Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Missing in Action

This is a book I read a couple of months ago and mentioned in my post Grieving and Coveting.

The tagline was what drew me in...How mothers lose, grieve and retrieve their sense of self.  After struggling with an identity crisis since becoming a mother, I felt I was meant to read this book!

Anne M. Smollen shares how she felt following the birth of her three children and the book includes many, many quotes from other mothers.  I found this aspect of the book really helpful.  It made me feel less alone having others articulate exactly what was going through my mind.  She helped me feel that it's ok to miss aspects of my pre-baby life - my friends, my work, my creative pursuits etc., and that that loss needs to be acknowledged and grieved just like any other loss.

Some of the struggles other women mentioned that I can relate to include:
  • Not really knowing what I want, having a confused mind.
  • The frustration of mental checklists and things taking so long to complete.
  • Not having adult company as much (without children).
  • A readjustment of goals as far as career goes (in my case, my book).
  • Increased anxiety over silly little things.
  • Dropping to one income.
  • Feeling so tired and unable to put as much effort into friendships and marriage.
  • Not liking the person they've become since becoming a mother.
  • Feeling like they had nothing to contribute to conversations.
  • The frustration of not being able to complain because other people think they should be happy because they 'have it all'.
The thing I didn't like about the book was that while it reassures women who are struggling with their identity as a mother, it simply encourages them to find it somewhere else.  There are checklists and questions in the book about dreams, hopes, aspirations etc. and while these are good things to have, my identity is not in those things either.  My identity is found in Christ.  I am a child of God first and foremost.  Having a child has been a huge wake-up call in that it has forced to re-evaluate how I see myself. 

If you're struggling with the demands of motherhood, it's quite a comforting book.  I said, "YES!" a number of times when reading about others' experiences.  It's always nice to know others are going through the same things and that it's not just me.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Quote of the Day

Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise.
- Andy Stanley

Friday, October 25, 2013

What Happened To That Sarah?

Sometimes I look at my life now and can scarcely believe how things have changed in the past 18 months.  In late 2011 and early 2012 I was passionate about meeting up with the elderly in the local nursing home and had started to think about how to better support those involved in overseas mission.  I was asking God those daring, hard questions about how He would have Duncan and I serve Him.  I operated the church powerpoint most weeks.  I loved doing the mission convenor role.

But this year, I've hardly given any of the above a fleeting thought.  I surrendered the mission convenor role when Rory was four weeks old as it was plainly obvious I was sinking fast.  I haven't done the powerpoint all year as I'm usually feeding in the cry room.  Often the only time I'm thinking about older people is when I'm seething about how an outspoken old lady has said something judgemental or just plain dumb about parenting.

My main goal this year is to get well, keep my family alive and just get through the day.

A few months ago, I tried to join the Bible study group that meets before church, the main reason being that it consists mostly of older people and I wanted to meet with and encourage them.  But it just didn't happen - trying to get to church earlier was stressful, it created a dilemma of how Duncan was going to entertain Rory at church for an hour while the group was just too hard!  I was terribly disappointed.  Not long after that, I had my relapse.

Some people say that God closes doors and others say you need to kick down those doors.  I tried to kick it down, but I honestly feel that God DID close that door, at least for now.

In the last few weeks some of that old passion has come back; a small spark has been ignited.  Duncan and I talked and came to the agreement that now is the right time to become mission convenors again and we will start again at the beginning of next year.  I've started to think of small things I can do to support mission such as praying whenever missionaries enter my thoughts (thanks Meredith for the brilliant post Why Didn't I Pray?), making things to sell at our church stall etc.

It's not the right season for the nursing home and powerpoint, but I'm hopeful that one day it will be.

I've learnt that it's not about what I do.  Any pride I had in my church involvement has been stripped away.  God's love for me is not based on how many rosters I go on.  There are a million ways to serve that are unofficial - a kind, encouraging word, bringing a packet of biscuits for morning tea, sharing with other mums in the cry room.  God has given me a son to raise in this season of life.

So where is that Sarah?  She's still there somewhere.  Maybe this is just a hope deferred and one day I'll see her again.  If not, I know God loves me and there is always work for us to do - even if it's the work we didn't expect at the time.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

11 Questions

Janine from Reflections from a Redhead tagged me to answer 11 questions.  Here goes:

1.  Do you have a place you visit in a recurring dream?
It used to be my bedroom (surprise, surprise).  When Rory was born, I would always have the same recurring nightmare...I was in my bed and he was in the bed with me, except he would disappear beneath the doona and I couldn't find him. I would wake up screaming.  Horrible!  Thankfully I haven't had those dreams for about six months now.

2.  Which albums or songs were your personal soundtrack to the year you turned 18?
It was 2001.  I remember With Arms Wide Open by Creed, Hanging by a Moment by Lifehouse, Hit 'Em Up Style by Blu Cantrell were some of my faves that came out that year.

