Today was tough but we are tougher.

The other day was tough and it was one of those days where I just felt like the worst mother in the world.

We went to our first session at our local playgroup with a bunch of other mums and their sweet babies from our antenatal group. We all get along really well and having this support system is truly amazing. Nothing else beats it, but that’s a whole other blog post of appreciation for another day.

I’ve been very slowly building up my confidence with going out with our baby. It’s quite a scary thing to do if you’ve never had a baby before. I set little challenges for myself and with each one my confidence grows slightly. Going to the supermarket, visiting a friend, going to a cafe – they all become such big things when you are still kind of half terrified of not being a good enough parent and have no clue what you’re doing most of the time.

We got in the car and she slept the whole way, right up until we stepped through the door. Suddenly she started crying and then very quickly progressed to screeching quite loudly. Slowly we have come to notice that she is quite a vocal/loud baby. Anyway, by this stage I was holding her and walking with her and trying to comfort her but she wasn’t really having a bar of it. This went on for most of the session. She would get really unsettled and upset and then quieten down for maybe 20 minutes, and then the cycle would repeat. I kept stepping outside with her because she was so loud and I just felt so useless.

Everyone else there seemed so … capable. And I know everyone has their challenges and that this doubt is all part of being a new parent but it’s so hard not to compare your journey to those around you. Eventually I decided to try and feed her even though I could tell she wasn’t really hungry but I thought it might settle her. I handed her over to one of the facilitators for a few minutes so that I could prepare a bottle and she really quickly settled with them and fell asleep. Although I am so thankful for their help, that part of the situation made me feel even more useless and bad at being a parent. That I was so bad at comforting my own child but that someone else could do it with no trouble. I looked around and watched all the other mums with their babies and they all looked so content. Relaxed. Knowing what they are doing. Some of the babies fussed a little bit but nothing major, nothing loud, nothing that I felt even compared.

I know that I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors and that every parent has their own challenges, but in the moment it’s hard. You look around with comparison at the forefront and it is truly so weakening. It steals all of the things that you do right and all of the little wins away from you, leaving you with just a whole heap of doubt instead.

So that was our Wednesday. At first I was ready to never ever go back to playgroup, but now I know that we have to. Simply because it was hard and because we did it anyway.

Writing about this was hard too, but I want to share what’s real on here. It’s kind of freeing in a way. And if you have read this far through my rambles – thank-you for sticking around.

Our little mantra of lately has been “today was tough but we are tougher.” And you know what? It can be true for you too.

Lots of love,
Kaitlyn.

Advertisements

A big change in a small bundle.

It’s funny how someone so small can completely change your world. A few kilograms of little human dressed in unicorns or dinosaurs alters your perspective, your attitude, your love. They change everything, yet sleep through it.

We welcomed our baby earthside in March and she has transformed our lives, well us, in every way. Having her here with us has been the greatest thing and the most difficult too.
Nothing good comes easy, and boy, this is true.

Before she was here, we had no clue what it would all be like. And to be honest, it’s truly impossible to know or fully prepare until you’re in the thick of it. When you’re exhausted beyond exhausted and your baby is screaming and your heart is overflowing and you realize that this is now your life. It’s tough. It’s the best. It’s every ebb and flow.

At first we were a mess. But everyday we all learn a little bit more about each other and it’s slowly getting easier. To adjust, to grow, to merely learn how to live within all this newness and wonder. Some days I just cry and some days I smile so big and every day I feel the weight of her on my chest and I just know that I’m the luckiest.

Written words are my fuel, my fire, and the best way I can express myself. And so I’m going to write little bits and pieces of our journey together on here, simply because it’s freeing and uplifting to document and share. Our story isn’t perfect but that’s what makes it real and ours.

Sending lots of love and sleepy newborn snuggles.
Kaitlyn.

Being exactly where I need to be.

From a first glance this week was kind of a wreck but things are okay and I’m feeling lucky and grateful above all else.

Wednesday was tough due to things not going how I had planned or hoped for. In addition, lately everything has felt so overwhelming. I think part of it all is due to the constant, underlying feeling that everything is about to change in the most massive way really soon (baby is getting biiigggg), but it’s impossible to know exactly how and what it will feel like until it happens. It’s like we are waiting on the edge of this chapter, knowing that it’s going to happen and that it will be the most wonderful, incredible, and difficult adventure we will ever have, but we don’t know when it will happen or what it will involve.

