My birth story miss j

Birth story Miss J

Whilst going through my old files on my computer I came across my birth stories I wrote a few weeks after giving birth to my children. I wrote both these stories whilst they were fresh in my mind and I’m so glad I did as reading through now there so much I had forgotten. I love a good birth story and could listen to people talk about them forever. To give birth or to be part of someones birth story is such a raw look into someone in such an intimate way. When giving birth you can not try to be anyone else but yourself and you see your partner in a whole new way. My husband was a wonderful support through both my labours, but the person who helped me the most was my sister, but unfortunately I pushed her away before my epidural with my daughter as I wanted mine and my husbands first birth to just be us two.

A couple of days before my due date I had started to have contractions on and off, but every time I went to bed, things seemed to stop. I was getting extremely exhausted and frustrated waiting for things to kick off properly. By the Thursday at 40 weeks 4 days my contractions finally started to get regular at about 4 minuets apart and we decided to leave for the hospital once my husband had finished watching football. I was checked over by a midwife and was told I was 2cm dilated and was sent home. At the time my husband didn’t drive so we went back to my sister’s house and I attempted to get some sleep. By 5am things were just getting too uncomfortable so we headed back to hospital where I was checked again and told I was 1cm! How was I managing to go backwards was beyond me and I was feeling really disheartened. The midwife did a horrendous stretch and sweep and I was sent home with some co-codomol. I spent Friday at home bouncing about on my birthing ball, in the bath and trying to get some rest for the impending birth.

37 weeks. I still had 4 weeks left of growing.

By evening I was unable to cope at home and was feeling so much pain in my back that we went back to hospital where I was examined again and was told I was 3cm and I was admitted onto the labour ward. I was desperate for a water birth, but both pools were occupied so I settled for a bath, but I just couldn’t relax and felt like I wanted to walk about. I was told by the midwife that the baby was back to back and with things slowing down again I was moved to the ward and my husband was sent home.

By Saturday morning I was exhausted, fed up and desperate for this baby to be out. We spent the morning walking up and down the stairs and taking many laps of the hospital. I was contracting well, but all in my back so we went back to the ward and I was given pethidine. By evening my husband had to be sent home again and I was crying in the ward feeling defeated and alone. I was given sleeping tablets and co-codamol, but the pain was just horrendous and all I could do was sit upright and try to breath through the pain. At around 3am I tried to force myself to eat some toast, as by this point I hadn’t eaten properly in days. Whilst eating my toast through contractions I had a spider crawl up my neck and had to be saved by a fellow patient who had given birth earlier that day, I was so jealous that she had her baby already and I was still stuck in this state.

Through the early hours of the morning a mum in my ward being observed, who I actually knew from my clubbing days (not how we had spent 3am Sunday morning a few years earlier), sat with me and helped me through my contractions until my husband was able to get to the hospital. I remember my husband calling me at 7am and asking if I wanted a Macdonald’s breakfast, I told him to fuck off and hurry up. My husband arrived at about 8am with my sister and tried to get me to calm down. I was in quiet a state and pethidine hadn’t taken the edge off at all. My sister was finding it very upsetting to see me in so much pain. My contractions came very 2 minuets and felt like someone was snapping my spine in half. I felt let down by the midwives as I was still in the ward with no access to gas and air and they didn’t seem to have the time to help me. At 9am I kicked up a huge fuss and insisted I was having an epidural, which was something I didn’t really want to have. One of the nice midwives checked me and I was still only 3cm dilated, but she phoned delivery suit and told a white lie that I was 4cm. My sister left me and my husband to it and it really started to sink in that we had a baby coming into this world very soon.

Miss J’s first picture

Once up in delivery suit I was quickly prepped for my epidural and I remember them telling me to let them know when I was contracting so they could stop. I can tell you now I didn’t tell them when I was contracting and didn’t move a muscle until that epidural was in. Within 20 minuets I was numb, I was put on a drip to speed things up and I went to sleep for three hours. At 3pm I was checked and was 4cm and they broke my water and I wasn’t checked again until 5pm when I was 10cm. The midwife said that the head still needed to move down so I had another nap until they woke me and told me to push. Two pushes later and about 10 minuets Miss J was born into this world. She was perfect, pink and looked like one of those babies born in soap where they look a good few weeks old already. She weighed a healthy 7ib 13oz and immediately pooed on me. She latched on perfectly at a few minuets old and took her first feed from me. We got a few hours to ourselves in the delivery suit where we took in every second, looking over our beautiful little girl.

The next day we were discharged and we took our beautiful little girl home to start are life as a family of three. Those memories I have us all are so special to me and something I will never forget.

