I didn’t know I was pregnant!

There are many experiences in life that you will never understand unless you go through it yourself. From giving birth to the death of a loved one there are no words or advice that will prepare you for your emotions. You can not anticipate how you will react. You won’t know if you will deal with things rationally or freak the hell out. Despite my flair for the dramatics that my daughter has subsequently inherited I’m usually calm and follow the premise that everything will be ok in the end.

In this instance life was pretty frantic in our house because we had just had our first baby. He was a good little boy but on my first I was so hell bent on doing everything right that I squeezed the joy out of watching my little boy grow. I found that the birth of the baby had put a strain on our relationship and it just wasn’t everything that I thought it was going to be.

Still, I took one day at a time and it wasn’t the worst time in my life.

This day myself and himself were pottering around the house and I think the baby was in his rocking chair when stood in the kitchen I felt something in my underwear. Maybe I was due my period that week and I thought, my word, that’s a heavy flow because I literally felt it come out. I went upstairs and he was in the shower and I said ‘I think there is something wrong with me’. I sat on the toilet and looked down to see what I can only describe as a mass about the length and thickness of my thumb. Well I thought I was dying.

‘What the hell is that??’

My first thought was that it was placenta left over from the baby. I took a picture and sent it to some nurse friends of mine I put it in a tissue and brought it to the doctor. She said it was a clot and I disagreed so we agreed to have it sent off to be tested! And I thought no more of it. My cycle continued as normal you’ll be delighted to hear and we went on about our lives as a new family unit.

A few weeks passed and the doctor rang. The phone call floored me. ‘Ms Brophy, we had it tested and it was actually foetal matter.’ I responded ‘I don’t understand? You mean left over from Kyle?’ The doctor spoke and I’ll never forget it. ‘No Ms Brophy you’ve suffered a miscarriage’. I couldn’t even process the sentence.  I didn’t even know I was pregnant. My son was three months old. Had we even had sex? I hadn’t felt any pain. How could this be the case?

Then the events flooded my brain. I had taken pictures of my baby, I had carried it in a tissue and spoke about ‘it’! I was so deeply ashamed. I was trying to reason with the loss of a child I never knew I had, paired with the absolute horror of my actions towards a baby that my heart now ached for. Somehow weeks after the event to be told you miscarried it felt like I had missed my chance to grieve.  I cried and I cried despite feeling like I didn’t have a right to. This was magnified by my unspeakable behaviour towards my baby. Family, friends and my partner all reassured me that I wasn’t to know and rational me would agree but these feelings knew no logic.

I was disgusted by myself.

The pain of miscarriage for me is the never ending list of what ifs? Was it a boy or a girl? If I had given birth would I still have the children that I have now plus one or how does all that work? How would I have coped with two under a year old and all the never ending questions that I ask myself regularly? I gave my baby the nickname of Sweetpea so I had something to call him or her in my thoughts. I’ve forgiven myself because I wasn’t to know. How could I have known?

I’ll shed many tears for Sweetpea for many years to come and when the kids are older I will tell them that in my heart I have four children.

To my darling Sweetpea, you deserved so much better but I hope you know you are loved deeply. I never knew that I could love someone I had never met but I do and the pain doesn’t get any easier. All I can I can do is try to be the best Mammy for the three that are with me, forever keeping Sweetpea in my heart.

I don’t have the same name as my children and I hate it.

Naming your child is so difficult. Straight away there are reams of names that you have to discount.

  • Any name of anyone you don’t like. (there’ll be more on that list than you’ll care to admit)
  • Any name of anyone either of you had any kind of a relationship with. (also a long list if you are lucky)
  • Names of dogs and cats. (why do people name their dogs after humans?)
  • Any cast member of a reality tv series (we all watch it but we don’t need people thinking our name choice is a nod to shit tv)
  • Any old teachers or bosses either of you had (that’s just creepy)

The list could go on…… if you let it. At the end of the day you just have to pick one you love and hope that your child loves it too.

Then in the modern age you also have the issue of the surname to contend with. Years ago the child took the father’s name and that was it. Now people have children before marriage. They may never intend to get married. There may be couples in same sex relationships who go on to have children, which surname do they use?  In all cases the conversation has to be had as to how to proceed with naming the offspring.

