I have moved with my new post.

Please come and visit my new home.

Its a bit bare while I wait for the furniture to arrive.

I have arranged a tasty little treat for you though. {New post}

Its just an entrée. You still have to eat and home.

Oh and please B.Y.O.B. I haven’t had the time to stock the fridge yet

Address: http://www.shellshockedmummy.com

See you there 🙂

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whose your daddy

Daddy, Hows your Memory?

Remember that night in December of ’78 when you and Mummy had that fun night out. Don’t you remember? It was the festive season so there was lots wine, woman and song. It was the seventies. I hope you were not on acid, then.

Mummy was all dressed up looking super fly. You couldn’t keep your eyes and your hands off her. You were much younger, wilder, freer back then. You still don’t remember?

Don’t hit the booze so hard at Christmas time, then. Liquor stores open in January too you know.

I know your memory is failing you. You forget your keys and where you put your wallet. You forget where you parked your car reminding you that age is creeping up on you. Has the loss in memory been worrying you too? Worrying you that it may be Alzheimer’s

It can’t be easy living with knowledge that your memory fails you.

I don’t expect you to remember all the little details of that night, except that you were with the hottest woman in the room. That you may never forget.

You see I am here to remind you of that super fun night. My existence. Roughly nine months later, I made my entrance to reminder you of that crazy fun night. A huge memento. Man those were fun times, weren’t they?

I’m sorry your memory is fuzzy and you forgot all about that night and me.

Heres what you missed.

I learned to tell time when I was 7 on my super cool casio watch. I still miss that watch. It was never wrong.

Mummy bought me the complete set of Enid Blyton books for my 9th birthday and added more books every birthday after that. I still love to read because of it.

You didn’t get to see how cool I looked in my white dress with the green flowers and the dropped waist when I was 11. I wore it often. One day it went away. I think that dress was pissed off at me for hardly giving it any time off.

You missed my teenage years when I started to question authority and got up to all sorts of amazing and sometimes illegal things. This was only fun for me. Mummy was NOT laughing about this at all.

You missed my first boy crush when I realised ALL love songs were about me. You didn’t see how I used to rewind that cassette tapes over and over and bug mummy to come and listen so she could tell me the one word I couldn’t hear properly so I could write it down.

You missed my years of angst some of it I blame on you. You see, you were the very first man to reject me. Don’t feel sorry for me. It took me a minute. Okay years. I know that fact that your memory was a bit fuzzy had very little to do with me. I am awesome.

You missed my graduation not just from school but from girl to woman. My first job and my first pay cheque. I would have bought you something nice.

You also missed when I fell in love for the first time. I married him by the way, you would like him. Everybody does.

The biggest thing you miss is the cutest little angel. I pity anyone who doesn’t get to look into her eyes. You see if you ever questioned heaven. That’s where you need to look to find it.

I hope you noted that I didn’t mention what I would be missing.

Heres what I didn’t miss

Someone I could twist around my little finger to pay for the extra maths lessons I said I badly needed on Saturdays, when I really didn’t. I just wanted to be out with my friends.

Someone to take my side against Mummy when I thought she was ruining my life by not allowing me to go to Marcia Norains house for a sleep over.

Someone to pick me up from the club at 2 in the morning so that I was safe and didn’t have to take rides from drunken young boys that may have killed me.

Someone to look out for my future and not allow me to slack off at school and beam like a good every time I got first in class. Not to my face but I heard him bragging a few times.

Someone to protect me and be my hero. Boys knew not to mess with me.

Someone to wash my car because I was too lazy to do it myself.

Someone to make mummy less stressed out when I am clearly the source of all that stress.

Someone to walk me down the aisle at my wedding day and approve of the man I chose to wash my car for the rest of my life.

Someone stepped in. He stopped me from thinking I am not enough. If I was not loveable then why does he stay and love me. Even after I drank too much alcohol at the Ottino’s house and vomited on him.

He gets to see that piece of heaven when he looks into his granddaughters eyes.

So I didn’t miss much after all. You missed getting to know me. I hear I am fun.

Oh and I am a still a daddy’s girl.

My latest post is live.

If I offended you that’s just too bad. As long as you learn not to ask really personal offensive question then my job is done!

If you want to read more about my story. Just click here

The hilarious fertility Gods levels the playing field.

Adoption is th enew pregnantIt feels really unfair when you first learn that you are infertile. You will hear stories of people feeling isolated and alone, that hate going to peoples baby showers when they desperately want their own. They get tired of congratulating new mothers. All they want is their turn. Surely that’s not too much to ask.

