2018: A year in reflections.

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I sit here, last of the festive mince pies being consumed and washed down with a cup of tea in the quiet that can only be found after 10pm at night. Candles are lit, my husband is out for the night and upstairs my daughter slumbers, balled up into the corner of her cot in such a way that is so undeniably her. And to the left of me sits a notebook, brown and unassuming, started at the beginning of December; my hundredth reattempt at journaling (it will stick this time). A few days ago, the day after Boxing Day, I began scribbling notes and memories and words and dreams and ideas. Most of them were the thoughts and feelings that follow me, at the tail end of this year, of 2018. Some of them belong to my brown notebook alone, they are a little too raw even for me, but some, some I thought I would share, simply because it feels good to.

2018 was a year of watching a child grow. And grow. And grow. From 4 month old infant laid there on a mat, to walking toddler with nodding head and real life words. When I look back to last Christmas I hardly recognise the child before me, the baby reliant on breast, deep in the four month sleep regression. It was a year of thankfulness for the NHS during a bladder infection in February, it was a year of first tastes of foods, baby led weaning mess splattered across kitchen floors and table tops. It was a year of no sleep, then better sleep, then no sleep again; and repeat. It was a whole year, plus four months, of breastfeeding, and still continuing. I have witnessed a child I bore, grew inside myself, turn a whole year old. What kind of miracle is that? I have watched small barefeet take their first steps across grass, the blessing of a summer birthday. I have felt unimaginable terror and fear, her pain was mine. I have laughed until I’ve cried, shared in her joy and had my heart swell with love incomprehensible. I have heard the sweetest of all the voices, and shared my days with a small person so full of potential and beauty in the most simplest of ways.

We have adventured, both local and far-flung. Spent rainy days in the woods, found sun-soaked beaches on Australian shores. Felt the magic and relief of home in family far away, missed them when we left.

I’ve found myself suddenly awake and coming out of survival mode around a year in, looking back and seeing that I’ve becoming a little more neglectful of our marriage, a lot more forgetful, necessarily selfish in my ways. I have wanted to scream, leave, hold him and never let go; simultaneously at times. When you don’t know who you are, its hard to forget how you were. I’m finding us again next year.

I kept trying. I’ve had three jobs this year, juggled babies and work with no childcare. Decided on happiness and left, twice. The last one has stuck. I have realised that sometimes things don’t work out how they expect, the way you meticulously planned for while pregnant, and sometimes you just have to suck it up and get on with it. It might not make me happy but it works, and sometimes that’s enough.

Finally did something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. Used my words, created a community, found some worth. Splattering my heart across a page was terrifying, and the thought of people reading them was paralysing, but using something I’m good at, for the simple pleasure of sharing was the second most rewarding thing I’ve done this year. Creating a community locally is still being hard fought for, but gave me a purpose I really needed. And using courage to create a bigger community at the end of this year is something I am proud of and looking forward to growing. Sharing has done wonders for my mental health; it has healed some of the wounds left from Eilish’s birth, putting feelings into words has helped me to create sense in chaos, it has built up my belief. It has been the salve I needed, and it has been the strength I wanted. Its led me to bigger things, its led me to dream.

I invested. In myself, in courses I wanted to do, in people that I felt enriched my life. I did a doula course, for the love of it, for the knowledge, for the passion. And found so much worth in the ability to cry, laugh and share within a circle of women.

I have been brought to some amazing women, women who inspire me, who are honest, who love what they do. Women who share stories because they are the change, because they are real. Those who supported me, those who shared my words, those who believe in the power of community. The four women, Beth, Eloise, Ruth and Ashleigh, who gifted me with their time and their thoughts, for me to share with others, to create connection and solidarity. Thank you.

And then there is December, most of it tired and sapped, and then in the last couple of days suddenly more awake and able to function. That’s the word for next year, awaken. Not sure how I got here but ready to tackle next year, unsure of where that will lead me too. I don’t have many intentions for next year, but the ones that I have so far feel good.

  • Learn to knit again.

  • Finish at least one book each month.

  • Invest in myself more.

  • Create more boundaries around work/relationships/mothering.

  • Turn one idea into reality.

And that’s it. To all those who have read along in the last couple of months, thank you from the depths of my heart, the time you invest here is so appreciated. I wish you a Happy New Year, and a 2019 full of the things that make you happy.