How to let go of the past

I don’t quite know how to word the things I have to say. Upon entering the next stage of life, one that we’ve imagined and anticipated, there can be multiple emotions in parallel with one another.

it is OK to be worried, and afraid for myself, alongside exquisite happiness.

The liminality I am in the midst of comes with the anticipation of the second anniversary of our baby’s death. That is when things really changed, in March 2015. My husband left his job, I started a new one, and we cut away from the people who caused us the most pain whilst we grieved. After a year, my husband was better, in a great office, and we moved to a quiet, peaceful town where, six months later we had our bouncing baby boy, who is asleep next to me as I write this.

So this is my next stage of life. I had counselling through the pregnancy and in the period afterwards, which helped immensely. I had anxiety over my credentials as a mother, but with lots of swimming classes and sleep, my moods slowly changed, and I love my life now.

Swimming is what has always carried me through difficult times: loneliness when I first moved to a small town, stress during my postgraduate, and now early motherhood, it helps me trust my instincts, learn to re- balance in an unfamiliar environment and keep my head above water. There is something more tangible in exercise than simply moving, we are sensory creatures after all, we crave sensation, in our spirit, mind and body.

Going to mum and baby yoga, reading about baby-led weaning and changing nappies is the order of the day. It is wonderful, better than I imagined, but I am also trying to let go of the bitterness of the past. I no longer want to confront the people who let me down, although I am not experiencing hot, white anger as I used to, I haven’t forgiven yet, it has come down to a more gentle dislike, and the knowledge that life is too short to waste on doomed relationships.

Our friends are our companions. I was unfortunate enough to choose quit selfish people to be my friends, who thought only of themselves when I suffered my loss, and I promised myself to do better, to be enriched by a sisterhood around me, not hurt by it. I think I have accomplished that.

 

 

Advertisements

The Sound of Nourishment

I am attempting to expose myself and my new baby to the balm of nature, by going on walks in the autumnal woods.

That word, nature, is a healing and wholesome word we use to describe raw biology. It is the same word you could use to describe the intensity of pain in labour, or the heavy grief of bereavement. They are all natural, and when I used to walk in Hampstead Heath after Jannah, my baby daughter died, I would look at the leaves on the trees and know that they have a caretaker, a life force that will cause them to fall, and for the tree to continue living, to blossom again in the spring, to grow deeper roots and for new green leaves to come again. I was entirely baffled by it.

I have realised that nature is not something to visit once in a while in a park, like an elderly relative that sits still.  It is the awesome weather storms that nourish our thirsts, and at the same time, the emotional turmoil that governs a heartbeat.

If you listen to the music of Vaughan Williams, you can hear nature. It is, to me, the sound of England.

Romance by Vaughan Williams

It is the musical equivalent of an ode written by Keats. You could almost hear the wind.

hampstead-heath-hampstead-heath-in-a-sunny-winter-day_0

 

Becoming a mother is a rite of passage. Every woman goes through the intensity of emotional upheaval that comes with caring for a new baby, and the term ‘baby blues’ really does not do it justice. It is more like ‘shrinking selfhood’.

A young woman, thick with creamy youth, sees her skin expand. Simultaneously her experiences envelope her emotions as she becomes the natural protector of her young. Nature saturates her mind with the baby’s survival, and no other thought, not even for her own wellbeing, can be tolerated. This is how our species has survived.

That saturation is what we call love.