That was not my experience at all. I was too busy in the corporate jungle and trying to make ends meet most of my adult life. I was in a perpetual state of survival mode. So I really didn’t have a lot of time to focus on infertility. When I did shift focus on starting a family. Everything happened so fast.

My hysterectomy was done within hours of getting the news and before you could say whacha-ma-call-it we were told of a birth mother desperately wanting to give us her baby. So there really wasn’t much time to feel isolated. I had a baby shower to plan. My turn seemed to come pretty darn quick.

When the adoption fell through and I was in mourning, thankfully everyone around me had the good sense not to go and get pregnant and invite me to their poxy baby showers.

However after the very first failed adoption, Mother’s day was a week later. This was supposed to be my first mother’s day. I spend the day in a friend’s guest room, in Cape Town, miles away from my family. Isolated and alone. I was feeling pretty rotten.

I was in no mood to wish any God Damn mother happy mother’s day, not even my own.

I was sick to freaking death of the condolence messages I was receiving after the news was out. That was the most gut-wrenching messages I ever had the misfortune to send.

Telling people that had just been to my baby showers (generously giving me expensive gifts) that baby Charlie (that was to be her name) would not be coming home.

** Side Bar. I kept the presents. I pondered about the etiquette for half a second. Then thought Fuck Etiquette! I am keeping these presents. I HAVE SUFFERED ENOUGH!!! Sorry if you were expecting your present back. Kennedy and I enjoyed them immensely.

But generally I am not a bitter person. Me, I’m the glass half full kind of girl. I remember one incident when I had sent out my cute “Surprise, I am infertile email” I got a very sheepish response from my friend Lara. She was about two months pregnant and yet to make the announcement and felt really nervous to tell me.

My response: “Don’t expect me to hide my Jimmy Choos from you when you visit, just because you are poor and can’t afford them.” I don’t own Jimmy Choos by the way. I am actually the poor and broke friend. “We celebrate each other’s triumphs sincerely, regardless of what is happening in our own lives. The end” We started choosing baby names from that second on.

There are some things that we can and should celebrate, the things that level the playing field some. The little bonuses that the fertility Gods have granted us.

In case you haven’t thought of them. I have ever so kindly listed them for you.

  1. I got to drink actual wine at my baby shower. No lame-ass juice for toasting. 1-0 to the infertilites {new word}
  2. No need for stretchy pants and that weird wrapping of my tummy after the birth. What? I have sisters and I have eyes.
  3. I will say it again. My boobs are exactly the way they were before Kennedy came. Score!
  4. Hormones. This needs no explanation.
  5. Weight gain. This is a big one. No pun intended. No need for me to own extra “fat” clothes. I had done this before and it had nothing to do with pregnancy, there is NO way I am going back there.

I could go on and on but I really don’t want to start making fertile woman feel bad about themselves and jealous of me. That fate, my dear, is for a select few only.

I would not be getting that weather beaten new mother look. (Secretly this filled me with glee)

We have all seen it.

She is no longer the cute girl from accounts with the tight pencil skirts and the shiny hair. Nor is she the girl that went on maternity leave one month ago, the one who smelled nice with the healthy pregnancy glow.

This is not THAT girl standing in the middle of the office now showing off her baby. She looks happy enough. She is beaming and displaying her baby off to anyone that cares to take a look.

BUT, how can I say this delicately, she looks like pile of crap!

I am cooing at her adorable baby but I am also the one thinking. Damn! I hope I don’t like you when I have a kid.

The sunken eyes, the shiny hair a distant memory and her sparkly personality seems to have dulled ever so slightly. You will notice these things if you peel your eyes off her baby for just a moment. I think she may be even using him to distract you from these very things.

I watch her leave. Fumbling. Too tired to elegantly carry all her wares of baby diapers and whatever else is in that massive baby bag.

Not me I would be a proper, yummy mummy. The real deal. Dressed to the nines on a Saturday morning pushing Kennedy in a stroller to quaint cafes for lovely brunches. For I would not have to force a giant baby out of my lady bits so I would look Victoria-Beckham-fabulous.

Well now that I just lifted you up. I am about to bring you crashing down. Except for the wine, you still get to have the wine at your baby shower. Oh and the boobs. I will grant you that.

You will not be home free when you bring this bundle of joy home. I turned into that pile of shit in 0.2 seconds after Kennedy came home.

Let me break it down for you.

