When Things Are Not OK

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Earlier today I sat in the back of a taxi and cried. I haven't cried like this in a very long time, with tears flowing freely down my cheeks and deep chesty sobs wracking my entire body. The taxi driver must have thought I was mad, but thankfully he said nothing, and simply passed me a tissue box from the front seat, giving me a sympathetic smile in his rear view mirror. 

It had been a difficult afternoon: after recovering from a 24 hour sickness bug that had been doing the rounds I had decided it was probably about time I looked after my health and paid a visit to the ENT specialist that I see every now and again with periodic ear infections. He looked down his Otoscope with a grave face and told me that I should never leave it so long before coming to see him again - I had one of the worst infections he had seen in his 15 years as a doctor and I should be recovering in bed. I almost laughed - he thinks I can spend the day lounging in bed with a three month old to look after?! He obviously doesn't have children. 

With antibiotics, nasal spray and ear drops tucked under my arm, I struggled to detach Sophia's car seat from the base of her pram and get her into the waiting taxi. Still weak from sickness and lack of food, after weeks of continually telling myself I was fine, the doctor had allowed me to give in to the fact I had been ill for a long time, and I struggled to remember a time when I had felt worse. 

Still, there were two more stops I had to make before the inviting lure of home. Firstly the office where I work when I'm not on maternity leave. Since Sophia's birth, our immigration team had been trying in vain to issue a Residents Permit so that she can legally reside in this country under my sponsorship. Rejection after rejection had come through, as the Ministry of Interior requested further documents in some kind of bid to prove her (or our?!) eligibility to live in Qatar, and after eight or nine visits to the office to try to sort it out I'd finally been told we had been successful and that I could come to collect the RP. However, at the immigration desk, a stern-faced lady told me that I needed a copy of her birth certificate (which I had already provided but which they didn't seem to have on file) in order for her to issue the permit - something which they had neglected to tell me when we spoke on the phone. "It's ok, you can come back tomorrow with it!" she chirped with a smile. For the second time that day I was reminded that people who don't have babies have no idea how difficult simple daily tasks can actually be, and I gritted my teeth to prevent me from pointing out that my little RP trips to the office were verging on double figures. Crest fallen, we returned empty-handed to the waiting taxi. 

Our last stop was the supermarket.  I was dreading making this trip, because by this point Sophia was ready for a feed and fussing, but I knew that there was nothing in the fridge and if I didn't go now I wouldn't get out again until late in the afternoon and I would have to forego lunch for the third time already this week. Now shopping with a baby in a pram on the best of days is difficult, but today nothing seemed to go to plan. I forgot to pick up a basket and realised too late that they were outside the automatic one-way doors which had already closed behind me, I couldn't find anything I was looking for and my pram had suddenly decided to stop steering in a straight line. 

Weary and emotionally drained, I returned to my flat, plopped Sophia onto her playmat and collapsed on the sofa, where I spent the next five minutes lamenting my life - the list of things I had to do before I head back to England next week; the long hours that Mr Sunshine works during tournaments like the Euros and Wimbledon, leaving me to look after the baby on my own; the number of unfinished blog posts in my draft box that would never see the light of day; the number of blog and social media comments and emails waiting for me unanswered; The heaving stack of dishes by the sink and the growing pile of laundry on our dining room table and the lack of time I had to sort it out; the lack of time I had for ANYTHING come to think of it; the little sleep I'd had since Sophia came into the world; how ill and wretched I felt and how far away from the place I call home I really was.

But there was nothing else I could do other than to pick myself up and get on with things. So I sat down with Sophia and wrote this blog post. She's just finished a feed, and is smiling up at me from the crook of my arm, and I can already feel my anger, sadness and frustration melting away.
The sad fact of the matter is, a day like today isn't all that unusual when you're a new mum. As well as being the best thing in the whole wide world, parenthood can be really hard. That's why if you're a mummy, I applaud you. If you're a mummy and you live in another country to your main support network, I salute you. If you're a mummy, an expat, you're single (or without help from a significant other for any length of time), tired or ill AND you're managing to hold it all together, well then I think you deserve a goddam medal.

Follow Your Sunshine is a positive blog about positive things, but just for today I needed to get this out. And I already feel better. Business as usual will commence tomorrow!

29 comments:

  1. Sometimes it helps to let it all out :) If it helps in every single photo I've seen of Sophia she looks like the happiest baby there is! And also, your blog can always wait :) xx

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    1. Yes!! Writing everything down is the best therapy! That's such a lovely thing to say, thank you Lauren. I think she is a happy little girl most of the time, so I know I can't be doing a terrible job :-)

      Polly xx

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  2. You're a wonderful person Polly and you're doing an amazing job raising a Sophia, living in Doha and running your blog. I think you just need to say it out loud and get it off your chest at times, sit back and reassess how you're going to move forward. I have every faith that you'll figure it out and come out of this rough patch stronger than ever. Chin up, m'dear.

    Sending big hugs!

    A x

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    1. Aww thank you for your lovely comment Aftab, really appreciate your supportive words! Big hug back,

      Polly xx

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  3. Oh Polly, I was really sad to read this. On a positive note that's the great thing about blogs, there's a place to vent your feelings and get support from other when you're feeling alone.

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    1. So true! If I didn't have a blog I'd probably have a really angsty diary instead right now!!

