So its been over a year since I last posted – I feel guilty, I do, but I do have an excuse or two.
- (chronologically rather than importance-wise) B & I became 2 out of 4 joint leaseholders of a pub; spent a month refurbishing said pub, opened it and set about making it a profitable business before; falling out with our business partners and thus needing to become more responsible for the project whilst having less time to do so because:
- I got pregnant and had a baby
yup. Here it is in (slightly less) brief:
Jan: Planned for pub & got keys
Feb: Spent 15hrs/day refurbing pub; opened pub
Mar: Ran pub; found out I was pregnant
Apr: Ran pub, prepped for beer fest; felt rubbish
May: Ran pub, saw proto-baby for the 1st time, climbed a mountain with my Dad
Jun: Hols with W, Ran Pub, visited in-laws
Jul: Ran pub, 2nd Scan, publically acknowleged pregnancy
Aug: Ran pub; failed miserably to organise maternity cover but did lots of paperwork
Sept: Ran pub beer fest, hol with B, failed to reconcile difference with business partners
Oct: Ran pub, desparately rearranged staffing, agreed change in role of business partners
Nov: Took maternity leave, went home, had baby
Dec: fed baby, changed baby’s nappy, tried to sleep
Small was born almost exactly 9 months after we opened the pub (probably not a coincidence) and in the meantime I navigated the ups and downs of running a small business whilst also trying to find my footing in the new way our relationships with the each other and the world would work.
W, B & I did not smoothly negotiate the new patterns in my working life, new timetables and new fiscal entanglements; we also did not resolve issues surrounding our desires and responsibilities to the precious life we have been gifted with
W’s parents have not been wholly supportive and she had a breakdown in her mental health in the last months of my pregnancy. Similarly, the failure of our business partners to put the time and energy we expected from them into the pub, coupled with differences of perspective led to conflict and a lot of stress.
And despite the hertache I now have 2 impossible dreams growing in front of me…..
Now not to fail them
I don’t like cooking. I find it stressful and time-consuming and difficult to plan. I am not creative and I’m no good at healthy.
My wife on the other hand finds it relaxing and inspiring. I enjoy eating her food. The only reasons she doesn’t cook everyday are that we’d spend all our money on ingredients and I would eat so much I’d actually pop. (She chronically over-caters and does tend to have a penchant for the finer delights of butter and sugar..) I regularly feel guilty about depriving her of the fun of creating fantastic meals but then I remember that work and research have to happen to and realistically no one has hours to make food everyday.
Fortunately, help is at hand in the form of B. He might not be as creative as W in the kitchen but he is willing and able to put together a meal from whatever scraps I hand out according to the budget (I am ruthless 5 days out of 7 so that W can have free reign for at least one weekend meal).
It works well not only splitting the food budget (and therefore allowing us to take advantage of some of the more bulk buy options) but also splitting the cooking Mon-Fri. Once a week W cooks for all three of us, once a week B takes that responsibility and the night of the week that I work we indulge in ready meals. That leaves 2 days where we go our separate ways (and I eat with whichever partner I am spending the evening with). It allows for quirks of individual tastes (W hates mushrooms, B can’t stand parsnips – I think they are both weird), everyone gets at least 2 nights off where they have no responsibility for preparing food and we can save money and work on being healthy together.
Don’t get me wrong its not all sunshine and jollity; it takes flexibility and lots of consultation just to put together a meal plan (so imagine for a moment the sensitivity required for other time management…). I get it wrong, pretty much every week because something will go off, or I’ll forget part of the packed lunches or a particular meeting or reason for celebrating, or I’ll forget that someone hates x or misjudge the amount of leftovers et cetera et cetera but you know what I think we are getting better…
Dividing the week up and compromising on the needs and desires of 3 adults is not everyone’s cup of tea but I enjoy having the support network that means no one has all the pressure and that everyone has a chance for their own space as well as always having an extra shoulder to cry on when those nearest are overloaded. What do couples do when 1 is ill in bed and the other hasn’t slept for 3 days and food needs to get from the shops to the table? How do more couples not collapse under the pressure of depression and chronic illness? I am thankful for my loves and my life.
Lets return to some life musings..
So after talking about the problems of biology with regard to how we could all connect to a child – there are a few more biological issues that worry me.
Firstly, there are the problems inherent in passing on one’s genes.
I guess despite the desire to magically concieve a child with my beautiful wife I would be terrified of her passing on her family’s medical history and worried that if she carried a child it would destroy her slightly fragile health. In terms of my own family medical history, I know of no genetic illness or life-long problems and heart disease and cancer are so common anyway they are statistically not worth mentioning and yet add a flicker of fear for the future of any hypothetical child – if only the fear that they could lose a parent young.
These are perhaps the smallest worries though and the rest are more to do with my capability to deal with pregnancy and motherhood.
Mostly I’m afraid of the crazy.
Depression isn’t pretty and I worry that I could get worse with extra added hormones and no meds. I don’t know what the stats are but I do know that the chance of post-partum depression is much higher in people with a history of mental illness, as is the risk of psychosis.
I am afraid that I would take a significant swing for the worse and I worry about the repurcussions for the people I love. Logic tells me that the strength of my support network, my efforts at self-management and the care of the NHS would mitigate those things but my internal critic and basic sense of horror assume that I will be unable to relate to a child, be vicious, uncaring, thoughtless, reckless, hurtful. That everything about me will be unfit.
I am not really helping myself by those tiny nagging fears left over from childhood that tell me that a child growing in my body is like an alien feeding on my insides and eating up my sanity. But no one accused me of being rational on the topic.