Getting out of the comfort zone

Getting out of the comfort zone

It’s so easy in life to stay in your own comfort zone and not rock the boat too much. I did it for years and stayed in my bubble and let my anxiety fester into every aspect of my life, until I became so limited on what I could actually do. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) has been a huge help to me and I am finally getting out, enjoying life again and having plenty of new experiences.

This time last year I was just going back to work from maternity leave and I was feeling especially vulnerable and overwhelmed at the prospect. I was still in the middle of a battle with postnatal depression and anxiety had creeped into every aspect of my life. It was exhausting to constantly being in a state of fight or flight (usually always the latter) and I was becoming increasingly limited on what I could do in my day to day life. I was becoming a recluse and my enjoyment in life was dwindling away and it was feeding my depression. It was vicious cycle and I felt like I was fighting a losing battle.

Something had to change and that change would only come about if I changed. I needed to change my though processes first and CBT was a great stepping stone. CBT taught me so much and helped me question my thought process. I started off small just at first doing the food shop and then gradually built up. I faced my fears, proved my thoughts wrong and exposed myself to a new way to see things. I made sure once my CBT sessions stopped that I continued to read my book and put what I was taught into action when I felt anxiety creeping back in. It’s not always easy, but I have now been able to witness the benefits and I now have proof in my own mind that it works.

CBT has taught me how important it is to get out my comfort zone, not just to do the normal everyday things in life, but also giving me the courage to then try new and often scary things. The scariest thing I’ve done has been blogging as I’ve always been very self-conscious and aware of other people’s opinions of me. Blogging has left me exposed and it has really put myself out there. I’m not the best at spelling, grammar and am forever worrying that what I am writing is rubbish, but with support I feel I’ve found something I love, it gives back to me, helps me grow and it also gets me to try new things. I have found a passion, something that gives me so much and I also feel I am able to give back and hopefully help others.

The last 3 months I have really built myself up and got out my comfort zone on many occasions. Once you start the feeling can become quite addictive and I am forever accepting invitations to new and scary things I couldn’t imagine myself doing a few months ago. I am no longer scared and constricted by what I can and can’t do and it’s opened up a new world for me. Since I have started getting myself out my comfort zone everything else in my life has improved, my confidence, my depression, my anxiety and my overall wellbeing. I am getting new opportunities everyday and I love the feeling of excitement my life now brings.

Except new challenges and remember that you are the only person coming between making them a reality.

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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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Mr T's birth story

Mr T’s birth story

I love a good birth story, click here for Miss J’s and now Mr T is almost two I think it’s time to share the story of how he came into this world. I think watching One Born Every Minute has also inspired me to write it down. I had a pretty rotten pregnancy with Mr T with lots of bleeding at the start and I was told on our second scan at 8 weeks I had a large hematoma next to my placenta and I could lose the baby. I had eight scans in total, had awful SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunaction) and really struggled getting around in the second half of my pregnancy. I saw a Osteopath weekly to help with the discomfort, but felt stuck either at work or home, unable to get around with a toddler. I’m pretty sure this is where my depression and also anxiety started. I cancelled plans constantly and just stayed at home crying wishing for my pregnancy to hurry up and be over, thinking I would immediately feel better once the baby was here.

I started having some twinges at 35 weeks and ended up in hospital where it was determined that I was very anemic and tachycardic and needed to be put on iron tablets and I was sent home after monitoring. A week later I was sent back in with irregular contractions and was kept in for monitoring where things seemed to be progressing nicely. I had spoken of my desire for an epidural from the start after a succesful one after a very painful back to back labour with my daughter and my midwife was more than happy to oblige and send for one. The midwife decided it was time to break my waters, but before then she decided to tell me as I had polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid) that the babies umbilical cord could come out first and I would need to put my bum in the air and have an emergency c-section. I went tachycardic again, blood pressure was high and babies heartbeat went a bit crazy, so they held off and decided to put a cannulae in instead to check for preeclampsia. The midwife made four failed attempts, and plenty of squirting blood to get a cannulae in and then decided to send for an anaesthetist. Luckily the anaesthetist got it in first time and gave the midwife a telling off for buturing my arm and hand. With all the panic my contractions slowed right down and I was feeling a bit of an emotional wreck. My test for preeclampsia came back negative and I was sent off to the ward to ‘rest’. Anyone who has been on one of those wards, knows unless your sedated you don’t rest. By the next morning everything had settled, my iron was increased again and I was sent back home and they said they were certain they would see me again in a few days.