When you adopt a baby, you will be told in order bond better with your 3+ month old, it will be advisable to cater to her every whim. This is important so that your baby learns to trust you. She will learn that her mummy and daddy will be there for her when she needs her. There really was no need to be told this actually because this was going to happen regardless. We are brand-spanking-new parents. What do think new parents do? Drink chardonnay while watching the latest episode of Breaking Bad, while our long awaited joy cries? No! We were going to love on her so hard she may just think “Hold up, Mum and Dad and give me some freaking breathing space”

Sergio and I got home that first day and striped to our undies. Get you mind out of the gutter NOW! This is not that kind of a story. You will need to tune in next week for that one.

We took turns having Kennedy skin to skin which is supposed to speed up the bonding process and actually a very sweet and gorgeous memory.

We stood over her, staring. Tears welling up in our eyes. There was no need for words. We understood. We just wanted to breathe her in. She is home. We can finally add MUM or DAD to our twitter bios.

We rocked her in the buff and sang to her. The next few nights Sergio and I could not get to Kennedy fast enough. She could barely make a sound and we were by her side.

We also immediately started calling each other Mummy and Daddy. Gosh, the amount that we said those words was downright ridiculous. We were as giddy as two drunks at the annual office party.

Our 5 month old started to regress, back to newborn behavioural patterns. Perfectly normal healthy behaviour in the bonding process. It meant waking up every hour to pop her bottle back in her mouth, to rock her and change her. Sergio did a lot while I googled “EVERYTHING” I am personally responsible for the rise in googles stock prices those early days.

All this regression came with a serious downside. Extreme Sleep Deprivation.

And then it happened.

My eyes were sunken, my skin looked bad, my hair had not been washed in days, my hormones started to play up and I found myself crying with Kennedy. I was eating a lot of sugar to try and combat this new state of being. My pants were getting tighter. I started wearing my husband’s track pants on account of not owning any maternity wear.

I was googling Help my baby won’t sleep! At 2 in the morning.

Kennedy came to level the playing field once again and wipe that smugness right off my face.

I got my baby. I am a mother now. The playing field was well and truly levelled.

Not home free at all, not even a little bit.

So dear prospective adoptive mummy, enjoy the wine at your baby shower. That’s all you getting.

If you want to read more about my story. Just click here

Shell Shocked Mummy also now has a home on facebook if you want to show me some love.

Adoption Shoot

The marketing element no one warns you about when adopting

If you want to read more about my story. Just click here

Yesterday I opened up my Pandora’s Box and did my very first post. I got so many amazing responses and a few requests about the adoption process. My heart smiled.

The word adoption evokes images of cute toothless smiles, fresh baby smell and all round deliciousness to me. I have since amended that to exclude the baby smell and am now of the opinion that baby smell is a myth. A brilliant Johnson and Johnson marketing strategy. Quite often Kennedy smells of vomit and poo until I smother her in the lovely baby lotions and potions. BINGO fresh baby smell, all is well with the world.

What adoption does not make me think of is marketing. Yet it exists. This is where prospective parents will market themselves in a little book called a profile book. In the loosest of terms this is your advertisement to birth mothers. This little booklet would market my family to parent the baby growing inside the woman reading it.

The adoption specialist brought out a few examples for Sergio and I to get an idea of what one would look like. In front of me were beautiful photo books and professionally bound books, books that were written like children’s story books, illustrations and everything. I was speechless.

Illustration by Jim Hunt

Illustration by Jim Hunt

You see I suffer from acute anti-pick-me-syndrome. It’s a severe condition where I rebel when I have to try and be chosen. It probably stems from the playground. You see I was the overweight child that always got picked last. Always Last. Don’t feel sorry for me. I’m slimmer now. Now I get picked last in my skinny jeans.

This profile however is completely necessary for the birth mother to get a mental picture of where this child will be growing up. So you need to accurately portray your life without them running for the hills.

I was in need of some serious spin doctoring here. How else am I to portray my life that is filled with chaos and a smoothie family and still be the “dream”

*Smoothie Family – A deliciously blended family.
**My smoothie – 1 Part Mother, 1 part stepfather, 2 parts half-sisters, 1 part step-brother plus 1 part step-adopted-out-brother, add in a few biological mothers and fathers and mix with a huge dollop of love. Everything in excess. Not a single granny though. Go figure.

Basically we are more modern family then Brady bunch.

Will these young woman see through the chaos and see the love? I kept seeing the divorces, yes plural, there were more than 1. The single mum diaries. The daddy’s that decided parenting was not for them and dusted out there like we were debt collectors. To make matters worse we rent a cosy aka “pokey” little 2 bedroom flat in a questionable part of town that I am quite sure would be nobody’s first choice.

