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Mother’s Day

This weekend has been tough.

I’ve catered for 14 people over two days. I have spent the entire weekend cleaning, cooking, baking, pouring wine, making cups of tea, shopping, wrapping (and giving) gifts and generally ensuring my mum and mother-in-law had a great Mother’s Day.

It’s been a good distraction. But everyone has gone home. The dining table has been cleared off. The dishwasher stacked. The kitchen has been cleaned. And now it’s just me, sitting on the sofa with a cup of tea and a cat cuddled up next to me while Husband irons his shirts ready for another working week.

It’s been three and a half years since I made the decision to become a mum. Three and a half years of appointments and invasive exams. Three and a half years of vitamins, unprotected sex, false hopes and disappointments.

I’ve lost count of the number of sticks I’ve peed on. Every time my period was more than half an hour late would induce a spike of cautious excitement. Of course three minutes later the crushing sadness brought me back down to earth.

Logging onto Facebook today was a massive mistake – all those posts by friends, school chums and cousins saying how much they love motherhood, how becoming a mum was the best thing they ever did, how perfect their child is and how much better life is now that they’re a mum have left me feeling fairly shit. And jealous. I’m so fucking jealous.

For the past six months I’ve been telling myself that it doesn’t matter if I don’t have a baby of my own. I have two sweet little nieces. Without kids Husband and I can travel, we can have an exceptionally neat and tidy home at all times and we won’t have to think about school fees. We can be selfish and do whatever we want, whenever we want.

But I do want to be a mum. And Husband wants to be a dad. After three and a half years of trying to conceive, I’ve come to the conclusion that it won’t happen.

That empty ache inside of me is never going to go away, is it?

I’m Back

I’m back!

SO much to tell you.

Let me say that while I was gone from my little PW world, I tried to be normal. I attempted the whole “blog under real name, link to FaceBook, be open with everyone about what I was doing, etc.”

It didn’t work.

I barely wrote anything and anything I did write was so politically correct, nice and HORRENDOUSLY DULL! I found I couldn’t be myself, I always had to think about who (ie: family) could possibly end up reading this and could they take a badly worded sentence to mean something which it didn’t and take offence?

BORING!

As many of you know, I stopped blogging under this account ages ago because I was being trolled and bullied quite badly. I received many hate-filled, bordering on violent, emails and comments from someone I think was a complete stranger but could’ve possibly been someone I knew many years ago (it was always difficult to tell to be honest.) It spooked me so I shut everything down and my very own hate-site finally disappeared. Whoever they were, I hope they have gotten bored with being a dickwad and don’t come back.

Troll aside, I feel like this place is more me. More anonymous, more secretive, more exciting, more open. It’s me as I am.

We’ll talk soon. xxx

Baby Update

Official Baby Update from the Department of Fertilization and Micro Person Growing

Nope, not knocked up yet. 

End of Official Baby Update from the Department of Fertilization and Micro Person Growing

Unspecial

I’ve been glued to Twitter for the past couple of days. I’m not ashamed to admit it – I’ve been enthralled by the Royal Birth. I can’t explain why. I wasn’t this fascinated when the miracle of Kimye Junior was bestowed upon the world. Perhaps it’s because I’m a die-hard Monarchist? Perhaps it’s because I had a crush on Prince William for 3 weeks when I was 15? Perhaps there’s another reason I haven’t yet figured out yet? (My mind is a very cluttered place right now – seriously, a thought couldn’t move in there without bumping some dusty old memory off a table and breaking it.)

There has been a lot of talk (mainly from my Husband, the evil Republican who believes that Australia’s Head of State should be a president) that the Royal Baby is no more special than any other baby. I have to say, I kinda agree with him. (But not about the whole “Australian President” thing.)

Call me cold-hearted, unsentimental, uncaring or just really fucking weird – but I don’t think any baby or child is special. Special to their parents and loved ones, absolutely. But not special-special. (You know what I mean, don’t you?)

