It’s been nearly 3 years since I last logged a blog post on Notes by sNarah. A lot has happened since 2013.
We moved back from Belgium to Ireland in 2013
We bought a house in 2014
We had a baby girl called Coby in 2015
We’re expecting another baby in 2016
We’ve gotten stronger in life but also encountered a lot of issues that make living in Ireland difficult for me. Having Coby made me realise how much I lack a support network of family and friends. I suffered from post-natal anxiety just before returning to work, with a partner who doesn’t really know how to deal with this. When returning to work, it brought relief for getting a sense of achievement again, but combining motherhood with working full-time and a two-hour daily commute is incredibly challenging. I found a brilliant service (Nurture Charity) who are helping with me with addressing this , so that I’ll be at my best before baby #2 arrives.
We pondered and pondered about where to live, Ireland or Belgium, but after much consideration decided that Ireland is the place for us to live. I love living in Ireland and I’m happy about our choice. Unfortunately this does mean I need to find ways of coping with missing my family and friends. I’ll also have to accept that there are huge differences between what’s available in Belgium and Ireland with regards to education, health, childcare and working conditions. Ireland lacks far behind the European continent on many of these topics.
I refuse to accept this is the way it is, as do many other people in Ireland who are working towards change. The recent water protests have shown that a united nation can make a difference and influence politics and policy. I also refuse to be forced out of the work force even though we struggle to find a solution of how I can stay working after this second baby arrives. We fork out a huge fee every month for childcare (the cost for 2 would be €1700/month) and my mother told me a couple of months ago “get involved in politics and do something about this”, and (as everybody knows) a mother is always right. Rather than perpetually getting frustrated, I will try to use this energy by getting involved in making change happen.
Step 1: completing my application for becoming an Irish citizen and digging out €1000 to get naturalised. It will give validity to my opinion in Ireland but, more importantly, will allow me to vote locally and in referenda.
From 2016 ‘Notes by sNarah’ will focus more on a variety of issues in Ireland such as working conditions, access to health services, human rights, education and religion. As I start the process of becoming an Irish citizen, many of these aspects frustrate me, which is why I’m becoming actively involved in charities working for change and political life – hoping to start helping with influencing policy and obtaining better conditions across the board for people living in Ireland.