Make it easy on yourself…

2019 has barely gotten going & it’s been rough already. In a matter of weeks I have lost my baby & my boyfriend, which is less than an auspicious beginning. If I sound flippant, I’m not, I’m just trying very hard to put one foot in front of the other.

The demise of my pregnancy is devastating. My relationship’s end is sad, but the right decision and that’s about all I have to say on the topic. I find myself approaching the year (and my life) alone again. Being single hasn’t ever worried me all that much. I’m definitely not scared to be that kind of alone. Childlessness on the other hand, terrifies me. What do you when you’re facing your biggest fear? I haven’t a fucking a clue.

#projectpostit

For the time being I have taken the clichéd approach of one day at a time. I’m trying not to spend every day at home in my jammies (there is however a lot of crying on the sofa). Functioning is a struggle for a multitude of reasons. Primarily, I am exhausted. I’m always tired. Add even less sleep, the effort it takes to contain my anger at life itself, the fact that I will not stop bleeding, so despite the blood transfusion my haemoglobin level continues to flag and you get extreme fatigue. Having a different emotion every 5 seconds is tiring. Battling (& often failing) to contain the tears is wearing. Breathing & washing & conversing & not screaming is all taking gargantuan effort. The truth is I’m not managing very much. I’m practising being ok with that.

Blood transfusion, Rose wine, snuggling cat, reading baby

I recommend spending time with people who don’t expect too much of you. I’m giving priority to anything that give me comfort; my little people & potatoes pretty much have that covered. Hot baths have featured heavily as has ‘fake it ’til you make it’ make up. There was one afternoon of day drinking with a lovely friend that actually helped a lot, but not something it would be wise to make a habit of. My purring cat is a godsend. I’m reading, sleeping whenever I can and endeavouring to be gentle with myself.

ly h Kerr

I have no clue how to tackle the overwhelming sense of guilt. Chipping away at how ‘not fair’ this is may well take the rest of my life. I’m focusing on the small stuff. Giving myself a pass on the growing mountain of washing, the ideas that go unpitched and being awfully rude to the person who called about my non-existent road traffic accident. I find it harder than you’d imagine to let that stuff go. Being hard on myself comes easy. i have learned that when life gets you on the ground it’s worth tackling the instinct to kick oneself whilst already down.

Sunset

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Month by month…

There is a particular torture in waiting for your period to arrive when you wish it wouldn’t. Analysing every sensation in the run up to your due date. Trying to decide if your sore back is a period sore back. Being almost certain you kind of smell a menstrual type aroma, but also thinking maybe last week’s nausea was morning sickness. Counting the days. Marking the calendar. Trying not to hope & trying not to lose hope.

Each month is just a microcosm of life. Watching, waiting & knowing time isn’t on your side. Doing your very best not let this desire take over. Working hard to ensure not realising the dream won’t break you. Constantly weighing up how much more you can take.

I’m lying here kidding myself that the hot ache in my thighs doesn’t mean the blood is on its way. I’m reminding myself of all the wonderful things I have. Attempting to hang onto how grateful I am. I know how much worse life can be. You can be happy with the consolation prize. Almost is better than nothing. We don’t always get everything we want, right?

Whatever gets you through your life…

I’m the kind of person who can be prone to feeling a bit too sad. Sometimes there are specific reasons for my sombre mood, others I’m blue without a clue. Obviously this necessitates developing sad day strategies. One of my most straightforward techniques is pop culture distraction.

Basically I immerse myself in literature, tv, movies or music that either soothe or swallow up my sadness. It’s a shallow technique. It has no chance of curing what ails me, but it can get me through a rough day. There are times when whatever gets you through the night really is alright.

