I am incredibly resistant to writing this. I need to though, because I want 2018 to stay where it is – in the past. So I need to unpack it all… Look one last time and let go. 2018 has been full of loss, devastation, heartache, disappointment and unreached goals. It has also held elements of inspiration, clarity of purpose, finding true friends to replace those who didn’t deserve my heart and finding our forever home.
2018 – the shock of loss
2018 began with the devastating loss of my gran, the shockwaves of which are still ebbing through our raw hearts over these holidays. We had holidays without her last year, but with hope… First that she would heal and come back to us and then that she could be free of the prison she was in. We didn’t realise then quite how devastating this loss would be for Charly and the ways in which it would shape so much of our year.
Charly’s anxiety began climbing within a couple of weeks. And it hasn’t slowed down. It began with separation anxiety from me, her go to when things get rough. I know this is technically a good thing, because it shows she feels safe with me, but it is so stressful. If my mom, Brett or I get sick, she also gets incredibly anxious. It breaks my heart that she thinks a bad cold can end in hospitals and loss.
Losing the baby
And this of course also played a huge part in our ectopic pregnancy journey. As with my pregnancy with Charly, I had intense pregnancy symptoms from early… nausea, exhaustion, reflux. Because of Charly’s instant fear when I got sick, we decided to tell her about the pregnancy earlier than we might have otherwise. We didn’t want her worrying when I was ill for up to 3 or 4 months and we didn’t want her blaming a baby for it once she found out.
I was stressing about the difficulty of pregnancy and the challenge of momming two kids, but I never expected to lose the baby. Especially in the traumatic way that I did. I never wanted to lie to my girl, but there was no way I was letting her mourn a baby she never knew. She should never have known about the baby. I will always be furious with myself for it, I can still see the look of elation on her face when she found out she was going to be a big sister and the devastation on her face when I told her we had been wrong. That I had been ill with a tummy bug and they were wrong about a baby. It will haunt me every day for the rest of my life.
Losing time in 2018
I lost time in 2018. I nearly lost my life, but in the end it was only a few months. A few months that changed everything, that changed me. I spent so much time waiting to “get myself back”. I kept thinking if I give myself a little more time, I would “find my way back”. Only after returning to therapy and making some other life changes did I begin to see that the other me was not coming back. I had to get to know and live with the person I became.
Reprioritising in 2018
Shifting from the excitement and joy of bringing a new life into the world, to losing that life and nearly your own causes some kind of shattering of what you think you know. At first, only working in the day seemed like a failing, part of being broken. Stopping what I was doing to cuddle with Charly and read books or colour in felt like “slacking off”. My complete lack of interest in the happenings of the people around me felt like selfishness. It took me a good few months to realise I had just reprioritised.
I was prioritising my wellbeing, sleep, healing and time with my little girl over work. Not engaging with unneccessary drama that didn’t affect my life, because, well, it didn’t affect my life. It got to the point where I literally had no idea what people were referring to when they did. I was prioritising my physical recovery, and then my emotional recovery. I am holding onto this moving forward into 2019… Time and energy have value, far too much to waste on unimportant things.
People in 2018
One of the things I have realised this year is that there are some folks out there that really aren’t good people. I tend to believe the best in everyone. Working in a space like car seats will destroy that. The lack of ethics in people who are supposed to be passionate about child safety terrifies me. I have toughened up somewhat on that, because my whole purpose in life is to protect children and I can’t tolerate people who use that to take advantage of me… Or anybody wanting to keep their child safe.
On the other hand, I have become friends with some of the most incredible people this year. I’ve been held and carried by women I have never even met, and some I have. I’ve had people fight for me and what I do. I have had people reach out to me and tell me how I have changed their lives or saved their children. I was instantly surrounded and held by my internet family through the depths of loss. People in 2018 restored my faith in humanity… And that is why I will keep doing what I do.
