With the force of a runaway freight train coming straight from hell, it hit me yesterday that I would soon be in charge of a newborn human. Up until that moment I’d been living in a euphoric bubble, a hazy, soft cocoon of excitement and denial. For some reason my brain had not fully penetrated the reality of the situation and only been surface diving on the topic.
The catalyst for my realisation was going shopping for a cot.
The last time I gave birth, John Howard was Prime Minister, the very first iPhone was announced, and Avril Lavigne was still a thing. If I’m being honest, I’m completely bewildered with the new equipment, lotions and rules that seem to have sprung up in the past twelve years. So as Scott and I were trying to pick a cot that was safe – one with non-toxic paint, correct spacing between the railings and without the appearance of a glamorous Scandinavian jail cell – it hit me: I don’t think I remember how to fucking do this. I turned to my husband, wildly gestured to the all of breast pumps, muslin wraps and baby carriers in front of us, and said: “Scotty, I don’t think I remember how to fucking do this.” Suddenly I wanted to seal the opening to my womb and have my son live in there until he was at least five.
Last night when I attempted to fall asleep, my mild panic converted itself into three hours worth of sticky thoughts and worries. It was a conscious stream of mental vomit. Here is a disturbing breakdown of the things that were going on in my head at 3am.
On the topic of a newborn:
They’re so tiny, I can’t remember how to do it, the newborn thing. Do you still wrap them like a human burrito or is that a no-no now? Do I need white noise? Where do I buy white noise from?! Will I be able to get anything else done or am I in for a complete handover of my life?
On the topic of Breast Feeding:
Will breastfeeding be as hard as it was with Chella and Odie? Will my tits ever recover? Are there new pumps and storing techniques I should be aware of? Is it every two hours or three? Can you even still get formula? I remember reading about a baby formula black market situation! How do I find the black market? Is it on Google Maps?
On the topic of parenting:
What the fuck am I going to do with a boy?! A BOY! We need to make sure he is a good human, we need him to be who he is, place no expectations on him. Barbies, trucks, ballet, footy – WHATEVER! He needs to respect women and also himself. Em, relax. The kid is still a foetus and the other two have turned out pretty great so far. THE OTHER TWO! Will I still be able to be a good Mum to them? Probably not! Fuck. Fuck. Fuuuuuuuck.
That’s only a sample. Some of the other things should never be put in writing. I woke my husband up and told him of my fears and he said ‘Why don’t you ask your people?’. He meant YOU GUYS! Yes Scotty! Yes I will! I remembered that I have hundreds of thousands of Mothers who follow me online! You lot are wise, fabulous and full of new information.
So what I want from you is your TOP FIVE products that you couldn’t live without when your baby came. I need the new school info y’all, I will carefully scroll the comments section over the weekend and hopefully come out the other side feeling a little more prepared.
At the very least, I may be able to decide on one fucking cot.
Go forth and impart your wisdom!
P.S Speaking of comments section, if you’re yet to read the comments from Monday’s blog (relationship commandments) you need to settle down with a nice wine and do yourself a favour. It’s some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever read. Seriously, well done to all who contributed.
P.P.S My community pins are back in stock and selling fast – this will be the last run of them for a while so get in quick!
P.P.P.S I wrote the opening number for next year’s live show this week, I WISH I could play it for you… The show is going to be my finest work, the tour will be the first thing I do after having the baby so I’ll be ready and raring to go. All I’m saying is: keep August free!
A very ‘brave’ woman on Facebook has posted a list of ’10 commandments’ her husband must abide by to keep her happy in their relationship… and look, it would be accurate to say she raised all the eyebrows. In fact, I’m betting there was probably a collective WHAT THE FUCK from every person who belongs to the members only “Get It Off Your Chest” Facebook group. As the name encourages, a lot of the group members did then proceed to get off their chests how CRAZY BA-NAY-NAY they thought her demands were. It’s also important to note that this was a revised list, as apparently her first crack was a little too harsh!
Yes, of course I have a copy of them, thank you very much.
I feel as though she’d be better off with a nice house plant than an actual human. Obviously this list is completely unreasonable, and good lord – if she’s found a partner to follow them, then I pity the fool.
It did, however, make me think about the things I expect of my husband Scotty, and so I thought I’d write my own ‘commandments’ and put them to you lot to see what you think. Truth be told, I could only come up with five – it may shock you to know that I trust my husband and don’t feel the need to control his every move.
Em’s Five Relationship Commandments
1. Thou shalt not destroy the ensuite toilet in the morning. All bowel-emptying must be done in the upstairs toilet. (Scott showers after he toilets and if does his business in our ensuite, the result is a warm poo waft and it’s horrendous.)
2. Thou shalt clean as you go when you cook dinner. (Scott sometimes leaves the kitchen looking like the cast of Masterchef had an orgy in there. I half expect Matt Preston to show up, wearing his cravat as a loin cloth, asking where his lube is – which I also imagine is duck fat, not KY.)
3. Thou shalt not pick your earwax and wipe it on the side of the drivers seat in my car. (I mean this one is self-explanatory. Really. Do I really have to ask you not to do that?)
4. Thou shall refrain from the five minutes of phlegmy throat-clearing in the morning that sounds like an elderly goat is being drowned in a vat of chocolate, especially when we have overnight guests.
5. Thou shall allocate one morning a week to snuggling for ten minutes in bed after the alarm goes off instead of leaping up at 6am to go for a bike ride.
In the spirit of fairness, I thought I’d ask Scotty what his relationship commandments are. At first he thought it was a trap. He stared at me with squinty eyes for a good two minutes before agreeing to list them, and even then he said them as though he was approaching an angry bear.
