Like all writers I'm also a reader and one particular writer that I love to read is Emily Writes' work. She blogs here, and is the editor of The Spinoff Parents. Following the earthquake on Sunday night she put on a blog post that had me both in tears and stitches, my favourite kind of writing.
The post brought back many memories for me, particularly around mothering through aftershocks and so I wrote to her. I wrote quickly, and from the heart and send it quickly, and also from the heart. And then I shared it on The Worry Bug facebook page because I felt sure she wouldn't be the only Scared Mama. I've been so touched by the responses to the post. One reader wrote 'Finally something I've read since Monday that is actually warm hearted' and it got me thinking about how fundamental human connection is, and how much we desire to be seen, heard and listened to.
There is a fantastic opinion by Kyle McDonald in The Herald this morning that reiterates those feelings. He writes 'So let's not preach about resilience, it's tantamount to declaring people need to "get over it". Instead, let's expect vulnerability, and the need to talk about and express the fear and uncertainty.' (Full piece here)
We need to remember to take care of ourselves, in order for us to be able to support others, particularly those in our care. And to take it easy on ourselves.
Dear Scared Mama
So this week isn’t what you had planned is it? You probably already had the grocery list half formed, the nagging feeling you’d forgotten someone’s birthday and had just remembered you hadn’t got around to removing whatever had died under the passenger seat as you drifted off on Sunday night.
But now some days have passed, that thing is still mouldering in the car, it’s too late to send a card and there’s no way you’re going to the supermarket today, it’s too far from home right now. There’s no space in your head for any of that trivia now anyway. Now your focus lies elsewhere. Your mind, and with it your body, is far more concerned with any unfamiliar sound, keeping your children in arm’s reach and obsessively checking geonet.
If you thought you were tired before you’re shocked at the new level of weariness that has settled into your bones. Your teeth begin to hurt, you unclench your jaw and it passes. Sometimes you forget a word, especially one often used, you wonder if this time you really are losing it.
You suddenly have a deep understanding of what the expression ‘waiting for the other shoe to drop’ means, except it’s not falling shoes you’re worried about, it’s the bedroom mirror, or the wardrobe…or the roof.
‘They take their cue from you’ people will say, helpfully. While you’re using everything you’ve got to hold it together no-one will let you forget, as if you could, that you have to hold them together too. You’ll cry some hard, hot tears in the bottom of the shower and feel homesick for last week.
‘They take their cue from you’? Well, tomorrow they might get something better than that, tomorrow they might get to see their strong Mama lose her shit in the middle of the supermarket, and in the chaos find her feet again and move through her fear to a few moments of something more familiar.
You’ll need more cups of sweet strong tea, more naps and a lot more Alexander Skarsgard. More sticky-warm, chubby-armed hugs, more talking about it, more gentleness with yourself. You might need a top up, a lie in and a gingernut.
From one Mama to another, this too shall pass. In his warm sleeping breath on your neck, it will pass. In a topless shot of Ben Affleck, it will pass. At the bottom of a glass of pinot, it will pass. And while you’re waiting, we wait with you. In the collective noun of Motherhood up and down the country we’re all holding our breath. I think we’ve got this, and if it gets worse…we’ll mother our way through that too.
Best wishes from Christchurch,
You can read Emily's blog post here, I particularly recommend it if you have strong feelings either way for Ben Affleck.
Written by Sarina Dickson get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org