3.  Which band did you originally hate but in time became one of your favourites?
I never hated them, but I didn't get why everyone raved about U2.  It wasn't until I moved in with my friend Emma and listened to her The Best of 1980-1990 CD that I was hooked.  I went to their concert in Perth in 2010.

4.  What is your favourite holiday and how do you usually celebrate it?
Christmas!  We take turn about to visit our families - one year with my parents, one year with Duncan's parents, then we also have it at our place and invite our parents and brothers to join us.  My parents aren't Christians so sometimes we go to church and sometimes we don't.  We have a Christmas tree and presents which my Dad hands out wearing a Santa hat (although last year my brother took over).  If we're with Duncan's family, then we always go to church and then have a roast lunch afterwards, usually with extended family as well.

5.  What is your most outrageous Lotto dream (not helping family/charity or paying bills, just something completely out there if you the money and permission to do anything)?
It seems so selfish, but I guess a European/UK holiday then a trip to a beach paradise, then support myself to write novels.

6.  Where do you wish you could revisit again for the very first time?
Sydney and Esperance.

7.  When do you think we will finally have hoverboards?
Soon I hope.  I want one, but it probably won't be for at least another 10-15 years.

8.  What is your favourite photograph of yourself?
I would say one from my wedding day:

9.  What is your favourite memory from the town/city you live in now?
Christmas 2011.  Our first Christmas as hosts and the first time we had both families join us.  The 'battle of the siblings' tennis match (me and my brother versus Duncan and his brother) was a classic!

10.  What is the song you danced to when you first danced with someone you liked?
I have no idea.

11.  What now obsolete or lost item from your childhood/teens do you wish you bring back?
Judy Blume books.  My cousin lent them to me when she finished with them, now I've given them back to her so her daughter can read them.  I get so excited when I find one in an opshop.

Feel free to do this questionnaire on your own blog. :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Our last day in Sydney...*sob*

Amanda and I caught the train to Newtown so we could have some childfree time to chat.  Michael and Duncan drove with the kids to meet us.

I would have loved more time to explore this old and very quirky suburb.  So many interesting shops and cafes!  Unfortunately the airport beckoned...

No trip to Sydney would be complete without a visit to Max Brenner

It was so good getting to catch up with a very dear friend.


 Some of these photos are Amanda's.  Used with permission.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Darling Harbour

On our third full day in Sydney we caught up with our friends Jane and Tim and their baby Ruth, who is 11 weeks younger than Rory.  We met in the city and then walked to Darling Harbour to see some of the tall replica ships coming in:

It was a wet and miserable day in Sydney, and Jane quickly realised it wasn't the right weather for thongs.  So we made a quick visit to a shoe shop where I got her to pose with this sign haha:
We enjoyed a delicious lunch at a Chinese restaurant and the bubbas socialised while we ate:
Gorgeous views

The day wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Lindt Café:
Cuddles with Ruth



The bubbas seemed quite taken with each other.



Thursday, October 17, 2013

How We're Going

The short answer is...better!

Rory's sleeping has improved tenfold.  Our visit to Ngala was such a success.  I don't know what they did, but they work miracles (or rather God does through them).  Rory now usually only wakes once a night (so much better than six times on average).  Duncan and I feel like new people.  I'm hoping he'll stop feeding at night soon so I can enjoy a full night's sleep (he usually wakes between 3-4am absolutely ravenous - he's a big fellow).  Oh how I took sleep for granted before I became a parent!  He can self-settle without being swaddled so now he rolls around in his cot, finds his own dummy, and plays with his teddies before going to sleep.  No more patting, ssshhhing, and rocking.  He does get himself into some funny positions, but he can go to sleep standing on his head if he likes, as long as he sleeps!

His eczema still flares up.  It's never been as bad as it was here though.  I'm still none the wiser as to what causes it.  I've monitored his diet, changed our laundry detergent....

I'm on new medication, the levels are now right, it is working, I feel really good.  I still struggle with getting stressed over minor situations.  I've found the key is doing less, really saying NO, and being organised (it's better to arrive somewhere early than be rushed and late).

In my naivety, I thought my recovery would be like this:

In reality, it's more like this:

Part of me worries that the medication will suddenly stop working like the old one did, but I know that I've just got to cross that bridge IF I ever come to it.  It's pointless worrying about something that may not happen and, if it does, there are lots of people around to support me.

Thank you, Lord.  I am amazed by Your grace every day.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Bible Verse of the Day

Praise be to the LORD for He has heard my cry for mercy.  The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and I am helped.  My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.  The LORD is the strength of His people, a fortress of salvation for His anointed one.  Save Your people and bless Your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.
Psalm 28:6-9

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


After a few days of stomach cramps, I started throwing up on the way back from Perth on Sunday night.  We had been up for the weekend for our goddaughter's 1st birthday party.

We called in at our local hospital as I was hopeful they'd give me an injection of Maxolon.  The nurses checked me out, did a test to rule out pregnancy (phew!), and came to the conclusion that it must be a virus.  Whenever I've had Maxolon before, it has worked a treat.  This time it didn't work at all!  I was still vomiting in the hospital, on the way home, and once I'd gone to bed.

