9 things I have learned in my first school term


Well, we’re a term in and the Big Small Person has settled admirably at Infant School. But she’s not the only one getting an education – the start of school is something of steep learning curve for parents too. Especially this one. So I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned in my child’s first term…


  1. The book bag is an official channel of official communication

I mean, who knew?? It comes somewhere on the Official List of Communications between Letters, Email, and Carrier Pigeon. No b*****d has ever shared this list with me.

The book bag must be checked everyday for important paper messages hidden amongst the other random crap your child decides to bring home (see no 6). It is never, ever used for books. Fool. Apparently this is something other people just know ‘naturally’, but it took me a good month to catch on because I am completely clueless.


  1. It’s more expensive than it looks

Were you looking forward to a financial break when your first born hit full time mainstream education? LOL! Sweet. Now not only do you have to figure out the before school/after school/childminder/friend-swapping/play-dating/school club/holiday care drop-off and pick-up MADNESS, you have to pay through the nose for them, too.

And you will also spend a small fortune in loose change for non-uniform days, bake sales, harvest festival donations, school trips, and other random bobbins. All of which must be supplied direct to the office in envelopes you don’t own and can never remember to purchase. No, you cannot just write an upfront cheque at the beginning of term. Nor is there a Direct Debit option. I asked.

If you are the owner of a baby, take my advice – stock up on your stationary, and start saving your small change now.


  1. You won’t have a scooby do what they do all day

Yep, this old chestnut. But it really is a violent contrast after nursery, where you get to shoot the breeze with the staff about your darling little one at some length – and even get a written daily report of their consumption, bowel movements, play pals and activities.

At school you get 15 mins facetime with the teacher each term. It’s weird.

You will also get nothing out of your child. Literally – “nothing”. Or “nobody”. Or “Mummeeee, stop asking me all of these stupid questions! I don’t want to talk about this now!” (Uh huh, the attitude turns up a good notch, too).

I’ve even tried all the inventive questions you’re supposed to ask, about what their teacher said to them today, what made them laugh, what was so-and-so doing at lunchtime etc etc.


Occasionally bits will slip out accidentally as they are trying to keep you talking at bedtime, or when playing schools with teddy bears. But that’s your lot.

This is a well documented phenomenon, but suddenly being completely blind to 35+ hours of your kid’s life is pretty damn discomforting. The only thing more discomforting is actually getting more face-time with the teacher, because it means your kid has been a little turd. The long journey from the collection point into the classroom when you are called in after school is your new Walk of Shame. The old one was waaaaay more fun.


  1. The school gate is a whole nother level of social anxiety! Yay!

Dadonthenetheredge, my greatest supporter/detractor, has a word to describe my behaviour in social situations, especially new ones. That word is ‘intense’.

The school gate is not a good place for ‘intense’.

Having run the gauntlet of Mummyland groups, and nursery, (plus, you know, school, university and work) you might think I would have developed intensity-dampening strategies, or at least the ability not to care.  Neither of these have yet occurred. Instead I simply continue to be just slightly inappropriate, incomprehensible or, at best, inconsistent, and then obsess about each interaction after the fact.

But this isn’t your own, personal, run-of-the-mill social anxiety. Oh no no. Because this is school. This is the beginning of your child’s real social life. The impressions and connections they make here will colour and shape their lives as they move with their peers through the education system over the next 14 years. So now you get to have social anxiety on behalf of your CHILD, which is a billion times worse. Why weren’t they invited back for a play date? Why didn’t they get that party invite? Why didn’t so and so want to sit with them at lunch? What did they do? What did YOU do?

You obviously want your child to make friends at school, and that means EXTRA pressure to ingratiate yourself with parents – or at least make the effort to appear normal – lest your own personality foibles impair your child’s social success.

My intensity does NOT do well under pressure.

To counteract this, I have taken to putting on real clothes (as opposed to maternity yoga pants) and actual make-up for pick-up time, so I appear to outsiders to be a functioning member of society. I also chant my ‘Do not be intense and weird’ mantra under my breath, plant a maniacal fixed smile on my face and try not to look too dead behind the eyes.

