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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Gifts of kindness – Spreading holiday cheer

I have decided I want to start spreading some holiday cheer with some gifts of kindness. Recently I feel I have taken more from this world than I have given back. I have taken a lot from the NHS with the help I’ve needed with my postnatal depression and taken lots of time and energy from my friends by needing their support. Now I am in a better place I need to start to balance out the world again for my own mind and what better time it could be to spread some kindness. Obviously it’s good to do these things whenever we can and I try to be mindful and helpful whenever I can throughout the year, but I’ve got some catching up to do. I have 11 days until Christmas and 11 gifts of kindness to complete so I can enjoy my Christmas knowing I have tried to make a difference in this world, however small it is.

It’s so easy to get consumed by life and not notice the world around you and how hard and evil it is for some people. Everyday in this world people are starving, homeless, living in fear and desperate. I like to think that most people want to do well and help people, but there are also many people who feed of fear and pain and want to see people suffer. My acts of kindness will not make much of a difference, but I am trying and would love to see you join me. We have to keep trying to make this world a better place.

It’s my job as a parent to show my children how to be kind and help others in need. I will be making my children aware of why we are doing this task and getting them involved so they hopefully grow up knowing to help others.

Below are my ideas of kindness and if anyone would like to join me I will be adding pictures to Instagram and twitter and using hashtag #SpreadingHolidayCheer

14th December – Spreading some blog love by sharing some of my favourite blog posts through my Facebook and doing lots of commenting.

15th December – Donation of baby clothes, toys and toiletries to my local mothers hostile

16th December – Donation to the food bank which includes some treats

17th December – Donation of money into a charity box

18th December  – Leave a tip for the bin men

19th December – Buy the big issue and leave some money for a busker

20th December – Buy lunch for someone in need

21st December – Leave a bottle of wine on my neighbours doorstep

22nd December – Buy someone a lottery scratch card

23rd December – Bring cakes into work

24th December – Leave a tip for someone who usually isn’t tipped for their service.

 

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Loving myself and happiness that I deserve

Something that I’ve really struggled with all my teenage and adult life is loving myself. I have always had a low opinion of my self and lacked confidence, but with postnatal-depression my self-esteem really took a bash. Not only did I not like the person I was, I was also doubting myself as a mother and how good of a parent I actually was. I am currently trying to build my self-esteem and confidence to become the person I want to be. It’s all about believing and knowing what you deserve and I know I deserve happiness. I know some days will be hard and some days I will struggle to believe in myself, but it’s all about picking yourself back up and not letting those feelings linger and not letting them work their way in so you believe them.

I’m finally feeling well enough to enjoy parenting again and am able to appreciate my children. I can now feel emotions of love and happiness and not just pain and sadness. My children are my main focus through this and I need to get better for them not just myself. I need to love myself so they can grow up knowing how to love themselves. I need to be the role model my children deserve and the support for them when they need encouragement.

I am taking this time to focus on myself and putting my needs first. I am no longer doing things just to make others happy. I am looking after myself, I am taking the time for long baths in peace so I can unwind and relax after a day, going to the gym so I can feel healthier and doing something for myself, writing my blog as its therapeutic and puts things in perspective, taking time to do my make up and hair so I can feel more like me and occasionally treating myself to something I want and not just need. I have dedicated 18 months of the last five years growing humans and 2 1/2 years breastfeeding them and it’s my turn to be a little selfish and start focusing on myself. I have given everything I have to my children and can no longer give as much, unless I start looking after myself. I am Michelle and not just mum and need to focus on what makes me happy from time to time.

These last 18 months have been extremely hard on myself, but they have also been enlightening. I have learnt so much about myself and why I am, the way I am and what makes me act in certain ways. I know I will never been perfect and I am letting go unrealistic expectations and starting my life as a new blank page. I am fortunate that I feel love everyday from the family that I have helped create and I am rich in so many ways besides wealth. Life is good and my happiness is reachable.

 

 

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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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Another positive week with some challenges

I have been back home from holiday for almost a week and have been so worried about how I would stay positive, cope going back to work and having to get back into our normal routine. I’ve found that I can spiral quickly when things are on top of me and when I feel overwhelmed and with coming back to a house with a mountain of washing, school runs, catching up on jobs and going back to work I was unsure how I would cope. The first couple of days after getting back from our holiday I stayed in and just caught up on washing and jobs around the house, I wasn’t feeling very motivated as I’m sure no one is about washing, but I pushed myself to get it done. I find it so easy to get myself stuck in a rut and not going out of the house. On a Monday I now usually go to a gym class, but with Mr T being full of cold I was stuck in doors for the whole day which had then made me anxious and I struggled to stay positive about returning back to work the following day.

Miss J had her first nativity play this week as a towns person, which she has been very excited about. She’s been singing the songs all week and was so excited that me and daddy would be coming to see her. Unfortunately were not able to see her much in the nativity as we didn’t get great seats, but she saw that we were there and she loved it so that’s all that matters.

