I wrote and posted this back when I was a part of an eclectic online mothering community, the original community has disbanded (or rebranded) but a bunch of us are still close.
It is fitting that on the last day of this incredible year that it would be just you and I sitting here. So much of this year was spent in your quiet presence, you were conceived with 2007 in front of us and as you grew, so did I. So did we all.
Your presence had a profound effect on my relationships – the hormones you sent surging through my body made me a person I often didn’t recognise. Your weight in my belly made me tired and crabby. But before you start thinking I didn’t enjoy the process of growing you inside me let me say this – 2007 was the most profoundly changing year of my entire life. And I thank you for it.
This year I learned to live with less, less time, less money and less energy. I also learned to ask for help and to speak up for myself instead of always attempting to please others. I learned that I do have limits and that it is okay to live within them, though not okay to deny the constant drive to test them. I learned that I am absolutely happiest when I’m well-fed, well-exercised and well-slept. I learned that my imposed introversion was slowly poisoning me and my relationships.
It is amazing to me how much I thought I knew and how little I understood. It took a long year of trials to teach me that knowing everything doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t know yourself. So I have begun to get to know me. There are things I love about myself – my creativity, my compassion, my imagination and humour – and there are things I don’t like so much – my forgetfulness, my perfectionism, my drive to always be right and my selfishness. It seems simplistic, writing it all down on paper. Of course I am all those things and more, and of course I like the good and dislike the “bad” – what is new and different now is that I accept all those things as part of the greater picture of who I am. No flaw is fatal and consciously working to make good of the bad makes me a better person.
In the months before your birth I struggled to figure out how I would possibly do all of it with two kids. My anxiety was in control and lorded over every single thing I did. I saw danger and difficulty everywhere and it tainted everything I did, said or touched. After you birth it only got harder – getting out of the house meant making sure everything was in order, it meant making sure I had a plan and a back-up plan and a back-up back-up plan. And in some ways it was great, the times we went out and everything went well and we came home on time for a healthy lunch and a relaxed nap made me positively giddy. I was supermom.
But then the days when it fell apart I felt like a failure. Too depressed to move it only got worse and worse and the voices in my head would just remind me of all the things I needed to do just to get to the point where I could get ready to do something.
It seems weird to me, summing up all the growth of a year and essentially only focusing on the last two months – but that’s how it was. Everything built and built and built and then one fateful day it all broke down and I was free. I shook off all my grandiose expectations and simply was, I simply AM.
The irony is, by quieting much of my anxiety (and here I will say the medication has definitely helped) and by focusing on myself and what I need to do for me, I have become much of what I had been aspiring to be. My house is consistently clean, I spend time with friends old and new, my son is not a bully but a funny guy who tells amazing stories and needs glasses to see well, my daughter is happy and healthy, we eat good food, my husband and I are great friends and lovers and I love my life.
So thank-you, sweet sleeping Rigby, for the first of many years in which we will help each-other grow up.