I had big plans to launch #ProjectMe in 2018. I was building a new website and designing branding, while beginning trials on a few things. One of my biggest focuses is skincare and I am still on the search for “the one”. And then everything happened… Old me would have shrugged and just forgotten it all. I was tired. I was broken. And I eat my feelings… I was having a lot of feelings that wanted eating.
And then Shelley from Bumps 2 Babes got in touch. I had contacted her when I first found out I was pregnant, because I really wanted to have a healthy pregnancy. She specialises, as her name suggests, on pre- and postpartum health and fitness. I let her know what happened as it did and she checked in a couple of times to find out how I was doing. And then, as if she knew the exact right moment, she got in touch and we met up. We connected instantly and before I knew it I was joining her twice a week, where we could make it work in my life, to exercise.
I will do a proper review on the magic of this lady, but for now I can say that for the first time in my life I don’t hate exercise. I seriously never ever thought I would be able to say that. I’ve tried and spectacularly failed all of my life to find something that works for me. Shelley is the answer for me, and probably for many of you too. An intuitive, empathic partner that gives me the tools to breathe and move more, who pushes me to push myself, but in a supportive and responsive way… Somehow knowing exactly when to shift from cardio to stretching to strengthening and back seamlessly. I leave feeling like I had an amazing catch up with a friend (which I have), and only feel the burn the next day.
Unhealthy relationships with food
I have a really unhealthy relationship with food. And most of that unhealthy relationship is with unhealthy food… Because I don’t really do halfway, do I. As mentioned, I eat my feelings. When I am sad, I eat. Angry, I eat… Happy, we go out to celebrate with a nice meal. And on the average day, I eat a LOT. I eat too much. I’m always hungry, I need to be seriously ill before my appetite is affected.
The Weigh-Less diet worked for me… when I was working a 4-hour a day job frome home, fresh out of varsity, with no kid and all day to cook. Diets in general don’t work for me though. Life is hard enough without depriving yourself of carbs (which is also dangerous if you have any depression issues). I am not a person who loves cooking, but even more so, I am not a person who loves having millions of choices available to me. I’m that person that always orders the same thing from any menu. And I HATE shopping… my indecision seems to go into overdrive.
I know the only way for me to be healthier is portion control of healthier options. Luckily for me, my laziness extends to unhealthy food too… I’m not going to go out to buy unhealthy food if there is healthy food on offer. So the solution is having healthy food, in healthy quantities, on hand always.
We tried two different food services offering different ways of acheiving the above – neither sponsored, unless husband counts as a sponsor :P. I will be reviewing the experiences in full as well, becuse many people have asked me to, but for now…
Day to Day, delivers fresh ingredients for 4 different meals, with recipes that even a novice like me can manage. It definitely helps make healthier choices possible for us and resulted in no takeout – a HUGE win for us. Sadly not a continuous option because I am incredibly fussy and while some of the options allow me to just leave some things out, many more are based on things either I, or Charly, don’t eat. We have used this service 3 or 4 times during this year.
The other service I used was so very close to perfect. In fact, it is perfect for SO many people. It also definitely gets a big chunk of credit for readjusting my unhealthy eating habits. Food Fitness Factory really is amazing and the owner John and his team have the patience of saints (which I pushed to the limits I am sure). You can find quite a lot of updates on the meals in my highlights on the #ProjectMeZa instagram account.
Basically, healthy, organic, freshly made food 5 days a week. They use only the healthiest cooking methods, the best ingredients and your menu is personalised to your own preferences according to you. For anybody not as fussy as I am, this is really the best service available. For me, everything ended up being too much of the same after 5 weeks of dinners, because I couldn’t stomach coconut milk or oil, which is what they use to make the special sauces for their meals.
I did use it to reset my appetite. The first 2 weeks I had both lunch and dinner delivered and I didn’t eat anything else for those 2 meals. This meant I adjusted to the smaller quantities of food with healthy options.