My sleep on holiday had been fantastic, I was getting a good 8 hours a night plus naps most days, but since getting home I’ve been struggling to unwind and sleep again. I felt so relaxed and calm on holiday and since I’ve been back I’ve felt like my mind is racing again. When I don’t get sleep my mood can be effected quickly and it’s something that had worried me. Last night I downloaded Headspace app which I have used previously to help me sleep. I’ve put a reminder on through the app every night at 11pm so I can go upstairs and listen to it in preparation to sleep. The sessions take ten minuets and they really are so relaxing and I always seem to be able to get to sleep quickly after.

Something else positive this week was going back to the gym yesterday. I tried out the body pump class and can honestly say that I loved it and will be back again next week. I ache so bad today, but am determined to keep up with the gym so I can lose weight, tone and also feel better in myself. Before my holiday I had been going to Zumba class on a Monday which I am also really enjoying, but unfortunately with Mr T being ill this week I had to miss it. I never thought I was a gym person and when I had joined other gyms before kids I soon got bored and stopped going. I think the key to this one is that I can go in the day when I have energy and they also have a crèche so by the time I’ve finished my class and had a shower Mr T is ready for his nap, so I can have some time for lunch in peace and we then can have a lovely afternoon playing. Mr T hasn’t been in a nursery yet so this time for him has been great for him to be away from me and to interact with other children in preparation to him starting nursery next month. I have also taken some horrid pictures of myself in my work out clothes to motivate me to lose this horrible belly and massive thighs of mine, I don’t think I’ll be sharing those with you though.

This morning we managed to have a bit of an epic fail. I got Miss J dressed for Christmas Jumper Day today and then realised half way to school that no other children were dressed besides mine and my equally silly friends two kids. We quickly ran back home, did a quick uniform change and promised that she could put it back on after school, when I realised I had locked myself into my house. We had our door fixed recently which wasn’t done very well as we now need to use the key to open it from the inside, but you can open it from the outside if it isn’t properly locked. In the frantic rush to get Miss J dressed I had managed to leave the keys on the other side of the door. Poor Miss J had to go out the window and broke a plant pot in the process, so she could open the door for me. We then eventually made it to school, dropped Mr T of quickly to my mum and managed to make it to work on time. Another thing on my list of things to do is to get the front door fixed.

My job for over the weekend is to start writing out a chores schedule, so we can all do our bit in the house to make it cleaner, more organised and taking away some of the stress of it all landing on my shoulders. My husband is fantastic as he works long hours, but to do anything he has to be told and he has a habit of leaving clothes, cups plates and sweetie wrappers all around the house. My husband like many others still lives like a teenager and with the children taking up so much of my time it’s his time to start chipping in. My darling husband you are no longer going to be picked up after and you are in charge of you own mess. Another job for me this weekend is to have a clear out whilst Miss J is staying with her nanny. I have made a start going through the children’s clothes and packing up a big bag to go to a local hostel for young mums. Tonight I will be making my yearly Christmas card and calendars for the grand-parents so I can tick off something else on my never-ending list. Getting the children to stay still and happy last night for pictures for the Christmas card was extremely frustrating (see blog post picture), until we discovered jelly tots. We eventually managed to get a decent picture through bribery and got the children hyped up on sugar just before bed.

I have my first appointment with the mental health community team next week to see what long-term help they can offer me. I’m so nervous about going, but I know it will be a hugely positive thing for me to have this support so I can continue to get better.

I have set my goals for the following week to stay positive and achieve what I can. Any achievement for me to improve even if only slightly is a huge step in the right direction. I will continue doing my affirmations everyday to make sure my head is in the right place.

 

 

 

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A week away from reality – Fuerteventura

We decided to book a holiday a few weeks ago which couldn’t have come at a better time, my parents had already booked to go and we decided to tag along so my mum had a drinking buddy and we had babysitters (win, win). We booked a week away in Fuerteventura staying at our much-loved RIU Olivia Beach Hotel, which we have stayed at on and off for around 20 years. I have some fantastic holiday memories as a child, teenager and a new parent taking Miss J away on her first holiday, so I was happy to take my family back with our not so new addition Mr T. I’m not sure what it is about Fuerteventura but it relaxes me so quickly and easily. Its familiar, like a home away from home, it’s reassuring, comforting and my happy place.

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The plane journey wasn’t as bad as I had built up in my head and Mr T had his own seat so was more than happy watching paw patrol and stuffing his face full of crisps and sweets. I enjoyed some prosseco and even managed to get me and Mr T to take a nap together. We got to the hotel in good time and unpacked and found the restaurant so we could take advantage of the all-inclusive food and drink. The rooms here are looking dated and a little shabby, but they are still clean and have everything you need. I did notice the restaurant food was particularly fantastic this year and selection had greatly improved. I struggled to narrow down what I wanted to eat with so many tasty dishes they had on offer. I think I’ve probably gained a stone since being away. What the rooms lack the location makes up for. The beach and views are breathtaking and the beach is as good as any I’ve seen around the world.

