We need to talk.
I’m feeling as though you’re not as committed to our relationship as I am & I’m starting to really question the way you treat me sometimes, specifically, the way you leave me without word, without warning & without reason.
We’ve had a really tumultuous time together haven’t we. Me being that little bit behind in Primary school - & needing catching up which included me staying down in year one, needing remedial reading & math – was really hard on you but we got there. You disappeared for while after my grade three teacher calling me stupid in front of my class but came back a year later when I started enjoying learning again having a wonderful encouraging teacher. You always remained in the gym with me when I had my gymnastics classes & in my backyard when trampolining. I was the happiest then & you really helped get me back on track academically. In grade six I had the most wonderful teacher who made me absolutely love learning & school & we were so very close that year & I’ll cherish that forever.
High school was rough on us both. Boys, bras, periods, lack of attention, bullying, bitchy girls, being labelled & judged for being a Rabbi’s daughter etc was really difficult, but things got better when we moved schools for year 11 & 12. And after school, boy-o-boy did things get even better. University brought out the academic in me. I started getting high marks because I was doing subjects I wanted to do & was good at. I loved learning, was studious, did all my assignments, handed them in on time & had a ball socially as there were no preconceived notions of who I was & how I should behave etc. Why am I reminding you ? You were there!
Fast forward a few years & I was working in advertising – I was presenting to marketing managers in large corporations, was juggling the demands of my clients with the wishes & visions of my creative department & was loyal & committed to the bosses of the two agencies I was at the longest. I had fantastic relationships with my clients & all my performance reviews reflected that. You were at an all time high & we were going places. After years of feeling as though I had to prove myself, we settled into a nice rhythm & this permeated into my social life also which now included people I enjoyed spending time with & people who made me feel good about myself.
Fast forward to a few broken hearts & relationship learning experiences about being important in someone else’s life & not just an appendage, a long distance relationship that ended as soon as it started due to the apathy & fear of the other partner & a promised life together with picket fences & kids only to have shared this person with another – except I didn’t know about it. Happiness & you returned when I met Seon. A proposal six months later & a wedding seven months after that & before we knew it we were pregnant & then pregnant again with Orli.
And then our beautiful Orli was born. We had had spent a lot of time preparing for the baby & read up on what to expect, about breastfeeding, about routines & settling, but as soon as she was born & before we could put anything into place that we’d learnt together, you left. Without warning. Just like that. Like a puff of white smoke. I was a empty shell trying to get through the days. A prem baby, being separated from birth & then coming home without her & feeling completely in over my head & out of control was the start of what I call the eye of the storm. In those days I begged for your return, but you stubbornly stayed away & kept your distance. I didn’t understand why you stayed away but you crept back ever.so.slowly over the next year. You played with me & my emotions time & time again. You teased me & at times laughed in my face, but that entire time I pretended you were with me. And it was exhausting. I wondered what you were teaching me but I couldn’t see it & it pissed me off. A lot. But in time, things between us improved & my relationship with Orli grew stronger & stronger.
Just under two years later we had a big talk about having another baby. I’d done a lot of therapy & work in that time & was sure that this time round you were going to stay by my side. We had this one in the bag. As the pregnancy continued & the issues & complications increased we were still doing ok. Following the birth things were still looking good between us. After week home with Flynn you were slowly edging your way out the door. He wasn’t feeding very well & we went back to hospital. We were there for nine weeks & in that time you seldom visited. I just don’t understand why you were not there as I really could have done with you – even for an hour a day. We had been through & survived so much together & I just found this distance kind of cruel & unfair.
After nine weeks & Flynn’s discharge we returned home & you came back too. You had a knowing smile & a familiarity & settled back with me. Three months later you came with me to a mother & baby unit & settling school in order to give Flynn the gift of sleep. And me too! You came with us as I was sure that this five days would be so beneficial to us all. You hadn’t gone anywhere this time, I was just too tired to find you. I didn’t feel defeated, just deflated & exhausted, but five days later we came home together with renewed affection & the basis of a really wonderful long lasting relationship.
