Embracing the rubbish parent inside us all.

Since having postnatal depression and thinking I was the worst mother in the world something amazing has happened. I’ve actually for the first time in my life stopped caring about what others think of me. I am so liberated that I am finally at a stage in my life where I am comfortable in my own decisions as a parent. I have stopped judging others by their parenting choices and am very much in the mind set that you do what ever you have to do to get through the day and be happy.

I felt so much pressure as a parent to be the perfect parent, but by trying that I was unhappy, alone and failing in every aspect. Having to revaluate my whole beliefs and ideas after making the change to be more consious of my mind, I know have this freedom that I once didn’t. When  I go to the school playground I know some people will not like me and I honestly no longer care. I do not live in a big house and have a fancy car and I’m no longer ashamed of that. I have so much more of value than material things and every day I feel blessed to be married to my soul mate and have two beautiful children with him, but believe me when I say that he and the kids can be right idiots at times.

I love facebook and Instagram but now I’ve realised how I too crop a picture so it looks it’s most perfect. Who’s bribed an older child with sweets to take the perfect picture with their sibling? Who has chucked a dirty nappy in the corner so it doesn’t ruin a perfect photo opportunity? No one’s life is perfect as soon as we remember that we realise how much better ours really is.

 

A great example of a picture where sweet bribes have been exchanged.

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Postnatal depression, the silent illness.

Since I’ve finally had the courage to come out about my postnatal depression hell, I’ve had so many people either tell me they have had it themselves or that they had no idea I was struggling. Unless you are close by it is really hard to see how much someone is struggling. For me I buried and hid it well and even didn’t admit it myself for five months, but on the inside I was at breaking point.

I feel so overwhelmed with how many people who have contacted me telling me they have also been through this terrible illness and from people who have said they have found comfort in what I have written. This blog was very much about me writing for me, but it has turned into so much more. This blog is now about offering support and letting other mums know they are not alone in this struggle. I don’t have the cure and I am very much still fighting, but I am working through the highs and the lows, which I share with you all.  I will do everything I can to try and lift the stigma associated with having postnatal depression and remind us all we are not alone and we should never feel ashamed of something we have no control over.

My biggest turning point was after reading into the chemical changes in our brains which can cause depression. For me to see it in black and white that it wasn’t my fault it was a relief. I had an a stressful pregnancy, low iron levels and a reflux baby, so for me to look back now I’m really not surprised I did struggle. It is tough to have a new baby and so easy to become isolated and I now look back and I accept that there was nothing I could have done differently.

Postnatal depression has put me in a consuming world of guilt and failure, but it has also taught me so much about myself. I am thankful that I’ve had to take the time to understand how I work and learnt how to be kinder on myself. Something else I’ve learnt is mindfulness which I do try and practise regularly and the improvements are amazing. It’s so important we look after ourselves within as we do on the outside.

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Becoming the role model my daughter deserves

Now Miss J is four I am very much aware that I need to be a good role model for her. She is my inspiration to get better and beat PND. I’ve heavily relied on my own mother to help me parent her whilst I have struggled to deal with my struggles.

I’m amazed at how resilient Miss J has been over the last year and how well rounded she has become. Miss J was robbed of the mother she had once had and I’ve felt terribly guilty about this and her having to grow up so quickly. I now know I did all I could to get better and she was the main reason why I did seek help.

Somehow, despite all that has gone on she has grown to be a beautiful, kind and sensitive girl and I  couldn’t be prouder of the little girl who I have help create. I am letting go of the guilt and accepting that I have done best for my daughter and I have been a fantastic mum. I know I’m not a perfect mother and I never will be, but that’s not a bad thing and it teaches my daughter that we all make mistakes and as long as we are aware of this and work to correct them, we are doing a good job. My daughter accepts me with all my flaws, which makes me love her even more.

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I’ll get there, I’m just a bit broken.

I will get there eventually, it’s just my road isn’t as straight as others. I will try my hardest, but at times my hardest isn’t good enough. I will still smile and laugh, I’m just not the same as I once was inside. I can’t just get over it, suck it up and get on with it, but I wish I could.

I am a little broken, but I reconise that and I want to get better and work on myself as a person. I am not ashamed of who I am and the struggles I am going through, as they make me who I am. I do need more love and affection than most people need, but I’m lucky enough I have found a partner who is willing to be that person for me.

I am battling, but I’m prepared to fight and get through this.

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What they forget to tell you about a second baby

What they forget to tell you about a second baby.

