Category Archives: Upside Down Mind

Upside Down Mind

My parenting superpower

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girl plays superhero

As a parent of a pre-schooler, like many I suspect, I go from feeling like a superhero mum to hapless heroine from one moment to the next. Some days I’ll make my three year old daughter fresh and nutritious home cooked food, others I’m throwing frozen finger food in the oven and letting her eat way too much sugar. One  morning I’ll send her off to day-care well-presented and well-fed with French-plaits in her hair; the next day still holding a piece of banana bread looking like she’s been dragged backwards through a hedge. Sometimes I feel calm, accomplished and self-assured that I’m sufficiently meeting all her practical, intellectual and emotional needs; other times I’m frantically googling parenting guides, fuelled by fears I’m failing. Or we’ll be sharing a tender moment; a cuddle, a book or a gentle look, the next second I say no to some screen time or a second ice-cream and suddenly I feel like the enemy; queen of the land of mean.

It’s these meltdown situations that probably test my confidence the most. In one swift second our interactions go from magical to miserable leaving me wondering whether it’s just a normal childhood incident or whether somewhere along the way I’ve failed to implement a critical element of  good parenting or discipline. Her fits of rage initially stun me into silence. Sometimes, admittedly, although I wouldn’t let it show, I want to laugh incredulously at the dramatics displayed by the solo star of a superbly-acted tantrum stage show. Mild amusement quickly turns to anger. I breathe deeply until it dissipates. I have learned by now that acting on it only exacerbates her emotions, invalidates her vulnerable infant feelings and leaves me languishing in remorse. The anger goes and I detach, careful to not let her actions; screaming and sometimes hitting or throwing things, stimulate a response. I calmly explain why she can’t have what she wants, express some understanding and wait, only to recurrently check if she wants a cuddle yet. She eventually gives in and throws her arms around me. I breathe a sigh of relief.

However, occasionally, the tantrum persists. The longer it goes on I feel my patience slowly ceasing to exist. This recently happened on our way out of the house after I refused a third chocolate biscuit request. She begged, bribed and badgered me, but, in a superhero mum moment, I stood strong. The corners of her mouth abruptly turned down accompanied by a frown. She was about to push out that all too familiar horrendous, high-pitched howl. Out it came and it wouldn’t stop. She rejected my reasoning, declined countless offers of cuddles and was refusing to back down. It was beginning to grate on my ears and I was also worried the neighbours could hear. I pleaded with her to give it up, realising my super hero mum moment had passed and I was now the hapless heroine. She turned the volume up instead. My voice started to raise; I was becoming the baddie; controlling, crazy and enraged. I walked away and took several deep breaths. I returned to where she stood and in desperation at the situation contorted my face at her in a playful way.

Her voice cracked. I heard her laugh! She started to whinge again, so I did it again. She couldn’t control it; her cry gave way to a belly laugh. Soon I couldn’t tell if she was laughing or crying and we got the giggles together. She ran over to me, flung her arms round my neck and we squeezed each other while snuggling and sniggering.

It was the first time I really comprehended just how much I make my little girl laugh. That even in the middle of an extended and outrageous meltdown of indignant rage, overwhelming emotions and desperation to get her own way, she couldn’t control her giggles at her mummy’s funny face.

And I realised that no matter how much I may be getting wrong on my journey as her mum, one thing I’m getting right is making sure we have a lot of silly fun. That, while I’ll never stop learning and trying to do everything better, no amount of reading can add value to these special moments we have together. My little girl makes me laugh a lot too. It’s our super power. Our shield against the challenges of life. And the best one too.

Upside Down Expat Upside Down Mind

Fleeting Feelings: The Waiting Game

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My series of ‘fleeting feelings’ are short articles based on some of the emotions and stages we go through as an expat. This one is about how moving overseas can often feel like the ‘big thing’ we’ve been waiting or working for and why we should never give up creating our own destiny.

I recently reflected, in the first few years of moving overseas and subsequently having our daughter, that I spent a long time reacting and adapting. The changes so sudden, significant and unplanned, I took a tumble down the rabbit hole landing somewhat bruised and confused on the Australian sand with a baby in my hands. Of course finding my feet with the sand between my toes is an enviable position to behold and I was also filled with elation, excitement and gratitude.  Yet still, at some point through it all, I started to believe, subconsciously, that life was happening to me. That I wasn’t in control of my destiny.