I didn't find the journey to bad down to my friend prosecco.
I didn’t find the journey to bad down to my friend prosecco.
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Mr T loved having his own seat

We were very lucky with the weather and had temperatures of up to 31.8C with one over cast day out of seven. The children were more than happy in the heat, suntan lotioned up and jumping in and out the pools. Miss J managed to swim a little unaided and got very confident with throwing herself straight in off the side. Me and Miss J got to spend some amazing quality time together swimming and I enjoyed every second of it just being us. My darling husband doesn’t swim and Mr T prefered to play at the side with him whilst me and Miss J explored the deeps.

We ventured out a few times to the local town Corralejo which is around a ten minuet taxi ride away and went out for dinner twice at our favourite restaurant Waikiki. Waikiki is a lovely, friendly restaurant which does some unique eating experiences, you can cook your own meat on a metal sombrero hat, a stone and also in a fondue. On our first trip out for dinner we went with my parents and children and as enjoyable as it was it wasn’t so relaxing. Our second night was our childfree date night and we made the most of having a chilled night out and some cocktails. We took the children down in the day to see the sand sculptures on the beach and to see the local shops. The locals are so welcoming and really love children. I love how the Spanish people embrace family and don’t see children out in a restaurant at 8pm as a hinderance, but as something that is important for them to experience. I love taking my children out in the evening when abroad, and the children did a few 10pm late nights with Miss J falling asleep in the pushchair and Mr T flirting with any lady whose attention he could grab. He’s becoming a real heartbreaker with a love for blonde hair.

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Fillet steak cooked on a sombrero hat
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Long overdue date night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I felt my anxiety reduce, stress disappear and worry seem a million miles away. I slept a solid 8 hours a night and napped every day for a minimum of an hour. I ate well, didn’t care about diets and embraced being the fat mum in the stomach controlling swimming costume jumping in and out of the pool. I didn’t give a fuck what anyone thought of me and felt completely happy in my own skin and liberated. I loved myself and my family and squeezed every ounce of happiness I could from it. I laughed with my children, drank and giggled with my mother and held my husband’s hand with love.

Mr T
Mr T

The day we travelled back I turned 29 and I decided that today would be the day that it would all change for me. I would not look back and be sad for what I had missed, but would embrace everything I have to look forward to. I will love being a mother again, I will love my life and will not let the guilt consume me when things aren’t going to plan. Life is what you make of it and I plan to make so much more out of it for me and my family. I have drive, ambition and a head full of ideas and will do everything in my power to make our little family a success. Depression may be a part of me for a long time but it has shown me how to appreciate things again and I will not let it beat me. Fuerteventura has been the break and eye opener I needed to heal.

Miss J
Miss J

 

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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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Mental illness

Breaking the stigma around mental illness

Yesterday I did something completely liberating and I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I took a massive step and admitted on my Facebook that I am recovering from a mental breakdown. Some people may see that writing a status admitting this as attention seeking or even over sharing, but for me I think it’s so important to lift the stigma around mental illness. Anyone who reads my blog knows what I have been dealing with, but putting a status on Facebook is as subtle as standing in a crowded room and shouting it for everyone to hear.

The reasons why I have taken this bold move was because I can’t stand uncomfortable silences, they make me anxious and make me talk crap to fill them. I’m going to have to face going back to work on Friday after nearly a month off and would prefer knowing that everyone knows what has happened and they can either say nothing or if they want they can talk to me. By being honest and open I am telling people I am not scared of this and also this illness has not defined me. I am still Michelle, wife, mother of two sprogs, Technical Assistant and part-time blogger. Nothing has changed besides me going mental, recognising it and seeking help. Why should I hide that? Why should I be ashamed?

By being honest I have had so much from support and love from people who I really think has been key to my recovery. The more we talk about mental illness, the more people become comfortable and the more normalised it becomes. The more I’ve read into mental illnesses the more I’ve come to understand and appreciate it. The human mind is so much more complex than we know and they still don’t understand it completely.

1 in 4 people experience a mental health problem each year in the UK so for anyone to think now with the knowledge we have on this subject that it doesn’t exist or you can just get over it is just ignorant. I can’t just brush it under the carpet and pretend it is not there. It is part of my life and I am trying my best to overcome it and if I can help some people along the way, then that is even better.

Today I have been discharged from the CRISIS team at hospital and will be now having support through the community mental health team. I take medication every day and cannot see myself coming off these anytime soon and will be starting counselling in December. I have things in place to get better and I have support. I am confident that I can and will get better. Read steps to get help with postnatal depression

Finding happiness again

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Embracing the rubbish parent inside us all.

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

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

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

 

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

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Postnatal depression, the silent illness.

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

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

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

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

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