This time last year I'd just given birth but I was without my baby, she was in NICU and I was in some serious pain, a year makes a massive difference, and WOW it's been a incredible year with many ups and downs that i'm processing I will not go into much of those feelings and memories in this entry.
Today marks ONE whole year of lunar and SEVEN years of Deryn! So now I have a one year old and a seven year old… I don’t feel old enough to have a seven year old, will I ever be? ageing is crazy right, I remember being 18 and feeling so grown up, now i’m 32 this month and I often find myself feeling like a teenager.
My children are wild, messy, funny and loved. I still can’t get my head around them sharing a birthday… they were both born on the 13th of January, 6 years apart two very different births! My first daughter was an unplanned home birth, it was overwhelming, painful but oddly peaceful. My second daughters birth was a planned caesarean due to her ‘birth defect’ called gastroschisis, low fluids and being breach it was a long and stressful pregnancy with a NICU stay afterwards and an operation for my daughter at just one day old. Which I’ve wrote many blogs about.
Motherhood is just a rollercoaster of craziness, laughter, cuddling, soooooo many WTF moments, sweating while telling everyone your ‘fine’, taking deep breaths and feeling the most powerful love while being covered in what you hope is chocolate. It’s also never getting enough sleep and just wanting a little peace but also knowing that if there’s a child somewhere being too quiet then be worried… because that’s when something is likely getting broken or eaten. Spoiler when they are being quiet it’s as the youths would I say these day's 'it’s sus’.
Even on a bad day It’s the type of love that lifts you up when all you want to do is stay down. It’s like the sun finally peaking through the clouds on a dark day when all you wanted was to see the light. It’s like no other, motherhood is everything and more I was hoping it would be. My children are just incredibly loved and I’m immensely grateful. I’m also honest, ohhhh it has many challenges. The children we create become so much more than just our babies, they become their own people with personalities, hopes and dreams… they also become little daemons from time to time testing our patients, and unfortunately throwing some holy water and shouting “the power of Christ compels you” at them only makes them angry.
My 7 year old daughter has started ‘eye rolling’ me, she also has a slight attitude, she likes to sigh at me, quite loudly actually. It’s in these moments that I remember she is her own person, she’s setting her boundaries and navigating her way through what she can ‘get away with’ while learning what her emotions and reactions are to her own disappointments and experiences. She’s trying to be more independent with household tasks, but every now and again she will need help, or fall asleep while cuddling me and il look down and see my baby, dependent of me. As I look at her, sleeping, my baby again I think about everything I will do for her in a heartbeat even when she’s sighing and rolling her eyes at me. I don’t understand how anyone could inflict a physical punishment on a child. When I think back to how little I had to do to get a good few slaps or a plate thrown at me when I was growing up it makes me angry. So I guess I’m the type of mother I wanted, which I think is a good goal, note to self keep be the type of mother I wanted but didn’t have… I’m learning from the mistakes of others but this doesn’t mean I don’t mess up from time to time of course I’m human, but she’s a happy and healthy seven year old and she’s incredibly funny and kind so I’m doing something right.
I can’t believe Lunar is one, all the hospital appointments, scans, terrifying conversations and the nights unable to sleep while she was in NICU both feel like a lifetime ago almost unreal and as if it was yesterday and I could slip back into the situation if I close my eyes. If you read my blogs you will probably know I don’t process stress and trauma well, I procrastinate, I get overwhelmed, and some people would say I ‘shut down’ like a child or dickhead, reader’s choice. However I’m trying not to do that anymore...
I’ve been trying to wean my now one year old off breastfeeding for the last few weeks as I’ve been advised to up my anxiety medication… it’s not going well, she doesn’t want to give up the boob at all! But I’m going to be strong now she’s a year she can drink cows milk so as from tomorrow that’s the plan, she will be furious for a little while I imagine but it’s going to have to happen so I can up my meds and level out again. It’s all a balancing act, motherhood, doing our best and keeping some level of sanity. I started taken my antidepressants again shortly after Lunar was born, a low dosage at first then building up, of course I wasn’t able to take a high dosage without the possibility of passing on side effects so I decided to hold off until I’d weaned her. Totally understand that some people don’t agree with taking any level of antidepressants while breastfeeding, I wouldn’t do anything I didn’t feel was safe for my children, I think it’s important to do what feels right and remember that everyone and their boys and experiences are different.
As Lunar was born with gastroschisis I couldn’t feed her at first because she wasn’t allowed milk until her intestines were working which took almost two weeks. Sometimes I think back and it feels like a really bad dream and other times I’m there in the moment like my brain is back in NICU and my body is left in limbo. certain smells and sounds seam to be the main trigger, I often find myself wondering about the other babies that were in NICU the same time as us and how they are all getting on. Lunar is thriving, she’s a typical funny, silly, affectionate and slightly smelly one year old, she’s smashing all her milestones she’s on the small side as people keep telling me, however not many people where born with their bowels on the outside of their bodies she had a slow start, she will catch up or she will stay petite like me. Don’t we tell people size doesn’t matter anyway right?
