not fitting into motherhood but letting it fit in with me

Not fitting into motherhood, but letting it fit in with me

As a young girl all I wanted was to become a mother. I had these dreams of how I would embrace motherhood and become this perfect little mummy and house wife to my little family. When I was carrying Miss J I looked up to my own mother, looked at what the latest trends were for changing bags and pushchairs, I read countless articles and aspired to be this perfect mummy that I had imagined in my head.

I tried this motherhood on managed to get it work for the most part. I was pretty good at it and had a child growing up to be the most perfect little girl. When baby number 2 was cooking things started to get a bit messy. I wasn’t so good at getting out, doing the toddler groups, I didn’t have the energy to dress you up perfectly coordinated, I didn’t have time to do all the messy play and baking cakes. Things started to unravel when Mr T arrived into this big wide world and I had a big shock of what it was to look after two small humans.

The realisation of postnatal depression arrived and exposed me like nothing had before. I was feeling, weak, lonely and empty inside and I was no longer the mother I wanted to be. I beat myself up for failing my children and made myself  feel so guilty. I wasn’t fitting into motherhood anymore and I wasn’t sure how to do it again. Things eventually came to a head and I couldn’t look after either of my children in the way they needed.

I had to take a step back and start focusing on myself. I read self-help books, took medication and I got help. Eventually I started to rebuild myself again, but I still wasn’t fitting into motherhood like I did before. My perception had changed and I realised that the mother I was trying to be before wasn’t me.

One day things just clicked, I was a little older, a smidge wiser and a tad more confident. I realised that I didn’t need to fit into motherhood and it needed to fit into me. Why should I pretend to be someone I wasn’t, just to please others and why did I feel I had to do things in a certain way so others didn’t judge.

Things have changed and I’m now a happy mother, which I can now positively say that I’m telling the truth. Mummy now takes more time for herself and she doesn’t try to impress others or care for their opinions. My children are none the wiser and are just happy to see that I am happy. It took some time, but I learnt to own motherhood and make it my own. Don’t ever be anyone, but yourself.

 

 

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supporting women and mothers

Supporting women and mothers

All I see everywhere I look is women being judged and it’s time we start supporting each other. I know this subject has been touched on many a time, but unless we keep talking about it things will never changed. I do think things have improved and I know myself, especially after postnatal depression I try to be much kinder to myself and not judge others. You never know what someone else is going through at home or why they have decided to make a certain choice.

As a woman you feel you are being judged no matter what you do. If you decide to not have children apparently you will regret it or you’re selfish, I personally couldn’t imagine not having children, but people are wired differently and neither is wrong. If you run a succesful business, often you at looked down upon by other women and men like its something you shouldn’t be doing, when you deserve support and ‘well done’. If you are too outspoken you are still often hushed and looked at as if your opinion doesn’t count. Many times a man has tried to silence me and has tried to make me feel I shouldn’t have an opinion on something. One thing you will never silence me on is my OWN opinion.

Since being a teenager myself I have noticed how a woman who has had a few sexual partners is seen as a ‘slag’, whilst a man is known as a ‘stud’. I’ve seen many a woman shamed not only by men, but also women. How can having sex with someone if you are a man or a woman be seen as such different things depending on your gender. If it’s from two consenting adults and its safe, why does it matter? Why shame someone for having fun, you should be supporting them and letting them embrace it.

Mr T (milk monster) is very supportive of women and boobs

Still we are shamed by our sizes, if we are too fat or too small, if our breasts are too small or too saggy. You only have to look through any comments on a celebrity newspaper article and see how women are shamed in such a derogatory way by their physical appearance and often it’s by other women. I for one have been called fat a few times over the years in arguments with men and it has upset me, this was before children when I was a size 12. I’m bigger than a 12 now and not skinny, which I doubt I ever will be, because of my love of cheese. I am not 100% happy with my figure and am trying to get healthier and lose weight but that still gives no one the right to make me feel ashamed in any way.

