The Omen

There is a magpie that appears to be shadowing me.
Since I moved out of the city to my new suburban home, every time I leave my house with my baby daughter I see it.
On the way to playgroup to try and make friends in this unfamiliar neighbourhood, there it is, pecking the grass beside the pavement.
As I am walking to the shops each day to buy food for that evening’s meal, something I spread out all week just to give myself a reason to leave the house each day, it swoops over me and lands on a wall.
I even saw it while I was pegging washing on the line, squawking ominously above me from the branch of a tree in the garden next door.
In case you don’t know the old rhyme, seeing a single magpie means, “One for sorrow.”

“One for sorrow, two for joy. Three for a girl, four for a boy. Five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret that’s never been told.”
Maybe it’s not always the same magpie but they’re not a friendly bunch round here. I only ever see them alone.
Here is my secret. I feel alone.
I miss my job. I miss going to an office everyday and seeing the same people, making small talk about the day’s headlines, the dripping tap in the loo that’s still not fixed, moaning about that telephone bore who is impossible to get rid of, and joking about who managed to get a free coffee at Pret.
I miss my friends. My friends I’ve known for years and live so far away, who knew me before I was a mother, before my conversation became stuck in a cycle of weaning recipes, teething solutions and sleep patterns.
And I miss my new friends that I met at baby groups with my daughter and bonded with over all the new and overwhelming experiences of parenthood we shared, before I moved away and had to start all over again.
I miss a door that opened up my whole life onto the world and made me feel free, before a wall of parenthood came down and boxed me in.
And I miss my own mother, who is always there at the end of the phone but can’t give me a hug to let me know everything will be okay.
Moving to this new place, shackled to my pram and knowing nobody has been a lot more challenging than I expected.
But as the weeks ticked by we’ve been going to groups and started meeting other mothers. 
Even though at first it seemed like we had nothing in common, they have been kind and supportive over shared problems and seeing our babies develop alongside one another.
And gradually bits of our personalities have begun to peep through, like baby teeth emerging from where they were hiding beneath dribble and cries.
And I have started to feel not just a mum, but a person again.
I have even been invited to the pub by a group of mothers, not as my daughter’s plus one, but for my own company!
After a playgroup session this week I walked through the park with some of the other women, processing along with our buggies, and exchanging chit chat about our children and also ourselves.
As we turned onto the road to head home I saw that magpie perched on the kerb, eyeing me.
“Another magpie!”, I sighed aloud, “They always seem to be on their own round here.”
“No, look”, said one of my new found friends, as another black and white bird hopped out from behind a bush.
“There are two. ‘Two for joy.'”
Pink Pear Bear
Best of Worst
This Mum's Life
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14 thoughts on “The Omen

  1. I can't imagine moving as a newer parent… the first year (for both of my children) was hard in and of itself, adding a move and losing all those supports is beyond my comprehension.
    Too few people talk about how lonely it can be, how isolating, add a move… yikes.
    But, yay for another magpie, I'm a sucker for an optimistic ending 😉

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  2. I really feel for you here. My oh has a thing about moving every time I feel just settled & have made friends. It's so hard. You'll get there.
    #fortheloveofBLOG
    PS I think you're the only person I've met who also knows the magpie rhyme right through to 7! Xx

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  3. When my daughter was first born I didn't know anyone, I had moved away from my family and, in fact, I met two people in the whole three years I lived away. I had two friends. I didn't have the courage to go to baby groups with my daughter and so for two years I felt like this. It wasn't until I left my ex and moved back home that I started feeling like myself again and meeting people again. Now she's in school I have a lot more mummy friends and we went on a lovely night out last month, it was great fun! I'm glad you're feeling a bit more like you! #fortheloveofblog

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  4. Aww I love this! I have a bit of a thing (read: paranoia!) about magpies. They make me feel very nervous if I see one by itself (even had to salute the one in your pic above!!) so I started off tentatively reading your post. Then I came to the real message in your story and it's just beautiful. I'm sorry you had to go through the loneliness but I'm really glad to hear that you're coming out the other side now 🙂 I came to your post via #fortheloveofBLOG 🙂 xxx

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  5. Oh lovely, I really hope you make some lovely friends soon. It must have been really hard to leave central London (I think that's where you were before) where your friends were to move out to suburbia. You are doing the right thing by going to baby groups, and it's fantastic that you're going to the pub with the other Mum's. Don't worry you're not alone, and those magpies can do one, it's lovely though that you saw two. Thanks so much for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

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  6. I can relate to feeling isolated and missing your friends back home. I'm sad that my friends back home still haven't been able to see my son in action. Obviously we FaceTime but it's not that same. And as you've said, your mother, who is just a phone call away but it is 10,000 times better when she is actually here to give you a hug. I did not have any Mum friends here, so I joined baby classes and surprisingly found a few good friends without trying very hard. It just depends on who is in your class, some Mums are open to meeting new friends. However, I know how hard it can be and I totally feel your pain, although it sounds like you are doing a bit better and have found a few friends to go to the pub with! YES, that is so necessary. ; ) I've never heard of the magpie being “one for sorrow,” I thought they were good luck! So let's just say it is a good thing you keep seeing magpies! : ) Thanks for sharing with #StayClassy.

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  7. Oh my goodness, yes-just yes. I'm feeling a lot of your pain here. The harshest realisation for me was that being a mum was just not what I thought it would be. I can remember the same feelings of missing my job (and I HATED my job, and thought the day I went on maternity leave was the happiest day of my life.) But everytime I thought of my work colleagues, I'd think 'you're free. You're free at work to plan your days, chat to each other, go home and leave it all behind, and I'm stuck here. Stuck and chained to this person and I don't want to be.' I hated that everything was suddenly so stressful, and such a mission. I hated that my baby would only settle in the pushchair, and this meant that I'd spend hours and hours just wandering the streets each day, left alone with my never ending thoughts and unhappiness. I moved just before my baby was born, and I did make friends, good ones, who I still see now a couple of times a week, but it still didn't stop me feeling lonely. I mourned for where we used to live, and I'd go and sit outside my old house and cry. I realise now I wasn't crying for the house, I was crying for the life I'd left behind there, that I knew was never coming back. I also have a thing about magpies, and I salute them every time I see them! I'm so glad that the lovely message behind them here means that you are feeling happier, and more settled. Things do get easier, but each stage has something really tough to deal with. But there are also more cute and rewarding milestones that come along as well. It's such a big change, especially moving to a new area at the same time, and I think it's often underestimated that it can take years to adjust-but we'll all get there!! xx
    #bigpinklink

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  8. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Blogging and talking to other bloggers has really helped me and #bigpinklink was the first link I joined, I didn't even know what one was until I was invited. Reading other people's experiences makes me feel less lonely and I really appreciate how frank you have been about postnatal depression.

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  9. Awww what a heartfelt post, it is very difficult to move somewhere new isn't it. I've recently moved and struggled to meet new people due to time but I have just recently met with some other bloggers which was fab. Thanks so much for linking up to the #bestandworst and hope you'll stop by again. x

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