Posts Tagged ‘bed rest’

Six Days of Christmas: Sarah Bilston

In the second of our Six Days of Christmas posts, Entice author Sarah Bilston shares the magic of choosing a Christmas tree . . .

Bed Rest by Sarah BilstonI live in Connecticut now, which is the land of white Christmases.

My husband and I have three children and every year, around the middle of December, we take them on a daytrip to cut down our Christmas tree. There are many Christmas tree farms in rural Connecticut, but our favourite is the one that serves hot apple cider and chocolate chip cookies. They also have a large red tractor with a trailer behind, the joy of any small child, and they’ll pull you through the acres of white landscape in search of that one, perfect tree.

We hunt Frasier Firs, so that narrows it down a bit. Frasier Firs have widely-spaced needles, making them the best choice if you have a German husband, for whom Christmas is inextricably linked to memories of real candles twinkling through sap-smelling branches (buckets of water and wet towels stand ready, but still, don’t tell our local fire department). Our Christmas tree will be hung with Kringels, chocolates and hard sweet candies suspended with red wool, and we serve marzipan cakes and sing Christmas Carols in German. Or at least, my husband and the children sing, and I hum along.

Our tree is usually about twelve feet tall and it takes a good hour for us to find it, kids tripping over the old tree stumps poking out through the snow. We assess every Frasier Fir from every side, considering the shape of the branches as well as the height and width of the tree. A bump-in on one side is actually a good thing – the tree’ll hug the wall better, once we get it home.

Inevitably, family disputes break out over which tree to take: the kids and my husband want the biggest one, I always cavil – how will we get it home? How will we get it in through the front door? When peace breaks out, and the tree is chosen at last, my husband lies down on his side in the snow with the large, slightly-rusty, farm-supplied saw in one hand, stretches out under the branches, and hacks away steadily, releasing the rich, amber scent of the sap. It is always, I think, a rather sad moment. The tree shakes, and sighs, releasing its snow. The children squeal. We stand back. And then slowly, the tree resigns its grip on the earth, dropping to the ground in a mighty thud (we all, of course, scream out ‘timber.’ How often do you get to do that?).

We drag the corpse, as a family, to the nearest path. And then we wait. Eventually the tractor chugs back and picks us, and it, up. Then the farmers bail the tree in twine while we snuggle into our coats and drink hot cider, and the children shyly check out all the other children doing the same thing. I always think the tree won’t fit in the back of the car safely – and it never does, but we get it back somehow, releasing clouds of needles behind us as we drive it home.

Bed Rest by Sarah Bilston is available in ebook from Entice now.

Q&A with Sarah Bilston

Discover more about Entice author, Sarah Bilston, author of Bed Rest and Sleepless Nights.

In your first novel, Bed Rest, we watched Quinn go through a difficult pregnancy.  In Sleepless Nights, she’s surprised to find herself unprepared for the changes a new baby brings.  What did you find most surprising about the first year of motherhood?

Before I was a mother I used to see new mums out and about with babies in strollers, and I thought motherhood looked pretty easy. You had a lovely baby to hold AND you got to take some time off from work. What’s not to love about that?

Within twenty-four hours of having my first child I realized just how hard parenting can be. I’m an only child, and before becoming a mom I was used to plenty of me-time. Of course, me-time went out of the window of the delivery room. I nursed, and my oldest daughter was quite small at birth, so I was on a two-hour feeding schedule – which, as all nursing mothers know, means one hour for feeding, one hour for changing, then you start the whole thing all over again. Forget me-time – I found it hard to grab showering and tooth-brushing time.

My oldest girl also had colic, which was another big shock. I’d always assumed that babies cried for fairly obvious reasons, and that their problems could be easily fixed by a loving mother. Not true. Wall-to-wall crying, on no sleep, was not fun at all.  By the time she was about three months old I was so sleep-deprived I was seeing purple flashing lights.

Name three things you wish you’d known before you became a mother…

1. Other people LOVE to tell you how to raise your children – and what you’re doing wrong. Ignore the unsolicited advice.  Half the time people only tell you what to do because secretly they’re worried they could have done better themselves.  They’re really trying to reassure themselves about their own choices. Feel free to smile politely and walk away.
2. I used to believe in nurture over nature. Now I think kids’ personalities are 99% nature! My children are all so wonderfully different (I have three, including twins). Accept that their little quirks are all their very own, and focus on helping them manage (and love!) the people they are.
3. One minute you can hardly change a nappy…. the next (or so it seems) you’ve got one child on the left hip, another on the right, and you’re helping a third cut out and glitter-glue a paper snowflake. At the same time you’re cooking dinner, sending a dozen work Emails, and finding someone to come and fix the roof. Motherhood is an amazing journey. Find time to enjoy it along the way!