I’m pretty sure it’s working a treat.


  1. The administration is EPIC

Oh God. The admin.

It started with a school letter before school even started, littered with so many dates, rules, meetings and events I literally couldn’t make head, tail or any other random anatomical sense of what was going on – and subsequently missed half of them.

This is why I know F-all about PTA activities or phonics. Probably.

This initial and epic four A4 sides of dense communications was followed by an actual list of dates, not, it turns out, exhaustive. (I missed Children In Need non-uniform day for instance – exactly the kind of shite which tortured and haunted my own childhood. Insert flashback).

Let me make it clear that I am a grown woman literally afraid of her own post, and who considers his willingness to act as my personal secretary Dadonthenethwrdege’s most attractive quality. In fact I count post as one of my natural foes, alongside spiders, Baileys (although I didn’t know this until I was 16 or so), PE, and deadlines. ***Shiver***.

So having to deal with the sheer breadth and girth of correspondence on behalf of the Big Small Person has been… somewhat challenging. I mean I’m barely keeping my own sh*t together, here.

You are not, by the way, allowed to SHARE the administrative burden. Schools will accept only one contact per child. This has annoyed and alarmed Dadonthenethwredge, who – for some reason – mistrusts my organisational capabilities. Which in turn makes me unjustifiably indignant. (Not enough to actually organise myself, though, needless to say.)

And it is not just the paperwork via book bag, for schools have now gone 21st century on us, and have a dastardly system of texts, websites and apps they can also bombard you with. I once received 6 text messages in one day. And there are 3 billion websites to sign up for and remember passwords for. The general school website. The payment app. The event booking app. The homework site. The specialist maths site. The class page. The phonics site. Oh, and then the FB parents and class pages. And the emails. From school, after school club, and activity clubs.

I was going to expand on this list for comedic effect but I’m too busy hyperventilating having typed it out.

Only today, on visit to the school office with various tardy permission slips and envelopes of money, the nice Office Lady tapped me consolingly on the shoulder, reminded me of another form I had forgotten, and told me she’d put an extra copy in my book bag because she knew I wouldn’t read the email.

We’re not even at the end of the first term in a pretty big school and this woman knows me by name, knows my child by name, and knows about my post allergy and gaping administrative blind spot. I spend considerably more time with her than with my child’s actual teacher.

Far from being embarrassed, I’m actually hoping that by Year 1 I can take her in correspondence from home about banking, insurance, mortgages and all the other crap that melts my tiny brain, and she might help me sort the rest of my life out too.


  1. Your child was NOT a prolific artist at nursery.

Although I have seen some evidence of actual learning, as far as I can make out, (which isn’t far, see no 3) the Big Small Person spends most of her time at school scribbling on, cutting out, then sticking, stapling or paper-fastening bits of paper together (I had no idea paper-fasteners were still a thing), and finally bringing them home and insisting they be preserved for posterity.

There is no way posterity can cope with this volume of ‘creativity’. Certainly I can’t.

The Big Small person hadn’t reached 2 before I had learned to coo adoringly over every painty splodge that came home from nursery and then surreptitiously discard them in the recycling (well buried – to do otherwise is a rookie mistake new parents only ever make once).

I’m not a monster – I keep seminal pieces in a memory box under the spare bed, but if I did not cull we would literally be living around stacks of child-art like those people you see in Channel 5 hoarding documentaries.

I actually think disposing of these items behind her back is a kindness, and I’ll explain why. My own parents recently cleared out their loft, and in a visit to Sheffield bought with them boxes of pictures by me, proudly adorned with my name and age, and returned them to my keeping.

There is nothing that expresses rejection quite as eloquently as giving back painstakingly crafted, personalised gifts you no longer have any use for. THIS IS NOT OKAY PARENTS. I actually think they may be trying to break up with me.

Either that or they’re getting old and don’t give a f*ck about other people’s feelings anymore. I can’t wait for this stage of life – see no 4.


