what’s the best thing about a 14 year gap…?

I’m still not even used to saying it. I have kids. Children. Two of ’em. Seems so strange to say it out loud, like a real pinch myself kinda thing.

At first I thought shit, it’s going to be fucking tough having a fourteen year age gap between my kids…which obviously wasn’t meant to happen that way and those reading along for the past while will know how and why it happened but it’s actually the best thing. Apart from the how of course, that can go fuck itself but the age gap of my two beautiful beings this past year has given me the greatest insight and made me one helluva proud.

He watches her with the same amazement and pride as we do. He tells me he misses her every day when he’s not around her. And when he comes in from school, her little face lights up and she scoots across the floor at a pace with her one handed-crawl like a little crab. He scoops her up and she cuddles into him, her head tucked tightly under his chin and she rests there with her little arms wrapped around him, not letting go. Secure and happy. That is it. That’s when I think the age gap doesn’t matter a bit. In fact it’s the best thing as a mother I could hope for because I get to have one at the cusp of manhood and one just starting life…each of them able to learn so much from the other. And both of them so adoring of one another.

‘I really want her to stay this age forever, like never ever grow up,’ he told me this week. Oh my heart. They are the natural words of love, of pride… from the heart of someone who will always look out for her.

Yes, I’ll say it out loud. I done good. I couldn’t really give a toss if he gets top marks in his schoolwork, if he makes the top team, if he gets invited to all the best parties, if he gets an after school job (unless you happen to be my 15 y o reading this then yes I really do care about your marks. Like, A. Lot). But what I really care about is if he leaves a mark on people’s hearts. If he is kind, compassionate and empathetic to all those he encounters in life. I care that he doesn’t bully or belittle others, that his friends and family matter to him. If he is thoughtful and engaging and mostly, I care about who he becomes. Not what. The rest will fall into place.

I used to think it mattered. When your baby sat up. When they took their first wobbly steps. When they uttered their first indecipherable words. But being that it is our Popsy has barely mastered any type of linguistics other than that of ‘dum dum or mum mum’  which one she’s actually referring to we’re not entirely sure but she has little interest in forming actual sentences (or audible words for that matter). Neither does she particularly care to crawl the ‘right’ way or walk unaided. She knows well enough she can do it but prefers to take things in her own time. She is her own person. Already, God help me. And she has three able-bodied perfectly good servants who are at her every beck and call…there is absolutely no need for her to do anything. She squeals. We all jump. That’s how it is in our house.

I’m only learning now you can NEEEEEEVER compare kids. Especially your own. I never liked dummies before. Never had much need for books or strict sleeping routines. I proclaimed our son had ‘come into our life, therefore must fit into it’ when he was born. And he did. Very well. Then the second one came along and shit got real. I started to like dummies, real quick. And I soon found the only solution for her was following a routine to within an inch of our lives which made things sooooo much easier I cannot even begin to tell you. God bless your soul Tizzy Hall, you are everything.

There’s so much to worry about raising a teen. Too much. You think bottles and flash cards matter when you have an infant. They don’t. Kids all catch up in the end. You get to this stage and it’s all based on fear. You’re navigating a path we never trod as kids growing up in the ’80s where the only bullying occurred via prank calls in the middle of the night or having your daks yanked up through your jeans. There wasn’t this incessant need to be accepted, liked or followed. You couldn’t send pictures of yourself unless you got them printed at the local chemist. Drugs were barely more than weed and if someone didn’t like you they’d say it to your face not share an intimate post you’d made the mistake of showing someone you trusted.

The pressure to be liked, accepted and fit in is so much greater now than it ever was. Our kids, like it or not, are measuring themselves by those they deem as popular and there is an innate sense of being totally lacking in most of them. But what is really scary as all fuck when you’re raising a teen is exactly that. Raising them. Making sure they grow, they feel loved and accepted. That they make it. And I’ve never been more scared in my life.

I’ve learnt with my kids, the age gap is so wide that it’s actually the best thing I could ever hope for them both. They are so damn lucky to have each other and watching your first born just beam with pride about his sister, dammit there really is no greater feeling.

