For my dads 70th birthday a few years ago we bought him a beautiful garden bench made from the root of an old tree.
We planned to put a plaque on it with one of his favourite sayings. The trouble was, he has so many sayings – my brother and I were able to reel off a good few without really having to think about it – it was hard to pick just one.
While the idiom “money for old rope” came out a clear favourite, particularly in light of the recycled nature of the bench, in the last year, another has been added to his repertoire.
Although I can’t say exactly when it came into play, I suspect it was around the time my daughter hit the six week mark and her reflux symptoms began.
“Tomorrow is another day” he would say after I had relayed how little milk she had taken, how many times I had been up in the night or the number of clothing changes she had needed.
What an obvious thing to say, I thought to myself, but the more I said it, the more I got it.
Just keep moving forward, “tomorrow is another day”.
However, as time marched on and things got steadily worse I started answering back: “Yes, tomorrow is another BAD day.”
In fact, anytime anyone would try and say something positive about the situation I would shoot it down, unable to see the slightest glimmer of good in my life as a new mother.
I think it’s fair to say that before all the pregnancy issues and especially before infant reflux, I would have been considered a happy, positive person. I was incredibly grateful for the life I had. And even after I lost the first pregnancy, I eventually tried to turn it into something positive by attempting to help other families going through similar.
But this sustained lack of sleep, for more than a year now, has done something to me – it has sucked the ability to see the positive in anything right out of me. And that adds to the weight of sadness because I know that in reality I don’t have it so bad, not compared to many.
When I look in the mirror, I don’t see me anymore, thanks to piling on the pounds in the last year as I try and eat myself happy, but when I look inside I don’t feel like me either.
Until I get some more sleep, I can’t really do anything to get the weight off, other than trying to eat less and get energy from healthier things, but getting my positivity back feels like it could be achievable.
Is it as simple as flicking a switch and deciding to be relentlessly positive no matter what comes next though?
Maybe I should start listing the good things that happen during the day – and there are good things – even if it is as simple as “Freya ate a spoonful of food” or “the sunrise was pretty today”.
While I shouldn’t need reminding, I am sure this might help to keep my spirits up and I know that I am the only person who can bring some of the old me back.
As my dad would probably say: “The ball is in your court, Tara.”
If you have any tips for staying positive, I would love to hear them. Please feel free to comment or email me.