Flynn still struggles with his food & drinking/eating but I think we’re doing really well together. We’ve often had to lean on our Laryngomalacia, Tracheomalacia, Bronchomalacia in Australia (LTBM Australia) support group for things like food supplements, food & feeding advice, help & ideas & encouragement to go to a speech pathologist etc. I am & will be forever grateful for their existence, support & space & have not shied away from letting you know just how fickle you can sometimes be in our relationship.
Just recently Flynn was trying to tell me he wanted to drop down to one day sleep. And you went on a hiatus. Seriously!? How did we get here again? After everything we’d been through a change in a sleep schedule sends you away! Really!? Just so you know, I did it. With the help a few friends & digging in deep, I did it. And what’s more, is that I can feel your presence again & I truly hope you stay.
I know being there all the time with me can be tiring & sometimes unrelenting, but I really need you to roll with the punches – because clearly I can’t. That’s who you are & what I need you to be for me. There are so many times when Patty decides to drop in unannounced & I know if you were there with me, she’d have no reason to stay. And with you taking up the last chair at the table, she’d have nowhere to sit.
So Confidence, my dear friend, I’m asking you from the depths of my being to please stay with me. I need you & I can’t be who I want to be without you. I can’t be a good enough wife for Seon or a good enough mum to my kids without you. So please unpack your bags for good, put on your comfy shoes & get comfortable, cos I think you’ll be staying a while.
All my love forever & ever.
I’ve previously written about things that I’ve learnt & also things I wanna do/have/eat/see etc, but this time I’m taking another approach & listing some of the things you will never hear me say. So, without further ado, here we go.
Oh it’s just reflux. That will pass.
I love when you downplay my anxieties about anything related to Flynn’s health or feeding issues.
That’s the grocery shopping done for the week. I won’t need to step back into the store for seven whole days.
Oh, you’ve been diagnosed with PND/PPD. Are you sure it’s not just the baby blues? Maybe go for a walk or go shopping. Things’ll look so much better then.
A day spa. Really? For me? Oh, I couldn’t. There’s so many more other things I’d rather be doing.
Can I please pay for the privilege of you inserting instruments in my wa-wa & taking swabs?
I wouldn’t give my kids leftovers for dinner.
I think it’s really important to follow everything the parenting websites say to do & not to do for your kids. It’s simply crazy not to take their advice because they know you & your child so well.
Thank you so much for the mountain of newborn baby clothes you bought as gifts. I can’t wait to go home & wash them all before my baby can wear them.
Oh wow – the Wiggles are going to be in concert again. We must get tickets.
I just don’t see the point of getting a house cleaner.
The ad said it cleans itself so it must be true.
No, really, come to our house for dinner. I’ll cook. It’s really no bother.
Your baby also has Laryngomalacia. You know it disappears after 12 months.
Oh really, your baby is how old? Shouldn’t they be doing X & Y by now?
If your baby isn’t sleeping through the night by at least six months they never will.
Breast is best.
Thanks for the dinner invitation for a late family dinner. The kids will be fine while being distracted (& your constant reminders of how well they are managing to stay up late is encouraging) but once in the car they will turn feral & be up half the night. I won’t resent your dinner invitation at all & will be looking forward until the next time you do the same thing to us.
I love the cold & Winter is my favourite season.
Yes, that’s it, my child is hungry/tired. Thanks for your helpful insights.
Big deal. So you have to hold your baby all day. How hard can that be?
Orli, I love when you stomp your feet & talk to me with your hands on your hips.
There’s no such thing as colic. It’s a fallacy.
I’ll have a Pepsi thanks.
Oh you’ve had/got gastro/croup/bronchitis & you want to come over. Oh please do & don’t forget to infect the kids. Especially Flynn cos his Laryngomalacia means that he finds it hard to breathe & he loves a challenge!
There’s no such thing as postnatal/postpartum mood disorders (PMDs), it’s just mother’s whinging that it’s harder than they thought.
I love when you compare my baby to yours. They have so much in common, like genetics, temperaments & personalities – they really could be twins.