Scott’s Five Relationship Commandments
1. Thou shall limit the number of cushions to four on the bed. (We’ve compromised, I have ten.)
2. Thou shall not wake me up in the middle of the night because you’ve decided you want to put a tile mosaic in the bathroom. (To be fair, the banksia-and-wattle print is going to look amazing and I needed to share my Australian native theme with someone when it came to me at 3am on Saturday night.)
3. Thou shall tell me EXACTLY what you want instead of hinting at it or expecting me to ‘get the vibe’.
4. Thou shall stop using my FUCKING towel. (He was super aggressive about this one guys…)
5. Thou shall stop referring to thou-self as ‘hungry hungry hippo’ or ‘tubby’ – you’re pregnant and you look beautiful. (I expect he just threw that one on the end to soften the other four)
So there you have it: mine involve a lot of bodily functions and his involve home-decorating and vibes – seems about right!
Please feel free to pop yours in the comments section below, I look forward to reading them at length later today.
Have a great week,
And scroll down for a full list of nation-wide resources. Feature image: by Jordan Tarrant.
Hello my lovely community of most excellent humans,
As some of you are aware, last week I put the call-out to anyone who could help me do something about the current domestic violence epidemic gripping our country. I received thousands of responses. Some were from outreach programs, some were from survivors of domestic violence, and some were from people who felt as helpless as I do about the situation.
Domestic violence is a complicated, big, raw and nuanced issue. It’s not something that can be solved easily, quickly or simply. It requires a huge cultural shift in behaviour and attitude, and that kind of thing takes years. I think that’s why so many of us feel overwhelmed about how to possibly help the situation, because there is no short term solution. However after spending the week researching and talking to experts, I know that there are tangible ways to help the people affected by domestic violence in this country.
I’m going to give you the three I think will be most effective, so we can start making a difference right now.
- One: Contact your local MP and let her or him know that you’re a voter and this is an issue you care about.
- Two: Have conversations with your friends and family about subtle behaviours that disrespect women.
- Three: Get involved in the movement – be it marching, donating or raising awareness.
One of the main things I’ve taken away from this week is that we need to involve men in this conversation. It’s not about men vs women, I’ve witnessed various factions from each side blaming the other for too long and what I know is, that’s not working. We need to find a middle road to walk down, no sides, just all of us coming together, to do what we can to prevent women and children dying. The simple fact is men listen to other men, and if they’re in a social setting and a mate makes a disrespectful comment about a female patron or waitress and they pick him up on it gently, in the moment – that will have an impact. That is changing the behaviour at it’s genesis, and that is the type of conversations we need to be having with all the people in our life. If you’re sitting there thinking “how the hell do I even start that conversation with my kids, family and friends?” I’ve got you: click here for a fantastic resource that answers that very question.
One of the experts I spoke to was Fiona McCormack (pictured), the CEO of Domestic Violence Victoria. Fiona has spent most of her working life focussing on issues that affect women. She was generous and helpful during our chat and I walked away from it feeling a renewed sense of understanding and purpose. We spoke for quite a while, and some of the things she said really stuck with me, so I want to give them to you straight up.
Fiona, what is something tangible we can do?
“Send an email or a letter or call up your local politician, no matter who you’re voting for, and just let them know: ‘this is what I care about as a voter’. That’s how things get up, if enough people call out about an issue. If you’re saying to your political party ‘this should not be a fringe issue, this is a core value. You need evidence-based approach, funding, and policies’, they will listen to your needs because they want your vote.
It’s important that Government follows an evidence-based approach on why violence is happening in the first place, and how they can respond better. For example, the Royal Commission into Family Violence. The Government committed to all 227 recommendations.
We didn’t change the rates of smoking overnight, it took an evidence-based and long-term plan, and concerted effort. Domestic violence is a deeply entrenched issue culturally so it’s not going to be addressed overnight, but we do need Government to take approach.”
How can we involve men in the solution?
“Importantly: talk to them. The men in your life. This is a time we really need men to step-up and challenge one another. Men are not the villains, they are the key to turning this around. They influence each other’s attitudes. They are part of the solution.
What we know about the types of men who are likely to perpetrate is they have certain attitudes towards women and towards violence. Attitudes that women are less than men, that they can be joked about and talked about in a hurtful or sexist way – it’s really critical. There’s a link between racism and race-related violence, and homophobia and homosexual-related violence, and so on. So attitudes about men vs women can play such an important role. It’s awkward in a social situation to call it out, but it’s important.
Talking about those attitudes with friends – those certain awkward social circumstances, how they handle it – that’s a really powerful thing.”
This is about gender, but not in the way we think it is…
“As a mother of two sons, the facts about the gendered nature of violence against women really confronted me. What does it mean? Is there something inherently evil in men? Is this biological? Is there nothing we can do about it? But the more I learned about it, the more I learned about gender itself. We tend to use gender to describe the physiological differences between men and women, but academically speaking, it relates to the way in which the social norms surround masculinity and femininity.
But when masculinity is tied up with the hatred of women, that’s when it’s problematic. When we’ve got concepts of masculinity where they resolve disagreements through anger and fighting, that’s where it’s problematic. When a man gets punched outside of a nightclub, we talk about alcohol, we talk about venues, and gangs, and curfews. We don’t talk about gender. And the ways in which our culture means that masculinity needs to be proved over and over again. How much you drink, how much you fight, how strong you are. That’s the element of masculinity that we have to shed. And also the stuff around femininity – where they are the main carer of the kids, where they don’t have any value unless they’re sexually available… This issue is not about a critiscim of men – it’s about changing our culture. These things can be so much a part of our culture, it’s like we’re fish but we don’t see the water.”
Isn’t she brilliant? So, just like Fiona said, make sure you contact your local MP with a simple email stating that this is something you care about. It’s easy. I know it sounds exhausting and time-consuming, but it’s something physical you can do RIGHT NOW and it will help. This link may help you to find your local MP, but if not, do a quick google. Write a short, passionate email about how pissed off and helpless you feel because 68 women and 19 children have been killed so far this year. Then tell your MP that you want this to be a core issue, and you want them to have an evidence-based, funded plan on how to fix it.