Would this all count against us? Will they think we are good enough? How can I make us seem like the couple?

I had a plan. Our book was going to spectacular. Better than my wedding invitation. Which I had done twice. I even when to repossess the ones we had given out because it wasn’t good enough. [Insert laughing]

I was going to distract them with tinsel and glitter. I was thinking copywriters, graphic designers, maybe even a feather boa. Anything to make us standout.

If you know me, even a little, you will know that I am partial to a bit of theatrics. Everything in our home is a huge event. I am literally every little girls dream mummy. My husband’s words not mine.

Let me put it to you this way. I have never seen a party decoration that I didn’t like.

I was busy drill sergeant-ing {new word} my husband to go and buy this and paste that. I was having a mini crises. Thankfully one sane friend brought be back down to a mild panic and I scrapped the original monstrosity.

I meditated. I don’t make a habit out of anything that requires me to stop talking for too long. You know this was serious. I knew I had to write from the heart. The rest was playing semantics.

My tips for any prospective adoptive parent would be this.

  • Write about each other so that you don’t come off as total douche-bags telling the world how amazing you are. That’s just bragging.
  • Pictures. Nothing beats pictures.
  • Also a bit of humour won’t hurt. Makes you look less desperate plus everyone likes a good chuckle.

Heres a look at a few pages that were in my book. We bought a plastic flip file and printed our book on plain white paper. In full colour. WHAT? I am not mad, there had to be something eye catching.

If I do say so myself, it was magic.

Adoption Shoot

From our previous pregnancy “adoption” shoot

Letter to the birth Mother

Slide4

Slide8Things My husband loves listed by me

Lavernes family picturedin a collage Slide12Slide14

Slide15

Slide16Full disclaimer: My husband may be accused of many things, wordsmith will never be one of them. Though the sentiments we all his. I did copy write his bits. All the quotes in brackets are quotes that resonated with us. Clearly no professional was used for graphic design. My years in corporate did teach me how to design a PowerPoint slide. Photoshop didn’t exist when I entered the work force.

Don’t Judge.

If you want to read more about my story. Just click here

2 failed adoptions, 1 dimpled baby, 0 regrets

This may be the most important post I shall ever write. It’s the story of how I reached destination motherhood.

Mine was never destined to be a boy meets girl tale. This I know, because I live a sitcom/dark comedy type of life. It’s just that dramatic! Simple was never going to cut it. God knows I can take a joke. So he sent me on the scenic route.

I have never been the pinning for a baby type of mother. I had this filed in my brain under: It’s going to happen one day. I just got on with living. Changing jobs and cities every couple of years. Getting drunk and stupid. Having flings with handsome and not-so-handsome strangers. All the things that girls in their early twenties do.

Then just before my 23rd birthday I was diagnosed with endometriosis and Polycystic ovaries. The doctors mentioned that woman with these conditions have trouble conceiving. Even then I didn’t panic. Having never been in a long term relationship a baby had never been a part of the equation. I filed this information under: Worry about this later.

As luck would have it I met the guy a few months later. Laverne and Sergio sitting in a tree {Edinburg airport} K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First came love. Then Came Marriage. Then came the almost matching tattoos but the baby carriage, not so much.

I think I intrinsically knew that I would not conceive naturally. On account that every month I felt like I swallowed a cat that was going berserk inside there. Ripping my insides to shreds. I took enough pharmaceuticals every month to make an atomic bomb.

When my husband started baby talk and suggested we try to get pregnant naturally first, I had to explain that no contraceptives for 3 years would constitute as trying for the average couple.

I had to reopen the files and worry about it NOW. Off to the gynae and after a battery of tests including being injected with blue dye. My eggs were tested for quality. The news hit us like a Mike Tyson blow to the head. NEVER. GONNA. HAPPEN.

I had to have an emergency hysterectomy that very week to remove a baby size cyst growing inside of me. Explains why I was eating for two all these years. {Joke}

I was disappointed. My husband was devastated. We had to face the reality I would never carry a child and my genes could not be carried on unless you count cell cloning.

I am not convinced mine are such great genes to begin with but I felt awful that I was cheating my husband out of something he longed for and had spoken about from the day we met. A little mini-me.

We mourned the loss and we moved on. We focused on the PROS {yes they are some}

  • No more crazy demonic PMS episodes {My husband thanks you Dr. Nameless}
  • No more painful periods. I literally popped champagne.
  • No disappointing negative pregnancy tests

A lot of options were taken off the table. IVF and Infertility was no longer something we may have had to consider. It saved us years of possible painful failed IVFs, not to mention the financial aspect.

