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.

The Cross we Bear

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I recently attended mass. I can’t say that I am a regular attendee but this was a mark of respect for the anniversaries of a number of family members. The children were with me this particular weekend so it was time to don the best clothes and put our best foot forward and I was looking forward to showing off my beautiful little family. This enthusiasm was soon dampened when I found out the anniversary mass was at 9;30 in the morning. Three plus myself all to be suited and booted and up and out for that hour on a Sunday. We were not off to a good start!

My darling sister said she would help by taking one of my wee cherubs over on a sleep over so that I only had two to suit and boot.  See who ever said that prayers aren’t answered?

Off we headed to mass and when we parked up on the college road the eldest refused to get out of the car. Did I mention that it was raining? Continue reading “The Cross we Bear”

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.

Teenage Delusions

So motherhood happened. Not once but three times. Yet despite my experience I really don’t feel like a mother nor do I feel like a grown up. It’s like a poster I saw on Facebook. I think they call them memes or something even though I have no idea what that means or how to pronounce it. When a crisis occurs and you look for someone more adulty than you. Woah there Nelly. I’m the adult. Well I must have missed that memo.

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My son told me I was just a kid cause I still had a Mammy and Daddy.  And yes he used the word kid. Because, yes he watches too much American television. He even asked me for candy one day. I was like I’ll candy stripe your arse for you and attempted to get him to watch Fraggle Rock on tg4. That’ll snap any Yankee notions out of ya boyo.  By his estimation I’m not an adult and I’m beginning to think he’s wise beyond his years. Continue reading “Teenage Delusions”

And they call it Puppy….. insanity!

 

 

 

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You have your hands full

These words are directed to me at least once a day. I get it. Three children is a lot. The fact that I’m no longer with their Dad probably makes it seem like more. I don’t do as much as I should from a motherly perspective but between the jigs and the reels life is fairly busy. When they go to their father’s I really do enjoy the peace. The doing nothing way of life suits me down to a tee ( or is it tea ??). In the midst of one of these marathon nothing sessions in which I relish  a post that often pops up in my newsfeed reared it’s head again.

The post was a heart felt plea from Cara Rescue Dogs for foster homes for puppies in their care. Now I’m not overly mad about animals and I’m not overly mad about the number 1 and number 2 that comes from said animals. I’m not overly mad on the smell of dog hair, dog breathe or dog farts. That being said my fingers started moving and I was texting and I was having some sort of a turn because the next thing I knew I was going to be considered as a foster parent for two very small puppies.

How the hell did that happen!!!

Sunday afternoon at 5pm after a home check was completed I became the rather petrified carer of two teeny balls of fluff. One brown and white the other black and white. Cara provides everything you need to take care of the pups for how ever long they are with you. All you have to do is love them. Well feeding and watering them wouldn’t go a miss either but you know what I mean.

The best part is the children had no clue and when they arrived home at 6pm tired and hungry after a busy weekend I was gonna reveal two puppies. Sure what could go wrong?

Two minutes after my grand reveal all hell broke loose someon wet themselves there was whimpering and begging  and that was just the children ( that joke never gets old). The two boys didn’t end up in bed until ten. Yes, Monday morning was torture.

Once everyone calmed and settled in the lovely part of the experience began. I have never heard the children laugh so much. The TV has hardly been on in days and the house has never been as clean. I’m really enjoying having the dogs as my guests.

Our little  fur babies are called Flake and Krispy kindly named by Karla at Cara. My children keep calling her Caramel so Aunty Caramel gave us our dogs to mind. I have explained to them that the dogs won’t be staying and I am fully aware that they will be upset but I’m hoping they will see the good that we are doing. Let’s face it they get upset when I give them the wrong the wrong coloured bowl for breakfast so I’m prepared for the hysteria.

I suppose the purpose of fostering for me is to see if I’m willing to put the work in that is needed to care for a dog. I don’t want to be the type that takes on an animal and realise that it doesn’t fit in with my lifestyle or my children especially. That’s one of the reasons why Cara are kept so busy. People think it’s all cuddles and sleeping. It’s far from it. I can tell you one thing though it’s very rewarding. I’m teaching my children about giving back in this world. Doing what you can when you can. How to care for something other than yourself. Also how important it is to respect other living things. I’m hoping this will be something that I can do regularly.