It will take you five minutes. Do it for the women in your life.
Finally, what am I doing? I want you to know that I’m getting my hands dirty, that this isn’t just something I’m going to write about once and pat myself on the back about, and walk away. I’m invested, I’m passionate and I want to energise you all to feel the same way. I’m going to be waddling (I’ll be 30 weeks preggo) in the “Walk against Family Violence” march happening in Melbourne on November 23rd which is being run by Safe steps. I’m teaming up with the Dangerous Female girls to fundraise and I’m looking into how I can help various shelters (which is something that needs to be confidential for safety reasons). It is my sincerest hope that you leave this blog committed to taking action. I hope you feel as though I’ve provided you with the tools to do so, as that was my number one goal: to empower you guys to help women and children affected by domestic violence.
If you are in a domestic violence situation, or if you fear for a friend or loved one, these are the important steps:
First and foremost, call 000 if you are ever in immediate danger.
Secondly, talk to someone you trust. A friend, a family member, an outside party. Talk to counsellors and professionals and hotlines.
Thirdly, know your options. Legally, financially, and logistically. As told to us by Elena Rosenman, Executive Director of the Women’s Legal centre in Canberra (who provide assistance to women experiencing domestic violence and need help with their legal problems); “One of the most effective tactics abusive partners use is to isolate women from their support networks, their friends or families, and suggest that people can’t help and or won’t help. If you are experiencing domestic violence, try and talk to people you trust and services that can give you information about your legal options, finances, housing, and counselling. The more information and support you have, the more options you might be able to see.”
Here is a list of resources for anyone needing help. Also, if you’d like to help in another way, many of these resources are drastically underfunded – we encourage you to donate directly to their services if you can.
National sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.
1800 737 732
Will put you in contact with your States crisis service.
13 11 14
Kids Help Line
This is a great service for kids to talk to counsellors. The trained professionals at Kids Help Line will talk to anyone between the ages of 5 – 25 years old.
1800 551 800
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Offers online chat, video phone, instant messenger and TTY for the Deaf community.
For our future Men:
Respect.gov.au is a great resource for conversations about respect.
For men and boys who are affected by DV there are people you can talk to:
Men’s Line Australia
1300 78 99 78
DV Resources & Services:
Australia Capital Territory
Women’s Legal Centre ACT
(02) 6257 4377
Women’s Legal Centre also have the Mulleun Mura Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Access to Justice Program. (Aboriginal woman-led service offering culturally appropriate support with justice issues). Call the Women’s Legal Centre on (02) 6257 4499 to speak with the Mulleun Mura team.
Counselling: (02) 6122 7070 (or www.toora.org.au/contacts.html)
Domestic Violence Crisis Service
(02) 6280 0900
1800 176 468
New South Wales
1800 938 227
(02) 9698 9777
Womens’ Legal Service NSW
1800 801 501
(08) 8945 1388
Ruby Gaea Darwin Centre
(08) 8945 0155
Top End Women’s Legal Services
1800 234 441
DV Connect Crisis Support Qld
1800 811 811
Domestic Violence Prevention Centre
Women’s Legal Service QLD
(07) 3392 0644
(08) 8203 5700
WSSSA (Woman’s Safety Services)
1800 800 098
Women’s Legal Service SA
(08) 8231 8929
(03) 6278 8292
Huon Domestic Violence Service
03 6264 2222
Women’s Legal Service Tasmania
(03) 6231 9466
1800 015 188
(03) 9259 4200
Women’s Legal Service Victoria
(03) 8622 0600
1800 755 988
Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services
(08) 9420 7264
Women’s health & family services
1800 998 399
Women’s Law Centre
1800 625 122
Thanks again to Fiona McCormack from Domestic Violence Victoria and Bethany Hender and Elena Rosenman from the Women’s Legal Centre in Canberra for their guidance in creating this article and resource list. Wonderful women doing great work.
Share this with anyone who might need it, and look after each other.
You know a sentence I never thought I’d say?
Thank you, David Beckham, for those words of truth and wisdom.
Ol’ Becks has been somewhat dragged through the media this week (Ooof. What must THAT be like?!) for admitting that marriage is hard work. And if you’re to believe said media, his wife isn’t too happy about it either.
“I think marriage, marriage is always about hard work,” he said to Lisa Wilkinson on the Sunday Project. “To have been married for the amount of time that we have, it’s always hard work, everybody knows that, but you make it work, you make difficult situations like travelling away, being away from each other, you make it work.”
Apparently this has sent Posh into fits of rage, blah blah blah ‘sources say’ blah blah ‘divorce is imminent’ etc.
Firstly: bullshit. If the media says anything about ‘a close friend has admitted…’ then we can guarantee the story is about as reliable as Samantha Markle.
Secondly: OF COURSE their marriage is hard work. They’ve been married for nineteen years, which is about 18.5 years longer than any of us expected (I mean, do you remember their wedding? His & Hers thrones and matching purple outfits does not often longevity make). I think we can also assume that neither of them are low-maintenance kind of spouses, given that Becks was recently sent into a Sydney cafe to fetch a SINGLE, PEELED CARROT for his wife’s lunch. Really. That happened. Last night I asked Scott to get me some toilet paper (while sitting waiting on the toilet, trapped, with not a square to spare) and it took him 5 minutes and one lecture about “checking before you sit down” to carry that task out!
So how come, when Becks states the bleeding obvious in an interview that marriage takes work, everyone assumes it’s the birth place of their future divorce?
If your long term marriage/relationship isn’t ‘work’ then I salute you. If you have found someone that makes everything easier all the time then you, my friend, are in possession of an actual albino unicorn, a.k.a strap that s**t down yesterday. But I suspect that all marriages worth fighting for, take a whole lot of work.
