A Type of Mum Culture We Need to Say Goodbye to

motherhood, Uncategorized

On my mat leave, I was never the mum who went to baby clubs. I was terrified of them, in fact. Baby changing and feeding rooms were panic inducing for me and soft play completely off limits unless Rob or good friends were by my side. But, why?

The above statement seems dramatic, but it’s totally necessary. You see, there is a mum culture that I have had enough of and want no part in. It’s the school gate gossip, cliquey, judgemental groups. The people who cast their opinions upon you after just a glance. The ones who want to fit you into a pigeon hole, a niche, and want you to stay there.

My first year of motherhood was an unexpected one. It bought with it so much joy, but it was a massive learning curve for me when it came to other mothers and the attitudes of other people. Taken aback from my experiences, I am also so grateful at what it taught me.

I went to a baby group at my local library when Ted was a few months old. Previous to that, I’d never really socialised with mums I didn’t already know. It was daunting and I spent the night before awake and worrying about the finer details- when I’d need to leave the house, how long it’d take for me to get there, how early I’d need to be, whether I needed to set an alarm, what I should wear.

Waking up the next morning, I put on my absolute go-to outfit. A checked mini skirt and a roll neck. I sat and did my make-up on the sofa while Ted was feeding, drank my coffee, and felt excited at who I might meet or who I might connect with. I always remember my mum saying to me beforehand that even though baby classes weren’t my thing and didn’t appeal to me (I’m a massive introvert and find it hard to trust people) that there would be someone there that felt the exact same way as me. That was all the reassurance I needed.

I arrived. Mums gathered in familiar groups. I said hello to each group as I walked in. A few reluctantly said hello back. I smiled. A few smiled back half smiles, the others ignored me. I tried hard to mingle, complimenting other mums. For example, one mum was tandem feeding on a soft play bench and I told her how amazing she was doing. She smiled and I felt safe. I sat next to her and fed Ted too.

Five minutes later, another mum came over, followed by two more. They were friends with this lady, and she introduced me to them.

No hello. No ‘nice to meet you.’ Just, simply:

“You’re a little overdressed for a baby class.’

Silence. I said nothing. I felt weak. I carried on feeding Ted and looked to the floor.

Ten minutes later:

‘How did you have that much time to get ready?’

I replied explaining that I’d been awake very early and that I did my make up while feeding my son.

‘I don’t think this is really your sort of place is it?’

There was an expectation that now that I’m a mum, I should have a messy mum bun and be wearing a hoody, jeans and trainers with sick down the front, minimal make-up, if any at all. Don’t get me wrong, it’s totally okay to be that mum too. I am that mum on some days. But today is made an effort because I was nervous and because that’s how I felt most comfortable meeting new people. The point is it doesn’t and shouldn’t matter.

I distinctly remember at that moment, looking around the room at the variety of faces staring back at me, and not understanding why anyone would be someone who was ‘different’ or didn’t belong there. It was a room full of diverse, beautiful women, all feeding their babies in different ways, all dressed differently too, and I’d never felt so secluded and singled out.

Not long after I was sat at the park where I was told by another mother that I was disgusting for breastfeeding.

And again, not long after that I was sat in the feeding room in Mothercare and a woman told me that I needed to leave because breastfeeding was wrong. Yep. In an actual FEEDING room.

I was then unfortunately put in another situation with a group of women where I overheard them on numerous occasions talking about me. One of their children even said to them in front of me once ‘look who is here mum! It’s her! Shush!’ I apparently believed I was ‘better than them’ and one of them even made comments about Ted’s behaviour (he was just over 1 at the time) when in reality they’d never spoken to me properly, knew nothing about me and were judging me based on perception. Luckily I don’t have to see those people anymore, and I’m also really lucky to have had a good friend who was also involved with this group of women and her and her partner helped me massively with this situation. Never having to see that group again is an absolute blessing.

Firstly, let’s remember that we are all completely different people, with totally different priorities, interests, agendas, opinions, thoughts, the lot! Being different is what makes the world what it is.

Secondly, when was it okay to make other people feel like this anyway?

