Babies

Where do I even start? / Por onde eu começo?

(O texto em português está disponível abaixo)

It’s the end of the year… and once again it’s time to reflect on what happened and how life treated me (and I treated it). If I think of what my life surprised me with since I last wrote on here (May 2014), I don’t even know where to start describing how much my life has changed. So much has happened! I had a baby (10 weeks earlier than expected!), I had my mum visiting us in the UK for the first time (super special), I had my sister over too (she is still here), I started my maternity leave, my relationship with Lee (partner in crime) has become something else… something different, something even better. There is a gorgeous human being called Louisa in our lives now and I guess when you have a baby you see your partner in a different light. It’s almost like you get each other more, small stuff stops being an issue and you realise that together you are stronger than you ever thought you could be.

2014 has been by far the best year of my life, without a doubt. I thought I had done it already, but, really, it’s the year when I met the love of my life, which is the way my friend Estelle describes having a child. When I saw my baby for the first time, it changed my world…

So here are the main things that I realised/found out in life post-Louisa…

1. You have more strength than you think… lots more!

A premature birth requires strength. I know it happens all the time, but when you are in that situation, you have no choice but to stay strong and believe things are going to work out. Louisa was born very early and the first few hours were very difficult. However, Lee and I never for one second believed that things wouldn’t work out just fine. And although Louisa is still being monitored, we have so much faith in our little one… so I guess the more strength you show, the more you have.

2. Patience comes when you need it

The first days of Louisa’s life were touch and go. We were eager to know if everything would be ok but, somehow, I was just patient with everything. I just felt calm. I have no idea where this serenity came from, but I just had it. Those who know me will know that I’m far from what you’d describe as a patient person, but I surprised myself. I wasn’t asking questions I knew couldn’t be answered, I wasn’t feeling anxious, I wasn’t panicking. I was happy to take a day at a time, to go with the flow. I quickly learned that the whole thing wasn’t a race, but a marathon.

3. You are not just you anymore

Ohhh… this is a big one. There will be a time in the life of every person that has a child when you suddenly realise that you are not on your own anymore. No, it doesn’t matter how much you wanted that child, how much you planned and prepared for that moment. One day, when you least expect it, you will realise that you will share countless experiences with them, help them with their problems, be there for them and go through happiness and sorrow with them. And you will realise that your job is to make sure that they can be the best they can be to go through life, with and without you. It’s scary to realise you have that much responsibility, but also reassuring to find out that you are more than up for the job.

4. A half ‘reflex’ smile can change your mood

No sleep, no time to eat, have a shower, to exercise, to meet friends, all those things that were so common in pre-baby life and that you miss dearly… all to be completely forgotten when your little one gives you half a reflex smile, that is not even a ‘real’ one yet. I know this real one will happen, though… in her own time. And when it does, I might just melt. (Gosh, this is all so cheesy and yet I can’t help myself!)

5. It’s true what they say… there is no time for anything

I know this is a cliche, but what did I do with all the time I had before? Lie-ins, lazy nights, movies, pub sessions… ermmm… not anymore! You sort of learn very quickly (well, you are forced to) to compartmentalize your life in little chunks of a couple of hours (if you are lucky), because this is the time you have between one feed and the next. Everything you do becomes a bit of a mission and the alarm to stop all you are doing (aka hungry cry) may go off at any time. Going out of the house becomes another crazy happening and sort of military operation. It needs to be carefully timed so that baby doesn’t start screaming when you are queuing at the post office. Adventurous stuff.

6. Your family and your true friends will be there for you

This is by far my main realisation with all that has happened this year. I decided to post on Facebook what was happening with our little Louisa, since she stayed in hospital for two months and people wanted news. The response I got was completely overwhelming. I am convinced that the positive thoughts everyone sent our way had a massive effect on Louisa’s recovery and it’s partly why she is now home with us.

My mum and sister also came to visit us for the first time since I’ve been living in the UK (13 years), my dad Kao and mum Iris were always in touch, sending messages every day (thanks, Whattsapp!) and many of my friends were there for me, to help, to hug me, to offer advice, to listen, to ask how things were going or simply to talk about something else and take my mind off it all. Some new friendships started in the midst of all that was happening, some others strengthened, others dissipated somehow but, whoever stayed, confirmed they are by my side for the long haul. And I’m so glad that they are.

7. Perspective is everything

Louisa is absolutely fine now. She is at home with no medical apparatus or anything like that. She is putting on weight steadily and growing each day. But we do know that the brain bleed that she had will need monitoring in the coming years. And this is fine. It doesn’t scare me, or Lee. It doesn’t phase us, really. We are in love with our girl and believe in her, whatever the future brings.