For me it was simple. Although we were not married the children should have their father’s name. I was traditional in my thinking and also as we were engaged, in time, I would have that name as well. Well life didn’t work out that way. We never did get married and now my boys and I don’t share a surname. Now to complicate matters further as myself and himself were not together at the time of Macy’s birth  she shares my name. Someone ring Jeremy Kyle!!!

This is a big bone of contention with me. Bigger than I like to admit. In hindsight I think I should have either put my surname in there or given them my name until we were actually married but like I said. I am traditional and I didn’t foresee any issues at that time of my life. We are in the process of changing Macy’s name to the same as the boys and I’m happy that they will share the name.

They are full siblings and I just think she shouldn’t have to deal with the judgments and the questions.

Ideally we would double barrel them all but an agreement couldn’t be reached so now they will have their father’s name.

I know I’m the primary care giver and they are with me the majority of the time but the name difference makes me feel a little disconnected. Almost as though I have no claim to them which is utterly ridiculous. Yet I still feel that way. At appointments for the children people will call me Mrs…. (the children’s surname) and it’s like a little knife in my tummy every time.  You know when you’d see your cousin’s coming and you’d say ‘here’s the Delaney’s’ well no one will say that about us because I’m not a part of that club. I can’t sign my correspondence , yes I correspond, regards The Brophy Family because we are not the Brophy family. I even considered changing my own name at one stage. My parents weren’t overly happy about that suggestion as you can imagine.

I think this is one of many hiccups that I’ll have to just accept. They know that I am their mother and really the disconnect I feel is an administrative one. My children and I are deeply connected to the core. They are literally a part of me and let’s face it most of the time what I call them under my breath resembles neither of our surnames!

it is nor hand, nor foot, Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part Belonging to a man. O! be some other name: What’s in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet;

 

My doll called Finn

You cannot beat the feeling of opening something new. I love opening new cartons of milk and new make up. I love unwrapping presents and ripping the tags off a newly purchased outfit. I’m 36 and the excitement is palpable. I can only imagine how a child feels. They don’t have the restraint that we have to control that urge to squeel with delight. Of course some items are more squeelable than others.

Case in point I got offered the chance to experience a new kind of toy on the market. I had to take a few deep breathes as my adult restraint system temporarily failed me. This was a doll called Finn. I suppose I should really explain. My middle son is named Finn. This was a doll called Finn. What’s so special about a doll I hear you ask? Well I’m about to tell you!

IMG_boxed doll and outfit
Lottie and Finn

My son Finn is a wonderful boy full of warmth and mischief. He is kind and generous with a ferocious temper if pushed but that makes him a interesting person to watch grow. As a family we have noticed that Finn is curious about everything. This has even extended to the toys in the house that would be traditionally considered girls toys. He has tried dresses, lipstick and hair bands. Equally he loves guns and archery and all those activities that we class as boys activities.

Therein lies the issue. The marketing of toys to divide them into boys and girls can put off a boy picking up something he might love to play with just because it’s perceived to be for ‘girls’. So when I came across Lottie Dolls I was so impressed. A doll that is gender neutral. Now by this I don’t mean that the dolls have no gender, they come as both boys and girls. What I mean is that the dolls are not covered  head to toe in pink tulle and adorned with lipstick and high heels. The boy doll Finn is not an action figure with a six pack and super powers. They are dolls based on real children. They have child like bodies and wear child like clothes and I just love them.

When my son saw the box he was instantly impressed with the doll because it had his name on it. I know not every child will have that treat but once that novelty was over the thrill of his new little friend remained. Nobody would even think of buying a five year old boy a doll but if they saw the way my Finn carried Finn Junior around for a solid week they would certainly change their minds. He dressed him and undressed him and repeated that hourly. As a mother I noticed how easy it was to change the clothes which was great because he didn’t need my help. The small exception being the socks as is the case with real life Finn also.

The day after Finn’s arrival in the house I had to hide him up on a shelf to avoid him being ripped asunder by the other two. He sat up their until his buddy came home to take him away with him on any number of adventures.