Why does admitting uncertainty in a relationship make everyone nervous? Will some of you read this and think that, because I’m admitting this, my relationship is doomed? The thing is, I feel an overwhelming compulsion to admit instability in my relationship. To claim anything else would be untrue and it also gives me a nice buffer zone for if/when things go to shit.
A few years ago, my husband and I were done. We called it quits on 12 tumultuous years and went our separate ways. We were broken and I thought completely unfixable. Then after a year apart we decided to work on our relationship and managed to put the pieces back together. It’s not perfect, but it’s getting there; ultimately we are stronger together, and making something strong usually takes, say it with me, oh yeah you know what’s coming: Hard. Work.
Marriage/long term relationships are fucking hard work!
It is hinted at, written about, studied and mumbled but I don’t think enough married people are saying to other married people: “My relationship can be a clusterfuck of disappointment, frustration and finger pointing.”
Which reminds me. Hey, you guys: Sometimes my realtionship is a clusterfuck of disappointment, frustration and finger pointing.
There are thousands upon thousands of experts giving us unsolicited advice on how to spice up our unions, but no one mentions what to do when you’re in an epic stand-off with your other half over whose turn it is to clean up the dog’s spew.
You both declare – so the aforementioned spew sits for days, congealing on the bathroom floor into a circle of stiffened yellow stomach lining.
That is the shit that tests marriages more than anything. At least it is in my house, the battle over whose turn is it to do the crappy menial every day tasks. Add some kids, and your life becomes about existing not living – you just “get through” days rather than experience them.
I share this with you because I want you to know that my marriage can be hard work. I feel that if more of us admitted that to each other, there’d be less pressure to be in a perfect relationship to begin with. We’d stop holding each other to unrealistic standards. Maybe you aren’t going on romantic date nights like so many therapists recommend, but maybe you got through the day without flipping the love of your life your middle finger while silently mouthing “go fuck yourself sideways” and you’re both laying silently on the couch together holding hands.
My relationship can also be the bedrock upon which I build my emotional foundations. I love him, he loves me, we love our kids and sometimes that breaks my balls and sometimes it makes my heart burst with joy.
It’s not always bad, but it can be. And that’s all I really wanted to say. I reckon Becks did Vicky a favour, I think he was trying to soften everyones expectations of them – it made me look at him and them in a whole new light. Instead of scheduling an emergency Vogue cover shoot to dispel divorce rumours, I reckon they should just tell the truth. ‘Hey, we’re a couple with four kids, busy lives, a billion dollar empire and unprecedented media attention trying to get through like anyone else…’ Ok, so they’re not entirely relatable, but you get it; admit your flaws and people will be far more forgiving and maybe less interested when shit blows up.
I asked my husband what he would say if Wilko were to ask him that same question.
Scotty: “Yes our marriage is hard word sometimes, however hard work usually leads to something great. Hard work can be viewed as something negative I suppose, if there’s no end goal. But my end goal is a more harmonious existence with my family, so I am happy to put it in.”
What a guy! I almost forgive him for leaving me hanging like a naughty toddler who’d shat their pants on the toot last night.
Have a great week,
PS. I’ve got new merch dropping soon, so make sure you sign up to the subscriber link at the bottom so you’re the first to hear about my brand new earrings, pins and maternity dresses… I may burst with excitement.
It’s fair to say that the wheels have well and truly fallen off this pregnant, sweaty, emotional horse.
YES I KNOW THAT HORSES DON’T HAVE WHEELS, HOW DARE YOU POINT THAT OUT. But the other analogy was that the wheels have fallen off this pregnant, sweaty, emotional bus, and I burst into tears at the insult of referring to myself as a bus. (Perhaps left over emotion from yesterday, when my husband told me I look like Humpty Dumpty…) So shut up and accept me as a beautiful, majestic horse with fallen wheels.
Ahem. Where was I? Right…
The wheels have fallen off. I have severe Carpel Tunnel syndrome on the right side of my body, a massive hole in my tooth, and my comfy undies no longer fit. The only joy in my life right now (besides children and family, but even that’s a stretch) is my daily sojourn to the local swimming pool.
I like to go in the morning, so I share the pool with the Very, Very Old, and the Very, Very Young (which is Russian roulette because both, I suspect, have trouble controlling their bowels).
I like to swim ten laps with a noodle (which always has bite marks on it, who is doing that?! ) and I don’t put my head under, because I like to think I look like a glamorous women in a fifties movie swimming across to her beau. Please never tell me what I actually look like, or I will beat you with the noodle. So I do my laps, then I go over to the hydro-pool and do my stretches at the bar.
But this morning, there was an incident. Involving the geriatric water aerobics class and myself.
I already have a long standing issue with water aerobics. It’s super easy to cheat. The instructors at my pool seem to all look like Madge from Neighbours meets the matron from A Country Practice. And they stand outside the pool, yelling at all of those bobbing around inside of it. “Get in the pool, Madge!” I want to shout. “Do the bloody work!”
This morning, post-noodle-laps, I went to move into the hydro-pool. I noticed there was a water aerobics class going on so I took myself to the other end of the pool, and I slid in, barely taking up any room in the corner. I was practically invisible. But then Madge (that’s not her real name, obvi) spotted me, and loudly called into her Madonna headset over the loudspeaker, “Excuse me, are you doing this class?”
Clearly not, Madge.
I turned, slowly. “Clearly not.” I said. She barrelled on, relishing in her power trip, her amplified voice echoing around the leisure centre. “Then you’ll have to move to the other end of the pool.” I looked at her witheringly, picked up my noodle, and without breaking eye contact, slowly walked to the other end of the hydro pool. Into her headset, she tut-tutted me. I WASN’T EVEN NEAR THE CLASS.
