Self-care with a new baby

Self-care with a new baby

My ‘baby’ is almost two now and I’m still very unsure if a baby number three will ever be on the cards so this is really a reflective post on self-care I wish I had implemented with a new baby. My daughter is now almost five and son was two a few weeks ago and my experiences were completely different, with my first I took to it easily and was back up in no time, whilst with my son I had terrible postnatal depression which I think was contributed to my lack of self-care in the early days post delivery.

If I do ever become a mother again this is how I would self-care better.

  1. I’m a pretty determined person if I put my mind to it and I was desperate to get out and about with the new baby and prove that again I was this perfect earth mother second time around. I was naive to think that two children wouldn’t be much harder and that I would heal in the same way. I was emotional and physically drained and I should have slowed down.
  2. I was pretty strict with my first with visitors and my second I let things slip. It was overwhelming not just for me but for my oldest. Miss J needed time to adjust to a new baby and we didn’t give her the chance.
  3. I wish I had treated my body better. I was so focused on keeping everybody else happy that I neglected myself. I had very low iron in pregnancy and required an iron transfusion after giving birth second time. I wish I had taken Spatone Iron earlier to help with my iron levels. If a third ever does happen I will be taking it throughout my pregnancy.
  4. My first labour was a real struggle and required a fair amount of stitches. The time it took to heal was long and using the toilet was a very scary experience. When Mr T came along I luckily only grazed, but second time I was clued up and had a jug of warm water ready for toilet trips and I took many salt baths which I really think helped make me recover so quickly.
  5. Breastfeeding first time was tough and I spent a fair amount of time crying through the pain.  With my first child I remember desperately waiting for our local shop to open on a Sunday morning so I could send hubby to buy some formula, whilst I was waiting for my milk to come in. I know some people are really against it, but it helped me carry on breastfeeding when I was struggling so much. With my second I had a carton just in case and never had to use it.
  6. Do your reasearch on a good breast pump. First time I went for a brand I knew and it was rubbish, second time I really looked into it and found a great Medela Swing pump which enabled me to pump and store milk.
  7. Close the curtains and air your breasts if they hurt and stock up on lanolin cream, Lansinoh seemed to work best for me.
  8. First time around I was desperate to get back into my clothes and I was ‘fortunate’ enough that I actually lost 20 Ibs in the first five months of pregnancy, so after delivery I was skinnier than before. Second time around I wasn’t so lucky and still haven’t lost it two years on. If there is a next time I will not got hung up on this and will embrace the leggings post delivery.
  9. Accept help if offered and ask for help when needed. I really wish I would have asked for help and accepted in more in the early days with baby number two. Miss J probably would have benefited from some time away from the new baby and I needed time to bond with my new baby.
  10. Make the most of box sets. I loved box sets with my first child, but with my second it was mostly spent watching kids TV. I wish instead of going insane watching Paw Patrol whilst I had a baby stuck to my boob that I had got out my tablet. There is no harm in watching TV and just staying awake.
  11. For some reason with my second I felt that I shouldn’t nap and as soon as my hands were free I would attempt to clean, I wish I had just laid my head down on the sofa and just rested my eyes for five minutes whilst my oldest watched some TV.
  12. With both children as I breastfed I felt like I had to be with them every moment of the day. I wish I had taken the time when hubby was home to pop out for an hour on my own between feeds or even go for a walk. Having a baby is all-consuming and sometimes you just alone time.
  13. I wish I would have expressed how I really felt. I bottled it up and I wish I would have been honest with myself and say how it really was. I didn’t feel confident enough to really start expressing my thoughts until Mr T was 16 months old and I started to write it down in this blog. Once I started to express how I felt, I then could make sense of it and let go of guilt.
  14. I really wish I had known about mindfulness earlier and took time out to mediate, relax and be present in the moment. It’s done wonders for my mental wellbeing and it really is one of the best self-care tools you can use.
  15. Own your parenting decisions and don’t let people make you feel guilt. Do what works for you and your baby and don’t let anyone else try to make you feel guilty. We are all trying to do the best by our children so don’t let someone limited perspective make you feel bad.

