Change is coming – can you help it?

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Me with some of my sweet, powerful, approaching mid-life soul sisters

One of the great things about being the youngest of four is that I get to watch everyone else go through life’s milestones first. I can kind of try them on for size and make a mental note of what to do (or not to do) when my time comes.

The latest of these is menopause/perimenopause and, as I have three sisters in their late forties/early fifties, there’s a lot to observe right now.

Menopause used to be a taboo word. I think it still is to some extent. Something to be swept under the carpet or hushed up. No one wants to hear about extreme bleeds and crazy mood swings. No one wants to talk about ‘The Change’. After all, it’s the drying up and dwindling away of women as they cease to be important to the world.

Except that’s NOT what mid life is and that’s NOT what happens to women.

It’s time to change that outdated stereotype and stop letting the patriarchy keep us down! We are actually becoming strong, amazing, no-fucks-given powerhouses and we need to be respected for that.

We need to be telling our stories, sharing our struggles openly.

In the way that mothers have banded together to throw a light on the loneliness and difficulties modern motherhood can bring, I think it’s about time we were doing this for midlife women.

Luckily, someone has beaten me to it and created an amazing play all about it: Mid Life.

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The phenomenal cast of Mid Life

 

Mid Life, of which I have seen a 45-minute preview, is exactly the kind of thing we need. I cannot wait to see the whole thing. It was funny, it was sad and it was so well-observed (just wait till you see the suitcases containing the womens’ rage). I saw myself and my friends in these women, but it also made me realise what huge gaps there STILL are in society’s understanding of women and women’s stories. Especially as we age. We are a voice that isn’t being heard – partly because we aren’t being invited to speak.

 

 

Going to see this play is one way to change that. It will be on at The Bristol Old Vic and Barbican in London, but I’m really passionate about helping more women see it. There’s the chance it could go on tour to Brighton, Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester and more but it needs financial help to get there.

After raising a considerable amount to put it on at the Bristol Old Vic and Barbican, time is running out to reach their crowdfunding target. They need £2K more in the next 18 days! 

I’d love it if you could help, and donate HERE not only because this topic is important to me (it’s the second post I have done on it recently) but this theatre company is important too.

Diverse City specialises in making theatre accessible. That means, as well as giving everyone (black, gay, disabled, whatever, actors) a chance to act and be involved in productions, every performance is signed and audio described. To someone who is used to picking up the crumbs of accessibility for my son, instead of feasting on it as a main meal, this is huge. This play is no exception. Everyone will be able to access it and hear these women’s voices. What impact could that have for generations to come?

See you at The Old Vic…?

 

 

 

 

Mums: It’s OK not to do all the things. We all need an ‘I don’t’ list

I read this post this morning and resonated deeply.

This bit really got me:

How could you possibly be [doing enough]? You’re a woman, living in an age of extreme expectation. Superwoman Syndrome has shaken off its shoulder pads, pulled on its activewear leggings and buddied up with Hustle Culture to provide you a continual feed of All The Ways You Could Be Better.  If you’re a woman with a child, then throw in a dose of Peak Parenting, and the bar for a successful life is now so high the Hubble telescope would squint.’

That’s me, right there. Constantly worrying if I am doing enough and constantly finding myself lacking. I need to give myself a break. So, note to self…. Continue reading “Mums: It’s OK not to do all the things. We all need an ‘I don’t’ list”

‘It gets easier, I promise’

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He smiled, eventually

These words make me cringe. I used to say this phrase all the time, thinking I was helping. But time has taught me it’s not true.

At the time, I didn’t know it was a lie. I made the mistake of thinking that my experience was the norm and that everyone would follow my path. That’s usually the mistake of the privileged, to assume that their experience is the only experience. In this case it wasn’t so much privilege as luck that was responsible for my naivety. Continue reading “‘It gets easier, I promise’”

Grief encounters

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This bears no relation to this post. I just thought a calming pic might be nice

 

In the interests of fairly representing this rollercoaster called parenthood, I feel compelled to write a follow up post to yesterday’s.

Yes, overall, we are happy. For the most part, everything is OK. We go to work and school and nursery. We drink coffee and eat scrambled eggs on Saturdays. We go to the park and for country walks. We sometimes see friends for beers or barbecues or trips to Peppa Pig world. We go to IKEA and eat meatballs, get lost in the showroom and have a hissed row in the car park. We are tired. In other words, we have good times and bad times and are like any other 2.4 children family. And yet…

That grief I mentioned? Today it floored me. If you’re on a similar journey to me, navigating the extremes of everything that parenting a disabled child throws at you, perhaps you need a reminder that it’s OK to not be OK.

Continue reading “Grief encounters”

Seven.

This time seven years ago, I woke up in a London hospital after a couple of hours of fitful sleep, feeling like I had been hit by a bus. In some ways I had.

Sure, the bus was metaphorical, but nonetheless I was sore, bruised and covered in last night’s blood. There was no charge on my phone and I was all alone, feeling dazed and anxious.

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A few hours old, being cooled to stop further brain damage

I’d had a baby. My first. But he was at a different hospital. For those early hours of Monday 8th October, I couldn’t even be sure he was still alive. The hatred I felt towards the Bounty woman who burst through my cubicle curtains with her shitty newborn pack, calling out her congratulations, was visceral. But I didn’t have it in me to do more than nod and then burst into tears when she left. At that point I had no idea it was the midwives I should be angry at.

Happily, that baby was still alive. We had to take it day by day, minute by minute at times, but he was hanging on. Thanks to several poor decisions by the midwives who were supposed to be keeping him safe, he had suffered a catastrophic brain injury that altered the course of all our lives. Continue reading “Seven.”

And… action!

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This is the kind of chat you tend to see a lot of around New Year, but do you pick an intention or word to live by? I prefer it to making resolutions as it gives me a kind of anchor to my life and a theme to return to.

My word of the year this year was ACTION and let me tell you, life has far from stood still.  While you may not have seen much of me doing anything in the digital space, IRL I have been living life in all its messiness and lurching ups and downs. Including…

Continue reading “And… action!”

Just what is ‘The Otherhood’?

 

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My little gang

One of the recurring themes of my journey through motherhood is of being different.

Parenting a child with a disability (cerebral palsy) and a neurotypical child, I am caught between two worlds. Thanks to these two tiny teachers, I have a complete experience of motherhood from the difficult to the sublime. But treading this path means I don’t always feel like I belong.

I very much feel ‘other’. Continue reading “Just what is ‘The Otherhood’?”