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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

On the home stretch.

Tomorrow marks the final stretch of my endeavors with university (well, for the time being anyway). It’s the second half of my final semester of my undergraduate degree, which I feel has gone on for decades. But really, it’s been about four and a half years, only a year and a half long than it was supposed to be.

It feels as though so much weighs on tomorrow. Having the opportunity to complete my degree, once and for all, feels surreal. It’s been a long time in the making. Everyone has a different path I guess, and there isn’t a right amount of time that it takes for anyone to complete anything. It’s different for everybody. But this chapter, I’m so ready for it to close. Especially with our next chapter waiting and getting bigger by the day!

At the start of this semester, so a few months ago now, we found out that we have a baby on the way, who will arrive in March!

We are so unbelievably happy. And scared. And excited. And full of hope.

We get to meet our baby in about 6 months. And that thought is so strange. Knowing that our lives are going to change dramatically really soon, but also knowing that we won’t understand the full extent of it all until it actually happens.

I used to think that the semester where I got so low and sick that I dropped out of university was the most difficult and challenging. But looking back, although being sick was awful and terrible and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone, it’s all of the time since then that’s actually much harder. Being sick, in comparison to recovery, is easy. The illnesses take over. You can give your whole life to them. But recovery is a fight, a huge decision on every moment of every day. Fighting your brain rather than just floating along with it is far more terrible, rewarding, and life-giving.

This semester has been really difficult to be honest. There have been so many times where I am doubting if I could complete it. I am still thinking that right now, and I probably will until the moment where my final exam is over. I’m taking the equivalent of six papers, off my medication due to pregnancy, and am growing a human. Morning sickness has been really hard. We are also planning our move in about a month and a half. I feel as though I’m whinging way too much. We are so, so lucky. And I will never be able to understand how truly lucky we are to have this kind of life.

Cameron has been my rock through it all, and I have no idea where I would be without him. It has also been a big relief to be finally telling our friends and family our exciting news, because that takes a big weight off in a way. Everyone has been so supportive, kind, and full of love. We feel so loved.

The day after my final exam, I think I’ll cry and sleep and then cry some more out of pure relief. To make it through university will be the biggest weight off my shoulders.

In a month and a half, things will be so different. Sometimes I think about how different everything is now compared to in the past and it hurts, like people and places and relationships. It’s happy but sad at the same time. In a month and a half, it will all be so bittersweet.

A reason to recover (number one billion).

WordPress is prompting, encouraging eagerly to “share your story here” but this particular story is a really difficult one to share.

It’s one that is close to my heart, that has shattered me and broke me in ways I never knew possible. It’s also one that I don’t know if it is right to share.

However in saying that, it is part of my story, part of me in some way, and I’m trying to learn not to be so darn ashamed all the time. I yearn for honesty – to share openly and with vulnerability – as this is where I’m at in recovery.

I’m at the stage where I’m trying to stop running. The stage where you learn to stand still, strong, in the face of all the old gusts of wind trying to force you to bend, break.

Before I begin, I must say that what’s to come discusses miscarriage, pregnancy loss and self-harm. Remember to put yourself first, and please stop reading if it won’t serve your recovery.

About two and a half years ago, I was a broken, confused, and very, very lost person.

I was 20, had just dropped out of university due to being too unwell to attend, and was deep in the hardest slog of recovery from the eating disorder. I spent the next eight months working incredibly hard to gain back all that I had lost – weight, energy, friends, the ability to learn and understand, and most importantly, my life.

I moved in with love of my life, my now-husband, and had enrolled to begin a new course at a different university. A brand new start all round. Things were looking up. I was learning how to be stable in my eating disorder recovery, though still struggled immensely with self-harm and anxiety.

In the weeks leading up to beginning my new degree, I felt a bit different, a bit “off” you could say, and was experiencing symptoms that weren’t normal for my cycle. Despite not believing that it could be a possibility at all, I took a pregnancy test just as a precaution, so that our minds could be at ease.

We were not prepared for the result.

Those two, little purple lines, a positive, changed life as we know it.

We were terrified, confused and shocked to say the least. We always, always would use contraception, so were baffled at how it could have happened. No form of contraception is fully 100%, but it’s not the sort of tiny chance that you think would happen to you.

Until it does.

How could it all be real?

However, the positive result lines were not the only marks that caused immense feeling. Days earlier, in one of my many, messy episodes of intense self-harm, I had slashed into my stomach, leaving behind superficial trenches of hate, of hurt.

Right across where our apple seed sized baby was growing.

I don’t think I have ever hated myself as much as when I realised what I had done.

background, blur, bokeh

A few days later, I woke to the sound of my alarm going off, waking me to begin my first day of classes, in my brand new course.

Immediately, I felt that something wasn’t right. I didn’t feel nauseous, as I had every day before. All my pregnancy symptoms were gone. As nice as it was to feel normal again, it was confusing, so I took another pregnancy test.

This one came back negative, meaning that my body had stopped producing hCG, the pregnancy hormone.

As if with perfect timing, blood flowed, and I lost our baby.

What I didn’t know, or expect, or anything, because nobody really talks about early miscarriages, is that it takes days. It takes days for your body to pass the pregnancy tissue, to empty your womb out, and that it’s a really, really hard thing to go through.

When researching early pregnancy loss, I found out that miscarriages are actually really common. One in four pregnancies end in miscarriage, and most of the time nobody really knows why. It’s just part of life, sadly.

One of the most difficult parts of it all to deal with is the guilt.

The guilt for feeling afraid of your pregnancy, especially because it was unplanned. We were young, financially struggling, and I was still unwell with mental illnesses. I feel the need to point out, though it really doesn’t matter, that although I am staunchly pro-choice, I wouldn’t have chosen an abortion. However the thought of bringing a child into our lives was still, nevertheless, incredibly frightening. And that’s something that it’s hard not to feel guilty about.

Then there was all the guilt about the ruins I had turned my body into, merely months earlier, from the eating disorder. That this could have been the reason for our baby leaving us.

There was also the guilt about all of the self-harm, all of the time and energy spent into tearing myself apart, all while unknowingly pregnant. What if the baby knew how much it’s mother hated herself, and left because of that?

Although we don’t know the reason for the miscarriage, it could have been anything really (and logically I know that, I promise), and in a way it has really influenced my recovery.

I think back about how ill I had been, both before that time and during, and I am astounded that person was me.

It has made me determined to be the best I can be. To work on my mental health, which in turn helps my physical health. To be the most well and healthy I can be, so that when we are ready, we can welcome our baby with open arms.

Sometimes we think of what could have been, and although painful, it’s comforting in a way. We like to think of that baby just visiting, popping in to say “hello, I’m waiting for you”, and that they will come back when the time is right.

All these experiences, they have broken, torn and ripped through me. But in a way, they have given me the opportunity to build strength, to work on being resilient, and heal, for when we do have our own family.

You maybe have seen me mention babies a few times on here, and that’s because the prospect of them makes me so excited. I am filled with so much joy and hope, at the thought of becoming a Mum, and same with my husband at becoming a Dad.

We are so excited to meet our future babies.