On Wednesday I kept thinking about how it was such a bad day, the worst day in a long time, and just everything stemming from it was so all-encompassing and negative. But in the evening, I was so lucky. I was driving down a very pretty stretch of highway to pick Cameron up from the train and a beautiful song came on the radio and the surrounding farmland and evening light was gorgeous. It hit me that this could be one of the best days. That all of the unplanned things happening that seemed so unbearable and unfair and wrong, could actually be exactly what I need. To teach me to be more assertive, to stand up for myself, and to trust in the process of brighter things heading our way. To keep going and to keep doing all the difficult things – that this is exactly where I’m meant to be. Perhaps, this is exactly what needs to happen to make room for something better.

And this small, little understanding was such a blessing. Because although it doesn’t change the situation, it definitely makes it into something much brighter. And that’s something that is much easier to cope with.

So all in all, this week has been a good one. Feeling so very lucky.

+ Getting such sweet, thoughtful, and kind words and calls from friends and family. Little messages that make my day and make me smile so big.

+ Stumbling across Tony Anderson’s music and feeling like it’s exactly what I needed. It’s lovely to have in the background while I work.

+ Having a beaut of a Valentine’s Day with the apple of my eye! Because it’s so close to our wedding anniversary, we just wanted to celebrate in a low key way. So this looked like a good movie and cute chocolates and just simply being together. The best, most easy thing.

+ Saturday saw our beautiful dog Ruby arriving down to live with us permanently! My family got her for me when I was 16 and going through a rough patch. She was a lifesaver, truly. She stayed living with my family once I moved out because we were never in a rental situation that allowed pets. But we are finally able to have her live with us and we are so over the moon! Our little family is slowly arriving in all the ways and we are so thankful. Pets are so good for the soul.

+ Board games, always.

+ More work on our home. Painting and gardening and priming things. So very gradually things are coming together and it’s a great feeling.

+ Beautiful words to ruminate on. It’s crazy how exactly what we need to hear can appear at the right time. Morgan Harper Nichols – a legend. Her words have a funny way of always helping. Of always spreading hope.

Lots of love and hugs,

Kaitlyn.

A sweet, ordinary weekend.

A sweet, ordinary weekend that was so, so good. A perfect example to teach me that not everything needs to be going perfectly (it never will, and learning to live well in that discomfort is good), but there are certainly still beautiful things if I just open myself to seeing them.

+ A ruthless game of game of thrones themed monopoly that was the fastest we have ever played because everyone apart from Cameron (he is the monopoly king, somehow – I’ve never seen him lose) lost miserably and very quickly. It made me so thankful for old friends and new because board games are one of our favorite things to do and it makes us so happy to play. We love board games with our friends and family down here, but we also miss our board game nights with our dear friends and family back where we used to live. But that’s okay, we have plans for board games with them in a few months time!

+ The most beautiful plums! They are deep red and bright yellow, and they taste exactly like summer.

+ Calm, unwinding evenings with Fleetwood Mac, a good game of gin, and the soft, summer air.

+ Finding out that our baby is “long and lanky”, just like her Dad, and that she is positioned head down and facing the right way, so everything is looking like it’s heading towards going smoothly.

+ Beginning our very long list of house renovations! We began priming and painting some exterior parts and so far it’s going well. Despite me accidentally painting the driveway and Cameron the carpet, all things are good! The colour we chose for outside is called Tricky so we are really hoping that the name isn’t a prophecy of the renovation process, though if it is, I guess that’s all just part of it!

+ Feeling so, so loved and cared for. Pregnancy has really been taking its toll on me lately and this doesn’t really mix well with my must-do-everything nature. Cameron has been I. N. C. R. E. D. I. B. L. E. to put it lightly. He takes care of me so well and makes me take care of myself, despite how awful and useless I feel because of it. Thinking about how amazing he is makes me get all goosebumpy and want to cry all the happy tears all at once. To put it very lightly, I am so thankful for him and I can’t find the words to describe how much so (but my rambles can certainly try)!

To anyone reading this, I hope that there have been plenty of beautiful, little sparks that have been glistening in your days!

Lots of love and hugs,

Kaitlyn.

730 days.