What I envisioned and what I am as a parent are two very different things. I had so many plans as a first time mum and did well sticking to what I wanted to do, but when my second baby came along things became very different. Miss J was such a text book baby and things went smoothly from breastfeeding, to routines and discipline. Mr T was a completely different baby and I was naïve to think I would just sail through it without any kind of issues. I think if Mr T would have been born first I would have coped better as when you have your first I found I got so much support, advice and help, but when the second comes around people just expect you to get on with it and know what you are doing.

I’ll happily admit it now that when Mr T came into this world I had no blooming clue what I was supposed to be doing. With babies one size does not fit all and when you have a second baby or third you need more support than ever as not only do you need to sort this baby out who follows its own set of rules, you also have to sort out another child that will rebel over this new little dictator, who has come in, stolen their mum and messed up everything for them. This is the stuff the baby books leave out, not that you would have a spare second to read a baby book with a second baby.

Why did no one tell me the struggles of breastfeeding one baby whilst wiping the bottom of another? Why did no one tell me how to keep a three year old quiet whilst settling a baby to sleep? Why did no one tell me that the babies nap times would always coincide with when I have to leave the house for the pre-school run? Why did no one tell me how hard it would be get baby weighed at the Children’s Centre with a three year old in tow? Why did no one tell me how hard it was to take a three year old and baby to do the food shop whilst sitting next to each other in the trolley? Why did no one tell me that my child would always want food when I had just settled down to feed my baby its milk? Why did no one tell me that my three year old would no longer
want to walk anywhere when I have the baby in the pushchair? Why did no one tell me that my child wouldn’t instantly bond with her new baby sibling? Why did no one tell me about the mummy guilt I felt as I was unable to fulfil both their needs? Why did no one tell me that you can get PND with a second baby when you didn’t have it before? Why did no one tell me that my heart would expand enough to love two children equally? Why did no one tell me that I would ditch the rule book and not care anymore about routines?
Why did know one tell me that they would eventually bond and my heart would burst? Why did know one tell me the mummy guilt would ease when I understood that I did everything I could? Why did no one tell me that I had given my children the best gift in the world, which was each other?

I made it through and so will you. 18 months down to a mum of two for the rest of my life and I wouldn’t change a thing.

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the muddled mother

My favourite purchases with a second child.

One thing I really enjoyed when pregnant with a second child was buying the little special extras I couldn’t afford first time around and updating stuff that I didn’t like with Miss J. I’ve compiled a list of my favourite purchases and the reasons why.

Babymov Cosy dream

This product was amazing for a peaceful night sleep and especially for a baby with bad reflux like Mr T. I loved how he was cosy and his legs were raised upwards to help ease discomfort that reflux caused. One of the best bits about this is that its machine washable and dries pretty quickly and I can vouch that it last well after washing it most days and using it for six months.

Joie Mimzy Highchair

I wish I had bought this product sooner and not tried to manage with my old one which just wasn’t practical. This highchair is amazing and so comfortable. Not only can you adjust the height, you can take off the whole tray to clean, it folds down for storage and the plastic has an almost velvety texture so even cheese spread wipes straight off. I love how you can recline this so you can have baby up at the table before they are ready to start solids.

Medela Swing Breast Pump

If you do plan to breastfed I really do recommend this breast pump. I went for a cheaper one with my daughter and it was useless compared to this. Its easy to use, clean and transport. I used it everyday for six months and it became my breast friend.

Mam Bottles anti Colic

At first I had my reservations with these bottles but after I was sent one free and Mr T refused any other brand I tried these and he loved them. I was put off my all the bits, but they really do work well and didn’t seem to aggravate his reflux too much or cause nipple confusion. Its great that you can self sterilise the bottles in the microwave.

Breathablebaby Cot Mesh Liner

I know not everyone likes cot bumpers but after having a good look around I found these mesh liners that Velcro on. I didn’t use them when Mr T was newborn but I used them when he went in his own cot from six months and they are great at keeping his legs and dummies inside the cot at night.

Ergo Baby Carrier

I have no idea how I would have managed without this carrier. It was great for holding a reflux baby upright when I needed to do some jobs and so easy for doing the school run. Mr T is 16 months old and we are still using the carrier everyday for the school run.

Milton Travel Sterliser

This was so handy on holiday that I used it when I was home for doing his dummies, rather than having to put them all in the steam steriliser every 30 minuets.

Milton Mini Soother Steriliser

These make life so much easier when out and about. Easy to set up before you go out and also handy to take up to bed with you with a spare dummy.

Nursing Chair

I love my nursing chair and couldn’t be without it. I’m still using it 16 months on for good night feeds and a story.