I went back to work the next day, I still can’t believe I managed to finish off my last couple of days until maternity leave started. Once maternity leave had started I was feeling pretty determined to get the baby out. I think having the whole experience of being in hospital with everything ready to go, to then being sent on your way home I was just ready to meet my baby and also I was terrified that when my waters broke the umbilical cord would come out first and I would have to call 999 like instructed to. In those few days I got pretty miserable sitting around bouncing on my ball with contractions starting and stopping. My husband was working 12 hour shifts and I was at home with a very energetic almost three-year old.

On the Saturday whilst bouncing about on my ball the news came on saying that Kate Middleton was in labour, all I thought was lucky bloody cow. My friend called to meet for lunch in town, but I declined as I really thought my waters would break if I went out. I felt like I could feel my waters bulging and in the end decided to drive to my mum’s for some company and help with my daughter. My husband was due to go from work straight to a friend’s house to watch a fight on TV and my sister insisted on coming over to my house for a Chinese. Contractions started to pick up again and my sister started to time them. My sister was my birth partner and was very anxious to get to the hospital, I knew the drill and knew I would be sent home and couldn’t be bothered with the fuss of getting my daughter out of bed. Things again calmed down and I managed to persuade my sister to leave. I went upstairs immediately and went for a number 2 (haha) when I noticed I was leaking and had no control over it, I thought I had become incontinent, then I thought maybe it was my waters. I laid on the bed for a few minutes as you are advised and then stood up, when I felt a huge gush of water. I immediately phoned my sister back who already had her phone on her lap when driving, as she had a feeling I would go into labour that night. My sister woke Miss J up to tell her she was going to be a big sister and we rushed off to drop a sleepy, confused Miss J with my parents and headed to hospital.

Hubby beat us to the hospital and I went up to be examined where I was told I was 2cm so I was sent home. I was convinced everything would be all go when my waters broke and all the contractions I had earlier, so I stayed at my sister’s house which is much closer to the hospital and my husband was sent off to watch the rest of the fight around a friend’s house. My waters kept going and going, but I didn’t even have so much as of a backache. I tried to sleep as best as I could and in the morning my sister dropped me back home so I could rest. I was due to go back to the hospital at 8pm to be induced so I decided to sort the house, have a shower and a long nap. Everything was in order and at 6pm I went to my mum’s for my requested dinner of pie. Everything was so calm and it was so surreal to drive around with no water around my baby. We went off to the hospital for 8pm and a pessary was inserted to hopefully induce labour.

Relaxing through a contraction.

I attempted to sleep with terrible heartburn and mild backache and my husband and sister were sent home for the night. Morning came and I was checked again and the midwife said she could still feel my hind waters so she broke them and I was put on a drip. contractions were manageable and I put off having the epidural and just had gas and air. Five hours in and I was 5cm’s dilated and things went from being ok to horrendous. I begged for an epidural which only made my bum cheek numb. My midwife had to go off on her break and another came into cover. I kept telling her I felt the need to push and she kept shouting at me that I wasn’t ready as I was only 5cm. I decided to push anyway just as my midwife came back and confirmed I was fully dilated and two pushes later my baby boy was delivered at 37 weeks. He was born at 6:01pm was grey, squished and a perfect 7 ib’s and 1 oz.