So then, as I stood glowering in a sanctioned, ten centimetre spot of water, a lifeguard came up to me. Another power trip. “This area is reserved”, she said to me bossily. I took a deep breath; “I am pregnant. I have paid to swim. The only way I am leaving this pool, is if you physically carry me out.” And then I dared her with my eyes.
THEN… THEN, MY FRIENDS.
The lifeguard goes off and gets one of those triangle signs that says ‘area reserved’ and puts it directly in front of me. I mean, the pettiness! If I wasn’t so pissed off, I would have been impressed.
So did I leave the pool, and acquiesce the requests of the power trippers?
Of course I fucking didn’t. I did not leave. I stayed for 35 extra minutes, doing some angry spite swimming. And as I left, I did the pathetic pregnancy walk – hand on lower back, legs spread wide – riiiiight past Madge.
The final straw was that after I’d changed out of my bathers, and was exiting the leisure centre, the lifeguard came up to me and said “You should get the timetable for the group classes so you know when the pool is unavailable”. So I said “I will come WHENEVER I like, thank you very much!” turned on my heel and left.
Yes my level of pettiness was HIGH, yes the participants of the class had paid extra to be there, I am in NO WAY a victim here, I was badly behaved and belligerent but in the moment I felt VERY hardly done by. My safe, warm, zero gravity space was threatened and I did not take it well!
As you can see, I’ve reached the phase in my pregnancy where I feel like I’ve lost control of my body. As we speak, I am screaming this at Lucy from my couch, as she types the words for me. (It’s true. Help me. – Lucy) I can’t type because of my carpel tunnel, and I can barely talk because I’m so tired. Why did NO ONE tell me that carpal tunnel was a fucking side affect of pregnancy? Why don’t the Madges and lifeguards of the world understand, I do not… have… the energy.
Anyway. I’m fine. My arms in a sling. My family’s helping. And I have every intention of getting back in the pool tomorrow.
I guess sometimes pregnancy looks like this..
And sometimes it looks like this..
Thanks for listening, guys. Deep breaths.
PS don’t bother complaining about how good water aerobics is and what the benefits are. I’m not in the mood. You’re definitely right, but I’m in a fight with a leisure centre right now, so I don’t have any energy left. Let’s all just snuggle our pool noodles and have a nap.
Hi gang, first up I want to say a gigantic THANK YOU to the many thousands of you who read and enjoyed my ten tips for teenage girls last week. I’ve never had a response quite like it, especially from said teenage girls. It truly warmed my black heart reading your messages and knowing that my words had somehow helped you.
This week I’ve just got some quiet words about loss, you see four years ago this week my family went through the wringer. Those of you who’ve read my book will know what I’m referring to, if you haven’t read it; on October 18th 2014 my uncle Haydn passed away after being involved in a car accident. Ten weeks later, his Mother (my Nana) also left us. I wasn’t going to write about it, in fact I had another blog ready to go about making my kids watch Beaches; but lately I’ve been feeling the weight of their loss, and I find that when my thoughts are sticky, it helps to write them out.
On Saturday it was my Dad’s birthday and while we were at his place, my Mum gave my eldest daughter a hard drive full of memories. Later that evening the girls and I sat on the couch and laughed at my Australian Idol photos and all the unfortunate hair choices, make-up mistakes and our many abuses of denim. My whole family had come to see the Australian Idol live tour in Melbourne, and everyone had taken photos with the cast, including Uncle Hayd. A photo of him, my Mum, my Aunty and I flashed up and my daughter quickly clicked passed the photo (knowing what this week was and not wanting to upset me) but and as she did a video of my Grandmother appeared. She was giving my Mum a guided tour of her bedroom. She was putting on her ‘posh voice’ and pointing with flourish to her new curtains, bedhead and beloved blanket box.
I’ve seen the video a hundred times, but I haven’t watched it since she’s been gone. It was like looking at it for the first time again with fresh eyes. I took in every detail, wishing I could dive into the computer screen and stand beside her. Her bedroom always smelled of perfume; Elizabeth Arden’s Red door, and I could almost smell it as I watched her. Then she laughed and I realised how much my own cackle sounded like hers (think Mary Poppins meets Cruella DeVille and you’ve nailed it.)
As I watched her I remembered our weekly conversations and smiled. I wished I could tell her I am having a son, I could imagine her response. She’d be beside herself and a blanket would be ordered and embroidered with his name, as she did for both of my daughters.
I went to bed last night and read the letter she sent me after my wedding, it’s the first time in a long time I’ve been able to do that without crying. In fact imagining her making mental notes on the day to write down later, made me laugh to myself. After she and Haydn died the grief came in steady, consistent waves. Four years on and I can report that the waves are much further apart and I don’t feel as though they’re going to drown me when they hit. When this type of thing happens to you, the phrase “It’s going to take time” gets thrown around and you feel like punching the person who says it in the throat, but it’s true. However the passing of time doesn’t make you miss them any less, it just allows the acute sadness you feel when you think of them to make way for a dull ache.
That will make way for bittersweet memories.
That will eventually become happy and precious ones.
What I mean to say is that your first thought isn’t: “They’re gone.”
Its: “They were here.”
This week if you could think loving and slightly inappropriate thoughts about Eddie McGuire for Nana and toast Haydn with a can of diet coke, I’d appreciate it.
Thanks for letting me write it out,
Today is International Day of The Girl. Well done you all get ponies! Ok you don’t but it is an important day, and to mark it I thought I’d put together a handy list, I’m not an expert – I’m probably the opposite of that. You can try some of these things or none of them, but I hope it helps you in some small way.
1. Be kind and don’t take shit from anyone. If you hear someone say something offensive, sexist, racist or just plain gross to you or someone you care about, don’t laugh it off, tell them off. My darlings, we must stop casual, low lying sexism/racism where it starts.