My perspective on the world changed for a while after all of this. I focused on doing the exact opposite of what others made me feel. No matter how bad someone made me feel, or makes me feel, I won’t stop treating them with kindness. More often than not, people are behaving in that way because they are feeling bad. More often than not, this is a defence mechanism and your kindness with shock them. Be the bigger person and pretend you’re not bothered, even if like me at the time, you really are. The world is much bigger than the pettiness we are forced into. Cry about what has happened. Complain to your friends. And then move on.

There’s a competitive nature to all of this that I am just not a fan of, and it’s something I’ll talk about in a future blog. When mums work together, wonderful things happen. Woman power is like a super power, and oh my god can we change the world when that force is combined rather than a rivalry. Please please please, when you see that awkward new mum forcing a smile and holding her newborn at your next baby class, clearly looking for friendship and a good chat, ask her how she is. Ask her if she wants to sit with you and find out all about her. Ask her if she wants to get coffee afterwards. Be kind and love each other, because being a mumma is tough enough as it is and tearing each other down is not okay on any level.

Why I’m Bringing Back My Blog

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It’s been a long time coming, and something I’ve wanted to do for a while now, but finally my blog is back! Welcome to those of you who are new here! Expect lots of motherhood stories, tips and tricks, fashion posts, beauty reviews, and blogs about nerdy things I enjoy!

But, why now?

I love blogging. It’s like an informal way of just splurging my words (and thoughts) onto a page. It gives me peace, knowing the words have left my brain and are floating somewhere else. Writing has always been my escape, and I guess, way of coping. When I think about periods where I’ve been at my lowest, writing was what saved me each time. Whether journalling, creative writing or writing academic pieces, I find I’m transported when I write to my very own little happy place.

It’s taken me a while to get there, but I see blogging as my totally selfish and relaxing thing to do, so it’s an added bonus when someone else enjoys the blog.

I stopped in the first place because I was worried that I wasn’t ‘enough’ of anything to write a blog and used to worry people would speculate, judge and create a false reality about me in their heads. I’m not funny or interesting enough to be a mummy blogger, not cool or trendy enough to be a fashion blogger, not glamorous enough to be a beauty blogger, not knowledgable enough to be a film blogger. It’s not really until the last 6 months that I’ve thought to myself, actually, I am enough for all of these things. Why shouldn’t I talk about all the things I like and enjoy writing about them? When I realised I blogged for me rather than other people, when I stopped caring what other people think or speculate about, I realised how happy blogging makes me.

Now I’ve got a lot more followers, subscribers to my very own magazines and a feel more confident, self assured and thirsty to write more- here I am! Stay tuned for more motherhood, beauty, fashion and nerdy stuff!

How I’ve Built Confidence in Ted

baby, Mum, Uncategorized

I’m no parenting expert- I’m far from it- but I’m always happy to share my experiences, tips and tricks. Somehow me, an insecure, anxious mess, is raising a confident, wild spirit of an individual and it makes me proud everyday watching his personality blossom. I am really pleased with the confidence Ted has around other people, in his abilities and with learning new things, and although I fully believe some of that is down to the natural characteristics he has likely been born with, I know that some of that too is down to the attitudes of both Rob and I and our parenting style. What we do might not be to everyone’s taste or standard, but it’s what works for us and what has helped in making Ted who he is.

I think it’s pretty safe to say we are quite laid back in our parenting style. Don’t get me wrong, if Ted does anything he shouldn’t he is definitely told off, but in terms of his routine we are fairly flexible and have always made his naps, bedtime, feeds, meals, etc. work around us rather than us around him. It doesn’t matter if Ted needs a nap at 11 and a friend wants to meet at half past- Ted will wait and nap later. If family want to see Ted one evening then he will stay up later and entertain so they can see him. He doesn’t need to eat a certain time and always eats what we eat. Our flexability in our schedule I think has really helped build Ted’s confidence, as living life on a strict schedule is not realistic and reflective of a normal life, and therefore our laid-backness has led to him being one chilled little man who takes it as it comes.

