If you’ve read my blog for a while you’ll know that I’ve really struggled with being lonely and isolated over the last couple of years. Motherhood can be lonely at the best of times but living hundreds of miles away from my support network has been incredibly difficult. I think it was the main factor in me developing antenatal depression whilst pregnant with Elowen. I’ve been desperate to move back down to the South West, closer to my friends and family, for so long. Finally, at long last, the wheels are in motion. We put our house up for sale over Christmas and last week we accepted an offer. I’m trying not to let myself get too excited because I know that selling and buying houses is rarely straightforward, things happen – buyers drop out, sales fall through – but we’re on the right track. Keep everything crossed for us, please.
‘Coping with two’:
We’ve been a family of four for over two whole months and I feel like I’m getting into the swing of things now. Whilst pregnant with E, I worried so much about how I would cope with two children (probably because I was in such a bad place, mentally). I didn’t believe I was cut out for it. But you know what? I feel more capable as a mother than I ever did before. It’s as if, with the birth of my second child came this new found confidence and belief in myself. I wouldn’t just ‘cope’ with two. I’d thrive. I’ve come to accept that I don’t always get it right but I am, undoubtedly, always trying my best. And my best will always be good enough.
Don’t get me wrong, adjusting to having two children is hard. There are days when I’ve been so exhausted that I’ve fallen asleep whilst sat upright playing dinosaurs with Jasmine (genuinely) or I’ve googled “Can you die from tiredness?” (genuinely). Some days, both girls will be crying at the same time and I still haven’t worked out who I should be dealing with first. Some days I want to lock myself in the bathroom and not have a 2-year-old ask me to fetch her a snack for the millionth time that morning. Or have my nipples yanked every which way by the mouth of a fussy baby. But they are just some days. The rest of the time I am so utterly besotted with my two girls and I could not imagine life being any other way. I’m embracing the chaos.
A career change:
I’ve never really mentioned much about my work life before children on my blog before. But for those who don’t know, I’m a qualified Youth Worker and for a while that’s what I did for a living. When I moved to the other side of the country to move in with Stephen, I struggled to find paid work in the Youth sector and so I ended up bumbling through several dead-end (mostly retail-based) jobs before becoming a mum. I didn’t mind all that much, I liked going to work, doing what I had to do and coming home and thinking no more about it. I’ve never been particularly career minded. Work was a means to an ends as far I was concerned. As time went on I realised that actually, I wasn’t really missing being a youth worker. Yes it was rewarding (most of the time) but once I had children of my own, my focus was on them and I was less keen to spend my evenings being spat at and called unrepeatable things by a group of angry-at-the-world-and-all-who-sail-in-her teenagers (it wasn’t always like that but you know, it did happen).
I decided I wanted to be at home with my own children until they were both at school and that’s still very much the case. I’ve spent most of my adult life looking after other people’s offspring, I kinda want to take this time to be there for my own. And I realise that I am very, very fortunate to be able to do that. (I won’t say ‘lucky’ because my husband works hard to support us and allow me to be a SAHM – that’s not ‘luck’.) I’ve been very conscious of how quickly the time has been going and before I know it the girls will both be at school and that’s got me to wondering. What do I want to do for a job when that happens? I was worried I would never really feel that there was a particular career path for me – one that I’d feel passionate about. One that would have me jumping out of bed in the morning. I felt destined to continue going from dead-end job to dead-end job until I retired because it ‘brought in a little extra cash’. Which, in times like these, does make a difference. I think we’re all feeling the pinch and I suspect with Brexit and alike, things are probably going to get worse before they get better. But lately I’ve found myself wanting more for myself. I don’t just want ‘a job’ – I want a career. I want the opportunity to learn and grow.
This week I had a lightbulb moment. On the verge of turning 30 years old, I finally realised what I want to do ‘when I grow up’. It’s been staring me in the face for so long and whilst the thought of following this path had occurred to me the past, I brushed it off as ‘impossible’ because I wouldn’t be good enough at it, or be able to make it work around my family, or there would be people better at it than me… These excuses had always stopped me in my tracks. I was paralysed by self doubt.
A twitter friend, Nicola, recently recommended an audio book to me – ‘You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life’ by Jen Sincero. You’ve gotta love that title, right? Well anyway, I dutifully downloaded the audio book to my phone and began to listen to it whilst doing chores around the house. At first I found it a little cheesy. But by chapter six I had an epiphany, my light bulb moment. I stopped whatever it was I was doing, I paused the audio book and I just sat with happy tears streaming down my face. It’s at that moment I decided I wanted to become a Birth Doula and not only that, but I was going to do whatever it took to make it happen.
Since then I’ve been researching courses, making contacts and coming up with plans. I don’t want to waste any more time talking myself out of this.
I can’t think of anything better to do as a ‘job’ than helping women through their pregnancies and labours. It wouldn’t just be a job. It would be a privilege. And an opportunity for me to learn and grow.
I’m sure I’ll be writing more about becoming a Birth Doula over the coming months and years. I’m thinking about maybe even starting a separate blog for that – it would great to record my journey.
But for now I am so very, very excited.