2. Be brave with your self, say YES to LIFE! Back yourself in, take chances and try rad things way out of your comfort zone.
(I’m talking art classes, travel, music, mountain biking, dancing, singing, painting, acting and building. Not… you know… Animal sacrifice, straight vodka and illegal street racing.)
3. Pick great friends, avoid drama queens and drainers. Pick mates who cheer you on and fill you with energy, not suck it out of you. Also, BE a great friend. Don’t ever set out to make someone feel less than, add to people’s lives.
4. Look after your body. Nourish it, water it and exercise it. I get how much of your brain space is taken up worrying about how you look. The message I should be giving you is that it’s really only your magnificent brain that counts, and it is; but I’m also realistic and I know how much pressure you may feel to look a certain way. So give yourself the best shot and be kind to your bod – it’ll be kind right back, I promise.
- Am I tired?
- Have I eaten enough?
- Am I thirsty?
- When did I last exercise?
- What is coming up for me that I’m worried about?
Then sit down and have a hot drink. There’s a 90% chance you’ll feel better, but if you don’t, tell someone. Tell a trusted friend or adult; it’s not a weakness to ask for help, it’s about the strongest and most brave thing you can do. Your mental health is so important, look after it.
7. Remember to look up, not through. Viewing the world through your social media can narrow it to a point where you may start to feel suffocated by it. Don’t believe the hype, people only put their highlight reels online. Look up more than you look down, and figure things out for yourself.
8. Avoid plastic bra straps and wear underwear that breathes, your vagina deserves love and care. While we’re down there, get to know your vagina! It’s not some unspoken, mystical dark place. If things aren’t right with it, tell your Mum, Dad, Sister, a trusted relative or go to a doctor. Also, don’t mess too much with your pubic hair or eyebrows.
9. Try not to spend too much time watching boys do stuff – make sure you get out and do it yourself. Make music, play sport, build things, write; do it yourself. Don’t be relegated to a spectator.
10. Who you are is exactly right. That includes who you’re attracted to. If you like girls: great, boys: great, both: great, no-one: great. It’s all good, don’t let other people’s hang-ups and issues with sexuality mess with your sense of self.
Ladies, I remember how tough it was being a teenage human person. I think now with social media you have it even tougher than I did in the 90’s. But I do remember feeling as though the whole world was against me, like my heart may explode from pain and that no-one understood who I really was or wanted to be. If you only take one piece of advice from me it’s this: Trust your gut, it’s the first voice you hear and it’s usually right.
I love the next generation of girls, I have two of them and I’m excited about what’s coming for you. But I just wanted you to know that I’m here and happy to help, should you need me.
Love your pal,
Warning, this post will not be for the faint of heart. Look, I realise that that I could conceivably pop that precursor at the top of most things I write, however this week – we’ll be going deep. So strap in, the truth is out there and it’s something I didn’t know until my nipples began spreading like balsamic vinegar in a small dish of extra virgin olive oil.
I had my first child when I was twenty-two years old. My body was tight and hard, I was carefree, I wore strapless tops with reckless abandon and bras were optional. As my pregnancy progressed, my youthful body went through the normal changes one would expect from growing a human:
Spider Belly: The vexatious internal itching that happens around the middle of your bump.
Filthy pirate mouth: Bleeding gums.
Bong eyes: Blood vessels bursting in your eyeballs, due to extreme constipation.
Iron Vag: As though someone has literally sewn tiny weights into your flaps and you’re sure the baby may appear at any time just to say hello. (It tends to occur towards the end of the pregnancy.)
Fighter Pilot Chest Thumbs: Your once pert, pink, delicate nipples become giant flesh almonds.
Road Map Neck: Did you even KNOW you could get stretch marks under your chin? I DID NOT! YOU CAN!
When my pregnancy was first referred to as “geriatric”, I was deeply offended. How very dare anyone refer to any part of my person as “geriatric”? I’m still in my thirties for fuck’s sake! Yes it’s the very tippy-top of the decade and yes I dress like Grandma Yetta from the Nanny, however everything else is still young and vital! The term ‘geriatric pregnancy’ conjures up images of Dorothy from the Golden girls (if your brain didn’t immediately launch into ‘thank you for being a friend’ I don’t know if we can see each other anymore) waddling around in a pair of fetching maternity overalls.
FYI – Anyone over the age of thirty-five and pregnant is considered to be of ‘advanced maternal age’, because as we all know, after you turn thirty-five your vagina starts to grow cobwebs, develops a strange crush on Eddie McGuire and registers itself for the pension.
As I move further into this pregnancy, I now realise that I’m indeed an older pregnant person; my body is dealing with this spawning far differently from the other two times I was up the duff (in my twenties). What I’ve noticed this time is that EVERY CELL of my entire body is pregnant. My teeth, my eyes, my fingers my toes, my internal organs – they’re all feeling the fact that I have a baby in my guts. It’s permeating my every move, thought and feeling. Instead of it being a fun fact about me as it was the last time, it’s now all that I am. So here is a list of the symptoms I’m having as a mature age preggo. I’m not saying if you’re in your thirties you’ll definitely experience these side effects, but if on the off-chance you do, I want you to know that you’re not alone.
Get that thing away from me: You know how they say that in your second trimester, you just can’t get enough of the sex? The reason for this is that you’ve got more blood flow to your vag, more of the hormones that love bonking are present – and if you’re a fellow flat chester like me, you’ve got a brand new set of boobs to be flaunting. I certainly experienced that in my earlier pregnancies, but now… No. My husband is hot, fit and very good at the sex, but I’ve no interest in riding that cowboy currently. I’m tired, I’m more tired, my back hurts and I’m so tired.
