“…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?
Hi Meg, saw this through Nic’s facebook site, It’s Jane Pitt (that was) here. Love your blog, I think I will very much enjoy sharing the ride with you, thanks for putting a smile on my face this morning!
Thanks Jane! Great to hear from you, and welcome!
I love your blogs, they were great
I love it already bec xx
Haahaaaaaaaaa!! Go meggy Moo
Hi Meg, hmmmm such is my life…..I hate book week, it gets much worse and I still have 3 to get to school….. Liv Turner (nee Bence)
I am in! I am looking forward to catching up on news other than what’s in the Flea Market on a monday morning!
So nice to hear about the other side of book week Meg, so can feel it!
I’ve recovered now Jo, and will be fully prepared for next year! x
At least you have the funny side of you
Re number 6… don’t grow up, it’s much the best!
Re number 9… what about ‘twat’… shouldn’t that be somewhere on your list?
Looking forward to reading more of your blog!
Twat! Of course, thanks for reminding me of that little gem Lois.
oh my gosh I love your blog, my brain has gone from motherhood mash to menopause mush, I’m sure there must have been some time in between, when I felt like I had an intelligent brain :), at the moment it is just a past memory :), will look forward to reading everything on your blog:)
Thanks Annette! x
I smiled, laughed & connected, then tears rolled! WOW!!!!… I have NEVER seen such a clever piece of work, I have sent it around the world. This needs to go global. What talent!
Oh thanks Lynley – means a lot coming from someone who always makes me laugh! xx
Your blogs are hilarious! x
A male Australian friend saw your Angry song, thought of me and emailed it to me here in the UK, oh how I’ve been there with 3 boys!! So my morning (now the kids are back at school) has been totally interrupted by reading your blog :), and I am glad the world is the same over for us Mums!! The only difference is you live somewhere my husband would love to live and I can fly! Shall post the song on to all my Angry Mum friends in the UK and look forward to more blogs! Thanks for making my day!! 🙂
Oh I can’t tell you how much it warms my heart to know there are others out there like me – all over the world1 Thank you. Meg
OMG – I just want to rush to Tasmania to meet you!! That is about the funniest summary of my life I have ever heard. Thank you for putting it to music. I might just ask my choir, The Mammas and The Mammas, to sing it for a laugh. I too have twins and I hate to tell you but mine are 9 and still biting each other! I was going to tell you my favourite parts of the song but honestly every bit is perfect. I have sent your song to my sisters in Canada – hope you don’t mind. Cheers
I was fixing the listing for your late great-uncle, Denis Ashton Warner, on goodreads.com this evening, and when I google-searched his name, the obituaries started popping up, and then your blog… I am truly saddened to hear of his passing. One of the first books I ever bought, in 1977 or so, was ‘The Last Confucian’, and he has been one of my heroes ever since then. For my money, he was not just the best Australian reporter of his generation, but the best ever.
As I scrolled down this page, I noticed your post on Rodriguez, who lived down the street from me for most of the last 20 years- those of us in Detroit’s Cass Corridor neighborhood never knew he was missing! It’s a strange old world, isn’t it?
Liam how great to hear from you. Thank you for your kind words re Denis. It is a great loss to the world but he lived such an amazing and long life. He was almost blind when he dies and no longer able to write. And how incredible about Rodriguez. I am fascinated by his story and in love with his music. I am having visions of you grooving away in your street to his music…wayward I am sure. Thanks again, Meg
hey Megsie….its Kate and Smellie from the Emergency Department L.G.H you are just the most amazing tart ever, sheer brilliance and bloody funny to boot all the best to you and yours and hope to catch up one of these days xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Awwww you girls. No one is as amazing as nurses, trust me I know. I was out after seven years and look at you go! You are the brilliant ones. Tarts though. xxxxxxxxxxx
I am another Meg. Your potted history in the Mercury sounds very much like mine, right down to the tendency to throw things and explode ( usually when provoked by my 3 kids, all under 7) and the eating disorder ( as well as annoyance at the amount of my life it wasted at the time). I work and spend time with the little people and feel guilty about both.
Love your blog, keep up the inspiring work!
Hi Meg, thank you for the message – quite amazing. I knew my Mum should have called me Gloria. Glad I’m not the only one to throw things on occasions. x
Love the blog and ‘the Angry song’ it rocks, so funny and so true. Argh!! It’s my life in a nutshell and it’s frightening. Gosh I try hard to be a great mum it’s a big job and it is exhausting. Yes I totally pop some days. Thanks and big smiles from me. I am glad to know others feel overwhelmed to say the least!
Thank you Sarah. Equally, it is comforting to me to know there are others out there like me. I have discovered a whole network of overwhelmed parents! Love it. x
By the way I googled Litte Red Design – is that your work? How beautiful.
Onya Meg , a great boost for all those hard working mummy’s out there , I take my hat off to you all ., try to take time to smell the roses 🙂
Thanks Shane – good advice, smelling roses is something I have to work hard at.
Enjoying the reading here in Kansas, the weather is looking bad, belly bug not good, but all else is good.
Garry! We need you to come back. Everyday the children ask, “Is Garry Here?” Had almost 7 inches of rain in 3 hours two nights ago – no I’m not exaggerating. Enjoy the US.
Meg – fabulous site! And thank you for sharing all this! I am currently doing the night-time boob feed on 3-4 hourly cycles with another newborn, so I am loving your blog to read as I pass the time during the mega long feeds… Thank you for such great writing, pitched at a mentally digestible level for my current ‘large’ brain!
You are welcome Sam. Thank you for being interested and lovely enough to comment. I so know those nights, really glad I can help them pass. Congratulations of your new baby. x
Hi Meg, I love your blog. The other day I was on a plane and ended up watching a movie called ‘The Goddess’ ( a bit cheesy but fun) it made me think of you, in fact I almost thought you had written the script
Jools yes I’ve seen Goddess and certainly noted the similarities! Thank you for reading. x
Hi Meg! I came across your blog while I was looking for some information on the American governmental system which I could give to my students. And I haven’t been able to come off ever since. Thank you for your funny, serious, happy, sad and thoughtful sides which you share in such a nice and interesting way. It is always a pleasure to read.
Best regards from the other side of the world (Germany).
Oh wow thank you Katrin, that is just the sort of lovely message every writer loves to wake up to. I have spent a bit of time in Freiburg as a child and love Germany. Danke very much. (Clearly my German is brilliant!). Meg xx