Before you start juicing that fruit and boiling up cabbage for soup I want to introduce you to a revolutionary new diet regime: The Toddler Diet.
Now, just to warn you: if you’re looking for some inspirational quotes set on a background of a sunset to take you through to 2015 then you’re in the wrong place.
I’m also not stupid enough to put my resolutions down in writing so they can be held against me in a court of law when I give up on January 3rd.
This is simply a review of our year.
Before I started this I’ve had a very negative view of 2014 but now that I’ve sat down and written this I realise that I’ve let one (albeit massive) bad point paint the whole year as a rubbish one.
So, let’s start with the good:
I’ve had to look back through my photos to remember the start of the year. I would blame the baby brain I’m currently experiencing but the truth is – despite what I tell your Father – I’ve a woeful memory.
I finally got a hobby.
It’s hard to believe that prior to February this year I had never even attempted running. It’s even harder to believe that’s it’s now something I miss and can’t wait to get back to properly once this baby makes an appearance.
We went to Rome – well, your Dad and I did.
By talking I mean you say a few words NONE OF WHICH ARE MUMMY.
Everything is ‘dada’. Traitorous baby.
The overall change in you in the last year is amazing. You’re a proper big man now and sometimes I catch myself looking at you not quite believing you’re here and at the same time not remembering what life was like before you.
All the great parts were overshadowed by that whole pesky mental breakdown thing but I’ve written enough about it here so it’s another point I don’t need to go over again.
It’s staying where it belongs: 2014.
I’m very excited about the New Year.
We’re currently homeless, I’m heavily pregnant and surviving on very little sleep.
It’s starting off well…
Don’t worry it’s not as bad as I’m making out – the homeless part I mean.
We’ve packed up our lives in the village of the damned and bought a house in Newry.
Well, technically the bank owns the house we just have a mortgage.
January will be an ungodly race against the clock to get the house sorted and moved into before the time bomb, or your brother as we should be calling him, arrives.
It’s a great kind of stress to be under so I’m not going to complain about it.
And that’s that.
A year summed up, just like that.
Here’s to the next one.
‘Baby Brain’ is a phrase that’s thrown around a lot when a woman is pregnant.
Unfortunately, over the last few months (well, weeks to be fair) I’ve done very little to dispel this stereotype.
In my defense, I’ve always been pretty clumsy.
One of your Dad’s favourite memories of me is when I accidentally punched myself in the face while I was lying in bed.
Aunty Ciara regularly hears me curse down the phone when I forget that you need to push a door open before walking into it and I constantly drop my phone onto my face when trying to read a message lying down.
I’m also the perfect height for whacking my sides off tables. A lot.
Although this pregnancy has resulted in less stays in hospital, it has exacerbated the dreaded ‘Baby Brain’.
I find myself mid sentence not remembering what on earth I was talking about or asking questions like: “Why don’t the ice caps fall off and go into space?” That gem was met with a stunned silence from your Father at lunchtime today.
To be clear, I know it’s because of gravity but for those two minutes I just couldn’t get my head around it.
The bad news is: this ridiculous condition is getting worse.
Last week, I decided that you and I would have dinner in the Living Room (it was gammon, mash, gravy and veg – this is important).
I sat my plate down and got you settled on your seat with dinner.
In the thirty seconds it took to do this I completely forgot that I’d already brought my dinner in and I settled myself on the sofa…right on top of the plate.
The cream, fabric sofa is now nicely decorated with gravy stains that squelched out the sides.
Your dad came home to find me sitting on the sofa with my trousers off watching tv.
He didn’t ask any questions and accepted this as normal behaviour – which should really tell you the level of insanity he’s been coming home to on a regular basis.
I’ve not let this culinary disaster stop me from being my usual domestic goddess self *ahem*.
I decided to make some butternut squash and red pepper soup to bring into work.
Being organised, for a change, I had it sitting waiting in the blender for me this morning.
You can see where I’m going with this can’t you?
I came downstairs ready to leave and switched the blender on.
If you’re curious, blenders work fine without the lid on.
You and your Dad came into the kitchen to find me covered in soup. It was a lovely orange shade that did nothing for my colouring unfortunately.
You may be reading this and thinking it’s all harmless fun but I haven’t got to the worst one.
Continuing with my domestic goddess-like behaviour, I was recently cleaning the kitchen before we were to head out to visit Granny Annie and Granda Seamus.
Before leaving, I could swear that I smelt something ‘odd’ but decided that it was my hyper-sensitive pregnancy nose.
When we arrived home, weary and ready for bed your Dad opened the door to the unmistakable smell of a gas-filled house.
I’d successfully managed to leave the gas on the hob on. For seven hours.
So after opening all the upstairs windows, we decamped to Granny Betty’s for the night.
Que sobbing Mummy who kept saying: “I nearly killed us all.”
As you can imagine, it was a fun evening for your Dad.
By the next morning the house had properly aired and it was safe for us all to come home again.
This incident has now resulted in me checking the hob at least six times before going to bed.
Now, I’m not one to be paranoid but I’m beginning to sense that you are not helping my condition.
You’ve started a fun habit of hiding things around the house which is making it difficult to figure out if it’s me losing things or you purposely finding new places for them.
