Despite what I may think at times, I do have to remind myself that I have been and am incredibly lucky. Obviously I have Olivia and that is something that I am thankful for (even when she’s doing crazy windmill arms at me) I’m also lucky because when I had her I was able to give up work to look after her solely. This was something that was really important to me and that I will always be eternally grateful for. I’ve been at home and despite the odd dabble with work here and there I’ve just been a mum and that’s been wonderful. But, for a long time now and I mean a loooong time, my husband has been suggesting that I should go back to work. He’s not been saying that I must or that financially I need to (although he always adds ‘it would be nice’) he just tells me it would be good for me. Good for my brain – which bar tapping away on here or playing Sylvanian Families with Olivia hardly gets used these days, and it would be good for my mental health.
After our missed miscarriage, we flew on holiday. Not the best time to go away but hey, these things don’t give a heads-up or warning, do they? Timing aside, in hindsight the space was really good for us, just what we needed as we were away from our everyday lives back home. Whilst trying to deal with what had just happened, towards the end of our trip, my husband started to write ‘a plan’. He began writing notes, a to do list as such, covering what our goals were, as a couple and individually. Things that we wanted to achieve, something for us, and for me to focus on after our heartache. Sometimes when you experience a loss, it can help to have something to work towards, something to get you back on track.
Here on Its Mostly Okay, something I like to talk about, other than myself (JOKES), is sport. Hockey is my first love but running is was what got my bottom into shape, quite literally, in my late twenties. Hockey now, is incredibly important to me, it keeps me going both mentally and physically. It gives me time away from the never-ending Olivia questions and gives me head space where I’m not thinking about ‘not being pregnant’. It’s my life-line at times. Because both my husband and I play, our Saturday match times often clash, but luckily for me there is a crèche at my club, so when I play a home game on a Saturday, I can have Olivia there with me. She’s often bought out to watch me and cheers wildly from the side-lines. If her dad is there with her, he gets her to shout embarrassing things at me like, ‘why aren’t you moving mummy!’ and other such helpful comments. It’s important to me as a mother of a daughter, that she see’s her mummy running about (and regularly falling over) on the pitch, sweating it out and being part of a team. Sport in our family is important. I digress, back to this post. As I said, I’m always keen to talk about sport and also how it can be combined with having a family, so when Moire O’Sullivan contacted me and asked me to share her story – ahead of her book launch – about combining being a mother and sportsperson, I was more than happy to help.
Who is Moire exactly and what is her story? Well, in brief, she’s an accomplished mountain runner and adventure racer. In 2009, she became the first person to complete the Wicklow Round, a 100km circuit of Ireland’s Wicklow Mountains, run within twenty-four hours. She is married to Pete and is the proud mother of their two young sons, Aran and Cahal. While busy adapting to and learning about motherhood, Moire won Ireland’s National Adventure Race Series three times in 2014, 2016 and 2017. Her (soon to be released) book Bump, Bike and Baby is about this personal journey. Moire charts her journey from ‘happy, carefree mountain runner to reluctant, stay-at-home mother of two. With her sights set on winning Ireland’s National Adventure Racing Series, she manages to maintain her post-natal sanity, and slowly learns to become a loving and occasionally functioning mum’. Here is my Q&A with her:
Have you heard about or do you know what ‘Self-Care’ means? Is it something that’s on your radar or is it more in the Bermuda lost triangle zone as far as you’re concerned? Do you even know what I’m talking about?! Self care is essentially about taking responsibility for yourself, your health and mental wellbeing. It essentially means to look after YOU. I knew of the term but despite doing a lot of things for ‘myself’ I didn’t really acknowledge that what I was doing was called ‘self-care’. Listening to Women’s Hour on Friday (I know, I’m WILD) there was a segment about this topic, where it took one woman finding out she had cancer, going through all the treatment and coming out the other side, before she realised that she hadn’t been taking care of herself at all. She realised pre-diagnosis that she’d been burning candle at both ends, running herself into the ground working and partying too hard. Having cancer made her realise she needed to slow down and start loving herself a bit more. The programme really got me thinking. Certainly leading up to IVF I was really good at meditating on a regular basis, I was getting loads of sleep, drinking loads of water etc but then the pregnancy and sickness stopped all of that, and then after the miscarriage everything went to shit, quite frankly. I went off track by way of rebelling and showing my anger I suppose. I stopped doing all of the things that were good for ME. I realised that I hadn’t been looking after myself at all.
Crikey Moses people it’s 2018! I mean, how the heck did that happen?! I feel like I’ve blinked and 2017 has whooshed by me in a flash. It really was a whirlwind year and when I look back on it sadly, IVF is the main focus. What with appointments, injections, bloods taken, treatment, legs in the air and such like. It hasn’t all been bad, but I’d say it was one of those years that I’ll park in the ‘Let’s forget you for a while’ vault for now, thank you very much. Wanting to move on from my last post with something a bit more light hearted and having just had had my birthday (screaming face emoji) I wondered that, considering I’ll be turning 40 this year, what exactly have I learnt about myself thus far? What simple, silly things have these last 39 years taught me about ME, if anything?