Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Let's talk about it...

11th July 2016

To my darling Airlie,

You are three months old today! Happy three months beautiful, delightful little girl. It is such a pleasure to be your mum.

Darling, I have to talk to you about something. It’s serious, it’s not a nice topic and it’s hard to talk about… but it is keeping me awake at night. While you sleep peacefully in your bassinet beside us, I am lying awake worrying about you and all the things I need you to know about life. And given I’m already living on less sleep than I ever have before, getting up to feed you every three to four hours, it is a bizarre and torturous thing to not be able to sleep when that is all I want to be doing. So let’s talk about it…

I want to talk to you about mental health. A few weeks ago someone connected to your dad and I killed themselves. We didn’t know him or his family personally, and yet his death has reached us in a roundabout way and here I am, weeks later, still unable to sleep because of it.

He was only 25.

I lay there each night thinking about that young man. He’s only three years younger than me. How could he reach a point where he thought dying was his best option? I am just so sad for him.

And I think about his poor, poor parents. How could any parent survive this?

I am so sad for all his friends and family who I know, even though I don’t know them, would do anything to have him back, to have one more chance to help him and stop him from doing this awful, devastating, permanent thing.

Darling, Airlie, as much as I want you to stay my sweet baby girl forever, I know you have to grow up and become your own person. You will have to feel your own feelings, think your own thoughts and make your own actions.

My love for you starts deep in my gut. It’s this huge, heavy knot of love in the very centre of me and it’s so dense and expansive it spreads through my whole body, through every nerve and vessel and every single atom of me. And then it breaks out of my skin like beams of sunshine, hot and bright and burning. It’s so powerful sometimes it hurts to breathe because of it.

To think of you as a teen or adult one day feeling the types of feelings that might make you reach a point where you think self-harm or suicide is an option or a solution… it makes every part of that love ache and sting in my body. It’s agonising. But what can I do to prevent it from happening to you?

I’m not na├»ve enough to think that my love will always be enough to protect you or save you. If love was enough then no son or daughter would ever die. But what I can promise you is that I will use that love as my fuel to help you and to never stop helping you.

So this is what I want you to know, darling: If you ever feel like this you must tell someone, talk to someone, and please, please, ask for help.

Ask me for help. Ask your dad. Ask your grandparents, your aunts, your uncles and your cousins or ask my aunts, my uncles and my cousins. Ask a friend or a teacher or a doctor or a counsellor. Ask my friends or your dad’s friends. Please darling, tell someone – anyone - and ask for help. And if you do ask and that person doesn’t listen, tell someone else. Keep asking until someone helps. Because you are so precious, darling, and you deserve to live and to enjoy life.

The mind is such a fickle thing. It can make you believe things that aren’t always reality. It can make people believe that there are no other options. It can make people believe that the other people in their life would be better off without them. It can make people believe that all their problems will go away and that tomorrow they will feel better if they end their own life.

None of these things are true, my love. No matter what happens in your life, we will never be better off without you. And tomorrow won’t be better, for anyone, if you are not here. I hope with every fibre of myself that I never have to experience a day where my heart continues to beat while yours doesn’t. Nothing would ever be OK that day, or any day afterwards.

There are so many things in this life that are beautiful and worth living for. Sometimes you might not be able to see them or feel them. But if you let us, we will help you find them. All you have to do is tell us, talk to us, and ask for help.

So please, darling, let’s always talk about it.

I love you.
Your mum, Bessie.

If you or anybody you know needs somebody to talk to, please call Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline Australia 13 11 14.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

51 Hours Old

8pm 13/4/16

Dear Airlie,

You're 51 hours old as I sit here cuddling you to my breast. Not feeding, just cuddling and just being.

I realised I hadn't yet told you I love you out loud and so I did that, and then I had a big ugly cry as I came to understand how this moment right now will never be long enough. And there will never be enough days in our lifetimes for us to just be together. It's all already going too fast.

If I'm lucky, if I'm really lucky, I will live to be an old, old lady and maybe one day, hopefully a long time from now, you will hold me or hold my hand as I take my last breaths on this earth. You, right now, this tiny precious thing, who I held as you took your first breaths just 51 hours ago, will hold me as I hold you now. And it still won't be long enough. We will not have had enough time.

Where have these first 51 hours gone? I have been too busy trying to do everything right. Trying to feed right and sleep right and learn you like a science. Too busy notifying everyone and checking in and photographing you. It has all disappeared and I forgot, until now, to just love you and to tell you I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.

I could stare at you, like this, right now, forever.

Love your mum, Bessie