The ugly duckling syndrome…

Ahhh here’s a little something that hugs close to my heart. This morning’s buzz article that refers to ‘ugly duckling babies who grew up to be celebrities’. Obviously I never grew up to be a celebrity (unless of course you count once coming second in a small town beauty pageant as celebrity)…buuuut I was one helluva fecking ugly baby.

This is clearly evidenced in the fact there are barely but a handful of photographs of my big bald ugly mug compared to the overflowing albums full of my gorgeously perfect and sweet older brother, with his big beautiful eyes and mop of lustrous (and more to the point, existent) hair. Bullshit you take more pictures of your first born…you merely take more photographs of your most good looking progeny. It’s science or genetics or something.

In prehistoric times I might’ve been eaten by my father, or the clan leader. Or maybe they’d have sent me away high up in the mountains. 

  My mother’s answer to my concerns towards the lack of photographic evidence of my upbringing was simply that by the time it came to me, her second born, the novelty of firing off a whole film on your Nikon had sort of worn off. It was the mid-’70s, everything was a fleeting moment. But I know the truth, she was simply ripped off with having one absolutely beautiful baby and one really ugly one. No need to be reminded of it. Permanent mementos never featured highly on my parents’ priorities. Neither did dressing me in anything other than my brother’s blue hand-me-downs and hand-knitted open-yolk cardi’s that did nothing except exaggerate my big shiny bald noggin.

So imagine my absolute glee to discover not only do Bey and I both share a love for her hubby’s heartfelt street lyrics but apparently we were both on the list of ugly ducklings. Just a shame one of us ended up with a ridiculously insane bank balance to make up for it.

To all the not-so-perfect-bald-as-a-badger’s-asshole bubs out there…looks can improve with age (or at the very least, hair and teeth) Lov, n hugs, Lady MamaG xox

Grief…so much bigger than a five letter word

I hadn’t known much about grief in my early life. Growing up we’d lost a pet or two. When I was in my early twenties, my cat, Tyson (god rest him) died and then my grandad (a truly great bloke – hard as nails but soft on the inside) was taken a few years after that.

Before I turned 30, I didn’t know much else of grief. Bit of a first time caller, long time listener you could say. My thirties have not been all that kind to me, belting like a Queensland hailstorm with more grief than one woman can possibly handle.

I’ve got a close friend who has her own shitstorm brewing in her life right now. She hasn’t lost anyone in the true sense of the word of actually losing them to death but she’s pretty cut up nonetheless. She’s lost the life she knew. She’s lost the future she thought she had. She even feels as though she’s lost her identity and now, in her very early forties, has to start over. She says she feels empty, alone, defeated. And possibly pretty shit-assing ripped off. As if everything she knew has just gone up in smoke. Her life unplugged. It’s all too familiar.

She asked me something I’ve heard so many times I could almost stamp it to my forehead but when you’re plunged into grief head-on, it feels better to talk to someone who’s tread the waters before you. ‘How did you do it…how did you keep going?’ she asked quietly. If you’ve got a spare thirty-eight hours or so, I can go over it in absolute blow-by-blow days of darkness but like everyone else who is going through their own pit of grief, you just do. Shit, you might not even feel truly a human at times, no actually make that all the time. Days go slow, nights even slower. Especially Sunday nights, which are utterly the most shitful day of the week. Everyone’s tucked up on the couch with their family – a spag bol in their belly and a glass of red in their mits. You’ll never quite know loneliness as much as when you no longer have that person who used to occupy the space beside you.

things get better, so much better...

things get better, so much better…

I’ve been doing it so long I don’t even realise. Shelving grief might not be everyone’s idea of healing – and certainly not a qualified psychologist’s view…but what’s the alternative? What do you tell your teary toddler who asks why his dad can’t get out of the six foot mahogany box he’s shut inside? Who asks if heaven has a door because he wants to go and find him. How do you keep going when you’ve had five cycles of IVF, nine failed embryo transfers and one early miscarriage that you thought really was the one that would work this time? As a widow and as a mum, you attempt to do as best you can and hope like shit you make it through another day. Each one is a tiny brick in the great wall towards healing. The pain won’t get any easier and the loss won’t ever go away. Grief will permanently occupy a firm position in my heart till my last breath.

