Well… I’m guessing 99% of the people on this planet would have one heck of a story to tell when it comes to 2020. A story which we will definitely be repeating for many years to come. Mine, sorry not sorry, I think is going to be a lengthy one, filled with a lot of opinion and a lot of realisation. It could probably be done in parts actually. But I want to start this one by saying, don’t let anyone at any point discount how you felt and how hard things got for you this year. Nobody’s circumstance was worse than the other, and that includes situations that may have occurred pre-COVID-19. I heard so many stories of hardships and anxieties that came out of what was happening. Not one scenario was worse than mine or vice-versa. You have the absolute right to feel the way you felt and may still feel. And I want to be clear on this. This doesn’t include those who compared our situation to a dictatorship, because if I was a victim of an actual dictatorship, I’d be offended by that. I was concerned that those who constantly complained, were moreso worried about their avocado on toast, with the mother’s club for brunch at their local Degani, than actually going through a hardship like, having to close a business, losing a job, or having a loved one die in aged care and you couldn’t be there to hold them for their last breath. So, at the same time, please don’t forget to check your privilege.
I am just going to go right ahead and start with the best and most important thing that happened in 2020, for me. In ‘My 2019’ I kind of withheld information. When I published it, I was indeed pregnant and knew about it, but not three months yet. Not taking away the fact that it did take longer than I thought. I psychologically mind-fucked myself. I told myself that I was going to get pregnant, easy. I come from a family of very fertile women, so there shouldn’t be a problem with me conceiving within the first three months, right? But, another month went by, I got my period, I’d cry and feel so disappointed. Then another and another. And now, looking back and seeing the big picture, compared to other very incredible women, it didn’t actually take that long overall. I got off the pill in September of 2018. We started trying around mid-2019. We were pregnant in October of 2019. I even hated myself for being on the pill because I thought that played a major factor on the length of time. And now he’s here. My baby boy Harry was born August 1st. He’s already showing signs of stubbornness. Not only did he take nine extra days to join us, giving us that August and Leo baby I prayed for, his exit from the womb required a little push, too. And by push I mean, pushing by me was no help anymore, and he required to be pulled out. But nevertheless, he is so very welcomed.
I guess, so far he’s doing the normal baby thing. Not the greatest sleeper. For me, the recovery down there took about six weeks. I got stitched up real good, so sitting down and walking for too long we’re both bad news for my poor vagina. And let’s not forget my poor left breast. I copped mastitis at least five times and I did everything under the sun to control it. By the time Harry was 10 weeks, I made the decision to stop my milk supply completely. It got to a point where time with him was more important than painfully trying to get him that liquid gold, and feeling weak and sick trying to do it. Mind you, I wasn’t even getting more than 300mls a day, anyway. I did feel guilty. I felt guilty not being able to put him on the boob immediately due to flat nipples, and the fact that my milk supply didn’t come through straight away. I found myself constantly apologising to Harry and telling him it was my fault. I also felt bad for my husband who was for the breastmilk. I will cherish the two or three times Harry latched on well and had a good feed. They were beautiful moments. But I truly think, in the long run, it’ll be the best decision. The thing that does make me ponder though, is this what I subconsciously always wanted? Was my heart ever really into breastfeeding or did I learn that after time through my experience? Did I try hard enough or was it all just too hard? Turned out there was partly another reason why it didn’t work out, and that is because my mum had to be rushed to hospital for a suspected heart attack. All good now. It is just a blockage of vessels to her lungs, which is manageable, but I did mention to my husband, ‘imagine if I was breastfeeding. How could I just up and leave if I had to?’
Isolation was a blessing, despite the fact that we love having family around and being quite social. The baby care routine is more full on than I thought, so imagine having family over every hour. Going into full lockdown meant he had had to wait to meet family. I did worry about the impact that may have had, but he is very much loved regardless and is showing signs of FOMO. Meaning, he just loves being social.