NIPPLE SPREAD: You guys, they DO NOT stop growing. I stupidly thought my areolas reached peak spread with my last pregnancy. What a naive dickhead I was! I know that they need to be bigger and darker so that the baby can find them but I’m not giving birth to a fucking mole! At this rate, they could be found from the Mars space station without a telescope.
4WD Stretchies: You would think that the stretch marks you already have would be worn in enough to accomodate the changing of your body. Look, even if you’re having your first child, if you’re thirty-five and over you’ve accumulated some impressive tears to your skin that you’d think would leave enough grow room for what’s to come. Ha! No. Imagine a four-wheel drive track on some soft sand, then imagine that another four-wheel drive drives over that same track, and then four more of the bastards find their way there. The tracks get deeper, darker, and slightly wider. The same may happen to your stomach, hips, inner thigh, arms, chin – wherever these arseholes have managed to find themselves.
Side note: SPARE ME the ‘rub *insert oil/lotion name here* on your boobs and bump to avoid stretch marks’ – that shit is a fucking CON. I literally bathed in stretch mark cream for my first pregnancy. I walked around like an oiled up hippo for months and my tummy ended up looking like an elephant’s ear with a road map drawn on the inside of it. I reckon you’re genetically predisposed to that kind of thing, you’ve either got skin that will withstand stretching or you don’t.
My body is ruined forever: Real talk – my self-esteem has taken a smashing this time around. Things have felt more saggier and baggier than they previously were, I found myself not wanting to be in photos or look in the mirror. I even picked a fight with Scotty and cried when I saw that he’d followed a fitness model on Instagram (it turns out he works with her and she literally stood over him while he followed her because she’s trying to be an ‘influencer’). I’d convinced myself that he was gong to run away with her and do push ups by a pool and look at her perfect small nipples and upper arms that don’t wobble when she aggressively points at things. That was probably my low point. (Also, let’s just say that if my husband were to do a stocktake of the men I follow, he’d find A LOT of hard-bodied, tattooed blokes with beards that I most certainly do not work with!) After I confessed I was onto him and his imaginary fitness lover, my husband took both my hands into his and said: “I am not going anywhere – EVER! For fuck’s sake Emy, you’re growing our child. You’re incredible, you look fantastic, stop being so hard on yourself.” He was right of course, I’m a bloody WARRIOR! I’m literally making a whole person inside of my body! So anytime my thighs rub together or my bum cheeks stick to the top of the backs of my legs, or I have to change my underwear for the third time in one day – I remember that. And you should too.
Having said all of that, pregnancy is a tough gig no matter how old you are. It fucks with your biology, mental health, physical health and everything in-between. No one knows how your body is going to react, and it’s different for every woman. So be kind to yourself, look after your health and fuck any other chore that gets in the way of that. But if all else fails, strap yourself into some leopard print, gather the indoor plants, set the self timer on your kid’s camera and be fucking Beyonce for a few minutes.
I see you preggos, I feel you, I am you.
P.S Our second round of community pins SOLD OUT again, but don’t worry we’re onto it and getting a jumbo sized batch made! I’ve also signed a new load of my books, have you read it yet? You totally should. Don’t forget to sign up to my mailing list so you get my words first and any other goss before anyone else does (new merch, tour announcements, baby announcements!) just scroll to the bottom of the contact page.
Hey guess what!
You know that luxurious item you’ve been lashing out on once a month because you’re a total opulence slut, because you’re a lady who likes the finer things in life, because you buy what you want, when you want it? Great news, the government has made your naughty little indulgence cheaper by law today! Yep, the goods and services tax applied to female sanitary products (which were considered ‘luxury’ items – please feel my extreme eye roll through the screen) was abolished in parliament today – clot clot hooray!
Way back in 1999 when Ricky Martin was straight and Cher was having a career resurgence (do you believe in life after love?) the complete and utter geniuses in the liberal party who were drafting the GST laws (this is gonna shock you right down to your previously taxed flaps) were mostly men, from a mostly male cabinet (#MEN). Those men felt that female sanitary items should fall in the LUXURY category and slapped a 10% tax on our periods. Because, look I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell choose to get my period each month and HOW DARE anyone (science, biology, mother nature, anyone with a brain: I’m looking at you) suggest it’s an involuntary bodily function that can’t be controlled. You just don’t want it enough, where’s your willpower ladies?! Oh, and can I please regale you with the all-consuming JOY I experience when the crippling cramps, hunger and mood swings strike. Every twenty eight days I’m known to lean out my kitchen window and yell with reckless abandon: YASS! IT’S TIME FOR SOME GLAMOROUS BLEEDING!
These same idiots, in all their wisdom, felt that condoms, lube and viagra were definitely NOT luxury items, that they were actual necessities and should be tax free. I know: The bombshells just keep on dropping! Poor men, having sex is so out of their control, it’s not their choice or fault, you guys.
The thing is, the tax should never have been there in the first place. And dare I say it: If more women were included in the decision-making process, this would never have happened.
Liberal Party HQ
Barry: I reckon we should put tampons and pads in the luxury items category.
LITERALLY ANY FEMALE IN EARSHOT OF THIS POLICY MEETING: How about you go fuck yourself Barry?
Barry: So that’s a ‘no’ to the tampon tax then.
Do you know the government were making THIRTY MILLION DOLLARS a year from our menstrual blood? I hope you find that as outrageous as I do. After 18 years of campaigning, the announcement today that every single state and territory will make sanitary products exempt from the GST is a huge win for all Australian women and their vaginas.
Now go out and treat yo’ self ladies. Get some of those breast-feeding pads, pumps and nipple shields which are still on the luxury items list and get FUCKED UP y’all!
Speaking of luxury items: new community badges have come in! If you missed out last time, order now. QUICK. (And subscribe below to my newsletter to be the first people alerted for new merch.)