The art! I have art, lots of it I’m not even going to post it all, I’ll save some back… oh it feels good to be in a creative flow again, I’ve been taking part in an artist challenge suggested to me by a wise friend (yeah I have them…) and I’ve been making a real effort to take part and have fun. Which is giving me a nice dose of both dopamine and inspiration. I’ve been writing lots with the challenges, sometimes I still worry that my art makes me look too deep and that then makes me look weak, which is conditioning of my childhood. Opening up isn’t weak, but my work is personal and often odd but I’m choosing to share it, the content might be honest and raw, vulnerable even but I’m not weak. I’ll fight for my freedom to express.
As this is a motherhood related blog it feels right to start off with some work inspired by body image and the pressures of 'how we should look'. I brought a projector, so we can watch films on one of my backdrops *cool mum moment* but also so I can add a new level to my work. I projected some of my images onto myself and took some photos, the first year after having a baby is tricky, because you love your body for what it's given you but there are also so many pressures too 'get back stop shape'.
ode to my body
I twist, turn, looking, judging, grabbing, sighing.
The mirror isn’t a friend. It doesn’t lie, it doesn’t care.
My body isn’t right, it doesn’t look how it should, but how should It look now? It’s been through a lot, it’s amazing when I sit and think.
I have scars.
It’s given me two beautiful daughters, I felt them as they moved, as they grew, it’s made life out of love, it fed them as they became strong, I love my body for that.
It failed me once, I’ll always carry that with me, in me, part of me, that feeling. Although it’s less now, like a slight ache of what used to be a throbbing pain.
My body is mine and I use it to show trust, intimacy, I share it, I move it, with lust, but only with the one person I promised it too, he loves it, he tells me, I believe him.
It holds hope and it’s known pain, the pressure to look a certain way is the pressure I’ve put on myself. No one else is judging, grabbing or sighing.
I want to look like them, the others, toned and golden, it’s all filters and editing, I know this.
I weigh myself, obsessing, for the numbers with no real meaning, what’s their value? does it change mine?
I consume ‘you are what you eat’, what should I eat? too much, too little, greed, guilt and sickness.
Too much social media can lead too poisoning, too little can lead to withdrawal, I need it, who i’m I without it?
I feel the anger pull on my shoulders, my muscles tightened. My body holds so much in. I can feel all the energy I wish I knew how to release. It’s heavy.
I feel the warmth of love in my chest, the embrace of touch, the strength as I push forward. I’m becoming more.
I love the way the wind and rain feels, as my hair becomes tangled and my face becomes wet I feel deep joy.
I breathe deeper when I remember to do so, air in my lungs feels like freedom.
It’s the only body I have. It holds a power, trying to shine while suffocating in aches and tiredness.
My body is healing.
It’s stronger. I’m grateful for it, even as I twist, turn, looking, judging, grabbing, sighing.
I'll admit that editing this photo made me feel a little sick, I do not like my scar but it’s now apart of me, the human body is crazy and amazing. I also got this scar so that Lunar could be delivered safely, i'd take scars any day for my children safety and happiness. It still hurts from time to time but i'm not sure if that's just in my head because I don't like how it looks or perhaps It's from not being able to rest after my operation, who knows.
A pick me up
I documented a slow Sunday morning for a challenge I was taking part one. The theme of this one was called 'A pick me up' and as Sunday's are for recharging ready for the week ahead it made sense to capture my morning.
We started the day with cuppas and cuddles while talking about ‘Mixlings’ spells and some drawing, which is always a great way to start the morning! A walk would have been a good option but it’s raining so looking out if the window was more realistic. Sometimes the perfect morning is a slow one...
I went for a winters walk and took some self portraits, the sun was perfect and I had time to reflect on some feelings, again this was for the artist challenge i'm taking part on. I think trees are amazing, I use their bark for overly textures in my work from time to time and really appreciate the stories they must hold...
The shape of us info
So I have TWO projects I’m working on that I’m looking for collaborations with. I'm currently writing a blog all about breastfeeding, I’m collecting some stories, helpful tips and struggles. If you would also like to be involved please drop me a message, my second collaboration project is all about why artists create, what drives us forward and why we share so much of our selfs. I’m hoping to interview some creative people, i'm also planning to link it up to some mental health awareness.
I really like blogging, It feels very 'me' and it's great to do something we love right!? I've wanted to do this style of work for years but I really wasn't ready to open up about my art work as I am now.
I'm really finding my voice and this has given me a deeper reason for creating! However having my own voice doesn't feel like enough. We all have stories and struggles that are all different. Art for me is about connection, awareness and story telling, and I believe that together there is so much awareness to be spread.
Sound like something you may be interested in? Great! Let’s tell some stories together!
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