Having a new baby whether it’s your first or fifth is difficult and a big transition for you all. Be kind to yourself and remember unless you look after yourself first you can’t look after your baby to the best of you abilities. If anyone has any other self-care tips to add please let me know in the comments.

A special moment with both my children
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How to help someone with depression who won’t ask for help

I’ve been asked a few times how you help someone struggling through depression, especially when they seem to not want help themselves. It’s a tricky one and not one I have all the answers to, but I want to say what has helped me most.

I am great at pretending that I’m ok, but the closest to me can often sense when I am struggling. I often go on the route of shutting myself off, not writing, staying off social media and not replying to messages. I shut down and by doing this I am cutting myself off and making the problem worse. The whole time I am screaming from the inside for someone to ask if I am ok.

I find it much easier to write than talk and my friends know they are more likely to get a response over text than and phone call, but at times I can be very brief and dismissive. When depression is kicking me down I feel I lose the ability to speak, to explain and ask for help. It’s scary and very isolating to feel like you want to scream, but are too scared to do so.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is just to turn up, be patient, empathetic and let them open up naturally. Ask if they are ok, but care about their answer and give them time to express. Not everyone is the same, but by taking the steps to ask if someone is ok, you are helping and giving them a chance to open up.

With depression I often have felt paranoid and thought people have been talking about me, mocking me and bitching about what a burden I am. There is nothing worse than feeling like a burden to someone and it makes me shut down immediately, feeling worse off than when I started. Be reassuring, without patronising and be honest and open up about your own feelings. By sharing your own experiences you are helping them not feel so alone. Loneliness and depression go hand in hand.

If a friend or loved one is struggling with depression don’t just offer an open door, you need open the door for them, pick them up and ask them if they are ok. You are not intruding, you are showing them love that they need and a chance to share their problem. It’s not easy and can be lots to take on, but the gift you can give to someone by being open could save a life.

We have a responsibility as a society to help others, show them love and respect. We all get caught up in our own lives, but take a moment to ask someone if they are ok and listen intently to their response. Pick up on clues in their behaviour and remind them they are not alone and never will be. Your friendship is a gift.

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Becoming a mother made me forget who I was

Becoming a mother made me forget who I was

Becoming a mother made me forget who I was and it was tough. I had to give up so much including my sleep, my full-time wage, jeans that fit and my perky boobs. The person I am today almost five years into motherhood looks very different to the lady I used to know. My make up isn’t done with the same care to attention, my clothes are more comfort than fashion and my hair is in desperate need of a trip to the hairdressers. Why did I lose myself in all this and become ‘just’ mum. Have I lost my true identity and become someone I feared?

The truth is my identity has changed and has not be lost, I have adapted, changed and evolved. I am now superhuman as I can cook a baby in nine months, nourish them with just my milk for six months and survive on little sleep.

Days before children were spent at either work, my bed or the local pub, it was all pretty meaningless and time was just a stop-gap until I started my real life. I know motherhood isn’t for everyone, but for me it was my purpose and my reason to grow.

I now spend my time juggling between being a mum, a worker, a home keeper and a role model and in honesty I do them all pretty well. I have learnt to divide my time (not always well) and priorities so I can give the very best of me. Time off is now appreciated, my days are filled with laughter, my heart is always full and my time is precious.

Becoming a mother made me lose my old self and discover a new self. I am better than before, smarter, happier, determined and focused. My family are my driving force and everything before just seems like a distant dream. My life before becoming a parent was enjoyable, exciting and often dangerous, but my life now has purpose and it’s helped me grow.

Becoming a mother made me forget who I was, but I gained so much more in return.