In hindsight, I think I was overwhelmed with my reality.  And sometimes when we feel out of our depth, on some level we decide it will be easier if we relinquish some responsibility. So instead of purposefully guiding our lives we decide we’ll just see what happens next. We wait. And while through the ebbs and flows of life there are times this approach might be necessary, as a long term strategy it can cause a great deal of anxiety. Take it from me. Because life still shifts and shapes around us but if we’re not doing the shifting we’re being dragged along or drifting; trying to mold ourselves into the world that surrounds us rather than molding the world to match our desires.

So I considered all my life-defining moments and how the really big, exciting and magical times seemed to come as a complete and random surprise. But they have a common denominator. Prior to any big shifts were periods of intention and acceptance; where I wasn’t resisting anything in my present but at the same time preparing for the things I wanted to see in my future. Importantly I wasn’t holding any preconceptions of how I thought my life ought to be. I was chipping away at the things I didn’t like while, overall (life’s never without its problems), enjoying my life.

And I believe that it all comes down to intention. Intent, accompanied with even just tiny steps, surrounded by an infinite space full of potential and possibility takes us to an, often better than we imagined, reality. But if we spend too long waiting to ‘see’, or worse holding onto an idea of how our life ought to be, how will we ever find and create our opportunity?

And so over the past year or so I’ve taken back control. I’ve set new goals. I no longer feel like life is happening to me. I once again feel in charge of my own destiny. And while I now know my intention and manifestation won’t always be exactly the same, for the first time in a long time, I can’t wait to see what amazing things come my way again.

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Upside Down Expat Upside Down Mind

Fleeting Feelings: Missing Mum

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Mother and toddler

This is part of a new series of short ‘fleeting feelings’ articles based on the thoughts and emotions that often arise when we are living away from our families. This one is about missing our mums and parents, and understanding how it must feel to have their children live so far away from them.

My three year old daughter is growing fast.  I was recently watching her sleeping, as I so often do, and thinking about how watching our children ‘grow’ is a strange sentiment as a parent. The shifts in development are, while significant, so continuous that rarely do we see them entirely consciously.  It’s only looking back on photos, or in spare, rare, moments of reflection, that their leaps in development become so apparent. As I thought about this, I had a strong, yet imagined and momentary, visualisation of my daughter stood facing me fully grown, telling me she was leaving home. For a few seconds it felt like I was really there. I looked at her gorgeous face with her still curly hair. She was taller than me but still so much my treasured, innocent and adorable baby. And in that moment I experienced an intense physical sense of how I will feel when she’s ready to go. I felt a deep ache. But I realised that the real definition of a decent parent is the decision, when the time comes, to let them leave without expecting anything in return. Because if we are really the self-sacrificing, liberating and unconditionally loving parents we think we are, what begins as a largely selfish act must end with an entirely selfless one. We must find it deep within ourselves to let our children go and find themselves. Knowing that, while they will always be the centre of our world, we won’t always be the centre of theirs. And I thought about my own mum, and how it must feel to have your child emigrate. To have all those years with your child so close and then be away from them almost everyday. And I cried a little. Because while our mums (and parents) may not be the focus of our adult lives,  they are the most important and influential individuals of our lifetimes. And it’s the strongest, selfless and most successful mums that know, after many years of giving our guidance; for our grown children to fully grow, we must truly let them go.

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Upside Down Mind

The dream is not as it seems

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We are inundated with messages of chasing and living the dream. The exhilarating life overseas, finding our purpose and passion or our undeniable ideal significant other. But this state of mind keeps us running toward an elusive finish line. It’s a dream within a dream. And the dream is never quite as it seems…. 

When I was five, my little Bessie mate and I would stand up high on his garden gate and yell ‘RED BALLOON’ as the ‘rag and bone’ man drove past in his waste collection van.

We had the words wrong but it was a total blast.

 It’s one of the happiest recollections of my upbringing. And when I look back, it was always the small things; digging up worms, making up songs, building dens and playing outside with my sister and friends.

I also loved animals so much that I dreamed of becoming a vet. And, instead of having a baby, I was going to adopt a chimpanzee from the zoo. I was certain this is what I would do.

Until, on the TV, I witnessed a veterinary surgeon slicing through the skin of someone’s pet. Another had his hand up the rear end of a cow, one had a dog die and another got bitten by a crazed cat as he tried to stick a needle in its back.

And just like that my dream collapsed.

For immediately I knew I would never, nor want to, be equipped for the reality. And I also realised how insanely cruel keeping a chimpanzee for a baby would be.

It was my first lesson in life that dreams are not always as they seem. For I’d only visualised the best bits; the affection, redemption and rescuer gratification.

