I Baked My Son’s Birthday Cake, And It Was Awesome

That, my friends, is a happy face. He didn’t see a single crack in his cake, he didn’t see any of the imperfections that I focused on and he didn’t see the stress I was in nor hear the swear words that came out of my mouth.

All he saw was an amazing Thomas the Tank cake that his mum made, and spent the day with all his friends playing and jumping on a big bouncy castle that we hired.

Yesterday was a very special day for him. He’s been invited to so many birthday parties this year, and could not understand why he couldn’t keep any of the presents and wasn’t allowed to blow out the candles.

We spent months going to Big W looking at Thomas the Tank toys and I had to tell him he had to wait for his birthday. And not once, did he ever throw a tantrum.

And so yesterday, he got to blow out his candles on his cake. He was over the moon. And when it was time to open presents, with EVERY single present, he asked me “Is this mine? Is this one for me?” (And there were a lot of presents lol)

I wanna thank all my friends who turned up yesterday, it was really special for all of us, especially for our little Luke. He woke up this morning still on a high (probably from all the sugar he had lol) ❤️

To all the parents who make their own cakes, or buy their cakes or buy a woolies cake with sprinkles on it, thank you for being you, for wanting your child to be happy on their special day.

This is my Facebook post prior to this blog! https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2F120fingersandtoes%2Fposts%2F1113081225396468&width=500

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I Was Not Always This Old

 

When you come into my room, just who do you see? You see a grey haired lady, looking back at you with a tired and weak smile. You look around and see a bunch of photos and trinkets that I’ve collected over the years. But is that all you see?

If only you could’ve gone back in time and met me when I was your age. Like you, I had big dreams. The world was my oyster and nothing was impossible. I walked with purpose, with my head held high. I had so much life in me and I was unstoppable. This grey haired lady you see in front of you, was once a stay at home mother, champion ballroom dancer, a nurse, a midwife, a teacher. I might have even protested in a rally or two.

I’ve had wonderful friends. In my group of friends, I’m pretty sure I was the funny one. We laughed so much, our bellies ached. We would sit and talk on the phone for hours. We went shopping, tried on the latest dresses, did our own hair and danced to Jailhouse Rock

I’ve lost touch with my old friends. And as I sit in my great big arm chair, I find myself wondering where they are right now. Do they ever think of me? I wonder if they miss me? Oh my god, we had so much fun.

I had my insecurities and had days where I lacked confidence in myself. Like you, as confident as I was, I’d look in the mirror and asked myself, “Am I too fat? Am I too skinny? Am I too short? Am I too tall?”

I was strong and I was beautiful, but that’s not what you see right now, is it?

I’ve had my heart broken and cried myself to sleep. I’ve also loved with all my heart, and fortunate enough to have someone love me back. I’ve looked into his eyes and thought, “How did I get so lucky?” But I’ve also looked into another man’s eyes and thought, “I can’t live like this anymore.” 

My husband is gone. The man I’ve spent nearly my whole life with, is now gone. I now watch TV all alone in this room, and sometimes, I still turn to see if he’s there. Like you, we had children, dreams, goals and plans together. 

Like you, I was a daughter, a grand-daughter, and a mother. But I’ve surpassed you now as I’m a grandmother and a great-grandmother. I see a lot of myself in my daughters and grand-daughters. I see, in their eyes, the same worry, pride and happiness for their children that I had for them when they were younger.

Now I’m old. I’m very old. My bones creak when I try to walk. What’s happened to me? I used to dance, swim and run around with my children. Now I’m lonely, I’m weak, and I need your help. I wish I didn’t need your help, but I do. I haven’t got a choice. Please know that I get very embarrassed when you have to take me to the toilet. 

I had a beautiful home. It wasn’t much, but it was still my home. I had lots of wonderful and even sad memories in there. I’ve cooked and cleaned and wiped up spills that my children and grandchildren made. I’ve now lost my home and all I have now – is this room, this room was allocated to me. I no longer have the freedom to do what I want. I’m only allowed to have my most precious things with me in this room, to remind myself of the life I once had.

When you see me, please remember, I used to be like you. I was not always this forgetful, not always this weak and I was not always this old. 

 

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“The best people let me talk without judgement and without pity”

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Donna contacted me through my website www.120fingersandtoes.com and requested for me to interview her. She wanted me to help share her experience with postnatal depression and how she learnt to overcome it. Donna is a wife and a mother of two children. And before she had their first baby, she suffered 5 miscarriages.

Postnatal Depression

Donna discovered she suffered from postnatal depression roughly around 8 months after the birth of their first child. Her baby had to be breastfed every 2 hours, 24 hours a day. She said she felt angry all the time and was constantly tired and frustrated. Her baby would cry and wanted to get picked up but Donna would get angry at her. Her husband would say to her, “You can’t talk to her like that…” And that would make Donna even angrier.

She felt very isolated, and that no one understood what she was going through. She felt like everyone was seeing it very differently to how she saw things… “But I was the one seeing it differently, I guess.” Although she felt like she had a very good support network, she felt she had no one around to help her. But she knew it wasn’t how they were, she knew it was how she was feeling. There’s been times when she’s thought, “They’d all be better off without me, I’m ruining everything.”

