It is not his birthday (that was five months ago almost) and it is not any other important date but I just had this powerful realisation that if I didn’t write today, right now, while I am thinking of it, I might never write this poor lad a blog post telling you all how amazing and special and exhausting and hilarious this child is. And that would just not do, would it?!
Woken at 8am – oh no it’s 9am (thanks daylight savings) with cuppa, cards (three from Lina and one from Austin) and a fab present (a cinema light box which I am super stoked about).
Rush to get ready for church – Evelina’s first Rainbows service.Church – nice hymns and people. Evelina told the congregation that’s what she loves about me is when I say don’t get food on your top over and over and then immediately do that myself. She didn’t say it very clearly so I think most people didn’t catch it but I knew what she said because we were laughing about it the other day. File under: Watch What You Say to Evelina Because She May Repeat it Back in Church Someday. The Rainbows’ pictures of their mums were up on the wall – I spotted me straight away (because of the blue hair similar to one of my cards from this morning!). Evelina brought me over a bunch of daffodils.
Let me start with an apology: Mum and Dad, I am sorry that I chided you numerous times for not having as many photos of me as a baby as you did of my (older) brother. I know you had your reasons but I also know this (hopefully pretty universal) truth: the second child does NOT get the same photos (or in my case, photos, blog posts, quilts) as the first born. Evelina has monthly letters I lovingly wrote with photos and anecdotes aplenty. She has photos books for the first three years. I wrote weekly about my pregnancy with her. In short, I have a lot of explaining to do when Austin gets old enough to appreciate the inequality of it all. My saving grace is that I have been using Instagram and Twitter to help document his milestones as much as I can.
Every January for the past three years, I have chosen a word to focus on. Last year was Nurture – I did a lot of that but I also didn’t really focus on it like I’d hoped. The joy of motherhood sometimes means that life seems to be passing by, like you’re on a train and watching it pass out the window. You see it but you don’t feel a part of it. It’s a strange feeling.
Continue reading “Balance”
Ever since having Austin, I have the disconcerting feeling that I have lost my nerve. From inconsequential things like not being able to go down a high slide at Bewilderwood to more significant anxieties around returning to work, dealing with a lot of noise and sometimes even being in crowded places. Generally, I am much less able to handle stress. As someone who usually relishes hustle and bustle, it’s a strange place to be.
For someone who is usually only too happy to share her thoughts and feelings, it always catches me off-guard when I realise I have been bottling things up. I can always tell when I am feeling stressed because it shows in my face. Not in my expression. In my actual face. For a few days now, I’ve been plagued with itchy eyes (rampant hay fever I think) which has made the skin around my eye red and inflamed. I have eczema around my mouth and a nasty cold sore has just cleared up (I managed to ward off two other cold sore attempts with Zovirax).
When I was preparing to leave to go on maternity leave just before Christmas, I had a lot of teaching colleagues make a lot of envious noises about how lucky I was to go for my ‘year off’. If I were doing any other job, I would have been incensed by the implication that having a baby – and maternity leave in general – is a doddle, a break, a holiday. However, as a teacher, I found it hard to get annoyed.
I am now 7 weeks into being a mum for the second time and even with the night feeds and the long cluster feeding evening sessions that seem to last forever, I can still say that I am less tired and more emotionally balanced than I was when I was teaching. Instead of being constantly aware of all the ways I am failing (as a teacher, this is something I was always feeling), I feel like a success. I have a thriving baby that is proof of my success – he is still alive! He is smiling! He is feeding! He is sleeping (sometimes)! I did that. And people are telling me all the time what a great job I’m doing, how well I am looking, how brilliant I am at being a mum. Compared to how I feel as a teacher, my confidence is through the roof. My oh my, the power of positive feedback! Fancy that!
It has left me to reflect on how I was feeling as I stepped out of the classroom: relieved for the ‘break’, disillusioned, lacking confidence in my ability to teach and unvalued. Despite having a fantastic team around me – my department are just superb – I constantly felt like I was falling short of expectations.
Now I am at home, spending large amounts of time sitting and thinking (breastfeeding is special but tedious too), I am feeling energised to get back into the classroom. I want to use the time I have to get on top of the new course content and exam specs. I want to take back some control by going back over the theories of teaching that were explored during my training (but then largely pushed out of mind in the whirr of the real-life teaching environment). I want to stop feeling like a failure and remember I have the ability to succeed.
I just have to get past Nicky Morgan’s speech which is still reverberating around my skull.
Austin will be three weeks old tomorrow so I thought it was high time I introduced him. This, however, gave me a dilemma. I had written all Evelina’s updates on Raising Evelina but I have struggled to rename that blog to accommodate her little brother. I have also been very slow to update that blog at all lately so I decided I would combine all my blogging and rename my Mulberry Wall blog reflect this change in focus.
I will still be blogging about all those things that interest me here but I will also be posting all the children updates here too under the Mama category. I have also renamed most of my other social media to tie in with the blog.
Austin James Matthew was born on 6th February at 11.19pm. I was induced at Warwick Hospital at midday and although it took a while to get going, it was VERY quick at the end. After having some lasting negative feelings about Evelina’s birth, I definitely feel better about everything now that Austin is born.
He was a healthy 8lbs 13ozs and everything went well although we still have an ongoing issue with his renal pelves being dilated. Despite our general anxiety about this and our concern for him being on antibiotics longterm, the medical professionals all seem very relaxed about this issue and it appears to be a relatively common issue.
Evelina is thoroughly enjoying being a big sister and our home is definitely fuller and complete with Austin here. My heart is bursting.
My emotions have been a little bit all over the place with wonderful, excited highs and snappy, grouchy lows. Going from an all-consuming job to having so much spare time (and so little energy to use it) is an adjustment.
I am now 37 weeks pregnant which is classed as full-term. I could do with having this weekend to get Baby Boy’s room a bit more sorted although his clothing and bedding is all washed and folded which is satisfying. But otherwise I’m ready to get this show on the road.