I have two things I need to get off my chest. My bra and my bright red new Ferrari shirt. Ok, besides those two, there are two others:
1. I can use other words besides the F word and other swear words.
I do a bit of writing on the sidelines, sometimes. And a bit of public speaking. I don't really enjoy either as they make me anxious and we all know how I feel about adding extra anxiety to my life. However, if I feel particular stirred, I will do it. It always amazes me (and pisses me off slightly) when people ask me to speak or write, they always half jokingly / half nervously say "without the swearing bit (nervous giggle), I don't mind (nervous giggle) but our audience might not (nervous giggle)". WTF? I know I swore a lot in my book but that was in the book. I hardly pepper every casual conversation with the F word. I have many conversations with these people on a day to day basis and I never use swear words. I am very aware that not everyone likes it. Bottom line: rest assured that I am able to write and speak in normal conversation without swearing. Got it? Fucking A.
2. I will not write about you or your life on my blog, promise.
Another thing that drives me crazy is when people tell me something and then follow it up with "but you are not allowed to write about this on your blog!" Okkk, then. I promise not to write about a total stranger and her totally unrelated life on my blog, because - as you know - my blog is all about other people and not about me and MY life. Why on earth would I (a) want to write about someone else's life or (b) would my readers be interested in: your affair / your marital problems / your weight issues etc. In over 6 years of blogging, have I ever given away someone's secret on my blog? Have I ever mentioned names or split someone's secret? Why on earth would you think that I would want to do that? It blows my mind.
This has come across bitchier than I intended, sorry. I am quite sure the people who say any of the above things don't mean to insult me, but I can't help but find them slightly insulting. I promise that I am more than just a foul-mouthed blogger. I have a brain, and I have discretion. Luckily for all of us, I know how to use both.
Singapore is FANTASTIC! Everything is so NEAT and CLEAN and ORGANISED. I love it. I love how they all make sure that their country remains so beautiful. It's hot - bloody hot, but I guess you get used to it.
I am having a fab time. I have made a conscious decision to let go and enjoy myself. Usually I am so uptight and anxious and full of shit, but this time I have decided that I am not going to let my analness spoil my husband's life long dream. I am managed to achieve about 90% un-analness which is really good. I think it helps that Marko has allowed me an hour or so alone time each day.
This morning they (my sister, her kids and Marko) have all gone to the zoo. I politely declined and have had the whole morning on my laptop. Sitting here with the fan on and the veranda doors wide open. Beautiful.
Last night we went to the first Grand Prix session, it was fabulous. I am not really into racing or Formula One etc, but even I had to admit that it was pretty special being *this* close to the action. The track and the set up is outstanding. Everything is so slick. The cars are bloody loud! But even that is amazing. I got goosebumps. You can stand just a few meters away from the track and when the cars go past you feel the power reverberate through your whole body. Very, very cool.
There were about 500,000 people there last night, but no stress, no bad vibes, no debauchery. Just lots of happy, relaxed people walking around in shorts and T shirts. Love it. If I could live my whole life in shorts and T shirts, I would be happy.
There were a few Asian Barbies in HIGH HIGH heels (WTF! Are they mad!) but most people were dressed casually. I must say though, Asian women dress beautifully. They really are very stylish.
I have NEVER seen so many cameras before. Every time a car went past, thousands of cameras went up. Was so funny to see. I had to take a picture of the cameras with my cell phone.
All in all, having a fab time here. Am very pleased I decided to unclench my sphincter and relax a bit.
If I have to wait until I have something deep and meaningful to say, I might have to wait forever. I have plenty of blog posts in my head but not nearly enough time to write them all down.
So instead I will give you a brief update on what's going on in my life.
Work = busy. Busy = good. Therefore work = good.
I am in Singapore at the moment on holiday, can you believe it! What a beautiful city. VERY hot and humid but totally gorgeous. Everything is so clean and neat and ordered, I love it. Marko and I are off to see the Formula One this weekend - a life long dream of Marko's. Very sweet. What a lovely wife I am. Vroom vroom vroooommmmmm.
My younger sister lives in Singapore and we are staying at her gorgeous home. I love seeing how she lives here in this foreign country. She is such a good expat. She makes a life for herself wherever she lives. A real survivor and adaptor.
Travelling here was far less stressful than I thought it would be. I was dreading the flight with my husband as he is a notoriously TENSE traveller. But bar a few hairy moments, he was actually quite relaxed. Marko-relaxed that is.
I miss the kids already, very much. But I am trying not to let my longing for them spoil my time here. I know they are in good hands back home. (I still miss them, lots)
Hmm, what else... not much. Oh! I made the top two finalists for the South African Blog Awards, thank you! Thanks for your voting and your support. I am very sad to be missing out on the awards ceremony, it is going to be such fun!