Born at 37 weeks weighing 7ibs 1oz

I was bleeding heavily after labour and was 50ml off being classed as hemmoraged. I was put on an iron transfusion and left to lay in bed for two hours unable to move. I managed to get Mr T to have a feed after struggling to get him to latch at first, but otherwise I was so exhausted I didn’t have the energy to really hold him. I was put on the high dependency ward at 11pm and my sister and husband were sent home. I was given tramadol to help with the pain in my hips and spent the night a bit off my face being handed a baby to feed. The next day I begged to go home and made out that I felt fine. My iron was still low and I was given tablets and was discharged after lunch.

Looking back I was no way ready to have gone home and I think the lack of iron contributed to my postnatal depression, I was bleeding for ten weeks after birth and was constantly exhausted but refused to go and get help. If I did it again I would have done things differently. Even though the pregnancy was tough the actual labour was really straight forward and I am so happy to have a perfect little boy in our family.

Happy nearly two years Mr T x

 

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How i'm learning to accept my personality disorder

How i’m learning to accept my personality disorder

Recently I’ve been asked how I’ve been able to be so accepting of my borderline personality disorder diagnosis. I’ve sat back and thought openly on why I have accepted it and why I haven’t let it destroy anymore of my life. The answer is I have accepted it as for me a diagnosis was almost a relief to know why I acted this way, why I was so emotional unstable and why I was so impulsive. I’m not saying I love this diagnosis or I am happy to be like this, but finally in my life I feel I’ve learnt to understand a big part of my personality.

Borderline personality disorder has ruled my life since I was a teenager, but like many people I was unaware, I just assumed I was just a really emotional person and even at times I was a bad person. The thing with borderline personality disorder it’s not always bad, I feel emotions really intensely the good and the bad. At times in my life I have felt such overpowering, wonderful emotions of happiness and love. I have at times cried happy tears and have felt so happy, I feel euphoric and like I can do anything I put my mind too. The other side is that at times I feel the lowest of the low and have intrusive and suicidal thoughts, but now I know that I have borderline personality disorder I do know that these mood instabilities are only temporary and they will even back out again.

Like most people with BPD I also deal with depression and anxiety. These disorders are all separate, but are strongly linked together and play a big part. Before I was diagnosed with postnatal depression after the birth of my second child my anxiety had already been causing massive issues for me throughout my pregnancy. Once my son was born it was quite apparent that the PND was making my borderline personality disorder worse. At the time I had no idea that I had borderline personality disorder, but looking back I was emotionally very unstable and would sit holding my son feeling a rush of love and crying with happiness to then feeling resentment towards him and complete detachment. It was an emotional rollercoaster and it all came to head this January when I tried to end my life. I have now started to recognise my triggers, which unfortunately I cannot avoid, but I  can understand a little better why my symptoms of BPD are getting worse at times.

Most people also assume like I once did that BPD was for life and that you could never be treated for it. Only twenty odd years ago BPD was thought to be a lifelong condition with no treatment. BPD sufferers have a high suicide rate, around 1 in 10 people and for someone who suffers with it I can see why that number is so high. The most effective treatment for BPD is dialectic behavioural therapy (DBT) which was created in the late 1980’s. DBT works in a similar way to cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) which works well for anxiety and depression. DBT in a nutshell is about accepting yourself as you are and making positive changes in your life. I won’t go into much more detail because if I am honest I really don’t know enough about it yet, as I am yet to start sessions. Knowing that there is a form of treatment does give me hope.

BPD has been a large contributing factor in me sabotaging goals in my life and that is why I have to write about it, as it is such an important therapy for me. Not only does it help me deal with my feelings, it potentially helps someone else, raises awareness and also keeps me focussed on a goal. So yes, I am accepting BPD as I have hope that one day I can say that I no longer have it and that I have overcome it.

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Six months into blogging - Where am I now?

Six months into blogging – Where am I now?