8. Love is all around!

The amount of love you feel when you look at your baby is something out of this world. Ok, cliche again. But I just feel so blessed for having been able to experience this in my life. It’s crazy that all the love that I felt pre-Louisa cannot compare in any way to the love I feel for her. It’s just on a different league. I know that this love got me through the tough times and I know that this love is what will keep me positive for the future.

All in all, what a year!

So long, 2014. Bring us all a brand new year, full of joy, health, family gatherings, happy moments, sincere smiles. And even more love, because there is always more space for it in our hearts.


 2014-11-28 23.09.49

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Texto em português

É o final do ano e, mais uma vez, é hora de refletir sobre o que aconteceu na vida da gente. Se eu começo a pensar em como a minha vida me surpreendeu desde a última vez que eu escrevi aqui (Maio de 2014), eu nem sei como começar a descrever o quanto a minha vida mudou. Tanta coisa aconteceu! Eu tive um bebê (10 semanas mais cedo do que o esperado), minha mãe veio nos visitar aqui na Inglaterra pela primeira vez (o que foi muito especial), minha irmã também veio (e ainda está aqui), eu comecei a minha licença-maternidade, meu relacionamento com o Lee (parceiro de vida) se transformou em algo diferente, algo ainda melhor. Um serzinho lindo chamado Louisa faz parte da nossa vida agora e eu acho que, quando se tem um filho, é inevitável ver o seu/sua parceiro/a com outros olhos. É como se a gente se entendesse ainda melhor. As pequenas coisas já não importam e a gente se dá conta de que juntos somos mais fortes do que jamais achamos que poderíamos ser.

2014 foi o melhor ano da minha vida, sem dúvida nenhuma. Eu achei que isso já tinha acontecido, mas foi o ano em que eu conheci o amor da minha vida, que é como a minha amiga Estelle descreve ter um filho. Quando eu vi a minha bebê pela primeira vez, o meu mundo mudou…

Então aqui vai uma listinha do que eu percebi nesta vida pós-Louisa…

1. Você tem mais força do que imagina… muito mais!

O nascimento de um bebê prematuro requer força dos pais. Eu sei que isso acontece a toda hora, mas quando você se encontra naquela situação, a única opção é ser forte e acreditar que tudo vai dar certo. A Louisa nasceu muito cedo e as primeiras horas da vida dela foram muito difíceis. Contudo, o Lee e eu nunca paramos de acreditar que tudo daria certo. E, embora a Louisa ainda precise ser monitorada nos próximos anos, nós temos muita fé na nossa pequena. Isso tudo me faz crer que quanto mais força mostramos, mais surge de algum lugar.

2. A paciência vem quando precisamos dela

Os primeiros dias da Louisa foram bastante críticos. Nós queríamos muito saber se ela ficaria bem mas, de alguma maneira, eu consegui ser paciente com tudo. Sei lá, eu simplesmente me sentia calma todo o tempo. Eu não tenho nem ideia de onde surgiu toda essa serenidade, ela simplesmente começou a fazer parte de mim. Aqueles que me conhecem sabem que eu não sou muito paciente, mas eu me surpreendi comigo mesma. Eu não fiz perguntas que não tinham respostas, eu não me senti ansiosa, eu não me desesperei. Eu estava feliz em simplesmente viver um dia de cada vez, cada um com seus desafios, e deixar o barco correr. Eu logo aprendi que a situação toda não era uma corrida, mas uma maratona.

3. Você não é mais apenas você

Ohhh… esse é um ponto importante. Vai chegar um dia na vida de cada novo papai ou mamãe em que você vai se dar conta de que não está mais sozinho neste mundo. Não, não importa o quanto você queria aquele filho, não importan o quando você planejou tudo e se preparou para aquele momento da vida. Um dia, quando você menos esperar, você vai se dar conta de que vai dividir inúmeras experiências com aquele serzinho novo na sua vida, ajudá-lo com seus problemas, comemorar seus feitos e estar na vida deles para sempre, na alegria e na tristeza. E você também vai perceber que o seu papel é ter certeza de que ele/a possa ser o melhor possível, com ou sem você ao seu lado. Dá medo perceber que se tem tanta responsabilidade, mas também uma certa segurança de notar que se está mais do que pronto para o trabalho em questão.

