Everything is changing. Some days I feel as though I’m on the crest of a huge wave and if I stare ahead I can see the city in the distance and it is beautiful. But if I look down, all I can see is the gaping chasm threatening to devour us. I feel as though I am holding on to everyone tightly, too tightly. The children fight this control and I find myself engaged in petty power battles with people half my size; when I raise my voice my sons shout back, and I am shocked that my sweet and respectful toddlers are capable of such defiance. I try to remember to breathe before speaking, to give myself that moment, but on some days I am so tired that if I pause for even a second, I fear that I won’t be able to start again. The girls have just… View Post

Featuring images and video by Hannah Palamara Honestly Feminine. I take my little boys to one of my appointments; they are due their MMR vaccinations and we are keen to desensitise them to anything medical. We dash for the bus together in the rain and sit up top on the double decker, pretending to drive. We laugh about how we almost missed the bus and they tell me, over and again, how kind the driver was to stop and wait for us. I look down at their bright little faces, their shiny big eyes, and I feel overwhelmed with pride to have grown and formed these sweet boys, these good and appreciative humans. We purchase magazines and blueberries for the appointment and they promise me that they will not disrupt the appointment, that they will sit quietly and listen to the baby’s heartbeat and if they are good, they can… View Post

Some mornings, I wake up smothered in children as though I have transformed into one of a litter of kittens: Zaza, who becomes liquid to fit into the exact shape of my body, Sasha, like cuddling a wooden post, Emmy who demands ‘duddle, duddle’ until I pull her inside the duvet against my chest and insistent little Polly, who takes my hand and tells me, crossly, “Need clothes”. It feels so right, so perfect, that I don’t know how I was ever me before I had them, how I ever slept in until ten o’ clock and then, self-indulgent and somnolent, cooked breakfast as though still in a dream. August passes in a gloom of grey skies and drizzle; we feel as though we are waiting for the warmth to return, for the gold of summer to bless our skin again, but we find ourselves passing the bank holiday weekend… View Post

The alarm penetrates my dreams; through the fog I feel her roll out of bed and to the bathroom and I lay quietly for a while, listening to the sounds of running water, the hairbrush clattering against the sink.  I am awake, but barely, when the children pile into our room: the boys, chattering like magpies about breakfast and nursery, Olympia, taking my hand and urging me upright – “need clothes!  Need breakfast!  Quick!  Run!” – and little Emmy climbing aboard the mattress to collapse against my shoulder.  Her kisses feel like pecks from a small bird. Downstairs, we serve Weetabix in coloured Ikea bowls; they all have a favourite colour and we are neurotic about getting it right.  Periodically throughout the meal, Olympia declares herself ‘the minner’, which incences the boys; they pause in their race to protest that no she isn’t, she hasn’t finished, until the heated voices… View Post

I remember choosing donor sperm as though it were yesterday. As with so many occasions in my life, I spent so long agonising over the many choices that before I knew it the deadline was upon me, and selecting the donor in question was a matter of a hasty scroll through an online catalogue during a work lunch break, a brief conversation with my partner to confirm that she was happy enough with my choice (“This one looks good – he likes dogs..?”) and then a purchase, filling in my credit card details as though it were a dress or a pair of shoes that I expected to be delivered to the clinic and not the other half of my children’s genetic background. And I remember when the boys were small, scrutising their tiny features for resemblance with the man whose genetics they shared, as though their bodies were territory… View Post