This mother’s day I am so bloody thankful. I am grateful and proud of the Best Thing I Ever Did. And will forever be indebted for the Best Gift I’ve Ever Been Given. Two souls who fill my heart with pride every single day. Who make me realise what I was put on this earth to do…create better tiny humans that make a difference.

To all the mums who feel like it’s getting on top of them, that they’re not doing it right, you bloody well are because you care enough to even think it. To all the mums still trying to be one, don’t give up on your dreams when you hold that tiny person you’ll understand why the fight was so worth it. And to all those missing their mums who are no longer…take comfort in what is left behind. You. And all you can pass on to your own kids. Happy Mother’s Day to all the special women in my life. Lov n’ hugs, LadyMamaG – proud mother-of-two (or three, if you count the mutt) xoxo

 

…you, me, her…we all the same

So here’s what I thought about motherhood. It’s a right. Something that comes easily and freely to all us girls. When you want to, you can bring a tiny blessing into the world, just pop it on out like ordering from a vending machine.

Here’s what else I thought about motherhood. It’s easy. Piece of piss. You have a kid, and maybe it hurts a bit but you’ll get over it. It’s easy ain’t it? I mean they eat, sleep and shit…what could be so hard about that? Yeeesh girl, you got your head on back to front.

What a dickhead. Here’s what I’ve learnt over the past decade. What I thought to be true and what actually is are two such extreme polar opposites they are on the other side of the globe from each other.

I was a complacent bitch, I’ll give you that. Thinking it’s all a walk in the park, I’m slightly ashamed to admit I was one of those who rather nonchalantly, maybe even belligerently, quaffed about how easily I fell pregnant. And then I didn’t.

I would quite happily blab to anyone who listened about how perfect my baby boy was, he actually did just eat, sleep, shit and giggle. Not a peep, well hardly ever. He was like clockwork, textbook easy baby, smiling and laughing his way through his first five years of life. And then I had a difficult one.

Now I look back on my ignorance and should swiftly bitch slap myself while shaking my finger and telling me never again to be so damn cocky.

Kissing goodbye the last days of my forty-second year on this here earth place this week, I don’t think I’ve ever been more reflective.

Now I’m Mum to two beautiful babies. There once was a time I never thought that possible.

I’ve spent days and weeks this year perilously close to the edge, had every ounce of my human, female, mothering instinct tested to its abso-fucken-lute limit. I’ve drawn on every bit of my inner strength to pull myself through all the while doubting my every move, decision, thought…and often questioning if I’m even worthy of motherhood itself.

Sleep deprivation. It’s the biggest motherfucking syphon of sanity you could ever imagine.

The first time it was easy. It really was.

The second…not so much.

I’ve been scared as all fuck. Not knowing, and still not certain if I’m doing it right. Feeling a bit useless, a bit angry (okay a lot) that sleep or even time is no longer a luxury afforded to my daily life. Not wanting to be alone because I wasn’t sure if I could be, and at times being so scared of my baby, my second time motherhood, my inability to see rationally or let anyone else help, and most of all…scared of myself.

I’d been Locked inside a world of doubt and hopelessness where suddenly you find yourself Owner of no fewer than 14 baby help books you said you’d never buy. Subscriber to forty-six online baby sleep guides, thirty-two different baby sleep apps that are like a form of slow painful torture to your ears (who even knew what white noise was?) but mothers nod knowingly at you in the mall as you walk by, your iPod screaming out static from the pram. And buyer of a gazzillion and two different baby wraps, sleeping bags and talking owls (I know what the actual fuck, right?!)

Whatever gets you through, girl.

I said I’d never use a dummy, can’t stand the bloody things. And then I did.

Buuuuut like they say, the fog lifts and it does get easier. Motherhood is tough as all get out. But time does make it easier. Well that and solids. No two babies are the same as pathetically cliche as that is and as much as I once would’ve scoffed loudly while swallowing a laugh…it is true. You forget how much you’ll miss the simple things in life like reading the paper in your undies on a Sunday morning. Or being able to take a shit in peace. Or showering for longer than 13 and a half seconds. Oh how you miss those goddamn things.