When COVID-19 hit, it kind of took the joy out of a pregnancy, which thankfully, was super smooth. Well at least for two months of it, all I could do was stress about how it affected me. As a pregnant woman, as well as being an asthmatic, I was stuck in the vulnerable/high risk group. So I did take it seriously. But by May, there was a bit of an easing feeling. The second wave that hit just days before Harry was born did have me on edge a little again. I’m not taking away how stressful going through that was and still having to be at work, in the beginning. A workplace that was already bad-buzzing before the pandemic. I felt isolated by people I thought were my people. And if I was told one more time that I was not being forced to be there, I would have absolutely lost my shit. To have my work ethic questioned at such a time, to me, was the lowest of lows. Did I feel supported and taken care of? Nope. Not once was I asked how I was feeling and if I was okay. They wouldn’t even ask how my pregnancy was going and how I was feeling after a few weeks of agonising back pain. But hey, they weren’t forcing me to be there. It was a horrible couple of months to go through in that place, but I guess I learned to deal with it on my own. Well, I did have a handful I could trust, that kept me sane and listened to my whining. The lack of understanding however, from those who really should have sympathised or actually acknowledged how hurtful and ignorant they were during the most vulnerable time, is what disappointed me the most. When I do finally go back to work, I need to ensure my mindset changes. I am professional. I know how to separate friendships from colleagues. But it’s time to enforce a sturdier boundary.
I rely on vibes to determine people’s intentions when they behave a certain way. It’s a curse and something that can be rewarding. But it’s hard when you’re also such a multiple chance giver, and just want to get along with everyone, so you’re constantly getting hurt because you don’t want to give up on the people that are repeatedly treating you like you don’t exist, or have done a 180 on you out of nowhere. I have always struggled with not being liked if the feeling isn’t mutual. Within reason, though. There are people out there I have found very easy to burn bridges to. Nevertheless, you get told about people’s true colours, and at the end of the day, that’s just someone else’s opinion, and if you’re anything like me, you still like to give someone a chance. It’s disheartening and just plain disappointing that people can give up on you so easily. It took me a bit but I got so sick of this notion earlier in the year, focused on my baby boy inside me, and the people who did give me their time, and just became more ignorant to the vibes around me. So, here is the lesson I learnt this year. I need to give people I meet the opportunity to reveal every part of themselves before I completely immerse in giving them all of me. I basically need to be selective with who I allow access to me. I’m sure it’ll take a few turns. I am after all a very welcoming and transparent sort of person, but it’s time to step back, protect me from now on and not give my everything when the other person is eventually willing to give nothing. I did have that happen to me earlier this year. Someone I thought I knew, who would lean on me for comfort and understanding, eventually became someone I knew nothing about when they showed me a side of themselves I wanted nothing to do with. Even the opposite happened. Someone I thought was a complete wanker, ended up being one of the nicest and realest guys I’d ever met. But, I want to focus on those who got me through it. It would’ve been so much harder had I not had that support. So to the handful that made things better, you know who you are, thank you. You’re all I need.
Which then leads to how I Mary Kondo’ed the heck out of my social media accounts. Deleting and unfollowing people for the pure fact that they just don’t bring me any joy, or the fact that if out and about, we’d both pretend we didn’t see each other, and that’s family included, has been an amazing cleansing experience. I also stopped checking in on some sites because it gave me a heavy feeling. My priorities have obviously really changed this year. Having my baby makes everything I’ve ever dramatised before seem less important. So honestly, fuck these people. They aren’t a loss to me. As I say that I take a deep breath and feel so much better.
I even culled my demon from my socials. Do I wish I can cull them from my life completely? Hell yeah, but unfortunately, it isn’t that easy, but this is a first step. I just couldn’t keep watching those fake posts come up. I’m just purely exhausted by how my feelings toward this person impacts me. I decided, though I can never allow myself to believe this person will ever be a decent human being (generally narcissists aren’t), resenting them for this long has taken away energy I could use and manifest into energy I can put elsewhere. I have allowed this force to consume me. I’m done! My baby boy is the most important thing to me and that’s where I want to focus. My demon took up so much of my life, even if they weren’t even physically present. No more! I have to rely on the universe and karma to help me rid of this person from us, so it is up to me to learn how to mentally deal, for now.
