Eyes of judgement

I sense your eyes of judgement
bearing down on me.
I know you can’t understand it,
so naturally it’s hard for you to find empathy.

You haven’t been where I am
which makes me difficult to understand.
But rather than disappointed incomprehension,
I wish you’d reach out your hand.

But instead, you have unrealistic expectations.
One’s that I can never hope to meet.
As the chasm widens between us,
I battle a growing sense of defeat.

Two women world’s apart
at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Your ascent has brought you joy
whilst I’ve been sucked under by depression.

Unaware that it is the ‘black dog’
who has become the guardian of my cage’s key.
I pretend, trying to act ‘normal’
and not at my selfish gaoler’s mercy.

Alienated from those I love,
trapped in a cycle of misery,
shackled by my own self-loathing,
it’s from within these walls that I see.

I see you, seemingly proud and confident,
embracing the newest chapter of your life.
The Spring to my endless Winter,
flourishing, fertile, successful in your role as wife.

You are a celebration of womanhood,
a producer of grandparent’s heirs.
You’ve created and you’ve given light.
God has answered your secret prayers.

You are the success and I, the failure,
the mutant female, ashamed of whom I’ve become.
My body a barren betrayer,
unlike yours that has produced a golden son.

Yes, I sense your eyes of judgement
questioning my behaviour and response.
But I can’t do much about it.
My self-esteem, my inner strength are all but gone.

This atmosphere of expectation
is a heavy burden, I can’t fulfil.
I dread the knowledge that I will disappoint you
despite asserting great courage and strength of will.

I suppress my urge to shriek,
to grimace with grief and cry.
My fight or flight would like to run for it
without even pausing to explain why.

As best I can, I cover up this battle.
I remain suffocating slowly in this room.
I hide my physical and emotional shakes
and try not to sit here like a harbinger of doom.

I am sorry. I’m aware I may hurt you.
We co-exist in a growing cloud of tension.
I can see in your eyes of judgement
your invisible, yet tangible incomprehension.

 

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Pure delusion

Still no sign of a baby,
Still all barren and bare.
No bun in the oven.
No anything, anywhere.

Still empty and waiting.
Still counting the days.
Endless frustrating
Baby shower parties.

Still pretending not to notice
A billion mothers walk past.
Suppressing the ache
With a terrible, fake laugh.

Vitamins and potions,
Tablets galore,
Bonking my husband
Like a desperate whore.

Another month gone
And still full of grief
For the life that I wanted
But couldn't conceive.

Losing my faith
And along with it hope
That it'll ever happen.
It's a really sick joke.

A test of a marriage
For better or worse.
We never expected
The infertility curse.

The worry of age.
My biological clock.
Terrible thoughts of using
Another man's cock.

Losing my grip
On these whirling emotions.
Crying in Waitrose.
Causing commotions.

My femininity in question.
A redundant, duff womb.
An incomplete woman
An imposter, a loon!

Ignoring friend's babies
For fear that I'll crack.
If I held one a moment
I may not give it back.

Flippant remarks,
And unhelpful words.
Just no idea
Of this ongoing hurt.

"Don't think about it."
Said so ignorantly.
Years of my life
thrown right back at me.

A change of direction.
That's what's required
To boost my morale,
Be re-engaged, re-inspired.

An action packed life.
I'm managing things well.
Counting my blessings
When my friends speak of hell.

Of persistent insomnia
Of nights without sleep.
While for me, it's a bonus
A blessed relief.

I can lie in til 10
Or siesta at two
With no threat of tantrums
Drool, sick or poo!

I look on the bright side,
Am thankful for a lot.
I learn not to forget
To ‘enjoy what you've got’.

Then all of a sudden,
My chest starts to ache.
Another announcement
That’s all it takes.

Again all alone.
Trapped in this cycle
Of endurance and fatigue
It's physical and mental.

I want to hear mummy,
And a new baby's cry
To have my child with me
Not a week then goodbye.

I want to know motherhood
Present a child to my mum.
A way to say thank you
For the friend she's become.

Phone calls at midnight
A calm, listening ear
Plenty of hugs
To soothe the raw fear.

More prodding and poking,
Appointments and queues.
Undignified positions.
More time in loos.

More peeing on sticks,
More far Eastern cures,
More consultants and nurses
What more to endure?

The worry, the stress,
The fear and confusion.
Starting a family?
It's just pure delusion.

Be grateful for what you’ve got

She married her true soul mate.
The one she had been waiting for.
The one for whom she had turned down 
the others who'd come before.
As soon as she had met him,
she knew he was the one.
Despite initial reservations,
to his charms she did succumb.

'Be grateful for what you've got.'

Weekends travelling to see him,
to and fro on South West trains.
Lunch in child-friendly restaurants,
pushing the buggy through the rain.
One of two other females,
quite a challenging, complex game.
Hoping, helping, supporting,
though she found it a bit insane.
 
'Be grateful for what you've got.'
 
At the altar, on one condition
that her dad had asked him to accept,
'Don't make her wait for babies,
treat her right and don't neglect 
to remember all she does to raise 
your child whom she protects
from harm, often to her detriment
with no acknowledgment nor respect.'

'Be grateful for what you've got.'

But, no babies came, month after month
for the yo-yo, part-time mother.
Though sadness and confusion grew,
she kept on caring for another's
child who made the pain much worse,
Often she needed to recover
from the consuming visits of the child 
she'd promised to love forever.