The Muddled Mother is officially six months old today and these last six months have been a bit of a rollercoaster. I started my blog initially as a way to just write down what I was feeling and to try and make sense of it all through my battle with postnatal depression. I honestly had never thought about blogging before or really even read any other blogs myself. I thought of myself as pretty basic with my writing skills and knew I was pretty useless with my grammar and spelling (I’m sorry, I am trying). After publishing my first post I was actually shocked it was getting read and even commented on and decided to show a couple of my closest friends. The feedback I was getting was so overwhelming, positive and I actually felt good about myself for the first time in a long time. I got brave and decided to write a couple more posts and then decided to go public over Facebook. It was a huge leap for me to be so open and honest about my struggles, but I felt comfort that people could resonate with how I was feeling and I got plenty of messages from old friends, new friends and strangers who pushed me to become open about my struggles.

Blogging has been tough for me as it has left me rather exposed and has made me delve deeper into my own mind, this has left me emotionally exhausted at times and has caused me to have a couple of breakdowns and being put under hospital care. I have faced it all now and finally have the tools in place to get better. I have had problems with my mental health since my teenage years and writing about it has helped me open up and not supress these emotions. I think my postnatal depression was basically everything I had supressed for years finally exploding and I had to finally deal with it.

In January after another breakdown and visit to hospital I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. To have this mental illness labelled on me was pretty scary and something I knew nothing about, but with time, reading and understanding I have accepted it. The diagnoses does actually make sense to me and I am learning skills to deal with it, so I can make my life easier. I am optimistic about the future and have decided my mental illness with not define me.

These last six months I have learnt so much about myself, the good and the bad. I have a new found respect for anyone dealing with mental illness and have become much more open minded. I’m pretty happy with the person I am becoming and plan to continue working in a positive way to help lift the stigma around mental illness.

So six months in and I now have a DA score of 20 (this won’t mean much unless you are a blogger), which I am so happy with. I’m around 715 in Tots 100 as of last month and I have over 3000 followers across social media. I am happy with these stats, but I still have plenty to improve on. I try and average out 2 blog posts a week plus one review, which I find doable and not too stressful. If I don’t want to write for a few days or a want a week off then I do. I am starting to do reviews which I really love doing as it’s part of one of my skills in my proper job and to get paid to do it is always a massive bonus.

The next six months I have many other plans for my job and will hopefully starting the tax year with a self-employed income. I will continue writing about mental illness, my struggles, parenting and hopefully a few more recipes (one of my other skills from my work). I am still considering possibly doing a little bit of vlogging toy reviews with Miss J.

Thank you everyone who has taken the time to read my blog, comment and share. Your support, kindness and understanding has meant so much to me. Here is to the next six months!

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little moments of happiness

Little moments of happiness week 1

When dealing with depression it’s easy to look back through a week and think that you’ve done nothing and nothing has made you smile. This last week I’ve been writing down little things that have made me smile so I can look back through and realise that there is always something positive to reflect on and moments of happiness to cherish.

Here is a little list of things that have made me smile this week:

  • Miss J sitting and doing row, row, row the boat with Mr T. Whenever I see these two do something sweet together it makes me so happy as it was such an adjustment for Miss J when she became an older sister.
  • A trip to Ikea. I love a good shop around Ikea and buying things to make my house seem more organised always makes me feel a bit better. Meatballs always help too.
  • A visit from a friend and her son. One of my old work friends came over with her son in the week which was great to have a catch up and lovely to watch our boys play together.
  • Sleeping. Besides last night with Miss J waking up many times in the night I’ve actually slept well and stayed off my phone at night.
  • Reading a book that I enjoy. I decided this week I needed to pick up a book and have a read before bed that wasn’t a self-help book. I looked through my bookcase and picked a book out that I’ve had for around 8 years and only ever read the first couple of chapters. The book is called Harvesting the Heart By Jodi Picoult and is about a young lady struggling through the demands of having a young family to look after. This book couldn’t have been more appropriate for me to read right now and I think it’s amazing how I picked it up out of a full bookcase with no memory of what it was about.
  • Reading to my children. I always read to my children every night separately, but a couple of nights ago I managed to get both my children on my lap and read them both a story. There was no shoving and they both sat still and listened. These moments when they get on are sometimes few so I know when to cherish them.
  • New clothes for Mr T. I love dressing Mr T up, but now he’s almost two I’ve found the clothes on offer a bit blue and boring. I went to John Lewis and managed to find some lovely bits for Mr T which have got me excited about the prospect of spring around the corner.
  • A walk to the park. I didn’t want to go out and leave the comfort of my home, but I was forced to go to the park and feed the ducks. It started off stressful with Mr T having a tantrum and not walking the right way, but eventually I learned to relax, enjoy the sun streaming through the clouds and I was able to embrace my children, covered in mud enjoying life and full of happiness. Mr T was a complete dare-devil on the slide.