And then your tiny miracle learns to dance to your funny singing…and her wee face lights up like a million stars when she sees you…and her giggle is the sound of your heart winning lotto and she snuggles into your chin and falls asleep on you clinging closely to your soul. And you find yourself breathing in her smell so deep you want it to last forever because you know soon enough she’ll be running and then she’ll be starting school and then in a hot bloody second, she’ll be a teenager wanting to borrow your shoes and you’ll miss these days like crazy.

And you hear yourself say, yes motherhood it’s the greatest gift a girl could ever get. Every last bit of it is worth it a million gazillion times over. Sometimes it’s just not quite as easy as you remembered it. But remember where you were a year ago, two or three even. Remember how empty you felt. How much you both yearned for her to be in this world. Remember How many people you know now in your well-trodden shoes still hoping and praying for their own miracle trying every trick they possibly can.

No matter what stage, it’s hard and it’s okay to say that. We are just human. We are just trying to do the best we can. We are sometimes clawing on to the edge of survival but the sun’ll come out tomorrow. Just remember that. And surround yourself with the most precious village who you don’t know what you’d do without.

Lov ‘n hugs from an almost birthday girl and finally, mum-of-two most precious humans, and lover of the most incredibly patient, kind and loving Vet, Lady Mama G xoxo

No choice like this…

Twelve years. So much can happen in a little over a decade. To some it seems so long, to others it’s gone by in a blink.

It’s long enough for the wound to heal over yet the scar is still remains deep enough to cut me to my core.

I remember people gathered around us, 20 maybe 25. Our people. Beautiful, kind, loving people. Hoping for a miracle.

I remember the sickly smell of that shit they pumped into you through a feeding tube. So sweet that it hurts the back of your throat.

I remember wishing and wanting to hold our little boy a thousand miles away, in another state.

I remember faces but not the names of those who came and went and the ward that became your prison for three days.

I remember the vision, the visit of you on your boat floating down the river as if to say it’s okay to let me go.

I remember the cold room where they told me I had to make a decision.

I remember wishing I didn’t.

I remember feeling the weight of every person gathered, of every one of our family, of our little boy, of all our hearts weighing down on my soul as I gathered the strength to do the only thing I didn’t want to do.

I remember losing control.

I remember the last goodbye.

Even though his memories are faint, I’m so glad they’re not filled with the ache this day brings to those of us who continue to relive it without choice.

Twelve years…but it could be yesterday for the pain it still brings. Soar high in them there heavens like I know you will be Didley, this day never gets any easier no matter how long ago it was. Bless you and may I never know such grief again. Love always Lady MamaG xox

The greatest lesson…

Today you should’ve turned 44. Except you won’t. In just a few months you would have seen our boy turn 15. Except you can’t. You would’ve lived to see another twelve years of an extraordinary life. Except you didn’t. It all stopped for you. No more birthdays. Never seeing him grow. A life mercilessly cut short.

Still there’s no reason, no answers no matter how hard we search. Our boy, who’s now just one year off how old we were when we met has never known what an incredible soul you were and it’s still my greatest grief. Haunts my heart that he hardly even got the chance to know the very one who created him.

Today might have ordinarily been like any other birthday. Except it isn’t and never will be again for the memories it holds. Forever frozen in time, you are now just a memory confined to the pictures and stories we keep close to our hearts. Watching from above, the family you left behind. Not by choice but by the cruelest hand of fate.

Waking up today we remember a bloke who lived his life as he wanted, on the edge, risking, laughing and never stopping to think what if. I can only hope your boy has inherited just a little bit of your incredulous outlook on life so he can be as strong and courageous and carefree as you once were.

God knows we can’t change the past. There are no what if’s or if only’s. There is just now. I’ve learnt it’s not always our own hands at the wheel. Sometimes it veers out of control leaving us no choice but to hold on like fuck, to grasp with hope onto the cliff of fear and climb back up over the edge.

And because of that I’ve never learnt a greater lesson in life than to cherish what I have. And what I’ve had. To know how blessed I truly am.

To never again get caught up in what might be, what could be or even what should be. Stupid trivial shit that we sometimes allow to clog up our minds means nothing, really. We still get to wake up every day spend it with the people we love. Shit I wish that lesson didn’t come in such a way it broke me into a zillion tiny pieces but ever since the day we lost you from our lives I vowed to never again take one single thing for granted. Not one.