  1. I am a rubbish, rubbish, teacher

Speaking of my parents, I remember the horror of being taught to drive by my Dad, who would insist that my inability to consistently reverse around a corner was wilful incompetence, rather than chronic spacial unawareness and general ineptitude. I swore then I would be a model of patience and tranquility when guiding my own children.

Turns out, not entirely unexpectedly, I was a) wrong, and b) a bit of a knobhead. This seems to have happened quite a bit as my pre-child preconceptions have been replaced by cold, hard, post-child realities.

Perhaps it’s the sleep deprivation, possibly it’s genetics, conceivably it may be the Big Small Person’s natural instincts to press each and every one of my freaking, c*ck-wombling buttons.

Whatever it is, I find I simply cannot keep my temper when the little sh*t claims it can’t read the word ‘cat’ by the end of a book about cats, heavily illustrated with cats, where we have painfully sounded out and read the word ‘cat’ at least 10 f***ing times per f***ing page.


If you are reading this and you are a teacher, I take my hat off to you. It is not my forte, and I am far more like my Father than I had realised.

Could be the beard.


  1. It’s quiet

I sort of knew this one was coming, which is why I overfilled my first few weeks with activities to stave off my new reality.

And then one day it was just me and the Small Small Person, and I didn’t know what to say to her.

Because for so long I’ve had the Big Small Person filling every available conversational space (and most unavailable ones) with speech, squeaking, squawking, or screaming. Sometimes ALL AT THE SAME TIME. (She may not be able to read, but by God, the kid can communicate).

In many ways I’ve enjoyed the one-on-one time with the Small2, who has been basically dragged round after her sister for her entire life, but she’s still not much of a conversationalist. I’ve had to relearn the art of the parental monologue, which never came particularly easily to me in the first place. (For the uninitiated, this is where you basically talk to yourself all day to encourage your offspring’s oral development, receiving nothing, indecipherable nonsense, random tantrums or the occasional repetition from your partner in ‘dialogue’).

Since the Big Small learned to talk I had clearly forgotten this horror, and have often wished for blessed silence, and even for the opportunity to actually monologue again (or frankly to say anything that might be heard and heeded). Be careful what you wish for. Because now I realise I miss the noise terribly.


  1. The days are short

Luckily it turns out that 9am to 3.30pm isn’t actually very long. Certainly I can’t seem to achieve anything terribly worthwhile once I’ve fitted in Small Person meals, snacks and naps. If we’re lucky we’ll get to the shops, park or a playgroup, but that’s about it. I’m still getting used to having my days curtailed and restricted in this way, but I’ve not yet forgotten to pick the Big Small up – I’m told this will happen eventually.

Fortunately the nice Office Lady already has me on speed dial, so I will be able to dash madly across Sheffield, apologise profusely to the child, ply it with guilt-chocolate when we get home, and tearily and dutifully check the book bag for correspondence (like a proper parent). #secondtermgoals.



Underwiring woes


About every three weeks or so, I decide that it’s high time to sort my life out.

This is almost always a mistake.

This time though, I decided it was going to be different.

This time, I was going to start with my boobs.

Yep, this week it suddenly became clear to me that it is in fact my underwear holding me back from undefined but probably GREAT THINGS. (Not, you know, my chronic exhaustion, crushing sense of inadequacy, borderline personality disorder or general incompetence. No no).

What’s more, it could well be my undergarments jinxing the whole of 2016.

I mean, who really knows? My lingerie rut may have been responsible for numerous untimely celebrity deaths, and the unerring descent of the world into postmodern fascism. (Frankly it seems as likely an explanation as anything else I’ve read, usually involving the socio-economic disenfranchisement of the middle/working/lower classes, climate change, or the second coming).

If you’ve not heard of it before it’s called the butterfly effect. The idea is that the smallest of flutters can cause catastrophic ripples in, er, the space time continuum. Or something. And believe me, we’re not talking about delicate fluttering here. We’re talking pendulous swinging. Those are some pretty big ripples. (With an ‘r,’ with an ‘r’).