4. Um meio sorriso de reflexo pode mudar o seu humor

Sono, sem tempo para comer, tomar banho, se exercitar, ver filmes, ver os amigos, todas aquelas coisas que eram tão comuns antes do bebê chegar e das quais agora você tem saudades… tudo é esquecido quando o bebê te dá um meio sorriso, que não é nem um sorriso real ainda. Eu sei que o sorriso de verdade vai acontecer logo… quando a Louisa estiver pronta. E quando acontecer, acho que vou derreter como um sorvete no sol (nossa, isso tudo é muito cliche, mas mesmo assim não consigo me conter!)

5. É verdade o que eles dizem… não se tem mais tempo pra nada

Eu sei que todo mundo fala a mesma coisa, mas o que eu fazia com todo o tempo que eu tinha antes? Dormir até mais tarde, noites preguiçosas, idas ao pub… ermmm, não mais! Logo você aprende a dividir a vida em pedaços de 2 horas aqui e ali, pois este é o tempo que você tem entre uma mamada e outra. Tudo o que você faz se torna uma missão e o alarme que manda você parar o que está fazendo (também conhecido como ‘choro faminto’) pode começar a tocar a qualquer minuto. Sair de casa se torna um acontecimento e meio que uma operação militar. Tudo tem que ser cronometrado para que não se corra o risco de o bebê começar a berrar de fome quando você está na fila do correio. Uma aventura e tanto.

6. A sua família e os seus verdadeiros amigos vão estar presentes

Esta é, sem dúvida, a maior revelação depois de tudo o que aconteceu este ano. Eu decidi postar no Facebook o que estava acontecendo com a Louisa, já que ela ficou no hospital por dois meses e as pessoas queriam notícias. O envolvimento das pessoas foi imenso. E eu estou convencida de que todo o pensamento positivo teve um efeito enorme na recuperação da Louisa.

A minha mãe e irmã vieram me visitar pela primeira vez aqui na Inglaterra desde que eu moro aqui (13 anos), meu pai Kao e mãe Iris estavam sempre em contato, mandando mensagens todos os dias (obrigada, Whatsapp!) e muitos dos meus amigos estiveram presentes, ajudando, me abraçando, me dando conselhos, me escutando, perguntando como estavam as coisas ou simplesmente falando de coisas completamente diferentes para me distrair. Algumas amizades começaram no meio de tudo o que estava se passando, outras se fortaleceram e outras se dissiparam, mas quem ficou do meu lado confirmou que está do meu lado pro que der e vier. E eu fico muito feliz com isso.

7. Perspectiva é tudo

A Louisa está super bem agora. Ela está em casa com nenhum equipamento médico. Ela está engordando todas as semanas e crescendo a cada dia. Mas nós sabemos que o sangramento no cérebro dela vai ter que ser monitorado pelos próximos anos. E isso não amedronta a mim ou ao Lee. Nós estamos apaixonados pela nossa menininha e nós acreditamos nela. Estamos prontos para o que o futuro nos trouxer.

8. O amor está por tudo

O amor que se sente quando se olha para um filho/a é indescritível. Ok, mais um cliché. Mas eu me sinto tão abençoada por estar podendo vivenciar isso na minha vida. É muito louco pensar que todo o amor que eu sentia antes dela nascer nem se compara ao amor que eu agora tenho por ela. É um amor que está em outro plano. Eu sei que este amor me ajudou a enfrentar momentos difíceis e eu sei que é este mesmo amor que vai me manter positiva no futuro.

Resumindo… que ano!

Tchau tchau, 2014. E que venha um ano novinho em folha, cheio de alegria, saúde, encontros familiares, momentos felizes e sorrisos sinceros. E ainda mais amor, porque sempre tem mais espaço nos nossos corações.

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Categories: Babies, Being a mummy, Energy, Friendship, Happiness, Living away from home, Love matters, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Right turn, left turn

Today I got thinking about the choices we make in life. I was thinking about how my life turned out to be in England and not in Brazil. I have said it here before that when people ask me why I live here I don’t even have a plausible answer. I just kind of nod (‘Yep, I’m from Brazil!) and say a few sentences hoping that they will suffice. They never seem to do, though, and the reason for that is because I don’t think my answers are convincing enough. It’s hard to even convince myself sometimes. This got me thinking abot what my life would be like, right now, if I was living in Brazil.