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A mothers unconditional love for her baby

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

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

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

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

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

 

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When a toddler doesn’t accept a new baby sibling

I have been quiet vocal about how Miss J didn’t accept her baby brother when he was born 19 months ago. It’s something quiet common, but it’s not something you want to really talk about. Miss J was just over two when I got pregnant with her brother and was such a mummy’s girl. She was my mini me and always wanted mummy to put her to bed and read her stories. Whilst I was pregnant we did everything we could to prepare her for her new sibling, by talking about what was happening, taking her to our gender scan and letting her pick baby clothes and toys. She seemed to be understanding and kept asking when baby would ‘pop out’. When ever I did hold another baby she would get extremely jealous, so I did wonder if it would take a little adjustment initially. In preparation for her brother arriving we bought Miss J a fairy locket for her brother to give her and she picked out a blue ‘snuggle bunny’ the same as her much loved bunny. Everything we could have possibly done to prepare for his arrival was done and it was just now a waiting game.

It was gradual, but she learnt to love her brother.

At 37 weeks my waters broke without sending me into labour so after a 24 hour wait I was sent to hospital to be induced which didn’t work the first time. I had a long wait waiting for labour to kick start and was feeling really emotional and sad about not seeing my daughter. I had decided I didn’t want Miss J to see me in hospital and would let her meet her brother in her own home. Mr T arrived safely and we were able to leave the next afternoon to get home. Miss J was being looked after by a friend and was bought home to meet him. Her initial reaction was ‘it popped out’, she gave him gift and went off to play. I wasn’t expecting much from her and that was fine, as I knew it would take her time to adjust.

Miss J wasn’t interested in her little brother and was getting quiet jealous of me breastfeeding him. I was prepared that this could happen and spent as much time as I could with sitting with her and spending time with her and at first it was manageable as my husband was off work for two weeks to help. When my husband went back to work on twelve hour shifts things became a lot more strained. Everytime Mr T would cry she would put a muslim over his face and I was trying to explain to her why she couldn’t do that without making her resent him more. She would scream when I was holding him, refuse to walk if we were out and I was pushing him in his pram. She refused to even call him by his name and refered to him as ‘the baby’. I was having to bribe Miss J with sweets so I could get the occasional picture with her brother and I was trying desperately to get her to bond, but nothing was working and I knew it wasn’t something that could be forced.

Mr T having his injections was a turning point for Miss J. She started to become very protective over him.

My own mother suggested Miss J stayed over every Friday so I got a break, she got a break and I was able to bond with my baby. Miss J loved going over for the night, but when it came to coming back home she would scream that she didn’t want to, which was breaking my heart. I felt so guilty for bringing this baby into her life who she resented. I was struggling to get out the house and I was struggling to bond with my baby, looking back now it’s not surprising that I got postnatal depression.

Whilst writing this blog post Miss J has been reading to her brother.

There was nothing I could do, but to keep on trying to show Miss J that her brother wasn’t all that bad. I was getting her involved in any way possible, by getting nappies, letting her feed him a bottle, help wash him. I was patient with her and excepted that a bond for her would take time. I encouraged her to sit and communicate with him and to show him her toys or dancing and gradually I was seeing something happen. The real turning point was when Miss J started pre-school for two and half days a week. She loved going and having time to play with her friends and I loved being able to bond with baby or go shopping with ease. I remember taking Mr T for his jabs and had no choice, but to take Miss J with me, she insisted on holding his hand and became so worried and upset when he was crying. She was feeling his pain and was showing real concern for her little brother. Even though watching your baby have injections is usually a horrible experience it was something quiet special about that day as Miss J showed for the first time that she loved her brother. She still gets a bit jealous at times as he does of her, but I think that’s just natural for siblings. When Mr T wakes first in the morning he shouts her name and goes to find her in her bed and when she’s up first she climbs into his cot for cuddles. To watch them now you would never know what a struggle it was for her to bond with her brother, she’s extremely protective of him and loves to sit reading him books and play with his toys. They have their moments like any siblings do, but I can now see I’ve given her the greatest gift in the world which is her brother.

 

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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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Why I love breastfeeding

I’m not writing this blog post to get anyone’s backs up or to debate which way of feeding is better. Both breastfeeding and formula have their places in society and we are lucky enough that we can make an informed choice on which way we plan to nourish our babies. For me I had planned to breastfeed before I had even got pregnant. My own mother had breastfed me and she always described it such a wonderful thing to do, that I knew I wanted to at least try it and hope that I could do it.