Anyhoo, all I really know is that I’ve been stuck for some time now in the nork-limbo of not wanting to buy more nursing bras because nursing was pretty much over, and clinging to the comfort of both my breastfeeding days and my buttery soft, flexible cups.

Those soft cups are now so old and so soft they’ve lost any questionable buoyancy or support they might once have had. To be honest, mere material was always fighting a losing battle against gravity, but the sag has been so gradual that I only really noticed it when I had to hoik my tits out of the way to button up my trousers. (I really, really wish that was an exaggeration. Dadonthenetheredge is a lucky man indeed).

The epiphany hit.

And I knew I had let both my standards and my chest slip too far.

So for the good of my boobs, my life in general and very probably the world at large, I hit M&S in my lunch hour on Monday. I tried on a million REAL bras, with actual structure and bone fide UNDERWIRING.

All of which looked shit.

Basically I have no idea what size I am, or what style now suits my post-baby bosoms, and I am far too old, tired and unshaven to face the social awkwardness of having another grown woman lose and then attempt to retrieve her tape measure from the uncharted depths of my considerable overhang.

I used to be a balconette woman, because I like(d) things up front and central. For some reason the tops of my boobs are now kind of empty, so this style now looks like I’m smuggling two collapsing souffles. Everything else was variously puffy, bulgy, wonky, inexplicably empty, gave me torpedo tits, or dangerously unstable mashed potato cleavage – the lumpy kind.  

Undeterred, and buoyed by the novel sight of my midsection, I picked the least hideous of my options, and congratulated myself on my success – and the inevitable personal and global successes that would follow in due course.  

Obviously, I avoided actually WEARING the new bra for a few days, and I therefore blame myself for the massive tit that is Nigel Farage ingratiating himself further with the White House. My bad.

(In my defence, I’m afraid neglecting the bra was too easy to do when my morning routine involves throwing a questionably clean top on over bobbly leggings, dragging my hair into a mum-bun and shouting at my children to get dressed, eat breakfast, find their fucking shoes and stop trying to wind each other up).

Anyway, later in the week I had a big meeting. So I decided, in my wisdom, to man up – or at least mammary up – venture into real underwear, and power dress my boobs for the occasion.

By about 10am this decision had sparked many, many questions. Amongst them, the following:

  • Why why why IN GOD’S NAME would women do this to themselves?
  • Who invented this device? Take me to them.
  • Are my organs going to be permanently damaged, a la Victorian corset wearers?
  • Are there actually crescent shaped cuts in the top roll of my stomach?
  • Who arbitrarily decided what level/location was socially and aesthetically acceptable for breasts in the first place? Take me to them too, and bring me a large stick.
  • How the cock-wombling, sky-blue fucking hell did I used to do this very day?


  • Can anyone actually see me whimper with every deep breath?

Fortunately I had, at the last moment, baulked at leaving my beloved (and conveniently collapsible) soft cup nursing bra at home, and stuffed it into the bottom of my handbag.

By 11am I had caved.

Four minutes later I returned from the toilets to my desk in blissful, hip level, unfettered glory – and with a bulging handbag. I literally cannot describe the magnitude of my relief to you. It was like the best, longest, most satisfying orgasm of my entire life. Or possibly one of those melty middle chocolate puddings. 

So the thing is, 2016 might actually get even shitter before it is mercifully over in five short weeks, for which I can only apologise. But I simply cannot take one for the team by subjecting myself to personal tit torture for the greater good. I’m no martyr. And neither are my breasts. 

And anyway, it occurs to me now that Trump probably WANTS my boobs to be nice and high and on display, given his proclivities. In fact, now I think about it, it’s probably on his list of planned legislation – right after banning abortions and limiting the procreation of brown people. Official heights and angles will likely be based on Meliana’s vital statistics, and policed personally by slimy elderly white men with shiny eyes and wet lips. Or Trump himself.
So frankly I’m not going to give him the bloody satisfaction.

#Freetheboobs! #Vivelesaggytits! #Downwiththissortofpersonalscaffolding.

That’ll show him.

