24th December 2018 (Christmas Eve)
Today I am going with my mother and a friend to the panto (oh yes we are) - I hope we all enjoy it. It seems a suitably festive thing to do on Christmas Eve. Then I must drive back to London and I am greatly looking forward to having supper with my goddaughter and her family - to me the Christmas period is about love and sharing.
The Christmas Eve post, a piece of pure gold writing shining with love, is by Tamasin Sutton. She is an HR consultant, currently based in the North East of England. She specialises in supporting technology businesses. He company is TSHR Limited. She is an effective, pragmatic and experienced professional who is qualified in the use of various psychometric tools, as well as being an NVQ assessor with the PTTLS qualification. She co-founded Connecting HR Northeast in 2017 and works hard to bring together and develop the capabilities of the HR profession and the people within it - she is a Facilitator with Developing People Globally (DPG) supporting and assessing those studying for the CIPD Level 5 qualifications.
Tamasin is active on social media - you can follow her on Twitter (her handle is @TamasinS). To relax, Tamasin enjoys travelling, but she is happy to unwind with a gin and a chat. She is supportive within her wider community and is a school governor for primary school. However, as you will read, the most vital part of her life is being a devoted and passionate mother.
This is my 3rd year of contributing to the Advent blogs, and the 3rd year I have indulged in being vulnerable to whoever reads these words.
This time last year I was desperate to get out of hospital with my newborn little girl, and 4 days ago, she turned 1. When I reflect on this year, I feel overwhelmed. It has been unbelievably hard in so many ways. Motherhood is hard. I'm not a natural, not one of those earth mother types who gush about the joys of maternity leave and every day they spend with their precious mini me. But I have found my way, through sleep deprivation, difficulty breastfeeding, struggling to continue working and sometimes receiving lacklustre support of my choices. It's been hard. I think I lost myself, and I'm not back yet, despite my first KIT day being when she was 3 weeks old. It's sometimes frowned upon to be so honest about the impact that childbirth and becoming a mother can have. I spent 40 years being, well, selfish. I could do as I pleased and enjoyed the flexibility that being child free afforded me. I didn't always fully empathise with the struggles that other carers had, but boy do I get it now.
I feel my identity is a little blurred around the edges. I see it not just through my own eyes, but through the eyes of people close to me. Who am I and what do I want to be? I'm at odd's and in some distant way my heart aches for the life I used to have and I realise that I am trying to mourn. But my heart would break immeasurably if I couldn't see my beautiful daughter's smile, if I couldn't hold her and keep putting her unicorn furry hat back on even though she relentlessly removes it..... She gives me hope.
And I have dark thoughts. Consuming ones where my daughter comes to harm. What the hell is wrong with me?! It terrifies me. I cry, get distressed, have to distract myself. What's normal?
I cry. More than I've ever cried before. I feel more deeply than I've ever felt before. I get scared when before I didn't bat an eyelid. It all comes back to her, and for her I am the lioness.
My hope for her is that she will always feel loved and be happy.
As she enters her second year I look forward to the high fives as she takes more than 3 steps on her own (and then quickly wish that she wasn't growing up so fast or moving so independently!!), starts to entertain us with her chatter and keeps growing into the cheeky spirited girl I see every day.
I hope that she adapts as we make our way back towards London in January, 2 years after moving away. What a different life we now have, but what hope there is for adventure, fun and most of all, making memories.