If you do decide to enter the world of motherhood you soon realise how ugly things can get. You are made to feel ashamed if you didn’t or failed to breastfed or you breastfeed an 18 month old still. You are judged for putting a baby in its own room from the start or for bed sharing. You decide to give up work, to be a stay at home mum, which means your lazy (hats of to SAHM’s I couldn’t do it), or you decide to go back full time, which makes you a selfish mother. I have felt judged so many times , but I also know I have judged too, especially when I was a first time mother and thought I knew everything, but now I try to be as supporting as I can as I know these decisions have not been easily made.

I am determined as I’m sure many other mum’s are to raise my children to know that it is never kind to judge someone else. My children are being taught to be kind, not judge, support and respect others. Everything we have been taught and all behaviour we have learned and can be unlearned. We can be more conscious of our thoughts and challenge them.

Postnatal depression has taught me to a better person and to own my own decisions I make. I sit my children in front of the TV or tablet far too often, my house is mostly messy, my children are fed chicken nuggets at least twice a week, but I am working hard to be their mum. I love them, read to them, spend as much time as I can with them, I feed them, clothe them and I work for them because I have to. I do my best and I am trying to be a good role model for them. I’m not a fantastic mother and I never will be, but one thing I have learnt is to be a realistic mother. Lets keep supporting each other., this being a woman thing is tough.

 

 

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Lazy parenting

Let me lazy parent today

After new years eve last night and having a slightly fuzzy head from drinking a bottle of prosecco, I’m in much need for a lazy day. Mr T went to bed at 8 (very late for him) and Miss J passed out on my lap at 11pm, after desperately trying her best to stay up and see the new year in. Obviously because I let them stay up they got up earlier than they would any other day (sods law or kids law) and tumbled into bed with me, demanding that they are fed right away. Mummy consumed a whole bottle of prosecco and stayed up until 1am so I’m feeling pretty poo right now and in no mood to parent today. The children are passed off with biscuits for breakfast and Disney Junior is quickly turned on whilst I make a hot tea. I also have biscuits for breakfast and I snuggle down in my dressing gown to catch up on the outside world through Facebook.

After not getting my few hours child free to myself like I do every other night and watching my own programs I am feeling pretty frazzled. Obviously the weather is crap and the kids are pissing each other off. The cat got poo stuck to its bum and dragged its bum over the kitchen (that was steamed the day before), Mr T has thrown a wooden brick at Miss J’s head and the kids are turning the light on and off as we speak. Why won’t they just let mummy have a nice relaxing morning to myself and let her drink her cup of tea hot. Mr T has now done a poo and is ripping out Miss J’s hair.

These children have been fed, watered, cleaned and have half of Toys ‘R’ Us in their living room (I would say mine, but it’s basically theirs these days). Why can’t they just let mummy be lazy, just for today. I’m sure it’s more stressful attempting to have a lazy day than it is taking them out for the day.

Its amazing the mess they create.

Miss J is now 4 1/2 and Mr T is 19 months and has just learnt the art of hitting his sister, pulling her hair and throwing random objects at her head. I think he’s showing sign of being a fantastic rugby player in years to come, which I know his football mad daddy won’t be too pleased about. This is the first time I’ve had to deal with fighting siblings and I can only assume this is just the start and I have many years ahead. I am unsure on whether to discipline or just leave them too it. Miss J is a bit of a wimp and probably deserves a few of those whacks her brother gives her. Giving Miss J a gift of a brother is probably the best thing she could have given her, otherwise I’m sure she would have been even more of a diva by now.

Society tells us we should feel guilty when we stick the children in front of the TV (electric babysitter), give them biscuits to keep them quiet and we are not spending every waking moment interacting and nurturing them. Well I have no guilt, my children are happy between fighting, fed and I am not doing any lasting damage by ignoring them when I have spent every day solid for over a week in their company. Sometimes you need to do what you’ve got to do to get through the day.

I think it’s time to admit defeat and actually parent today. It’s going to be difficult and will probably involve tears from all three of us. I don’t think we can get lazy days as parents, but at least I got a blog post out of it. Roll on the usual bedtime this evenings so I can catch up on Greys Anatomy and not have to share the chocolate with them.

