When I look back on my 30 years of life I can pin point the moments where I gained passion for something, the moments where I started to believe in myself and the times when experiences built me. I know the moment when the insecurities of teenage life left and I loved myself and beamed confidence. I remember the day I fell in love and the world seemed such a bouncy place to be. I also remember the moment when Love wasn’t enough, when belief began to be questioned, when things didn’t look or feel the same and when life felt shattered.
Sunday 14th September 2014 was the date when life was happy and hopeful, but it was also the day things fell apart. Its the last I remember feeling on top of the world…I thought that I had this life thing all figured out, I was finally content with my role as a stay at home mum and where I was at in life, I felt loved and surrounded by lots of great friends, I was excited to be adding to our family and any moment she would be born. I felt like I knew where I was headed and my purpose and plans, and where I fitted in within friendship groups and family, but sadly this day became one of tragedy because it was the day we were told our daughter had died at term with in me, and a tragedy as that of loosing a child wrecks you, strips you of all confidence and familiarity and leaves you in a state of being lost from the world in which you live and once trusted. I felt I didn’t know myself or very much anymore. The exhaustion of grief meant some days I couldn’t/can’t even think properly and from there, at rock bottom, you once again begin the journey of self discovery and thinking deeply about absolutely everything!
I have realised, and its taken time to do so, but I have to forget the me before Poppy, because she isn’t completely here any more. What I loved then, What and who made me happy, what I knew and how I saw the world completely differs in some degrees from where I am now, what I love, know, believe and see in the world around me. Yes elements are present, of course they are, but the whole me has gone and that now needs to be rebuilt around what I know, believe and see now, not what was!
Tomorrow I turn 31 and it seems far too early in my life to be facing a mid-life crisis, but here I am on the road of discovery and trying to figure out my passions, goals and what I want in my life in order to prioritise those things and have direction. I have spent months questioning the familiar and trying to answer some soul searching questions of:
Who and what do I love?
What brings me joy?
What do I believe?
What makes me laugh?
What kind of person would I say I am?
What don’t I like or feel comfortable with?
What kinds of people do I enjoy being around?
What Kinds of people don’t I enjoy being around?
What is important to me in a friendship/Relationship?
What scares me?
What do I find fun in?
What strengths do I have?
What are my weaknesses now?
What brings me peace?
What causes anxiety?
What helps me relax?
Who do I want to be?
What do I want from life?
What interests me?
What would I say I was passionate about?
…So many things are constantly going on in my mind as I try to make sense of my life now and put the pieces together to build myself into someone I recognise and feel confident with…Too many times I have been caught off guard in a situation that me before my loss would have embraced, yet the me now shied away from it or it caused me to feel uncomfortable. I will say often to my husband that I know that what made me happy or what I wanted to do with my life a few years ago isn’t that same as what will now, but I sometimes don’t know what will now or what I want to do, and he agrees too, though I don’t think that his journey of self discovery is to the same degree as me.
So here is what I have figured out so far:
1. My Faith –
I still believe in God, more than ever and that there is more to life than what we experience here. I trust in him and his plan for my life, though with my limited views it means at times this all seems so unfair. I know prayer works and that Jesus Christ lives and walks with us when we invite him into our lives, this may seem strange to those of little religious belief, but it is a great sense of comfort to me and It is something I feel very strongly about.
2. A Mother –
I love motherhood, it is evident by how much pain I felt for the loss of one of my children, but it also made me realise what I really treasure and what I want to invest my time into..and that is my kids, home and family!
For a long time I flitted between whether or not I wanted to work or be a SAHM, at times (as I still do) it all seemed so mundane, yet now I am content with it and feel immensely blessed to be able to spend this time together, to play, to travel, to explore and to learn with my kids. They bring me joy, they test me, they frustrate me, but they make my life amazing and when I look at my children, not only does it make me want lots more, it makes me know that there is nothing else I would rather be doing!
3. Relationships –
My experience of loosing a baby has taught me a lot about relationships, about how people behave so differently in the same situations, how someone you thought loved you or whom you trust and rely on for support can lack understanding and cause more pain, yet strangers can speak straight to your heart.
I have learnt that no matter how much you hurt you cannot take that out on those around you and I have learnt that what people give is sometime all they are able, though it might not seem enough or right to you when you are suffering. I have seen how opinionated and angry I can become when put under pressure (not sure how I feel about this part of my character).
I have become more aware of Nathan’s struggles and suffer with him in them and this has strengthened our relationship and bonded us.
I have seen sides to people (good and bad) that I may never have experienced without going through this. I have seen how people can respond in tragedy and how some can bear what others run away from, and from all of this I have realised how I love to be around positivity, people that laugh and joke no matter what the circumstance. I gravitate towards people that are caring and ask you how you are with a desire to know either way, I like people that are considerate, that aren’t all about them, and that have mutual respect. I really enjoy the company of those that are deep thinkers and love to talk about these things with them (that makes me happy)!