Mamas and Papas Armadillo City

I bought this when Mr T was 10 months as I wanted a small pushchair that I could keep in my downstairs toilet. This pushchair is lovely to push, folds easily, look good and fully reclines. my only regret was not buying it sooner.

Please see links to Amazon to the side for current prices.

 

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I nurture myself so I can nurture others.

Most the time I am my own worse enemy. I can be so hard on myself and make myself feel guilty when I know I shouldn’t. I’ve been having a hard week this week and I forgot to take care of my mental wellbeing and I can now feel the effects. I’m exhausted but I can’t sleep and again feel detached and not present. I’m so fortunate to have friends that understand me and notice the patterns in my behaviour. My friends have been checking in on me this week and just being supportive of me.

I’m so exhausted but I know this is just temporary and that I can get back out of this soon. I know I have a pattern of self sabotage when things seem to good for me and that is because I don’t feel like I deserve it as I have issues with my self esteem.  I forget at times and take far too much on and become overwhelmed which just leads me to be unable to cope with everyday situations and I start doubting myself as a parent and as a person. It’s a vicious cycle as the more overwhelmed I get the harder I am on my self and the more I isolate myself which then leads to me becoming more anxious and depressed.

Since my diagnosis and my road to recover I have learnt so much about how my mind works and can now spot my patterns in behaviour. I am going to be easier on myself and get rest when I can and stop beating myself up for not being my best. I cannot be the best me and best mother without rest and without time on my own which is nothing to feel guilty about. My wellbeing is important and I need to remember this. Sometimes I need to take a step back and look at who I really am as a person. I know deep down I am a happy, kind and confident person I just need to nurture myself to bring that side out and push the negative away.

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The joys of a toddler who climbs everything.  

Mr T is a complete whirlwind compared to his sister and he has taken me by surprise. Mr T is a climber and a dangerous one at that. I now have a child covered in bumps and bruises and the thing is he doesn’t even care. I spend my whole life trying to catch Mr T and pulling him off various objects but you can’t help but admire his determination.

At first I was actually quiet impressed and would enjoy watching him explore the world in a new way, but now I just mutter “ffs” under my breath and pull him back down. He is getting smarter by the day and now using objects as building blocks to reach new heights whilst mummy is having mini heartattacks multiple times a day.

I’m hoping this new skill will serve him well in the future, but his lack of fear and the fact he doesn’t seem to feel pain does worry me that he may become some crazy daredevil as he becomes a teenager. I am guessing I may be a few trips to the hospital in years to come and I expect my hair to be completely grey by the time I’m in my mid thirties.

His latest trick is now to stand by the window and watch people as they pass. I’m sure the postman must think he’s some poor hard done by child that has no toys or stimulation, but the truth is if he’s climber he’s happy. One thing that I will never mind is when he climbs on me for a cuddle.

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Losing your identity as a mother.

For me learning to let go of guilt is something I really struggle with, but I know I need to address this and except that I am doing everything I can. When we become mothers I think we often forget how to be anything other than this and we feel guilty wanting to be anything else. I’ve lost my identity along the way and have forgotten what I deserve and what I need as an individual. Since my first came along I have only really met my basic needs and haven’t spent the time focusing on my own wellbeing.  I not only look after and raise two children, I also keep the house clean, every one and everything organised and I work part-time. I forgot to appreciate that I am doing a pretty good job and I deserve time to myself and I also deserve to be treated as someone who isn’t just mum.

Parenting when there are two parents in the home should be a team effort but at times I feel like I am the one who is parenting and I am in fact looking after three children. My husband works long hours but I think he often forgets that I am not his mother and he needs to look after himself at times and not expect me to do it all for him. I also need to remember my husband needs his wife and at times I am not just mum. It’s so easy to forget our identities and that we can play different roles in the house, especially when the children are so young and we fall into traps of only meeting their needs. It isn’t a competition on who is more tired and who’s job is harder or a game of tit for tat.

We need to take time to be by ourselves individually and as a couple as often as possible and be open with our emotions. We shouldn’t be ashamed to admit that we miss our partners or that we need for them to emotionally connect with us. These problems will never reslove and will just escalate and turn to resentment unless we can communicate and be honest. I know I sit down and ask my daughter why she is upset and what emotions she is feeling so I can understand her and meet her needs, so why don’t we do this with our partners? We need to not forget how to be wives when we become mothers whilst men need to remember to treat us as our partners and not their mothers. I made a promise to my husband the day we got married and I think it’s time to revisit those vows and remember why we are here.

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