Even though her pain is different to mine there is a certain sameness that comes with a woman’s grief when she loses the partner she knows and loves like a limb, an extension of herself. I’m no expert but all I can be is an ear and a voice. A voice of experience that life will one day be better. So so much better (a greater soul in The Vet who found me and helped me back on my feet again sure is testament to that). To anyone who has ever known grief like a second skin, big biggest hugs, Lady MamaG xox

The last time…

all you need is love...

all you need is love…

Walking through the shops the other day, 10 y o asks me, ‘What do you want for your birthday this year?’. He was probably expecting me to say a new clutch (that’s of the handbag variety, I haven’t driven a manual since the ’90s.) Or maybe a new bracelet and if you’re reading men in my life, these will be greatly appreciated. But no, my answer was simple and relatively costless…that is if you don’t count the years of IVF, pain, emotions, mood swings, needles, anesthetics, nausea, aches, disappointment, grief and excessive weight gain (my thighs don’t normally touch, thanks quietly).

‘I’d like a baby,’ I tell him quietly. ‘I’m sorry I can’t give you what you want,’ he says with all the heart and love you could possibly ask for. ‘But I’ll wish and pray and do everything so that next time it works and we can have a baby.’ Yes, tissues may have been required around this time. ‘But you know what buddy, I’m still the luckiest girl in the world cos I’ve got you and The Vet,’ I tell him. I love the ‘we’ he uses. It’s not just me, it’s not just us, it’s WE. When The Vet and I got married, 10 y o kept saying it was ‘our wedding’. Everything we do is about our family and yes I want a baby, hells shit I want a baby but I can’t lose track of what I’m really lucky to have…some people don’t even get it ever and I’ve got it in bundles. Love, love, love is all you need.

Next month we go for our last round of IVF. When I say last, I mean last. I mean no more after that. Not even a Cold Chisel reunion tour. Not even a Star Wars Episode Fifty. End of. Shit just got real. It’s time to jump off this crazycoaster and go back to our Life Before Infertility…not that I’m even sure I know what that is it was so far ago. We will need every bit of the love, luck and wonder we’ve been getting from our friends and family. I’ll need all my strength to end the Chapter. Close my book and move on. I don’t want to say it got the better of me, because as you know I really hate losing. BIG time. How about we meet in the middle and call it a Conscious Uncoupling between Me & IVF or something?

Hells to the yes it’s been a rough couple of years. But it’s all the lovely phone calls from both the friends who’ve only recently come into our lives and friends who’ve been in my life since I was the same age as my son, younger even. Friends who know me almost better than I know myself…who even though the Tasman sea separates us, keep me in their hearts daily. They tell me I’m strong, and they should know, they know I’ve been through bigger, tougher, harder stuff than this and I’ll get through it. There have been times I haven’t wanted to answer my phone, gone into radio silence as a close friend likes to call it. But still they care. And it’s all those messages, the flowers, the support, the hugs, the calls and the love of all the beautifully incredible people in my life – especially The Vet – that remind me how lucky as a camel with two humps I really am.

We go into this last round with every single droplet of that love and hope and most of all a lot of my own that this might just be our moment… Oh, aThe nd thank you to the friend who offered me her fertility slate, blessed by the Buddhist monks of Nepal for luck. Let’s hope it works miracles, baby! Lov n hugs, LadyMamaG xox

Bringing up the boy…why all mums of sons should read this:

one lucky mummy...

one lucky mummy…

I was having lunch with a girlfriend the other week when this gorgeous little tot stomped past us all dressed up in her pink tutu, black booties that came up to her knees (though not in a knee-high-black-boots-are-too-much-for-toddlers) kind of way and had clearly been raiding her mummy’s lipstick drawer. ‘Oh you so deserve one of them,’ my pal gushed. Yes, I’d love to have a girl and it’s no secret Lady Mama G loves a dress up or two, is insanely mad about all things makeup, hair and fashion and can plait hair like a Dutch barmaid but there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past 10 years (hopefully a thing or two more but this decade has been somewhat of a patchy one) is that you have to be so grateful for what you’ve got.