I get on with people that appreciate beauty in the world and want to live life to the full, that fight against set backs and embrace positive change. I like people that like simple things and don’t rely on the world or stuff for joy, but create it with what they have. I am more receptive to others pain and feel this has connected me with people I wouldn’t have otherwise met.
4. How I see the world –
It has shown me how easily joy can be found in things I never before noticed, but how hard it can be to feel happy in a situation that once felt so great. I have grown in love for the outdoors, nature, the changing seasons, the sun upon my skin, the sound of waves, the smells of the outdoors, the colourful array of plant and flowers, the beauty of sunsets, starry nights and vibrant moons. I adore walks in woodlands, green hills, along beaches and these make me feel alive, free and happy, they bring joy and help me realise what a beautiful world we live in despite the pain and suffering.
5. My Ambitions –
Once upon a time I wanted to work with those with special needs, or challenging behaviours…now anything that requires empathy or care I perceive as emotionally challenging and too much of a reminder and feel incapable of dealing with it. I loved teaching and being around babies, again I shy away from this as it hurts too much. I find it weird how a small human belonging to someone else can cause me so much pain! I do enjoy working though and not the sort of person to just do nothing.. I enjoy doing things that aren’t too serious and bring out my jolly side and confidence! I still am driven by goals and want to accomplish a lot in my life, but the things I want to accomplish have changed significantly.. I have less of a desire for a career or furthering qualifications now, and content with growing my family and being a mummy and anything else I do is just on the side and not too serious!
6. Likes & Dislikes –
I love to play games with the fam and I love to stand in awe of beautiful cities and far away lands.
I am happy to sit just and watch a movie with Nath or bake or play fairies with Megan or trains with Ethan!
I am happy when out with my family and when talking about things with friends…especially beyond the small talk (I yearn more for real heart to hearts and deep, challenging conversation).
I like to laugh, I like to joke, I like to chill out with others and play games and do silly things. I do not like rude or crude things, mean things, sad things or hurtful things.
I still enjoy treats, making things for my home, and now taking pictures, but the biggest thing in what makes me happy is that I am now very happy on my own too; it does not scare me to do things solo but makes me happy to have time to be alone with myself, my thoughts, to relax and reflect.
I still really love watching films, the theatre, singing, sewing, History and cooking, but now I also love writing, blogging and the outdoors. I still love music and dancing in the car or home..or anywhere, yet Shopping and making decisions on purchases makes me more nervous than before and brings less joy than it once did (charity shopping still sparks the joy)!
Things I once laughed at are no longer funny to me, or things I loved to do just don’t bring me the same joy. I am not the same Mary, because whilst I am still caring, I have learnt to say no when its too much. I do not desire to wear myself out on things that reap little emotionally or physically and I have huge fears and anxieties over things that were never even a thought before. I am more emotional, more easily tired from life, more highly strung, but I am not ill or loosing my mind…I am just me.
I look in the mirror and see me, I see my beauty and love for life, but I see a lot of self doubt, unsurety and a woman that feels lost. I see strength and determination but also a desire to be accepted for the now, not was. I see myself of where I want to be and where I wish I was, but still so far away from. I see someone who has changed a lot but yet still looks very much the same. I don’t particularly seek others approval as much now as I have seen that others don’t get you life, but I do pester a couple of friends for reassurance and guidance in things that were never a big deal, which I think has a lot to do with loosing trust in what seemed real to me, but I appreciate their patience and cooperation in these situations and find as there minds are not clouded by intense emotions, they offer wise council which I treasure.
I am on the edge of my 31st year of life and I am still figuring out so many things I thought I already knew, and at times its hard to know if these changes in likes/dislikes, passions and characteristics are a result of tragedy or just growth and maturity which comes with age? I don’t know, have you ever gone through such a massive shift of paths with out something other than age initiating it? either way its good to evaluate where we are at at milestones like this and where we want to be when this date rolls around again in 12 months. I am happy with the things I am figuring out and where I am headed. I look forward to who I can become because of my challenges and I hope to accomplish a lot in year 31; I hope my confidence in myself soars and I stop doubting myself because my world fell apart! I hope I can embrace these new characteristics and loves and forget the old ones. I hope I find myself on lots of adventures and learning a new skill somewhere… I hope to be grateful for what I have and am able to enjoy it and make the most of it. Loss causes you to want and want, I hope I am just content and see the beauty in what is around me, in the small and simple things of life for I am alive, I am in love, I am a mother, I have faith in a loving God and I live in a beautiful land.
Sometimes I think (and it has a lot to do with timing) we have to step out of the confusion caused by tragedy and realise that whatever happens these 5 things will mean I will always have joy in life and know love, despite major suffering and change. It means I will always gain direction and confidence despite it sending me onto an unknown or unplanned path and It means I will always have people to find fun in life with and to celebrate with… it means I will have support in sadness and it means I can be ME – whoever that turns out to be because they and their love adapts to changes as mine does with them!