To the stranger: Wow, I’m amazed how well you know my kids given this is the first time you’ve seen them. What a wonderful gift you have.
Formula smells delicious. I’m going to have it now on instead of milk.
I love housework. My most favourite task is putting away washing. It rocks!
Meh, it’s just money.
I really don’t believe in depression or anxiety. They’re just excuses for being lazy & moody.
Are you sure you want to go out with someone that’s been married before?
You had your baby at 36 weeks too. Oh, well we all know that 36 weeks isn’t really prem.
I find it so comical that every one of my t-shirts gets holes in the exact same spot after wearing them once. And what’s more, I find it amusing that I can’t work out what it’s from.
Mother’s instinct is such bull.
Please take your shoes off inside the house after preschool so that all the sand & tanbark goes everywhere. I’ve just vacuumed so it’s totally fine.
Gee, I hope there’s no chocolate soufflé on the menu.
Hitler was just misunderstood.
No you can’t go to bed early.
I don’t think we should go to Hawaii.
Some people have it so much worse off you know. Your issues really aren’t that bad.
Ah the wind & the rain in my face – nothing can beat that.
To another mother: Are you working at the moment?
Orli, I love when you bring gastro, croup, colds etc home from preschool. I can’t wait till when you bring lice home too.
The internet is such a time waster.
Don’t buy us a lottery ticket cos we might win.
I really love just having the one toilet in the house.
The snack fell on the floor, please put it in the bin.
I wouldn’t put kids into daycare, especially if I wasn’t going to work. It’s cruel to your kids. They really should be home with you.
He/she must be teething.
I find it funny when you call that game a ‘jew jump’.
That’s ok come in, I’m just on the toilet.
Your baby is also ‘failure to thrive’. Isn’t it wonderful constantly worrying about food & feeding issues.
You should really <insert anything here>
I’d love to make dinner tonight. I insist.
Motherhood’s a breeze.
I’m sure I’ll be adding to these, but the start I’ve made is quite thorough. Feel free to share with me what things you’ll never say. I’d love to hear them.
It’s the end of April & the month of May is around the corner. More specifically, May the 2nd. The day our baby boy turns one. And the closer this day comes, the more emotional I’m feeling about it. You see this celebration is not only a wonderful & happy period celebrating our boy’s first year of life, it also brings forth some very painful memories of the past 12 months for me. And in addition to all these memories, the day itself is extremely bittersweet as my baby is growing up & given I’m not having any more, this period & phase of my life is over. Just like that. Like a snap of the fingers, pregnancies, newborns, newborn cuddles & tiny clothes are now part of my lifes memories.
Even though it’s a conscious decision to not have any more kids it doesn’t mean I can’t allow myself to grieve this decision or period of my life. Each time Flynny grows out of a size, I fold up the clothes ever so delicately & gently imagining the little boy in them who used to fill them, but knowing also, that he nor anybody else of mine will fill up those sleeves & pants. And it’s not like he’s grown out of his clothes so quickly either – he’s still wearing 0-3mth tops & I just moved him up to crawler sized nappies – it matters not. The clothes are too small for him & they’re put away with bigger ones put in their place. (Some days I think it’s natures way of providing me with a mini boy so it would give me a ‘baby’ for longer & ease me into the realisation that there will be no more).
I often wonder where the days went as the past year has gone so very quickly since Flynn came into our lives. Sometimes however, I feel each & every waking minute, like when he’s up in the middle of the night in pain or sick & time stands still & the days following until he gets better go ever so slowly. Thinking about him as a newborn sometimes feels like years ago & often feels just like yesterday.
I know the feelings I’m having leading up to Flynnys birthday are extremely common with those mums (or even parents) that have decided not to have any more kids, but I have a few additional things to celebrate, deal with & work through during this period.