From a mother’s perspective I loved that he had a doll that wouldn’t necessarily bring with it snide remarks. The resemblance to a real child was refreshing, I didn’t need to address feminist issues of make up and body image which would arise from my constantly questioning child. To top it all off it’s an Irish company and knowing this was a home grown treasure made the joy all the better.

IMG_Finn on couch with boxed doll

 

 

If you want to investigate these wonderful characters you can find them at on the  Lottie Website and in store at Art and Hobby Shops

Lottie, Finn and Friends get a big thumbs up in this house!!!

Child you had one job…. where are your thumbs????

 

 

Godparents

First world problems

There’s a hash tag going around #firstworld problems designed to acknowledge that whatever it is that you are giving out about is actually not really a problem at all. Well I have one such first world problem that actually bothers me.

I don’t have a god child.

Big Deal

I know it’s beyond ridiculous to even think about but being honest it really makes me sad. I swear I do have more important things to be worried about.

In my defence of my harmless pondering. In our family god parents are a big deal. It’s viewed as a huge honour. I know the concept it rooted in religion but as a gesture it’s saying to that person. I would trust you with my child. That’s a pretty big deal. There are people in my life I wouldn’t trust with a sandwich.

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Is it me?

At this stage I can’t see that I will ever be asked. Most of my friends are finished with their baby making days or even if they weren’t there are sisters or cousins or life long friends that would be way ahead of me in the line.

When my mood gets low I used to wonder what was wrong with me that no one saw fit to ask me to stand for their child? I’m unreliable and fickle or maybe before I became a mother I may have seemed irresponsible but truth be told it’s just a mixture of circumstance and bad timing.

Worth the wait

I see my sister with my children and I am really in awe. I don’t know what it is to love a child that isn’t my own. I can’t comprehend choosing to get up and spend time with a child. Like……. I have to love my own…… I’m pretty sure it’s part of the deal!

My sister has no children (so I’ll never be an aunt either ) but I really believe she couldn’t love them anymore even if they were her own. I’ll never experience that relationship. My children have cousins but I have no relationship with them because of my break up. Pity cause I’d be such a cool aunt. Even if I do say so myself.

I suppose my opportunity to experience that love of a child that isn’t my own will come when my own have children. If they are blessed I’ve heard that grandchildren are amazing. You love them like your own but you get to hand them back at the end of the day. Obviously I’ll be waiting a while. But from what I hear it will be worth the wait.

 

 

 

Phoney

I have an aul gra for mass generalisations but I think it’s fair to say that we would all be fairly lost without our phones. The phone is no longer a privilege of the wealthy but really an everyday necessity. From 8 to 80 everyone has one. Some people even have two. The way we communicate with one another has changed so much. Could you even imagine writing a letter to someone and having to wait weeks maybe even months for a reply? Everything these days is about the instant fix we really don’t like to have to wait for anything and our phones afford us that luxury.

You can chat or text anyone anywhere in the world. Now grant is most of us are texting our other halves to stick the kettle on or to bring some toilet roll upstairs but the potential is there to text someone in Brazil, if you knew anyone in Brazil. Continue reading “Phoney”

Other Mothers

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Hellloooo Yes i’m talking to you. You dear other mother that is listening to me right now. I would like to address this strange dynamic that you and I, as mothers, have with one another. We both have children. Whether you gave birth or someone else gave birth for you or you took on a child, we are both now blessed in our role as mother. This role might involve one or more children but the title remains the same. You might have a partner or a husband or mulitple sexual partners that you call on from time to time but again we are both mothers. You may have a job or a number of jobs or you may be a stay at home mother but guess what yes at the risk of being predictable we are both mothers. So now that we have established that we are part of the one team. Why is it we compete and compare?

