Let's start a conversation...

"We could learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others bright, some have weird names, but they have all learned to live together in the same box!"

Monday, 3 November 2014

Feeling loved

I like the concept of the 5 love languages because I have always been a clear cut gifts kind of girl. I felt loved when I received gifts and expressed my love for others by giving gifts (even if it is small like a snack or a chocolate).

What I have felt strange in the last few years is how my love languages have changed. and I think that is quite normal and if I have read the book properly, happens...

These days words of affirmation or encouragement do it for me... And here are my thoughts on why that feels more important right now.

When I was working full time I got a lot of affirmation and encouragement. I was competent at my job and so got that feedback regularly.

Being a mom is so different. there is very little affirmation that you are on the right track. and not a lot of thank you for the day to day things you do. there is no one who sees what you do. other than my sweet boy who although very sweet has yet to master the art of a spontaneous thank you or I love you!

Also I think the affirmation/ encouragement I crave is about who I am/ my personality/ my talents. if I think back to a couple of years ago I loved compliments about what I look like. and sure that is nice but what I want now is a little input on me. Being a mom sometimes feels so brain- less that I just want to know I am not brain dead. and because a lot of mothering is about putting yourself aside and putting someone else first it is hard to remember who I am.

But please don't stop giving me gifts ;-)!

Thursday, 4 September 2014

A letter to baby no 2

We are pregnant! With no 2 (our little mustard (seed) is due Mid Feb next year). I have been thinking a lot about how different pregnancy no 2 is... so here is a letter for baby 2.

Dear mustard

We called you mustard because although you were tiny to begin with we trust and pray and know you will grow into something big and strong and distinctive.

this pregnancy is very different from when I was pregnant with your big brother Luc. I know I spent a lot of time talking to my baby bump then. I spent lots of time reading about how big your big brother was or what he was doing or what body part he was growing. I spent a lot of time thinking about him and what our life would be like. I spent a lot of time reading up on what to eat, what exercise to do, how much sleep to get, what is the best car seat/ compactum/ formula/ method of birth... I spent hours talking to my mommy friends, picking their brains about what worked for them. and I wrote everything down about big brother luc...

I will be honest I haven't done much chatting to you my sweet mustard. I haven't read anything so I don't know how big you are right now or what body part you are focusing on growing.
I haven't been strict about what I am eating or drinking (although you'll be pleased to know I have avoided the hard drugs and alcohol). I haven't exercised at all (other than chasing around your brother). and in terms of equipment and clothes you will get all the hand- me- downs.

The reason for this is mostly how full life is with one child and I will be very honest I do not know how you cope with more than one?

What I do know is that your daddy and I can do this. we can be good parents (not perfect ones) but competent ones. I do know that I will trust myself much earlier on once you are born. I do know that I will not stress the small stuff. I do know that the bad nights pass. and the endless days. I do know that being a parent is mind blowingly good.

and more than anything I do know that I love you so much... Already... So I cannot wait to meet you and love you even more.

Lots of love mommy

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Losing a baby (part 2)

Sorry for the radio silence... After last post I had a little vulnerability hangover! (Read about it HERE) but it also made me realise I needed to say a few more things about losing a baby...

We lost our baby early and it was devastating. I kind of want to apologise for my grief with excuses like "its ok cos it was early" or "we were lucky because it was early". But actually it is ok to feel pain even if it was early on in the pregnancy.

I was overwhelmed with messages from other moms who had lost babies. And I really feel for all of you. no matter how early or how far in the pregnancy it was. my heart cries with you. I cry with you as you long for your child.

It made me realise how we need to talk about this... so many women (and men) are silently going through this. and I think we feel like there isn't space to grieve because it wasn't alive/ born/ viable (whatever excuse we tell ourselves). but it is sore. it is hard.

We don't tell people we are pregnant until 12 weeks because something may happen. i am not sure this is that healthy...I am not advocating fb announcements as soon as you see 2 lines but I do think we should be telling our support circles. we need to have support if something happens.

which brings me to the next point... there is nothing wrong with you and you didn't do something wrong if you lost a baby.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Losing a baby (and my religion)

So my previous posts about losing my religion got a lot of support and love. If you haven't read my ranting you can read it here and here. Thanks for all the love and support (virtual or real life!). it is much appreciated.

Part of what prompted my childish ranting was that I had a miscarriage. It was early on.

But sjoe it hurt...

Seeing those 2 (Yay- 2) lines on the stick was such a happy moment. And as I saw line 2 materialise I was already planning baby rooms, names and how best to announce this baby to the world. P and I were trying to think of a cool nickname for the baby... when I (we) started losing him/ her. And losing a baby, however early on, is heart breaking. I cried and ranted and sulked and wept for our babys future, their friends, their achievements, their hurts, their personality, their baby smell and a life unlived. all of which they wouldn't have.