 

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A mothers unconditional love for her baby

The day I met you, my darling baby, everything changed. I would never be able to just think about me anymore as my actions would directly affect you. I will be the role model to you and I will be the first person in this world that will show you what love is. There has never been anyone like you in my world before and I still can’t believe how instantly I fell in love with you. When someone says they don’t believe in love at first sight they must not have been lucky enough to become a parent like me.

I will never forget the way you smelt as you were laid on my chest for the first time. I felt exhausted, relieved , overwhelming emotions of love and fear of how I was now responsible for this tiny person for the rest of my life. From that day I became a mother which is something I will cherish dearly until my dying day. I had to learn quickly how to wash a baby, dress a baby and how to feed, which was hard to begin with and nothing like when I had played with dolls as a child. You needed me and were relentless with your needs, but I sacrificed it all as I wanted to do it all for you.

I cherished my time feeding you, taking you for walks and rocking you to sleep, as you are not just my child, but also my friend. I would sometimes get you out of your cot, still asleep and sit with you in a chair rocking you and stroking your face, desperately trying to remember the way you felt in my arms. You soon grew, much quicker than I had anticipated and were soon toddling around my house, causing destruction. We started going for walks to the park, just us two, to feed the ducks and I can honestly say I was so happy in your company. We spent many a day cuddled on the sofa, playing dolls and painting together, then the day came where you had to leave me.

You ran off without a second look back through your classroom doors and began a life away from me. I wasn’t there all day to help, guide or teach you right from wrong and I missed you terribly. I still had your baby brother at home, but I missed having my darling little girl with me. When I collect you from school my heart fills with love and I’m so happy to hear your stories and what you have learnt today, but I’m secretly jealous that someone else gets you. I loved the day you told me about the dinosaurs and how they were ‘stinct’ and then asked if I knew any of them.

The days we have together are not as often now and when I reach for your hand to hold, you soon let go to be free, ready to explore the world on your own. I know at bedtime no one does bedtime stories as well as me and that you will make any excuse to keep me in your bed just one more minuet longer. I will hold you as long as you let me, kiss you on the forehead, stroke your hair and breath you in. You will never stop being my little girl and the promises I made to you when you were born will be forever. You are my love, my darling, my baby and I will be with you forever.

 

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I am the selfish mother

I am the selfish mother, which is something pre children I would have never dreamed of becoming. I make sure I have adequate time away from my children, I buy myself treats, I go to the gym and leave my child in a crèche. I am more than happy to book weekends away with friends and have nights out getting drunk and I feel no shame in this. I go to work and feel no guilt leaving my children for the day, as I get adult conversation and money to treat myself. I lock myself away in my bedroom whilst my husband watches the children so I can write my blogs or even sit on Facebook in peace. I even have long baths and leave my husband in charge of the chaos. I sometimes ignore my children and I don’t jump up for their every request. The playdoh and art supplies stay firmly in the cupboard and comes out if I can be bothered.

I am a selfish mother and that suits me fine. I spent so much time trying to give my children every ounce of me and the consequences were not good. I tried to do too much and I got to breaking point and wasn’t able to care for my children properly because of this. I will never become that emotionally and physically drained mother again as my children were not getting the best of me. For me to be a good mother I need to look after myself first so I can look after them. I am again enjoying being a mother and I am again capable of giving my children quality time that they deserve.

I used to force myself to take the children out constantly and felt guilty if they were stuck in whilst I had to do the housework. I used to spend every penny I had on my children’s clothes and shoes when I reality they didn’t need as much as I was giving them. I am strict on bedtime so I get my evenings to myself again, as this is my time and it is important to me for my mental wellbeing. My children are my priority, I love them dearly and their needs are met but I can be selfish whilst this is achieved. As a mother we are told we need to sacrifice everything, our bodies, our looks, our time, our friends, our money and that really isn’t fair. My husband has given up a lot to be a father, but he isn’t the one who has to drop everything at the drop of a hat if a child is ill, or plan his whole life around school pick-ups and after school clubs. I am the one that keeps this house running not because of my money I put in, it is because I plan every aspect of our lives to fit in and work perfectly. I had forgotten for some time to plan myself into this time for me to have a break, but I now am.

