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Hannah: Welcome to Happily Ever After the podcast, where we talk about life's big stories from great sex to sexual trauma, break-ups and breakdowns, icky secrets and happy endings. It's the stuff that makes us human. And boy, do we cover it all. I'm your host, Hannah Harvey. I'm a writer and a parenting blogger at Mums' Days dot com. That's M.U.M.S.D.A.Y.S dot com. I would be very grateful if you could subscribe and leave a review because it means more people can find the podcast. And I also really, really, really love hearing from you. So please contact me through Instagram @Mumsdays with all your stories of life and any thoughts she might have on the episode or even questions you want answering. You can find all the details from this episode in the show notes.
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Hannah: Hello and welcome to Happily Ever After with me Hannah. And today I'm joined by Caro Giles. She's an author and her debut book, 12 Moons, came out a couple of weeks ago. Hi, Caro.
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Caro: Hi. Thank you so much for having me.
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Hannah: Thanks for coming on today because it's been a bit of a whirlwind and I wanted to quickly share the serendipity of this podcast, which is... I was chatting to my friend on Sunday and she was telling me, You've got to read this book. It's amazing. And the very next day we don't know each other. But you commented on something that I'd done on Instagram, and I was like, It's like the universe aligning.
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Hannah: You have to come on. So I had already started reading your book, which was good because it was only a few days ago. But yeah, she this is can I tell you what my friend said?
00:01:45 - 00:01:46
Hannah: Yes, please do.
00:01:46 - 00:02:03
Hannah: Yeah. So she said the description is it's the woman's story. It's about vulnerability and strength and it's just gorgeous. She feels a connection with nature, which helps her through tough times. And it's just brilliant. So, you know, sold. I went and bought it.
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Caro: Lovely. Thank you so much to your friend.
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Hannah: She also said she'd marry you. So, you know, you've got options.
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Caro: Amazing. Good to have options. She's the only person who's offered. So thanks.
00:02:14 - 00:02:37
Hannah: Oh, well, you never know after this, then. So. Yeah, I mean, I've got loads of questions and it's really a beautiful, like incredibly vulnerable book. And I mean, would you mind giving us the sort of the overview that you're allowed to give without me giving away all the secrets.
00:02:38 - 00:05:04
Caro: Yeah. I'll just tell you. Basically, what the book is about. So 12 Moons is a memoir that I wrote in real time in 2021, mainly in 2021. And it was following the end of my marriage and we were still in lockdown. And I was trying to find a way to, I guess, to find out who I was again, following a really sad time. And it was a very specific time when everything felt very claustrophobic because we weren't really allowed to go anywhere. And I was looking out of the window because I couldn't be on the beaches because we weren't really allowed to be out. And I became a little bit addicted to staring at the moon. And I really wanted to tell this story of what it is to be a woman learning to live on her own and learning to call a place home again, I guess, after a period of trauma. And so I used the moon to do that. So each chapter in 12 moons is a different moon and a different month. And so I tell the story of what it is to kind of come back to yourself, to come back to life after, you know, the end of a marriage. And I also have four children. So I write about what it is to be alone, but never really, never really alone, because I always am surrounded by my kids. And during the course of that year, one of my children became very poorly as well, which was another difficult thing to deal with. So I write about that and I write about how the Northumbrian landscape, I mean, it's kind of a cliche to say nature saved me. I don't mean that because actually I found it quite hard to learn to love Northumberland and learn to love the landscape around me. So I guess I write about how how that happened and in some regards nature really did do a lot of, of good for my family because one of my children really was saved by the sea and loved to be in the sea and felt most herself when she was in the sea. So there's lots of nature writing about the area where I live, but also it's a very raw depiction of what it is to come out of a of a marriage and to try to find a way forward. So, yeah, I. Yeah. Like an idea of what it's about.