To add, I was bombarded with so much information about certain people that I just wish I didn’t know. I mention this because, though the information was relevant, important and yes, factual, ignorance is bliss, and I just want to be ignorant. The type of ‘gossip’ I was gathering was just too heavy to carry. I’m still trying to figure out how I can stop this flow of negative information from entering my world. I’m an empath and I feel everything and carry it for days. That’s why, I don’t want it anymore. I just rather not know. Plus, knowing me, I know what’s going on before anyone even gives me the evidence. Remember those instincts I mentioned before? It ain’t some spiritual shit I’m trying to push. I’m switched on, like a light. I need boundaries with this one and I need to build them now! Therefore, to round this part up; I’m not stupid. I’m switched on and have strong instincts. I always have. And so just because I’m playing along with your lie, doesn’t mean I believe it. I say this because, this is a way I’m trying to not involve myself in the toxic energies around me. By just smiling, nodding and shutting the fuck up, despite knowing what I know. *insert, guy tapping his temple with his finger, meme here.*
Moving on… I want to shout out those people that despite hardly speaking to them previously, all of a sudden, I had a team of fellow mamas behind me that were constantly checking in, giving the best advice, and were just super supportive for me this year. From family members I’d only speak to a couple of times a year, to girls I used to go to school with, if you’re reading this… thank you! You have no idea how those calls or DM’s made my day each time. I will cherish those conversations forever.
Now this might come off a little negative, but I have to mention it now that I’ve experienced it. I think I have the right to these opinions now that I am a woman who has been pregnant, and now has a baby. I understand the people who say the following all mean well, and bless their hearts, but I just find the following comments or questions, unnecessary and a little ignorant.
There was, “Oh My God. You’re so small for 36 weeks.” In my head I am saying, ‘not that it’s any of your business, I looked small, but I always measured perfectly. So, what exactly do you know!?’ This comment made me think there was something wrong with me. But, I let out a nervous laugh and went on my merry way.
I also fully disagree with the idea of, “if you keep picking up your baby when it’s crying, you’re going to teach it to be clingy.” Fuck right off with that advice. Especially in the first few weeks, your baby wants nothing but your warmth. It’s just spent 40 (in my case 41+2) weeks in your body knowing nothing else but your warmth. So, if your baby is crying and all other options aren’t the reason it’s upset, pick it up and snuggle! Because one day, you won’t get to anymore. And man, those snuggles are the best.
Next! Whoever said “sleep when the baby is sleeping” is the best piece of advice, is a fool. I laugh in your face. Whoever actually does that, good for you, but here’s reality. Do you actually know how long some babies nap for? You’re lucky if it’s longer than 20 minutes. This piece alone took 25 naps for me to edit. Now, I don’t know about you, but it takes me 3 business days to actually fall asleep, so yeah nah fam, it don’t work for me. Plus, who’s going to get all the shit done around the house, Susan? Thank God for my mum and mother in-law for their help once a week to give my house a good clean, but there is so much more that needs to be done. Mind you, the house doesn’t exactly get cleaned just once a week either. Don’t worry about the house, you say? Yeah, I don’t know about you, but I don’t like living in filth, and I have cats. There is hair everywhere, all the time. And don’t forget trying to fit in some exercise. So no, you do not sleep when the baby sleeps. You sleep at night like you usually did, but now, you wake up once or twice to feed your kid and put him, and maybe yourself back to sleep.
This is the one that might stir the pot a little, and it’s not a big deal really, but “can’t wait to meet him” sounds more like “I can’t wait for there to be a convenient event on where I will be attending and so will you with your baby, and that’s when I’ll get to meet him, call him cute and whatever, maybe even hold him for 15 seconds and then run off and not ask anything or ever see you again, unless there is another event on where we are all attending.” This does not include those who are genuinely trying, or have tried to come see us, by the way. Again, I don’t give a fuck who’s not coming to see my son, but it works hand in hand with the cleansing I spoke of. Though I still love and adore most of these people, since they haven’t really done anything wrong, I will lightly be paying attention to who actually comes over and spends time to see how I’m going, how my baby is going and makes an effort to win my baby over, because I’m damn sure not forcing my child to get along with anyone.
