Two Ears One Mouth.

When I was at ‘midwifery school’, I had a really good lecturer who, during one lesson about the care of a woman antenatally said ‘you have one mouth and two ears. We were made like that for a reason’. This is something that has never left me as it is so true. I think many of the world’s problems would be of far less catastrophic if humans spent double the time listening and half the time talking. 2 ears. 1 mouth.
Listening. This, as has been discussed by many before, is very different to just hearing sound. It is digesting, considering, contemplating and thinking. How often do we say we are listening but actually aren’t really taking it in, giving full attention to the words and what they actually mean to the people delivering them? How often do we ‘listen’ but miss the real message behind those words if we don’t think about them and, if needed, ‘read between the lines’ (or words)? I’m sure there are times when I have applied ‘selective hearing’ – maybe if my husband was blinding me with science about something he had ‘engineered’ at work, or Harry had been trying to tell me about his new architecture skills in his Minecraft world. I was hearing them, whilst I may have had my mind wandering elsewhere – maybe to which hospital appointment I was needing to be at next with one of the twins, or thinking about last night’s ‘duff duff’ ending in Eastenders. The thing is I make a real conscious effort to LISTEN to the children when they are telling me things, as it’s quite right that if you don’t listen when they are telling you little things, they will not end up telling you the really big things….
Listening has always been something I have managed to do (most of the time. Sorry Mike, after 14 years I’m still not sure what a fitter engineer does compared to a turner engineer. Note to self – read up on engineering). I was the girl at school, not in the ‘incrowd’ or even the ‘not-so-in-crowd’, but somewhere in between. Not in No-man’s land human type of way, but in a sort of safe way where anyone and everyone would talk to me, regardless of the trendiness of their clothes or their class popularity. I was the 1994 version of a teenage Dear ‘Deirdre’ the year I left school, often with fellow classmates crying on my shoulder that Sadie no longer thought she was Cleo’s best friend or Spencer had snogged someone else behind Janine’s back last Friday behind ONESTOP after drinking a bottle of Diamond White. Listening just seemed to be what I did and what many sought me out for.
Listening, just as it was important to Janine back then, is something that is about to become a very important and huge part of my life. Come October this year, I will start my journey to becoming a trained counsellor. It seems a natural path for me to take and one that I feel very excited to start. I do have a particular interest in working with people who have experienced child bereavement or have a disabled or poorly child. Guess when you have been touched by something in your life it’s possibly natural to want to help others in a similar situation. I worked through my own heartache and anguish following the birth of the twins and it was extremely hard. If only I had been able to talk to someone to help me through this process, to help me come to terms with the events and move out of the ‘checkmate’ situation. I could see no way past the heartbreak and grief. Grief for what should have been, and fear for the future.
For me, the future is a funny thing. In many ways I NEED to know the children will be ok. Ok in their own way. Happy, I hope. Yet if I was faced with a crystal ball, would I sneak a peek? Probably not. The future can be terrifying, yet in many ways half the joy (or sadness) life chucks at us is manageable because we didn’t expect it. You employ your skills to cope at that time. Sometimes you need a helping hand. A listener. I hope my ears and soul are up to the job.
Looking back, if anyone had told me after the twins were born I would be doing this I would have laughed, (well maybe not laughed – I could hardly even string a sentence together), but I certainly would never have listened. I would have heard the words, but not listened. I never would have thought I would have had the personal strength to do this after I lost myself in the way I did. The colour left my world as I was in some sort of nightmare; a twisted fairy tale that to me at that time would never have a happy ending. What happened to the twins broke me and it has taken a long time to rebuild myself to the person I was before.
In many ways, I’m actually still not that person I was before. I have changed. There are now many differences compared to LBT. (Not legs bums and tums, I’m talking about Life Before Twins). Of course, I’m now a mother of 3 not 1. I’m no longer a midwife, something I miss very much, but if you believe in fate perhaps this is the way it should have been. If you don’t, perhaps this is a golden opportunity for me to grab something again, to rebuild myself a career that I have been searching for once more. Whatever your beliefs are surrounding destiny, certainly that school girl I was many years prior to the LBT era had some listening skills that will now be quite useful to resurrect. If I can help and support just a few families facing challenges that I have had to face over the past few years, and use my new qualifications and experience to help them through their heartache, then that will make sense of many times when things never made sense at all.
In many ways, I think I started to make sense of things when I started to write blogs or started to do some public speaking for local charities. This helped me directly (gosh is that selfish?) as I personally wanted to help break down the barriers of disability, to encourage awareness and to make people aware of the impact disability can have on the family. In many ways, this was easy as I could just stand and talk about my favourite subject – my children. I didn’t have to have any skills or talents or qualifications, I just had to talk or write about the things I love the most. I’ve been given the platform to talk to hundreds of people about disability, its practical and social implications on parents and families. I’ve spoken to school children about my boys and Cerebral Palsy. I’ve written blog posts and specialist magazine articles about the same thing. How lucky am I that I have something that inspires and motivates me that much I get to do that?! And do you what is really cool? People talked about it to each other afterwards. It generates discussion. It breaks down taboo and makes people talk to each other about this subject. In my opinion (if you wanna know) is that this can only be a good thing for society. Awareness is the key to moving forward. And the fact that people are talking about what they heard……well it turns out lots of us are brilliant listeners after all.


One thought on “Two Ears One Mouth.

  1. Once again your words are full of wisdom I really look forward to reading your thoughts and understanding your lovely families life. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s