'Be grateful for what you've got.'

The mounting grief would swell then ebb,
though she rarely complained of this feeling.
No, she didn't speak of the emptiness
left by her step-daughter's abrupt leaving.
The tension built as the couple tried 
for her own baby she dreamt of conceiving.
But when nothing happened time and time again
she spent her nights silently grieving.
 
'Be grateful for what you've got.'

Not many knew of this inner struggle
for each day she reapplied her smile.
Lipstick in place and hair done well,
no cracks to betray her trial.
She tackled life with positivity,
stayed busy, worked hard and with style.
But the secret stone in her solar plexus
was dragging her further into exile. 

'Be grateful for what you've got.'

Her marriage, by now heavy with struggle, 
burdened by guilt, grief and tension
hit a new and major crisis that 
rendered her bed bound with depression.
She'd spent years fighting to stay strong,
conquering fear and apprehension,
but crippled by anxiety, now she lay
staring at the ceiling of her bedroom.

'Be grateful for what you've got.'

Extreme exhaustion and panic attacks
are not a pleasant sight.
Frequent episodes could paralyse her
both day and through out the night.
Uncontrollable tears, pains and body shakes 
made her ashamed and gave her such a fright
that she wondered if she'd finally lost her mind, 
but though it was close, she hadn't yet, not quite.

'Be grateful for what you've got.' 

Slowly, the pills she took began to help.
The psychologist was essential too.
Together they rebuilt their marriage, 
acknowledging all the tests they had been through.
Step by step, she regained her strength,
searching for fresh hope in something new
that could help her once again feel positive,
not so sad, alone and blue.

'Be grateful for what you've got.'

Now when asked how she is getting on,
she speaks out more honestly.
It’s healthy to share the truth with others
not just a few friends and family.
It takes courage to speak of personal struggles,
through it we can gain such liberty.
But just be prepared to forgive that most 
infuriating phrase of complete stupidity,

'Be grateful for what you've got.'

Free fall

A wild crescendo of grief 
ignites from deep within.
Alarmed, I see no obvious shelter
from this havoc and chaotic din.

No longer the sure footed woman 
who painstakingly conquered this place, 
I wobble, panic and then topple 
over this sudden, unseen precipice.

Now mid G force 8 of free fall,
parachute unopened in it's pack,
I'm hurtling towards the earth. 
Crikey, I'm going to hit it with a 'SMACK.' 

I search desperately for escape routes, 
not easy when panic and grief blur thought.
I gasp for air, squeezed from my lungs, 
perhaps in a huge cargo net I'll be caught!
 
I'm not sure how I came up with that, 
like a kid's cartoon on TV.
Maybe I'll not manage to reach the end, 
or perhaps there is a way to save me.

As I fall the cacophony grows louder,
wind whistling in my ears.
My shuddering sobs now accompanied 
by an overflowing river of tears. 

I feel so utterly despondent.
My thoughts are not controlled nor are they straight.
Except I know I don't want be pulverised,
that would not at all be great!

I cannot think my way out of this pickle. 
I must simply surrender to the test.
All I have I give to it
and I can only give my best.

Now my sobs diminish
and remarkably my descent begins to slow.
I fumble with my parachute,
pulling the release cord to let it go.

A jolt and then not quite so much terror 
above the hazy ground.
I open up my swollen eyes
to contemplate landing safe and sound.

If only crash mats and landing specialists 
appeared at each attack of personal despair,
it wouldn't be so hard to navigate
a free fall through the air.
 
This grief that's lodged inside me
is the cause of all this anguish
and to be quite frank, I'm fed up with it.
I'm sick of feeling rubbish.
 
I don't know how to get rid of it,
to free myself from pain.
It's a bloody noose around my neck,
a bloody ball and chain!
 
Sigh! At least I landed with dignity intact.
My best roly poly with a flourish in years.
And I suppose no real lasting damage done, 
except mild dehydration due to all those tears.

 

I’ll sit here whilst you sleep

I'll sit here whilst you sleep
so you don't wake up alone.
I'll speak to you often or
every day on the phone.

I'll listen when you want to talk.
I'll not judge what you need to say.
I'll be calm when you're overwhelmed,
an anchor so you don't lose your way.

With my words I'll try to help heal you.
With your spirit mine walks too.
I'll hold your hand in silence
when weariness paralyses you.

Exhaustion is a daily challenge
as well as years of strain.
But don't you worry my brother,
I'll be right beside you in your pain.

We may be older, but you are still
my little brother whom I'll protect.
I wish I could right the wrongs for you, 
those years of bitter words and neglect.

I'm so proud of your integrity,
the honourable way you live.
I'll support you and encourage you,
acknowledging all that you regularly give.

We're kindred spirits you and I.
I hope you feel the same.
So when you need to weep and 
let go, please don't feel ashamed.

You will get better. I know it's hard
to trust this process has an end,
but bit by bit you will improve.
I see that you're already on the mend.

But until the day you feel like you.
I'll be right here by your side.
And though you feel so uncertain, 
I feel such a sense of pride.

I know it feels like two steps forward 
and then one giant leap back.
I'd move mountains if I could for you 
or trade places so I could take some flak.

Have faith, my brother and know that soon 
you'll be a new version of yourself.
But until that time tell me what you need,
I'll always be here to help.