We only had two options. Surrogacy with donor eggs and Adoption. I could go either way. The result was the same. Somebody else’s boobs would take the hit.

We looked into surrogacy but I was not convinced that the stress and the money spent with no guarantee would make sense for me. My heart was drawn towards adoption. Luckily my husband agreed.

I sent a cute email to my family and close friends letting them all know. Why? Because I didn’t want to have retell the story over and over. I wanted to get back to living.

Just as soon as I pressed send we got a call from a friend of a friend who knew someone that knew someone that was currently pregnant and unable to care of the child. Our heart skipped a beat and we jumped right in. It was a sign.

We did everything that expectant parents did. Baby books. Nursery filled with Baby Essentials. Cute Announcement sent. Facebook announcement made. Extravagant Baby Shower over. Check, check, check, and flippen check.

We flew to Cape Town a week before her due date to be present at the birth. The day before the birth we were called into the social workers office and got the worst news of my life even worse than I wouldn’t have my own children. The mother had changed her mind. We were shocked. What the hell just happened?

We were devastated and we were angry. Every emotion hit us at once. I had tried to prepare myself for this scenario. You see I am a closet romantic. I romanticized the situation. Hope turned into excitement and that possibility was filed under: It won’t happen to us. Had we missed something? Yes we did. All the warning signs.

We packed everything away, mourned the loss and moved on.

Fast forward a year later and again we were approached by a woman who had heard our story and offered her own unborn child because as her 4th child, she felt God wanted us to be the parents to this child. I was more that cautious. I was sceptical. My husband on the other hand got completely swept away. He went to all the 3D scans and took the mother for her prenatal care. And then it happened. One week before her due date she completely disappeared.

We mourned the loss and recovered AGAIN.

She returned holding a 3 week old bouncing baby boy and asked if we would still consider taking her son. I would not. It was not easy but it was the right decision. I asked her to please contact the social worker if she was really serious and let them handle the case. We never heard from her again.

Fast forward to six months later. We are like roaches my husband and I. We keep coming back.

We contacted a private adoption agency who talked us through their process.

We filled in the forms, went for the orientation, filled in some more forms, went to parenting classes classes, filled in some more forms, did the police clearance, filled in another batch of forms, did our adoption book, filled in some forms, had the home visits and yes you guessed it filled in some forms.

We realised it may take months or even years so we made a conscious decision not to stress about about it. We went back to living our lives.

Merely 5 months later on a Thursday Afternoon while sitting and having my nails done I got the call.

The voice on the other side of the phone said “Its Blanche from ABBA, Can you come in tomorrow morning for a meeting?” I almost fell off my chair. I knew. This is the call that changes the life of every perspective adoptive parent. A gambit of emotions flooded me.

First I had a huge night in front of me, the launch party of my business in under 2 hours. (Thank God for pictures and videos I might have missed it all under the haze.)

How do you carry on with a normal tasks? After hearing “You would have a baby in 1 day. Have a lovely evening”

I got dressed, had my makeup done, welcomed people to my event. My mind never far from tomorrow morning. I ignored the constant prickling of my skin. Glasses were raised, speeches were made and lengthy conversations were had. I silenced my racing thoughts. Smiling lots of smiling. Drinking Champagne, Lots of Champagne. All the while just under the surface, slowly coursing through my veins was mild panic.

Did I mention that Sergio was away travelling? I got home to silence, the biggest night of my career behind me, my husband travelling away until tomorrow morning. Full blown panic set in. Will I be able to do this? Will I even be a good mother? I remember texting two of my very good friends at a very ungodly hour asking them these very questions.

Friday morning rolled on like every other morning. Except it wasn’t like every other morning. This would be the day.

I was sitting in across from the adoption specialist, slightly hung over, a bit numb. Listening to her talking nodding appropriately (I hope). All I could see was the folder filled with information of the child that was to be mine. She was talking, asking me things, I was answering them. My eyes were fixed on the folder in front of me. Finally she turned the folder over and on it stood a picture of the most beautiful thing I would ever see. A baby girl with a dimple smiling at me. Right into my soul.

I burst into tears. My hangover forgotten. This time there would be no mourning.

Three days later I was met by the woman that carried my daughter in her womb. She hugged me and thanked me, she told me she chose me because she knew I was this child’s mother and handed me my daughter. I had no fear in that moment. Only joy.

I was looking into the eyes of Kennedy Gray. The one that would own me.

To read more of my story please visit my new home

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