Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Little Bit About Me & Another Guest Post: The Chronic-Ills of Rach: I See You

Peek-a-boo I see you.
So last week I hosted my first guest post.  And I liked it so much I decided to do it again!  

Only that's not true.  

What's true is this, I did like bringing you Reannon's gorgeous post.  And I do like the idea of doing that more around here.  

But really, what's really going on is this: I'm tired, and I've been sick, and I'm still a little sick, and I can't shake this swirly thing, and I'm not running right now.  Not meditating either.  And there is no routine in my life and I feel behind in everything.   And my little boy keeps asking me "Will you play with me Mummy?" and I just want to say "Yes."  And I just want to not have other things I feel I need to do.  And I don't know why I do this thing where I turn everything I do into a chore instead of letting it be fun.  What's that about?  But I just feel like I need to stop everything.  Turn off.  Tune out. Take a break.  Let it all go.  

So that's what I am about to do.  

In a few weeks time I am going back to my beautiful meditation retreat.  And I know that will be just the re-calibration I need. 

But in the meantime there are going to be a few weeks of guest posts around these parts.  It's easy for me to feel like this is lazy or slack, but when I think about the immense pool of talented bloggers I have been exposed to over the last few months, it doesn't seem lazy at all - it seems downright mean not to share them with you.  

I know you will enjoy getting to know some of these wonderful bloggers as much as I have, maybe you'll discover a new favourite.  I hope so.  

I'm starting you off with one of my absolute faves.  I have banged on about Rachel from The Chronic-ills of Rach before.  It's easy to do because she is so damned amazing.  She's an incredible writer and a generous soul and I feel genuinely enriched from having gotten to know her in the last wee while.  

She sent me this post to share when I told her how overwhelmed I was feeling, how I needed a break, and maybe a hug.  This was her gift to me.  And I am thrilled to be able to pass it on to you.

"I See You" by Rachel at The Chronic-Ills Of Rach

I found the baby photo albums this morning.  Of course… any excuse to stop…

I settled in to the sofa to spend some time reminiscing.  I always look at pictures from this time with surprise.  Like a spectator trying to understand the family I am seeing.  At the time I was barely functioning; so sleep deprived and anxious that my memories are a hazy fuzz.  But in the photos; that mother.  She looks so happy, so …together.  She is holding her babies, smiling and laughing. There are baby bath shots, feeding shots, solids, walking, play time and coffee group shots.  Family time and baking and washing folding and all the hallmark Mummy Activities. 

But Mummy was acting.  I remember how it really was, inside my head.  I just wanted to cry, with as much feeling as my babies did.  Sometimes, I was scarily detached even from my own distress. Sometimes I just felt empty and dead inside, at a time when I knew my babies needed me to feel connected and certain.

Looking back I can see how it all happened as it did.  There was big stuff going on.  My own mother was fighting her battle with Ovarian cancer in the two years after my first baby was born.  I fought with her, desperate for her to stay with me.  But she passed away. Then I was fighting my own battle with grief in the years after my second baby was born.

I feel a deep sadness for that Mummy.  The one pretending to have it all together.  I wish I could go back in time and reassure her, tell her to take a good look at me now, and see that it will get better.  Maybe I could do some loads of washing for her and cook some dinners for her freezer.  I remember one of my friends did just that one day, when things were very dark.  She knocked on the door and shyly handed over a quiche. “Just in case you could do with an easy dinner” she said.  I lost it.  Cried then.  Cried in that embarrassing, gasping fashion.   Sobbed my sore mummy heart out.  Somehow she had seen through my ‘keeping it all together’ facade.  She saw me as I really was; scared, struggling and in need of gentle kindness.

So I was looking at these photos this morning, and one in particular really struck me.  It’s the moment after my daughter first met her little brother.  We are in the maternity hospital and she has been without me for the first night of her life.  She is giddily happy to see me; nervous about seeing him.  Her face is the picture of apprehension. She knows he is her special little brother, but she is afraid.  What does it mean?  Will Mummy and Daddy have enough love to go around?  Will the baby love her back?  Why does everything have to change? 

She is about to turn three.  Her whole world is shifting on it’s axis.  She smiles when she gingerly touches the little pulsating triangle on his downy head.  And erupts into the most heartbreakingly overwhelmed sobs.  There just aren’t words to explain how she is feeling.  The bittersweet love-fear that comes with big life stuff.  She is lost.  In that moment, I put my Mummy arms around her and shush quietly into her hair.

Rachel, her daughter and her newborn son.
I am sure that I am a broken and useless Mumma, but this stuff, I get.  She needs me to see her.  I put her tiny brother into the bassinet and settle him in.  She sighs and settles back into my arms, safe in the warmth of knowing that I know.  I sing to her and tell her the story of when she was born.  A tiny little bundle, even smaller than her baby brother.  I tell her how excited we were that she was coming, and all the things I noticed about her. I skip the bit about my own terrors.  I talk about how much she loved to hold my finger and sleep close to her Daddy.  She asks me if she was a good baby and I kiss her forehead.  “You were my baby, and that was better than good” I skip the facts.  I tell her how clever she is, how creative and how big.  I tell her that she is already everything she needs to be to be a big sister.  She’ll be great.  I tell her it is okay to wish she wasn’t a sister sometimes, because in the end, the love will be bigger than the upsets.  She nods and falls asleep.

We all need someone to see us when things are overwhelming. To talk to us that way. And sadly, sometimes, that someone has to be ourselves.  Somewhere between those early baby years and now, I have discovered how to mother myself.  When I am lost and need to be seen, I make a point of encouraging myself.  Giving myself the kindnesses my own mother would give if she were here.  I give myself the freedom to let go and give the kids eggs on toast for tea.  To treat myself to a pedicure.  To tell myself I am fantastic, right to my own face in the mirror.  When I am being irrational and emotional, I let myself cry and yell and be a big fat baby.  I talk to myself like a mother would.  I see myself through the eyes of love and then, all things can be handled.
Maybe you need to be seen too.

I see you.
Oh Rachel, you Goddess.  I really love the way this lady writes, so much.  And she's up for an award right now, so if you want to, if you love the way she writes too go and vote for her here.  It would mean a lot to her if you did.

How are you feeling right now? Are you being seen?

Listen to: Dolly Parton Coat of Many Colours

Top Image Licensed Under Creative Commons
Other Image via Chronic Ills of Rach


  1. Beautiful post! I adore Rachel's writing (and have voted for her too) x

  2. Me too Karen, me too. If she wasn't so damn lovely I'd probably hate her a little bit for being so talented. ;)