00:05:04 - 00:06:00
Hannah: Yeah, well, when I was reading it, I was like, it just really struck me that I was going through exactly the same thing at exactly the same time. Just when you were describing the different lockdowns, I was like, Oh, yeah, that was the time that things really like the wheels really fell off or I felt really alone or, um. Yeah. And I remember looking at the moon as well, like, I'd never had a connection with the moon before, but I'd fallen into more kind of doing yoga. And a big thing in the yoga community is this like connection to Moon Cycles. And I was just a bit like. I don't even know if this feels real for me, but I need something. Like I need to hope that there's something more. And there was something about the moon that really offered a lot of solace during that time.
00:06:00 - 00:06:59
Caro: Yeah, I agree. And I really think that one of the things, one of the ways the moon helped was to.. I already was feeling very diminished and very tiny and not in a good way. But I did find that standing under the moon may made me feel small, but kind of put things into perspective. So I felt I think I write in the book about feeling insignificant in the best way. I felt like I was part of something so much bigger that I couldn't control, and that was very reassuring at a time when I felt like I had completely lost control of everything that I knew. There was something about being held steady by the moon that felt quite visceral, really. And I think as well, in that time of lockdown and we couldn't just pop out for a walk or go for a run. Sometimes I just would stand in my front garden or stick my head out the bathroom window and just like a gulp of air. And seeing the moon felt like a massive thing at that time when everything was so intense, wasn't it?
00:06:59 - 00:07:19
Hannah: Yeah, it really was. You know, I was almost in the opposite at that time because I got really into this idea of manifesting. So I'd be sitting and like, especially at a new moon or a full moon, I'd be really thinking about my intentions. And this is what I'm going to manifest in my life. And I was trying to take control that way.
00:07:20 - 00:07:21
Caro: Did it, did it work for you?
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Hannah: I don't know.
00:07:24 - 00:07:50
Caro: It kind of gives you a focus, doesn't it? I thought quite a lot about whether someone said to me, you're either a full moon person or a new moon person, and I. So then I became a little bit obsessed with trying to work out what I was. And I worked out that I was a full moon person, but now I'm not sure. Actually, I'm not. That's kind of similar to your manifestations where you're just trying to place place importance on something to.. You're kind of grappling at things to hold on, aren't you, when everything's rocking around you?
00:07:50 - 00:07:51
Hannah: Yeah, exactly.
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Caro: It's still meaningful at the time, I think.
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Hannah: Yeah. And I think when you're. Your entire world has changed in the way that you used to do things and used to see yourself. It's like you're freefalling, so you need something to cling onto. Yeah.
00:08:08 - 00:08:34
Caro: And it's how you how you see yourself also, how you're seeing how you're perceived by others now. Now your family shape has changed. I found that. I found that my place in society felt really removed from what I know because I'd always conformed. And now I was no longer doing that. And that still feels like something I'm working through, to be honest.
00:08:34 - 00:08:46
Hannah: Yeah. You mentioned in the book quite a bit about how you feel, you know, wherever you go, because you have four girls, people are like, What is this on your own? Where is this man to look after you? Or
00:08:47 - 00:09:21
Caro: Yeah, where's the man? And if I'm away from the children, which is about one day a year, and from all, if I'm ever on my own, which is really rare, and people always ask me if my husband is looking after the kids. And I always just think, I bet people don't say that to a man when he's on his own, actually. I always find that funny, right? Yeah, I know. Where are your children? But I also find the ratio as a challenge, actually. I mean, just the obvious challenge of having four kids on your own. It's a lot, but it's great. But things like today, I tried to join a swimming pool, and they wouldn't let me because there weren't enough grown ups for children.
00:09:21 - 00:09:23
Hannah: And you don't have the right ratio.
00:09:24 - 00:09:34
Caro: So I was raging, but I just thought, Oh, well, yeah. So things like that, just like practical things as well as the thing of not being 2.4 kids. It's just a thing to work through, isn't it?
00:09:34 - 00:09:40
Hannah: You're like, I take them swimming in the sea all the time, but I can't bring them to my local pool where you have lifeguards.
00:09:40 - 00:09:46
Caro: I know it didn't work, so that was a shame. So I need a new plan for that. Or a partner or an au pair. Something like..
00:09:46 - 00:09:50
Hannah: Yeah, just hire in the help.
00:09:50 - 00:09:52
Caro: Yeah. Throw money at the problem, that I don't have.