It’s a fundamentally flawed and fatal mistake that we still too often make.

We’re conditioned to be in a constant state of wanting, wondering and waiting for an enigmatic yet elusive place ahead. A happy-ending destination where fortune, feat and fulfilment awaits.

We believe that when we arrive we’ll stride through life with a spring. And no doubt stars will sparkle above our heads while pretty little bluebirds sing.

Yet, while it may be true we have yet to have live the best, the constant quest for something better makes little sense:

The Single Story: We look at those that seemingly have it all and make stereotypical assumptions; the rich; free, parents; fulfilled, couples; content and the successful; set-up for life. We don’t see the struggles that, in addition to the satisfying sections, are also central to the story. The worry and weariness of child rearing, the fights in long lasting love, and the demands and dedication required for great wealth. We assign a single story to situations we’d like to have. But the truth is…

The Unexpected Losses:  For all the big gains in life, there are losses. Sometimes deficits directly relate, often they’re just a consequence of changing times. The dream life overseas; a loss of family stability, the successful career but simultaneous yet unexpected troubles with our friends or family, or motherhood; the loss of independence and sometimes sanity! Achieving our life’s aims also requires that we often too, quite significantly, change. Yet we imagine everything good about our present moment will remain the same. And, while the wins are often worth it, when we’re blind to future stakes we fail to see and appreciate prior states. And we also get things wrong…

The Mismatched Needs. We think we know what we want. Frequently we assume that adding extra will subtract our sadness.  We fail to figure out that fulfilment is fundamentally within us, unaware everything we need is already there. And then we look at others and also inaccurately compare, because…

The Fake Realities: Social media is saturated with streams of stories of success and people supposedly ‘living the dream’. It seems no life is complete unless it’s filtered and plastered all over the screen. But the real filters are the ones we use to disguise our everyday lives. The bulk that is everything in between.  The messy house, the parenting fails; bribes and empty threats, sitting around lazily in our sweats, emptying the bin, getting irritated by our partners snoring and kicking them a little harder than intended, or not, in the shin. But while we should certainly celebrate our success, glossing over the rest dulls what’s real. All we see are manipulated ‘happy endings’ and highlight reels. But…

The Happily Ever After Myth: Even happy endings end. Because the nature of life isn’t so; rather it’s a series of happy and unhappy moments that come and go. Even when our biggest dreams arrive they are only ever mere moments in time. They too will pass us by. But rather than a dismal deduction, detaching from the happy ending destination frees us to depart the speeding train of anticipation, able to wait patiently for other enjoyable rides to stop at our station. But often we’re too scared to jump because…

The Perceived Failure: Frantically focusing on the future can foster feelings of failure, leaving us feeling frustrated. We pervade our own points of view with perceived past mishaps, or fear of forthcoming failures, conversely, preventing us from progress. But failure is purely a perception. Rather it’s the passageway; the practice, progress and pleasure that should be our only measure.  When we’re in it mainly for the process, we’ll still fail, but pay far less notice. Rather we’ll experience daily appreciation able to enjoy our lives free from the shackles of expectation.

Dreaming is an essential and wonderful part of life. It fills us with hope and fire to go after the things we desire.

But to be continuously invested in chasing and achieving ‘the dream’, we can overlook the joy of everything in between. The time we take to plait our child’s hair, sitting with them and really being there, laughing at silly things, sharing a knowing look with those we truly know, strolls with the sand between our toes, waking up too soon and catching a glimpse of the bright shining moon.

Standing on a gate shouting out red balloon.

For to live life only for the happy end is to yell the words wrong all along. But instead of a minor vocabulary mistake, it’s a critical error of judgement that will be forever too late to mend.

So to go after our dreams, we shouldn’t run, but tiptoe. Careful not to trample on the seemingly insignificant things as we go.

They may be the moments that matter the most.

Because we are already the living the real dream, you know.

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Upside Down Mind

A whingeing pom’s week without whining

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Labelled ‘whingeing pom’s’ by Aussie’s, the English get a bad rap for being bad tempered. But while the grey skies in England may have left us lacking a year round sunny disposition, it’s not just us. People all over the world are partial to petulance. And since common culture carps on about complete negativity avoidance, I wondered when it stops being harmless venting and starts being something more serious, affecting our outlook on life. So for a week I decided to stop whingeing. Here’s what I found.

The whingeing pom.  An arguably unfair stereotypical characterisation.

We can’t even whinge about the injustice and discrimination lest we prove a point.

