Mountains & Motherhood

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The sweet, sweet view from the top

Now that I am fully recovered from my mountain trek (a month ago!), I thought I might share a little of the journey with you. While we had our share of ups and downs (pun intended), there was one particular section of trip that warrants a mention. Mainly because it nearly broke me, in a fuck-this-I’m-sitting-down-and-not-moving-ever kind of way.

Let me set the scene for you: perfectly sunny, mild day, fresh air. Oh, and the biggest friggin’ mountain you’ve ever seen. Plus an 18kg pack. Plus 3 hours of climbing. The reason I’m telling you all of this is because as I was climbing (and climbing, and climbing), I couldn’t help but relate the hike to labour. Now I know I have zero experience of actually going through labour, and I’m sure it is about 100 times harder than my hike, but it did share some key elements. Of course, thankfully it wasn’t a 24 or 30 hour hike like some labours can be. Instead, my step by step battle was more easily related to the later stages of labour. So here we go:

1. Firstly, the neverending-ness of it. We climbed for about 5 hours that day, and while some of it was quite manageable, some of it actually enjoyable, the majority was a complete Slog. With a capital friggin’ S.

2. The excess weight. 18kg is one big ass baby. Carrying that weight on your back while climbing up a hill did not help my posture, my breathing or my mood one iota. The plus side of my extra weight is that once I reached the top, one swing and voila! Back to my old shape. Something tells me my post-baby body might not bounce back quite so speedily.

3. The overwhelming need to focus mentally. That sounds a bit odd, right? I’m climbing a hill, what on earth do I need to think about? It was my own state of mind that gave me the most grief on the ascent. That little voice in your head that says, “Uh, what the fuck do you think you’re doing? You can’t do this! Turn right back around this minute, loser!”. As I’ve said before, I think my mental preparation will be what really counts in the labour ward, being able to focus and not panic will be what gets me through. I was pretty damn proud of myself for proving that little voice wrong.

4. The point of giving up. I was so close, SO close to the top at one point, and I nearly gave up. Nearly said no, sat down, and gave up. All I could see was hill. More, more and more hill. I was never going to get there, I wasn’t making any progress, I was failing. I was actually only 10 minutes from the top, but having pushed myself for so long, I couldn’t see it. Watching my plethora of reality shows, I’ve seen this moment so many times with women in labour. They’ve endured hours of pain, are pushing with all their might, and almost every one of them hits a point when they’re yelling “I can’t! I can’t do it. It’s not working” – usually about one or two pushes away from giving birth. It’s that moment, that mountain, that last push that is the hardest of the whole ordeal.

5. The summit. The top, the grin-inducing, endorphin-rushing relief/joy/impossible dream that is the end result. All the pain, the exhaustion and feelings of defeat vanish instantly when you hit the peak and see that magnificent view, and I can only imagine the intensity of that moment when your child is born. No wonder people go back for more.

For me, the mountain was evidence that I am tougher than I think, and that if I can focus and put one foot in front of the other, I can achieve what I had thought was impossible. It might not be Everest, but for me it was enough.

To all of those reading this who are mothers, who have been there, I applaud your strength.

Jane xx

Money for Babies

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Well hello there! Haven’t I been slack? My most humble apologies at my lack of posting recently, I have no excuses other than to say I have been crazy busy. All this end of term stuff in teaching can really kick you to the kerb sometimes!

Anyway. What I was planning on posting about today is money. That old chestnut. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that the conversation revolving around having kids has had a LOT to do with the money factor. Namely, how the hell are we going to afford this? I know what you’re thinking – this is planned. There is/has been/will be tonnes of time to save cash. And in a sense you’re right. The last 8 months or so has been part of a plan to clear debts and stash some cash for the moolah dry spell that will be on us when parenting kicks off. However, a couple of unforeseen bumps in the road have meant that our coffers have been somewhat wiped out. We’re still hoping that life will balance itself out this year and allow us to catch back up, but for now we’re not in as great a spot financially as we were hoping.

As a result of money worries, the inevitable question presents itself: the line of “there’s always a better time” is certainly true, so do we just bite the bullet and deal with being broke? Or do we put things on hold for 6, 12 months in the hope that our cash stores will bounce back up? Obviously the danger here is that something else may crop up, and how long do we wait for the perfect time, when there might not be one?

At the moment we’re looking at a compromise. Our planned “trying” date was going to be May/June of this year. However living in the lucky country, the government is looking to increase the Paid Parental Scheme quite drastically from July 2015, which would give me 6 months of full pay. Hopefully we can then save enough to make up for another 6 months, and I’ll be in the fantastic position of being able to take a year off work. Here’s hoping.

So that’s the update, I guess dealing with curveballs is good practice for having kids!

Jane xx;