a heart that’s full up like a landfill


In a sonographer’s rooms, J is with me, so is Mum.
The sonographer sweeps the transducer across my belly.
“Is this a planned pregnancy?”
“No, not really but wanted. Why?”
“I can see two babies’ heartbeats instead of one”
I burst into tears.
J roars with laughter.
In the operating theatre, on the table. Epidural administered, stomach bare, waiting.
J at my side, holding my hand.
first baby is delivered, red & crying. Wrapped & held, brought to my side.
The obstetrician’s voice floats in the air.
“Rebecca, I can’t find your second baby.”
Minutes tick by. A strange emptiness surrounds me.
His voice again.
“Rebecca, your second baby is not alive.”
The room begins to buzz.
(in my head – He’s joking. He’s got to be joking. This is a trick.)
“Rebecca, your second baby is not alive.”
Buzzing in my ears.
A gap.
J is panicking. He’s trying to ask me what to do.
“Shall I stay with you? Shall I go with our baby?”
The first baby, he needs weighing, measuring, suctioning.
I look up at the ceiling.
“Go with the baby.”
The midwife is holding our second baby.
He’s small and red and silent.
He’s wrapped.
I see his face.
The room is buzzing.
I am somewhere else.

a promise

I am waiting at the airport. I won’t greet you when you arrive. I’ll just stand here & let you walk by.

I’m wearing a dusky grey dress, black stockings & red heels.  My hair is a bed-head tousle of red.

I don’t need to tell you this.  I am wearing what you asked.

A plane arrives. Passengers flood the arrivals lounge.  I stand off to one side watching.

Yes, I am here.  No, I won’t speak to you.  I won’t touch you. I wanted to tell you of all the touches, the kisses, the moments I had planned. I wanted to be able to say “remember the time we…”

monarchsBut I promised you no.

Policing the children

This afternoon I took my two sons down to the village for some afternoon tea and a short shopping expedition. We had been swimming at our school pool. The boys were excited. They were full of beans & chatting loudly.

Part way down the main street I noticed a woman who was muttering to herself and sneering at me. I caught some of her words. The boys were behind me. I guessed immediately that she was complaining about them.

I turned around and asked her politely, “Excuse me, are you complaining about my children? What have they done to you?”
“They are SO VERY LOUD! They’re deafening me!” she replied with a sourpuss face.
“Well my son has ADHD & an auditory processing issue so this is as quiet as it gets,” I responded.
“I beg your pardon. I beg your pardon,” she attempted to apologise.
I was so, so angry that all I could say was “You are so very, very rude. So rude.” and walked off.

And yes, this is true. One of my boys does have ADHD & most likely some auditory processing issues. Now I wish I just said that this is a main street and that boisterous children are allowed.

So lady, whoever you are, I can tell you that you & people like you are the reason I feel anxious in the street, in public with my children. They are not horrible children. They are not badly behaved (mostly). My sons are simply children. They are six and seven.

Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt II

For some time, although my mental health & general outlook has been more positive than the beginning of this year, I have been feeling utterly exhausted. Physically and mentally. I kept putting this down to three children ’cause let’s face it that’s a full-on proposition but in the back of mind I had a nagging feeling something wasn’t quite right.

Cue a blood test. The results showed that my thyroid isn’t working as it should thanks to medication I was on a while back. Added to that I have lower than usual haemaglobin. Both these issues are now being dealt to with some medication and diet.

The mental exhaustion is something else. It’s a kind of listlessness. Being a stay-at-home parent can be sheer drudgery at times. It’s easy to get sucked into a vortex of “when the kids are all at school I’ll be creative again” & “it’s not fair J has a much better time at work than I do”.  Doing lots of cleaning doesn’t help this outlook.  Actively engaging with the pre-schoolers and at Playcentre does help. Giving myself some time away from it all does too.

An aunt of mine is fond of telling me that she was always blaming her husband and her children for why grand events weren’t happening in her life. That her family were holding her back from achieving. She said once she realised that she stood in her own way she got a lot more done.

I am trying to take that advice, to watch who and how I blame others. I have been a procrastinator since I can remember. Nothing to do with three children. Nothing to do with J. My biggest threat is myself. A little doubting voice that says what if I try and fail is the thing that has held me back but if I never sit down, put the work into it there will never be anything much to show for it.

Some photographs, a few poems, almost 60,000 tweets. And four beautiful children.