The Miner's Girl

The best of both worlds. Life as a fly-in, fly-out girlfriend.

Category: Pregnancy

Miner’s girl or mining Mum?

Copyright Minersgirl.com

Copyright Minersgirl.com

I think it’s fair to say that it’s taken me longer than expected to get back in the writing saddle. I knew things would change when I had a baby and I could blame my silence on the general craziness of surviving my first year as a Mum, but in all honesty, I have been nervous to start writing again.

I have always been slightly concerned that calling myself ‘Miner’s Girl’ looks as though I am defining myself by my partner’s career and could come across as; a) a bit old-fashioned; b) the antithesis of my actual feminist view; and c) just a bit sad!

When I started this blog there were no others for ‘partners’ that I could find. There were blogs for families, for mums and for miners themselves, but none for miner’s girls (or boys for that matter). And when I wrote the ‘about me’ section, I thought of myself as ‘sometimes single’, independent, free-spirited, confident etc. I was owning this lifestyle and loving the way it was working out and I wanted to be there for other women (and men) in the same position, who were at the beginning of their adventure and possibly finding it difficult.

But now I am not sure I feel like that – who am I now? Not that I’m having an existential crisis, but having just made the decision not to go back to my previous job, do I have my own life or am I just Mum and Miner’s Girl? Do I now belong to Mr Miner and Mini Miner and have no life outside that?

Before we had Mini Miner and even before I was pregnant, I wasn’t going to be one of those Mum’s, who didn’t do her hair, went out without makeup and wore daggy clothes. I was going to be a cool, young, fun Mum. But now I have mum jeans, mum hair, drive a mum car. I carry a nappy bag, push a stroller and have all the accessories, plus, at 32, I’m not sure who I was kidding with the young mum bit!

I was determined not to become ‘Mum’ and certainly not a ‘Mummy blogger’, mainly because there are plenty of great ones out there and there doesn’t need to be another (slightly mediocre) one.

So what now? I have been through a rigorous year of training and learnt some serious new skills. For instance, in one hour I can hang out washing, wash the floors, clean the bathroom, shower, dress and be ready to go with a toddler in tow. I can function on four hours sleep and I can act efficiently and calmly in the face of a major poonami. But I’m ready for something new, so what now?

Can I even go back to work? I would need a job within an hour’s travel of daycare, which excludes my old Sydney job. The jobs where we live now are few and far between for my skill set (talking about myself, oversharing and occasionally stringing sentences together). So that leaves retail and hospitality, which I would be happy to do, but I can’t be flexible with hours and the pay has to cover the cost of daycare in first place. And this is where my options run thin. I have huge respect for the single mum’s managing this struggle!

So here begins the frustration for so many families, and particularly mums. I had to give up my job for his job. When I say ‘had to’, I wasn’t forced, he didn’t make me, but as a couple it made more financial sense. It’s unfair on both of us as he should be able to have a year with Mini now, but I would have to go back to work full time and our income would still take a big hit. And if we were both working, Mini would be in daycare for 12 hours a day and I would be commuting and still having to do everything at home, a reality for some I know, but again this mixed blessing allows us the choice.

However, whilst I am slightly frustrated at the system and nervous about what comes next, I am very grateful for the opportunities and flexibility that the mining life (and Mr Miner’s hard work) gives me. I am going to enjoy Mini in his toddlerhood, enjoy being ‘Mum’ and hopefully rediscover Miner’s Girl, because I’m sure she’s still in here somewhere!

So there we have it. I’ve had my year (*ahem* 18 months…) off and it’s time to get back to it, to what I’m not sure, but hopefully writing this is a step in the right direction.

Becoming an introvert

via cheesewearingtheology.com

It’s no secret that I have always been a serious sufferer of FOMO (or fear or missing out). I can’t say no to an invitation, even when I have other things to do, and I’m often the last to leave, even when the wine has run out and everything’s going downhill fast.

When I was first in a DIDO relationship, one of the things I found hardest was the thought of a long empty weekend stretching in front of me with nothing to do. In fact a lot of difficulties in our relationship have revolved around my extroverted personality versus Mr Miner’s introvert tendencies, but now things seem to be changing.

Since the creation of Peg (the part-person, part-egg, currently residing in my belly), I’ve had a sudden revelation. I can’t believe I’m about to stay this, but I love staying in!

Of course at first I wanted to stay in because in those first few weeks of nausea and overwhelming exhaustion (seriously, of all the things to do with pregnancy nobody warns just how exhausting that is), anything harder than clicking the remote control from the sofa felt like it would destroy me.