Simply to breathe is a gift and forevermore I’ll be grateful because I still get to see our son grow, to get my second chance to love again and now, to watch my new baby bring sunshine into my soul every single day.

Even though we had to first be broken to heal and then to recover. Even though this lesson tore my heart from my soul. Even though there’s no more sound of your laughter except in our hearts. Even though an almost adult now himself, your boy never got to know your kind heart. Even though the sound of your voice is becoming more faint as the years slip by…happy would-have-been-44th birthday Didley and thank you for what you left behind. Lady mamaG xox

Closest thing to God…

He might not be the big man upstairs but maybe to me, he’s a pretty close shot. This bloke, holding my teeny miracle in his arms as I well with tears of emotion, is entirely the reason we are blessed to have our baby girl today. And my words won’t ever be enough to thank him not just for what he did for us, but what he does. Every day.  Devoting his life to helping broken people like me be blessed with the incredible gift of a child we otherwise would never be able to hold. 

Who is he? He is Dr Babies. My Dr Babies. Who believed in me, who offered a gentle reassuring hand on my arm each time I woke up in recovery, all thirsteen of them. Who wrote my numbers on my hand each time and smiled with tears in his own eyes when the outcome wasn’t what we’d all hoped and prayed for. Who assured me each time they took more blood from my unwilling veins that it’d one day work for us too. Who persevered with me, supported us and when the time came for it, told us what I might not have wanted to hear but in my heart knew was always true. Who time and again assured us that one day it would work if we only just stuck at it. All while opening his heart and mind to all and any possible chance of hope. 

He’s not just a doctor he’s a man who wants to help heal couples’ broken dreams. And for that I will always be grateful. 

When we started this journey seven years ago I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get over the rainbow. Fertility is one of the hardest mountains I’ve had to climb. It’s utterly fucken shitful. I was robbed of six years of normality. It destroyed my hopes, my dreams and my belief in myself. It kept me from living my life as I would have liked. Changed me into a nutty and at times fucking psychotic bitch swinging from a hope pendulum month to month as though I was caught in a noose. 

Had I not found this man to give us the medical help we were always going to need our precious Lil E wouldn’t be here. Had he not told me straight out I would need to find another woman’s eggs I might still be on this road. Had he not encouraged me to seek out the kindest most generous and beautiful woman on the planet, My Angel, who gifted me a piece of herself so we might realise our dreams, my heart would still be wounded from disappointment. 

Fourteen weeks in and while I’ve battled my own emotions cloaked in doubt and trust of my ability to be the perfect mama and if I’m ever doing it right…I honestly wouldn’t change it for the world. Her smile – and as of yesterday – her precious teeny wee giggle is like a million rainbows come bursting from my soul every time I hear it. 

Dr Babies, The Vet and I and the 14 y o are truly blessed. We are happy. We are complete. That teeny piece of miracle in your arms is the most longed for, loved and blessed gift we could ever wish for. She has brought sunshine and light into our hearts. Seems so little a word but Thank You. Forever and always, Lady Mama G xox 

The ending we always hoped for…

When I first began this here collection of ramblings, an outlet to spill my fears and hopes and pain, the workings of a mad woman all those many sleeps ago, I had one intention…a happy ending to our story. The little angel who had spent so long watching over us, to finally be delivered into our arms. At times I wasn’t sure that dream would ever be realised and this morning when I took my teeny newborn into a shop, the assistant helping me looked at her bundled up in her car seat and tears welled in her eyes. I knew her pain. That was me, not so long ago.

‘I just miscarried last week,’ she said blinking back her tears. ‘She’s so beautiful, I hope I can have my own one day.’ I had to swallow hard and suppress my own tears. You will, I tell her gently knowing that fragility well where you’re not sure if you can help falling into a pit of tears every day. ‘It took 14 goes and six years before I was blessed with this tiny poppet,’ I tell her somewhat hopefully…and so begins our story.