I understand many woman cannot breastfeed through inadequate milk supply, medication, latch problems, lack of support or wrong advice given. Some ladies decide they don’t want to do it and again that is completely your choice to make and not something anyone should ever make you feel guilty about. What upsets me most is so many people I know who have tried to breastfed have not been given the right advice and have been told something different every time they have seen a different midwife. Lots of people fall into the top up trap and find milk supply dwindles further and late diagnosis of tongue and lip tie are stopping ladies from being able to sustain a good breastfeeding relationship that will subsequently end too soon. In the UK we have one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world and I think us ladies are being let down with support that we need.

A special moment with both my children
A special moment with both my children

Like many other new mums I struggled at first to breastfeed my daughter Miss J, she latched fine but I was in agony with cracked and bleeding nipples and spent a few days pumping on one side and even did the occasional top-up of formula until my milk had properly come in. I spent a lot of time crying and unsure how long our journey would last. I was lucky to have done the NCT antenatal course and had been given great advice on breastfeeding. I phoned up the helpline when I needed support and was lucky enough to be helped out and encouraged.

Mr T had problems with reflux and was forever being sick and choking so I took him to the doctor at six weeks old and because he was gaining weight well they weren’t worried about him and the doctor advised me he was a piggy baby and I needed to limit his feed time and the space between feeds, which is appalling advice to give an exclusively breastfed baby. For one he would have been in distress and screaming, secondly it would have effected my milk supply and thirdly it wouldn’t have fixed the reflux. I had told the doctor I wouldn’t take his advice and was spoken to like a foolish idiot and reluctantly given a prescription of infant gaviscon. If anyone else has tried to give a breastfed baby gaviscon will know what a pain it is to do with each feed as you can’t just slip it into a bottle. I did my best and gave it a go but unfortunately it made things worse as he was now choking on his now thickened sick and I realised we needed to see another doctor quickly. Second time around I got to see a lovely lady doctor who prescribed us something that actually did work. He was still sick a lot, but it was little and often and he was no longer screaming in pain. Mr T’s reflux has only really now gone and he ended up in hospital at 12 months old after going blue from his reflux.

I exclusively breastfed Miss J until she was six months old and then went to combination feeding until she was a year old and I returned to work. I didn’t realise at the time that there were also so many amazing breastfeeding groups on Facebook, with mums who have gone through any kind of issue you can imagine and if I knew then what I know now I would have continued to breastfeed when I went back to work.

I felt insecure about feeding Miss J in public and would often sit in smelly changing rooms feeding her, sitting in my car or even go home so I didn’t have to. When Mr T came along and I already had a three-year old with me, everything had to change and I fed where ever and whenever I needed to. For me it was easier to feed than to make a bottle and I often fed one-handed whilst making Miss J’s lunch and out and about in the baby carrier. I wish I would have had the confidence to do the same with Miss J and not worry about someone else’s opinion. I have only had a couple of comments from people when feeding and have had a fair few stares, but have also had some lovely words of encouragement from strangers.

A few times I have thought my breastfeeding journey would have to come to an end after being prescribed antidepressants and then antipsychotics, but I have luckily been given information to show my doctors to show them that I can still breastfeed and take these drugs. Please check with the Breastfeeding Network if your doctor has told you that you need to stop feeding.

For me I have loved both my breastfeeding journeys and am still continuing to feed Mr T at morning and night at 19 months old. I have loved seeing Mr T’s rolls grow knowing that I had made them myself like some kind of super hero. I’m not a morning person and I don’t do well being woken in the night so for me being able to feed my baby with little interruption has been so perfect for us. I would scoop Mr T out of his cot and lay back on my side and feed him whilst my darling husband would be none the wiser. I didn’t have the worry of disturbing my husbands or daughters sleep and didn’t have to go downstairs to get a bottle in the night. I’ve found it great when they have been sick and wanted extra milk or when they have gone through a growth spurt after previously sleeping through the night. I love the fact I have it on tap whenever and wherever. I have still had nights out drinking and have even gone away overnight on hen parties, so I really haven’t found it constricting. I have pumped my boobs a few times when being a little worse for wear.

Mr T's amazing rolls
Mr T’s amazing rolls

One thing I didn’t enjoy with Miss J was finding nursing clothes that I liked, but when Mr T came along I found an amazing Facebook page for breastfeeding mums sharing their high street, breastfeeding friendly clothes ideas, they now have a fantastic website too. It really was a god send and I wish I had known about it earlier. Second time around I’ve also found having a decent breast pump so important. With Miss J I struggled to ever pump much and hated sitting there for up to an hour doing it, but with Mr T I invested in a medela swing pump and was pumping so much that I managed to donate over 100 oz’s of milk to Oxford hospital milk bank.

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For me breastfeeding has really been amazing and something I am so thankful I have been able to continue. I cherish mine and Mr T’s time every morning and night where I give him his milkies and he snuggles in close to me. One day he will no longer need me and I’ll accept that and let him go, but for now I still nourish him and he still needs me.