So far I’ve found the house phone in the letter box, my keys in the tumble dryer and my glasses were last seen on your mischievous face. Don’t deny it, here’s the proof:
I’m begging you for a truce. My brain isn’t working at full capacity and this is just bullying.
I will remember this in later life – who am I kidding I won’t remember this by the time I hit ‘publish’.
You might have noticed I’ve had a break from writing your letters.
It’s not because there hasn’t been much going on.
You FINALLY have some teeth (two at the bottom, they’re very cute), we celebrated St Patrick’s Day, your Dad’s birthday, my first Mother’s Day and Easter.
You even went to the zoo.
When I say ‘went’, I mean you fell asleep through the majority of it.
Don’t worry, we took pictures.
I didn’t have a holiday or run off with Colin Firth; I’ve just not been very present.
There’s no point in sugarcoating these things, Oliver.
The truth is: Mummy went mad.
That sounds more dramatic than it is, lets go for ‘mentally interesting’.
For the last four months I’ve been fighting (and losing) a battle with depression.
Things finally came to a head four weeks ago, and since then I’ve been trying to claw my way back home to you.
People describe depression and being under its influence in many different ways.
A dark cloud, a black dog, a dark passenger (that’s more Dexter than depression, to be fair).
For me, it’s like a poison.
It seeps into my consciousness so slowly and in such small amounts, I don’t really notice it’s there until it’s too late.
My usual self-deprecating humour starts to get a little sharper, the criticisms a little too harsh, the ability to get out of bed in the morning a little too hard.
The poison nestles nicely into place and a darkness takes over.
I become nothing more than a vessel for this poison.
Christ, I sound like a bad gothic writer. Emily Brontë can rest easy.
Anyway, despite my rubbish attempts to carry on as normal I had become saturated with my own particular brand of poison.
Sleep was the first to go, next was my ability to concentrate, then my memory and finally my drive to even fight the poison off.
I let it wash over me and to my surprise, things became easier.
There was no need to fight it anymore, this was who I was now.
To my shame, I started to avoid you.
I would hand you over to Daddy as soon as you were given to me and pretend I had to go upstairs to get something, or I had to make dinner, or I had to alphabetize the saucepans – my excuses got weak, fast.
It’s not that I didn’t want to spend the time with you, I couldn’t.
I thought if I held you for any length of time you’d somehow soak up my misery – like a chubby sponge.
I was terrified.
It didn’t take long for your Dad to notice that I had become the incredible disappearing Mummy, but he was at a loss as to why I was acting like this.
Even when he asked outright, ‘What’s wrong?’ I still couldn’t admit what was going on in my head.
What if I finally admitted that I couldn’t look after you and a random social worker walked passed the window and heard?
It’s a stretch, I grant you, but that was probably one of the saner things that went through my head at the time.
It didn’t take long for the crash to happen.
The facade of my normal life became too much of a burden and I came to an obvious decision: you and your Dad would be better off without this miserable stranger sucking the life out of those around her.
As soon as this realisation hit, my noisy head became very quiet.
The poisonous words that were on repeat, day and night for the last four months finally made sense.
There was a very simple solution and I just needed to be brave enough to take it.
I left one Thursday morning for work, with no intention of ever arriving.
**Spoiler Alert, I’m still here**
As I came closer to my chosen final destination, I began to think about you.
How I waited for years to see those two faint lines on a pregnancy test, how I smiled at those who were pregnant around me and I had no baby in my arms, how I saw the first grainy flutter of your heartbeat on a scan.
My noisy head began to awaken as it realised I was starting to put up a fight but the memories kept coming.
I remembered the first flutters of your first movements, how your Dad’s face looked when he felt you kick for the first time, how you loved when I drank orange juice first thing in the morning, how I sang to you in the shower every day and how your Dad read to you every night so you’d recognise his voice.
A fresh wave of poison hit me and once again I was floored.
There weren’t enough memories in the world that could make me change my mind.
I had to die, in order for you to live.
Live a proper, unburdened life – it was simple.
I didn’t want to go, but this was the only way.
I’ve never considered myself a particularly strong person but what happened next was the singularly strongest thing I’ve ever done.
I picked up my phone.
I rang your Father, I confessed my plan and he did what he has done so many times in the past: he saved me.
He told me to keep thinking of you and he was on his way.
As I sat in my car waiting for him to arrive, I thought of your smile, your infectious laugh, that mischievous look when you’re up to no good, the way you snore louder than an adult, how you look so smug after you sneeze, how you refuse any finger food (unless it’s something I’m about to eat).
I thought about every minute detail of you and as I lay in pieces I knew you were so much a part of who I was now, it was impossible for me to leave.
If I couldn’t keep myself safe for me, then I could do it for you.
It’s been a very difficult few weeks since that day.
Some good days, some bad.
People keep telling me to take it slowly; one day at a time and to be honest, that’s all I can do.
The best thing is: I’m in no way alone.
I’m surrounded by the most amazing, supportive family and friends who have helped pick up the shattered parts of me; and every time I get a text message, a phone call or a visit from any one of them they help to put that little piece of me back to where it belongs.
I can’t ask for anything more.