Posted in Other

I’m baaaaaaack…… AGAIN!

“Your dream doesn’t have an expiration date. Take a deep breath and try again” – Kathy Witten. 

I really want to apologise for being away for a ridiculous amount of time but I also don’t. Life has been a whirlwind, to say the least. The last time I wrote on this page, I was 25! A lot has changed since then. I am now 27 (still struggling to accept this) and living in London! I moved down here with my now 2-year-old to start work as a full-time primary teacher. At the time, my husband stayed back in Ireland for several different reasons. For anyone that is not aware, teaching is NOT a 9 am – 3pm job. I’ll do a separate post on it but it’s more of a 24/7 job. Anyway, as you can imagine, between working full time and taking care of a baby/toddler, I didn’t have time for much else including sleep. So, writing a post was not the first thing on my mind. It’s still not the first thing on my mind. But it is on my mind and has been for a while now. 

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To be completely honest, I was very reluctant to re-start this blog AGAIN for several reasons. Firstly, I felt I didn’t have anything to say that was worth saying or anything that anyone wanted to hear. Everybody is going through life the best way they can and we all have a story to share, what makes mine worth writing about? Secondly, I was scared of failing. I didn’t admit this to myself until recently but I was worried about how the contents of my blog would be received; Will people like it? Will they care enough to share it? Will it have the desired impact e.t.c. As well as this, I was also unsure of what I wanted to do with the blog, where I wanted to go with it or what aspects of my life I wanted to focus on. Finally, I constantly compared where I was in the blogging process to where I wanted to be. I am quite a distance from where I’d like to be and the idea of what the journey could look like scared me so much it almost paralysed me.

But then, two friends turned sisters (I am thankful for good friends) reminded me of why I started writing in the first place- It’s simple, I love to write! It’s really that simple. So instead of worrying, I decided to write. So yeah, I’m back AGAIN…. to stay, hopefully. I’m still not sure what I want the focus of my blog to be or what aspect of my life I want to focus on or whether I’ll just keep it the same as before. I’m still terrified that life will get extremely busy and I’ll lose my step and fall flat on my face yet AGAIN. BUT I am willing to push those fears aside and see where this takes me! And I really hope that you’re willing to come on this journey with me.

Till next time 

-A 

Posted in Empowerment

MY 25

This week, I turned 25!!! Alhamdulillah!

Like many of us, the age ’25’ has always been one that I looked forward to. A quarter of a century. It would be the year that I would truly be an adult, I used it as a landmark for several achievements, the main one being marriage; “By 25, I want to be settled and married”. I remember uttering those words so many times. I believed that at this age, I would have worked to achieve all that I wanted and be ready to settle down to start a family; I’d be a professional ______ , my career would be sorted and I’d be earning big coins.

So, turning 25, I couldn’t help but feel the pressure that I had set for myself. I thought about the things that I am yet to acquire. While thinking about that, I noticed that others are on a different wavelength. Social media can be both encouraging and discouraging. Everyone’s doing different things, taking different steps. Some have achieved things I am yet to achieve. Some are yet to achieve things I have achieved. Some people are building their families, some are building their careers, some are doing both and some are doing none. Their 25 looks different to mine.

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Of course, it got me wondering about the current state of my life and whether or not the decisions that have brought me here were the right ones. Additionally, I started to unintentionally compare my current state to others-  this was when I had to stop myself. Comparison is generally not a problem for me. I learned at a young age not to compare myself to others. Like, Roosevelt said ‘comparison is the thief of joy’. However, due to the pressure I had already put on myself, I found myself comparing involuntary.

Please don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with setting goals and setting a timeframe for those goals- it keeps us focused. However, it is important to realise that things happen at the best time and that things happen to people at different times. There are many paths to success. Your path will differ from mine and vice versa. You planned to graduate at 19 but you didn’t, you hoped to become a mum at 25 and it didn’t happen; hope is not lost. We plan but He plans best. Embrace where you are in your life and continue to work towards where you want to be. Focus on your own blessings while you continue to strive.

What I envisioned for my 25 isn’t exactly what it looks like. I was somewhat right, I am married (Alhamdulillah) but I’m not completely settled in some other aspects of my life. For some people, it’s the other way around. Rather than questioning things and feeling sad about the things I am yet to achieve, I’m choosing to focus on what MY25 looks like. I am learning to accept and embrace MY25, my path.

Till next time

-A

Posted in Relationships

I’m sorry.

“Apologising does not always mean that you’re wrong and the other person is right. It just means you value your relationship more than your ego” 

Hi everybody,

Last week, my husband and I had a slight misunderstanding. Misunderstandings aren’t unusual in relationships, but this one differed because we both felt we were in the right. Neither of us wanted to apologise because we felt the other person was wrong. I wasn’t too bothered about the argument at this stage because, like I said earlier, misunderstandings are not unusual in relationships.