I know loads of woman have miscarriages and sometimes without even realising... I know it probably means that our baby had something wrong with it. I know all this but it doesn't lessen the loss.

My heart cries with all the other mommys out there who have experienced this. I hope no one tries to diminish your experience of losing a child. Even if it was early, it is still a very real and painful loss.

And that is the (brief) reason I wrote about losing my religion. It is hard to reconcile a loving God with someone who lets so much heart ache happen.

BUT... he is still God. He has the same character.
And part of following him is following him even in the crap, dark night, feeling abandoned times.

So I choose to follow Jesus. I believe he is God even when I cant feel him

Monday, 14 April 2014

5 things worth fighting for

One of my friends was telling me how her grandmother said that as a mother you have to pick 5 things you feel strongly about and fight about those things because YOU CANNOT FIGHT ABOUT EVERTHING with your kids.

I think this is brilliant!

The 3 things I feel strongly about and why I chose them:

1. Respect for people. This includes how we treat people. Things like "not hitting our friends" or "listening to mommy" falls under this category. I am sure you guys are tired of hearing me say it but I want our kids to have respect for ALL people and treat ALL people well and that's why this is no 1.

2. Hygiene. Brushing teeth, bathing, washing hands, blowing noses etc... This is NOT about being neat and tidy cos honestly that isn't us. Eating healthily also falls under here but this is still a work in progress because Luc hasn't ingested a vegetable for about 10 months! If you have miracle cures for how to get toddlers to eat veggies please tell me :).

3. Routine. This has made for happier Luc and happier mom and dad and so I am all for routine BUT (and it is a huge but) it should be a routine that is flexible!

I am still thinking about what the others will be and if I come up with anything I will let you know...

What I haven't chosen:

  • Being neat/ clean/ tidy. Philippe and I aren't so I don't think we can expect our kids to be... This has also been quite a relief to let go of. If Luc makes a mess I try not to get upset about it and try and get him to help clean up...
  • As a rule I try to teach Luc not to break things but I am also not going to get upset if he breaks a toy or it is not in pristine condition.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Right to dignity

Did you know our (South African) constitution states that we all have a:

Right to dignity???

Just been thinking about how to implement that in day to day life.

Thinking about the beggar at the side of the road. his position in life is quite undignified. how can I bring him dignity (even if it is something small???). For me I thought I need to make sure that I do eye contact and polite no thank you shakes of my head. (Hard to remember at the end of the day in traffic!)

Or what about my domestic worker? First thing is that she calls me by my name, not madam, maam etc... And something I grapple with a lot is treating her as an employee not a servant. This is a mixed up one in SA where there can be so much white guilt attached to this interaction (or is that just me?)

Or clients I see... even the ones that are really slow/ annoying/ strange/ funny... being respectful of their story. For me it is about hearing them out, not laughing at them behind their back, not checking my watch.

Would love to hear about areas where you would like to see dignity in peoples lives.

Monday, 17 March 2014

The right to quality healthcare



Wits Ethics dept runs a week called Ethics Alive where the health sciences faculty publicly re- commit to ethics... Steve Biko is a symbol of this week (and the dept) due to the unspeakable unethical treatment he received at the hands of medical professionals...

It is always worth attending (partly for the CPD points (we have t collect points to stay registered with HPCSA)) but mostly cos the talks are often thought provoking...

Here are a couple of statements that stuck with me and my thoughts on them:

  1. Quality vs Access! The SA health system is getting much better at access to health care but this doesn't necessarily mean that the accessed health care is of good quality... Dirty wards, shortages of linen and medicines, broken equipment and lack of staffing are just a few of the daily problems our hospitals face...
  2. SA has moved from a system of political apartheid to a system of economic apartheid. Sjoe... this is challenging! But if I look at how I live compared to how a person in Diepsloot lives there is no comparison. I take for granted water, electricity and sanitation and moan with the rest of my privileged neighbours about Eskoms power cuts but I don't face any of the hardships my Diepsloot neighbours face. and there is a definitely separateness between rich and poor in SA that is reminiscent of Apartheid. The reason this point was raised is that the poor are ultimately the people with no access to QUALITY health care.
  3. We cannot resolve a problem if we don't recognise the problem in the 1st place. I completely agree with this. we need to recognise our privilege, our failings, our prejudice in order to move past it.
 Hard truths... and I am still thinking about my response to them. Particularly around POVERTY as this is so challenging... And how do we make a difference?

Any ideas on how we can change poverty in SA? Watch this space... I will hopefully write a bit more about that soon.