Beyond Maternal is a space of expression, I write because it feels good.

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Then, like magic, it disappeared.

Then, like magic, it disappeared.

GUILT.

Some say it consumes you. 

I wouldn't be here if it did because once consumed ~ that's it right? I keep imagining being eaten by a dragon. You're in it's dark belly, no returning from there! So, no. Guilt doesn't consume you, unless you're talking about someone in the past tense, which obviously, is a very sad thought.

My guilt, sat beside me. From waking to sleep and again the next day for the past seven years. I felt shadowed by it and most of the time it overwhelmed me. There was always the next reading, quiz, assignment or exam to prepare for. Relaxing wasn't an option, neither was 'switching off' or 'taking some time out'. 

One of my best friends 'J' encouraged me to reward myself with something upon completion of assignments or exams to enable a sense of achievement and it worked in the early days but then the guilt crept back in mid 'reward' novel or pedicure. My brain couldn't switch off from the school work that lined the path to the career I envisioned. And now I look back days after finishing my Masters and I can see a trail of paperwork behind me and I feel some sense of pride but a stronger inclination to set a fucking match to it! Blaze a trail, burn ahead, leave dust in your wake, all inspiring sayings that make me gag.

Behind me is guilt, ashes of it. Ahead of me and all around me is connection~ to my girls, to Jy, to my family, friends, colleagues and the women I've supported and learned from. 

I'm so impressed by other women's skills at juggling parenthood, work, their relationships and one thing is so clear now and that is that its the connections we make and maintain on our journey that remain after the ash and these are worth every moment. I am a working Mum, whatever that looks like, it's going to be different for all of us. The hardest job in the world is when your baby arrives and if you breezed through motherhood your entire life without feeling guilt, then you, my love are a unicorn.

EVERYWOMAN has their hard days. EVERYMAN has their hard days. WE all struggle and the shadow beside us is unavoidable at some point. I think talking about the hard days is just as important as sharing joy. Sometimes we don't hear from each other for a while and perhaps her Instagram posts are trending a FML theme. Keeping an eye on each other (in a non-creepy way) by checking in randomly, is showing you care. Don't unexpectedly go ring her doorbell at 11am on a Tuesday, she's just got back from dropping the kids to school, doing the shopping and has no pants on and a pile of washing in front of her (or at least that was me). Inbox her a love heart and she'll respond with a gif when she's ready, the conversation (ish) has been started. Send her a picture of the bottle of Pinot Noir you picked up on sale with the words 'ours'. If she doesn't respond in 24 hours her phone is probably broken or her kids may be sick. Both good reasons to save the bottle (buy another) for when phone and/or kids feel better.

I've woken up today and my shadow has gone. I'm guilt-free checking emails, making plans with my girls and slothing in bed writing this. This isn't a message to women to not study or pursue their dreams. Its the opposite.

 I want to tell you how good it feels to know your guilt, worry, exhaustion was warranted. And that the best is yet to come, so keep at it but DO call on your loved ones when you need them because you're also their LOVED ONES and we all go through it together.

Poppy Jane

Poppy Jane

Travelling~ at 15 (or 'that one time at band camp')

Travelling~ at 15 (or 'that one time at band camp')

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