Letting Go On The Ocean Breeze

I haven’t posted here for a while and there are reasons for this. My first post for the year was so full of joy, hope and expectation for a great year with wonderful things to look forward to. Truth is, this year has been tough. Tougher than I ever imagined it would be… I never anticipated for one second that I would have a miscarriage. When we found out we were pregnant, we were overjoyed! A sibling for Emily! How wonderful. We started to talk about the baby room, if it was a boy or a girl, how we wanted to spend the next 8 months before baby arrived, how we were going to break the news to Emily when the time was right… But then, everything changed.

That moment you begin to bleed but it takes you a second to register… “But, I’m pregnant, this does not seem right??!!” You go to the doctor and she confirms what you have been dreading… you are miscarrying. It’s taboo, nobody talks about it… like you are ashamed of your body and how it has ‘malfunctioned’ and left you with a gaping hole in your soul. Grief overtakes and your heart breaks into millions of tiny little pieces. All the joy, excitement and hope, shattered.

I am not new to loss or grief. My father has never been around. My mother died when I was 13, my gran shortly after, leaving my sister and I with virtually no family except my wonderful Aunt and Uncle and each other. Life has been hard, a roller coaster and I have hated life and the hand I have been dealt and other times, I feel liberated for my struggles because I am the person I am today because of my hardships. Hindsight is a wonderful thing… Emily was born on the same date my mother died. It was like God saying to me, enough sorrow and heartache, here take this child, be it’s mother. I am giving you something back for your loss.

When you are in the midst of your grief, it can be difficult to see the woods for the trees, and months later, I still sometimes feel this way. I find it difficult to comprehend, to digest and sometimes, I struggle to believe it even happened. “Why me?”. “What did I do wrong?”. “It’s my fault!”. “Was there something I could have done to prevent it?” These are some of the the things that have been on repeat in my head. But the truth is, miscarriage happens… to many woman. I am not alone in my suffering. I never realised just how many woman trudge their way through this life experience in silence, until I started to talk about it. I realised that most woman I know have experienced miscarriage at some point and in some way it is comforting. Please don’t get me wrong, I would never wish this on anyone but knowing that there are other people out there who know what you are going through, can offer words of comfort and advice makes me feel less isolated, less alone and that in itself is part of the healing process.

I am also acutely aware that this happened to Matthew too. Sometimes we can forget that although the dads are not carrying the child, they feel the loss the same way we do. Although he has suffered so much through this, he has been a rock and my strength. We have leaned on each other and we are stronger for weathering this together.

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We recently spent time back in South Africa with family and friends. We took some time out one day in Cape Town and drove around the west coast. We arrived in Melkbosstrand and took a walk on the beach. There is something about the ocean that is healing and restorative. Some of my biggest decisions in my life have been made while walking along one of the beaches of South Africa. As we were walking I separated from Matthew and Emily and took a few minutes to myself. I watched the two of them walk, laugh and collect shells together and my heart filled with joy. I am lucky to have the family I have and I am so grateful for them. And while I still find my mind drifting to our baby and how far I would be in my pregnancy now, I took that moment and let him/her go. Like as if the wind on the beach that day scooped him/her up and drifted out to sea. I cried and then let go. Turned around to face my family and busied myself with helping my daughter pick up the best shells on the beach we could find. We have not fallen pregnant since the miscarriage and I have no idea what the future holds for our family but if you ever wondered if we would like to have another child… My answer would simply be, Yes!… desperately.

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*Thank you to family and friends who have been such a lifeline and support. We are so grateful to each of you for asking how we are doing, allowing us to talk about it openly and for allowing me to cry on your shoulders. Some of you are so far away but so dear to our hearts.*

 

 

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Eweleaze Farm – The PERFECT camping spot

If you are looking for a great camp site that is around 3 hours drive from South London… We have the spot just for you. We were invited to join friends of friends last year that were camping at Eweleaze and we decided to jump at it. We hadn’t been camping since before we had Emily so it seemed like the perfect time. We loved it so much, we did it again this year!

The farm is a running farm for 11 months of the year and they open up their fields to the public for the month of August. It is located a short distance from Weymouth with the most beautiful views of the sea. It is situated on a hill top and at various vantage points on the site, you feel like you are on top of the world!

Family Friendly
It is a family friendly camp-site, with fantastic activities for children. They have an indoor and outdoor, hay bale, obstacle course, scheduled times to walk the puppies and petting times for the smaller animals. They also have arts and crafts activities to give the mums and dads a break. Full timetables of these activities are found in the brochure you receive at check in.