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#MaternalMHMatters

Maternal mental health awareness week

Today marks the first day of the very first maternal mental health awareness week #MaternalMHMatters so I thought I would write a post about my experience of postnatal depression now I am out of the other side. This week marks two years since my son was born and the start of my long battle of postnatal depression and maternal mental health problems. A child’s birthday is a time to celebrate and reminisce about all the amazing memories you have made in the first two years of life, but for me as a PND survivor it also reminds me of the very tough battle we had to overcome. I say we, as PND didn’t just affect me, it affected my baby, my daughter, my husband, family and friends. I had everyone rotting for me and encouraging me, but until I found the strength to fight it, they were powerless to really do much.

Many memories of my early days at home are tarnished, I didn’t understand why I was struggling so much more second time around, I didn’t know how to stop the negative thoughts and guilt and felt at PND’s mercy, powerless and broken. I muddled through and painted on a smile, but with my husband I couldn’t keep up the facade and the mask slipped. He saw me broken, distant, fragile and angry, he didn’t know why and he didn’t know how to help. My maternal mental health was at breaking point and I needed help, fast.

One morning I was struggling through the piles of washing, whilst my husband slept off his night shift when I decided to dry the clothes outside in the sun. My garden was full of clothes drying and I finally felt like I had a mini defeat that day, then the heavens opened and monsoon season decided to reach North Bedfordshire. Despite my efforts, everything was soaked through and yet again I was back at square one with wet clothes, nothing clean in the house and Mr T crying in the background wanting feeding, again. I collapsed on the floor and once the tears started they wouldn’t stop. Miss J confronted me and cuddled me and kept telling me it would be ok, which made me feel even worse. I knew then and there I needed to speak to my Doctor and get the help I needed, I couldn’t keep pretending and couldn’t let my daughter keep seeing me like this.

It took me five months to finally get help and I really wish I had done it sooner. I missed so much of my sons first five months of life and let the guilt rip me apart and the anxiety take over. Maybe if I had got help sooner my PND wouldn’t have lasted two years, I don’t know. The antidepressants didn’t work for me, but I just assumed I needed to keep fighting and because the antidepressants I was on was the safest option when breastfeeding I thought I had no choice of changing them. Every few weeks I would have them increased, yet nothing was changing and everything around me was crumbling away. Eventually I saw a doctor who listened to me, answered my fears and changed me on to something that actually worked. It wasn’t an easy journey and plenty of ups and down, but eventually I noticed I was having more good days then bad days. I saw hope and clung on to it.

These two years have been tough, draining, but they have also taught me many other things. I know the importance of life, appreciate people for their faults and I have found who I am again. Sitting in hospital in February of these year with an IV in my arm after attempting suicide made me realise that I couldn’t go this far down again, I was lucky to be found when I was and I have thought so many times how different it could have been. I am unconditionally loved in this moment, I always have been and I always will be. I need to be healthy for my family, let go of guilt, nurture my soul and gradually heal. PND is shit, but it can change, it can heal and you can recover. I did it and I now love my life.

Share you own stories of maternal mental health, support others, don’t stigmatise and we can fight this together. #MaternalMHMatters

Read my blog post on how to help someone with postnatal depression

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The obstacles of accessing mental health care as a mother

I need to have a bit of a rant about the obstacles I have had accessing mental health care as a mother in England. I feel like I am banging my head against a brick wall, trying to get help with my mental health problems, whilst finding someone to look after my child. Just like anything to do with parenting it is a juggling act and since the birth of my second child two years ago I have felt a constant struggle to access support for my postnatal depression, anxiety and borderline personality disorder. Things got so bad for me at points that I was under CRISIS team care twice and I attempted suicide.

After lengthy waits and weakening mental health you finally get an appointment for cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and then you are met with the challenge of who will look after the baby? Like so many of us we don’t have access to childcare to go to these appointments and we miss out on crucial help. I have just completed CBT which took 3 months to get my first appointment and between appointments I had a minimum wait of 3 weeks between seeing someone and maximum of 6 weeks. CBT was helpful, but I had to be proactive and help myself as much as I could, which I couldn’t do when I was at my weakest. Not only could I not get appointments with my therapist I also couldn’t find someone to watch my child.