In another three weeks maybe I’ll try and save/distract myself/the world through some other medium. Possibly feng shui. Or a new skin care regime. Ora new pair of winter ankle boots.

Oooo ankle boots….


To my daughters: I’m sorry.

At the end of a day, I’m often sorry for not being a better mum or a better person. Today, I am sorrier than usual.

So to my two daughters, I’d like to say it. I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that you appear to be growing up in a world that is growing – faster than you can keep up – in hate.

I’m sorry that there are people in the world who think they’re better than you. Or worse, that you are better than others.

I’m sorry that I can’t tell you anymore that the good guys always win.

I’m sorry the stories you love don’t reflect real life. It’s too soon for you to know.

I’m sorry the lessons of morality I’m trying to teach you are not being played out on a global scale.

I’m sorry that the stupid, thoughtless, senseless, selfish and bigoted are in charge of such large swathes of the world.

I’m sorry that it’s now apparently okay for those people to talk about you, tiny women in waiting, as mere possessions. As objects for gratification. Bodies that need controlling and legislating. As pussies to grab at will.

I’m sorry that you’ll have to learn about differences you don’t currently see or understand. About why skin, and accent, and origin seem to matter. And I’m sorry that you will have to fight new challenges and barriers to make, keep and protect the friends who don’t happen to look or sound like you.

I’m sorry that catch phrases and vitriol have trumped – quite literally –  rhetoric and reason.

I’m sorry that lies, conviction, repetition and fear have won out over wisdom, balance and moderation. That black and white – sorry just white – won out over grey. Over brown.

I am sorry that you will see and know, so much sooner than I’d like, injustice that goes way beyond your toast being cut in the wrong shape, or being sent to the naughty step.

I’m sorry that you may not become an adult who has universal, automatic access to high quality education, healthcare or housing.

I’m sorry that you will have limited options – for travel, for work, for living, for friendship – instead of the boundless possibilities you deserve. I’m sorry that you will be ring-fenced in by small mindedness and ugliness.

I am sorry that society is wilfully unraveling the progress, knowledge and burgeoning equity of the last 50 years to return us to a world of segregation, inequality, suspicion and supremacy.

I’m sorry I couldn’t do more to make this a safer, better, kinder place for you.

I’m sorry that it will fall to you to clear up the bloody mess of whatever is left over when this generation finishes it’s self-destruct sequence.

I’m sorry that when you open your eyes tomorrow on your Frozen bedsheets and offensively pink wall, everything might look the same to you. But in reality you are waking up somewhere less tolerant and more dangerous than when you went to sleep.

I’m sorry that while I was guilting over my daily failures of you, I didn’t do more to halt this massive failure, this tidal wave. This betrayal.

I’m sorry I thought it would never ACTUALLY happen.

I’m sorry about my own impotence and lethargy, and that of other middle-of-the road, middle class, I’m okay and I’m a bit busy, ordinary, everyday, okay people. We’ve let you down.

I’m sorry my love for you can’t light up more of the world you’ll have to live in.

I am only NOT sorry that you’re too young for me to have to make this apology in person. Because I need better words, and better ways to help you grow up strong enough to stand up for yourselves, and the others that will need you.

Oh, and I’m sorry that I’ve eaten the last of the chocolate fingers. It’s been that kind of day.




The October clock change


It’s this weekend, folks! This used to be the ‘good’ clock change, where you got an extra hour in bed. Now it’s the bad, BAAAD clock change, where you get an extra ungodly hour of your children. ;(

And it’s not just the farmers I’ve got a bone to pick with. You. You electronics companies with your fancy-pants auto-updating devices. Stop it. Because unless you also plan to come round and do my microwave, oven and car clocks, not only will I be woken up at 4.30-5am by my offspring for at least a bloody month, but for that same month I will also HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE ACTUAL F*CKING TIME IS.

Oh, and Ceebeebies. DO NOT choose this as the time to f*ck about with your breakfast shows, K? Your programming is already the main means by which I manage the passage of time in a morning, and if this bedrock of our schedule is also messed around with I CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR MY ACTIONS.

