The one about birthdays.
I’ve been feeling really stressed lately. Not only am I trying to buy a house - in Sydney, because I’m a glutton for punishment. But also, it’s been a year. I’m going to write that again with caps so you know where to put the emphasis. It’s BEEN a year. Not, it’s been a YEAR. It’s BEEN a year. Now, that we’ve got that sorted I can move on.
This time last year I was seven weeks pregnant and a week away from turning thirty. I had a whole lot of celebrations planned - lunches and dinners, a party with friends, boozing galore. When I found out I was pregnant I nixed the boozing, but still thought I’d be able to keep up with the rest of the festivities - my main concern was hiding my pregnancy from everyone, who would undoubtedly notice my sobriety. But when I was four weeks pregnant hyperemesis gravidarum kicked in - by the time my birthday rolled around I’d been in bed for two weeks straight and hadn’t eaten anything except hydralyte icy poles and rice bubbles.
I spent my thirtieth birthday alternating between bed and the bathroom - with an interlude of an hour where I sat with my family while they ate lunch. I managed a few bites of birthday cake and then went to bed. It was exactly how I imagined my thirtieth ending - me falling into bed, exhausted after vomiting up my last meal, some of it still in my hair. Except it happened at 3pm in the afternoon, not 3am and I wasn’t drunk and exhausted from a night of revelry, I was pregnant.
So nine months of that happened and then I pushed a three kilo baby out of a ten centimeter hole. Someone used a pair of scissors on me, apologised, put thirty stitches in me and sent me on my way. I bled for two weeks, lost the top few layers of skin on both my nipples and my iron was so low I couldn’t shower unsupervised for a week. Add into that all the usual stresses of life, plus trying to buy a house and survive on a single income for the better part of a year - and it’s been a real time. I’m absolutely shattered - I could sleep for several months and still feel the exhaustion in my soul.
I’m ready for this year to be done with and to start my thirty-second year with a bang. Not really a bang, more like a slow high five where not much energy is exerted but everyone feels pepped up regardless. I feel like I’ve aged five years in the last one, and I reckon I look it too. My body has been through the ringer but my soul is what’s really copped it. I thought my pregnancy would break me. At my lowest point I cried hysterically for four hours before I literally passed out from the sheer effort of it - and probably dehydration, HG sufferers can’t afford to waste moisture on tears. And then when I was pretty much defeated by it, Monty was born. The emotional whiplash was insane - birth is a HELL of a thing. Having a baby is a HELL of a thing. And trying to navigate your feelings about all of it while recovering from birth and pregnancy is a HELL of a thing. I have nothing even remotely insightful to offer on all of that because I am so exhausted. But I promise to stop forcing emphasis on you and for the rest of this post will let you decide how you read things.
In many ways it’s been the worst year of my life. And in many ways it’s been the best. I’m too tired to fully process how I feel about all of it - I suspect it’ll take me at least most of next year to do it. I promise to check in ahead of my next birthday and let you know how I’ve gone with that. I’m ready for this year to be behind me, for it to be a memory that I just get to slowly unpack and repack. But I’m also grateful for the tiny wins that are now starting to stack up against the hideous moments from the first seven months of the year. My kid now laughs hysterically when I sing a song from Bob’s Burgers about bowel movements. She blows raspberries and scares herself because she doesn’t realise she has lips. When her face crumbles into a pouty cry she resembles a small old man. I recently discovered a dry shampoo that has brown dye in it that hides my blonde regrowth. I’ve been getting my nails done and they’re looking schmick. I can eat cheeseburgers again - and ain’t that the sign of a life well lived.