2017 will continue to be about me, my wellbeing, my happiness and the happiness pf our whole family. I deserve a break as much as anyone and I will take it.

 

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Lonely parenting and finding the support you need

Taking Miss J home from hospital for the first time was nothing short of magical. She was beautiful, happy, content and feeding well. My husband was lucky enough to be able to take two weeks off and we spent those couple of weeks visiting friends and family and going out for lunches. When my husband went back to work working 12 hour shifts and the visitors died down I started to realise the reality of being a mum with a husband who worked. I started to get lonely and realised that being at home with a baby all day long, with no one else to speak to was lonely and isolating. At first when Miss J came along we had so many visitors, but as she got older they dwindled, not for any fault of their own it was because life moves on and people have their own lives to live.

I didn’t have postnatal-depression with Miss J but I did struggle with anxiety so for me to go to baby grows was pretty scary experience and something I would get myself really worked up over. I forced myself into these groups but in the village where I lived at 24 I was one of the younger mum’s who went and felt a little bit unsure of myself. I continued to go and did make some lovely friends through these groups and me and Miss J loved doing the baby massage class together. My year at home with Miss J was pretty jammed packed full of different groups sometimes even two in one day and it honestly was the best year of my life. The baby stage is very short, even if at times it feels never-ending probably because you haven’t had eight hours sleep over three nights let alone one night. I felt it was important and helpful to me to find some friends who were going through the same stage as me so baby groups and also Facebook groups were so invaluable to me. When I did have to return to work when Miss J turned one I was honestly gutted that I wouldn’t have that time with her again. I went back to work three days a week and I cherished my days off in the week with her.

When Mr T came along I was naive to think it would be the same. I thought having Miss J at home would be helpful and would be nice as I could now have a proper conversation with her. Miss J wasn’t particularly impressed with this screaming and pooing thing that I spent most of my time feeding. She because quiet jealous and wouldn’t acknowledged his existence. As a mum you immediately feel guilty and that you have betrayed your first born child and with my husband going back to work I had never felt more alone and isolated. I tried desperately to get out the house but I found toddler groups just exhausting, as I had to keep an eye on Miss J whilst carrying Mr T with me. I wasn’t actually able to talk with anyone and found the whole experience stressful. Miss J decided to perfectly time stopping napping when her brother was a week old which made me I feel I was unable to have anytime to actually bond with my new baby or time to be able to appreciate my daughter and I desperately lonely in my house all day long. We tried getting out with walks to the park but Miss J would refuse to walk and want picking up whilst I tried to push the pushchair. I found that I wasn’t seeing or speaking to people for days and I would just sit at home crying and feeling like I was letting both of my children down.

When Mr T was 5 months old something had to give and I excepted that I needed to get help for postnatal-depression and anxiety. Luckily Miss J had started pre-school at this point and I was able to get a little bit of a break from her and she could get a break from me and her brother. I started taking antidepressants and started CBT which did help my anxiety. It has been a constant battle and something I am still battling. I’m enjoying my time more with the children and I am able to appreciate them more, but I do still have times where I feel isolated and lonely. Miss J now loves her little brother and also loves to go to school whilst Mr T has got a little easier and is happy to entertain himself for short periods of time so I can just about keep on top of the house.

The point to this post is that it does get easier and it is all momentary and will not last forever. They will soon grow, need you less and became their own little people. It’s important to involve yourself in local groups, even if it means trying out a few until you find one you really like. Connect on Facebook with local groups and also baby groups and you will soon realise you are not alone and that your feelings are quiet normal to feel lonely. I have made some lovely friends through Facebook, some who I have met a few times and some who only live in my phone, but these people are real people who care for me and support me as I do for them. Do what you need to do to get through the day and don’t feel guilty as you are doing a lot better job than you think you are. If someone offers to babysit, take them up on it, if no one asks, then ask them, if you can put you child in a crèche whilst going to the gym, then do it and if you can put an older child in preschool or nursery then do it. A happy mummy equals happy children so make sure you are looking after yourself so you can look after your children properly.

