Wednesday 27 July 2011

The Beans commandments

I'm reflecting this afternoon on what I can do to help myself through this uneasy time. I can't dictate what's happening inside of me and if and when I might fall pregnant again. A lot of the emotions inside me are out of my control - but not all of them. I wonder if I can better manage what is in my control, then perhaps life will feel more settled and everything will begin to feel more in place. It's got to be worth a shot. So, here are my five Beans commandments for the next few months. Let's see if I can stick to them...

1. Not feeling guilty for saying no: Hmm. This is a difficult one, but hey - let's start as I mean to go on, and aim high! This is something I've struggled with my whole life. I'm a real crowd-pleaser and a complete 'yes' person. For most of my life my needs have come after those of everyone else around me, and it wasn't until I met the Boy and he helped me see how much I was giving others that I even realised I was doing this. I've always been one to go the extra mile and put the most in, from something small like buying the extra round in the pub, to wearing myself out working three jobs so I can still pay my mortgage and afford to be there for people at their birthdays or social events. I am a naturally generous and giving person. I like that about my spirit and I don't want the essence of that to change - but there's also something here about pleasing others and worrying about letting them down. At this time, if any, I really need to let go of that. What matters now is me. And the Boy. And if I have something planned or said I'd do something, then the day comes around and I realise it's too much, then I have every right to say 'no'. One of these days I might even learn to say 'no' upfront when asked to do something I don't want to! But I'm not sure that day is coming along any time soon. One step at a time!

2. Not hiding how I feel: It's been three months since the miscarriage now, and occasionally people still ask me how I am doing and if I am ok. Most people don't say anything, which I suppose hurts as well, as it feels our loss has been forgotten. I've started to go on auto-pilot and say I'm fine, to close the issue down. And sometimes I am fine. There are, in general, more good days than bad days and I am thankful for that. But there are times that I'm not fine, and I know that's going to continue for a while. I can't wish my grief away or expect myself to recover too fast. I need to be true to myself and be honest all the time about what's going on in my emotions. I am very lucky that the Boy is so open and willing to be there and listen to me, hold me, comfort me and share with me, so I must try not to bottle anything up for fear of over-burdening him. We've done so well coping with this together to this point, it should continue thus. I have some good friends around me that I know I can lean on - some who have been through the experience and others who have had losses so can empathise with how life might be for me. They are only an email or a call away. I also have this blog which has been such a welcome place for me to pour out my heart. I noticed my entries for July have been pretty few and far between compared to previous months, so I'm going to try and get back into the habit of writing my head and heart down. It really helped earlier on, and might help bring me back to the right path.

3. Making sure there is enough Beans time: I think this one is closely linked to my first commandment, but since the miscarriage there hasn't always been enough time in the week for me to have some quiet time, and take stock of what has happened and give it time and space to process. When I was pregnant the Boy and I stepped out of our busy lives a little and there was an abundance of time for me to read, relax, think - and just 'be'. Since the miscarriage we seem to have fallen back into old habits and I often find myself wishing there were more hours in the day. Fitting in full-time work, with family events and social occasions, as well as running the house, cooking, washing and so on takes up every inch of my waking life, so something has to give a bit, and I'm determined it won't be me or my mental health - or my relationship with the Boy. So going forwards I'm going to plan my weeks better - have a look on Sunday night what is coming up in the week ahead, and make sure I have a few nights where I can get home straight from work, do a few chores, and then have a few hours to unwind and take a load off. When the Boy and I were first married we marked out a weekend a month that from Friday night until Monday morning was Mr and Mrs time where we didn't see or speak to anyone else. That's got a bit lost since the miscarriage - mostly due to it being the summer and the plethora of birthdays, barbecues and weddings coming along - but that will be reinstated. It was a good Beans tradition and I miss it.

4. Watching what I put into my body: In times of strife this is always my Achilles heel. I have a tendency to revert to the old security blankets - most notably alcohol and junk food. They provide a short-term comfort, but don't do me any favours in the longer-term. We had a fabulous week away in Suffolk but we drank every night and I didn't watch what I was eating at all - I've come back a few pounds heavier, and the unhealthy living had a real impact on my sleep and my mental health. For me to feel good, I need decent sleep - I'm very ratty when I don't get this, and that is normally turned inwards and I beat myself up, or feel down on myself. Looking back on the pictures from when I was pregnant my skin looked so radiant being off the alcohol, and I don't need to be carrying extra pounds as that can have a negative affect on my self-esteem and confidence. So - it's back on the salads and low-carb diet for me! We have a holiday booked to Sardinia in September and I'd like to lose a stone by then. Hopefully watching the booze and food will make this happen... along with a bit of commandment five!

5. Work the booty: I feel a lot better about myself and my life when a workable amount of exercise is built into my life. The Boy and I go through phases of walking into work together - it's three miles and nearly an hour's stroll, so it's good for me to walk to and from work. A cunning way of incorporating exercise into my regime without becoming a gym bunny - guaranteed to put me off and send me straight back to the Pringles! We've started doing this again since Suffolk and I can feel the benefits already.

So - here's my plan for the coming weeks. See if I can stick to these commandments - that sounds simple in policy, but I know are anything but in practice! - and pray that they guide me back to the right track and the road that goes forwards... not backwards, sideways, or round and round the roundabout.

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