I’ve just come back from holiday with a very dear friend who has been blessed with three darling little boys. I’m sure when they’re all awake and banging on her head with a TV remote at 5am, they might not seem like such sweet little potatoes but for the most part they are the most gorgeous, loving, fun and completely rambunctious small men I’ve ever met. They were the butter to my bread on our holiday with their cheeky smiles, funny pig noises and unabashed ‘we’ve arrived’ loudness. She’s often told, ‘Oh you poor thing, you’ve got three boys’…but poor, pig’s arse! Would her burden be any less with three girls? Not really. The thing is we’ve got to be grateful for what we’ve got, though I’ll readily admit this little Dalai Lama-like revelation doesn’t always quell the need to pass down your life lessons on everything Madonna-related (that’s the popstar, not the Virgin one).

I love spending time with my gorgeous nieces and I’ve got oodles of them – some are actual family and some I just claim as my own. Dressing them up, painting their nails and sewing teeny tiny little fairy princess outfits for them with matching sparkly headbands, greedily grabbing at my fill of girlieness from the borrowed tiny precious poppets in my life but boys, lads, dudes and mini men that’s what I know. That’s my degree, bringing up a boy.

My 10 y o has taught me more life lessons in his short decade of a life than I’ve learned in the not-quite-three before he was in it. I love his unconditional heart that is considerate beyond belief. That he worries if he’s offended me and comes up with ways to make me feel better. I love that his creative and imaginative side come out (if only behind closed doors) and he still leaps around the house dressed as a masked crusader of good-doing, whipping his wand toward imaginary villains. I love that he believes – despite my attempts to prove otherwise – that Hogwarts does in fact exist and one day he hopes to go there…he even knows what train he needs to catch.

I love the way he mispronounces words and often uses them in the complete and utterly wrong context that might make meeker humans blush. That he reads books about wizards, witches and giants but just as happily learns of boys in striped pyjamas who were less fortunate than himself. The way he fist punches the air when he scores a goal in soccer, then rushes up to hug his teammates acknowledging the effort that got him there. How his face lights up at the mere mention of magic and that he diligently practices new ideas in his room before unveiling them to us in a show of trickery (even though for the most part you can see exactly what he’s doing) and then falling in a heap of laughter when you discover the secrets behind his slight of hand. That he will fish on any possible body of water and a scrap with his mates is forgotten as soon as it has begun.

I love that he is generous and kind, forgetful and completely useless at making his bed. I love the glint he gets in his eye when he’s planning a secret surprise and is so bursting to tell that he looks as though if he has to keep it in any longer he might actually pop. When he makes up his own jokes and then laughs himself senseless.

I love that he forgets and forgives just as easily as the blink of an eye. That he doesn’t let his past define him and always looks forward to the future. That his family mean more to him than anything on the planet…and that he tells us so. That even though The Vet only came into his life when he was five, he is his greatest and most worshiped hero. That his hugs and kisses come just as freely as the stars in the night sky.

I love how he never minds that I tell him what he has to wear every day and how he rolls his eyes but does as he’s told when I style his hair. How he tells me I’m ‘very good at hairdressing’ when I forget to book the hairdresser and am forced to cut it myself. That he trusts every single thing that comes from my lips because I am his mum. I love how he believes in tooth fairies, santa and that the boogey man will get him if he’s not back home by half-past-five. That one day he will make the most incredible husband, that he will never break anyone’s heart but that I worry how much someone might break his.

And one day I won’t be able to make his decisions for him any longer…he’ll do things that will put his life at risk, driving fast, leaping off perfectly good bridges,  dicing with danger, or traveling to far away lands where I might not hear from him for weeks on end. But I know when he does come back he’ll throw his arms around me just like he does now and I’ll remember why it is I’m so lucky to have a boy.   Love n’hugs, Lady MamaG xox

Tick, tick, tick, tick…BOOM!

ka-boom...

ka-boom…

That is the unfortunate truth of what my life has become…a mother f’n ticking time bomb – both in the metaphoric and grammatical sense. I miss my old self, the self who used to be able to shop at whim (and still fit into a size 8, at times a push) stalking out of my fave shop, designer Loubs in one hand, and a bandage dress in the other. The old self who could melt away in the bath every night – and not be worried I was melting my uterus, cooking my eggs or harming an unborn foetus (because apparently overheating yourself in the bath can cause miscarriage, who knew?!).