Last week I attended a health camp. A legit shine the light inward, chant around a fire, talk about bowel movements retreat. I was in dire need of some spiritual and physical healing, as those of you who follow my Instagram exploits know: due to my pregnancy I have been eating pretty much anything within a one-metre radius of my mouth. I’ve also been suffering from total and utter burnout and hanging on mentally by the slimmest of silken tendrils. So like Marge Simpson heading off to Rancho Relaxo, I said goodbye to my family for five nights and headed off to the mountains to hopefully find that elusive inner peace… or at the very least, lower my blood sugar levels so that I don’t get gestational diabetes again.
Upon arrival at the Gold Coast airport I stood at the luggage carousels and waited for my bag to appear, and I waited and waited until every last person on my flight had collected their belongings and the whole thing had physically stopped. That’s never a good sign is it? When the whole conveyer belt heaves to a grinding halt, and you’re yet to collect your belongings. I tried to remain calm. “Serenity now Em, serenity now,” I said to myself as I walked over to the baggage counter, and upon approach, was asked by the lady if I was SURE my luggage wasn’t there.
“The belt stopped, it physically STOPPED, and my bag wasn’t on it, so yes I’m pretty sure it’s not there, Sharon.” I answered in my most zen voice.
Serenity now, Em. Serenity fucking now.
Sharon took my details and told me they’d call when and IF the bag containing all my new maternity active wear, my runners, my toiletries and my undies – showed up. I took a few centering deep breaths and made my way up into the mountains to find a better me. Luckily upon arrival I noticed there was a large gift shop attached to the retreat, so I was able to stock up on organic, sourced-from-Narnia bamboo underwear, and some totally luxe but very expensive activewear (let’s just say this joint only stocked one type of brand. I won’t name names, but it rhymes with schmu schmu shmemon). Yes, I was already three hundred dollars poorer; but I knew that at the very least, my vagina was going to be a better person from being sheathed in such natural opulence.
Each morning, a well-meaning volunteer knocks on your door at 5:30am, acting as a knocking human alarm clock. You’re to be up and reporting to Qi Gong by 6am. Qi Gong is fancy breathing with interpretive dance moves – we stood on a hill facing the sunrise, and I cried the first time I did it – so I was off to a killer start, guys. You then have a morning full of activities (walking, yoga, pilates, dancing, spinning, deep water running, crying…) and healthy eating, and in the afternoon, you’re encouraged to nap and go to the day spa. This Hogwarts of health has every single service you can desire, from a mani/pedi to a colonic irrigation. My first session was with a holistic naturopath who was also trained in iridology. Iridology is where they can tell the inner workings of your body from zooming into your iris.
That’s right, a lady looked deep into my oiyes, and read my very soul.
Firstly, I was told that my eye colour means I have a predisposition to being angry, sad and vulnerable. Hello, me (although a quick Google search of my name might have given away a few indications, but let’s press on). My eye colour also says that I am a perfectionist with an analytical mind. And that I tend to not listen to people when they give me advice. Wow. Hazel eyes are a gossipy bitch.
And then it got even scarier.
The rings in my irises show I have a tendency to suffer anxiety and to be a workaholic. Holy Christ on a wheel, yes. “Tends to thrive on stress, generally being ambitious and highly motivated – the real self-starter. The type A personality can work on many things at the same time, rushing from one project to another and thriving off the stress caused by doing so.”
Gahhh. Get out of my brain.
My irises apparently also scream that I am prone to a “wide range of emotional mood swings leading to exhaustion: grief, fear, anger, pain, enthusiasm and unconscious behaviour.”
My pupils reveal that I’m adrenalised a lot. That I’m a ‘fight or flight’ person. And that I’m holding so much grief and sadness in my lungs, that even my eyes know it.
Lastly, there was advice bestowed upon me and my irises.
-Listen to your body – your greatest gift is intuition.
-Avoid eating while emotionally upset. (Lol. Good luck.)
-Don’t be ‘all or nothing’. Find balance, be gentle. (My youngest daughter isn’t speaking to me because upon my return I emptied the pantry and fridge of anything not organic or healthy. I don’t believe in ‘easy does it’, or this elusive BALANCE I hear so much about. RIP THAT BANDAID OFF!)
So if next time you see me, I have my eyes shut – it’s because they are revealing far too much of myself to strangers.
Oddly enough we ended the appointment talking about vaginal seeding, which obviously does not concern my pupils. I told her I was expecting to have a c-section and she said that I should make sure that my obstetrician gets my vaginal seeds to give to my baby to promote good gut health and something something less allergies…. I smiled and nodded, pretending to know what she was talking about, all the while picturing the horrified look on lovely Dr Llyod’s face when I informed him that after he delivers my son, he’ll need to pop on a pair of overalls and a head torch, and proceed to harvest my birth canal. I mean I assume that’s what that situation is, and NO I AM NOT GOOGLING IT!
Was it a helpful, life-changing week? Look yes, yes it most certainly was. I cried for the first twenty-four hours, I don’t know why. Perhaps because I gave myself permission to finally let go of all the crap I’d been holding onto just so I could survive day-to-day life. Over the past year or so I’ve also buried and swallowed an extremely unhealthy amount of rage and sadness which I believe was starting to poison me from the inside out. My overall internal monologue was that of a misunderstood, ripped-off angry person. I was tired of feeling half-broken all of the time, I was also exhausted from carrying unresolved grief and resentment. I confronted all the touchy raw spots I’d been protecting and I can report I came home feeling lighter.
I also learned humans are capable of foot-long turds… so you know, it was a BIG week guys.
I have so much more to tell you but you’ve already been here for 1200 odd words so I’ll save it for the next time I see you all in person. I guess what I really wanted to say is: if I can stare head-on into all my faults, hurts and anger, and survive it, then anyone can. I mean, I’m still a fucking lunatic, just not an unhappy one!
Yours in peace, love and vaginal seeds.