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Archive for the ‘mothers’ Category

Saying goodbye

It’s taken me a few days to be able write about saying goodbye to a friend taken too early in the most tragic of circumstances. Chloe and I hadn’t been in touch for a few years but she called me out of the blue just after the birth of her third baby four months ago.

The last time we had spoken was more than four years prior to that. She was almost ready to give birth for the first time. I was in a different place, married but not planning a family anytime soon. Often the children/no-children divide comes between people.

When Chloe called me back in July this year, things had changed. I too was a mother and pregnant for the second time. After several years two former colleagues, two out-of-touch friends instantly reconnected over our shared experience of being a mother.

I was struck by how happy she was, how much she loved being a mother and wife and how amazing she sounded for someone who had given birth only a week prior. We talked for a long while about our children, our feelings, our hopes and our plans.

Unfortunately, our plan to meet for a picnic with our children was never to be. Instead I saw her children and husband for the first time at her funeral.

Death is never easy to deal with – especially when the victim is young and especially when their life was taken deliberately by the hand of another. But beyond the tragic circumstances Chloe’s death struck me in a way I had never experienced before. I felt it deeply as a mother.

I ache for her children, the youngest of whom will have no memory of her. So many things lay ahead which a child should be able to share with his or her mother and a mother with her child. First steps, first words and first days of school. Graduation, moving out, finding love, losing love, having a family of your own.

I grieve for her husband who will raise three beautiful children alone, knowing everyday how much their mother wanted to be there.

When my almost two-and-half-year-old walks around the house calling for me because I have been out of sight for five minutes I wonder how long her four-year-old, two-and-a-half-year-old and four-month-old will continue to call and seek her out.

I don’t know the answers or have any words to explain how a family moves on from such a place.

The only way I can see to respond to this personally is to make sure I treasure what I have and enjoy the ups and downs, the laughter and the tantrums that go with raising children.

May you rest in peace, Chloe.

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Mother’s day

What a difference a year makes.

Last mother’s day I was six months pregnant. I’d planned lunch, a movie and a walk in the Botanical Gardens with my mum to celebrate. Instead we spent the night in emergency after mum suffered a heart attack. It was almost six months to the day since dad had had a heart attack and died in the very same emergency room. It was devastating.

But here we are, one year on, and things couldn’t be better. Not only do I have a beautiful son who adores me and a wonderful husband who goes out of his way to make my life easier. But I still have a kind and loving mother who – thank goodness – is fit and healthy again.

And it may have taken a year, but we finally made that lunch and movie.

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Seven month update

A lot has happened since my last entry but it’s been hard to find the time to write. Lenny’s decided that 10pm is early for bed and frequently tries for 11pm – I think he might have heard about the Scientology kids.

Out of nowhere he suddenly became a total mummy’s boy. He won’t go to sleep for anyone else and he pretty much just wants my attention all the time. Whatever I’ve got, he wants. Whatever I’m eating, he wants. Today I thought ahead and brought two spoons – one little, one big – for my blueberries and yoghurt. Even though he had just had his mid-morning fruit he polished off about half of mine.

He is an absolute machine when it comes to food. I had strong ideas about what I would and wouldn’t let my child eat before Lenny was born. Let’s just say it didn’t include nana’s birthday cake at seven months old. Being a good parent is so much easier when you don’t actually have children. 

Anyway about Lenny’s progress. He is much more of a little boy than a baby now. He can sit up by himself for about five or 10 minutes and when he’s tired he falls down in slow motion. He says “da da da” in varying tones and volumes. He’s spending a bit more time on his tummy but never too long. He’s just realised that he can continue to roll in one direction to get places and he ended up under the table today.

Night time sleeping seems to have taken a backwards step (for me anyway). He’s been waking every few hours again and will only be settled by me. I still dream of sleeping through the night – daydream that is. I’m not asleep long enough for those kind of dreams 🙂

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I always seem to be drawn to people who’re at a similar place in life, so at the moment I find myself surrounded by new mums. And if there’s one thing we all have in common it’s a reliance on our partners to share the “load” of parenting.