 

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The last year of my twenties and reflection

So on the 3rd of December I entered the last year of my twenties, eeekkk! I am now a year away from being a fully fledged grown up in the eyes of my ten-year old self. I always assumed that at thirty I would be married and starting a family and at 29 I have managed to be married for over five years with two children. My twenties have had their ups and downs and I have learnt so much in this time, but I am happy in myself to say goodbye to them next year and move on to the next chapter of my life. Will I feel any differently turning thirty? probably not. Will I have some grey hair? most probably.

I welcomed my twenties in true 2007 style by hosting a ‘Moulin Rouge’ themed birthday bash in good old’ Bedford town centre. We graced the presence of the sticky floored Litten Tree and then moved onto the crappy club over the road. Looking back at pictures on Facebook (I still can’t believe I’ve documented my drunken pictures for almost a decade) I can still see lots of familiar faces which makes me feel so happy that a decent amount of my friendships have lasted the test of time and the test of parenthood. At twenty I was carefree, single, living at home, at college and working in my now local pub The Fox and Hounds. I was single for a whole three months of my twenties until I met my darling husband, but that is a whole different story to blog about.

Welcoming in my twenties 'Moulin Rouge' style 2007
Welcoming in my twenties ‘Moulin Rouge’ style 2007

At 23 I got to marry my soul mate and love of my life. I may have been too young in some eyes, but for us we were just killing time until we said ‘I do’. Six weeks after getting married we found out we were expecting Miss J and we quickly had to grow up and become parents. It really has been such an amazing adventure making our own little family and becoming ‘The Goodwins’. I never would have believe at twenty, that I had all this to look forward to and that I would get excited about making our own Christmas cards and staying in every weekend whilst exchanging foot rubs.

The day I became a 'Goodwin'
The day I became a ‘Goodwin’

My twenties have taught me the value of friendship and how important the ones who have lasted the last decade are to me. My friends are basically my extra sisters and we’ve been through marriage, divorce, plenty of babies, breastfeeding, drunk nights out, miscarriage, depression, mental breakdown, loss of friends and loss of family. We have all stepped up for each other and supported one another when we’ve needed it. We have cried together, laughed together and cried laughing together. I have also learnt that it is never to old to make great friendships with new friends and to make friends with your friends, friends. I really am so luckily to have the most amazing ladies around me who will always have my back.

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Me and my babies

I spent my 29th birthday a bit more low-key to my 20th. I was on holiday in Fuerteventura, had a lovely meal out with my husband and a slight hangover the next morning. On my actual birthday we flew back to England and it was written off until the following day where we spent the day in pj’s and watched Disney. It was a perfect birthday as I had my family with me and a box of Lindor Chocolate Truffles.

We may have gained a few pounds and one of of us has lost most his hair, but we are still in love
We may have gained a few pounds and one of of us has lost most his hair, but we are still in love

The last 18 months haven’t been the best for me, obviously I am so happy and grateful to have Mr T in my life, but I’ve struggled so bad with anxiety and postnatal depression, that it has tarnished the memory. It has honestly been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with and something that has pushed me right to the very edge, but I survived it and fought it. I plan to make 29 a really great send off of my twenties and will embrace everything it throws at me. Not everyday will be perfect, not everyday will be easy, but I know I can find my happiness. I plan to keep blogging and giving it everything I can, as it really has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my life.

Bring on the next year of my life, my journey, my family, my friends and my thirties.

 

 

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Why I love CIO – Cuddle it out

If you read my blog you may have noticed that my recent posts have been a bit on the depressive side and you might think that I’m not actually enjoying parenting much right now. I going to write a series of posts on stuff that I love about parenting which I hope will be uplifting for me and you.

The first of the series is about why I love CIO and I don’t mean cry it out, I mean cuddle it out. I’m a firm believer in cuddling babies and not to let them cry it out to sleep. This is a personal choice for me and something I have read a lot into and I think it works best for all of us in our family. I completely respect parents choice to either do cry it out or controlled crying as I know it isn’t a choice you have made lightly and every child and family is different. What works for one doesn’t work for all.