If Husband and I have a baby, I don’t expect it to be a huge event. I don’t expect to be showered with gifts. I don’t expect my own Twitter hashtag. I don’t actually expect anyone to care (apart from Husband, obviously). Having a baby is nothing special. It’s a biological function. It happens thousands of times a day in Australia.

I’ve been noticing, as more and more people I know have children, that many parents are trying to make their children special. Not just special to them, but special to everyone. A baby is no longer called by it’s name – it’s Princess Georgia or Prince Joshua. The baby gets its own (very expensive) photoshoot with its own designer wardrobe. (And don’t get me started on the quarterly professional photoshoots many children now get!) Birthday cakes are elaborate affairs involving at least six layers, two different kinds of frosting and a three-figure pricetag and the associated birthday party has its own party-planner. The child has a FaceBook page, a blog and a brand before it can even talk.

Why? Why are parents trying to make their children super-special? Is it a need for attention? A desire to be seen as being a better mum or dad than other parents they know? Maybe a need to have a child who is popular or perfect or both? Or is it simply to give their child a better childhood than they had? (And if that’s the case, I don’t think throwing more money at a child means they have a better childhood.)

If we have a baby, I don’t want the child to be special to anyone except those that love it and want it to be special to them. Perhaps I really am unsentimental or cold-hearted. Or perhaps pregnancy hormones haven’t kicked in and marinated my brain to the point where I believe my child will grow up to become a super-popular super-star super-special kid?

If kids are in our future, then we plan on giving our child a fairly normal (to us) childhood – I plan on baking unelaborate birthday cakes myself. I plan on us using our trusty old camera to capture the candid moments of our child’s life. I don’t plan on allowing them to have a FaceBook account until they are well into their teenage years. I definitely don’t have a logo and brand in mind for them.

Parental love and affection aside, a child is not special simply because they were born. A person becomes special by doing something special with their life.

**********************

PS: Did anyone else find the Duchess of Cambridge’s choice of frock as she left the hospital slightly eerie?

Don’t Assume

Lately there has been a lot of crap floating about the tabloids and across Twitter. None of it good, useful or kind. I’ve seen women tearing shreds off other women for not doing what they think is “right”. It’s not “right” for Lisa Curry to have a baby at 51. It’s not “right” for Taylor Swift to have lots of boyfriends. It’s not “right” that Nigella Lawson is letting her husband get away with physically abusing her in public.

Don’t assume you know what’s going on in other people’s lives.

Don’t assume Lisa Curry is using someone else’s eggs to have a child at 51. She could be using her own. After all, women MUCH older than 51 have fallen pregnant naturally. A family friend got pregnant naturally at 49 last year. She spent the entire 9 months in a state of shock and she was very uncertain and scared about having a child so late in life. But she did, the baby is perfect and she is in love with a gorgeous little girl.

Don’t assume Taylor Swift is a “slut” (damn I hate that word!) simply because she’s had more than 3 boyfriends in her 22 years. Has it occurred to people that maybe blokes don’t stick around because maybe she doesn’t give them what they want? Maybe she loves being in love? Maybe she just likes sex? None of that is a crime and none of it deserves judgement.

Don’t assume that Nigella Lawson hasn’t filed a police report after the weekend’s horrific events. If you were famous, would you want the whole world to know that you were in a violent marriage? Would you announce to the paparazzi that you were just popping down to the police station to file a report? Whilst there are NO excuses for violence, there are (very occasionally) reasons – perhaps he has dementia or a mental illness and she feels it’s her duty to stick by him? Or perhaps she feels compelled to make the marriage work no matter what?

These statements aren’t necessarily my personal opinions or thoughts. I’m just trying to say – don’t believe everything you read, don’t assume you know the intimate details of other peoples lives and don’t assume it’s okay to perpetuate rumours.

Celebrities live under a microscope. There are thousands, sometimes even millions, of people just watching and waiting for them to do something “exciting” like hook up with an A-grade celebrity, go through a nasty break-up, have a baby out of wedlock (oh the horror!) or leave the house without knickers on.