I have found this a relentless battle for accessing mental health care. I didn’t get everything I could out of CBT as I just wasn’t able to see someone enough and on a few occasions I had to cancel appointments when I needed it most, as I had no one who could help me with childcare. Like many people in my generation my parents still work, my other mum friends work and my husband also works long, unsociable hours. Between having the school runs to do with my oldest child and finding someone to watch my son for a couple of hours it was proving impossible at times.

I tried for over a year to get better by seeing various people, counselling, CBT and a private therapist and each time I had to stop before I felt ready, because of childcare. I am now starting diareltic behavioural therapy (DBT) which will be for 2 hours, once a week between 2-4pm, this is a group sessions and only runs once a week, so my hands are tied. I am doing everything I can to sort childcare, but I know I probably won’t be able to attend all sessions because of childcare issues. DBT is a fantastic therapy for people who suffer with borderline personality disorder and will give me ways in which to control my emotions and impulses. I have been desperate to start this since January and think it really could change my life for the better.

What annoys me most is that I may be seen as someone who isn’t using these services properly and that I am wasting time and money. I need these therapies to be a better person mentally and overall a better mum, yet nothing is done to help me go to these appointments. I feel I am doing all I can in my power to get help, yet I am forever struggling. I feel like I am wasting time and money and I am powerless to change things. How can I get childcare when there is none available?

It annoys me that I can’t drop my child off in a nursery (pre booked without a contract) for a few hours and pay for it as I go. I literally have my hands tied and no way of accessing the help I need. I am wasting NHS money. Wouldn’t it be worth the government looking at group CBT sessions for other mentally ill mum’s that had a crèche. All mum’s grouped together 1 hour a week whilst the children are watched. Wouldn’t this save the NHS money and also help mothers be seen quicker. After all we are a mother and we need our mental health to be looked after quickly and effectively. Could we not utilise the children’s centres we already have around us to make this a reality?

It still feels in this day and age as mother you are just expected to suck it up and get on with it and this infuriates me. I tried to do that and I had a mental breakdown in the process and then required CRISIS team care with daily visits, costing the NHS dearly. If I had been able to access the care I needed earlier I probably wouldn’t have needed this extra support and hospital admissions. In this country the go to support from the doctor is a prescription of antidepressants and possibly a visit from the health visitor. Things need to improve and become easier to access.

I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this and what you think could be done?

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10 facts on why you are a better mum than you think

10 facts on why you are a better mum than you think

No doubt if you’re a great mum you are probably questioning your abilities as a mum through one decision or another and you are trying to think of ways to be a better mum. We are expected to do it all, raise a chid, run a house, have a job and still look presentable. Some people make it look easy, whilst other like me just look frazzled. I guess some of us are better than others of keeping up the appearance of keeping your shit together and that’s great, but for others we burn out, struggle and we question ourselves as a mum. I’ve written 10 facts on why you are a better mum than you think.

 

  1. Because you care enough to even read this. Just by questioning your ability as a mum shows how much you care.
  2. You have sacrificed something in your life, probably lots which makes you selfless.
  3. You priorities your money and pay your bills to keep a roof over your children’s home. You will go without to make sure your children have security.
  4. Your children are fed, warm, have a safe home and probably have far too many toys.
  5. You have a child who loves and needs you. That makes you special. In their eyes you are amazing and they idolize you.
  6. You are teaching your children important life skills everyday. You show them  understanding, empathy, patience just to name a few.
  7. You are showing your children love. Your love for them imprints and shows them what to base love on as they grow.
  8. You have made mistakes, but you have also learnt from them. You are showing your children how to learn from mistakes and that no one is perfect.
  9. You don’t give up, you keep trying to be better parent.
  10. You love them fiercely like you could have never imagined and would protect them with your own life.