Lastly, I feel this next one is more of a personal one. No big deal again, but it does irritate me how often I got ask “are you excited?” My real answer: I have been planning this for a year before I got pregnant. Many of you knew this. Do you actually think I wouldn’t be happy to know I’m having a child? It’s not like I slept around and it was unwanted. Even then, being the decent human being I am, I’d still fucking cherish it.
Then there was “are your parents excited?” This one makes me smack my head and shake it. Especially the fact that everyone knows my ethnicity comes with the need to grow families. So, what do you think? Do you actually think grandparents wouldn’t be excited that their child is having a child? Grandparents, good ones, especially ethnic ones, fucking live for this shit. These what’s-your-level-of-excitement questions seem like such a throwaway question. Don’t ask for the sake of using your mouth to spill words. I guess it’s partly my fault. I’m a huge anti-small talk person. I can be so cold and rude when people want to talk about the weather, or ask what’s new? I find those conversations so boring and meaningless. I can’t help it! I need more!
Not referring to my baby at all for a minute but… A long time ago, someone somewhere said always leave your expectations low so there’s no real disappointments. If you have your hopes high the entire time, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and therefore, not what you were expecting. If you go into something expecting everything a certain way, you might be absolutely correct about it, but you might not be. So having low expectations sets you up for a more positive response, regardless of the end result. This is partly a reason why I’m not the sort of person who gets ‘excited’ about anything. This might seem a little negative, but trust me, once you master that technique of ‘go in open minded and whatever it is, it is’, your life will change.
You know what sort of comments and advice I would have appreciated? “Get a double pump. It’ll cut down the time and if you get the crop top band, you can do some house work or comfort your baby whilst still expressing.” I could have used that early on. Maybe my milk supply wouldn’t have suffered. Another more useful lesson I learnt during this whole pregnant and baby thing is, don’t plan for anything. Everything you think you want to do is most likely not going to happen. And please, never say never! Take my labour for example. I thought I would use an exercise ball for a lot of it, I would do some Pilates stretches, I would use minimal medical assistance, I’d walk and sway more. But, nah! I ended up on the bed, begging for the epidural. Though my husband says I did put up with a lot before I cried for it, what I wanted to do, didn’t really happen. I would have loved the advice of “have an idea, but not a plan”. I now share that with you, future baby mamas and papas. So, current me, who says no to iPad’s and screen time, just hold back a little bit for now.
So, here’s some advice when dealing with pregnant women, guys. Don’t make comments on women’s appearance firstly, and definitely don’t compare your experience or the experience of another person’s you’ve heard about, unless you’re being asked to directly from the pregnant woman. What I mean is, don’t push “you should’s” according to your experience. Offer “have you tried’s” but know, nobody’s experience is the same. Oh boy, did I find that out. Not one woman was able to tell me a labour and birth story that was completely the same from the last. And if you feel you need to say something, it’s totally welcomed, but ask how we’re feeling every so often by not narrowing it down to one emotion, like excitement. Wish us well, and ask if we need anything.
Side shout out here to my future goddaughter, Christina for making an appearance two weeks before Harry. Looking forward to seeing her grow and seeing what Harry and Christina’s relationship will be like over time.
