Having A Baby During A Global Pandemic

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The nappy bag sits in the car, untouched from when I put it together in the late stages of pregnancy. I remember sitting in the nursery surrounded by baby paraphernalia and envisioning what essential items had to be in the bag. What would I need for the numerous play dates, mothers group and other baby related activities? I had to be prepared for anything that could happen while away from the house. That time seems like a different life where I dreamt about introducing my new baby to family and friends. Where I assumed I would have leisurely coffee dates on preschool days, acquainting myself with another mum of a newborn and we would discuss all things feeding, sleeping and everything in between. Time spent away from the home was a freedom I took for granted.

There was an indication my grand social plans were not going to go as I assumed, when a few days from giving birth the hospital rang to inform me no visitors were allowed outside my husband. I understood, yet I was upset and grieved when I realised I was about to be forced apart from my first born for the longest period of our lives together. As it turns out, aside from my two boys not meeting each other shortly after giving birth, having no visitors while in maternity was lovely. I slept when baby slept and there were no distractions outside the needs of my baby and frankly I’d recommend it to all new mothers.

When we came home the world was quickly changing. Toilet paper had turned into gold and I sent Hubby on a mercy trip to the shops to purchase the raw ingredients needed for hand sanitiser. Suddenly there was no touching and we were instructed to keep our distance. I had a newborn that everyone wanted to meet and to cuddle and to brush their nostrils across the top of his head and inhale the intoxicating smell of youth. A gathering of friends at my baby sprinkle only a month before and now no one was allowed to visit. 

Staying home was frustrating at first, cabin fever quickly set in and I was mourning for what I was missing; mothers group, music, story time, getting out and about. But then a strange thing happened, a metaphorical corner was turned and it wasn’t so bad. The grieving was over and acceptance stepped in. I discovered a new freedom, the freedom that comes from not rushing out the door and having somewhere to go, the freedom to just be. My boys and I are operating at a pace of life I have never experienced before, and I like it. 

Sometimes you don’t realise what you need until it is handed to you. There are so many things outside my control and all I can control is my outlook to the world as it stands right now and my situation within in. I know I will never have time like this again. Time with my boys, where every moment is spent in the present. Where we take each day as it comes and simply see how the day naturally unfolds. Many are lamenting on what they are missing, yet I am appreciating all I am gaining. This situation is a gift, I can see that now. Of course it will not last, like everything it is temporary. The plans I had will come to fruition and when they do I will blow the layer of dust off the nappy bag, hop out of the car, pull out the pram and surround myself with people. And until then, I’m putting my feet back up on the lounge and holding my boys in my lap, we have nowhere else to be.

Sunday Meditation – Obstacles

Obstacles cause us to fall into two groups. Those who will from those who wish. Those of us that only wish will abort our pursuit at the first obstacle. Those of us that will know before the first step that we will come across many hurdles on the way. We expect them so when they appear it is not a surprise. Some of these obstacles require us to climb over them. Others require us to find a way around them. Then occasionally, some challenges command us to stop right where we are and force us to wait. These calls for inaction are the hardest to overcome. All we can do is wait, rest, take stock, applause the terrain we have covered so far and remind ourselves of why we are doing this. With reflection and the strength of patience, these obstacles end up removing themselves, clearing the path before us and ensuring we are ready to go again.

Sunday Meditation – Thank You

It is disheartening to bear witness to the current destruction that is happening across our beautiful country. Yet the power of humanity we are seeing provides that glimmer of hope. While it is difficult to watch we can help and there are many initiatives we can get involved in. There is also gratitude. We can give thanks, to those on the front line who are battling for us day in and day out. To those who are assisting in the affected communities. To those who are reaching out to our wildlife. We see you and we acknowledge everything you have done and are continuing to do. Thank you for being the heros in this tragedy. Thank you for your unending efforts and your ability to keep going. And thank you for reminding us all how fortunate we are to live in the best place in the world.

Sunday Meditation – Flexible

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Flexible. All we can control in this life is ourselves and how we respond to what life delivers to us. The randomness, the ups and downs and those events that come at us from the side, shaking the ground we stand on. Being flexible allows us to continue on towards our dreams while adjusting to these events in our life and not allowing them to take us so far off course we become lost. This means being aware that goals will change, timeframes will shift and falling down requires us to reexamine and make changes as we pull ourselves up again. With our goals in view we recenter ourselves and continue on in stability, with a lightness that allows us to mould again when our world once more shifts its angle.

Sunday Meditation – Intuition

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Intuition. Developing our intuition comes from knowing ourselves at a deeper level, who we are and what matters to us. When we fail to ignore ourselves we will seek our answers externally, often relying on other people to guide and direct us. Yet no one can know us better than ourselves, for even our closest companions barely scratch our surface. To hand control externally will ensure our lives continue to be tossed and turned like a boat in rough seas with no one taking the wheel. When we have developed our intuition we are able to proceed with an inner confidence and faith in our decisions, even if those around us disagree. We know what is right for us and what will serve us to accomplishing our goals. When we honour this inner wisdom our lives become steadier and more consistent and we are no longer surprised when opportunities arise, because we took the steps to lead ourselves to them.