The old me who didn’t have to shove a basal thermometer up my jacksie every morning before I get out of bed…and know exactly where I’m at in my cycle every. single. godamn day (TMI even for me). The old me who could still ride her pretty pink cruiser bike down to the shop and not worry that again, I could be harming any possibly carrying foetus onboard my womb. The one who didn’t need to be, or wasn’t totally and utterly consumed by fertility. Who would eat gluten – KFC included – with gleeful joy because she wasn’t being told by some naturopath that it could be hindering my ability to naturally conceive. Who wasn’t worried about eating bananas, because apparently they could potentially block your tubes during ovulation…according to Mr Needles.

The old me who didn’t have a particularly unhealthy obsession with buying ovulation tests to the point where I could in fact be considered a fertility test junkie, beady-eyed and hunched over with my paper bag full of goodies firmly in my grip like an addict who’s just scored a free hit. The me who has not one, but about a trillion different types of ovulation indicators – the pee ones, the spit ones, all the fun kind and then is reduced to tears every time they bring a negative result.

The old me who didn’t have to explain to every one I see, know and some I don’t that we’re either in the middle of a cycle, about to do another cycle or just had yet another failed cycle. The one who would seek out the latest foundation instead of yet another fertile herb she’d heard about from the far reaches of Northern Cambodia that was a surety to cure infertility (yes, I fall for it every time, just you try asking some desperate infertile woman not to). And the me who didn’t have to consume approximately four-hundred-and-thirty-seven horse tranquiliser-sized vitamins every day. The old me whose life wasn’t defined by grief and fertility – the two of which go hand-in-hand.

Then I remember I did all these things in my twenties…riding bikes, eating gluten by the bucketload, drinking (lots), having super hot baths every night, getting stressed with a full-time job…and I STILL got pregnant.

The hardest most constant fear in infertility is the ticking time bomb that resides inside your head – and you can think you can hide from it, banish it to the naughty step but that shit just keeps coming back like a teenage pimple on your forehead. Tick, tick, tick, tick…Ka-bloody-BOOM! To all my beautiful one-day-mamas out there on this bumpy road, loves to you…and to the gorgeous blonde who came up to me in the mall because she reads this here blog and told me not to give up, bless your darling heart…Love n’Hugs, Lady MamaG xox

Being a mum…hands down the hardest job in the world…

I'll walk to the ends of the earth to take his pains away...

I’ll walk to the ends of the earth to take his pain away…

I can tell you the single moment I learned being a mum is the toughest job in the whole wide world. It was a Spring morning in October eight years ago. I watched my not-quite-three-year-old little boy sleep in the bed beside me. His beautiful lashes with the blonde tips on the ends, firmly closed. I still tell him to this day those lashes were kissed by the angels when he was born. I leave him to sleep a little longer. I want him to stay in peace for as long as he can. When he finally stirs I look into his blue blue eyes  and I do the single most hardest thing I’ve ever had to do as a mum. I tell him today is a special day. Today we will say goodbye to his daddy. ‘Daddy is gone to heaven and he’s never coming back,’ I tell him. Even though we lost him five days before that morning I didn’t want him to be scared. I tried and tried to protect him from reality but the time had come and it was my job to shatter his tiny heart into a trillion little pieces.

He tells me ‘No, no!’ in a big voice for an only-just-woken toddler. ‘Daddy’s not dead. He’s at the racecars.’ I am his mum and I can’t lie. I tell him his daddy had an accident in his racecar and he has gone. I will tell him this over and over until his little face bursts into floods of tears, hot red cheeks steaming from his anger, frustration and disbelief. He puts his head back on his pillow as if he’s trying to go back to sleep, to step in reverse from the words he’s just heard from his mummy’s mouth. His mummy, how could she be telling him such horrible horrible things, she’s meant to keep away the pain not stab it in.

That morning I would have rather been anywhere but in that bedroom telling my little boy those words. I would have taken all his pain, his fear and his loss. Syphoned it out with my heart and poured it into my own body so he didn’t have to suffer. That’s what you do when you’re a Mum. You take their pain away…when they’re sick, when they’re scared, when they’re sore and when they’re hurt by the most horrific loss of grief.