00:09:52 - 00:10:15
Hannah: Yeah. So you kind of explaining at the beginning of the book how you move from the city. So, like, you're living in London and then you moved to Northumberland and you really miss the city. Did you ever think, you know, during the process of divorce, I need to move back to the city? I can't do it on my own here in the wilderness.
00:10:16 - 00:11:45
Caro: Ever since I moved out of the city, I've thought, How can I move back to the city? But I mean, not not always in I mean, I love to be here in Northumberland and actually my children are really settled here and there are many, many things I love about it. But so as a mother on her own, like it's a lovely community and my children who struggle with lots of different aspects of life, don't struggle with being by the sea and in the wilderness. So that's great. But as a woman on her own, it's quite hard living in rural Northumberland. Culturally, I find it a bit tricky. Like where can I go out? That's easy, you know, because if you go into the city, then childcare becomes really expensive because it takes a while to get there. And also just in terms of meeting like minded people, that is just it's not impossible. There are some amazing people up here, but it's just it's just harder because there are less people here. So yeah, I have thought that would be a good thing, but I think it would only be a good thing for me and for one of my daughters who's a bit city ish as well. But but for the family as a whole, it wouldn't work. And finance wise, I can't afford to move anyway. So yeah, I write about that in the book. Really. The idea, you know, that thing about choice is being taken away and having to make having to make your situation work. That was another part of the claustrophobia that I was experiencing. Yeah. So I explore that in the book as well. Yeah, but for now, Northumberland is good, but I do crave the city still.
00:11:46 - 00:11:57
Hannah: Yeah, I know the feeling. I was always a big city girl and then when I met my partner, he really wanted to live in the countryside. So we went towards Corbridge that that side of Northumberland.
00:11:57 - 00:11:58
Caro: Nice, lovely there.
00:11:58 - 00:12:20
Hannah: Gorgeous. And I think. Although there's fewer people, the relationships I have with the friends that I have there are really significant and. Yeah. And I know quite a few people who know you, who are up your neck of the woods. And I'm like, Oh, that must be such a great melting pot of interesting people.
00:12:20 - 00:12:33
Caro: Yeah, I think. I think if you are drawn to we're all drawn to each other, like creative people or people who are, you know, with ideas outside of who haven't grown up in the area, maybe as well.
00:12:33 - 00:12:34
00:12:34 - 00:13:06
Caro: Things. I think we're all drawn to each other, so that's really nice. And also, I found the online community to be a massive lifesaver. I don't know how you felt about that during lockdown, but I just felt like the world opened up, actually, even though I was living really quite remotely with lots of children, I did just feel like lots of things went moved online that hadn't been available to me before. So I found other communities of friends and colleagues on the Internet, which was great. There's a whole world out there really, isn't there?
00:13:06 - 00:13:20
Hannah: Yeah, there is. And I think, I mean, of all the awful ness of lockdown. The way that we've moved online has been incredible. Like just even doing a zoom like this, you wouldn't be doing that three years ago, I don't think.
00:13:20 - 00:13:40
Caro: No. And also just much more always talking about trying to make everything more inclusive because I sometimes can't leave the house if if one of my children can't manage that or I can't get the childcare or whatever. So it's just so much more inclusive to be able to have things online like this. It means we can all kind of have a place at the table. I think that's.
00:13:40 - 00:13:48
Hannah: Yeah, like flexible working around, you know, we do have kids to look after, so therefore I cannot be in an office nine till five.
00:13:49 - 00:13:49
Caro: No, exactly.
00:13:49 - 00:14:28
Hannah: Yeah. Interesting. So throughout your book, I really love, like all your little fairy tale references and like your spiritual nuggets kind of woven throughout. And it felt to me almost like it added to that. Like, almost exhausted. Dreamlike state that you must have been in because there was just so much to to juggle. And you mentioned the fact that you weren't sleeping. Yeah. And I guess, like, it kind of links me back to like what the podcast is all about and what the 'happily ever after' was like. What was it for you as a child? What did you see your life being like when you were growing up?