Cara Rescue Dogs Facebook page is <<<<< there if you click on the link. You’ll find everything you need to know all the contact details. If you feel like taking on a dog is not for you there are loads of ways to donate. You’ll feel great and you’ll make some dog’s day. I would like to just say that it’s a completely vouluntary orgainsation run by people with full time jobs and familys and lives of their own so if you have more than you need build a bigger table… not a higher fence.

Be well

Ellen

 

 

 

I’m eating nothing!!

If you have read other posts you will be aware of my battle with the bulge. Without trying to sound dramatic, that wouldn’t be like me at all, I liken it to a serious addiction. Food is my drug of choice and I don’t know how to become rehabilitated. I literally flip flop from wanting to loose weight and swearing to make a massive effort to throwing in the towel and accepting that I’ll never be slim. That switch could happen at least four times an hour. Every time professing to anyone that will listen…. this time will be different…..and it never is.

Writing this tonight I’m in binge mode and weight loss is the furthest thing from my mind I’m having a fat food Friday and I’m loving every minute of it. Until tomorrow when I try on my jeans and I’m like 7 pounds of rice shoved into a 5 pound bag. (I think the correct  phrase is 7 pound of shit but you know… I didn’t want to be vulgar). Continue reading “I’m eating nothing!!”

Birth Story Numero Trois

There’s not a mother alive in this modern age that hasn’t shared her birth story with her nearest and dearest. In fact I’m pretty sure a lot of us have shared it with complete strangers from time to time. These stories are our right’s of passage into motherhood and we recite them like the folklore of Irish history. I know I tend to flesh mine out and I could give the Children of Lir a run for their money.

I will tell each birth story in turn but I’m going to start with my most recent birth just because I can remember it with greater ease. I can say with conviction that I am finished having children so I can reminisce fondly, safe in the knowledge that I will never have to go through it again.

This time two years ago I was waiting patiently for the birth of my third child. Having split with my partner I had to return home to my mother and it was a stressful time to say the least. Moving back home is hard regardless of the circumstances but I arrived not only with sacks of clothes but with two young boys and a bun in the oven (a pink bun by the way but ssssssshhhhhhh you’ll ruin the end of the story).  Not ones to dwell on the negative we just got on with things and tried to look forward to the new arrival as best we could. Continue reading “Birth Story Numero Trois”

Solo Warrior

We have many firsts as parents, first time to change a nappy, first time to be puked on, first time shopping for school uniforms…. the list is as long as it is varied. Well today I had a first. I probably won’t forget it in a hurry but not for the same warm fuzzy feelings that other ‘first’ memories bring to that corner of my tummy. Today I had my first, I suppose the only word for it is, altercation, with a fellow parent over one of my children.

A knock came to the door and I was greeted with a very irate man wanting to know why his daughter was upset over something that I had said to her. Yes me! Not my son but me, a grown middle-aged woman had upset a young child. Not one of my finer moments I can admit without hesitation.

Now I’m not going to go into the nitty-gritty of the conversation because I would be extremely tempted to fill in my part of the conversation with many phrases and quick-witted remarks that I wish I had said, as opposed to what actually occurred. I will expect plenty of private mails looking for the finer details. What I will say is that I did  speak to the children and tell them to play nicely with one another and asked them not to exclude my son.

In hindsight maybe having words with other people’s children is not a great idea…. lesson learned. This upset the child and in turn upset her father and a conversation followed where we both defended our own as you do and parted agreeing to speak to the children about their behaviours towards each other.

Of course for the rest of the evening my mind was flooded with thoughts of what had happened. My role in the events and my son’s role and how could I have behaved better and how do I help him improve his behavior towards others?

Do I stand by my son and defend him to the death….

My child would never do such a thing!

When I see a parent approaching my door do I turn my head and automatically assume his guilt regardless of the circumstances?

What did you do?

It’s one of the first times in a long time that I really felt like a single parent. I had no one to bounce the situation off of. No one to help me rationalise. No one to debrief after the big scary man came up and gave out to me. No one to have my back. No one to calm me when I swore blind that the children would never see the light of day again and no one to hug me when I felt extremely vulnerable.

The conclusion I came to was that I couldn’t come to a conclusion. I couldn’t wrap this up in a little bow and tidy it away. I realised that I don’t want to be a naive parent and pretend that I don’t think that my child is capable of being mean to others. Of course he is. Along with every other child on the planet. They are all horrible to one another at some stage. I also feel like I want to defend him to the death because he’s my cub and I’m a mama bear and if I won’t defend him who will?