When I had my first son I had a feeding schedule that I adhered to at all costs. I was rigid to a fault. If I broke from my routine the universe would surely implode. I was totally convinced. I did it by the book and was doing everything ‘right’. Then guess what I discovered?  My besty who I genuinely consider to be an excellent mother had her own feeding schedule and it was so different to mine. How could this be? Continue reading “Other Mothers”

bedtime battles

I want to talk about something that is causing me a great deal of anxiety. It’s something I have to deal with everyday and it’s making me very unhappy. I have no way of avoiding it and I do feel like a problem shared is a problem halved. I know I’m not alone and that there are others in my situation. I’m not sure how I’m going to cope with it anymore so I’m going to talk it out hoping someone out there will help.

The problem is called. BEDTIME.

Not mine now, I could sleep standing up like a horse no bother to me at all. I can sleep on buses and trains and boats and I think I have even slept with my eyes open on an occasion. Continue reading “bedtime battles”

who knows?

Three years ago today I left my fiancé, the father of my two boys and my baby bump which was going to turn out to be a little queen to complete our little family.

5 1/2 months pregnant I left his house that we shared with what I could fit in the back of my aunts jeep and we drove to Kilkenny and I never returned.

It was the hardest decision in my life to date. A decision that not only effected my life but his and the lives of our children.

People ask me time and time again why? Why did ye spilt? Well it’s not something you can wrap up in one nice neat sentence to satisfy people’s curiosity. Sometimes even when we put both our heads together we can’t agree on a reason. Was it him? Was it me? Who knows?

When I sit and think now the reasons actually don’t matter because that is the past. Knowing why doesn’t ease the pain. The pain we have both gone through. The pain of our children or the pain yet to come as we try to agree on how to parent our children together.

I will never know if the decision I made was for the best. We can’t look to the future at a junction and see which road is better. You pick your road blindly and hope for the best.

I know the weight of the decision lies heavy on my heart. I mourn for the family I thought I would have. I’m sad for my children that their parents live apart and I can only pray that in time they will understand.

Blended family’s and parents living apart are more and more common so it’s not as though we are unique in our situation. I’m more content as a person and I always believe happy mammy makes happy children.

We have come so far in three years from sharing a box room with my daughter to having a home of our own. I’m embarking on a career I know I will love. Writing my blog and contributing to community radio. I’ve found friends I love and I have two gorgeous handsome men in big school and do you know what we are doing alright.

When times get tough or I feel overwhelmed I sometimes look back and think. You got through that….. You’ll get through this. My advice whatever you do ……… Just keep swimming.

The Raging Roads

I love to go for an aul drive. Hit the minty highway as my Da used to say I have happy memories of my Dad letting down the back seat for us to sleep after a day trip to Dublin. In those days Dublin seemed a lot further away. It wasn’t something you’d do on a whim. It took planning and time and you’d make sure the neighbours knew you were going because who knew if you’d come back. I remember my father triple checking, the oil, and the wheels to set about on our adventure to the big smoke. We knew we had hit Dublin when you’d see the big ball and then the McDonalds sign on the long mile road. Kilkenny didn’t have a McDonalds at the time so it was as good as being in a foreign country.

My grandfather used to bring us on a drive out the Kells to buy batch bread and as we picked the middle out of the loaf there was this bridge he’d drive over at speed and his head would hit off the roof and our arses lifted off the seats and we just thought he was the coolest most daring Grandad anyone had ever! So in essence all my childhood associations with driving were fantastic. None of us had car seats it was squeeze in as many children as you can. My Uncle even had a hole in the floor of his car that we’d all fight to sit over so that we could watch the road fly by. We knew no danger.

We are not the worst in the world for deaths on our road and we have greatly improved. In the year I was born there were over 500 deaths down to 165 the year before last but the reason I thought to talk about driving and roads has got to do with the way the deaths are reported. It’s only recently that I heard a news report mention the actual road itself. I drive the road from Kilkenny to Abbeyleix a lot and there are large sections of road without so much as a cat’s eye to guide the way. It’s so dark that drivers who don’t know the road really well crawl at a snail’s pace which can be equally as dangerous as driving too fast.

We are a wet country… it rains a lot!!!! But it seems to come as a shock to our roads when a drop of water hits them and instead of letting it slide off and soak in somewhere. the roads like to gather the fallen rain in large amounts. Are they worried that driving windy roads in the dark with no illumination wasn’t enough of a challenge… they thought let’s throw in a few water hazards while we are at it.