So after five years of being branded a narky knickers in the Land of Oz, I tend to beat them to it god forbid a moan escapes my miserly mouth.

For example;

Me in 40 degrees cant-breath heat ‘ gosh its hot today…

Aussie; ‘Isn’t that why you moved to Australia?

Me. ‘ha yes so I did, I’m such a whingeing pom’!!!

Me in 1 degree temperatures ‘I’m freezing’

Aussie: ‘Surely you’re used to it from England’

Me ‘yep you’re right I’m just a whinger!!! You know what us whingeing poms are like!!!!

Nevermind the half-baked attempts at heating this side of the hemisphere leaving us ‘where-are -the-radiators’ poms feeling the chill twenty four seven throughout the ice cold (yes it does get cold) winters.

However, despite my weariness at the whingeing pom label, there is some justice in the jesting. You only have to be away from the UK a few months to grasp the degree of grumbles so easily exclaimed by the English.

And while overall I believe it to be a harmless habit, I wondered if at times it can cross the line from light-hearted haughtiness and have a detrimental effect on well-being and happiness.

So for a week I decided to stop whingeing. I failed. I found the frequency of my unfortunate fables would require some further finessing before I completely fling the habit. I did however become considerably more conscious of complaining.

These were the top whines I noticed from myself and others;

  • Weather whinges: While I believed constant climate criticism was a mainly English affliction stemming from unfortunate home country conditions, the weather is a worldwide whinge. I shared a mutual moan with Aussies, Brits and even an American over the phone. Because this hot topic is an ice-breaker. Small talk. And small talk leads to friendly talk making it a worthwhile whinge.
  • Sick stories. Feeling under the weather during the week, I noticed I repeatedly verbalised over the top grievances relating to my symptoms. I was, shamefully, searching for sympathy. But unless you’re in the vicinity of your mum this one only serves to reinforce our sickness. And can cause more discontent if we don’t get the pandering we’re pursuing.
  • Kid kvetches: There’s no denying parenting is challenging. But the trials are trivial when weighed with the wonders. So I was surprised I griped a great deal more than I’d have guessed. Although in my defence almost entirely about bedtime battles. However, this was also a healthy venting and bonding exercise between fellow parents and accompanied with plenty of praising for our cheeky cherubs too.
  • Road rages: Unavoidable. Especially in Australia!
  • Grub gripes: I found myself bothered by a breakfast portion size complaining it too small. Since I reside in a rich nation with an abundance of fancy food at my fingertips, this gripe was ungrateful, ignorant and gratuitous. I vow never to verbalise this vex again!
  • People protests: Many protests among people are, unfortunately, about people. And while we all seek expression and support, I observed much complaining about situations or altercations seemed not to have, nor want, reasonable resolutions. But unless constructive, aiming for change, these moans are meaningless and only feed unfortunate feelings. Or worse, they’re malicious, judgmental or manipulative!
  • Work woes: Cranky colleagues, bad bosses and wild workloads; with most work weeks 40 hours long, irritations are inevitable. And while common complaints can cement colleague connections, non-stop narking about job dissatisfaction is not only annoying but a hallmark of responsibility avoidance.
  • Country comparisons: Constant comparisons to our motherland can seem ungrateful. But between expats complaints cultivate connections through mutual understandings and shared longings. They help us feel closer to home. That said, persistently pessimistic people can cast a shadow over a bright adventure. And also annoy the Aussie’s. So keeping the whinges for our expat associates is advised!

Of course, throughout my conscious complaining phase, there was much positivity too. Importantly, I found it’s not the complaining that’s the problem per se, but the reasons behind it.

The key is whining awareness.

As while small scale sniping shields us from the rain, summoning support and allowing us to seek solace in our social networks, when it comes to steering somewhat stormy weather chronic complaining can perpetuate the cycle.

Regardless of the conditions outside, if our complaints of less than satisfactory situations are common, constant and coupled with inaction, we’re handing power to our environment. Akin to being whipped by the wind while shunning shelter or soaked to the skin yet refusing to brandish our brolly, eventually we’ll be swept into the eye of the storm, left saturated in irritability, indecision and injured victim mentality.

And we’re not named Dorothy.

So while I maintain some moaning is a must, I vow to complain less and celebrate more. After all, compared to some, the forecast is always pretty mild where we come from.

I’ll be a positive pom.

Unless it’s bloody raining.