You are a better mum than you think and your love for your children is unconditional. We all have moments when we shout too loud, let our emotions get the better of us or have to make a sacrifice in one way or another. We are not bad mum’s, we are human, we have little ones dependent on us and it is hard work at times. Be kind to yourself, you’re doing a great job.

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How to become a happy mum

How to become a happy mum

I have been a parent for almost five years and I’ve learnt a think or two in this time. I’ve gone from control freak, over protective mum, to having a mental breakdown and now I am the happy mum. To become a happy mum it took time, lots of realisation and took the strength to finally let go of guilt around my decisions.

I’m not an organised person and even though I have the best intentions it just doesn’t happen for me. I always forget dates, double book and never have the children’s stuff ready for the morning. I think I like to be rushed in some ways as it actually makes me productive and sets me up for the day. My friends don’t hold this against me though and even know it’s worth reminding me a couple of times about something important. I  swear far too often and Miss J has dropped the ‘F’ bomb, I may have sniggered slightly, whilst in my best grown up voice I explained that it wasn’t ok to use that word and mummy is naughty sometimes. Yes I know it’s not great that my child knows some swear words, but she also knows she is not to use them and also mummy isn’t perfect and makes mistakes. When I’m not swearing I sigh, all day long I sigh from one thing to the next, whilst probably muttering ‘for ducks sake’ under my breath. I find this whole parenting work hard work and sometimes very monotonous. I hate folding clothes endlessly, forever picking up messes left around the house and I moan about it LOTS.

Some days I get up, do my make up, get organised, take amazing photos of our beautiful life and others I’m just winging it with a messy bun that resembles Miss Trunchbulls. Some days I look content, happy, smiling and skipping along, enjoying every second of this idyllic family life and being a happy mum. Other days I’m just fighting a losing battle and counting down the hours until bedtime. My point is it’s tough, we can’t always get it right every day and there is nothing wrong with that. Parenting is a hardcore job, you deal with the good, the bad, the ugly and the just dam right minging at times. There is nothing to feel guilty about if you don’t like it all the time, just like if you have a partner you probably don’t like them all the time. They might be our kids, but they can still be pretty horrible people at times and we don’t always have to get on with them.

We are influenced by social media and also the media that we should love, embrace and never moan about parenting as we are lucky enough to become mum’s, when in fact it’s a tough job which we are usually trying to manage alongside a house, a job and dare I say it, a life outside of this. We are told what way we should feed our babies milk, what nappies, what age to wean. We are still be dictated to and made to feel guilty about what we choose. We need to remember we are the baby’s mother and we know what is best for our family and we shouldn’t have to explain or defend these decisions.

Being a happy mum isn’t a race or a competition and we shouldn’t compare ourselves. We are all just winging it and probably feeling guilt over some of the choices we have to make. I bet making that choice to return back to work wasn’t done because you don’t want to see your child, it was done as it was best for your family. I bet deciding to be a stay at home was made as it was the best decision for your family. everyone’s family life is different and one size doesn’t fit all and that is nothing to be ashamed about.

Put the kids in front of the TV, have a hot drink, scroll through your Facebook and take 5 minuets for yourself. Yes they are only small once, but remember you deserve to still be you whilst being a mum. Let go of guilt, forget the mess and enjoy being you. You are an individual and you are more than a mother. Let’s all start being happy parent.

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my 11 top tips for getting happy

My 11 top tips for getting happy

I am not a therapist and definitely not a doctor, but I have found ways of getting happy again. I’ve been in a rotten place and I’ve been diagnosed with postnatal depression, anxiety and borderline personality disorder. I’ve had experience on how to change my life for the positive and I’ve worked extremely hard the last six months to dig myself out of a dark place. I’ve put together some of my tips which have worked for me.