I did learn that I won’t be talking to other children about their behaviors. It’s a modern approach to parenting because in my childhood days if any adult spoke to you, you did what you were told and if you complained to your mother you were told where to go. I’m not sure that it’s a great parenting development but it’s here and it’s not going anywhere. I’m also going to shift my focus. I can’t control how other people treat my son but I can help shape how he responds.

I’m off to have a vodka because this scummy mummy has had enough for one day. Can’t say I’m looking forward to the summer. I may pull the curtains and pretend I’m not here!

Be well

Ellen

 

Service with a Smirk

Although I am a stay at home mother  every year at Christmas I am fortunate enough to get work in the local Ice Rink. Every year the owners recognise the skills that I have and implore me to become a vital part of a vibrant team of young ambitious workers. There’s that and the fact that the owners are my aunt and uncle!! Either way I love being a part of the work force even for such a short time.

Serving the public is not for the faint of heart. The vast majority of people are kind and courteous, wait their turn and are grateful for anything that you can do for them. Then there are the others……

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A great source of amusement at the box office was the numerous people who would attempt to get a ticket at a reduced rate. 12 and over is a adult ticket so therefore logic would dictate you had to be 11 to get the more appealing price for a child. Men at least 6 foot tall with a mustache would plead innocence when challenged about their age. You gotta  love a trier.

Standing in the skate dock one afternoon a lady on the ice grabbed my attention. She sat her child over the barrier and said to me without a smile on her face said. ‘Is he supposed to have skates on him?’ It took me a minute to actually understand the situation. She had come to a rink, paid €13 to bring her child out on the ice and somehow thought that he did not have to put ice skates on to go ice skating on ice. My jaw still drops when I think about that one.

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Working behind the shop could be full of fun. Once such phenomenon is the six giggling teens who all want a diet coke and a bar. Here’s the catch… they all stand behind one another and order individually… the…. exact….same….thing. No chance of…. Oh while you are over there all five of us want drinks. Nope. They would rather see my little legs work like a flintstone outcast over and back and over and back. On the plus side it was great exercise.

Well it’s all said and done for another year and I feel lucky to have been a part of the team. It gave me an outlet from the children and also made me feel very lucky to be able to stay at home and watch them grow. See you all for the next big freeze!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Carnage

I do enjoy Christmas. I’m not fanatical about it but i’m no Grinch either. As the childer will be with their Dad the next two weekends, today was the day to erect the tree. I wanted them to be a part of it and not just… sit there and watch me do it type of participation but I was fully prepared to allow them to adorn the tree however they saw fit.

This is a special Christmas for me and my family as it is our first one in our new home. Since December ’13 until August of this year myself and my brood were lucky enough to live with my mother. In August I got the amazing news that I had been housed with a housing agency. So this year will be memorable to wake up to Santa in my own gaff!

Enough of the sentiment and back to the fun we were all going to have putting up the tree. My mother arrived with the stuff. As I pulled out the tree I remembered the day it was bought. I said to her…. guess how much this tree cost me?……. €18! As I removed it from it’s cardboard jail it was all too apparent why it only cost €18. I’ve come across more lush cactus than this tree.

Undeterred we soldiered on. I fleshed the branches out as best I could and then looked to where it was going to stand. The whole sitting room had to be changed around to fit in the tree. So what started out as tree time had turned into 60 minute makeover. I was already exhausted. We found it’s home and I put on the lights. Ready to allow the children to put on the baubles.

The enthusiasm was heart warming. I handed them some baubles and let them at it. We all sang Christmas carols as we put them on…….. no we bloody didn’t, it’s not some true movie you are watching here with your one out of little house on the prairy… this is real life!!!! The Sun and Moon put on literally two decorations before they got fed up.

But my wee little Star…. she showed so much determination. Back and forth into the container and tried with all her might to put them on. She wasn’t very successful but she was really enjoying it. When the lights went on… all four of them…. she ooohed and aaaaahed. Bless her little cotton socks.

The finished result was decidedly underwhelming but I don’t care. I have my own home and I have plenty of time to build up my collection of festive ornaments. It’s not the decorations that makes the season special. It’s family and friends, my own home and my three (sometimes) lovely children gathered at my feet…. killing each other!!!

Thanks For Reading

Be Well

Ellen