Donna also experienced a lot of anxiety. “If I had to see anyone out of my normal routine, I’d get really stressed out about it, then I’d pick a fight with my husband, hoping he’d say ‘right, we’re not going.'”

Donna’s husband, mum and sister were very concerned. They all suggested for her to see a doctor. She laughed, as she recalled what she thought at the time, “Fine, I’ll go see somebody and prove them wrong!” So she went to the doctor…. and bawled her eyes out! After talking to Donna, her doctor spoke to her husband to make sure she would get home safely. She felt bad, that people thought she was suicidal and would hurt the baby. She said she can now understand how some women could be driven to do certain things, just out of sheer desperation and exhaustion. We both talked about how we heard that exhaustion is used in criminal warfare as one of their torture tactics!

She recalled a time when her first child was about 13 months old. Her baby would cry and Donna would scream and swear at her. She then thought to herself, “Oh my god, why am I talking like this? Then I would feel really guilty, sit there and bawl my eyes out for hours. This child is going to learn to be this way and I realized I was being a bully to her.” Donna recalled another time when, out of anger, she wanted to say something to hurt her husband. So she said, “You know, last night, I thought about leaving you.” Only to have her husband reply, “You know I thought about leaving you too.” She laughed, saying, “Are you serious? I thought… Shit, I’m that much of a bitch, he’s going to leave me! I was just being a bitch to get him upset! That really upset me.”

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Support

Donna says she now sees a very good psychiatrist, one who has shown her different ways to deal with her feelings, taught her how to cope and change her way of thinking. She’s taught her to see what’s really important in the grand scheme of things (does the house REALLY need to be super clean when someone comes over?). She felt that talking to her psychiatrist has been very liberating for her. She also meditates and when times are stressful, she’s found that reciting the Lord’s Prayer over and over again, has had a very calming effect on her.

Donna also takes medication to help with her PND. She takes 10mg of Escitalopram a day. She giggled and called them her “Non-psycho pills!” “So many people say you shouldn’t be on medication, ‘You don’t need it’. I’m like, well, clearly I do! I figure if I’ve got a headache, I’ll take an aspirin…. if you’re not feeling well, take something to make you feel better.”

“I couldn’t have asked for a better husband.” Donna’s husband is very patient. Having learnt from their first baby, when they had their second, he did a lot of the night time feeds, made sure Donna got enough sleep and was looked after (awwwwwww!! *applause*). She also has a very good group of friends that support her. She’ll never forget that one of her friends had said to her (after Donna started on her medication), “I didn’t realize how ‘NOT’ Donna you were until I’ve seen you on your tablets, and how ‘back to normal’ you are now. I didn’t realize how sad you really were.”

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What Do You Want The World To Know?

“It is OK to talk about how bad you feel. Nothing is ever too bad that it can’t be fixed or helped. Postnatal (depression) does not discriminate, it hits the strongest and the weakest, it hits the confident as much as those who have little confidence, hits first timers and those with one or more kids. You have no idea it’s coming and often no idea it’s there. But boy, does it play games with your mind and your life.”

“Women are strong, we can endure many things but the best way to heal is to talk and to have support. No matter what was said to me during my times of sadness after losing a baby, it was helpful. The best people let me talk without judgement and without pity. And remember your partner is going through it too.”

Thoughts

If you met Donna for the very first time like I did, you would not have thought she suffered from PND. She is funny, bubbly and so full of life. Every woman going through PND, while they experience similar feelings, are all in different situations and circumstances. And we all use different ways to cope with it.

Thanks Donna, for sharing with us your experience and I hope someone out there going through it may try one or all of your methods of coping. Donna, I wish you and your family all the best!! Oh, and thank you for taking the time out on your birthday to see me!!

Cake with Friends


Cake. The goodness that brings friends together.

Chocolate cake. Hummingbird cake. Carrot cake. Cheesecake. Angel cake. Butter cake. Banana cake.

A friend once asked me on our first catch up at a coffee shop, “Would you like to share a slice of cake?” The immediate shock and confusion on my face said it all. “Oh, I don’t share cake.” Why share when you can have a whole slice or slices to yourself?

When I have friends over at my house, we must have cake. Cake makes us all feel good, happy and relaxed. Topped with thick cream. We chat, laugh (or cry), eat cake, drink tea or coffee, eat more cake and laugh.

Children? Meh, they can go off and play, while we indulge in delicious, moist, cake.

Is it the very addictive nature of sugar that makes us love cake? Probably. Sugar makes everything yummy. And if your friend doesn’t have a second slice of your cake, because she is “watching her waistline”, well then, you know you can’t invite her over to your house anymore. You just don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. 

There’s nothing more therapeutic than sitting around the table and having a few hours chatting, confiding, consoling, laughing and gossiping with each other. With the right company, of course.

Ring your friends. Organise a morning or afternoon tea. Bake a cake. And enjoy.