My wildest dream come true. You! Four years ago the universe did some crazy magic and we somehow ended up working together. Scrubbing mirrors till late every night, leaving each other little notes by the microwave, going on late night drives in Nancy. And then two years ago a little bit more magic happened and I got to be the luckiest person ever. Saying I do to you. You have changed my life in every possible way and every day I still pinch myself checking that you’re real. We laugh and cry and argue and do all the normal human things, but there is truly no one else I would rather debate with about which way the ironing board goes. You make every single day special and radiant, and my goodness I love you Cameron. You are my best friend, my favorite human, and the most radiant, loving, generous, and funny person I know. I am so excited about how much more “you” that you will become next month when you’re a Dad. Here’s to a lifetime of celebrations and to a love that keeps on growing.

A touch of magic.

He told me that there was a surprise planned a few weeks ago. First it was to go see a statue, then an early morning walk, then to visit Ellen Degeneres. But then we ended up at the airport with my lovely sister and mother-in-law and I was more confused than ever. We got on a plane, saw my parents at the arrivals lounge, and went to their house. There were beautiful streamers and lanterns everywhere and it looked like magic. I had decided not to have a baby shower months earlier because too many of the people I love and miss dearly were too far away to attend. But here we were. The most magnificent surprise. My husband, my rock, the soon-to-be dad, planned and organized the most incredible, light-filled day. My parents hosted this gorgeous event and my mum worked so, so hard to make it look and feel like a dream. My sister and mother-in-law traveled all the way up to be with us in this most special day. To be surrounded by everyone who I cannot put into words how much they mean was. The. Best. I kept welling up because of how thankful I am that us and our daughter have the most incredible family and friends. I am so, so grateful. And I can’t believe that this dream isn’t just a dream. Feeling all the loving and living in awe.

Good days are made.

Lately, I had been feeling so frustrated and exhausted. Just due to general life things, really. The waiting games, the normal discomfort of growing a little human, the tiresome everyday things weighing me down.

On an ordinary Tuesday, the phrase “good days are made,” popped into my head.

I don’t know where it came from or how it arrived, but wow. I am grateful. It changed my week, truly, as cliche as that is.

I’m learning is that big joys and little joys are all the same really.

The big joys are marrying your best friend, finding out you’ve got the sweetest little human coming along, graduating, new jobs, homes, and love, and love, and love again. Big joys are beautiful. How could they be anything but?

We can’t wait around for the big joys, though, because their very nature makes them big and rare.

But we can find the small joys in every day. These minute, insignificant moments every day that actually become something special because they are every day. The moments we can choose to notice or not. The moments that linger and exist and are so very ordinary. But who said that ordinary can’t be special?

They are cooking dinner and laughing with your soulmate. Looking for the brightest flower hanging over the fence and spotting a tiny spider inside. Getting the washing off the line and it’s all warm and sun-kissed. Having dinner with friends or family. Board games, movies, walks. Eating the sweetest nectarine. Having a planner and a routine that makes you feel good. A hilarious, silly, sweet dog. The color of the leaves out the window. The way the light hits the kitchen at 7am.

50870189_329805134300991_4009260823020044288_n

At the very foundation, it’s gratitude. Again and again.

Because things will change in all the ways.

But today, I am exactly where I need to be.

I have my soulmate by my side. He calls me from his work and we talk about things. Boring things, happy things, exciting things, sad things. Ordinary conversations that make me realize it’s so dang wonderful that I get to be his human.

I feel our baby move and squirm all day long. Soon all the morning sickness and discomfort will be a distant memory and nothing compared to the immense feeling of holding her in our arms.

These past few days have been so, so wonderful. Nothing extraordinary happened, but I feel productive, joyful, and content. And so, so very blessed.

Good days are made. This life isn’t perfect but I’m sure as hell fighting to make it a good one.

Finding Writing Again.

I have so many words that I want to say, but I do not know how to pour them out.

I feel as though they used to flow effortlessly, a tangent, a whirlwind of letters and vocabulary that represented the storms of my mind.

And now they feel stuck.

There are ideas, memories, song lyrics, and love notes inched toward the front of my brain.

But I am afraid of being vulnerable.

And I am afraid of being lost where everything was once so familiar.

Perhaps I am just out of practice, of letting these thoughts out freely to strangers.

Perhaps I am practicing the expression of these through my lips instead.

– For when my lips could not speak, these words could do it for me –

I want to write about my husband. His beautiful, kind soul.

I want to write about love. About how it grows and changes over time. About how love is work and how love is everything.

I want to write about our child. About her indescribable soul who we feel as though we already know. And about how we know that we have no idea how much we are able to love her just yet.

I want to write about people that I know. Because they fill me with awe and gratitude and things that I do not know what to call.

I want to write about what is not seen from the outside. About how we have no idea what we are doing or how we got here.