      Polly xx

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  4. I think you're doing the best that you can given all the circumstances so when it's time to break, just let it out. I agree with Lauren, your blog can always wait and Sophia is such a wonderful baby to look at. I applaud you for being you, and for voicing out that it's not always rainbows and butterflies.

    Don't be so hard on yourself, Polly - I genuinely think you're going to be okay. xx

    Honey The Girl Next Shore

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    1. Thank you so much lovely. Your comment really made me smile.

      Polly xx

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  5. I wish everybody read this! I hope you feel good by the end of this day. Sending lots of positivitve dust.. Be bold and brave and face everything like a devil..😍😍😊😊

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    1. I need all the positive dust I can get right now, thank you Sahar! I'm donning my devil horns :-)

      Polly xx

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  6. I wish everybody read this! I hope you feel good by the end of this day. Sending lots of positivitve dust.. Be bold and brave and face everything like a devil..😍😍😊😊

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  7. I think we all have days like this where we aren't feeling great and/or ill and nothing seems to be going our way. Being a mother is such a tough job but comes with it is a great reward. Sending lots of positivity your way. x

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    1. It's very good to know I'm not the only one! Thanks for the positivity.

      Polly xx

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  8. I think you've handled it beautifully, I too have no family close by and although I spend hours with them on Skype, it's not all that helpful when you need some food & a shower! But hang in there, they start sleeping more and it gets even more wonderful xxx

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    1. So true Manasai! Sorry that you're struggling too, I really empathise. Looking forward to the day when she starts to sleep more!!

      Polly xx

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  9. Sending you all the hugs & cyber Jaffa cakes xx

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    1. Cyber jaffa cakes made my day :-)

      Polly xx

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  10. Oh Polly, I was so scared when I read the preview of the post and now I'm so glad it's an illness that can be treated. The most important thing is to look after yourself and your health so that you can be there for your baby. Dishes and laundry can wait, they won't run away ;)

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    1. Aww, I'm so sorry for scaring you sweetheart!! I shouldn't have been quite so melodramatic ;-) Thank you for your lovely message, I will definitely be taking that advice.

      Polly xx

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  11. I echo the sentiment above which is that, as horrible as it's been, I'm so glad it was nothing more serious as got really worried for you when I read the title! I would be EXACTLY the same in your position in terms of being a bit tearful (if not a LOT tearful!) and must be hard at times like this being away from your family and oldest friends support network but the fact that you manage to multi task, juggle so many things and still find the time to be a doting Mummy, a fantastic blogger and lovely wife no doubt should hopefully prove to you just how much resilience you have! Power on trooper! x

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    1. What a lovely message, thank you soo much lovely lady!! It's nice to know I'm not the only weeper around here!! I'm powering on :-)

      Polly xx

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  12. This really touched me and I feel you! The midwives (yes 2 checked) left placenta in my body for ten weeks following EsmΓ©'s birth and it was literally killing me, as my cervix had closed and it was toxic and poisoning my body. Years ago I would have died, but after having to take photographic evidence (gross) to prove what was happening to me, my midwife finally agreed there may be something wrong with me. I couldn't walk up the stairs whilst holding the baby for those first few weeks as I thought I would faint/ I could barely get out of bed but I had this new little person relying on me and breast feeding and EsmΓ© still doesn't sleep, so when she was still very new, I don't think I slept more than two hours for the 6months...!!! It was the hardest thing I have ever done. But I'm through it and you still get bad days but you are an amazing mummy, and Sophia is perfect. You are allowed to have these whinges, it is totally normal and my hat goes off to you. You are doing amazing and I am always, always here for a rant or chat or advice etc xxxxxxxxxx

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    1. Awww Sarah, I didn't realise that you had such a horrible experience, I'm soo sorry you had to go through that! Thank God you were persistent and got them to listen up before it was too late!! Poor mama. We all have our own battles to fight and I know that my story isn't at all unusual. I'll drop you a message soon, would be great to chat about all this with someone who gets it :-) Loads of love to you and gorgeous Esme. And thanks so much for your lovely words.

      Polly xx

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  13. Sending you lots of love, you're doing an amazing job! I can't imagine how difficult it is for you being so far away from your family xx

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    1. So tough! Thank you so much Leanne,

      Polly xx

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  14. very honest:) there should be more posts like this from new mums:) I hope you recover soon:)

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    1. It took some guts to be this honest, but I agree, more mums need to know that they're not the only ones that are struggling. It definitely would have helped me!

      Polly xx

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  15. Oh Polly! I'm just catching up on your blog and this made me so sad :( Sorry you've been having such a tough time, it sucks so much when everything feels like it's going wrong at once. Sending huge hugs your way and hope you're feeling better now!

    C x

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  16. Aww, Polly! Just caught up with this - everyone has really bad days, don't beat yourself up for letting it all out! You are carrying so much on your shoulders at the moment, what with raising your lovely little girl abroad and away from most of your family. I think you're doing a fantastic job, and as you said, writing really is the best form of therapy to get those negative emotions out. It's also far more human to show the world that you have off days every now and then! As one of life's worriers, I can honestly tell you that even the longest days seem like a tiny blip in the radar when you look back on them after long enough! Keep smiling, lovely!

    Sophie X

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