Friday, March 18, 2011


For me this blog has turned into a much needed therapy session, for which I am terribly sorry.  Lately life has not been that easy and this helps just a little.

Before Mia arrived I had a miscarriage.  It was a terrible time like it is for everyone and like most, I blamed myself.  So when I became pregnant with Mia, I worried constantly.  Every time I went to the bathroom, I was petrified of finding blood, I worried that something would be wrong with her, it seemed I never stopped worrying.  And when she did arrive, she would not feed, was a very bad sleeper and was just a difficult baby.

So now I wonder, did all this worry, cause her to be the person she is today?  Our life since returning from Hanmer Springs has gone from bad to worse.  She did not go back to school, she was so terrified of me leaving her that she could hardly breathe.  She will not go to sleep at night unless I am there and it takes hours.  She is angry and aggressive, she is scared and won't let me out of her sight for long.  What have I done to her by bringing her here?  Her worry is like a blanket that she never takes off and it is weighing her down.

Worse than all this, all of which I can understand and deal with, is her negative mindset.  I do not understand how she can be so pessimistic. I am trying to get her counseling at the moment but she is convinced there is no point, nothing can help and she is not interested.  She will not listen to anything I have to say.  I start to talk to her and I can see her turn off and tune out.  She does not want to hear me and I am afraid that she does not want to feel better.  I stopped talking at her and started asking her questions.   She is unwavering in her arguments and won't hear anything positive or helpful.  She has gone from feeling scared in this house, to being scared in Sumner to now being scared in New Zealand.  I use reason, science, persuasion and even bribery, nothing works. 

Tonight she told me she wants to go back to Sydney where she was happy.  She doesn't want to live here and if that means living without us, then that is the way it has to be.  It was the worst feeling in the world hearing that she would be happier living without us.  I had no argument and was completely speechless.  My whole world is to love and protect her and Amy and I feel so deeply sad that I have caused this much pain in her world. 

My very wise and wonderful friend, Robin in Norfolk taught me that whatever you envisage you make for yourself.  I fully believe this, if you ask the universe for a wonderful life, it will come.  A positive mind can do wonders.  I have always tried to instill this in Mia and I feel like I have failed today.  She will not listen and will not try.  She is so caught in a state of inner fear that she has shut off from me.  I cannot reach in to help her and I am so scared that I cannot do something to help her.  She has always been stubborn and single minded and when she makes up her mind about something, then that is that.  If you attract what you think, god help her. 

I am so physically and emotionally exhausted, it feels like I am feeling my way in the dark.  I am tired from lack of sleep, jumpy waiting for the next aftershock and her reaction and worried about how best to get through this confusing time.  I was putting all my faith in the move to a new house, that that would make her more relaxed and ease her fears, but I think I was wrong.  Now I am lost, what do I try next.  If only she would listen and try.  As I tell her, there is no point worrying about something that may never happen.  My words fall on deaf ears. 

Monday, March 14, 2011


We came back from Hanmer Springs today and back to reality.  I decided last week that we needed to get away from the city and the constant shakes that had us all on edge so I booked a long weekend away.  Hanmer Springs is a stunning little alpine village only a 90 minute drive from Christchurch but it could have been a thousand kms away, it was a perfect spot.  It was quiet and restful and best of all there were no shakes.  You could see the girls visibly relax and I was relieved to see them stop worrying.  Even the sound and feel of the odd truck going past on day one was enough to see them tense up, that was gone by day three.  We visited the hot springs, went to the animal farm and went on walks, it was bliss.

But I should have remembered, you can never run away from your problems.  Mia was unhappy to come home and wanted to stay even before we left.  Coming home to Sumner made her old fears return so fast it was like we had never been away.  For some reason, mother nature times her worst aftershocks for bedtime and tonight was no different.  I had managed to coax and persuade Mia it was safe and she needed to go to bed.  An hour later she was up and worried about returning to school tomorrow.  No sooner had we got her back to bed, a 3.8 hit directly underneath our hill.  She was screaming and shaking by the time we got to their room, completely terrified.  Poor Amy had been asleep and was shocked and scared with no idea what was happening.  Now with both awake and scared, there was no way to get them back to sleep easily.  Finally at 10pm, with me lying on the floor until they fell asleep, I could get some down time.

Every parent worries about their child, it comes with the swollen ankles of pregnancy, I understand that. But this recent worry leaves me feeling helpless.  Mia has always been a worrier.  She has always had fears and panic attacks. She is not a naturally positive person.  Until now, her fears have been small childhood worries like performing in a school play or being in a busy crowd - fears that can be explained with steps to overcome them.  This is not something that can be given a guaranteed answer to ease fears.  I can't say, "Don't worry we won't ever have another earthquake" or "Everything will be fine now, the big one has come and gone." I can't give her the guarantees I know she is looking for.  I have always had the answers for her before and this time I don't.  I tell her the experts say that is it, no more but my assurances are not heard when she feels the ground move, even for a small aftershock.  It is the not knowing when the next shudder will come that has you on edge, all of us, just waiting. 

Adults, young and old, were terrified by the earthquake, but we have the resources to call on, to reason and to understand the science, how can a 6 year old deal with this and move on?  I want to help her by giving her knowledge and talking about it.  I was hoping that going back to school tomorrow and being with her friends would help.  But how do I know I am doing the right thing and not scaring her more.  I am her constant at the moment and she will not leave my side, I give her love and hugs and reassurance and hope that that will heal her. 

I have stopped fearing the aftershocks, their wobbles don't scare me, but I am constantly on edge waiting for them to come and worried about the effect they will have on Mia.  She is fragile and my need to protect her is at an all time high, I don't feel like I am doing my best at the moment.

We are in the process of buying a house, a very exciting move and will mean we move from Sumner to a semi-rural area that was not affected by either earthquake.  We are counting down the sleeps and Mia is beside herself in anticipation of moving.  It cannot come soon enough and I am hoping with it comes that same relaxation we felt in Hanmer Springs.  I want her to go back to being a kid, with kid sized worries.  Ones that hopefully I can deal with.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A confusing time

I feel great sadness and with that sadness, comes great guilt.  I moved to New Zealand feeling nervous about finding a new home that I would love as much as the one I left, I was nervous about meeting new friends and finding a place for my family.  I had found that in Sumner.  Great town, welcoming people and a wonderful environment for my family.  And then Tuesday 22nd February happened and all that changed.  We now don't feel safe in our lovely town and beautiful home, our friends have left and the area is deserted.  However, we are the lucky ones.  We did not lose someone close to us, we still have a home (even though it has more air conditioning) and Richard still has a job.  We are lucky and the guilt that accompanies that luck is extraordinary.  I feel spoilt that I still have a home and family when others don't. Yet I am still sad that we are leaving this stunning place where we felt so welcome and at home. 

I am sure that we will find new friends and fit into new communities and in time all will be well.  For now I am just sad when I look out of our window onto the beautiful view of what might have been.  The people of Christchurch have this same fate, of starting again from scratch.  It is a long road but one that must be travelled by everyone.  No one is untouched by this catastrophe.  But my mantra has become,  we are lucky,  I keep telling myself that every day.  I just hope that the guilt soon disappears.