About everything that has created this path and how we found ourselves together in it.

We are only wandering, really.

I want to write about this period of change. About growth. The absolute, pure, discomfort of it.

And the surprising strength that can be found within these mountains.  

About how everything we have ever dreamt of is “over there” and we are “over here”.

And my god, that space in the middle is terrifying. But necessary.

But necessary.

//

Since starting to write professionally full-time, I feel as though my creativity has become stuck in a way. I feel confident in writing reports, instructions, and directions from A-Z, where everything is straightforward and without emotion. Having that golden freedom that makes writing feel limitless and without bounds? That is what I miss. I know that what you focus on grows and what you pour your energy into expands. I just need to create space to practice this outlet once again.

Guilt and soon-to-be motherhood.

Our baby hasn’t arrived yet and won’t for a little while, but I am already starting to feel guilty.

I feel guilty that if I stay home with our baby once it’s born, that I won’t be contributing financially as much as I would feel that is “right”. But then I would also feel guilty about eventually returning to a job that is out of home, as I would feel like a bad parent for leaving our baby as he or she grows up, and my time and energy towards them would be compromised. And most recently I have started feeling guilty about also wanting to have a career. It sounds very old-fashioned, but I do feel guilty about it because is that selfish of me? To crave the best of both worlds?

Is this what the term “mum guilt” refers to? The feeling of no matter what choice you make, that it is never right nor easy. To feel as though you will always be doing the wrong thing, and not knowing what choice is best for your child, if you are even lucky enough to have a choice in the matter.

Logically I know that there is not only one path in motherhood and being a parent in general. There are many trails woven within this journey, and all are equally valid. There is no right way to do it, and that there will always be someone who doesn’t agree with you and who does things differently.

This also got me thinking about dads or husbands or partners or anyone else in the picture – do they feel this irrational guilt about these aspects of parenthood too? Cameron has just been offered a really great job in the city we are moving to, and does he feel guilty about this progression in his career? I highly doubt it, and nor should he! He is just fulfilling his role that we have planned for the next little while, as I am going to be as well.

I feel as though mothers will always be the most criticized in parenthood. It’s in all of the books, movies, and reality too. When dads go to work, it’s seen as working hard to provide for their families. And if they are stay-at-home parents, praise is shouted at them from the rooftops. Either way is good, but I just wish that mums could make it through with the same support and clear conscience. Our Prime Minister here recently had a baby, and she was harshly criticized from all angles about being a bad mother and a bad leader, despite doing a wonderful job and most of the men in government and past prime ministers also having kids, which no one blinks an eyelid at.

Maybe it’s because we’re women. Maybe it’s because this is an age-old battle, but just the parenthood edition. It just feels like we have to fight ten times harder. I think that guilt comes with the territory of becoming a mum.

My pregnancy body and why I’m learning to love it.

Before I got pregnant, I used to find it hard imagining that I would be able to accept what my body would be like when pregnant, let alone like it.

It wasn’t that I wasn’t in awe of how a body can grow a whole, beautiful little baby from scratch, because that is incredibly amazing! But more so that I was worried how I would feel about my body with regards to my past experiences with body image. I was worried about how I would cope with a body that is growing in size, and that is out of my control, and not being able to deal with all of the thoughts that go along with that.

However, I am so pleasantly surprised! Since becoming pregnant, what my body is doing has truly left me in awe. And that’s so weird! That I am accepting my body and all it’s doing to grow this beautiful little bean! It feels strange to be so at peace with my appearance. I am so happy to watch my bump grow every week. This is such a massive shift in mindset, coming from years of absolutely loathing my physical self with every cell I had, and destroying it at every chance I got, to admiring what my body can do for me.

And growing babies it just one thing that makes bodies incredible. We have arms and legs and eyes and ears and noses and digestive systems and veins and hearts and brains, and oh my goodness each of these parts of us do such an incredible job! They keep us going, and they keep us fighting, in every moment of every day. And most of the time we don’t even acknowledge the amazing work that our bodies do, without us even consciously knowing what to do or how to do it. Every system, pathway, and stimulus in our body functions to keep us alive. What an incredible gift to have.

Taking care of both our bodies and souls is of upmost importance. After all, they give us the world, and most of the time we struggle to even think a positive thought about them. I feel so grateful for all that my body does, and I am so happy that it kept going despite all that it’s been through.

Here’s to our bodies, and the remarkable work they do every second of every day for us.