My all time favourite tv show is pretty effective. Pick any random episode of Grey’s Anatomy and there’s a very high chance I will cry before it finishes. Select an episode that pushes my weepy buttons & I’ll have a mini breakdown. I can see why some may think this would be terrible viewing for a sad person. They’d be wrong. Crying is so incredibly cathartic. Balling your eyes over someone else’s pain, even more so. You get all the release with none of the troublesome self examination. I know, I know, you have to deal with your issues to solve them. However, when your issue is not entirely fixable & not even always knowable, Grey’s works. Throw in amazing uncliched female characters, very hot men, proper happy endings & your heart wrench is balanced. Need a good wail, but to still feel like there is good in the world? Meredith & Cristina are your girls.

Jane Austen serves the same, save me from drowning in melancholy purpose. She just does it in a very different way. Austen soothes me. I know those books inside out. I know I can trust Jane to guide me to a satisfying ending. There will be no traumatic twists. Manners will keep almost everyone in line. Characters I love will learn their lessons gracefully & reap their rewards. The baddies will get their just desserts, cads will rue the day. All with a dash of wit & a knowing wink from Austen. I know these novels have zero relevance to my life. To be honest that’s kind of the point. Ordered escapism is a marvellous distraction from messy feelings.

Lost in Translation combines both functions. It lets me cry whilst letting me believe. Unconventional happily ever after is the best kind. Meeting someone who can help you find yourself spoke to my deepest desires for a very long time. Now, I can enjoy the film safe in the knowledge that I managed it all by myself. All of those arty shots of Tokyo at night calm me. Bill Murray dispersing quizzical wisdom lifts me. Sad people finding there might be answers to their frustrated situations gives me life.

Which brings me to my ultimate sad girl medicine; Alan Bennett. Every single word he puts on paper is a tiny cure. His writing is both real & magical. His diaries reveal a decent man. His fiction & his life are built on a solid social conscious. Biting wit, cosy sentiment & articulate commentary somehow abide comfortably together in his work. I love Alan Bennett. I can lose my pain in his pages, sedated by seemingly effortless talent.

I’m grateful my bad life evolved into just bad days. It doesn’t always happen that way. Plus, when the bad days stack up it doesn’t always feel like they’ll fade away. We all need ways to temporarily escape. Those of us who’ve had a brush with crazy, even more so. These work for me. Perhaps they’ll help you too.

Cold water surrounds me now…

I’m having one of those days when my emotions feel like they might sink me. It’s like all the feelings I usually keep in check have escaped & flooded the room. It’s hard to breathe or concentrate on anything other than keeping my head above water.

Luckily, I’m a strong swimmer. I know the worst thing one can do when in rough waters is panic. I need to take deep breaths whenever possible & focus on getting to dry land. All of which means sunday hit me a little harder than I expected. Mother’s Day always gives me pause, but this time last year I was pregnant. Now, here I am, still childless. Still trying not to lose hope. It does feel hopeless at times. When all the hurt & negativity bubbles up it is hard to see a point. What am I doing? Where is life taking me?

That is when I have to reach for reason. I must force myself to get sickeningly, happy clappy. In short, I count blessings. There are many & if it doesn’t make you cringe too much, I’m going to share a few.

Love. I have love in my life.

I have many beautiful little people.

Potatoes. Boiled, roasted, chipped, baked, in scones! A world with potatoes can not be all bad.

I have a very big & very comfortable bed.

And someone I like rolling around in it with.

I’m smart. I’m funny. I’m pretty fucking tough.

I was lucky enough to be born in a place that offers me safety.

I adopted the very best puss cat.

I have access to quality healthcare.

I got to be young in the 90’s.

I’ve seen the sunset on a beach in Corfu, cuddled a koala in Brisbane, watched fireworks from castle ramparts in St Malo, walked in The Beatles footsteps in Hamburg, ice skated in a snowing Central Park, got so wasted I lost one shoe in Amsterdam & so much more.

I have sung beloved babies to sleep.

Watched them take first steps & their personalities unfold.

I have a roof over my head.

Food in my belly.

Some really cool shoes.

And plenty to look forward to.

I don’t have everything, but what I do have adds up to enough. Life goes on. Life is good.