  1. Have a therapy – Therapy for people can mean different things, I recommend having a councillor to talk over your worries before they become problems so you can make sense of them. If you think a more direct therapy may help then look into Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. For me CBT has really changed my behaviour and made anxiety easier. Read my blog post here.
  2. Have a creative outlet – For many years I neglected giving myself the time and space to have a creative outlet. Painting, drawing, colouring in can all be amazing to take your brain away from thinking to just letting it be. For me now my creative outlet is writing and it also doubles up as a great therapy. If you aren’t artistic then try gardening, baking, cooking, dancing and I’m sure you’ll find something you love. If in doubt think back to when you were a child and what you enjoyed doing.
  3. Practice mindfulness – Mindfulness without a doubt works in my mind. It has helped me to switch off, relax and take notice of my own body. It’s great for anxiety and lovely way to unwind before going to sleep.
  4. Get good sleep habits – I try (and sometimes fail) to stay off my phone an hour before bed every night and either practice mindfulness (breathing) or read a simple book (nothing that requires too much thinking).
  5. Make a weekly happiness list – When I was going through a really tough time I found this really helped me to see even on the worse weeks I still had moments of happiness.
  6. Do something you love and be selfish – Once a week if you can, do something just for you. Have your favourite dessert and watch a good film, a bath with you favourite bathbomb or a coffee with a friend. Make sure it happens and make the time for yourself.
  7. Walk – Get outside the house and walk, it’s good for you. If you need to layer up with lots of layers or wear a rain coat it doesn’t matter just get out. You’ll always feel happier  and see things from a different perspective outside your four walls and the exercise is good for you.
  8. Right off a bad day – Some days nothing will go right, right it off and start a fresh the next day. Every bad day we learn something new to move forward with and put it in the past. Being happy isn’t possible 100% of the time, we just need to learn to deal with the negative in a positive way.
  9. Read – I love reading, but again neglected it for a years. I now always have a few books on the go. Like TV shows I read what I’m in the mood for at the time, so sometimes it’s self-help/motivation and others its romantic book. I love nothing more than getting lost in a book I love.
  10. Positive Affirmations – I love a good affirmation and have a few written around the house that I read and repeat. It’s amazing how just saying something out loud can have such a positive effect on your mind.
  11. Get the family involved – Recently I have been trying to get my daughter involved, we’ve been practising different yoga moves, breathing and affirmations. It makes my daughter happy, I enjoy the company and I know how much good it is doing her.

In my experience the more you do something the easier it gets to make it part of your routine. I hope these tips to getting happy help and I would love to hear some tips from yourself.

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I think I just beat depression

Every day I have woken up, depression has been there, hiding in the background, like a dementor draining all happy thoughts away. The other day I woke up, just like any other and got out the bed, had a shower, which was interrupted by a half asleep Miss J needing a wee. I dried off and settled down to do my make up with my children sat in my bed, cuddling and the TV on with cartoons. I stared at myself in the mirror and something had changed, had shifted and I didn’t recognise my own reflection. We pass through life often not noticing the small changes until it adds up and becomes a big change. As I stared at my reflection I realised the woman staring back at me was happy, I was happy, I had changed and depression had left me.

I had been so busy with life and our routines that I hadn’t even noticed that my depression had finally gone. I wasn’t just having the few odd good days anymore I was having most days which were good. I was able to wake up in the morning, deal with everyday stresses without crumbling under pressure. I am taking care of my children, going out with them, enjoying them and enjoying life. Life is no longer this foggy, dark, monotonous and painful existence, but actually a fun, happy and worthwhile existence.

My hard work had finally paid off and I had ridden the storm out. The positive thinking, mindfulness, reading and therapy had finally given me that light bulb moment. I was in charge of my own life and own happiness and I needed to make the changes to let happiness in. I had accepted myself and my flaws, let go of guilt and finally got my life back and it feels amazing.

I know that I will still have challenging days and that my depression could even come back, but I now have proof in my own life that things can change and turn around. You can reach rock bottom and climb back up to the top. You can make plans again, you can smile, you can still be you again. I had become me again, but better, I was more aware, kind, understanding and appreciative. I can see things from both sides and have great empathy for everyone going through their own personal battles.