Now though, I am just happy to stay at home all weekend pottering. Maybe it’s a form of nesting or maybe it’s because I can’t hit the vodka shots on a Friday night, but I’m just not interested in going out. And I don’t want to sound all smug and pious, but waking up on a Saturday morning with a clear head and no regrets is a pretty good feeling – who knew you can get so much done in a weekend?!?

I am not saying I don’t still crave a glass of red on a Friday night and I may have had a couple of very small spritzers… (and maybe one Pimms) in the last couple of months, but there has been a definite change  in the way I choose to spend my spare time.

I know you shouldn’t have to have alcohol to have a good time, and maybe it’s the realisation that drunk people are boring/annoying (myself included), but I just don’t want to go out in the evening for anything more than a quiet dinner or cinema date.

I don’t want to be one of those people who never go out and it’s important for me not to stop socializing with my friends just because I’m pregnant, especially as I rely on them so much as my support circle when Mr Miner’s away, but I definitely have a limit. I’m a bit like Cinderella, except 10pm is my limit and it’s me, rather than my coach, turning into a pumpkin!

Having said all this, I was driving home at 10pm the other evening after a quiet dinner and it was one of those great summer nights, where the air is buzzing, full of lights and music and that heady mix of cheap perfume, cheaper drinks and the pheromones of attractive, single, twenty-somethings. Suddenly I could feel that familiar pang in my stomach – FOMO.

As I say, it’s not that I really want to go out and get smashed. In fact I miss dancing most of all. But let’s face it, unless you’re Jenna Dewan-Tatum, we’re all much more seductive dancers after a few vinos, and that combined with the fact that a pregnant woman gyrating is pretty terrifying for others, as well as dangerous for nearby glassware, has put me off moving on to a club after one or two soda waters. I am also keen not to end up rejected on the pavement, like a scene from Knocked Up!

Personally, I really think there is currently a missed opportunity for a sober disco for pregnant ladies, with non-alcoholic champagne and mocktails and a strict dress code of lycra maternity wear, elasticated waists and slippers or thongs… a place where pregnant women are welcome, because I’ve also started to feel like I can’t go out when Mr Miner’s away too. It’s as if  I need a partner to explain the pregnancy, to reassure the men folk that I am not a soon-to-be single Mum on a last-minute hunt for a father for my child.

And all of this sends me into a panic about not being myself anymore. Will I ever be allowed to go out without an escort again? Have I lost my independence? If I do go out, will I have to start mum dancing now – swaying from foot-foot-foot to seventies music in a circle with my other Mum friends? (Sorry Mum!).

Of course I have friends with kids who have come out of the other side of newborn chaos and go out and socialise just like we used to. Shock horror, they are still normal human beings, capable of drinking, dancing and having fun! So maybe it won’t be so bad and soon I will be back to my extroverted self, getting in trouble with Mr Miner for going a bit too wild.

But as I wake up with a clear head and a long lazy Sunday stretching out in front of me, my newly found introverted lifestyle also doesn’t seem all that bad after all.

My heart has been split in two, but I couldn’t be happier

I know, I know, it’s been a while since I have posted on here, and for that I seriously apologise – but I have a good reason, I promise.

I would like to announce that Mr Miner and I are expecting our first baby!! And although we are both incredibly excited and happy about this, it has taken me a few months (ok, six!) to work out exactly how I wanted to say this.

Let me say from the start that I feel incredibly, enormously, ridiculously lucky right now, as this is something we have both wanted for a long time, but that doesn’t stop a lot of other feelings coming into play and the last six months have definitely seen some mixed emotions.

Loneliness (with a dash of fear)

Copyright Minersgirl.com

Copyright Minersgirl.com

Early on I got a serious reality check that, at points, this will be a journey I am taking on my own (yes, I probably should’ve worked that one out before!).

From the moment I found out I was pregnant when I was home alone (expecting a negative test again), to experiencing terrifying cramps in my first trimester, to lying on the couch feeling sick as a dog, just wishing that the magic cheese-on-toast-making fairies would come and save me, it slowly dawned on me that it wasn’t all going to be easy and there were times it would be hard and I would be alone. The thought ‘what have I got myself into?’, dashed through my mind more than once.