In the beginning, I was a mum, a widow, a newly married wife, a somewhat fragile and infertile girl not sure of what lay ahead of her but hoping like hell for a miracle. By the second year on this treadmill of fear I had been well and truly inducted into the halls of infertility.

A gallery of gorgeous wrinkly newborns – a teeny tiny Luca, a squishy faced Ella – would peek out at me every time I’d visit Dr Babies’ office. And every time I’d wish so much to one day be able to look up and see my own baby’s face staring back at me.

And so we waited. And waited. And waited. And waited

People all around us, royals, friends, family everyone seemed to be having babies. And still we waited. Disappointed. Distracted. Fearful. Would it ever happen…would we ever get that little person we so hoped for? We spent so long suspended in the clutches of fertility from the first day Dr Babies said it might not happen for us, that we had to throw all our eggs – albeit shitty ones at that – into the one basket and hope for the best. I got so caught up in how to get pregnant, why I wasn’t getting pregnant, why I couldn’t stay pregnant that all else ceased to matter. I became that nutty bitch I really didn’t want to be. Consumed. By something so far out of my control.

But still we waited. And waited. And tried. Again and again.

Soon it would come to a point where we stood at a crossroad do we keep going, keep trying and how long before one of us tapped out, said enough’s enough. Can’t take it anymore. We both came precariously close to that cliff face neither one of us wanting to admit it had got us beat.

….two thousand one hundred and ninety days to be exact.

And then one day despite all our odds being stacked against us, despite all the thirteen times before that it hadn’t worked…one day, two lines. That dream I never thought possible, finally coming true.

Call it time. Call it tenacity. Maybe it was the herbs. Maybe it was the crazy cranial sacral therapist who said she saw my late husband holding a tiny baby girl in my spirit world. Maybe it was the acupuncture. Maybe it was the diet. Maybe it was the countless surgeries. Maybe it was the steroids, or the gazillion drips of intravenous fluids pumped through my veins. Maybe it was the last hope, our last chance our last little embryo that one fighter. Maybe it was just meant to be…

Our precious miracle made her entry into the world six years after The Vet and I were married. To the day and almost to the minute, just like her mama she was fashionably late by an hour and there truly is nothing more precious than the sound of a newborn cry, when all you’ve waited to hear for six years is that very sound.

We arrive at the hospital early on a Thursday morning. Not sure what to expect even though birth is nothing new to me, it was so long ago I’d all but forgotten what to expect. What contraction? What labour pain? Oh girl, you ’bout to learn it all over again. Real fast like.

True to myself I had already taken three shits before I left home (sorry for the overshare) but partly due to nerves and partly due to dignity, my bowels had well and truly decided to evacuate themselves – I’ll spare you any further indignities. My specialist, a lovely softly spoken woman, so gentle in her approach – putting me in some way at ease. ‘There’s no point in wasting time,’ she says and instructs me up on the bed. They give me some gel to loosen things up and sit back and wait. ‘Did you want an epidural?’ she asks and before the final syllable is out I’ve already chimed in ‘hells to the fucking yes, give me that shit quick as you can, love.’ Stupidly, I’d been too late with my son and the trauma (along with far too many stitches) has never left me.

After a few hours those contractions I’d partially forgotten all about (this is ingrained in womens’ brains otherwise there’s no shitting way in hell you’d ever go back) begin to make my uterus feel as if it is being torn apart.

The Vet is all nerves. Anxious. He doesn’t know what to expect and is probably scared as all shit. If he says the wrong thing he may cop a heel to the head, if he says too little he may never be spoken to again. Welcome to birth, it’s a fun ride. My bestie of 35 years who crossed the ditch to be here for the arrival of her second godchild arrives with the 14-year-old in tow. I wanted him to see his baby sister come into this world but he takes one look at me in pain and tears begin to roll down his face. ‘It’s okay buddy,’ I reassure him. ‘Mummy’s fine just a few niggles of pain’ I say utterly lying through my asshole. It all becomes too much for him so I ask him to put his headphones in but when your mum’s in pain and you don’t know what’s going to happen to her it’s a little too much for a teenager to comprehend. ‘How about you go and wait down the hall,’ I tell him, fighting back my own tears. The Vet holds him in a strong embrace and they both stand there, tears beginning to flood their faces. This little baby has no idea how lucky she is with two of the most incredible humans on the planet to watch over her.