What has depression taught me in these last two years? It has shown me that I am far stronger than I ever realised and deep down I am a kind person with a big heart. It has shown me that I am a fantastic mother, because even when I was at my worse I felt immense guilt about my children. Even in midst of it all I still fed, washed and cuddled my children even when I couldn’t take care of myself. I still protected them and shielded them the best I could. When I was struggling most I was still trying to be selfless to protect them.

This is just my battle and you shouldn’t draw comparisons if you are going through something similar. Everyone’s battle with mental illness is unique and has many variables. I was lucky as I always had a supportive husband next to me, I was able to pay to go privately to get the therapy I needed and I finally found an antidepressant that works for me. I am forever grateful to my husband who has stood by me, supported and loved me when I couldn’t love myself. His patience is admirable and his heart is pure and without him I couldn’t be the woman and mother I am today. I still have problems just like anyone else but I am in a place where I can work on them and become better, but for now depression can fuck right off.

 

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Mr T is turning two – Reflection

Mr T is shortly turning two and is no longer my little baby boy, but rather a tall toddler. Mr T has done well to holding onto his baby status for longer than his peers with his chubby cheeks, his late walking and reluctance to talk. If I’m honest I have loved keeping him a baby for longer and have savoured every second with my baby boy, but times are moving and he’s ready to graduate to a toddler. Mr T stopped having the boob last week, which makes him seem so much more grown up to me and has been surprising me daily with new words, he’s also had his first proper big boy hair cut which has turned him from cute to handsome.

Starting off Mr T had a bit of a rough time with horrible reflux and because he was a bit of a piggy and was still gaining weight the doctors weren’t concerned. He would scream all night and often go through five babygrows a night. I spent so much time googling and eventually found a pillow (babymoov cosydream) that helped him sleep in comfort and after many trips to the doctor I finally got some prescribed which helped. The reflux has finally stopped in the last few months and I no longer find puddles of sick around the house or him going blue and it’s one phase I am so happy to be out of.

I’ve always found Mr T to be more needy than his sister, he didn’t sleep well and always needed me around. I loved all the cuddled, but at times it was suffocating never having a second without him attached to me. Recently it’s all started to pay off and he’s finally found his independence to play and explore. Last week I managed to get him to stop breastfeeding, which was a huge step for us. I had planned to feed until a year like his sister, but we just kept going. I never thought I would be an extended breastfeeder, but I am now so happy I have. For the last six months he has only fed before bed so it hasn’t been an inconvenience, instead a nice part of our bedtime routine. Mr T has happily weaned and excepted that the milk has gone and I couldn’t be prouder of what a big boy he has become.

When I compare my two children I always feel a bit like he pulled the short straw having to divide his time with his sister and also having a mum who had postnatal depression. When the depression was at it worse I was forever blaming myself and letting the guilt eat me up about what a rubbish mum I was this time around. In reality I can now see, he was none the wiser to anything going on and I’ve done an amazing job over the last two years at being his mummy. The joys of coming out the other side is now seeing I did the best I could have done in the situation I was in and that is pretty amazing.

One thing that has shined in the last few months is Mr T’s personality, I really have a little comedian on my hands who will do anything to make someone smile. He really is a little sunshine and always such a happy little boy (besides when hungry), he actively is always trying to get people’s attention, just so he can show off how charismatic he is becoming. I’m certain he will be the class clown when he starts school and will keep us in stitches for many years to come. He’s honestly so engaging and I could just watch him for hours pottering about doing his little thing.

One thing that has always been easy with Mr T is his eating and something I am so grateful for after his ultra picky eater sister. I’ve always had that worry that he will also get more difficult, but ‘touch wood’ so far he is a real food lover. He was feasting on calamari and steak the other day and likes a good Thai curry.

All in all it’s been a good two years with Mr T, he has taught me so much and shown me such love and I can’t wait to watch his personality grow in the next year of his life. He is still called ‘The destroyer’ and doesn’t seem to be dropping that nickname anytime soon, but you have to admire his strong wilfulness. This boy will do great things.

 

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