Being surrounded by a big family and lots of friends has really helped Ted grow as a little person and become sociable. From the day he was born he has been passed from grandparent to uncle to aunt for cuddles and he has loved every second of it. Spending a lot of time at nursery too, amongst other children and adults, has definitely encouraged him to come out of his shell. It helped that when on my mat leave, I refused to ever spend a day at home. We went out every single day even if just for a walk to the park and back. It’s not healthy for anyone to spend all their time with just one other person, and by surrounding myself with company, he always was as well. Even now every weekend we still have to fill with activity and venturing out. Although it can be tiring, the enjoyment far outweighs that. It helps that we have not been over protective of him either, and always given him the opportunity to spend the day with grandparents- and I’m sure they love that too!

I completely agree that children can sense emotion and any sort of panic, and it’s difficult to hide that when your little human is doing risky things (like climbing- eek!) for the first time. We have let him explore and learn from his mistakes, making sure that he tries again. Even if it is something physical, and I’m not sure he can do it, I let him try anyway- and 9 times out of 10 he proves me wrong!

I want this boy to know that he can take over the world- and I’m pretty sure he already thinks he can! The tantrums have started and boundaries are being pushed, but all of the stubborn in him is so worth it for all the fun-loving enthusism in him. I believe the best way to build confidence in Ted is plenty of praise, lots of opportunity, and learning from a wealth of wonderful people.

How I Parent

baby, Breastfeeding, Mum, Routine, Uncategorized

I’ve been getting messages on Instagram recently from mums who want to know how I do things. How I manage, how I cope, how I parent.

First of all, I love that we all parent in different ways and I love that the choices we make form each of our little individuals and their unique personalities. Coming up in the next few weeks will be a blog I have written about choice and how many choices mother’s are expected to make, and I guess this one is a post about the choices that I have made in parenthood.

Secondly, I find it laughable that people perceive me as someone who copes and manages well. I’m a constant collective of organised and calm, and a complete anxious mess. I guess it depends what day/week you catch me on and which of my many moods I may be in. Despite that, I’m always happy to share what has worked for me.

Like a complete hippy, I wanted everything with Ted to be as natural as possible and nothing to be forced. I guess I’ve suceeded in some areas of that and failed in others. I wish I’d done things like breastfeed for longer, weaned more slowly and used cloth nappies. But that’s what round 2 will be for, right?!

I chose not to use dummies. As a newborn Ted used his nursing for comfort largely and although there were times (normally whilst I was awake at 4am wondering why I’d spent more time awake that night than asleep) that I didn’t know how I’d cope, Rob and I realised that there weren’t any points when we actually needed it. Ted eventually in his own time has learned to self soothe. Teething has never been a massive problem for us other than his sleep stealing, and whenever he is upset I go through the mental checklist in my head of what may be upsetting him until we find an answer.

Working in education, I’m driven to making sure I teach and educate Ted the best I can. We read to him often and limit his TV time as much as possible. Part of educating him for me too has always been by surrounding him with positive people and experiences. Taking him to the farm, drawing, letting him help me with mundane tasks, visiting family often, attempting to play sport together, visits to parks, letting him run around and be a free spirit. He is turning into such a sweet little soul, and I put so much of that down to making sure we leave the house every single day, come rain and shine

I chose to breastfeed until Ted was 13 months. The choice to stop then was more his choice than mine. He’d had enough and would push away and I knew it was time to stop. I’m so proud of our journey with feeding and that my choice made him the super strong little lad he is now.

Our sleep journey with Ted has been a challenging one and we have slowly and gently weaned him off of being fed to sleep, rocked to sleep and now left to fall asleep himself. I’m glad we have let him find his own way with sleep and that we have finally got to a good place with it. Maybe our decision to feed and rock him to sleep made the sleep situation worse, but for us it was the best choice based on what our boy needed at the time.

I chose to go back to work full time, and consequently chose to put Ted into a nursery full time. I needed work to stay sane as spending that amount of time at home wasn’t good for me, and luckily nursery has been a breeze for Ted. It’s made him a confident, independent child and bought out nothing but the best in him. I think we were lucky that we just found the right place and that he slipped into his new routine with minimal problems.

Being the ultra-feminist I am, everything is evenly split between me and Rob and I am so grateful for that. Particularly since being back at work, I’m so grateful for all that he does to keep me sane, keep us fed and help keep the household running smoothly. I honestly don’t know how some women do it, so massive shout out to them!