00:14:29 - 00:16:35
Caro: I mean, I guess I always saw myself, hopefully with a partner and I always, always wanted to have a lot of children. So in that sense, part of the happy ending has has come true. I also really wanted to be creative, so I've been really fortunate in that regard. But I think one of the things I feel about happy endings I was thinking about this when I first started learning about you and your podcast, and I think with writing memoir, I just feel. That there's no such thing really as a happy ending. And I think so a memoir is just like a nugget of someone's life, isn't it? Or a strand of someone's life. You can't, you know, I really it was harder to decide what not to put in the book than what to put in it. But I think that life is messy. And so I'm I'm interested in how to make stories out of that. And it was interesting writing this book because I was writing it in real time. I didn't really quite know how it would end because I didn't know obviously what was going to happen. And all I knew was that I wanted the reader to leave with a with a feeling of hope and with a feeling of optimism and with a sense that even though life can be very hard and it can be messy and it can be sad. There's you know, there is always hope. And I guess that's how I feel about happy endings. You can you can have dreams and ambitions, but sometimes life will get in the way and sometimes a happy ending will look quite different to to what you thought it was. I guess my happy ending maybe. Is that. Out of all this sadness, out of my marriage ending and not being with a person I thought I would be with for over 50 years. I feel probably that I found myself a bit more that I am. I know myself better and I'm more able to put myself in the foreground. And that was something I think I found difficult when I was married and when I was younger. So that's been a very painful process. But in a sense, that's a happy ending for me, I guess.
00:16:35 - 00:17:11
Hannah: Yeah, I can 100% relate to that. Yeah, I think as well, what I felt connected to in your story was the.. how you can kind of start off in life thinking you're going to do one thing and then you naturally fall into the role, like quite traditional roles of being the mother and the person at home and the care giver. Care giver. And then as a result, when things don't work out, you then like, Hmm, how am I going to make this work now I don't even have a career or I mean, you did, but.
00:17:12 - 00:18:25
Caro: Well, I did, but I. But I mean, I earn some money, but I didn't. It was a job rather than a career I think. It's difficult, isn't it? Because I wanted to breastfeed my children and I wanted to have lots of children and I wanted to. To be with my children. I didn't want to be working a million hours. So in a sense, I was grateful that I had a partner who could earn money as well. But I also kind of wanted it to be more equal than it ended up being. And I know they just felt like a lot of pressure from lots of angles really to conform. Still, even though it's like the 21st century, I still found it really hard to carve out a place for me. I think it's something to do as well with. I was talking to someone about this today, with mothering and caring being so undervalued, you know, unpaid care being so undervalued that that doesn't help because it's kind of dismissed and disregarded. But actually it's exhausting and it's time consuming and it needs it deserves respect. And that still doesn't happen, does it? So I guess that's one of the reasons why it's easy to lose yourself in it.
00:18:26 - 00:18:35
Hannah: Yeah. Because you don't feel valued necessarily as you are, and it can be quite relentless. It's 24/7. Um.
00:18:36 - 00:19:17
Caro: I don't know. I think there's still such a long way to go, isn't there? I still. I wrote something recently about this idea of having it all. And I think when you talk about happy endings, I think I grew up or I came of age just before the millennium thinking that women could have it all. And and really, that just meant that women did it all. Yeah, they do. Domestically and having a career and everything else, keeping the home, you know, that was what having it all looked like, really. It wasn't. It wasn't having it all in any in any meaningful, positive way, I don't think. But I had to live through that to realise that that was the case. I guess I hadn't understood that when I was younger.
00:19:17 - 00:19:57
Hannah: Yeah. And I don't know about you, but I grew up with both sides of my.. both my grandmothers were working and raising the children and looking after the home and yeah, when I was able to be the one at home, just being a mother, I felt guilty for that. I felt like I wasn't contributing in the same way that my, you know, my mum was full time working mum as well. So it's a real tricky balance. You feel like you need to be earning and bringing in money, but then you also want to be with your children and enjoying the fact that you can.
