We were like marbles rolling around in a bowl. All around us, 360-degrees, mountains loomed in colours rich, dark and earthy. As the sun rose above the horizon’s lip, shadows began pouring like ink into the crevasses. Hubby Phill and I were at Lees Paddocks in Tassie’s highlands, having hiked in the afternoon before and set up our squeezy two-man tent beside the rickety old hut there. Why didn’t we stay in the hut, you ask? Spiders. Rats. Enough said. The syrupy sun thawed the valley quickly and we pulled on the same clothes, the same boots, cramming unwashed hair beneath hats, ready for some exploration. And the mountains. As we trudged over tussocks, scrambling over fallen trees and lively streams, the shadows changed the mountains’ appearance. The inky black penned in new crags and cliffs; this rock more pronounced, that ledge fading, this ridge slanting at a different angle. Every time I lifted my chin to appreciate the purple-grey-blue-green of the heights, a new vista. Same mountain, new perspective. This year I am reading …
We pause at the top of the track, checking tyres, shoelaces, helmet straps – but mostly – checking our resolve. Straddling the aluminium frame, my toes barely touch the dirt. The bike’s not mine. It belongs to a friend who’s about a metre taller. And we push away, coasting along the gentle beginning of a track that quickly hacks like the pattern on a heart rate monitor. My face is a muddle of adrenaline-fed joy and white fear, my mouth’s smile-scream catching the dust clouding around us. The Lego block tread of my tyres propels me over cobbled rocks, some splintered and sharp. Around the sweeping berms*. Over tree roots. A quick veer to avoid a blue-tongue sunning himself mid-track. Grasses and ferns lash at my legs. A joey darts ahead. The perfume of Peppermint Gum is intoxicating. Cicada song and the screech of rosellas compete with the whir of gears and our sporadic squeals as we hurtle along the rugged track. This is our first ride. My long-time friend and I thought we’d give …
When we lost our second baby to miscarriage, I remember sitting in the window seat of our red brick home. “What can I do?” hubby asked. “I want to go shopping,” was my reply.
I climb in, turn the ignition and drive out our street, our city, allowing these wheels to eat up the distance. My stomach is a piece of dough. Pushed, pulled, beaten, flipped, flattened. It is 4:10pm. I kissed them goodbye: one, two, three, at the front door. Then I climbed into the driver’s seat, alone, no chatter in the back seat, no husband fiddling with the aircon. Just me. It’s warm for October and my cotton singlet top and sunnies feel deliciously summery, the sun still massaging warmth into my pores. My striped red and white tote in the boot has a change of clothes, a pair of pyjamas, a book, my Bible and a box of muesli bars, because I don’t trust hospital food. The road yawns ahead of me, wide and quiet, undulating from bush to townships to crops until I reach the coast and all its blue hopefulness. You’re close now, it says. I’m grateful for the kilometres between us, the peaceful preparation this plane has granted, making malleable the mishmash of …
Some of you will be aware that I’m now working part time for Emily’s Voice, an Australian media campaign that shares stories of real women and families in an effort to uphold the cause of the unborn – in a loving, compassionate and heartfelt way. It’s true that my writing for Emily’s Voice has given me less time and focus for my blog. So I thought I’d share with you one of the many stories I’ve been writing for this wonderful organisation. I encourage you to head over to the Emily’s Voice website too and check it out, see how you can be involved and make a big difference in little lives. I NOTICED that glamorous mummy blogger Sophie Cachia announced her pregnancy early to friends, family and 121,000 Instagram followers recently. She penned some poignant thoughts in an article for popular media website Mamamia. “Societal norms prevent us from freely announcing pregnancy until after the 12-week mark,” she shared as she also revealed the fact she was 9 weeks pregnant. “I didn’t make the …
My children have terribly picky eating habits. “Man cannot live on honey sandwiches alone!” I’ve often said to my five-year-old, who laughs and parrots back, “I can, mummy!” A rare breakthrough in the consumption of greens came when a friend bought said child a gardening kit complete with terra-cotta pot, paint and paintbrush for decorating, and a packet of watercress seeds. He painted a face on the pot, planted the seeds and in no time at all “Cresstopher” had grown a crop of lush green hair. The part for motherly rejoicing came when he gobbled down his cress and mayo sandwich – and asked for more. So, you will understand why there is a tray of cress perpetually on our kitchen windowsill and, though I’m no green thumb, it is diligently watered daily. These fine fronds of green line the innards of my son’s sandwiches (along with lashings of mayo), because spinach leaves, lettuce, cucumber or any other green filling is, “YUCK!” I quite enjoy the process. We lay out a bed of cotton wool before …
Life began badly for Anna.
“I was awakened to things no child should when I was between the ages of five and eight, so that played a huge part in being promiscuous from a really early age,” she shares.
Anna was sexually abused by her stepfather.
“That changed the course of my life because I was always seeking guys’ approval.”
You walk into the clinic and take a seat beside your boyfriend.
Three other women are seated in the cramped waiting room, one with her mother.
A stack of magazines sits untouched.
There is no music.
The four women waiting for an abortion that day are deathly silent. They look at the floor, at their hands, at the walls. The hush amplifies the voice of the receptionist as she makes phone calls. When a doctor strides in and tells her that appointments must be cancelled that day, his voice is as clear as a heartbeat. Those waiting lean in.
“I was scared to tell people I was pregnant.”
Lucy sits comfortably beside Evie who is asleep, nestled against her hip. The blonde-haired toddler will be two in June. Lucy contentedly strokes her daughter’s hair and begins to share candidly about how she came to be a mother at the age of 16.
“I was finishing year 10 at Queechy High School,” she says.
That’s when she first had suspicions that her expanding belly was more than a bit of bloating. Still, the softly spoken teen stayed tight-lipped until her stepfather noticed the changes and bought her a pregnancy test.
“I already knew what the result would be – I was 19 weeks pregnant!” Lucy laughs.
Leading up to Christmas, I want to share with you FIVE GIFTS of LIFE. These are five real stories of local women who fell pregnant young, outside of their plans, and made good anyway. Each Friday between now and Christmas, I’ll publish another. First was Rachel. Here’s the second, Stacey: In the space of a week, Launceston woman Stacey received a little feet pin in her letterbox and happened to be watching television when an Emily’s Voice ad aired – five times. It was the ad detailing Madeleine’s story of grief following her decision to abort her own baby at eight weeks. Stacey was 16 years old, eight weeks pregnant and not a believer in consequences. With Madeleine’s story on her mind, the pin in her hand – with feet the same size as a 10-week gestation baby – she knew that the wrestle in her head was over. “I never thought abortion would ever cross my mind – I always thought it was wrong, but when it came to me finding out I was …