I’m the mum who likes to cuddle often, but I’m firm when Ted pushes the boundaries. I want to raise Ted understanding that he must work hard in order to get what he wants. I guess my values in life are reflected in my parenting style- kindness, persistence and education.

The more I think about it, the more I realise that how I parent is how my parent’s parent, and I’m lucky to have those role models in place. How they grandparent is funnily enough also how my grandparent’s grandparent- constantly trying to feed me, showering me with affection and adoration and allowing cheekiness that parent’s don’t!

It’s important that we share what works for us, as it may help others make decisions about how they do things. How do you parent?

Mummy’s First Sick Day

Mum, Uncategorized, Working Mum

Last week I had two days off work with sickness, and for something I thought would be pretty straight forward and uncomplicated, it’s bought with it a range of unexpected emotion.

I saw a quote online the other day about a woman who as a child could never understand why her mum was never ill, and as she grew up and became a mother herself she realised that actually mums do get ill, they just have no choice but to carry on like they are perfectly well.

It’s so hard to stay upbeat, keep calm and stay smiling when all you want to do is curl up into the foetal position like the big baby you are and just sleep it off. You have to put a full shift in of mumming before you can even begin to think about yourself. But what took me back was the amount of guilt I was feeling…

Seeing Ted off to nursery with daddy, whilst I lay on the sofa snuggled up in the biggest, cosiest jumper I own and a blanket up to my chin made me feel terrible. I wanted to see Ted off at nursery and see his happy little face when picking him up. I wanted to walk him in and answer him every single time he points and says ‘what’s that?’ at every bird, dog and plane. Sitting at home without him was lonely and despite being ill, I felt bad that he was in the care of someone else when I was there. When Ted started nursery, one of the things we talked about was how when we were unwell we wouldn’t need to look after him and we would have time to properly recover. In reality, I missed him and wanted him there with me more than anything else.

I’ve always hated being off sick. To be honest, I’m the sort of person who would rather be in work and I don’t like sitting and doing nothing. Especially since Ted has been born, I’ve felt that every moment is so precious and shouldn’t be wasted and feeling ill always feels like a waste of time to me. I try and fill my time up as much as possible and that sometimes leaves me drained and exhausted. I’m determined to leave behind something to be proud of, so I work hard at work, I work hard at home and I put my absolute all into everything.

Actually, what I should be doing is making the most of those rare days I get to myself to relax and look after myself. I forget that for Ted to be okay, I have to be okay too.

Mummy Mental Health

Mental Health, Mum, Uncategorized

My mental health is something I’ve never really been fully open about, and especially not on this scary platform for all to read. I have always really battled with my mental health, and have felt most of my adult life has been dominated by some particular demons.

When I was 20, I was diagnosed with moderate depression and severe anxiety, and although I wouldn’t say I suffer from either now, I remain an anxious person and find myself constantly struggling with my brain to ensure I don’t find myself in a position of not coping again. I didn’t want to live with labels above my head or use them as barriers. I worked bloody hard to feel all the good in me again.

I went through a summer of CBT sessions and I think these helped to the extent that it was the first time I really laid down the facts about how I was feeling and addressed things that went back as far as the age of 5. On the other hand, I found some of the techniques used in CBT weren’t for me and just filled my brain with more to think about. I constantly found myself looking for answers and the reasons why, rather than just dealing with the issue. This is still one of my hang ups now. In fact, sometimes I find myself questioning other’s behaviour more than anything else.

I worked out that if I wanted to feel better, it was going to have to come from me and I was going to have to do it myself. I read so many books about mental health and coping strategies. I kept journals of my thoughts and feelings and even had a notebook I created myself full of inspirational and motivational quotes and pictures of all the things I loved. I volunteered in the library and desktop publishing department of my now workplace. I threw myself into my degree, completing it long distance so I could do it at home and achieved 80+% in the 3 modules I was covering over that period of time. I came such a long way in such a short period of time and I could really focus on me.