I have discussed this with some fellow migrants before, and the majority of us agree that when we move away from home, we tend to do everything a bit later than everybody else. The process of finding our feet in a completely different country with its own rules and no family around to help takes a little time. So, basically, the time we’d be getting on with the ‘normal process’ of life in our native countries, we are finding out how to register with a doctor, apply for citizenship or how to drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. Now, I’m not assuming here that life has an order, all I’m saying is that people seem to follow patterns and the majority does things according to some kind of unspoken rule: the rule of ‘society’.

The word society, according to the Oxford English Dictonary, means “the aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community.” Ah, I see… society means that we have to live with a group of people and follow the same rules. I like that. Rules are necessary when we live in a group. And I like it because in no way, shape or form the statement says that we have to be the same. But how is it that, somehow, we seem to think that being the same is the best?

I seemed to have taken longer to find a job that I love, for example. I tried different things (like accountancy) and after hating one particular thing (accountancy), I decided to go back to what I learnt at uni: good and old marketing. And guess what? It was the right thing to do. Had I stayed in Brazil and lived there my whole life, would I have had many jobs? Would I be in my dream job now? Mmmm… I don’t really know the answer. But I can surely ask the question and spend some afternoons wondering what the answer would be.

I also seemed to have taken a little longer in finding the right person to spend my life with (did I, really?). And, again, I’m not even sure if this IS the right person whith whom I’ll be spending the rest of my life with (who knows, anyway?) but hey, for now it definitely is, so let’s go with that. I wonder if I was in Brazil I’d be married with (and here comes the third of my divagations)… KIDS! Now this is something I’ve talked about many a time before and if you read my blogs you may have already read about it (sorry, but here I go again!). The decision of having kids still doesn’t make much sense in my head. For some bizarre reason, I’m not really maternal and, believe it or not, I still feel like a teenager. I did play with dolls when I was a kid, but it was never to be cuddling them, it was to have some kind of control (now that’s a hard one to admit, give me some credit). I used to play that I was this busy mummy that worked a lot and had this busy life and had to juggle everything. I used to play that I was on my phone trying to organise people, places, ballet classes and christenings. Poor me, little weirdo.

Well, I grew up to be very far from what I maybe imagined I’d be by now. I am quite a placid person who hates confrontation. Yes, I say what I thinkmost of the time, but I’d rather never see you again than to have a full-blown argument. I just hate it. I am still the goofy person of always, though. I especially love making fun of myself. This really is my favourite. I still hate peas, but I no longer think I can live off my written word, as I once dreamt. I quickly realised how impossibly hard that would be.

As for organising everything and everyone, I think this may have been one route, but I see myself slowly moving the other way. I can kind of feel the weight of making all the decisions all the time, it’s exhausting. Let it be, for Christ’s sake! Let go of trying to have control of the controllable and the incontrollable.

I feel quite under pressure sometimes, to be doing what other people expect me to be doing. At my (tender) age of 33, maybe I was supposed to be doing this or that, but hey, I’m not (or maybe I am, who knows?). Still, though, I feel this pressure hanging around, but what annoys me the most is that I actually fall pray of this little machine called society and these unspoken ideas about what I should be doing with my own life. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I wish it didn’t affect me but hey, it does, somehow. And this is what drives me crazy. I wish I didn’t care one bit about what other people think and I wish I didn’t worry about turning right or left and the effects such turns can have in my life.I should go for it a bit more, perhaps, and just see what happens… I shouldn’t worry about pleasing everybody, this is never going to happen anyway.

Ok, rant over! And to end it well, here’s to a life with NO RULES!

PS: right, just for the record, nothing bad happened to me, I just got really carried away with thinking about rules, expectations, ageing and reality. And then I had to share my thoughts here with you, poor reader. 😉

 

Categories: Babies, Brazil, Dreams, Living away from home | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

33 it is, then!

Well, well, well… and here it is again, my bloody birthday, once again! Now sorry if I can’t sound more positive, I just can’t at the minute and I blame nothing other than the astral hell everyone goes through in the 30 days or so before their actual birthday. At the moment, I cannot wait for the universe to start a big shift and let me off the hook for a bit… and the worst is that I can’t even tell what is wrong exactly… perhaps the car in front of me that was going too slow, the traffic lights that went red just as I was approaching them, or maybe the slow people I have to swerve past in the very full supermarket? Yes, you can see that they are not even good enough reasons to be annoyed, but for a person with little patience like me, anything can set me off, really. And then I start analysing it all and it’s all wrong, wrong, wrong, when I know perfectly well that it’s not, really.  It’s been like this for many years now… the period just before my birthday is a crazy hell with ghosts and clouds everywhere.