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Cattle Class Carnage

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For distant expats, visiting friends and family can mean long, frequent flights. And, unless you’re one of the lucky few to afford first class, the journey in economy can leave you feeling like a second class citizen. Cramped conditions, hostile hostesses and pissed up passengers; this article takes a look at some of the stresses in cattle class.

In the cattle class cabin, time, space and social status temporarily lose their meaning.

And when you’re in it for the long-haul, you can also lose your sanity.

Trapped in a vacuum of constricted space, artificial air and inactivity[1], intense boredom and exhaustion ensues causing thoughts to become foggy and social norms unclear.

It seems on every flight there is at best a little disquiet, at least one fright, and at worse, a fight.

At least according to my experiences.

Returning from India, I animatedly argued with a hostile holidaymaker; going to Mexico I accidently knocked red wine onto a passengers pale pants; and, after a 12 hour flight to Thailand, my legs swelled so severely I truly believed it was game over.

But the best was in 2010 when emigrating to Australia. Toasting the trip with too much champagne and wine, I subsequently swallowed a strong sleeping pill in a bid to beat the lethargy on landing. Not recommended; I have zero recollection but was apparently rather raucous for some time.

Fast-forward five years; less uptight and with multiple 24 hour trips under my seat belt, including several solo sprees with an infant, I can finally class myself as a composed and accomplished commuter. Well for the most part.

Because there are several things in the questionable conditions of the cattle class cabin that can still rouse a reaction;

Aviation agitation: Most airliners carry an air of anxiety.  While once I flew without fear, excessive media coverage of rare catastrophes and perhaps some parental vulnerability have left me a little shaky. Sure, I still manage to look like a relaxed, rational and fearless flyer – in fact, I still enjoy the turbulence. But now I start the journey checking out people at check-in; deliberating their destinies and pondering potential terrorists. And I’m not the only anxious one; once on-board strong turbulence or strange sounds spark a surge of suspicious, stressed out glances as some silently pray for their survival.

Reclining seat etiquette:  The front runner of in-flight fiascos. On a recent night flight to Dubai, the passenger behind not so passively protested the reasonable reclining of my seat through forceful kicks and hard to ignore loud-mouthed objections. Something of a showdown arose. But when I realised the drunkenness of the people I was dealing with, I quickly backed down. Indignantly though, I kept my seat low. And while leg-room is already too confined[2], I hold the view that particularly on a red eye, that’s what it’s there for you to do?!

Sleep stresses: Gawping, drooling and snoring side by side with strangers. Anyone would think it’s an everyday occurrence. However, I have absolutely nothing but envy for the slobbering sleepers. Because on a plane, noise and neck pain make nodding off near impossible. I’ll often wake elated that I napped. Then sadly see I fell asleep for all of 40 seconds. It’s a fairly frustrating affliction to scan a sea of snoozing passengers when you’re desperate to be dozing too!

Provoking passengers: By the end of my Melbourne to Manchester expedition, two families felt like long-time friends. They chatted with me, helped entertain my toddler and saved my sanity! Alas, on the return from Manchester I wasn’t so lucky. Half the passengers were plastered. And tanked up travellers are a tad irritating unless you’re one of them. But it’s not just the intoxicated that can aggravate. Toilet tardiness, stinkers, sprawlers and loud talkers are common causes for complaint. It’s no wonder that in the air, under a guise of anonymity, tempers often flare.

Trolley torture; The cuisine carrying cart can be a highlight of the flight. And while the food is low quality, it’s a welcome break from the monotony up high. You pop your head into the aisle, but are disappointed to see it’s going to take a while. Worse, your parallel passengers are triggering further tension by already tucking in! And when at last it finds your row, it can be a real blow when those in front choose the last of your first choice, leaving only a dish you despise.

Hostile hostesses: Air stewards; the pedigree of hospitality[3]. The majority of carefully coiffed cabin crew are genial, gracious, good-looking and glamorous. Especially on Emirates.  Yet on every leg, one is sure to sport a sour face. Whether passenger contempt, job dissatisfaction or an oddly overblown ego; when you’re stuck on a plane reluctantly reliant for your requirements, it can only take one hostile host to add an extra strain.  

Screaming kids: These in-air disturbances can be intensely annoying until you have your own. Then they’re even more annoying. Because being disturbed by someone else’s screaming child is nowhere near as stressful as dealing with one. People who hold the notion that parents’ should, and can, continuously control their kids are clearly childless. Or old enough to have blocked out the bedlam. So while smug solo sky surfers are free to drink wine, watch films, listen to music and nod off when the feeling arises, albeit uncomfortably, poor parents are captive to the needs of bored, overtired and wired maniacs. And they are probably on the verge of losing it. So for those not so subtle sighers; lose the attitude before we lose our temper!