It’s the hardest job in the world. It just is. The next time you hear yourself say ‘I’m just a mum’ or ‘She’s just a mum’. Or the next time you think you’re not doing enough. Or the next time you beat yourself up because you’re doing too much…holding down a job, raising kids, keeping a house, just remember there is nothing you can ever do, no job in your life that even comes close to the role of Mum. For those of us who have had to be both a mum and a dad, for those who have taken on other mum’s kids, for those who have spent months and even years trying to become a mum and for those who haven’t got their own mums anymore you probably know this already.

Tomorrow, it’s hospital time once again for this here thirtysomething mama as I try to become a mum to another precious little person. It’ll be our eight time on IVF and I’m more hell bent on beating this asshole affliction than Kim K was to be a Vogue covergirl. I’m lucky enough to already know what it’s like to be a mum and that’s why I’ll never give up trying. Love n’hugs, LadyMamaG xox

 

 

 

 

The talk we all need to have with our kids…

innocence lost: 13-year-old Daniel...may your spirit soar high

innocence lost: 13-year-old Daniel…may your spirit soar high

His beautiful bright and beaming smile, the boy in the red t-shirt became one recognised around the nation. It felt like we knew him. He could have easily been a nephew, a cousin, a neighbour, one of the kids from soccer, or worse he could have been a son…my son. As the deep grey cloud finally lifted a little across Brisbane city yesterday when the evil predator who took Daniel Morcombe’s life was sentenced to what we hope means life – but at least 20 years – imprisonment yesterday, there’s every chance we all breathed a sigh of relief. A sigh because it wasn’t our son, it wasn’t our brother, cousin, nephew or close friend but it very well could have been.

Almost eleven years ago the innocence of a quite normal family was stolen when Bruce and Denise Morcombe’s son was waiting for a a bus. In broad daylight. On a busy highway, with plenty of cars and traffic going by. It took just a few minutes for their lives to change forever. Those same parents made it their life mission to never ever forget their son. They battled for years – 10 in fact – to bring the vicious killer of their boy, and the attacker of countless more young boys, to justice. They battled and fought and courageously brought the entire nation’s attention to child safety. For that we can be forever in their debt.

Last night driving home from school, the news bulletin came over the radio. Ten y o was in the back seat musing about his day. ‘Quiet,’ I said. ‘Mummy needs to listen’. I waited for the report to finish, then looked up at my little boy’s eyes in the rear  view mirror and I had the talk. The talk that probably made us both feel pretty uncomfortable, but the talk I needed to have, as a mother and fierce protector of my child. ‘The little boy they talk of was 13 and was taken the week before you were born,’ I started. ‘Do you know what a pedophile is?’ I asked. He thought for a moment. ‘No.’ ‘Well it’s someone who likes to have sex and do bad things to young children. And there are plenty of those vile and disgusting people in our community. You need to be careful.’ He was quite horrified and I saw what might have been a moment of my little 10 y o boy being exposed to a world he knew nothing about.

I explained how they can be anywhere, and don’t always look like bad people. They can be online, in the shops, at your soccer game, in a park or at the beach. They might want to talk to you, offer you a ride somewhere, some lollies or even a turn on their ipod but you must never ever trust anyone you don’t know. Was it a bit of scaremongering I was striking into my child? Possibly. I’ve never spoken to him about these predators before. He knows what rape is. And now he knows what a pedophile is too. Because the trouble is, 10 y o trusts EVERYONE. He’s a friendly kid – which has always been one of his greatest qualities – but it could also so easily be to his detriment. He’s well mannered and knows it’s rude not to answer someone who’s asking you a question – except when that someone has other intentions.

How can we make our kids understand the difference between when a person is just being kind and when they want to harm you? How can we make them weary of people who might want to harm them? When we got home as I watched the grief-stricken face of Daniel’s mother Denise on the news, a face that has aged far beyond her years in the past devastating decade, I hugged my boy in tight. I still have him, she will never get to hug one of her three sons again. In her honour, for all their family’s tireless work in child safety, it was my duty to tell my son. An ad for their interview on tomorrow night’s 60 Minutes came on. ‘Can I watch that, mummy?’ he asked. I bristled. ‘Well you can watch a bit of it,’ I tell him. A bit that will hopefully give him enough awareness never to ever trust anyone who would want to take his innocence, or worst still…his life. With love and blessings to the Morcombe family, Lady MamaG xox