This has made me face one of my greatest fears of becoming a mum...having to look after someone else and soldier on while you're feeling so rotten.  Duncan brought Rory into our room so I could feed him and then took him back to his cot.  His very understanding boss gave him the day off to look after me and the little man as I was bedridden all of yesterday.  I was feverish, weak, lethargic and barely ate anything, except for a few crackers.

Last night, my arthritis flared up again.  Oh my goodness, the pain was bad.  I think it was because I'd been lying down so much.  I even resorted to taking Celebrex for the first time in two and a half years just to get some sleep.

Thankfully both Duncan and Rory are still well!

I'm feeling a lot better today, but whenever I've had gastro, the recovery always seems to take a while.  I just lay on the floor, resting my head on a cushion this afternoon while Rory played with his toys next to me.

Vomiting!  Ergh!  One of the grossest physical sensations ever.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Funny


1.  This is a picture of an octopus.  It has eight testicles. (Kelly, age 6)

2.  Oysters' balls are called pearls. (James, age 6)

3.  If you are surrounded by sea, you are an island.  If you don't have sea all around you, you are incontinent. (Wayne, age 7)

4.  A dolphin breathes through an arsehole on the top of its head. (Billy, age 8)

5.  My dad goes out in his boat and comes back with crabs. (Emily, age 5)

6.  When ships had sails, they used to use the trade winds to cross the ocean.  Sometimes, when the wind didn't blow, the sailors would whistle to make the wind come.  My brother said they would be better off eating beans. (William, age 7)

7.  Some fish are dangerous.  Jellyfish can sting.  Electric eels can give you a shock.  They have to live in caves under the sea where I think they have to plug themselves into chargers. (Christopher, age 7)

8.  When you go swimming in the sea, it is very cold, and it makes my willy small. (Kevin, age 6)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Odd Socks

Rory's collection of mismatched socks seems to be growing (he loves pulling his socks off and chucking them over the side of the pram). So I decided he should wear odd socks to show his support for Mental Health Week.

As you can imagine, this issue has become very close to my heart this year. I strongly believe that pouring more money into mental health will also reduce homelessness since I know a number of people who choose to live in their cars, on the streets, or in the bush when they are unwell. In a ideal world *sigh*.

Though this year has been mostly horrible, I can see that it had given me a unique opportunity to meet up with and maybe even share the hope I have in Christ with other women suffering from postnatal depression.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Powerhouse Museum and Doctor Who

I've been spending the past few days adapting to being back westside after our latest Sydney adventure.

It all started when there was a mix-up with the dates we were coming over.  We had booked our flights for Monday afternoon, so we were shocked when Duncan got a message from our friend Michael who was at the Sydney airport waiting for us on Sunday night.  Oops!

Chilling before heading to the airport

At the Perth airport

Rory was a bit grizzly on the flight over and didn't sleep much.  It was so cramped having a baby on your lap.  I found myself slightly green with envy watching the adults chilling out by themselves or those with kids old enough to have their own seat and watch movies quietly.

We had a ball!  It was all over too quickly.  Thanks so much to Michael, Amanda and their girls for their amazing hospitality.  Rory loved the girls and having an assortment of new toys to play with.

Rory looks like such a chunky monkey

Rory's new Indian headdress

I enjoyed some cuddles with their cat, George

We arrived on Monday night and spent Tuesday having lunch and shopping in the suburb Amanda and Michael live in.  We visited an opshop (of course) and I picked up a couple of garments much to Duncan's disgust.  The day didn't get off to a very good start when another driver reversed into Michael and Amanda's car, hitting the passenger door where I was sitting.  Everyone was ok and he was a decent bloke who acknowledged it was his fault.  I was impressed with how quickly and civilly it was sorted out (not always so in Perth unfortunately).  Then Duncan got a bit lost (he walked to meet us, pushing Rory in the pram), but I eventually found him.

On Wednesday we headed out for our first big adventure!  We caught the train to the city to go to the Powerhouse Museum.  While having lunch, Amanda was the first to witness the 'clichĂ© of the day':


There were so many interesting exhibitions at the museum.

The Beatles (my mum would have loved this):


I know....very random

I'm electrifying!


This was a very cool interactive play area:
Then Michael discovered there was a Doctor Who exhibition on at the ABC building.  Duncan is a Doctor Who fan.

Yes, Amanda, there's something behind you.


We saw the ABC 24 Hour News being filmed:

The weather man was wearing sneakers haha!

I couldn't resist a photo with Dorothy:

 Some of these photos are Amanda's.  Used with permission.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Wedding 1 2013

Back on the 14th September, we were privileged to attend the wedding of Clare and Michael, a couple from our church.  The wedding was held in a marquee on Clare's family farm and, despite the wet weather, it went very smoothly.  My parents looked after Rory so Duncan and I could go alone...a very strange feeling now.