Luckily the midwives have been generally understanding of the DIDO situation and awkward scheduling. Much better than the GP I went to after 12 months of trying to conceive, who asked when Mr Miner would be home. When I explained he worked week on, week off, she replied, ‘And when is he going to be home for good?’ Gah! Although I am still being asked whether a family member could help out… yep, I’ll just get them to nip over from England for that appointment then…

Worry (with extra fear)

Due to the cramps early on we decided not to tell anyone before 12 weeks, but I also needed that time to get my head around it all. I am usually a pretty well person and not known to take sick days, so the first trimester came as a shock, both physically and emotionally. I was not prepared for constant, incessant tiredness and nausea, but less still was I prepared for the overwhelming fear that accompanied it.

After trying for nearly two years and having attended our initial appointment with a fertility specialist, it’s fair to say that I was astonished when I fell pregnant naturally. As I suffer from Polycystic Ovary Sydnrome (PCOS), which meant my cycle was in no way regular, and Mr Miner is away 50% of the time, statistically and logically the odds were never in our favour.

When I found out I was pregnant, not only did I find it hard to believe, but also I couldn’t get past the feeling that someone was going to come along and say ‘only joking’, and take it away from me. I didn’t want to do anything to ‘jinx’ it, whether that be telling people, reading too much about it or thinking too far forward.

Despite my boobs swelling to ridiculous proportions (you know they have the fruit and veg scale for the baby’s growth? I could’ve had that for my breasts!), I wouldn’t even allow myself to buy new bras until after the 12 week scan in case,  just by making myself more comfortable, something bad would happen. I was overjoyed, excited, but constantly terrified.

Guilt (with some anxiety)

Obviously you can’t live in a terrified state constantly (although even writing that is making me anxious!) and by the time I started to feel better and my tummy had started to swell, my parents had arrived in Oz and we could start telling people (as I wanted to tell them first), but here come the mixed emotions again….

The reason this is not a Facebook post is because I know what it’s like to see lots of pregnancy and baby announcements when you’re facing constant disappointment, and I was aware that I had friends in the same position.

The more you try and the more disappointment you face, the more you find that other people are going through the same thing. Lots of women, whose partners are also in mining, reached out with stories of how they were trying or tried to get pregnant (including some hilarious stories of conjugal visits and turkey basters!), but also other people in my life who, whether due to fertility issues, timing issues, or those altogether more complicated issues for my friends in same sex relationships, were in exactly the same position as us. This was so comforting when we were trying too, but I suddenly became acutely aware that I had crossed over to the other side and become ‘one of them’ – the gleeful fertile, so shiny and happy, and for this I felt incredibly guilty.

Thankfully my friends are an absolutely stellar bunch (which is probably why I keep them around!) and once I began to tell people they were all supremely happy for us, and brave faces or not, I knew they were truly excited.

And then came the really hard bit, the moment I knew my heart had been split in two forever….

Sadness and joy all rolled into one (with a tiny bit of terror)

The joy of reaching the ‘home straight’ of semester three arrived hand-in-hand with Christmas, which should also be a joyful time, but when you live 17,000km from ‘home’, it is also always a reminder that you have loved ones elsewhere and it’ll never quite be the same without them. Not helped by the fact our family Christmas is the best ever (FACT) and everyone else is doing it wrong (I know you want to hit me right now).

And with Christmas also came the realisation that until now I had been free to come and go as I please. I had always been lucky enough to have the time and funds to be able to go home whenever I wanted, but it suddenly dawned on me that financial implications and responsibilities will mean I can’t be as free as that once we have a new family member, someone else to consider and no longer a full double income! (seriously, you think I would’ve considered at least some of this beforehand).

Despite thinking I had accepted that I was probably here for good a long time ago, because as long as I was with Mr Miner it makes more sense as a couple, it’s more financially viable, (plus he said from the very start that he never wanted to live in England again!), it has all become very, very real. Having an Aussie baby means saying goodbye to my traveller life, goodbye to fantasies of home and fully admitting to myself that I am definitely here forever (gosh, that’s a big word!).

There is a quote, which I think is by the author Miriam Adeney, but let’s face it – I saw it on Facebook! Anyway, I think it sums up what I am trying to say here:

Quote by Miriam Adeney, via Pinterest

– Miriam Adeney, via Pinterest

“You will never be completely at home again, because a piece of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of knowing and loving people in more than one place.”

I know the year ahead is going to be another year of mixed emotions. This is going to be a year of ups and downs, absurd highs, but also lows (I know I will have to say hi and bye to my Mum already). There will certainly be rewards and challenges. But most of all it is a time to be positive, because through it all, I vow to remember that I am incredibly lucky to be able to feel any of this.

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