And so it is the colder water…

It’s been around 8 weeks since I miscarried. I think all things considered, I am doing ok. I mean, I’ve not completely fallen apart. I haven’t turned to scalpels for comfort or absented myself from the world. I’m getting up & painting my face & taking part in life. I wish I could say it was easy, but on days like today, it feels like drowning. 

I am attending the recurrent miscarriage clinic to see if there are any issues I am not already aware of & the midwife I see has been wonderful. She had given me info on a ‘support group’, which I’m considering. I’m on some new meds to help with PCOS & tracking my periods etc to keep on eye on things from that side. I’m socialising & blogging & getting more politically active. I’m doing everything i can think of to keep moving forward. So why do I feel like I’m wedged in wet sand?

I think about what might have been every day. Not all day long, but it’s never far away. There are so many reminders. So many painful things that can’t be avoided. From appointments at the maternity hospital & other people’s babies to just the scent of something that made me nauseous when I was pregnant & doesn’t anymore. I don’t want the world to stop. I don’t want to rob anyone of their joyous moments; it’s just so hard. The happiness I feel for others comes with a stab of sorrow. It’s been this way for so long, but my recent loss has given that sadness renewed potency. I let all my hopes out of a place I kept tied up tight. Blueprints for a life that I hadn’t dared to examine sprang to life & folding up those plans is proving difficult. 
I have my period again & I know that impacts on my mood. All of the sensations of menstruating mirror miscarriage symptoms. The cramps & sensitive nipples are reminders I don’t want. The blood remains wrapped up in my trauma. Forever a trigger. And yet, I’m glad to have the period. Not so long ago I had practically none. It’s a relief to have this increasingly reliable sign that my ovaries are doing something. Like so many other things the positive is marred.


I think from the outside I probably look fine. I want to look well. No, I want to BE well. I’m really fighting not to let my life slide. The truth is I’m struggling. My creative output is vastly decreased. I lack the motivation & clarity to write. Not writing is not good for me. I process my experiences through words on the paper. The less I write the more anxious I become. Of course the more I stress about it, the less I am able to curate my thoughts. It’s a predictable cycle. There are obviously more practical concerns; my words keep a roof over my head. 


My physical health hasn’t been good. My sleep is appalling. I know that takes it’s toll. I attempt to rationalise myself out of days like this. My exhausted, pained, grieving & traumatised self will obviously have lows. I know this is to be expected. That knowledge doesn’t change the dread. It does nothing to chase away the fear when I awake to a complete inability to function. When nothing shifts the weight crushing me or the desire to disappear. 24 hours isn’t a long time except when your swamped in depression. I can get through the bad days. I’m just terrified of the days multiplying. 
That’s the crux of it. Mental illness feels a bit like being an alcoholic. I will never completely recover. The lows will always come. Life will always have ways to trip me up. The fear of everything unravelling sits quietly on my shoulder. It’s a bad day. I’m still grieving. I hope for better. 

You & I…

Dear Son,

I’ve been trying to keep low key busy today; house work, catching up on emails & so on. I have hoped to keep myself from sinking too deep into sadness. 
I’ve actually done quite well. I had a cry in the shower, but the water washed those tears away. There was no evidence left for anyone else to see, which is like you. Gone. Without a trace.

So, I’ve taken a lot of deep breaths & whispered to myself that I’m ok.

I’m ok

I’m ok

I’m ok.

And I am. More so than I’ve ever been since I lost you. I think maybe I can try again. Perhaps, I can do this life thing. I wish I could believe that would heal me, but you’re not a wound. The pain is bittersweet. 

I’ve been wondering what my life would be like with a 16yr old. Louder, grumpier, more complicated? I’ll never know how our life would been. I do know I’d have given you my best. I’m also sure that you’re worth it. The short time I held you within me will always be worth all the rest. 

Now, you’ve got me crying again. My tears are inevitable, as is my love. Inevitable & invincible. No matter what happens there will forever be you & I. 

Love always,

Mum