Healthy body 2018 progress
For most of the time, I have been eating more or less normally, but in healthier portions. Even takeout, but just not being a glutton about it. (If I completely ignore the holiday season of course, because I fell so far off the wagon I am not sure where I left it :/) I can feel the novelty of the junkfood wearing thin. In the past 48 hours, there has been pizza, burgers and chips, and I’ve not been able to eat very much of it. I am feeling ready to move bacK into healthier options for us.
My goal with Shelley was two sessions per week, but in a realistic way. Sick kids, sick me, work appointments or events, and we either rescheduled or continued from the next session. One of my biggest lessons this year was to be gentle with myself and not have to start over every time I fell out of my routines. Life is hectic. Mom life is more hectic. Work at home mom life is insane. I will never achieve anything if I let every break in routine mean starting over.
I began my health journey on 3 September, though it pretty much went on hold at the end of November. I’m down 6.3kg and I feel like the way I did it is sustainable. I am looking forward to start meeting with Shelley again week after next. And I’m looking forward to getting back into a food routine.
Our forever home
2018 was an incredibly difficult year, but there is a distinct highlight. I wrote about my being torn around schooling for Charly and then having dreamed about one. I did the investigating and found it really is one of those schools where you do not get in unless you live in the area. Comparing the pricing of this school and the only other option I really believe would work for her, I realised that for a a bit more a month, we could actually look at buying a forever home in the area to get her into the school.
Brett and I have been watching homes in this area since before Charly was born. Having moved every 2 to 5 years growing up, having real and very permanent roots is a life goal for me. This area is a community in the real sense, so I made a list of houses and off we went to explore. Two of the places I liked the look of weren’t on show that first day, but I got the numbers and contacted them on the Monday morning. I went to one on the Monday, it was such a lovely home. It had everything. I went home and my mom asked me how it was, and I told her about it. She took one look at me and said, that isn’t the one.
On the Tuesday I walked in the front door of the last house on my list and I knew. Walking from room to room, I could see our lives unfolding. It was above our budget by quite a bit, but it is doable (just) if I refocus my energy, which was part of my 2019 plan already. Standing in the garden, breathing in the mountain air and the view, I could see Charly growing up before my eyes… Pool parties, lazy weekends, our first Christmas and every Christmas after that.
I was shaking when I walked out and I phoned Brett from the car. We came back two days later and as he walked into the kitchen, he said, “I can see Charly and I having breakfast here in the morning”. Within 24 hours we had set everything in motion and our house was on the market a few days after that. We had an incredibly tight clock on us. We had to sell our current house before 15 December for the house to be officially ours.
Nobody has ever cleared out and cleaned up a house and maintained it perfectly for viewings so completely in the history of the world. 3 days after our first showhouse we had our first offer and we accepted it. A second offer came in a few days later and it came down to whichever one’s bond cleared first. On 10 December 2018, the first offer became official, making our offer on our dream home official! On 15 February 2019, we will move into our forever home.
It is here. 2019 has arrived and it is going to involve so much change for us. I can’t help but feel, after 2018, that this is a fresh start. The beginning of our happily ever after. I know it is a lot to put onto a house, or onto a year, but in all honesty, I literally almost didn’t survive this year. So even though I am leaving a home that I have loved, that I grew up in, became engaged in, became a wife in, and became a mother in… It is also a home that I lost pets in, lost friends in, nearly lost my marriage in, lost a baby in, nearly died in…
I am a believer in starting over… In new beginnings. I do treat new years and new months, sometimes even new weeks, as if they have magical power… Because for me they do… A new day is a new chance to do better, live happier, love deeper and learn more than the day before.
2018 is gone. I am leaving the worst of the broken pieces there, to rest. I’ve left some of the broken pieces of who I once was there too. When I move into my forever home in February, I will leave the last of 2018 in this house.
I wish you and your family enough. Enough love, peace, money, happiness, strength, bravery, determination to make the year ahead the best you’ve ever had.
Sending you all the love xxx