Now, let me talk about our friend COVID for a minute. I didn’t realise how many of my relatives and friends had a PhD in science, and how amazing a source YouTube and Facebook are. But hey when I was 16, I repeat 16, I also thought I was ‘woke’ thanks to John Smith on YouTube, or thanks to all the informative memes I’d gather. So many people just knew so much more about this pandemic than the people who have devoted their life to these things. I hope you can read the sarcasm. Listen, I had/have my theories. Was it as bad as they made it out to be? I’m sure it was just your average flu, but two things. It definitely exists, and it definitely spreads a lot easier than your average flu. But our immune systems just have to get used to it and that can’t happen if we aren’t interacting (says the person who can date the two times she’s been sick. I don’t get sick very often). And are we seriously going to lockdown the place every time one person tests positive? Was it an excuse to go to war with China? Likely. Were hospitals faking death certificates in order to get a massive pay day? I hear that’s a strong possibility. And this was stupid. Someone dies of a heart-attack, but they put down COVID because they had it when they had the heart-attack. Do masks really work? My nurse friend says not after a small while. Considering every year we have a different flu, was this the one that finally did what it needed to in order to get more control of us? I don’t actually feel controlled. Was lockdown really necessary? Maybe not to the extent. Was our Premier incompetent in handling the pandemic? In some aspects, but not forgetting guys, he was also just the face in some of this. Was I willing to risk everything only to get someone I love sick and potentially lose them? I had rather be safe than sorry. Are we being microchipped? This subject requires a whole article on it’s own. But in a few words, if you own a credit card, a driver’s license, a GPS and a mobile phone, hunny, you’re already microchipped. I could go on. But I didn’t care for the theories as much as so many others did. It stressed me out that I had to constantly jump on Facebook, with a new post being shared by some meme/YouTube loving idiot. Hey, I agreed with some of it, but I didn’t appreciate those people constantly spreading more frustration, anxiety and fear by sharing these ‘theories’ or even just their constant nagging and negative thoughts towards the situation. We all hated what was happening, guys! This helped with my social media cleansing. The snooze button on Facebook became my favourite for those I wasn’t prepared to delete/unfollow, but posted their thoughts almost hourly. Way I saw it was, I’m not in control and even if I was, I don’t see me doing anything different than what our leaders did. Damn, if they did. Damn, if they didn’t. My mentality the whole time was always ‘it is, what it is’. I did find myself asking, would I have felt different if I wasn’t pregnant? Truth is, probably, but less tense. But it just goes to show how you really need to look at something from all perspectives before reacting. I know I failed on some occasion to do myself, but it’s another lesson learned.
Amongst it all, there was some very sad news in 2020 for my family. My uncle finally succumb to his health issues, in March. A day after my 31st birthday. He battled for years, so in some way, it is a relief that he doesn’t have to suffer anymore, and I’m just so glad he is in good company with my dad; his old mate. It was of course terrible to not be able to attend his funeral, or the fact that my family weren’t allowed to be together to say their goodbyes and just hold each other. COVID-19 did that.
Lastly, I have to mention that I finally decided I didn’t want to be ‘Ms Peachy’ anymore; a nickname I got during my early 20’s. A persona I no longer have anything in common with, but a time in my life I will always look upon with gladness. I plan to write about this, so stay tuned.
We really need to look back and consider what 2020 was. Sure, a horror show would be the first instinctive response, but I bet it also did so much good for so many. For me, I believe it gave me enough strength to say no, and not be so hung up on pleasing everyone, even strangers, and worrying about what people will have to say or think of me because I said ‘no’. It gave me the power to let go, mainly of those who do nothing for me and who bring me no joy. It gave me the opportunity to be more honest with how I feel, and not just suck it up all the time, and to give a little less instead of giving my all. 2020 gave me my son. I can’t deny, that’s got to be the best gift of all. And you know what else 2020 brought us, guys? Some of the best dessert businesses have really shined this year. I was planning to lose this fat straight after the baby, but it’s been hard with loaded cookies, macarons and Lotus Biscoff dangling in front of me. But I’m not too mad.
Look on the bright side guys. The glass is half full. Take the challenges 2020 gave you, and make that new power of wisdom and resilience you gained, work for you in 2021 and beyond. Boy, I know I will. But my first wish for the new year is definitely to be more ignorant to gossip and drama. Here is to a more peaceful and less noisy 2021. Wish me luck!