I’ve always had issues with my self image and don’t think very highly of myself. I have a constant fear of not achieving or not being good enough. I come across to most, especially since Ted has been born, as a confident, happy individual. And to be completely honest, I am a happy and confident person too most the time, but I often need reminding of that.

My biggest fear as a parent is that Ted might one day struggle like I have. I know I can’t stop that from happening, but I hope I’m showing him the most appropriate way of dealing with things and that this will impact on him as he gets older. I guess at this moment in time, my new hurdle to overcome is being back at work full time and rejiggling the juggle of mum and work. Learning how to be there for my boy, but also be a professional.

Being a mum is the best thing I’ve ever experienced, and it has been the best way for me to deal with things that would typically and previously bother me greatly. My head now works in such a way that I prioritise how I feel about certain things and what deserves the most time and attention. Also having a little bundle of energy (I realise I’ve started calling him that a lot in these blogs now) running away from you and showing you all the new things he can do everyday is an amazing, wonderful distraction.

Despite my struggles, I am a strong woman. I hold my shit together when I feel like everything else is falling apart, and I just deal with it (after a meltdown or two…) Anything you can do, I can do on 2 hours sleep or vomiting every 15 minutes (pregnancy wasn’t the best for me) or with a 1 year old in my other arm. When my mental health begins to deteriorate, I bounce back. I’m working twice as hard to prove my worth, working full time, writing a book, keeping my blog updated regularly, planning a podcast, planning a masters, as well as attempting to keep my flat tidy and trying my best to be a dream mum for Ted.

I guess my point is, being a mum makes you rethink and reprioritise. Your every worry is now focused on the impact that will have on your child rather than you. Your usual self care becomes more of a team care and there’s no room for selfishness. Since becoming a mum, I’ve been less concerned with my own feelings, and sometimes they aren’t important enough for me to deal with, but the key thing is that no matter how many times people tell you and you don’t listen, you are so important. You need to think about you sometimes and that could be anything from having a nice bath with candles, or going for a walk or run, or a girl’s weekend away to clear your head and have fun. It breaks my heart seeing so many mothers struggle and battle each day because they’ve been taught that looking after themselves should come last, when really we need to look after ourselves so we are fully refreshed to look after our little ones.

Mum’s were people before we were mums and we need to remember that! Look after yourselves ❤

Working Mum Isolation

Mum, Uncategorized, Working Mum

I thought being a mum was hard work, but being a working mum is bloody hard work!

Let me explain my situation a bit, for those who don’t know me personally. I work in education in a teaching role and term time only, so I get all the holidays off. Ted attends nursery every weekday from 8-8:30 and finishes around 4:30-5:45 depending on when I finish. Daddy plays football on saturdays and that takes up most the day, so that’s mine and Ted’s day.

The word ‘isolation’ is often associated with being a mum- especially a mother on maternity leave. I did have times when I felt isolated when on mat leave, but I fixed that by doing small things, such as making sure I left the house, even if just for a walk, everyday. Finding a routine was my way around that. Isolation is expected when you are a new mum. You are learning to cope and deal with the new stresses that mum life can bring. You are on your own a lot of the time with a little human who can’t converse or entertain. It’s something everyone is told to prepare for by attending classes, meeting other mums and touring coffee shops.

However, I’ve never heard anyone talk about the sort of isolation I’ve felt over the last 6 weeks. I’ve not met one single person whose situation is even similar to mine, and as a mum that is hard and not something I’ve experienced yet. There’s always another mum somewhere who knows how you feel, but not for me this time. It’s almost unheard of for a mum of an under 1 year old to be at work full time with nursery childcare and non-flexible hours. I don’t think anyone really relates to it, even when they try. I know I’m flying solo on this type of working mum journey, and that’s proving to be difficult.

Seeing Ted after a working day is completely wonderful. He really enjoys nursery and his happiness at seeing us each evening is the warm, fuzzy, butterfly-feel you dream of, and I get to experience it every single work day. I don’t get to sit down when I get home. Luckily, Daddy makes dinner while me and Ted play, then we eat dinner and shortly afterwards Ted has a milk feed, bath and then it’s bedtime. As soon as he is dreaming away, I’m putting the washing on, tidying up, putting things away for at least another hour before I get to sit down again. As my working day ends, my mummy chores begin.