Let’s put me under the microscope: Husband has physically manhandled me out of a cafe when I was having a panic attack – it looked pretty brutal to other people, but I need to get out of there and I could barely move. If I’d been stalked by the paparazzi, then I’m sure the headlines would’ve read “PerthWife in abusive marriage!” Husband and I have also had a fight in public. It didn’t turn physical, but we didn’t like each other very much at the time. We’ve also had some uh… quality married time in a semi-public place. I regularly leave the house with no knickers on. Then there have been my weight issues where I got fat, lost weight then got fat again (thank you insomnia meds!) Very exciting stuff if I was Kim Kardashian. Not so much because I’m just a dull overweight wife from the suburbs.

I guess my point is, nobody looks good under a microscope. And you know what, most of the time it’s none of our goddamn business what other people get up to.

As my grandmother always used to say, if you don’t have anything nice to say then keep your lips zipped.

What Whooping Cough Feels Like

Once again, vaccination is in the spotlight.

Let me just say from the outset that I’m 100% in favour of vaccination – I’m had just about every jab there is (with the exception of the HPV vaccine for reasons which have been discussed with my doctor). In my opinion, vaccination saves lives.

I’ve never understood why parents choose not to vaccinate their children. And this is why: I had whooping cough as a child. It was fucking terrifying. And I don’t understand why parents wouldn’t try to prevent it in any way possible.

I guess I can sort of understand why parents may not vaccinate against ‘typical’ childhood diseases such as chicken pox and measles – until a few years ago, I always thought that they were just an itchy and annoying childhood disease. Now I know better, but I can understand that not everyone reads as much as I do (nor is everyone related to three nurses and a medical researcher – which is how I found out that chicken pox is a bit more serious for some people!) But that still doesn’t explain why some parents won’t vaccinate their children against diseases such as whooping cough, polio and diphtheria.

I got whooping cough when I was 10 years old. I’d been vaccinated but a girl in my grade 5 class hadn’t. She caught it and she brought it to school.

Thankfully, my whooping cough was pretty mild. During the day it felt like I had a mild case of the flu. However at night I’d be sleeping peacefully then suddenly lurch awake, unable to breathe. I’d sit up in bed unable to do anything but cough. Tiny, quiet, uncontrollable coughs would expel air from my lungs but I couldn’t inhale. I’d just keep coughing and coughing and coughing and I’d start to panic . My chest would feel like it was on fire, my eyes would burn, my head would throb. Sometimes my vision would cloud over and I would almost pass out.

What felt like minutes later, I would get that huge intake of air (the “whooping” sound) before the coughs started again. Eventually I’d vomit and suddenly the coughs would stop and I’d be able to breathe normally again. I’d be sweaty from the exertion and covered in sick but able to breathe in sweet, clean, cool air.

Air is under-rated. You don’t realise how important it actually is until you’re deprived of it.

The coughing fits would happen once or twice a night and after a week, they went away. That was a mild dose of whooping cough and I was a very healthy and active 10-year-old. Imagine if I hadn’t been vaccinated, or had been an elderly person with emphysema, or a newborn baby. Having had whooping cough, I can see how deadly it can be.

Vaccination, to me, is a no-brainer. I believe vaccination jabs should be given to every person on earth*. We have the tools to stop many horrible diseases and eradicate them completely – why aren’t we all using them?

 

{This post has been partly re-written and edited – the original version was published on Kiki & Tea in 2012.}

* Obviously there are people who, for legitimate medical purposes, can’t be vaccinated. They are the reason herd immunity is vitally important. But that is a topic for another time. 

Growing Up Racist

My father is a racist man. Like many things, that was my normal when I was growing up. It took awhile for me to understand that the things he said were wrong.

Y**k. B**nga. C**n. N***er. A**o. M***ey. C**ng. C**el. W*g.

I grew up listening to that language and thinking it was normal. Now I just feel sick thinking about it. I’m ashamed. Embarrassed. Guilty.

Mostly I’m sorry. I’m sorry I thought those words were normal. I’m sorry I spoke them aloud. I’m sorry it took so long for me to realize how vile and cruel and disgusting those words are. I’m sorry those words hurt people.