I think that’s everyone on my List for today. Cheers.

#why? #no #hellno #clockchange #parentsvfarmers



Rainbow woodlice


This has not been a good week. There has not been a good week – a really good week – for a little while, now.

Sometimes, I think I have an invisible shield that makes me impervious to happiness.

From the outside I have a perfect, even charmed life. I’ve got my two beautiful girls. I live in a nice Nether Edge house, with a nice husband who puts up with me, some friends, and a cushy part time job that lets me spend time with my babies.



I am often sad. At my core I am lonely. I am frequently overwhelmed. I am swept away, almost daily, by a sense of gnawing unfulfillment and crushing inadequacy. I am confused at my own discontent, and frustrated by it. Too often, I am angry, at nothing; at everything.

Everyday, I chase happiness.

I wake up and I try and I strive and I drive to get to the next place, the next goal, the next thing that will create happy. But it never quite comes – I can never quite get there. The irony in the pursuit of happiness is that the more doggedly you chase it the more elusive it becomes. The more you try to grip it, force it, the more it slides away. It remains tantalisingly just beyond my fingertips – I can almost, almost reach it… but somehow I can’t get it right, and I fail to meet my own expectations over and over and over again.

Even when I should be happy, I can’t feel it properly. I can’t be in the moment. It’s like something is blocking it, numbing it, muting it. Like there is a barrier – a grey veil between me and the world.

Some days, that barrier is just a light fog. Things are bright enough for me to see clearly. On those days I can taste happy on my mind’s tongue. Other days it is a dense black smoke, filling my lungs, stinging my eyes, choking, cloying and clogging. I can’t see my hand in front of my face. I can’t feel anything. And I can feel too much of it.

The cloud, the trying, the failing, the thin veneer of functionality, all has a name, these days. It’s called high-functioning depression.

On the outside it looks very much like a smile. A joke. Clean hair. Make-up. Plans. Days out. It looks like happy, fed, washed children. A hoovered carpet, a job.

But underneath, underneath it looks different. And the iceberg goes deep.

It looks like a pile of never-ended, never-sorted washing. Overflowing drawers. It looks like unopened post, unanswered emails. Fear of text messages. Excuses. Not turning up at the last minute. It looks like a haphazard diary, short-term, hand-to-mouth, because a micro scale is all you can cope with. It looks like late nights, because if you go to sleep, the next day – the one you can’t face – comes quicker. It looks like too much sleep, in search of oblivion, none of it replenishing. It looks like shitty romances, to anaesthetise the brain. Struggling to make yourself pick up the phone at work. Lung-seizing panic at the smallest of tasks or deadlines. Zoning out over tea, until the four-year-old asks why you’re staring. It looks like spending too much, because that pair of boots, that dress, that’s the thing that’s going to make you happy. That’s going to fix everything. It looks like an unused gym membership, an unread self-help book. It looks like paranoia, obsession over tiny details, mistakes or slights, and then it looks like overcompensation, over brightness. It looks like filling your days, so you don’t have time to think. It looks like tunnel vision, blinkers, deliberately closing your mind off from big news, big thoughts, the enormity of real life. It looks like drinking too much. Eating too much. Not being enough.

It looks like me.

Perhaps it looks like you too.

The thing is, that almost when I least expect it, the happiness does turn up. If I let it. If I’m not looking. If it sneaks up and takes me by surprise.

And it is never the unicorns or fireworks I’m always searching for, expecting or trying to engineer.

It is an impromptu bedtime disco. A hug. A baby’s belly laugh. A stranger’s validation. A recognition of ridiculousness. A well-turned sentence. A connection. A lolcat. It is moments of unforeseen, unpredictable, unexpected wonder and grace and joy – like rainbow woodlice crawling out from under slightly rotten logs.

I like to say that postnatal depression was my introduction to mental ill-health, but that isn’t true. I have lived with anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder since I was a child. And the worst thing about it is that I can see it in my daughter. It’s all there – obsessive behaviour, fear of germs, hand washing, repetition, the importance of rituals. Worries – so many big worries for someone so very small.