Waters are broken. Needles are administered. Epidural is underway. In what seems like minutes but is a few hours, the specialist indicates it’s time to push. ‘I don’t think so,’ I tell her. ‘Not yet.’ Time waits for no newborn. She’s on her way. And within eleven hasty minutes our miracle made it into this world, all tiny and pink and blue. They rush her out and straight up onto my chest. ‘We like you to bond straight away,’ the midwife says. ‘Get her up on that breast and latch her if you can, it all helps with the skin on skin contact, so very important.’ I can barely comprehend what’s just happened. ‘No, it’s too quick, she’s too small,’ I panic tears falling and my breathing beginning to make me hyperventilate. ‘She’s fine,’ comes the calming voice of my specialist. ‘Look at your beautfiul baby girl, she’s just perfect.’ The Vet is in tears. I am in tears. Our 14 y o rushes back in, he’s in tears. We all fall into a heap of emotion and embrace utterly overwhelmed by this tiny being. So much love, fear, pain and heartache years and years of waiting and now she’s here. Evie Lauren, 4.22pm on April 12. My heart is full. Every bit of it was worth it. Our story is finally complete. Love n’ hugs, Lady MamaGxoxo

Dear baby…

Two thousand one hundred and ninety days. That’s how long we’ve waited to meet you. Just under thirty-six weeks ago as I hovered over a little white stick I had hope in my heart clouded by big loads of nerves in my soul. I wasn’t sure if I was preparing for our fourteenth disappointment – yep believe it or not, it took us that many times to bring you into our lives – or if our hearts were finally about to be filled with the joy of a lil person. Our angel so longed for and wanted. Our tiny Beanie so precious. You. 

I rather hesitantly peed on that stick – so frightened as all hell because many many times before I’d done this and it had in turn broken my heart – but sure enough that teeny glimmer of hope began to surface as the first sign – two tiny bright pink lines emerged. 

I didn’t know if I should believe it or doubt it. We had waited so long and wanted so much. The story of your life is one of incredible strength courage and generosity your daddy and me we sure went through far more than anyone should gave to to get you but man oh man was it worth bit. 

The story of your life so far – and it’s hard to believe you’re not even in the world yet but so much of your beginning has been watched and waited for by almost everyone I’ve ever met or known. So many of our village hoping for a miracle until finally there was one.

Once there was a girl, she had a broken heart until she met the guy who would heal it all, bring back her smile and show her and your brother a future filled with love and happiness.  Soon that girl and guy had a fairytale wedding – the type of tale when you’re a bigger girl you’ll read about and believe in too. Not long after we thought of you, how much we wanted you to add to our already loved family. But for a long time it wasn’t to be our hearts – all three of them – would be broken time and time and time again…you see your journey into this world hasn’t been an easy one. 

It was hard to keep going because this girl, even though she seems so strong and tough had battled through too many wars of emotion that it began to wear her down. Lucky for her she had two people, the same two people who will always watch over you and help you up when you fall to help her up again every time. 

Tiny baby I sure am gonna miss you growing inside my belly and no matter how many letters I write you, you’ll never know how much we have wanted you for so long. Because the journey of the making of you is and forevermore will be one of hope, of love, of beauty, of kindness, of faith and of a generosity not known to most.  

There have been many people who’ve helped bring you into this world…from the incredible Dr Babies, his nurses and the scientists – all who’ve devoted their lives to helping people like me and your dad, to our friends and family who’ve helped pick up the pieces along the way to the most generous and kind soul who helped create you by giving your mama a piece of herself because your mummy’s had long ago stopped working. There are so many who love you lil Beanie from your daddy and your bruv to your mama’s bestie – lifeline through thick and thin – who has crossed the ditch just to watch you come into this world. 

Now but a matter of days or maybe hours until we get to actually hold you…the moment I’ve dreamt of for a million sleeps. The moment we’ve wanted with every teeny little ounce of our hearts. Be safe in your final journey into this world tiny angel no words of mine could ever tell you how much you are loved. You are wanted. You are cherished. Your mama G xoxo