Yesterday I hid away all day and felt pretty sorry for myself so this week I want to focus on getting out for walks and remembering to take my camera with me. Join me next week for my moments of happiness.

 

 

 

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Life is trying to make me stronger

Life is trying to make me stronger

For anyone following my story will know I had a breakdown last October and ended up under Crisis team care after becoming very close to ending my life. I was discharged in mid November and worked so hard on staying positive and holding on to the fact I had been refered for Therapy. Christmas came and we had a lovely time as a family and got to make some wonderful memories. When new year came I was getting this niggling familiar feeling in the background, but as I do I painted on a smile and stayed up beat, clinging on to the thought of my therapy coming through. I chased and chased with no end in sight on when this would be. I quickly felt things start to unwind, My mood was dropping, negative thoughts were creeping in and I was lacking motivation. I told myself it was just the January blues and it would pass.

Things didn’t pass, my anxiety got crippling, my sleep was restless with disturbing dreams and I could see that mean, snappy mummy coming back. I wasn’t coping anymore and I was scared. I ended up going back into old habits which I knew were destructive like relying on my larazapam too much to relax in the evenings, self harming and binge eating. I felt like my mind just wanted to die and no matter how much I tried to stay strong I was losing the battle and my family was losing me. I was disappointed in myself every time someone would say to me how well I had been doing as I knew it was all a lie and I had yet again let everyone down

Things all came to a head on Friday, which resulted in a police welfare check and a trip to hospital. I literally have no memory of a few days before that or after. It was like it wasn’t even me and I was just watching from afar. I was disengaged with my children and unaware of what I was doing and who I was hurting. I ended back under crisis team care and had hit rock bottom once more and was giving up on life.

Friday was my cry for help and I could see that I did want help to get better I just didn’t know how to get better anymore. I gave in and was honest with the crisis team about everything I was feeling, how I wasn’t capable at this moment to be the mother I wanted to be, the intrusive thoughts I was feeling daily and that I didn’t want this life anymore. I accepted help from the crisis team and have been promised I will not be discharged back to my GP this time and I will be discharge to the mental health community team. I have accepted help from family and friends to try to focus on myself and give myself a break. I am learning there is no shame in letting others help when you need it.

I can see things a little clearer and feel that I do still have a future, but I have a long road ahead of me and it will take time. There isn’t an instant fix and this will take time to heal from, but I am not ashamed of this. I believe life is trying to make me stronger and it wouldn’t throw this at me if it didn’t think I could handle it.

A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.

 

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What anxiety feels like for me

What anxiety feels like for me

Everyone feels anxiety to some extent in their lives. It’s a natural reaction from when we had to use the fight or flight to survive. With us no longer being hunters are anxiety now proops up in everyday life and for some can become very exhausting.

For me my anxiety has started from being an unsure child and as I’ve got older it has started to manifest in many aspects of my life. Since becoming a parent it has become a real problem, but it was something I still I had control over until I was pregnant with my second child. Since being pregnant with Mr T I have almost constantly felt on edge leaving the house and doing things I would normally enjoy.