Amenities
Ok, the list is too long but some of them are: A shop filled with local, organic produce. Local ciders, beers and wine. Full camping equipment section, in case you forget the pesky torch!! A full organic bakery with freshly baked bread, pastries and pies every day. A barrister to make your favourite coffee, ice cream shop, wood fired pizza oven and restaurant. There is also a sauna and spa as well as yoga and other exercise actives for you take part in.

Beach
This little gem of a camp-site is situated on the Jurassic coast. Their private beach is a short walk from the camp-site and it is a great place to look for shells and fossils which will capture the imagination of your little explorers!

Weymouth
Weymouth is a short drive from the camp-site with all you can expect from a large town. Shops, restaurants and of course the bustling promenade with the lovely sandy beach.

We spent 4 nights in this beautiful spot and our spirits couldn’t be dampened even though it rained for the first 36 hours of our stay. We just wrapped the kiddies in rain coats and wellies and off we went!! As the rain dried up, we were gifted with the most beautiful sunset. From then on, the weather was amazing! Gorgeous sunshine and it was warm enough for some of us to actually have a dip in the sea!

Because we are a large group of people we try and set up our tents in a “kraal” style so we have the centre space for socialising. This is great at meal times and we all try and bring something for everyone to enjoy such as cheese platters, cake and I always bake my aunt’s famous rusks which everybody loves! Of course, we did what any respectable South African would do when camping and had a potjie (A slow cooked stew done on the coals of a fire in a cast iron pot). We had 3 varieties and all of them were delish! We also braaied… a lot! and did the compulsory marshmallows on sticks… the only thing we didn’t do was sing kumbaya.

It was important (for our sanity) that the children had various activities so not only did we take advantage of some of the activities on offer but we also came up with a few games ourselves such as painting the rocks around the fire pit, playing go fish, egg and spoon race and bubbles!! It is so wonderful to see them run around with wild abandon, they almost didn’t know what to do with all the space!

So, if you are looking for a great little spot, with so much to offer, this camp-site comes out trumps for me!! We are looking forward to our trip next year and hope to hear your wonderful happy stories of your visit to this little slice of Dorset heaven.

For more photos, visit their Facebook page

Happy Campers!!

Why he is the best dad

We were recently back in South Africa for a visit and we were having breakfast at a lovely cafe in the shopping mall, when Emily said she needed to go to the toilet. Before I could even say anything, Matthew was up and taking Emily to the bathroom. My Aunt “mum” turned to me and said “Sjoe!… Cands, he is such a hands on daddy!”

I am acutely aware of how hands on Matthew is with Em but it was one of those little aha! moments. Realising how much he does for her and most importantly, with her! So, I thought in light of Father’s Day coming up this weekend, I would dedicate this post to Matthew because, he really is the best dad.

When we found out we were pregnant, I remember Matthew did a little “whoop!” in the bathroom and patted himself on the back. I laughed because I knew then that he was so up for this job and that we were both ready. To be honest, it has been a roller coaster ride since then. The first night we were home with Emily, she had not latched on properly yet and was not feeding well. She pretty much cried the entire night. We both just looked at each other with a look that screams “help me!”. We had no idea what we were doing! However, when I look back on that night, there is one thing that stands out… Matthew was by my side the entire time. If I wasn’t sleeping, neither was he. We were in this together and we would figure it out as a team.

This is very indicative of how our parenting style has developed over the years. Constantly walking around with the look on our faces that says “I have no idea what I am doing half the time” but I now look at Matthew and I know that whatever stage we are dealing with, we are in it together.

I never really had a stable father figure as a child. My Aunt and Uncle took my sister and I in when I was 14 (this is whole other story for a different day). My uncle is the most wonderful man you will ever meet. He became my rock and my inspiration and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to be moulded and guided by him at such an impressionable time in my life. When I look at Matthew and Emily, I see their relationship going from strength to strength (just like my my relationship with my uncle has grown) and I feel secure in the knowledge that the 2 of them will remain close. Daddy’s girl, as they say!

I love the fact that he WANTS to spend time with Emily. He lets her tie his hair in a hair band, they play tea party and Matthew is the Lego master. She delights in the incredible objects he creates with those little blocks. They love to be in the garden together planting flowers and watching the garden grow. Emily adores the beach and building sand castle is her favourite thing to do with her dad. And as Emily gets older, I can just see Matthew sitting in Emily’s room, looking like a clown with all the make-up she has applied to his face and the both of them screaming with laughter!

Both Emily and I are lucky to have him and we couldn’t imagine life without him so, thanks babe for all the love! And to all the dads out there, Happy Father’s Day!