Sunday Meditation – Hope

Hope. When we reflect on what we haven’t accomplished, on the mistakes made and the things we wished we could change in the past, our focus faces downwards and ensures our journey continues to be painful. Yet with hope, we can look upwards, at the promise of things to come, of our circumstances improving, of passing through our struggles and grasping the dreams we are working towards. Hope enables us to spot the opportunities that linger on our peripheral, and when we reach out for them they pull us up and forward with a force we would not have had otherwise. Hope propels us forward and enables us to tread lighter in the present. Regardless of what has taken place, or where we are in this moment, instilling hope ensures the future will be better, and that future will become our present.

When The Finish Line Vanishes

It is the unknown that keeps people up at night. Pondering how life may look if we did something else, what could have been, perhaps should have been and our fears suppress the actions we would have taken.

It was finished, that idea that sparked a sentence, then a paragraph then many months later an entire manuscript. A vision becoming reality. The bulk of the goal accomplished and now the finish line appeared on the horizon and it called my name. All that was required was an edit or two to polish the piece and go from manuscript to novel. That was 3 months ago. Today, the imminent finish line has vanished.

It was my fault. I thought the writing was close to brilliant. But with my mind in editor mode I saw it was close to rubbish. Then the story changed and I didn’t connect those dots and enveloping those factors was my total underestimation of how much time editing takes. The volume of work required to fix the holes and raise the standard of prose. I am re-writing entire chapters with new scenes and sub plots that didn’t exist in draft one. Is that editing or am I back into the perils of writing.  

Progress is painfully slow. Scenes that took a day to compose are now taking a week. My brain hurts from switching sides; creative to analytical and back to creative again. Procrastination has risen. Writing, once done first thing in the day, the one non negotiable has moved down the list. I’m chasing other things, items that are more measurable. Tasks that can be finished quickly. Anything with visible progress, finish line in sight. I’ll clean, I’ll bake, I’ll do whatever takes me away from the computer. From the tapping of letters on a keyboard followed by mass deletion. 

This is the hard part. Before, what I thought was hard, I realise were easy obstacles. I am now at make or break. It would be easy to stop. I have many excellent reasons for giving up. If I tossed it away and someone asked me why, I could pull out any of those arguments. The other person would nod, they would agree with me that I made the right decision for the justifications I provided and then move the conversation along. But in my heart I would ache and be unable to look at myself in the mirror. My life, like everyone else, a history of decisions. Moments of choosing left instead of right. Selecting A and not B. What if I do stop. But stopping will have me tossing and turning and pondering. I must finish so I know, and knowing isn’t trying it is finishing, and in finishing maybe it will change my life, maybe it won’t. Either way I will have an answer and I can sleep with knowledge. 

I’m tired. The excitement of this venture has gone, it doesn’t exist when I’m in the trenches, trudging along. I didn’t know it would take this long. It feels it’s taken long enough and I’m now doubting I am even halfway. But I’m too far along, there is no going back. This dream has caught me and shackles me. The idea is alive and it has manifested and won’t let me go. Yes you are weary but you are capable it says. So I must push through. Continue to chip away no matter how slow, no matter how much other parts of my life try to derail me. As slow as it is, every sentence kept and moved on from is progress. The finish line may have disappeared from my horizon, yet I know it exists. This is where faith kicks in. In my ability, in my endurance, in my determination. Faith the finish line will appear again and I will cross it. I have faith the finish line has a place for me on the podium and I need to keep going until I’m standing on it. So forward I go. Because once I cross that line that will be the moment I say, thank goodness I persevered. And I will know, what could have been, what should have been. What is.

Sunday Meditation – Let Go

Let go. Our lives are congested, when we feel stale and frustrated is when we need to take stock and remove the old. Relationships that being us no joy have already come to an end, thank them for their purpose and let go. Commitments we have made that are now a burden may be stopped. Instead we invest our time and energy into something more deserving. To bring in the new we need space and space can only be carved when we clear out what no longer aligns with who we are and where we are going. This process may be challenging, yet the release that accompanies it reassures us that we have done what is best for ourselves. When we let go, nothing holds us back and we are free to grow and the opportunities we have been searching for present themselves and now is the time to seize them.

Sunday Meditation – Change

Change. A constant of life. Sometimes we seek it out, other times we fight it, clinging to a situation, someone, something. But change always wins. Whether we go with it or it pushes us with force, it happens. Change is neither good or bad, yet it does move us forward. If it takes us somewhere we don’t want, it will crystallise what it is we do want and we can use this as motivation to actively make a change towards what we desire. If it brings us closer to our goals then we hold on through those moments of pain and ride through. Occasionally it turns up unexpected and spins our life around, more often for the better, leaving us wondering why we didn’t take that direction sooner. There is no point using resources to stop it, it is inevitable. Embrace it.

Sunday Meditation – Patience

Patience. Some things simply take longer. They surpass the deadlines we assign them, present problems we failed to anticipate and highlight how poor our effort has been. We often expect to be able to bend and control for speedy results. Yet sometimes the work we do isn’t ready. This is the point many give up. They move on to the next project, building up a collection of unfinished or rushed works. But this is the moment to choose and to decide to learn from what we are actually undertaking. When we toil for the work, giving our best effort each day to it, our patience is rewarded. We have a finished project that has shaped us along the way, moulding our core and equipping us with a wealth of new skills and understandings, and we receive the benefit being lifted from amateur to professional.