They say that driving while tired is nearly as bad as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. But once you get on a motorway in Ireland you could hit France before you could find somewhere safe to pull in and get a rest. There are various junctions in Kilkenny where the road markings are wrong or contradict what I learned in my rules of the road book all those many years ago. It really frustrates me.

The placements of pedestrian crossings are just laughable. At one junction you have to turn right from being perched on a hill only to turn to be hit bang in the face with the possibility of a mother her six kids and two dogs trying to cross the road.

I get that we are all human. Most of us have made what could be classed as a silly mistake, taken our eyes of the road or pulled out when we shouldn’t have but the state of our roads are a disgrace. Road markings are missing unfinished or simply worn away. I sometime wonder if the people who plan and construct the roads have ever been in a car in their lives. To prevent accidents you have to put the best of precautions in place. Sometimes it just feels to me like the roads are being designed to be against us.

Bedtime Battles

I want to talk about something that is causing me a great deal of anxiety. It’s something I have to deal with everyday and it’s making me very unhappy. I have no way of avoiding it and I do feel like a problem shared is a problem halved. I know I’m not alone and that there are others in my situation. I’m not sure how I’m going to cope with it anymore so I’m going to talk it out hoping someone out there will help.

The problem is called. BEDTIME.

Not mine now, I could sleep standing up like a horse no bother to me at all. I can sleep on buses and trains and boats and I think I have even slept with my eyes open on an occasion. No the bedtime that I speak of is that of my three adorable children who, when it comes to going to getting them asleep, I like to refer to them as the spawns of Satan.

As a rational adult I cannot come to terms with the fact that at 7, 5 and 3 the children do not realise that every night without fail they have to go to sleep. I try to get across to them that this whole sleeping craic was not my idea. It’s not something I’ve conjured up to wreck their buzz or just be mean. This is a biological necessity.  When seven o’ clock arrives it’s like a shock to them that they have to go to sleep. It’s like it’s crept up on them unexpected like a big scary spider and the screams and protests are just as loud as if a big hairy one dropped onto their chubby little faces.

Now before the suggestions come flooding in I have tried many techniques. I have tried staggering the bedtimes starting at 7 with the youngest and working my way up to the eldest. Well sure I was putting children to bed for hours. It was like Groundhog Day from one child to the next, the teeth brushing the story telling the rubbing and me all the while doing my best not to fall asleep with each one. I’d start at 7 and I think I was still at it come half nine on more than one occasion.

I tried the whole bath and bedtime routine. Drops of lavender in the bath and nicely warmed towels all designed to soothe and relax. Well not my three reprobates. The water touched them and like gremlins they came alive.  They were drinking the bathwater and splashing each other and wriggling out of my hands like eels as I tried to wrestle them into their pyjamas. It was exhausting.

At the moment I’m at the stage where I’m turning off the electronics a half hour before bedtime to see if it will wind them down and prepare them for sleep. Paired with a story and lots deep breathes I can’t say that it’s getting any better. Macy has to have one story because she’s in a separate room and then to get the boys to agree on a story I’d need to employ a skilled negotiator and all the while I’m deep breathing to stop myself from putting a whole in the wall with my bare hands.

I’m sure it’s the same in every house with young children. But on a serious note I hate putting them to sleep when my last words to them are negative ones spouted out through gritted teeth. Every morning I explain to them how their behaviour was unacceptable the night before and how tonight has to be different and everyday they vow to do better and every day I believe them.

I’m studying at the moment and I need the evenings to get some work done or catch up on the housework and the longer it takes me to get them to bed the less time I have to get the things done that I’ll never have enough time to do anyway.

It’s not all about me despite what you may have heard. The Children need their sleep. I see such a difference in them when they have had a few nights of good quality sleep. It’s when their bodies grow and repair. It’s also the time that their brains organise all their thoughts from the day. Knowing my three the thoughts that they organising is new and inventive ways on how are they going to thwart their mother at bedtime tonight.  Is it 7 o clock yet? No? Great because I need time to prepare for tonight’s battle. Wish me luck.