00:19:58 - 00:20:33
Caro: Yeah, and also it's true I think as well that mothers will be blamed when things go wrong. So really you can't win because if you go to work and then your children are missing you or things are tricky at home because you're you're absent, then it's the mother who will be blamed for that. And likewise, if you're at home, you're told you're kind of overprotective and cloying. And, you know, it's very hard, isn't it, to find a balance and to get it right. And also, everybody's life and needs are different. So, you know, it's we shouldn't really judge what anybody chooses to do. Should we?
00:20:33 - 00:20:40
Hannah: No, it should always come down to what you would like to do. But obviously, we're our own worst critics half the time.
00:20:41 - 00:21:13
Caro: Yeah, I think that's true as well as that we're is that we are. We can be critical of each other. But also that inner critic is so powerful, isn't it? Especially when you've come from a place where your self esteem, you know, you come from a place of sadness and following a divorce, you're kind of you're pretty broken. So I think at that point in your life, it's hard to hit any positives, isn't it, because you're just feeling so exhausted and burnt out by everything. So yeah, it's just yeah, it's just a case of trying to try to eradicate those voices that hide around and say horrible things.
00:21:14 - 00:21:29
Hannah: Yeah, because I often find, if it was, because in fact this is the kind of thing my therapist would say would be like, okay, what you've just said, would you say that to your best friend? And I'm like, No, I would never dream of it. They can totally do whatever they want.
00:21:30 - 00:21:44
Caro: And it's like how you can give really good advice to your best friend, but then you can't give it to yourself. You can't give it to yourself. Like, you sound brilliant. Like, Oh, you're so wise Caro, so true. And then if I said it to myself, I couldn't I couldn't do that. I wouldn't be able to do that.
00:21:45 - 00:22:27
Hannah: Yeah, it's. I don't even know where to start. Um, so, yeah, there was a few things in the book which I was just like, maybe quite exhausted, like remembering it all. And it's that like, the idea of the relentlessness of motherhood and trying to keep it all going when, like, even though the tasks are simple, sometimes when you're also going through trauma and you know, everything's changing, the simplest thing for me would like send me spiralling off. And I felt like you really describe that so well. And when you were talking about where your lawyer's saying to you, like your life is very precarious and you're like, Yeah, yeah it is.
00:22:27 - 00:23:08
Caro: And that's the worst thing. When someone points out, you're like, I know that. You don't need to highlight that for me. I'm feeling, I'm feeling how precarious it is. Yeah. And sometimes as well, often I feel like I can hold so much, like I hold so much as a carer and as a mother and as a writer and like I'm juggling all those things, but often it's just the tiniest thing, isn't it? That will, that will make everything break. You can achieve massive and deal with these really difficult meetings or publish a book or whatever. And then like a tiny thing will happen and it will absolutely floor you. And I think, no, I don't know what like burning your soup or something like something really ridiculous. And it just absolutely, you know, kills you.
00:23:08 - 00:23:11
Hannah: The final thing where you're like, Nope, I can't do it anymore.
00:23:11 - 00:23:13
Caro: That's it.
00:23:13 - 00:23:15
Hannah: Oh, my God. Your story about the camping trip.
00:23:16 - 00:23:18
Caro: Oh, yeah, that was fun.
00:23:18 - 00:23:21
Hannah: Well, it made me cry. I was like, Jesus,
00:23:24 - 00:23:29
Hannah: Where you.. It's like, nearly flying away, and you're, like, trying to.
00:23:30 - 00:24:20
Caro: Yeah, that was nerve wracking. So there were just a few instances in the book where it becomes very obvious that only having one adult is, is a challenge. And I guess that just was like one that highlighted highlighted an example that highlighted it well, but it also served to highlight the fact that there were just some really lovely kind people who wished my family well. And, and I think when you come out of a. Come out of a divorce. However, that has been for you. It probably, probably hasn't. Probably isn't easy for anybody. And I think I think I just really felt like kindness and calm was really missing from my life at that point. And so, yeah, I really I wrote about that holiday to highlight that really just to to. It was an opportunity for me to rediscover the joys of humans.
00:24:20 - 00:24:20
00:24:21 - 00:24:27
Caro: The good in human nature. And yeah, just to remember that things wouldn't always be so tricky I guess.