September 2010 the wee stick went positive & in January 2011 my 20 weeks scan revealed I had a bipartite placenta, placenta previa & vasa previa the latter giving my baby a 20% chance of survival. I was prepared by my OB that I was going to be admitted to hospital early (as Orli came unexpectedly at 36 weeks & my membranes weren’t able to rupture at all with the baby) & was also told that if I bled at all at any time to get to hospital immediately as the baby had to be taken out asap in order to survive. To say I was anxious from 20 weeks until 34.5 weeks until my early admission would be an understatement. I felt responsible for my placenta not protecting or giving my baby the best chance & start to life. I also knew that if I didn’t get to theatre in time for the baby to come out alive, I would be responsible for it not surviving. I had ongoing internal scans to assess the baby’s growth & see how the placenta was holding up & where it decided to be on any given day. I had very low amniotic fluid intake (AFI) so each leak was a worry that the babes health would be compromised. Each leak was also checked in case it was blood so there were many times I would leave my groceries mid aisle to check myself in the nearest toilet. By 34 weeks I was a mess & we went to the hospital for CTG & obs late one night. I asked the midwives if I could stay there & be admitted a few days earlier but the nurses had no reason to keep me…. they obviously had enough anxious mums on the ward already!
After a week & a half in hospital, we made it to 36 weeks & on May 2, just after 3pm, we met Flynn Jack Rozenblum. He came into the world weighing in at 2.165kgs & not requiring an urgent blood transfusion which was something we had been warned about many times over. After a few minutes of gazing at him & being relieved he was alright, he was taken to special care for observation.
Fast forward to a week of being home & we were readmitted as Flynn was having issues with feeding & was considered ‘failure to thrive’ only gaining 50g since discharge. The nine week admission consisted of Flynny being fed nasal-gastrically (having the tube changed each week & each time he pulled it out by accident which happened quite often), having x-rays, a barium swallow, urine & blood tests, a brain ultrasound, an ECG, an Echo, trying nine different formulas, having chronic constipation (& the many suppositories he had to help) & the violent reflux which was so very painful for him & made me feeding him completely disheartening & heartbreaking. At ten weeks of age (six week corrected), he was diagnosed with Laryngomalacia & started drinking enough to not lose any weight & we were discharged the next week. I found an amazing group of mums with beautiful Malacia kids who have provided us with advice & support as we embarked on a journey of having a son with LM & all the concerns associated with the condition. Thankfully Flynny’s condition is mild but we’re still having a few issues with his feeding 12 months down the track which remains one of my main anxieties.
There were days during that nine week admission that I thought I was losing it & that we would never be going home. I just could not see past being in hospital & us ever going home to Seon & Orli. In that time, I managed to keep my head above water & also dodged any PPD/PND demons that came chasing me. As I’ve said before, there were times I thought I was slipping, however with the help of Seon, close friends & The #PPDChatArmy I managed to keep it together despite everything going on. The difference this time round was that I knew I had bonded & loved my baby boy. No one in the world knew him better than me & our connection was forever forged. Given the circumstances, I had to continuously remind myself that I was having a normal experience in an abnormal situation & that is was the circumstances not my mental state that was affecting my mood this time round.
When I look at Flynn today I marvel at his strength & at his nature. I adore him so much that I often find myself staring at him with tears running down my cheeks. His face is so familiar (he’s looking more & more like Orli), so happy, so inquisitive, so engaging & takes my breath away many times over. His smile in infectious, his nature is beautiful & he gives me joy each & every day. He is just the happiest little boy.
So as May the 2nd gets closer, I’m not only grieving that I won’t be having another baby & feeling nostalgic about my baby growing up, I will also be celebrating the fact that the PPD/PND demon that robbed me of my first experience of motherhood didn’t appear second time round & nothing got in the way of me bonding with & loving my son. I was able to have a better experience with my baby despite the circumstances which is a direct result of lots of hard work, hours of therapy & plenty of planning. I am also so very proud of myself for not allowing my PMD to impact our decision to not have another baby. It would have been the most tragic outcome of my PMD had it convinced me not to provide Orli with the gift of a sibling & it would have been even more heartbreaking had I allowed my PMD to rob me of the experience of enjoying & loving my baby. Not a day goes by, that I’m not reminded of just how far I’ve come & just how very blessed we are.
