Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.

Monday, 26 March 2012


Change is a certainty in life, we can always rely on this! But what about personal change? 

Well there is a saying that goes something like this, 'You cannot help those that will not help themselves'. So personal change, personal growth or whatever you want to call it, has to be down to the individual. I guess the idea is that all the changes we make (and stick to) are born out of our own desire to change and not because we think we should for someone/something else or because someone/something else is pushing us into it. Admittedly I think another person/situation can be instrumental in us wanting to change, their desires, thoughts, needs and wants can guide us in our decision. However to truly change, to alter your life or who you are, that has to come from within. So regardless of what other people may think or say or want, unless you think, express and want all those things too then you are (it seems) eventually doomed to fail and revert back to past behaviour. 

So what happens when a person really does change, when this change comes from a place of self-awareness and an understanding of who/what they want to be? Well it should be acknowledged of course! Society, I think sometimes has a tendency when a person makes a big, life altering change to look around for someone else to congratulate. And as I said before I believe other people can be instrumental in us wanting to change, they can guide us and support us but ultimately the responsibility falls to us and thus so should the praise too. To heap praise onto others or to make them responsible for change in another, is to take away from that person what it is they have achieved. Personal change can be a challenge full of endurance, introspection, self-sacrifice and at times even self-deprivation or humbling of the spirit. It is a battle of wills, between the old and the new, the DEVIL you know and the ANGEL you don't.

So when a person has made this huge change, rather than looking to the people around them, look to them. Congratulate them. Because to do so is to validate everything they have fought, struggled and strived for. In heaping praise on others, for another's choice, is to undermine everything they have done. And yes we are all adults but we all still need validation from time to time and especially from the people that matter the most to us, our loved ones. Besides the thanks and gratitude for support should come from the person who has received it, not from the people around them.  

Saturday, 17 March 2012

The night is darkest just before the dawn...

When so much of your time is taken nurturing the relationship you have with your child/children, it is sometimes easy to forget that there are other relationships that need nurture too.

Having a child will definitely change the dynamics of daily life but most importantly it can impact on those relationships closest to you. Particularly the relationship you share with your significant other.

To begin with, after a baby is born, it feels as though there is no time at all. Each day seems to require at least an additional half a day tagged on the end just to get everything done. It is like you have literally been dropped full force into the depths of a very deep pool! You stumble through the first few weeks and months, taking as much enjoyment from the experience as you possibly can, inbetween the sleep deprivation and ulcer inducing stress that comes from the spiralling costs involved in raising a child. With so much to buy and so little money to go around, most months can feel like a desperate struggle, constantly robbing Peter to feed Paul. And what is that saying 'When money goes out the door, love flies out the window'? 

You have distant memories of the days when you had that thing called 'disposable income' and 'free-time' to spend it in. Becoming a family robs you of any spare cash and even if you did have some, you doubt you would have the time to enjoy it. Not to say that couples always need money to have a good time, but it certainly helps and not having to worry about it helps even more. But having a child was your choice, right? So you take it like a grown up, like your parents had to, and you find new and exciting ways to have fun without the need for money. Well I guess that depends on whether you actually have the energy or enthusiasm to think of anything other than getting from one end of the day to the other and when you can next get some sleep! 

So as the days and months drift by you seem to spend more and more moments apart, between work, child-care and sleep, the shopping, cleaning, cooking and other commitments (family, friends etc..), the person you live with, the person you share your life with, the person you made this beautiful child with begins to become a stranger to you. You see them everyday, you pass each other on the landing or coming in and out of the bathroom, you sleep next to them in the bed, you share a conversation or a meal but you don't really see them anymore. And eventually, given enough time, you look up and don't even recognise the person staring back at you. You went from lovers and best-friends to house-mates that are time-sharing a child. And you can't imagine how or when this all happened! 

Sad isn't it?! And it happens to so many couples, behind closed doors you never really know what is going on. 

So what can you do to salvage this? Well first of all I guess the most important thing is to make sure there is something to salvage, not all couples are going to make it. That's just life I guess. Something left to salvage? Then look inside yourself and except responsibility for your part in how it all went wrong, because very rarely is it all one sided. Next try to remember all the reasons why you first fell in love, why you made the monumental decision to have a child together, except the fact that your relationship will never be how it was pre-child/children but that it could be better, because you are part of something amazing now, a family. And above all, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk and talk some more. Because with love, "There is nothing lost, that cannot be found, if sought"...And so you can find a way back to each other, to be happy, to be contented and as one of my best-friends recently told me, 'There is a lot to be said for being contented' and I am inclined to agree, it certainly makes the world a brighter place.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Lists and juggling...

Life can feel like an uphill struggle at times, sometimes it seems no matter how much effort you put in, you are still doomed to fail. I always feel like I am having to weigh up my options and try to decipher what tasks are more necessary (or important) than others. Very much like you do at work, you have a list of tasks and if you are anything like me, you have to sort through them and decide which ones are the most important and work downwards from there. Although invariably (as we all know) lists can take on a life of their own at times. The theory behind lists is that you make them to prioritise your tasks, or as a form of remembering things. You tick things off as you go along and so the list becomes smaller and you start to feel like you are achieving something. My lists are NEVER like that!  They inevitably become longer, or more complicated with tasks continually added to them. Even my shopping lists seem to miss the mark as there are always at least five items that go into the trolley, that never made it to the list. And these are not luxury items or impulse buys, they are just things I have forgotten that we needed.  

So I juggle all my priorities, like constant metaphorical balls in the air and I keep hoping that I might be able to chuck a ball or two away at times. Sometimes I do but they are always replaced by more balls, new balls and I guess some would just call that 'life'. And I walk around with paper lists and mental lists endlessly trying to tick the tasks off as I go along. Ring the nurse, email the University, buy new shoes for Emily, seal the bath because everytime someone takes a shower there is the danger of flooding in the kitchen, email photo's to my aunty, organise maternity clothes for best-friend, take packages to postoffice, call my sister in Hong Kong with my free 30 minutes international call (courtesy of the nice people at Orange), finish my A&P assignment, start my presentation for study skills, finishing reading Wuthering Heights for English, send back the Lovefilm DVD's, do some more exercise, clean the bathroom, wash Emily's clothes, wash my clothes, clean the kitchen floor, tidy and sweep the yard, spend quality time with Emily, spend quality time with Gavin, spend quality time with myself. Try not to want to burst into tears each night when I go to bed and realise that I have to start the whole process all over again the next day (ha ha). And in all that try to find the time to process all the millions of thoughts that are constantly spinning around in my head, things that can at times be of very great importance in holding together the fabric of my life, so that all those balls don't come crashing down around me. 

Ohhhhh okay and breathe! In truth my life is like so many others around me and I know that to be true. However sometimes it just feels good to share and maybe it will make the people around me feel a little better when they realise, that just like me, they are not alone!