finding my voice

Finding my voice. Again.

For several months now, I have been telling myself I have writer’s block. I’ve given myself many a talking to but to no avail. The thoughts and ideas whirling around my sleep deprived brain have taken shape and disappeared as quickly as our fabulous British summer.

And then there are all the distractions. The Great British Bake Off began again so that needs my attention; I’ve suddenly become very concerned by what happens to the Real Housewives of Atlanta (I’m lying if I tell you this is a new concern) and not to mention the World Athletics Championships in Beijing (Team GB all the way!). There is pretty much an ever increasing list of mindless activities that have been distracting me.
And of course, there’s an almost 4 month old baby who has been a bit of a time consuming project.

But really, all of these are excuses. My block comes from the fear that I don’t really have anything to say. Or more accurately, I doubt anyone would want to know what I think. I no longer belong here.  My new voice is pretty fragile. Perhaps it should remain silent. Trundle off into the sphere of new parenthood. Move on. Stop harping on about the past and get on with your life.

The thing with thoughts is that you keep thinking them.

I’ve not known how to start writing because I haven’t given myself the time to mull over and process what has happened in our story. The last 4 months have gone by in a fog of sleepless nights, more discussions about boobs than I could shake a stick at, our own slag heap of rotten nappies and an abundance of well wishers, gifts and precious moments. And tears. Many, many tears.

I’m not afraid of [tears]. They are tangible and comfortable to me.

It is in the tears that I find my fledgling voice begins to grow. Tears of relief when our baby was delivered safely, tears of pain as my body recovered from the ordeal, tears of gratitude at the people who gathered around us to look after us when we couldn’t do so, tears of fear when left alone with a tiny human I had to keep alive, tears of anger that this is harder than I ever imagined, tears of frustration that I have no idea what I’m doing and tears of joy when everything seems to be well. When a smile passes across the boy’s face and we are at peace.

You see, I know how to deal with tears. I’m not afraid of them. They are tangible and comfortable to me. Our years of infertility were marked by tears. They help ground me. And I want to stay rooted in that story which is why it has taken me some time to adjust. To rediscover my voice.

If hope deferred makes the heart sick but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life (Proverbs 13:12) then I am figuring out how deep my roots go.

And they are deep. How do I know? Because I haven’t forgotten the hope deferred. I haven’t blocked out the years before like some blemish on my picture perfect life. I’ve been shaped by what has gone before and am continuing to be shaped by it. Prior to getting pregnant, I would say that I was in one of the happiest times of my life. I felt comfortable in who I was. It had taken some time but I was content. Full of hope and longing but also content with the life I was living. And so, motherhood has not somehow transformed my life into something wonderful. It already was.

The difficulty I have is in allowing this new season to be as fully wonderful. My voice before we became parents was strong. I felt compelled to speak up, to be heard and represent those who were marginalised. Because they are my people. They helped bring me back to life when all felt lost.

And today, they are still my people. That’s my struggle. My voice still wants to cry out and shout for those on the sidelines. My circumstances may have changed but my heart has not. In fact, I have found lots of similarities between life as a childless woman and as a new mum. Trust me, I never thought that was possible.

There’s the questioning and doubting yourself, the feeling like you don’t quite belong in certain social situations, the gnawing at the back of your mind that something might be wrong with you since everyone else seems perfectly ok and those moments where you would give anything to have what you don’t currently have. And the advice. So much well-meaning advice which is completely unsought.

I don’t know what the coming days, months or years will look like. This little voice that has begun to grow needs nurturing. The yearning of my heart to fully embrace this new adventure and live life to the full needs to be encouraged. And I need to know I belong so that I can continue to speak up. To be with the people who helped me grow and to be open to meeting new people in this strange, daunting next phase of life.

So, please bear with me as I make mistakes, fall down and start again. There are new stories to be told, all with the backdrop of the old, messy, hope-filled ones.