However, the misunderstanding started to linger because neither of us wanted to accept blame. We were both annoyed at each other and were waiting for the other to apologise. As you’d imagine, the delay in resolving the disagreement started to affect the relationship. We weren’t rude to each other, we weren’t ignoring each other. In the space of a few minutes, the way we corresponded to each other started to change. The way we spoke to each other started to change slightly; pet names went down the drain, ‘would you like to eat now?’ became ‘your food is in the kitchen?’ the way we acted towards each other was slightly different. This was when I started to worry. So, I decided to apologise.

It wasn’t so easy. It took me a good couple of minutes to come to that decision. I had initially planned on starting another dispute about how I was right and he was wrong. I wanted him to see my point of view and apologise. However, I started to think about the impact of the initial argument. We were both annoyed and none of us was willing to budge. We had already argued about being right, going in to try to convince him with another argument was not going to make any positive difference.

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At that time, there were only slight changes, but I started to worry about how these changes might progress if things stayed the way they were. Although there had only been little changes at that point, those changes were important to me and were part of what made our relationship. The way we related to each other really mattered to me. I wasn’t willing to sacrifice that for a silly argument. So, I said ‘I’m sorry’.

To be clear, I still didn’t agree that I was wrong. And I wasn’t apologising just to apologise. I was apologising because the dynamics of our relationship was more important to me than winning an argument. As well as that, I knew that apologising would open the line of communication and help towards resolving the matter rather than living things to fester and turn into something else.

I guess what I am trying to say is that there will be times when you have to put your ego aside in order to do what’s best for your relationship. It is a matter of importance, your relationship or your ego. For me, the decision to apologise became easier when my relationship started to change from what we wanted it to be. I knew something had to be done. As far as I was concerned, the argument was creating little cracks in our relationship. It had only been a few minutes, I wonder what changes hours might have made. I wasn’t prepared to wait and see the holes those cracks might turn into. My relationship was and is way too important to me.

Till next time

-A

Posted in Motherhood

Labour

“of course it’s hard, why do you think it’s called labour?”- these were the words that my midwife said to me while I was screaming in pain.

My water broke around 6 a.m on a Wednesday morning. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what had happened because it felt more like a really light trickle. I actually thought it was the beginning of a period (pregnancy brain), as it was a little less dramatic than I was expecting. It took me a few minutes to realise that it couldn’t have been my period.  However, I still wasn’t sure what was happening.

I spoke to my husband about it and we laughed at the idea of me being in labour. I soon started to contract. At first, the contractions were very similar to a period cramp. I went back to bed ignoring the pain assuming it was nothing.  However, the pain soon started to intensify. I spoke to my mother-in-law and she insisted we go to the hospital. I was hesitant to go to the hospital at this stage as I didn’t want to go in too early and be told to go back home.

I had my shower and got ready for the hospital. At this stage, I was sure I was contracting. No one had to tell me. The pain was baaaad but it wasn’t consistent. It wasn’t happening often enough to warrant me going to the hospital, I felt. Anyway, I went in and it was confirmed that my waters had broken and I was 1cm dilated. But, just like I thought, I wasn’t just ready to be admitted to the hospital. I had to get to at least 6 cm. I was advised to go home and stay active in order to get my labour going. Regardless of the situation, I was told to come back to the hospital at 11pm that night in order to be induced, as it wasn’t safe for my baby to be out of the waters for over 24 hours. I went back home, my contractions were getting more and more intense but I still wasn’t getting the expected 3 contractions in 10 mins. I felt slightly bipolar, one minute I was grunting in pain, the next minute I was eating fried chicken. I was walking up and down the stairs, trying to stay active. My contractions still weren’t consistent but the pain was starting to become intolerable. I was sure I was getting closer to pushing the baby out.

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I was admitted to the hospital at 11 o’ clock that night. Going in, I naively thought I’d be in and out by midnight. But that was not the case. My midwife checked me and to my dismay, I was still just 1cm dilated. How was that even possible with the intense pain that I was in? I was put on antibiotics for the night and was going to be induced the next morning. I couldn’t sleep due to my contractions. The next morning, I was taking into my labour room. At this stage, I was starting to feel quite anxious; labour was going to be sore. I was checked again and I was now at 2cm. The frustration. Over 24 hours later!!!  I was put on oxytocin to speed up labour. This was when it all went downhill.

Oxytocin sped things up. My contractions became more frequent leaving me with no breathing space between each contraction. The pain had been unbearable for a good while at this stage, but the lack of space between each contraction meant no time for recovery between contractions.  I was doing rollovers on the bed, I wasn’t coping. I was offered gas and air to help with the pain but it only made me feel drunk and silly. I kept trying to tell myself to ‘behave’ but I just couldn’t. My breathing techniques went out the window. I was a mess… and I still hadn’t dilated any further. Things were starting to look bleak. I was in a lot of pain and I still had a long way to go. I didn’t think I could deal with the pain for much longer. I asked my midwife if things had moved any further; it hadn’t. I was tired. I turned to my husband with tears in my eyes and said: “I cannot do this”. He reassured me that I could but I ignored him, faced my midwife and repeated those exact same words “I cannot do this”. I just couldn’t see the other side.