Fortunately, I do get the holidays off, and I’m really enjoying my summer with Ted and Rob, as he also works in education and gets time off too. It’s come with its difficulties however. The mums you are friends with have their own routines now to prevent their own new-mummy-isolation, meaning they see this person on this day, and have that class on that day, and they’ve filled up their busy schedules leaving you unintentionally left out when your chance does arise to catch up. They’ve got new friends and you aren’t always ‘needed’ anymore. You get so swamped in all the things you haven’t had time to do at the weekends of a working week that you realise your to-do list is longer than you care to share. You’d also be surprised at the assumption others have that you’ve now got buckets full of money, forgetting the pricey childcare bill you’ve still got to pay for next term.

Being a working mum does not make you any less of a mum. When I’m at work, I’m still a mum. My brain is always on Ted and my drive everyday is him. I still give him my time and attention. I think there’s this sort of assumption that when you’re a working mum you are escaping your child. I’m a working mum because I cannot bare the thought of not having a career. My life doesn’t revolve around my child, it is far greater than that, and something I’m very passionate about is not losing my identity and just being ‘Ted’s mum.’ My wages pay for childcare and then I have a little bit left over, and I’m constantly told that it isn’t worth it to do that, but it’s still more than I would have if I wasn’t at work. It hurts when other mums talk about how they couldn’t possibly leave their babies, because I am constantly full of self-doubt as to whether my decision is the right one. It makes me feel like I’m abandoning my son for my own selfish reasons and everyone else is doing right by spending everyday with their child.

But you know what? It really is the right decision for me. Instead, let’s celebrate that some of us have the choice. It’s been the best thing for my family of three. I’m happier, I’m focused, and although the isolation of being a working mum has hit hard, I amaze myself constantly at how brave I’m being. Gone are the days of playing it safe and staying in my comfort zone, and I’m quite proud of myself for doing this and taking what others see as a risk. Go me!

Learning to Love your Mum-Bod

Mental Health, Mum, Mum-Bods, Uncategorized

Since Ted has been born, I’ve learned to love my body way beyond how I ever loved it before. I remember venturing out and about in those first few months as a mum and bumping into people I knew, and always getting compliments for how well I looked. People would say ‘I knew you’d be one of those people who would shrink right back’ whilst stood there with 3 extra stone on me and feeling deflated rather than being grateful for the compliment. I’d spent my pregnancy overeating and becoming a sloth in terms of movement, and I really felt it afterwards.

I started my pregnancy journey at a teeny-tiny underweight 8 stone and a size 6 (although completely in denial wearing an 8,) and 3 weeks after the birth of my son weighed 3 stone heavier. Luckily I lost about a stone of that down to breastfeeding alone within a few months, and probably would’ve lost more if it wasn’t for my need to eat a whole pack of biscuits 3 times a week.

What concerns me is the obsession and expectation that society places on women to return to their pre-baby life, and this applies to both lifestyle and appearance. But guess what… it’s actually okay to spend some time letting your body recover. It’s completely fine to not have time to blowdry your hair and wear a full face of make up. You spend as much time as you need in your pyjamas and maternity pants, and maybe upgrade to some leggings and a hoody when you’re ready and go from there girl!

I remember feeling a lot of pressure to get back into my size 8 jeans, and I did get there eventually. I remember wearing some high waisted jeans and there wasn’t a hole in my belt small enough for my waist but being so confused at these hips that are miles wider than they were previously. I remember just days after giving birth walking down the stairs to open the front door to the midwife and being told to sit down and rest because I was going to hurt myself, and being stubborn and refusing.

Celebrity culture tells us it is possible to stand outside the hospital, flat stomach, make-up and a perfectly picked outfit. I honestly can’t think of anything worse than stumbling out the hospital not being able to rub my mascara-less, tired eyes, not wearing massive knickers and not hiding under a massive tent of clothing.

