My Baby, My Demons

For various reasons, this weekend I’m on my own. It’s not been the kind of alone when the kids go away for a few nights and you stumble around thinking ‘What is my purpose now?’ It’s not been the kind of alone you’re grateful for – the kind when you watch that film you’ve been meaning to, or catch up on phone calls, or de-flea the cat. (I don’t have a cat.)

It’s been the unexpected, out-of-control alone. The kind that you tried to stop, but failed.

I’ve been trying to keep my head occupied. Drowning out the tick tock with useful stuff. I’ve focussed long and hard on naming my baby. MY baby.

It’s not due until late September, so there’s time. But I am so undecided towards names, so uninspired by everything so far, I’ve begun to sink to desperate measures to think of something different.

Last night I was driving home from a face-painting event. Words were everywhere. Words, roads, cars…

‘A1156’ – too boy-bandy

‘Stack Area’ – bit Beckham-y

I continued this practice when I got home and re-heated my dinner.

‘Caution Hot’ – Hmm. Might be onto something. ‘Caution Hot Prinsep’. It’s got quite a ring to it.

I have to be thankful that now I’m finally giving birth in the UK again I’ll have the sympathy of the medical team on my side. Unlike the Swiss, they won’t come around with a clipboard as I’m on my final push or getting my arse stitched up.

“Name, please? What is the name of your baby? NAME????” (I’d like to fake a German accent at this point, but as I lived in the French-speaking area, that would be a lie. Just imagine an impossibly cool nurse wafting around effortlessly on a cloud of Chanel, looking disapprovingly at English Old Unstylish Me.)

Frankly, I’m amazed my son wasn’t listed on the paperwork as “AARRGGHHMMMFFFUCKOFF Huxley”

(I hasten to add that this is no exaggeration and occurred only a few minutes after one of the medical team commented loudly to me about my “need to lose weight” as I was trying my best to concentrate on introducing a human being into the world through my very sore vagina. And this particular human being had quite a large head. Still does.)

I’ve got the relaxed UK laws on my side. Six weeks until I have to register the birth and until that point the bundle of joy shall be known as ‘Baby’. Who knows? I might just stick with that. Maybe I’ll be the first Mum ever to absentmindedly leave her in a corner somewhere. (Sorry.)

Where was I? Yes, trying to keep my mind occupied in positive ways. It’s been tricky. Last night at the face-painting party, I saw some school friends who I knew from around eleven years old, maybe even younger. Of course, when faced with people you maybe haven’t seen properly for nearly twenty years, you want to appear impressive, dynamic… sorted. Red-eyed and exhausted isn’t really a good look. But this weekend just hasn’t been on my side. Nevertheless, it was lovely to see them, including, rather embarrassingly, the boy I had a crush on aged seven. (I apologised for all the letters and poetry and we both attained closure. He was very gentlemanly about it.)

There was one friend there who I shared a lot with during some very difficult times at school. We’ve seen eachother a couple of times in recent years. Perhaps not enough to really discuss things that I think sometimes we need to. There’s always a kind of knowing look between us when we meet. A sense that there’s more healing to be done for us both. Maybe I’m imagining it. Meeting her again a couple of years back and the conversations we had shocked me; how events in my teens had affected such a wide circle of people. So many people suffered at the time. You see, after school finished I just couldn’t run away fast enough. Not from people, but from everything. Sights, sounds, smells. Forward movement was crucial. Re-invention, if you will.

It just hadn’t really occurred to me at the time how my being raped had affected my friends.

Also, when we spoke last night, she said something really important to me. She told me how much she loved my writing. OK, she was drunk (lucky cow) and I wasn’t (boo). But I knew she meant it.

This came after recent discussions with another friend, who I go to for healing, about the things that defined me. It was a conversation at the time that really got to me. Who was I? Was I a writer? A face-painter, what??

At the time, I felt challenged, angry, defensive and all of the horrible things. ‘I’m a person trying to support two adults, two kids and a brewing baby’ I wanted to shout. A person who tries to earn an income to fit around those things, to be there for my kids when their other blood-parent can’t be. A person who will do whatever that entails; a person who will write dull-arsed SEO articles inserting links-a-plenty all over the yin-yang, a person who will face-paint at the weekends, a person who will knit and crochet willy-warmers to sell over the internet if she has to.

But, frustratingly, she had a very valid point. The truth is, I’m not writing what I want. I’m not doing anything that makes my soul sing. Everything has become necessity and drudgery and I’ve let that happen.

The face-painting MUST remain for now. I enjoy it, although it’s tiring. And right now, until I get more satisfaction and recognition from my creative writing (and I need to work on that), that moment of ‘pure happy’ I see when I lift my mirror and show that little person their transformation into a tiger, is what really keeps me going. I don’t cause many moments of ‘pure happy’ at the moment, so I’m not quite ready to let that go.

More important conversations were had last night, at the end of my strange day.

I met someone with real problems. Real ones. She’d lost a daughter to serious depression and was bringing up her very young grandchild as a result. We spoke for around fifteen minutes in a quiet living room in a country house, whilst drunken revellers partied outside and her granddaughter ran around with her friends, their faces freshly painted by me.

The pain she spoke of… I could almost touch it. Her daughter – a fiercely intelligent, beautiful, warm, caring, funny, driven and selfless individual, a person loved by so many, just simply couldn’t cope with her demons, with her illness. Her own head noise was so deafening, in the end she simply found the only way she could to silence it.

I’m not meaning to be overdramatic when I say that I felt as though she could have been talking about me. I don’t mean the part about being fiercely intelligent, beautiful, whatever. I just mean the caring part. The part about being selfless, doing lots for others and yet struggling with her own needs, silently. The part about her own private hell.

And during another conversation today during a phone call from a dear friend, she commented that I’m not very good at asking for help. She’s so right. It’s a bugger that, when I finally did ask for help this weekend, it just wasn’t there. Not from the one that means the most.

Ultimately, you’ve got to help yourself. I really do know this. But if you ask for a loved one to hold your hand, to be your backbone when you’re crumbling, to cuddle you as hormones take over your body and your tits try and have an even more intense conversation with your feet…

… and they turn their back, you’ve also got to help yourself through the realisation that you really are on your own.

And letting go of them is just the worst. When, as a selfless person, as a carer, you’re finally left alone with your own head noise because you can no longer deflect it with someone else’s issues…

… admitting there is nothing more you can do… the pain is indescribable.

‘That’ kind of alone.

Tick tock…

Tick tock…

2 thoughts on “My Baby, My Demons

  1. I hope that being able to write about how you feel and what you’ve seen and done helps you feel less alone with it. That by sharing it, some of the hurt leaves you x

    1. Beautiful to read your words sad to feel your pain, but fuckit we’re all alone sister and that is not so bad.
      A good friend said years ago
      ‘ some people look in the mirror and can’t accept that they are complete, they are enough’
      we are tormented into thinking we all must find someone, need someone, be completed.
      Some of us are just really strong( even though we might not be aware of it).
      It is beautiful if someone comes along to share your world, to share realities. But there is a real beauty in allowing people to come and go, to breathe, to allow space, to enjoy their company but not be addicted to it.
      You are strong, you’ve got lots of love around you- enjoy it for what it is-a fire that needs oxygen- let it come and go- enjoy it.
      All that to say- you are strong- be strong- you have- love it- ask nothing of it- it’s the nature of the beast.
      love yourself silly.

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