Dads these days are required to be–and do–so much more than they were a generation or two ago. While stay-at-home dads are becoming more common it’s still mainly women who stay home in the early months for practical reasons. But as soon as the partners return from a day in the office they’re expected to take over with baby. Most dads I know look after the bathing and bedtime routine each evening, change just as many nappies as the mother and even do their share of night time feeding if their baby’s on formula or takes expressed milk from a bottle.

And what older women seem to find most amazing about this is that the fathers want to do it. Rather than spending evenings at the pub, they want to spend time with their children. And it’s not just playtime they’re interested in, they want to be carers and nuturers for their children.

I’ve heard a lot of new mums saying that in the past our mothers had other female relatives to help them whereas today we’re more isolated. But I’ve spoken to a lot of older women who say this wasn’t the case for them. They too were far from family or who had mothers who told them to simply deal with their lot alone.

I know I’d be completely overwhelmed without Nath’s help and that’s with just one baby. Quite frankly, I don’t know how our mothers and their mothers did it but I certainly respect them more for it now.

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Off to nana’s

In my car seat for the first time We reached a milestone today … Lenny had his first big trip in the car and we safely made it to nana’s and back home again!

It’s funny, even though I’ve been driving around with Lenny in my belly for the last 10 months I’ve been quite nervous about the prospect of driving with him now he’s here in his own body.

I’d been thinking about it for days and finally got the confidence up to drive the half hour to mum’s today. Turns out he really liked the car, it put him straight to sleep in no time! And even more surprising I managed to drive pretty close to the speed limit, not 20ks under, and I didn’t really feel very anxious at all.

Mum was over the moon that we finally made it to her place. With all she’s been through of late it’s quite an ordeal for her to make the trip all the way into the city to see us so now we can share the load with her so she doesn’t have to do all the travelling.

At nana'sLenny is three weeks old today and we’ve noticed that he has started to respond to us a little more in the last few days. He really locks eyes with you now and follows your movements. He is making lots of little sounds and we think he’s trying to communicate. The books say it’s too early but you don’t have to believe everything you read …

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Introducing Leonard Desmond

Lenny ready to come home for the first time

Our beautiful little boy entered the world at 6.56am on Wednesday 1st August, 2007. He weighed 3504 grams, was 51cm long and in perfect health. After waiting so long we were overjoyed to finally meet our much-wanted son.

We decided to call him Leonard Desmond. Leonard seemed to suit him and he’s a Leo as well. Then we just found out his paternal great grandfather was named Leo. Desmond is after his maternal granddad, my dad, who sadly passed away around the time Lenny was conceived in November last year. How much I wish he was here right now.

We came home from hospital after 48 hours because I couldn’t bear the thought of another night with Nath having to go home and us stay behind. No matter how much people had told me about what these first weeks would be like I could never have understood until we experienced it. I felt like a wild animal you see on a nature doco when her cubs are under threat when I walked outside the hospital with Lenny in my arms. If anyone had got in my way I would have torn them apart.

Arriving home was wonderful and very scary. While it’s all natural, it’s far from straight forward. I wonder what he’s thinking and feeling, is he hungry, is he tired? Am I doing the right thing. I can see now that this is the beginning of a lifetime of overwhelming love and concern. I want everything to be perfect for him. I know it’s early days but right now it’s like the world starts and ends at our front door.

Just looking at him can bring a tear to my eye. He’s so beautiful and so helpless and he came from us. I love the way he sighs after a sneezing fit and raises his eyebrows when he’s going to sleep. When wind or something makes it looks like he’s smiling I can just imagine how the first time he smiles with intent is going to make me melt.

Welcome to the world Lenny and welcome home. We love you and can’t wait to watch you grow.

Lenny at home

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Off the air

We sent the families into chaos today by going to a morning movie session then forgetting to turn the mobiles back on. When we finally realised after dinner there was a flurry of banked up texts and voice messages. The grandmothers seem convinced we’re going to forget to call them when there’s news. I know we’ll be preoccupied when things do start but I don’t think we’ll forget to release the birds or set the flares off or whatever it is we’re meant to do. Oh and blog it here, post updates on Facebook, upload progress pics on flickr, put some video on YouTube…

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