00:24:27 - 00:25:29
Hannah: And people will help out. Like I had a similar experience where I was and it was the reasoning for you doing it as well. You're like, I want I want to be enough for my kids. I want to take them away. I want to show them a good time and we're going to go on a holiday. And I remember doing something similar and being like, Right, we're going to walk to see some friends and we're going to walk there because it's important to walk. But you can't make two children do two things at the same time. They just won't do it. And so one of them wouldn't walk at all, and the other one was ten miles off in the, you know, ahead. And and I ended up putting Nancy on my shoulders because she wouldn't go on her scooter and she wouldn't go in her pram. And then in the process of standing up, she flipped off my shoulders. I managed to just grab her by the back of her coat so she didn't smack her head off the floor. And then these two people just ran over and they, like, bundled me up because I was like beside myself that I'd let this happen. And it was just like the moment where I was like, I can't do this on my own.
00:25:30 - 00:26:38
Caro: It's hard not having someone to share those difficult moments with, I think, isn't it? I had a similar moment, which I write about in the book when we were allowed outside, but my oldest daughter was in a wheelchair and it was really hard to manage a child like a 13 year old, 14 year old child in a wheelchair and three other younger children. That was just really hard to do anything at all. Yeah, and we just got the wheelchair got snagged on like some sandy gravel or something, you know, And I just I kind of stepped outside myself for a moment and looked at me and my children, and it was quite grey on the edge of the country. I just thought, this isn't this is not this is not quite what I had planned for my life here, actually. And I can look back now and actually it still is quite painful to think about that moment. I was going to say I've kind of moved past that, but actually, like I'm not sure anybody should should need to manage things that are that hard. That felt really tough. Yeah, it's it's hard, I think when you realise there's no one to share that with, isn't it.
00:26:38 - 00:26:56
Hannah: Yeah. And all you're trying to do is the best. And you know, there's other times that you were talking about being really brave and giving these girls like amazing memories and you know, when it's working. Yes, like it's worth the effort, but other times it's like, Oh my God, how have I ended up here?
00:26:56 - 00:27:35
Caro: But sometimes as well, don't you? Trying to make those memories for our purpose, not theirs. Because often, oftentimes my kids will. Just like at the minute, two of them are playing with some little dolls in their bedroom. And if they could, they would do that all day long. They love doing that or they just want to. The little one said, I just want to draw around my hand, Mummy. I was like, That's great. Draw around your hand. She's happy drawing round her hand. She didn't need to go and jump in the sea or walk up a hill. She just wants to draw around her hand. Sometimes I feel like I'm setting myself up and it's because I have this kind of desire to do these great big grand gestures. And maybe they don't need that. I don't know. It's all part of the learning, isn't it?
00:27:35 - 00:27:56
Hannah: Yeah. Yeah, I do. I can see that a lot. My sister in law can be quite like that. She's really active and she wants to be out and then she's like, Oh my God, I'm kind of making things harder for myself because, you know, it's 9:00 in the morning and I've made 15 sandwiches and we're going to go climbing up a hill. And the kids are like, I just wanted to watch breakfast telly.
00:27:57 - 00:28:29
Caro: And that does sound like me. But then that's to do as well, isn't it, with how can you have your own needs met? Yeah, because my needs met. I would really like to. I have a lot of energy and I really like to be out a lot busy a lot doing lots of things. And that is really not the need specifically for two, possibly three of my children. And so because, because I can't leave those children with anyone so I can go out and do those things that I want to do. That's the challenge, isn't it, of trying to have your own needs met whilst meeting your children's needs. It's it's always going to be a challenge.
00:28:29 - 00:28:37
Hannah: Well, that's interesting though, that it means, yes, it might be a challenge for you, but it does mean that you're filling your cup at the same time.
00:28:38 - 00:29:22
Caro: Yeah. And I think, you know, they have to they have to see that, don't they? They have to learn that. Learn that you have needs too. The difficulty for me is that sometimes one of my daughters is autistic and the other one definitely has lots of issues around sensory stuff. So that's not that's not a child, that's not wanting to do something. That's actually how can I meet this child's needs in a way that is not going to be traumatising for them? That's different. So I guess that's the type of challenge I face on a daily basis as well, which I write about in the book. But I do still think it's important that they know that I need to do things for me as well. It doesn't happen often, but, you know. Happens enough, actually, but it happens sometimes. And then that has to be enough for now.
