Tag Archives: Sadness

On ovary-wrestling

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I’ve been struggling a bit with hormone rampages in the last few weeks. It’s been hard not to tip myself into sadness or self-flagellation every time my tether’s been shorter than I wanted, or I’ve forgotten to reply to an important message, or walked straight past the reusable shopping bags on my way out to Tesco (every. time.).

Riding the ole oestrogen wave colours all of my comings and goings with extra melodrama, like looking through a stained-glass window where every piece is the shape of a furrowed eyebrow. You may not know this (OF COURSE YOU KNOW THIS), but drama is sort of my life language already. One of these days I’ll hire myself a backing orchestra and be done with it.

Until then I’ve got on with important things like staring dolefully at the soap dish in the shower, obsessively reliving every human interaction to see if people really like me, and noticing the return of the freckle on my nose that looks like a chocolate smear, and having to go for a bit of a lie down. The ordinary incidents of our day – things I would normally laugh about, blog about, or send comical all-caps text messages about – have left me exhausted.

Do you think that when it’s the small stuff that knocks you down, only small stuff will pick you up? I’ve been sat in gloom so often this month and then been pulled back to myself, inch by inch, by a tiny, joyous thing. Some little sign from the universe that everything is working according to plan. Like:

sitting on the needled floor of the forest, listening with half an ear to boys arguing over Thundercats, and noticing an inch-long, bright green fern pushing out of the brown leaf mould next to my foot. A perfect curl at the top of it, defiantly taking its share of sun. Then looking more closely, and realising I’m surrounded by them, and just hadn’t seen.

***

laboriously shampooing dried honey out of my fringe after too little sleep, then opening my eyes to see that my water splashes have made a little column of hearts on the shower screen.

***

squatting on hands and knees by the high chair, picking up dropped noodles and peas one by one (because you can’t hoover them till they’re dry and I don’t have time to wait) and finding a mosaic of refracted rainbows on the porridge-stained carpet.

***

pausing in the middle of an oration on The Importance of Eating All One’s Lunch because the sunlight has reached over my shoulder to H, opposite, and lit up every blue-green-yellow-brown-turquoise hiding in his eyes, and it’s taken my breath a little bit.

***

I don’t know if you’re staring at a soap dish somewhere too.

Since it often takes someone else to remind you of what’s true when your stained glass tells you something different, let me tell you (and you can tell me, and we can tell each other): the sun will come up tomorrow too, like it always does.

There are tiny rainbows on your dirtiest carpet.

And there’s a forest floor somewhere near me, where new green ferns are growing, against all the odds, into light.

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Quarantine

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Toddler illnesses teach me that I don’t do well cooped up inside all day. Does that make me a tiny little bit like the gypsy Esmeralda, but with not-so-fabulous hair? Do you think if I asked my hairdresser tomorrow for Gypsy Esmeralda hair, she’d be able to work with it? Never mind.

Henry’s on-again-off-again flirtation with hand, foot and mouth virus now seems to be definitely ON, FOREVER, IF DESTROYED STILL TRUE, and the NHS lady seemed to think this meant another spell indoors until my doctor can work out what on earth to do about it. So we cancelled outings again, stayed inside again, danced around with our underpants on top of our pyjamas, and generally wound each other up until we were ready to write rude things on the walls. Did I mention it’s been a week since this thing appeared? Oh, his poor swollen hands look like they’ve been scalded. It’s how I imagine Hermione’s hands to look after the Bubotuber pus incident, remember that? He spends all day with them clasped gingerly together on his lap, like a Jane Austen heroine in petticoats. It makes me sad.

Today, by 2.30pm, we’d had enough, and the two of us went up on the Ridgeway for a spell (Britain’s oldest chalk road, used by prehistoric man and, I assume, many people since). At least we could ramble there without touching other children. He had fun talking back to the sheep and licking chalk off stones, but asked to be carried twice. Definitely not on form.

I suppose if you’re going to be in quarantine anywhere, doing it here isn’t half bad.

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Yoghurt-flavoured sadness

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I caught another fluey virus this weekend (why?!?), at about the same time as my first-trimester sickness arrived. I can’t work out how much of it is pregnancy (bed=melodramatic) and how much is lurgy (bed=encouraged). Either way, as a combination they are lethal, and infuriating. Yesterday I sat floppily on a sofa all day, trying to make conversation with Henry so he was getting some stimulation, while feeling increasingly desperate about all of the other things I was supposed to be doing.

That evening, after Tim had come home and picked me up from the floor, where I sat uncontrollably sobbing in a yoghurt-flavoured hoodie, I wrote a blog post that started like this:

Henry has not been outside in four days. It’s all I can do to get up and make him lunch. I feel like I am failing in every area that matters, and I’m doing it in a bubble where no one at all can help me. I feel like I’m in the middle of a party of people leading triumphant and glittery lives and I’m the only one sat in pyjamas. 

Sometimes I think it’s good to write about hard things. Because maybe other people have hard things that are similar, and reading about it helps them feel like they’re not stupid, or something? I dunno.

But sometimes it’s also good to look back on it later when things are better, and realise that as despairing as you felt, it passed. And, further: you were never in a bubble at all.

I took a deep breath and requested extensions for the work I was supposed to be doing this week. I told some people how miserable I was and let their reassurances rest on me. Then this morning, a lovely friend – who is baby unaware, as yet – called to ask whether they could steal Henry for a couple of hours. How did they know? I put down the phone and was so pathetically grateful, I cried. And today I still feel horrendous, but well enough to sit under a duvet and work.

Pass me my helmet and spear; this bizniz is going DOWN.

Postscript: I am so grateful that I have someone who’s always ready to pick me up off the floor. Yoghurt-flavoured or no.

other baby posts: 1. – 2. – 3. – 4. – 5. – 6. – 7. – 8. – 9. – 10.
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