Clumsy but brilliant

As one being left another arrived. The challenges of dealing with this new life causes some consternation, a bit of confusion and more than a little chaos. Just like many significant change events.

As the cycles of life would have it, we said goodbye to one being, and we said hello to another. The week of David’s passing was juxtaposed with the entry into this mad, mad world of the beautiful Leah, Chantal’s first grandchild, and the brand new daughter of her daughter, Cailyn.

Joy and grief sat on either side of us, each one jostling for our time and attention. We see-sawed through the emotional highs and lows of both while managing the necessary communication webs that form and grow around these key life events. Condolences and congratulations crashed and clattered into our message feeds. As the week drew to an end the notes offering sympathy waned as the congratulatory ones waxed, fat and full.


A new addition

This new child had been anticipated with excitement and trepidation. Knowing that their lives were going to change inextricably but not really sure exactly how, the new parents had vacillated between wanting the time to come soon and hoping for a life lived a little while longer as only a couple.

The discomfort of a ballooning tummy, the heat, the inability to sleep, the frequent visits to the loo, all conspired to ensure the arrival day was met with a sense of profound relief.

An anxious wait, a tentative message to check in: Is everything ok? along with a big eyed emoji.

Suddenly a photo of infant Leah, a head poking out of her blanket cocoon, flashed on our screens announcing her arrival. Gasps, relief, tears, elation.

A pretence at patience: Whenever you are ready, I’ll come through.

Gleeful new grandparents and starry eyed uncles and aunts revolved through the hospital room door, oohing and aahing at the bundle of joy and then left. The new mum and dad stayed securely behind the curtain concealing their bed, wide eyed and faintly dumbfounded in the shock of their new reality.


Who’s more excited? The Expectant mum or the mum of the expectant mum?

Am I doing it right?

Getting back home after a few days in hospital had its own challenges. No nurses to turn to in confusion, no doctors to ask for advice, no meals delivered on time every time.

The home was prepared for the newcomer but this newcomer was full of her own needs. She, a demanding little being, knew precisely what she needed. The new parents, however, were unsure, confused, keen to provide and desperately trying to keep up. Who knew that something so small could need so much and so often?

“I don’t know if I’m doing it right,” wailed the new Mom, exhausted, concerned and at a loss.

“You are doing the best you can,” reminded her Mom, “Patience, perseverance and practise.”

Not very useful advice when all she wanted was her little angel to stop crying. Babies know exactly what they want. They just have only one method of telling us. They cry when they are hungry, they cry when they are uncomfortable and need a change, they cry when they are tired. They cry. It is up to us to decipher their sounds and we don’t get it right all the time.


Ah ha! I have arrived full of wisdom and presence.

Misunderstanding the signals

It is not dissimilar to deciphering what our bodies are telling us, what our emotions are communicating and responding to our own needs. So it was not unexpected to find out that newbie Mom was not eating enough. She misunderstood her teariness, lightheadedness and distress as a result of those hormones.

Yes, that - and in the topsy-turvy disarray that her new world presented, the multiple and different elements she now had to manage and juggle, she just had forgotten to eat! As a result, she was not supplying her milk making factory with enough raw material. No wonder she could not produce to the requirements of her demanding little customer.

Operation Feed Mummy Bear galvanised into action. Like Baby Bear, Mummy Bear also had to eat every two to three hours. Daddy Bear stepped in and project-managed the production line of meals, snacks and drinks. Happy, full Mummy; happy, full Baby.


Oh dear, it all seems a bit much!

Patience, perseverance and practice

Isn’t this what life and change does to us? Suddenly our well planned day, our steady routines and careful practises are whisked away like the carpet under our feet. As we flail and flounder, wobble and try to steady ourselves our attention hyper focuses on getting the new right. We try to settle the nerves while we grapple with the novel, resisting the fact that all learning takes time.

When there is change we have to adjust, learn a new way, manoeuvre and manage what before was done with ease and grace. Now all we feel is clumsy and clownish. And we don’t like it one little bit! We wail at the loss of how we once were. It was so easy then. We fuss at how much we stumble and fall.

A little bit of letting go, a lot of trust and patience, perseverance and practice is what we are called to do. In order to embrace the new, we do need to accept the change and all the messiness that comes with it, certainly initially.

Soon that newness, that change will shift. Not new anymore, something else will take its place. Another change, another new thing to deal with and off we will have to go again: crawling along, toddling and falling and getting up again. Like Leah and her equally clumsy but brilliant and beautiful parents.

Until next time.

Yours in feeling,
Matthew & Chantal


I’m to se-y, um, cute for my beanie…!

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