My midwife suggested taking an epidural. I was at 2cm and I still needed to get to 10cm. I insisted that I didn’t want to take it. I had read about several side effects and wasn’t willing to risk it. Moreover, this person and that person managed without it. I should be able to manage without it. I’m strong too. Well, this wasn’t the case and I’m so glad my midwife talked some sense into me. She basically reminded me that there was life after labour and that I needed to be able to take care of my baby. As well as that, if I was in distress, there was a huge chance that I was putting my baby in distress. And I had been contracting for over 30 hours, I was wrecked. Every situation differs.

I accepted the epidural and life was a breeze. Contractions were a thing of the past. Don’t get me wrong, I was still getting them but I couldn’t feel them. But, I felt guilty. I felt weak. I felt like I wasn’t working for it. I let myself down and my baby down. I shouldn’t have taken the epidural. With all these thoughts going through my head, I chilled and waited until my little girl was ready to make an entrance. She took her time. When she was finally ready, I pushed for 20 minutes and at 21:21 on Thursday night, my baby girl arrived.  It was only after her arrival that I realised what I had just done; I birthed a baby, there was absolutely nothing weak about that.

Till next time

-A

Posted in Empowerment, Motherhood

Who am I?

“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel” – Eleanor Brownn. 

I am a mother and likewise a wife. But that’s definitely not all I am.

Recently, I found that I had to remind myself who I was as a person before I became a wife and a mother. Motherhood and ‘wife duties’ started to define the person that I was. Since becoming a mother, I spend my days taking care of my daughter and husband. My husband leaves for work in the morning and would get back in the evening. Of course, as his partner, it meant that I had to do everything that he couldn’t do while he was at work e.g cleaning, cooking e.t.c Aswell as this, I was trying to get a grasp on my new role as a mother.

For the first couple of weeks after my baby was born, as you’d expect, life was busy and it still is. I was trying to figure out this thing called ‘motherhood’. I was constantly tired due to sleepless nights and loooong days. My baby kept me busy 24/7. Regular ‘simple’ tasks took much longer due to baby interruptions. I looked forward to her daytime naps so I could get a little snooze myself or get another house chore ticked off my list. She was the most important thing in my life. My days revolved around her.

These two new major roles kept me busy. I was waking up tired and going to bed wrecked. I was putting everything into taking care of my home and my baby. I even started to challenge myself. For example, yesterday I had my baby showered, dressed and fed by 11 a.m, today I am going to try to get her ready by 10 a.m. I was starting to feel proud of my little achievements. Things were going great, I was starting to get a hang of things. But, it all came at a cost, at least that’s what it seemed like.

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My health was deteriorating. I still hadn’t healed properly from labour. I was barely eating because I just didn’t have the time. But yet I was breastfeeding exclusively. I was dehydrated and constipated, I didn’t seem to have time to drink water either (my lips had never been so dry). Each day was the same; take care of the home and look forward to my husband’s arrival from work. My goals were limited, my conversations were limited; I was a wife, I was a mother… That was it. I was taking care of everybody else but myself. And so I had to think “WHO AM I?” “WHAT EXCITES ME?”, “WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY?”, “WHAT DO I WANT FOR MYSELF?”

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love being a wife to my husband and a mother to my daughter. It is a major part of the person that I am but it is not all that I am and it is not all that I have to be. I love taking care of my family, it brings me great joy and a sense of fulfilment… but I also love to write, exercising, helping out in the community, teaching. All these things make me who I am, all these things take care of me.

So, if you’re like me and you find yourself losing focus on the person that you are or the person that you want to be, then try these 3 tips. They worked great for me.

  • Prioritise – I used time as an excuse, “I can’t take care of myself because I don’t have time to”. Make time! There is never enough time but you have to prioritise; your baby won’t remember that you gave her a late shower because you needed to eat.
  • Talk to your partner or loved ones (someone who was always aware of your goals) – My husband was always aware of my goals. So, when he noticed my lack of self-focus, he called me up on it.
  • Pick one thing- No matter how busy you get, try to do one thing for yourself each day that brings you closer to your goal. For me, it can be as little as a 30min workout (gotta get my body back). Remember, you should never be too tired to work on yourself. You’ll thank yourself for it.
  • Ask for help- I am still working on this one myself. If you’re anything like me, you might find this difficult. I have this mentality of “she’s my responsibility and I want to be the perfect parent”. You don’t have to be superwoman, don’t try to do it all by yourself especially if you don’t have to.  Let grandma help. Let her spend time with daddy while you take care of yourself. Your health will thank you for it and so will your baby.

You can’t pour from an empty jug. Take care of yourself. It takes a little more work, but you’ll thank yourself for it. I’m still tired most days, but I am happy.

Till next time

-A