In December 2008, my partner (Oz) and I decided that we ought to start trying for a baby. We knew that we wanted to have kids, two at most, but we were happy with our freelance lifestyles, which gave us the freedom to travel, to create, to be spontaneous and to make decisions for ourselves without regard for anyone or anything else. I had moved to London in 1999 to pursue theatre and music and had created a less than secure career path for myself, but a fulfilling path nonetheless. Children just didn’t fit into my life at all. The time would never be right.
The Kumaon Himalayas, India, December 2007
The idea of creating a life was a hypothetical one. I have never been a clucky type of gal. Babies have never been my thing. Honestly, I’d visit friends with babies and if they asked me if I wanted to hug their bubba, I’d come up with all manner of excuses not to. It wasn’t just about me not being interested, it was just that I felt uncomfortable. I didn’t know how to hold them, how to stop them from crying, I worried that I might drop them…they were aliens and I didn’t want one near me. They weren’t cute either. Not at all. I did not find babies cute. I’d be drawn to a dog in the street before I’d go all gooey over a baby in a pram. In fact, kids in general, have never interested me. But I guess at the core of things, I knew that I would hugely regret not creating another life and giving to that child all of my heart, my knowledge, my dreams, my support, my nurturing, just as my parents had done for me. I think we were aware that there was more to life than just us. It was time to care for someone else, selflessly, and to love someone else unconditionally.
Maple Winnie Barbersmith (18 August 2010)
When the reality of actually embarking upon such a venture stood staring me in the face, I panicked. Oz described me as glass half empty. I became hugely emotional about the whole deal. In tears I’d weep, “It’s ok for you, you don’t have to give up anything. I’ll have to give up my music (I’m a singer/songwriter and voice coach), I’ll have to start again and I’ll be too old, I’ll be this, I’ll be that…”. I remember these first conversations. We were on holiday in La Gomera, Christmas 2008. I was turning 35 on Christmas Eve and the biological clock was actually the kick up the butt to get cracking. Very few of our friends in London had kids at this stage. It seems people don’t move to London to settle. There’s too much to get stuck into. Anyhow, I was so negative about trying for a bub, that I terrified my period out of existence…for three months. I was overwhelmingly aware that I had actually caused this. The mind is a persuasive beast. I had rendered myself infertile. Perhaps I’ll write more about all of this at a later date. The short story is that it took a while to conceive. And as each month ticked away and each month I felt cramps in my tummy and thought ‘perhaps this is it!’ to discover yet another week of bleeding, the desire to have a child grew and grew. By the time we did conceive Maple, we were desperate to have a baby. In November, shortly after a meeting at the Infertility Clinic (so deliciously and thoughtfully named) at Homerton Hospital (Hackney, London) where we were told that we were eligible for IVF and were booked in for action six months hence, we discovered that I was pregnant. The journey began.
Zephyr James Barbersmith (19 November 2012)
So now I’m a mum. I’m all sorts of things, but right now, I am first and foremost a mum. We have Maple Winnie Barbersmith (two and a half and a wonderfully naughty handful) and Zephyr James Barbersmith (four months and full of smiles). We relocated to Melbourne, Australia in July 2012 after over thirteen years in London. I’m Australian. Oz is from London. This is a two year plan. We will reassess then. We arrived when I was 22 weeks pregnant with Zeph after a three week jaunt in Vietnam, and the journey has been a huge one. Coming up for air just a little, I thought I’d start this blog because I am forever recording my take on things and have discovered the solace to be found in sharing the laughter, the woes, the tedium, the jokes and the common ground. And why not? Why the bloody hell not? Just writing it down is cathartic enough.