So, in cattle class, as we are propelled across multiple time zones and continents at 35,000 feet, we can sometimes lose our head.

Until finally we reach our final destination. And as quickly as we were sucked into the chaos of the cabin, we are swiftly spat out, disorientated, dishevelled and despondent.

Suddenly, any commotion that occurred in the clouds is downgraded to a distant dream like memory.

You made it.

The only thing left to worry about is death by Deep Vein Thrombosis.

What do you find annoying or amusing about cattle class? And what’s your view on the important topic of reclining seat etiquette? I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences!  

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[1] Some airlines are making improvements for herds of travelling cattle

[2]This new plane could mean more leg-room for cattle customers and could also help aggressive cows keep their cool

[3] I appreciate air stewards are more than ‘hospitality’ but I liked the phrase so i kept it.

Upside Down Mind

Dream Come True

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Pregnancy and becoming a new mum is not always as we expected. It can also come along when we least expect it. This article is for anyone imagining, planning or adapting to motherhood.

For as long as I can remember, I dreamt of having a baby.

It’s the ‘someday’ dream many of us share for when we’re financially stable, settled and established. The ‘pot of gold’ after our fun and freedom.

And as I approached my thirties, my thoughts turned towards starting a family. But when an Australian adventure unexpectedly arrived, any ideas for a baby were pushed aside.

So it came as something as a surprise when, after a recent relocation to Melbourne, I fell pregnant with our daughter. With my partner still temporarily in Perth, and family and friends on the other side of the world, it couldn’t have been further from my imagined journey into motherhood.

Nevertheless, I was over the moon. After all, my biggest dream was about to come true!

The next few months were a hectic scramble of my partner moving over, finding somewhere to live and preparing for our ‘bub’. And after a long nine months, and a difficult, drawn out birth, I was lucky enough to experience that intense rush of love. I was besotted.

But that was just the beginning. And there were some things I definitely wasn’t expecting:

Post childbirth body

Seeing my body immediately after childbirth was a shock. I was unprepared, and I panicked. So, when well enough, I went on a diet and exercise rampage. And while I lost the weight, the rest took a lot longer to bounce back. Rather it slithered its way, arriving long beyond my daughters first birthday. But, despite some lasting legacies, I made peace with my body perhaps more than before. Because making a little person, makes you a little different. It’s incredible. And that makes your body incredible too.

Feeling the loss of your old life

When you welcome a new child, you bid farewell to your old life.  And while a new one has just begun, in the beginning, exhausted and with no time to myself, I sometimes wondered what I had done. But as you watch your child’s character appear, the appeal of your old life disappears. Everyday becomes a little adventure filled with love, laughter, and surprises.  And you’ll wonder how you ever lived life without it.

Life becomes fragile

From your first steps outside to their first steps into the world, life becomes a danger zone with you permanently on high alert. For a while, I worried how I was going to live with the worry! But it becomes second nature to assess safety risks in every environment you enter.  And while terrifying at times it’s enlightening too. Because, when life feels fragile, you start to hold dear every moment we are here.

You’ll relive your childhood

Being responsible for a childhood can bring up memories of your own. You’ll consider how you want them to experience theirs, and relive how you experienced yours. For the bad, it’s an opportunity to confront ignored emotions, and for the good, replicate treasured, often filed away, childhood notions. You’ll also understand you are the centre of your parents’ world, which is hard to comprehend until a little person is at the centre of yours.

Intense emotions

Motherhood brings out the beauty and the beast. Able to warm the coldest heart, and aggravate the calmest mind, one minute you are crying tears of adoration, and seconds later, tears of frustration. Yet conversely you’ll also feel the calmest you’ve ever felt. Because you see what really matters. And with your life occupied by a child, time and energy become precious commodities you’ll spend wisely.

You’ll question your identity

When you stop doing all the things you used to do, you may wonder what it was you believed to be you. Your prior version of ‘me’ can be subconsciously wrapped up in your career, social life, looks or hobbies. And while some become defined by ‘mum’, I questioned why I defined myself at all. Because if you can change so drastically, what else can you be?

So, having a child is much harder, and yet far more fulfilling than you can imagine.

It also comes with some surprises.

Because while the dream that you had does come true, it’s not all blue skies and sunshine, but a splattering mess of colour, grey clouds, thunder and lightening too.

And somewhere in the middle of the rainbow, you’ll also find you.

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