, I like to sit at the table hugging a warm drink and tap, tap my thoughts into sentences on my laptop.

I also like to write when I’m in my bed. First thing in the morning after I’m awake, still wrapped in the duvet, stretched out, and after having stared absent -mindedly at the wall for a few moments I like to flip out of bed, grab a note book and quickly capture my thoughts before they get lost to the dangers of perfectionism and over thinking.

Sometimes, I like to write when I’m on the train, squashed between one tired, irritable person and a smiling newspaper reader. The times when everyone around me is busy but preoccupied with themselves and I’m  lost in my thoughts and trying to impatiently hammer ideas into my smart phone before I am called or have to get off at my stop.

There are dozens of places I would love to write – in a rustic French cafe, on a comfy blanket by the sea, in a vintage chair by a large window, looking out onto a beautiful scenery – but these things don’t come every day – so yeah, as long as I’m comfortable and have some ideas I can write wherever basically…

10 things I love about you…

They say behind every successful man is a great woman. I don’t know about every woman, but I can definitely say that for me the reverse is also true. Behind a lot of my growth and key achievements has stood my husband. He has prayed for me, encouraged me, pulled me up when I’m not at my best and even when he annoys me he somehow always makes me smile. My husband is my rock. I love that after so many years we are still so close and have developed a rhythm. I love that we are a team. I pray that we forever share a love of God, travel, literature, food, movies and old homes with lots of character and modern comforts.

Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for being my king, my best friend– a true captain of inestimable value. Here is to building a beautiful present and future. Here are the 10 things I love about you (amongst many and in no particular order :-)).

  1. I love the way you laugh. It is infectious.
  2. That I can still talk to you for hours about any and everything.
  3. How you love and respect me and constantly invest in our marriage.
  4. That you always kiss my forehead before you sleep.
  5. That you buy me apple crumble and custard whenever you go near my favourite crumble shop and that if you are home before me you always ask what I would like to eat.
  6. Wake me up super early to pray and encourage me to spend more time in the word.
  7. Set regular family goal review sessions to make sure we are both working towards fulfilling our vision.
  8. Send me random articles that stimulate my thinking.
  9. I love that you give me my space but also your time.
  10. That you are so fun and down to earth yet super disciplined.

On Writing…

I write because I enjoy writing.  It helps me explore my thoughts and express my understanding of the world around me.

I write because it helps me remember that I have learnt some things and am still capable of learning. In fact, writing reminds me that I am capable of anything. It helps me document my growth in areas that I would otherwise forget.

I write because I often struggle with writing and believe that is only through working on my craft that I can become better.

I write because I care about words – how they fit together, what they mean, imply and because I love how they carry all of our stories.

I write because my mother worked too hard for me not to try.

I write because I want my future children to be proud of me.

I write so I can be proud of myself.

I write to inspire others to be better.

I write because I can.