But now that my birthday is well and truly over (well, in about 3 and a half hours, anyway), I can confirm that the black clouds should be making a move to reveal a very blue sky, or so I hope. I am now 33 years old and oh dear me… how I wish I was 5 years younger! Just 5 would do! My mum keeps telling me how young I still am but it doesn’t matter… From now on, it’s official: until the idea that the thirties are the new twenties sinks in, I no longer like my birthday. I no longer wish to think about how old I am so I can just about put up with the presents as reminders of the date (haha), just as long as no one asks me how old I’m getting. It shall be a secret from now one and it should be ok since everyone seems to have such short memories nowadays.

Amongst all this negativity – and please forgive me for this, if you managed to bear with me until here – I have to thank one article that miraculously made its way to me this week. Someone out there must have a mission to cheer me up and hey, haven’t they done just that? So, here is the news… Apparently, the age when people feel at their happiest, according to a recent study by Friends Reunited, is – guess what? – yes, 33! So I should be well on my way to true, uncontested happiness. Done.

With 6% claiming that they were at their happiest during their college years and only 16% saying that their happiest period was during their childhood, the following result is still the most shocking of all to me: over 36% admitted that their happy levels soared once they settled down and had children. Yes, CHILDREN! My biggest fear, my biggest doubt,  the reason I ask myself every day why can’t I be 5 years younger!? Maybe I’m missing something here…

But what makes 33 the magic number?

Apparently, this study found that over half of us believe life is more fun at 33, with 42% admitting to feeling more optimistic about the future and 38% revealing they stress less at this age than they did when they were younger. The study also discovered that many of us seek happiness through our professional achievements, with 21% admitting they felt happy when they excelled at work.

Talking about the study’s findings, psychologist Donna Dawson said: “By 33,  innocence has been lost, but our sense of reality is mixed with a strong sense of hope, a “can do” spirit, and a healthy belief in our own talents and abilities. We have yet to develop the cynicism and world-weariness that comes with later years.” Mmmmm… I already find myself being really cynic sometimes and I should not be doing that as yet. Must change.

Anyway, here I am… 33 years old and already a grumpy, impatient and bitter old lady. Ha ha ha. No, not really. I am actually quite a cheerful person, usually, especially when people are not being slow near me (ouch!). I reckon there is still a great lot to learn and this is what I should base my brand new year on. At the moment, though, I hope this grey cloud goes away asap an take with it all the astral hell of this particular time of the year for me, as all I want at the moment is to get a bit of sunshine onto/into my newly older self. Bring on the so claimed happiness of the 33! I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

Categories: Astral hell, Babies, Birthday, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is it time for baby yet?

I have just been to a baby shower. The mum-to-be was glowing and looked so happy and excited. And watching all that… oh dear, I do worry.

I have written about this before but as the months and years pass by, I find myself freaking out more and more about my lack of maternal instinct. I have lovely friends that have amazingly gorgeous and clever children but a few hours with them is enough for me. I enjoy it but have no desire to have some of my own. I don’t have that gut instinct that tells me: “hell yeah, I want that!”

This is really starting to bug me now. I’ll be 33 years old this year and when I look at my friends, I start to feel left out because I’m not running around a baby like they are but, at the same time, I feel kind of lucky. I have the entire time to do the stuff I like, not having to worry about looking after someone else that needs my full attention. It must be exhausting. But then again, I must be missing out on something, as there must be something amazing about motherhood that I’m bound to enjoy. I just don’t know what it is, although I suppose I’ll only know when my baby finally arrives. Or so this is what they say!

I reckon it will be nice having a baby running around and saying cute and clever things. I reckon I will feel proud of my child and will love it all in the end. It’s just that I’m such a worrier by nature… I will worry about the birth for the full 9 months, I will worry about money, space, about the how my relationship will be affected, about losing myself as a person… and then can you imagine when the kid is in their teens and they go out? I’ll worry all night long and won’t get any sleep. And I need my sleep. Sometimes, it feels like motherhod is a no-return ticket to “worry land” when Ialready fight so hard on a daily basis to just chill out more.

I wish I was 5 years younger, which would mean that I’d have 5 years of “freedom” still. But unfortunately there isn’t such a thing as going back in time or adding years to one’s life, what a great shame!

Having said all that, I look around and think that if so many women are doing it, it must be good and I must be missing out. Hummm… I think I still have about a year to make my mind up and then go for it. I don’t want to be 45 and regret not having kids as I think it’s got to be amazing. It’s got to be. It’s got to be. Or so I’ll make myself believe.

Categories: Babies | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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