For me when my baby has cried it has been my job to comfort him, I will feed him, cuddle him and let him fall asleep in my arms before placing him in his cot. I can’t listen to him cry as I become agitated and can feel my stress levels rising which is not good for my mental state of for my child. Now he’s 18 months he will sometimes have a little winge, but will settle himself in a couple of minuets. I am strict with our bedtime routine and we always have a story in his room, his milk in the dark and music cuddles before I transfer him to his cot. I did the same with his older sister and for us it has worked most of the time. We have had times with teething or sickness when things have been a little harder, but if I’m honest I have enjoyed the extra cuddles those times have brought and we have gradually phased in the old bedtime routine until he is settled enough to fall asleep.

There isn’t much I’m organised with, but my children’s bedtime is something I am strict with as for my own mental wellbeing I need to have my own time to unwind. We always have the battle at bedtime especially with oldest, but if we stay firm and consistent she accepts it, eventually. I find that bedtime is one of my favourite times of day in our house as Mr T goes up at 7 and has his milkie cuddles then it Miss J’s turn for a story and cuddles in her bed whilst she tells me about her day. These are the only times in the day where I get proper one on one time with both of my children and I love it. I want to enjoy the moment with then both and enjoy the hour it takes me every night to get them to sleep.

I personally think that CIO is conditioning a child to sleep who’s emotional needs are not met. research has shown that this is damaging. I’m very aware that I have anxiety issues which I think have stemmed from my own childhood relationship with my dad. See my dad isn’t a bad person but the way he acted around me has made me extremely anxious. The reason he is that way he is probably from the way that he was parented and so on. I am trying to break the cycle by gentle parenting my children and I want them to grow up feeling confident, reassured and content.

It has been proven that children who’s needs are always met are more confident whilst some people still think it’s the opposite and makes a clingy child. Miss J was a shy baby and toddler and wanted lots of reassurance, she wanted me close and was often clingy, I refused to leave her with people unless I knew she was comfortable and I never pushed her into a situation she wasn’t happy with. Even now when she’s a little shy she still stuffs her hands down my top as its a reassurance thing to her that she did as a baby. Miss J on her first day of school looked around, cuddled and kissed me and walked off on her own. Everyday she has been happy and confident to go out into the big wide world without me so I’m certain all those cuddles haven’t done her any harm to become an independent little girl.

Mr T is a pretty confident toddler and is more than happy to be left with anyone. He’s much easier to get to sleep as a toddler than his sister and will happily lay down in his cot awake with some music and fall asleep. Sometimes I wish he would want cuddles more, as I love them so much, but his sister is still the cuddlier out of the two. Mr T is still breastfed and shockingly still confident and not attached to my nipple every second of the day. I think a lot of it is down to personalities as Miss J is very sensitive and like me which is fine.

I’m not the perfect mummy but I give the best mummy cuddles in the world according to Miss J and her opinion is one a care deeply about. I love to cuddle it out with both of them.

Read about cry it out here

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The great dummy debate

I am open to admit that I have a dummy addict! Mr T loves his dummy as much as he loves his boobie milk, which again he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Mr T is 18 months old now and I’m feeling the pressure when out that he is being seen as too old from some people to have the plastic thing shoved in his gob.

Am I a lazy parent for still letting him have his dummy? Possibly on some level I am, but it provides him comfort when tired or teething and means that my ears get a break from him whingeing for five minuets then that’s fine with me. If you don’t like it then shove off, as I honestly don’t see the problem. Too many people seem to think that they can tell you what to do on parenting when we all know that one size does not fit all.

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My own mother hates dummies and I never had one as a child so instead I used to try to fit my fist in my mouth (I can still do it now, classy) and my teeth were ruined. In total I had four braces from ages 9 through to 14 and I still have one on the back of my teeth. I think I would prefer that my child has a dummy which van be taken away instead of a thumb, fingers or fist. Since Mr T has come along she has changed her stance on dummies.