00:29:22 - 00:29:44
Hannah: Yes. Well, I was looking at like your approach to dealing with this transition and trauma is very different to mine, whereas I went quite like quite sloth like and like I must be in bed when the kids are like, I need to make sure I've had a really good night's sleep. Otherwise tomorrow is going to be dreadful. Yeah. You seem to want to get in really cold water.
00:29:45 - 00:30:27
Caro: No, what happened was I did go to bed when the kids went to bed because I was getting up really, really early to write the book. I did also want to get into cold water, partly because my oldest daughter felt her best when she was in cold water. So I was really happy to help her achieve that because she she was very, very unwell. So partly it was for her, but also I think it was something to do with just wanting to feel a bit of danger and a bit wild and a bit kind of thrashed around and on the edge of stuff and not cocooned in a house being domestic, it was partly craving, craving that I think. Yeah.
00:30:27 - 00:30:40
Hannah: And you kind of describe it as like you and your tribe of girls and like the Wild Witch, the Wild Sea Witch, that comes out. I loved all that. It's just amazing. And then yesterday I was like, I really need to, like, get out in nature.
00:30:41 - 00:31:00
Caro: But it's not for everyone. Some people hate going out and about, but I just feel like I live like I'd like to be like doing some galleries in London or something, but I live in Northumberland, so what am I going to do this season, it's beautiful let's, let's make the most of that. And the bonus was that it does make my children also feel really good too. So yeah, it works okay for us.
00:31:00 - 00:31:07
Hannah: Yeah. And you talk about depression as well. Is that like one of your main coping strategies for avoiding it? Well, I say avoiding, but..
00:31:09 - 00:31:14
Caro: That's fine, I think I talk more about anxiety and I talk about my OCD as well.
00:31:14 - 00:31:15
Hannah: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
00:31:15 - 00:31:53
Caro: Yeah. So I definitely think that being outside is important for my wellbeing when I can't get to the beaches or can't go any further than my house. I run in laps around and around and around and around my back lane and that's really helpful actually. Yeah. And yeah, I mean, I just think it is a natural kind of mood lifter, isn't it? Being outside and that was one of the challenges of being inside all the time in lockdown. Although the weather was glorious, we could just kind of lie on the back lane in some kind of weird quiet country where there were no planes and no, I know it was such a strange time that lockdown, wasn't it?
00:31:53 - 00:31:56
Hannah: Really weird. That first one like the 2020.
00:31:57 - 00:31:59
Caro: Yeah. So strange.
00:31:59 - 00:32:04
Hannah: Yeah, it was gorgeous. It was like crazy, beautiful Easter, weather. The kids were on holiday..
00:32:04 - 00:32:27
Caro: It was really gorgeous. Yeah, but it was also really tinged with massive fear because there was no vaccine, was there? And so the girls were saying to me the other day, Do you remember Mummy, how we had to have a shower every time we came back from the supermarket? And because none of us really knew how to keep ourselves safe other than not to touch anybody or breathe on anyone. And it was that was it was such a strange time, wasn't it?
00:32:27 - 00:32:35
Hannah: I had friends that would disinfect all their washing. Er shopping! leave it in a cupboard for two days and then eat it.
00:32:36 - 00:32:58
Caro: I didn't have the energy for that, but I did. I did make the children take their clothes off and wash them after we'd been to the supermarket. But I just I don't know. I felt terrified because there was no one else. If anything happened to me, if I went down, I was like, What's going to happen? I'm on my own. So I was really I wasn't paranoid, but I was just very mindful that I needed to keep well, because what was going to happen.
00:32:58 - 00:33:03
Hannah: Everybody was feeling the same. And at that point I was still with my ex.
00:33:03 - 00:33:03
00:33:03 - 00:33:19
Hannah: And I remember just thinking, Well, what if we both get it? Who's going to look after? Because at the time we had a mmm, like she was just one and, and, and then two other kids as well, so. Yeah, it was a really weird, really weird time.