I have tried CBT for my anxiety which I found slighty beneficial, but I still feel the anxiety trying to stop me in my tracks on leading a normal life.

I often force myself to go in my car to go out and I end up turning around and coming home as the worry and panic gets too much for me. I forced myself to go in town a few days ago and walked backwards and forwards unsure what I was doing. Mr T was hungry but I couldn’t bring myself to sit somewhere for lunch. Eventually I found somewhere small to get him lunch and he ate it so quickly as he was that hungry. Anxiety is directly affecting my family and I hate the control it has.

For me to go to my work I have to take lorazepam to get through the day, which then makes me forgetful so I can’t see how that is good for my job. I constantly feel like I am having to be babysat through life just do everyday normal things. If I don’t have someone to babysit me then my children miss out on doing so many enjoyable things.

When things are like this my life is pointless and worthless. I am unable to do anything for anyone or myself and my existence pains me.

The intrusive thought I have, the never-ending playing through conversations I had earlier and struggling to make eye contact, this is all my head goes through every night whilst I am desperate to sleep. Sleep is my release usually but to go sleep is hard to come by and often it is disturb with terrible dreams.

I don’t know how to be happy anymore besides a fake smile and this is a life I hate, but I am desperate to make it change.

 

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Making Christmas special through postnatal depression

Something I can now find overwhelming, is when there is some big event coming up that I should be enjoying. I find there is so much pressure to enjoy Christmas day and after lasts year when I was deep in my postnatal depression I was a little worried how it would be. Last year Mr T was 7 months old and I had started antidepressants a couple of months earlier, I was extremely anxious and feeling pretty disconnected from the whole thing. I painted a smile on my face, some make-up and drank a fair amount of baileys in the hope it would improve my spirit. Looking back through pictures I just feel sadness that I wasn’t able to enjoy my baby sons first Christmas, so this year I felt I wanted to make up for it.

This year, even  though I was determined to make it a great Christmas, I wasn’t very organised and brought my last present on Christmas Eve. I would usually be frantically shopping around for Black Friday deals, but instead I was relaxing in the sun in Fuerteventura. I was kind to myself this Christmas, I wrapped a few presents each night, whilst watching Christmas films, didn’t spend a fortune on my children as I knew they would be spoilt by family, I made sure that I got a present I really wanted (Canon 1300D DSLR camera) and I made sure I took the time running up to Christmas enjoying my family and embrace Christmas. I even managed to get a night out with my girlfriends and have a great night in a new local prosecco bar. I think being back at work this year helped me get in the mood, as not only was it Christmas it was also a break away from work for just over a week. If I can I always try to be thoughtful of other, but after this last year I felt I had taken more from the world than given back so I decided to set myself a task of doing something thoughtful every for 11 days before Christmas, I am happy to say that I completed all these little tasks, which made me feel fulfilled before Christmas.

Christmas day this year really was lovely besides waking up to Mr T, covered in poo, half way up his back. The children woke at respectable 8am and Miss J patiently waited upstairs, whilst her brother was bathed. It really was magical watching the children open their presents and watch the excitement in their faces. After presents we went around to my parents house for the second round of presents with my sister and her husband. We had a lazy morning, opening and putting together multiple children’s toys and I even managed to have a play with my camera. My mum put on the most fantastic Christmas lunch and after collapsing into a meat coma for a couple of hours we headed to my mother in laws house for round three of presents.

My mother in law loves nothing more than Christmas and never fails to disappointment in making it a lovely day for the children. My two children got to spend the afternoon playing with their four other cousins, running around and playing games. My mother in law does a separate Christmas tree covered in prizes for the children, they pick a raffle ticket and get to find there present on the tree, which the children love.

All six cousins together

The whole day was beautiful, filled with laughter, love and far too much food. I’m so glad I was able to fully embrace Christmas day and appreciate the time spent with our family.

My parents cat really got into the Christmas spirit

 

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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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