As a child, even though those words were normal to me, there was this little nagging feeling that they were bad words. I couldn’t tell you why I thought they were bad words. They just felt naughty. I can only remember saying those words a couple of times (around home) – each time I felt like I’d sworn although I was never reprimanded for using them.

It took until I was 6- or 7-years-old to understand just how hurtful and bad those words were. I remember a boy in my Year 2 class at school calling my friend Alex one of those words on that list above. My first thought was a realization that I wasn’t the only one to know that word. My second thought was, “Is it actually a bad word?”

The answer came pretty quickly – Alex burst into tears and our teacher punished the other boy quite severely. (Being made to pick up rubbish during lunch and recess for three days straight plus writing a letter of apology to Alex.) It was my confirmation that those words were bad words. It still didn’t explain why Dad used them though.

Dad’s racism and sense of superiority (simply because of his skin colour) bothered me though (and still does). I questioned him about it when I was 10 or 11 – why did he use those words? He just smirked and said, “What else should I call them? Golliwogs?” I’m embarrassed to say I let the matter go. Disagreements or defiance against him usually resulted in being beaten with a leather belt.

These days, whenever he says a racist comment, he’s met with the full force of my sister and I – both of us hate racism. We challenge his beliefs. We try to make him understand that skin colour doesn’t make a person a bad driver, or stupid, or a terrorist. I doubt we’ll ever change him, but we will not sit by and let him sprout hateful comments.

Growing up with a racist father surprisingly didn’t affect who I made friends with as a child and teenager. I think back now and wonder why it didn’t. Why didn’t I become more like him? Did my non-racist mother have more of an influence than I give her credit for? Or maybe it’s because I just didn’t really care what colour skin people have? Perhaps it’s a combination of both? Somewhere along the way, I have learnt to not think like my father. Whatever the reason, I’m grateful for it. I don’t want to be like him.

I don’t judge people based on the shape of their eyes, how dark or light their skin is or what country they were born in. The choices and decisions people make in life are what defines them as people. Race has nothing to do with it.

Another Bloody Destination Wedding

It’s been coming for awhile. First there was the excited text message, high-pitched squealy phone call and gushy FaceBook message to announce that they were engaged. Then there was the over-the-top engagement party complete with belly-dancers, DJ and expensive Moroccan finger-food. Now we have received the ‘Save-the-Date’ card.

And it’s another fucking destination wedding.

Thankfully this one isn’t in Switzerland. It’s in Dunsborough (a highly popular coastal town in WA’s south-west wine region for those inter-state and overseas readers). In December. In fact, it’s the first week of the school holidays.

Crap.

End-of-year summer school holidays means every town along the WA coast is jam-packed with kids (and their parents), dogs, caravans, overseas tourists and ice-cream van owners.

Crap.

So six months before the wedding, Husband and I are looking for somewhere to sleep for two nights in Dunsborough or the surrounding areas (but not too far away – midnight driving and unlit country roads makes me a bit uncomfortable). Last night we visited the websites of at least a dozen accommodation spots. All (well, those that weren’t already booked up) quoted above $350 a night. We need to stay for two nights. That’s over $700 to go to someone else’s wedding.

Crap.

Oh, did I mention that the wedding is on a Friday, so Husband has to take two days of annual leave to attend?

Crap.

And we have to go because, once again, it’s Husband’s family member and we’re already getting a reputation as “the mean boy and his horrible wife who don’t attend weddings.” (That might be because they’re never in Perth! Although that doesn’t seem to matter to anyone…) Dunsborough is only 3 hours away so we don’t mind driving down. We DO mind paying $700 for a hideous little room in a place that has NO facilities. (When I say “facilities” I’m not talking about a luxurious pool or health spa, I’m talking about things like bed linen and kitchen facilities!)

Crapping fucksticks.

So people – if you’re planning a wedding, and you want family/friends to attend and not be mighty pissed off with you then for the love of god DO NOT make it a destination wedding!!!