 

 

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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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What Motherhood Means to Me

What motherhood means to me

What Motherhood Means To Me.

Motherhood is my greatest achievement and also my greatest challenge. The hours are long, stressful and the money is poor, but the benefits far out weigh anything else and my colleagues (mummy friends) are bloody amazing. I have sacrificed my body, nights out, free time, money, sleep and mental health, but what I have got back in return is worth so much more. See my blog about support http://themuddledmother.co.uk/breastfeeding/supporting-mothers/

I was 23 years old when I found out I was pregnant with Miss J and had been married a month. I went into it a little blind and just assumed it would all fall into place and come natural to me. The whole falling into place wasn’t as easy as I had seen it and going from a full-time wage and being independent to relying on someone elses wage was a shock. I was happy to be back at work after my maternity finished, but with a part-time wage and childcare to pay for it hardly seemed worth it at times. We’ve made it work though and we are now a family unit with a routine.

Motherhood has made me shed many a tear, made me doubt everything I knew, has made my heart hurt so much it could break and fill with love that it could burst. Until you have become a mother I don’t believe you can feel true unconditional love. I have cried myself to sleep at night thinking I am doing it all wrong and that I am mentally scaring them for the rest of their lives because I shouted at them and they’ve cried. As a mother I have a special chance to be someones role model, to teach them, guide them and love them so they become mentally balanced and happy grown ups. My job won’t finish when they finally say goodbye and leave our home, my job will carry on until I die. Being a parent is a lifelong commitment I have taken on and something that I am happy to always be to them.

I have cupped my hands and let my child vomit into them, I’ve been pooed on, peed on and sucked snot out of their noises so they can sleep. I have spent many a sleepless night holding them perfectly in my arms unable to move over fear of waking them. I have learned to be selfless and put two little people’s needs always in front of my own, I’ve also learned that to be the best I can I sometimes need to take a break out for myself.

I love that I can wake up in the morning and have two little people climb into my bed for cuddles who love my wobbly tummy, they don’t care that I have no make on, that my hair is a mess, all they care about is that I’m their mummy. I may doubt myself as a parent constantly and worry if I am really giving them the best, but these two amazing cheerleaders love me and think I am the best thing in the world.

http://themuddledmother.co.uk/mental-illness/embracing-rubbish-parent-inside/

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The things I never appreciated before children.

The things I never appreciated before children.

Becoming a parent is a whole new world of emotions and it doesn’t matter how prepared you are you have no idea until you’re deep in nappys. Going back over my time hop app from six years ago I seemed to loved to update people on how tired, skint or ill I was. Obviously this was before children and I had no idea what those things actually meant. So many mum friends told me to enjoy the date nights and sleep, but I just shrugged it off and thought it wouldn’t be so bad.

The day to day tiredness of being a mum is relentless, but when you have a newborn who is up all night or a three year old who gets in your bed and fidgets all night it is beyond exhausting. The fact you can’t just call in sick and that you still no matter how tired you are have to get up and look after the needs of another human that relies on you is relentless. I now understand why sleep deprivation is a form of torture and that you can cry just because you are so tired. The days of a decent lay in and naturally waking up are long gone and something I miss terribly. I have been a mother for four years now and will never be or become a morning person. As much as I do love waking up to Miss J snuggling into me I do miss waking up, checking the time and just rolling back over to sleep. I just never appreciated how good it was whilst I still had it.

Being able to make spontaneous plans to go out for dinner, a weekend away or even a trip to tesco are long gone. The planning and packing to get out are enough to put you off even making the effort and don’t get me started on how to plan the logistics of a date night with work shifts, childcare etc. It’s true though as much as I made the most of this whilst pregnant I didn’t miss it until it was gone.

Hangover days are just not quite the same anymore. I have tried many a time to plan a night out where I get some hangover time on my own the next day without any luck. Gone are the days of Hollyoaks omnibus, eating junk food and staying in bed all day and now I spend the days watching Minions on repeat whilst letting my children eat anything they like so I can get five minutes peace. No hangover in my early twenties has been as bad as one since I’ve had kids.

I now look back at before I had children and wonder what I did with all that free time and I remember the moments of loneliness. I remember the emptiness of another night out going to the same places and seeing the same people. I remember how my life didn’t seem to have a purpose and that something was always missing. I used to look at families and get a pang of jealously and hoped and wished for the day that I could start my own family. I know not everyone needs or wants for children, but for me it’s all I’ve ever planned out for myself. Becoming a mother has been the hardest job in the world, but the reward from it has been tremendous. My children are my life and that’s how it will always stay.

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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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I nurture myself so I can nurture others.

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

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

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

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