It's customary to reflect on the year you have had when December 31st rolls around. It's also customary for lots of people to make resolutions for the new year. I'm not a fan of resolutions. I usually make a couple in my head but never really commit, never really believe that they will happen. This year I've decided that I will focus on intent; intentionally living, intentionally trying to better myself physically and emotionally. Not focussing on words that I can so easily turn into negatives (because hello, that's kind of my thing).
2017 was a hard but beautiful year. I don't think I have ever grown so much, fought so much, loved so much. At the end of 2016, I could barely walk to the end of my driveway or be in my backyard without having a panic attack. In the last few days alone we have been to the beach, the park, and a vineyard with friends. Not to mention the copious amounts of time Isaac and I now spend outside playing. Partly to do with his age but also hugely to do with how much better my anxiety is. I am still on three medications but have halved two of them - that is such a big deal to me. For a few weeks there I fell back into the most horrible depression and anxiety and was physically ill, but unfortunately that's all part of the weaning process. I'm really proud of where I am now and plan to fully cut out those two medications by the end of 2018, hopefully sooner. I have learnt the hard way that this process just can't be rushed.
This year I have felt much more confident as a mother. I don't question my every move, I don't worry constantly about how things may or may not affect Isaac when he is older (I am convinced I have psychologically scarred him somehow) - I have started to live much more in the moment. I have enjoyed the cuddles and giggles and marvelled at each learning milestone. I have struggled with the tantrums and have once again needed help with establishing how important sleep is to a growing child and ways I can be creating this environment for Isaac (and Reid and I!).
I have become a different wife. I have snapped and pushed Reid away on numerous occasions as my anxiety and panic screams at me from the inside. I have apologised. Our marriage has evolved so much. We respect each other more than ever. Reid works hard to understand me and to support me in the best way he can. I work hard to be patient (I often fail) both with myself and with Reid. I lean on him like never before. I am so grateful to be sharing my life with him and raising our beautiful little boy together. He is a fantastic Dad. Nothing comes before Isaac. Nothing ever will.
I have worked really hard. I have exceeded my expectations since I went back to work in July. I have been overwhelmed at times, but I have consistently performed well since I have been back in the office. I thought I would flounder around and not remember anything. My confidence is still not 100% but I can definitely do my job well and I feel that going back has made me a better Mum. I am more appreciative of the time I have with Isaac. I am tired (aren't we all), but it's been worth it.
This is going to sound so cliché because losing weight would have to be the number one resolution made around the world. Once again, I'm not using the word "resolution" to describe my situation or my aim. I intend to exercise more in 2018. When I say "exercise more", I really mean, I intend to exercise at all. I have all the excuses under the sun for why I haven't been making this a priority. I'm not going to get into it, because at the end of the day, I want and need to be healthier. My diet is pretty good, I intend to cut my portion sizes down and it's always a good thing to add a heap more veggies to everything; but I don't want to feel self-conscious, and I do. I don't want to be thin (I never have been and I never will be), but I want to FEEL healthy. I want to have more energy and fit into my old clothes (the ones I haven't angrily donated to charity in a fit of self-loathing rage...) and more than anything I want to keep up with Isaac as he grows and runs and plays and jumps and swims and basically is obsessed with anything even vaguely active. I still haven't worked out exactly when/where/how I am going to do this, but it is the biggest intent I have for the year.
I intend to be kinder to myself. I have made some headway with this in 2017 but I know I have a long way to go. What is it about self-love that is so hard? Why do I feel like I can't possibly like anything about myself without feeling like an idiot? I intend to try to answer these questions, either with a psychologist or on my own - the negativity just has to stop somehow.
I intend to cherish Wednesdays. I will be going back to work four full days a week as of 2nd January, so will only have Wednesdays at home with Isaac. I intend to fill these days with play and laughing and catch ups with friends and things I really want to do, not things I feel like I should be doing. I intend to read books and watch nursery rhymes and sing and dance and follow Isaac's lead. I intend to make memories from these precious years where I am Isaac's world. Where he doesn't care what I wear or what I look like, where he wants me to hold him and where I am his number one playmate (along with Reid). I intend to go with the flow wherever possible on these days and not get caught up in any bad moods/tantrums/general toddler behaviour. I know that I will look back and be desperate for these years back.
I intend to look into a counselling course. It's no secret how passionate I am about talking in general, and sharing experiences of mental health and reducing stigma. I feel like I need to put these passions to use in a more practical way. I would love to be able to help other Mums as a professional, specialising in PND/anxiety/birth trauma - the thought of turning my experiences into something positive is something I think could be incredibly healing for me along with the ultimate goal of reaching out to other Mums and Dads who might be struggling.
I intend to feel grateful. I know I am beyond lucky in so many ways. I have a beautiful family, I have some of the most incredible close friends, I have goals and dreams while I know so many people are just trying to figure out how to survive another day. Putting things like that into perspective makes me realise how blessed I am.
To anyone reading this, I hope 2018 is everything you hope for. I hope your intentions come to fruition and your reflections bring you mostly happiness. May next year be full of beautiful moments and more good times than bad. May we all realise how fortunate we are and try to focus on being kind to ourselves and to others. Happy New Year everyone, thank you for following my journey; it's far from over xo.