For me in the baby days it gave me a chance to comfort my baby whilst out and about when I didn’t have the chance to feed my baby immediately. I know for many breastfeeding mums they have felt able to feed where ever and when ever, but for me I wanted to be sat somewhere comfortable and discreet to feed. That is purely a personal preference and I admire people who can feed openly.

Mr T was given his dummy a couple of days after being born just like his big sister. I was told by a midwife with Miss J that I may as well give up breastfeeding there and then for giving her a dummy before we were established breastfeeding, well she got to year breastfeeding so I believe that to be a load of old tosh. If it wasn’t for the dummy and me getting a break from comfort sucking I wouldn’t have probably carried on past a couple of weeks so for me it was my saviour.

Mr T become very attached to his affectionately called ‘doo-doo’ soon after birth, as with his reflux the suckling eased the pain for him. Now he’s talking more I am making a conscious effort to take it away from him so it doesn’t hinder him in any way, but at bed time the dummy comes out plus a spare for his hand and he happily sleeps a full twelve hours for me, every night.

The time will come when we have to say goodbye to his dummy, but whilst he naps in the day happily we won’t be parting ways anytime soon. I had made the promise with myself that when Miss J stopped her daytime naps we would say goodbye to her dummy and at 3 years and 2 weeks old it happened and she accepted it well. We said goodbye to them and chucked them away and she happily become a ‘big girl’. I think Mr T might be a little harder to get off the dummy when the time comes, but as it stands now he is happy which makes me happy.

 

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To love someone with postnatal depression

To love someone with postnatal depression must be incredibly hard and exhausting at times and requires so much patience. My darling husband has really been my rock especially over the last 18 months and has been a constant cheerleader to me. He has seen me at my worse, he has seen me broken, he has seen me hate myself and has still been able to love me. I have screamed at him, taken out my frustrations on him, blamed him and cried on him and yet he still tells me he loves me. My postnatal depression has probably directly effected my husband the most as with my children I have hidden emotions and shielded them as much as I can. My darling husband has seen it all and seen me broken and I need to thank him for what he has done for me.

We met when I was 20 years old on a night out in a local pub and I’ve always said if it wasn’t for texting our relationship would never have taken off. My husband is not one with his words and is a listener not a talker, but his kind eyes and warm hugs have always made me feel safe and secure. We were young, carefree and spent most of our time in each others arms not caring about what was going on in the outside world, we had fallen in love deeply and my world was now centred around you. I’ve always wanted children and it was clear from early on in our relationship that my husband wanted this too and I knew he would make a brilliant father and husband. After three and a half years of dating me tied the knot in my local church and I was living the fairytale I had always dreamed of. Six weeks after our wedding I found out I was pregnant with our first child and I honestly couldn’t have been happier if I tried. We decide two years later to add to our family and Mr T made his appearance quickly after. Things weren’t the same this time though. I felt sad, tearful, anxious, depressed and lonely. I was unable to connect with you and I was pushing you away and I felt like I hated you for leaving me for work all day on my own. My life had been changed and put on hold and I felt you could escape this shit storm and still have your own life. I didn’t know how much I was hurting you and when at work all you did was worry about me.

My body had been ruined, my confidence and self-esteem had been shattered, but you still found the time to tell me I was beautiful and that you loved me. You would remind me that I was a good mother, even though I didn’t believe it myself and was consumed with guilt of not matching up to this perfect mother I had built up in my own head. Every night before bed you still cuddled me even though I edged away from you, you were patient, not angry or frustrated with me when you had every right to me. You have understood that I have been unwell and have been able to still love me, which makes you an incredible and kind human.

I owe you my life as without you I’m not sure how I would have survived this. I owe you my sanity when at times it has been sketchy, but you have reassured me that I am still me underneath it all. No one has every loved me the way you do and I promise you that no one else will either. Five years ago when you made me your wife and we said our vows I meant them, but today I know we both truly know what they mean and that we will never break them. I love you from the bottom of my heart and will forever keep fighting for us and our children.
‘I, Michelle, take you, Tony
to be my husband,
to have and to hold
from this day forward;
for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish,
till death us do part,
according to God’s holy law.
In the presence of God I make this vow. 13/08/2011

A letter to myself in the depths of depression

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