00:33:20 - 00:33:59
Caro: Yeah, And it was a funny time. I guess that time as well. Was so full of pressure that for many people probably relationship stuff was very difficult. I had already split up with my husband by that point, but it definitely kind of exacerbated all the feelings I was having around my divorce because it was just everything was so intense. Yeah. And there was no support, was there, either, because you couldn't see anyone or no one could come and help you, or all the services were shut and everything was. Yeah, it was just, it was isolating. And I guess it was against that backdrop that I wrote Twelve Moons because everything was so heightened and I felt more even more isolated. But it worked quite well for for the premise of the book.
00:34:00 - 00:34:14
Hannah: Worked out great for the book. But yeah, I think the the first one was a bit like, well, we don't know how long it's going to last or okay, but by the time we're getting to 2021, it's like we're still here, we're still doing this. It's a year on.
00:34:14 - 00:34:20
Caro: Yeah, it was awful and my daughter got sick by then as well. I was just really ready for it all to go away. It was horrible.
00:34:20 - 00:34:31
Caro: Yeah. Like coping with all that and the needs of your the three children on top. It's just. Yeah. But like you say, it's still managed to leave you with hope and.
00:34:31 - 00:34:48
Caro: Yeah. And yeah, exactly. And I just and I really, really hope that that's what people will take away from Twelve Moons as well because there have been.. before it came out and people like early readers were saying it's very raw, it's very emotional. I thought, Oh my God, maybe it's just like too sad for people to...
00:34:48 - 00:34:49
Hannah: Is it too raw?
00:34:49 - 00:35:47
Caro: Too raw. You've you've poured yourself too much onto the page Caro but actually what's been really lovely is that, like you said at the beginning of our conversation, lots of people, people haven't been through my specific story. There are things that are specific to me, but. But we all are human. And we all have experienced grief and we all have experienced isolation. And it has been the biggest joy for me to connect with people who feel heard by reading my story and feel understood and who have reached out. And we've started conversations. And I think and I hope it will start a wider conversation around what it is to feel hidden as a carer or as a mother and what it is to be a woman on your own. So I definitely feel that writing this book has been a massive project of hope and and I really hope that it will be a positive force for people.
00:35:47 - 00:36:22
Hannah: I think so. I think it's that like empathetic. Um. I guess that like feeling because you talk about every bit, everyone feels a bit other and that's what you say to your eldest daughter or she says to you quite a bit. And, but we do. So it's that feeling that your book is sort of highlighting that what I've been through isn't. Like. I mean, it's nothing like what you've been through, I feel like. But equally, it was it was exactly the same in so many ways. And so you kind of feel heard again and. Yeah.
00:36:23 - 00:36:48
Caro: Yeah. And also hopeful that you can come out the other side as well because it feels it's such a it's such a heartbreaker, isn't it, when when you realise your marriage isn't going to work and you and you can't see what it would be like on the other side and yeah, it's, it's nice to be able to say that, that I feel that I'm enough for myself. That feels like a good kind of starting point for the next stage of my life, I think.
00:36:48 - 00:36:54
Hannah: Yeah. And how many people can honestly say that? I think for years I never realised I didn't feel enough until I've been through this process.
00:36:54 - 00:37:02
Caro: I didn't. No exactly. So if anything good can come out of something so sad, then maybe that's it. Hey.
00:37:02 - 00:37:07
Hannah: Definitely. Oh, thank you so much for being with me today, Caro. I really appreciate it.
00:37:08 - 00:37:10
Caro: I loved it. What a lovely conversation. Thanks for having me.
00:37:10 - 00:37:11
Hannah: Thank you.
00:37:13 - 00:37:37
Caro: Thank you so much for listening. And I'll see you next time for another episode of Happily Ever After with me, Hannah Harvey. It would be wonderful if you could leave a review and subscribe. And of course, if you've got a friend who might enjoy this episode, then please do pass it on for anything else. You can get in touch with me through either Instagram @mumsdays or through my website. Mumsdays dot com.