Ok, that's it. I must try to sleep now. Time difference is a little tricky, but hopefully will acclimatise soon. Sleep tight x
I have spoken before about the difference between 'haves' and the 'have nots' here in South Africa. As in many countries, and particularly as in the developing nations, there is a stark difference in the lifestyles of the haves and the have nots. Nowhere is this difference more apparent than in our health care system.
I am going to be generalizing for the sake of illustration here, I know that between the haves and the have nots there exists a whole group of people who have a little, a medium amount, an 'almost lot' etc. But for the purpose of this post, I am going to keep things simple.
Here in South Africa, we have two health care 'systems' - we have the public health care system that provides care for everyone (basic services for free) and the private health care system that provides health care for whose who can afford it. While the doctors and specialists in both cases are excellent (among the best in the world), the difference in facilities and 'service' is enormous. If you have private health insurance (what we call 'medical aid' in South Africa which costs more per month than most people earn as a monthly salary) and you have a baby, your stay in a private hospital is like a stay in a five star hotel. If you don't have medical insurance, your experience is far, FAR less glamorous.
I don't want to put down the amazing work that the staff in these public health facilities do, so I am loath to describe how bad it sometimes can be, but the truth is that these doctors and nurses work under tremendous pressure, understaffed and under-resourced. The facilities are not like a hotel, AT ALL. And I am really putting it very mildly indeed. I think some of the stories would put your hair on end.
The lady who used to clean my house two days a week is pregnant. Last week she went to the local public hospital because she was having pains. She was 32 weeks pregnant and was contracting. After waiting in queues the WHOLE day, they eventually examined her. 32 weeks, one cm dialated. They gave her a few paracetamol tablets and sent her home. She had to WALK home from the hospital. In her condition. If that was a private hospital with a patient with private health insurance, she would have been admitted for observation and given some drugs.
Last week I had to go to a public hospital for a meeting and as I walked past the rows of pregnant ladies waiting and waiting in the corridors, I realized how incredibly lucky I am to live in the world of the haves when it comes to having a baby. The world where YOU choose your doctor, YOU choose your appointment times and where you get first class everything.
One person who lives in the world of the haves, but who tirelessly and selflessly works to help the have nots is my sister Melanie. Melanie runs a charity that assists the mothers in the public hospitals have as dignified and special experience of birthing their baby as is possible. Before Melanie started the charity, some of these new mothers would have nothing other than newspaper to take their babies home in.
The charity, Bosom Buddies is holding a fund raising ball and she is looking for 'fairy godmothers' to sponsor a ticket to the ball for her volunteers and special helpers. Please pop over to Melanie's blog to read about her amazing work and how you could be a 'fairy godmother' and help out. Please click here for more info http://bosombuddies.typepad.com/
Having a baby after 'serious' infertility is not like having a baby without struggling. It is not better or worse, it is just different. There is a lot that is the same - the love, the joy, the tough bits, the good bits etc - that is the same. I made the mistake a few years ago thinking that somehow ex-infertiles felt more of the 'wow' because of their struggle, but that is not true. While it could be true that someone who had to go through 6 IVFs in order to conceive might feel more of the 'wow' than say a teen mom who has an unwanted pregnancy, I've realised that all moms who love their babies, love their babies. In other words, the love an ex-infertile mom feels for her baby is no better or more than the mother who conceived easily.
That sounds convoluted, but what I am trying to say is that while I don't believe the journey to have your child defines how much you will love your child, it can influence how you love your child.
I don't want to get into the whole Pain Olympics thing, however I do believe there is a difference between those who face just 'some' difficulties in conceiving, and those who have come face to face with the terror that they might never conceive. It's a psychological difference, a state of mind rather than a difference in how many IVFs you've done. You might have done 15 IVFs and never had to face that fear. You might do one and be right there. But once you've crossed that line, once you've lived your fear, it is hard to go back to a state of being when you thought it was a matter of 'when' you would become a parent, not a matter of 'if ever'.
Without trivializing other peoples serious experiences, I suppose it must be like facing a very serious health condition, or a life threatening experience that catapults you into another state of consciousness - it makes you live in the place where your future is not as you would wish it to be, and you have no control over how to get back to where you once were. Often, only once you have been really ill do you appreciate how extraordinary wondrous everyday health is. In a similar way, facing the reality of a childless future can make you appreciate the depth of your blessing when you do one day conceive.