As I sit here & reminisce, reflect, gather & share my thoughts, I’m overcome with emotion about the week ahead. Many tears will flow, many memories will be revisited but I will also be constantly telling myself just how lucky & blessed we are. I’m going to allow myself to grieve the fact that my baby is growing up & won’t be an older brother & I’m not going to block out any painful memories of the first three months we had together. I’m going to try really hard to live in the moment & enjoy the celebrations that come our way. I cannot imagine our lives without Mr Flynnstone nor my Flynny Floo Floo & will never ever take for granted the best birthday gift I ever got.
I am writing this post in Charity’s name because she brought this beautiful topic to my attention. Charity, my thoughts & love are with you at this time & please know, the Army is with & behind you whenever & forever.
Mother’s Pride – What a deeply powerful topic. Where on earth do I start?
I’ll start with me. When Orli was eight weeks old we were admitted to a parent infant unit in a psych facility, a.k.a the nuthouse & were there for three weeks. In order to go to be admitted to the nuthouse, I had to admit I had a problem & then I had to do all the hard work in order to recover (the long, windy & bumpy road of recovery). For this to all happen, I had to swallow my pride to do what was best for me, my daughter & my husband.
To say that I am proud of our daughter Orli would be an understatement. My 3.5yr old threenager has progressed so much given her severe developmental delays (rolling at 11 months, crawling at 19mths & walking at 25mths & consistently delayed with major milestones). Looking at her today there is no sign of any delays & since starting kindergarten this year, her vocabulary has improved ten-fold & her confidence has grown along with it. (I will refrain from mentioning her attitude). Orli’s a remarkable little girl who makes me completely proud to be her mum. People comment that she is such a happy & well adjusted little girl which makes me so emotional as I thought I had ‘ruined’ her given my postnatal (postpartum) mood disorder & my apathy towards her. Just yesterday she drew her first picture of a face (which I tweeted). She added arms & legs & it became the first picture she’s drawn of a person. And ‘it’ was smiling. And tears welled up in my eyes. You just can’t bottle those feelings.
I am proud of myself for deciding to take the tablet to dry my milk up just after I gave birth to Flynn. He was 36wks (just like his sister) & very little & I knew the chance of his suck reflex not being developed was high. I also was well aware of the difficulties trying to feed a baby that tires easily requiring top ups & need to be woken for feeds. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. We were back at hospital a week after our discharge as he was considered ‘failure to thrive’ only gaining 50g in a week & were there for nine weeks where he was finally diagnosed with Laryngomalacia. I know the way my mind works & I know & I would have blamed myself for his ‘FTT’ status & readmission had I been breastfeeding him. It was a stressful enough time & having to express each day & night would have sent me over the edge (like it did the first time). I’m proud of myself for putting my needs first. It was NOT an easy decision, one that I went back & forth on for, well, eight months, but I am proud for not succumbing to peer, nurse, midwife & societal pressure.
I am proud of my little boy who beat the odds by surviving his birth (I had a bi-partite placenta, placenta previa & vasa previa). It’s still painful to think of the things he endured during our nine week hospital admission (being fed nasal-gastrically & having the tube changed each week & each time he pulled it out by accident), the x-rays, the barium swallow, the urine & blood tests, the brain ultrasound, the ECG, the Echo, the nine different formulas, the constipation & the medication for that, the many suppositories & his reflux & violent projectile vomiting that went with it & the medication for that. His little body going through so much & it broke my heart many times over. And then at ten weeks of age (six weeks corrected) he smiled at me & my heart breaks a little more, because despite everything, he was happy. And he has not stopped smiling. He is the happiest little boy & smiles all the time, at everyone & at anyone. Whenever he looks at me, he gives me his gummy smile. And this makes me so proud I could explode.
I’m proud of myself for not allowing my fears of slipping into a PMD again, to dissuade me from having another baby. I’m just so very grateful I can feel proud of anything really, because there were days that I never thought I would be able to feel anything towards my baby, let alone have another one! I’m so very blessed to have two happy & beautiful kids & am so proud to be their mum.
Thanks Charity for allowing me to share this.
Does anyone else want to share your mother’s pride?