“…the motherhood constellation is a mental organisation in which the child is most prominent…(also)…referred to as “primary maternal preoccupation.” – Winnicot, 1965; Stern 1995.
“Nonsense wakes up the brain cells” – Dr Seuss
Once upon a time, on a green edge of a smallish southern Island, there was a woman called Meg. Meg lived with a personable dairy farmer whom she found herself irreversibly fond. She had a cottage overlooking the sea, a rambly garden, some friends and many, many dreams. When she looked at her life, she felt very glad to be in it.
Before long, Meg and her farmer decided that a baby would be a good idea, only they didn’t have one, they had two, on the very same day. And three years later, another. With three small gamboling, grumbly humans in her life, Meg had a busy, blurry time. She thinks.
She emerged, eventually, from those baby crazed days. She was shattered, crinkled, worn in and unable to find her dreams anywhere amongst the detritus of domesticity. While she loved and loved and loved her children, Meg couldn’t help feeling that she’d been struck by a large, chaotic train. She’d survived, mostly thanks to love and duty, but recovery was going to take some time. She had a strong sense that while a total rebuild was achievable, nothing would fit together quite as it had done before. Her heart, for instance, was fuller and and needed more space; it pounded more. Tear ducts seem more prone to flooding, smile lines deeper (frown lines too), skin less elastic and worse, her brain seemed less able to focus, perhaps even slightly withered.
After a few good sleeps, Meg realised that brain improvement was a priority. A withered brain, after all, would do no one any good. So she set about researching the things she didn’t know, but felt she should. The field was vast and overwhelming, but she trained her scatty brain to focus, at least in short intervals. She was heartened to read (Time Magazine 2010), that the experience of motherly love has proven to make the brain grow larger. A study had found “growth in midbrain regions involved with the experience of pleasure and in the prefrontal cortex, which is linked to reasoning, planning and judgment”. Meg was unsure if there was much pleasure involved with morning sickness, shitting three house bricks and never sleeping, but accepted that watching progeny achieve milestones was immeasurably pleasing.
She read more, and began to write down her findings, in a language and style most fitting to her unsophisticated, not-so-brainy brain. One day on a whim, she published her writings into a newsletter which she sent out to her friends. There was a chance she was attempting to display a degree of utility, like some 1940’s aristocratic wife with pamphlets. Sometime later she realised the digital age could accommodate her newsletter and built herself a website – a coming out of the fog blog. She named her blog Megoracle (oracle – wise and important counsel; meg – foolish, potty mouthed, important to a small few) and sent it out to the world.
She was delighted to discover a host of similarly shattered people with slightly withered brains and was thrilled to join them in the bewilderness of parenthood and adulthood and general life.
Together they can grow their brains and re-imagine the common hours.
TEN QUESTIONS WITH MEG
1) Who are you?
Meg Ashton Bignell (nee Warner, no relation to The Bros)
2) Where do you live?
On a dairy farm in Bream Creek – a very lovely green patch on the Eastern Edge of Tasmania (which is an Island at the bottom of Australia).
3) Who do you live there with?
My husband and my three children (8 year old hooligan twins and almost 2 year old tot who bites), plus a large herd of cows and some sheep but I rarely talk to them.
4) How old are you?
That is a very rude question. Somewhere around 35.
5) What do you do?
Another rather rude question (she says defensively because actually she doesn’t do much other than grumble about being a mother, cooker and cleaner and prance and dilly about in spare time being an actor and writer which really does no one any good does it?). I do all the things that come with mothering, wifing and keeping myself passionate.
6) What do you want to be when you grow up?
Sensible, useful, happy and able to fly.
7) What are some of your favourite things? (in no particular order)
Salt water, ice cream, big cars, sun, gardens, words, hugs, books, films, family, alone time, ball dresses, champagne, daphne, violets, clean sheets, fart jokes and musicals.
8 ) What are your least favourite things? (in no particular order)
Recorder music, bull fighting, pate, smelly car interiors, hession, maroon, contrivance, maths, putting ‘look’ in front of statements, hyper-materialism, when children are sick, pimples and my toes.
9) What are your favourite swear words?
Fuck, shit, damn, poop, bollocks, bum, balls, crap, cockhead, knob and nuts.
10) What do you look like?