Having been through 9 IVFs and all my losses, made me acutely aware of how exceptionally lucky I was to have my twins when they were born. It is a wonderful feeling and its a lasting feeling. Like that butterfly feeling you get in your tummy when it's your birthday and you are just about to open your big birthday present... it's a wonderful feeling, but it is also an exhausting feeling.
There was so much hard work / heartache / tears / money / pain / hope / fear that led up to the moment that they were born. Their birth was the culmination of so much, that mixed with my joy was a huge amount of.... I am not sure exactly what? Exhaustion? Fear that they would be taken away? Guilt if I didn't enjoy every single moment? Angst. I did not enjoy their babyhood. I felt like I had to be on my guard all the time, in case it all went away. That because I had worked so hard for them, I had to continue to work hard to parent them. I had to constantly be in a state of heightened alert. Everything was so intense. Intense joy. Intense love. Intense angst. Exhausting.
And then along came Max. The freebie. The unplanned bonus baby that I had to do absolutely no hard work for. An easy conception, an easy pregnancy, a relatively easy birth. No work! No planning. Nothing. It is the weirdest feeling. I still look at him and think 'huh?' How on earth did you happen? How is it possible to love a baby so much that I didn't sweat blood and tears for? Surely the harder you work for something, the more you love it?
I can't get over how much I love this freebie baby. I look at him in amazement. He is like a guilty pleasure. I feel like I just picked up a hundred bucks off the street and there is no one around for miles so I really can't be expected to hand it in to anyone. That hundred bucks? Its mine! I didn't have to work hard for it, I didn't have to give anything up for it. It just landed in my lap. And I can spend that hundred bucks on anything I want, on something just for me.
That is how I feel about Max. Even though it is HARD WORK to have a baby when you are SO OLD, and even though having 3 kids and running a business is hectic, I am so damn grateful that I got to experience what it is like to love 'normally', whatever that is. Fuck, it is the most divine feeling in the world and I am so lucky and grateful that I got a chance to experience it.
It has been incredibly healing for me, and it has helped me to love the twins 'normally' too. Much less angst, much more enjoyment. Max is the beautiful, soft, healthy, normal completion to a story that started out so normally, got so sad and so bad in the middle, and now has ended up so normally*.
I know I am saying 'normal' a lot, but so much of what I went through was so abnormal that to be 'normal' is something I am so grateful for.
Damn, I am a lucky gal.
Here are pics of us at the dam a few weekends ago. My kids took off their pants and walked in the freezing cold water.
* PS I am clearly not without any angst. My middle name is angst. I just had a HUGELY angst moment when I thought 'omg, I have jinxed things and now my children will die because I dared to let go of the 'iamsograteful' / 'iamsolucky' / 'promiseiwillneverforget' feeling for a bit'. I still have some of the angst, but it is mostly normal. Or as normal as I will ever be.
Kate had an upset tummy today ('every time I eat something, I have to poop') so Adam and I went alone to swimming class today. On the way back, he looked up at me with lots of love (as he does often) and squeezed my hand. I told him that I loved him very much (as I often do).
Adam: I love you too mom..... But I am going to marry Troy. (Troy is his BEST friend EVER. He loves Troy)
Me: Oh....dear... but I thought you were going to marry me?
Adam: (very torn) Well, ok, maybe I can marry both of you?
Me: That's ok my boy, you don't have to marry me. I am married to Dad anyway. You can marry Troy if you like.
Adam (much delight) I like Troy
Me: Me too, he is a very nice boy.
A few minutes later
Me: Um, Adam... maybe you should think about marrying a girl?
Adam: NO! I don't want to marry a girl, I want to marry Troy.
Me: Ok, that's fine, you can marry whoever you want.
Troy would make a fine son-in-law. Might have been easier if it was a daughter in law, but I would hate to been seen as an interfering mother-in-law. Troy it is then.
(Still think he should be marrying me as he has promised to do for the last five years, but one can't force these things. Not overtly anyway. I have time to work on him. Marrrrry your motherrrrrrrr!!!)
A Facebook friend posted a status update that illicited* elicited quite a few interesting responses. I thought I would ask all of you. What would your response be?
If I had ____________________ then I would be ______________________.
Mine would be: If I had more time in the day then I would be able to accomplish so much more.
Which is kind of sad, really. I should try and 'accomplish' less and enjoy the time I have. However, then I suppose mine would be: If I had enough money then I would be able to spend the time I have on the things I want do be doing. However, I need more time to make more money so that I can have more time. Damn!
What would yours be?
*Why doesn't spell-check like 'illicited'? Is 'illicited' not a word? Fuck me, I've been using that word for ages.
Right then. So who looks like a big knob now? Me. I blame the wine.