And it terrifies me.

It terrifies me that I might have condemned her to live under my same cloud.

I don’t want a grey veil for her; I want technicolour.

Perhaps one of the reasons I try so hard – too hard – to squeeze happy out of our lives all the time is that I want so badly for her to know it, and recognise it. But I don’t want her to learn to manically chase it, and risk chasing it away like I do. I don’t want her to learn to run away or hide from the black cloud, either.

Because, I am learning, living with depression is not a matter of outracing, outwitting or outmaneuvering. What I want her to know – need her to know – is that more often than not it’s about resilience. It’s about endurance. It’s about patience.

If I met someone else living with depression, someone like me, if I could tell them just one thing, I wouldn’t try and tell them how to find happiness. I would tell them about the rainbow woodlice.

It doesn’t matter how thick or black the smoke. It doesn’t matter how huge the nuclear fallout of your life. It doesn’t matter if everything has crumbled to dust around you. The one thing that will always survive, will always come scuttling out of the rubble and dying embers, is the woodlice.

And some of them – some of them will have rainbows.

Sometimes they will swarm, and you will feel their tiny feet across your soul and their rainbows in your heart. Sometimes you realise you’ve not seen one in a long, long time. You can search for them, lift some rocks, poke the woodpile. Maybe you will find them by looking – but don’t look too hard. Grit your teeth, dig in your heels and just remember that they will come. They will come to you eventually.

They are inexplicable, incongruous, alien, absurd, but always, always inevitable. And they are weirdly, creepingly, crawlingly, astonishingly beautiful. They are the meaning of life.

You just have to hold on.

Just hold on and wait for them.



The loss


A poem for pregnancy and baby loss awareness week.

Words are important to me. They help me make sense of things, understand the world around me, and shape my own narrative. It helped me to write this. I hope maybe it helps someone else to read it. #babyloss #waveoflight

The loss

The blood, just a spot, a smear on the gusset.
The beat in the throat; the rush in the ears.
The phone call, who to see, when.
The journey.
The unreality of practicality.
The wait.
The running late.
The certainly, deep down, it won’t happen to me,
The certainty, deep down, that it will.
The bargain – if I worry, if I wind tight, if I torment, if I promise, if I pray, it will be ok, it will be ok.
The mantra. Please be there. Please stay, please stay, please stay.
The tick and bustle and comings and goings and ebb and flow in slow, slow, slow motion.
The scan.
The game – searching faces, searching inside – trying to feel you, find you, will you, hold you, fold you into me.
The hope.
The news.
The distress, of getting dressed – familiar, foreign: final.
The truth, that no one is looking for you now. No one but me. Nothing to see, here.
The paperwork.
The excruciating kindness.
The walk back, holding back, tears.
The tears.
The jagged edges of raw, rasping, rattling despair.
The emptiness – emptier than if you’d never been there, at all.
The clawing, raging beast of injustice.
The howl that should have been your first cry in MY chest, pressed against my breast – a cyclone in hibernation,
The desperation, the wildness –
The wilderness.
The loneliness – because hardly there you were most real to me, most mine.
The lie, when I say I’m fine.
The savage fist, the shift, the listlessness, wistfulness, repeated again and again
The impotent love, with nowhere to go –
The need to know.
The need to keep you.
The need to get you out.
The bleeding,
The pain.
The blame.
The weight of your betrayal –
The weight of mine.
The hollow core, the cold tile floor as you left me, bereft me, unblessed me.
The analysis – why you went, what I did wrong,
The song – of sorrow.
The heaviness of sympathy.
The assumption that I will get over you, you. You – like you’re flu – done, gone, move on.
The unfair inevitability of the next day, and the day after, and the day after that.
The sunshine, blue sky and careless, endless, turning, churning, indifferent cycle of life, always
The same.
The shame – of my failure, my unruly feelings.
The depletion, gnawing, grinding incompletion that doesn’t have language or permission.
The space, the echoing, roaring, soaring space, in head, in womb, in heart.
The drift apart.
The new dark.
The fear.