Let’s fast forward a bit and skip the immediate sluggish, bloated and well padded feeling once your little one has escaped the womb. Eight months down the line and I am so much happier with this mum bod. I have a little tummy where there wasn’t an inch of fat before, my hips are wider, thighs thicker and bum bigger than pre-baby bump, but I love it. I feel more womanly than I ever have before. Not only have I done the most empowering thing with my body, but I carry the scars of that with me every day and they are the best reminder of that experience.

I hate exercise. I know I’ll never have a super toned body and even when I was underweight I was still wobbly. But I am healthy now. I love food of all sorts, and I make sure I go for a long walk almost everyday. Walks are great for your mental health too, and babies and children need to get out and discover the world. You are never going to feel good about yourself sat on the sofa all day… but it is always okay to do that until you are rested and ready.

I see these contorted images on Instagram and the botoxed, pumped up faces around me and honestly, it makes me sad that women go to these lengths. Stretch marks are normal. Wrinkles are normal. Having fat on your body is normal. All those things tell the story of what our bodies have gone through, and I really wish that women would not believe the images they see.

None of us are 100% happy with how we look, but my biggest piece of advice would be to be healthy and make the most of the bits you like. You love your legs? Wear that teeny mini skirt. You have a flat tummy? Wear that crop top. You have a nice bum? Then wear those super tight jeans! (A new body is also a brilliant excuse for some new clothes.)

I hope that more women can learn to love their new, mummy bodies. Exercise if you need to, change your diet if you need to, but ultimately what is always important is your happiness, and the happiness of your child.

Recovering from a C-Section

c section, Mum, Uncategorized

Written by Naomi Doust

After having two natural vaginal births with just gas and air, experiencing a c-section is a whole new ball game, especially under the emergency circumstances. After having a natural delivery the pain almost instantly goes, but then you’ve got the uncomfortableness of not being able to sit down, go to the loo, do the pelvic floor exercises that you lie about doing or even think about doing anything else with that region for a very long time. Also, I don’t know about anyone else but my absolute worst nightmare that I was so conscious about with a natural birth was ‘pooping’ during labour! I’m not proud of it, but I did with both of mine. (Sorry).

I wasn’t allowed an epidural with Rupert because I’d had the blood transfusion, so I remember saying to my midwife when we were having Percy I want everything! I didn’t actually get time to have the epidural with Percy I was pushing when the anaesthetist was trying to get the needle in my back. So when it was Mabel’s turn, again I kept an open mind and hoped the 3rd delivery would be nice and quick, in and out and home for tea!

I never ever even gave a c-section a thought. I had met people that had chosen to have one due to medical reasons or that had already had one previously, but you never think you will be in an emergency situation do you? When we were faced with our emergency we didn’t have time to register our thoughts. It all happened so quickly and all I was worried about was that no one knew what we were doing. No one knew we were about to have our baby girl. It wasn’t until after the whole traumatic experience (that I don’t ever want to go through again) when I had time to gather my thoughts and come to terms with what we just had to go through. Don’t get me wrong, we are all healthy and fine and for that I am eternally grateful, but it could have been a different story, and for a split second I thought It was. When my husband felt me let go of his hand, my eyes roll back and him rushed out of the theatre, he thought that was it. It didn’t help the midwife came to him and told him ‘they’re just resuscitating her’ -What? Who? My wife? No your daughter. He said ‘I don’t care about my daughter, what about my wife!’ She said ‘I can’t tell you’. I will never understand what he went through at the moment, nor will he ever fully understand how I felt when I woke up but we do talk about it still 14 months on and it still is something we won’t ever get over.

When I did wake up I felt a numbness, (not just from the waist down) but a vagueness, I didn’t feel anything, I should be joyous that I’ve just had my baby girl. Instead it was an emptiness, a sort of anger, and shock I suppose, I can’t explain it. She wasn’t with me for over 7 hours from giving birth. I hadn’t been the first person to see her. I hadn’t been the first person to hold her. I won’t ever get over that, you just have to learn to live with it. The midwife asked my sister in law if she wanted to hold her whilst I was still recovering. She said no and I said if she had I hoped they wouldn’t have ever told me. I would have been so desperately upset.

Recovery wise, I struggled with gas. I couldn’t eat or drink for several days afterwards. Even a sip of water was painful. I still had a drain and catheter in until the day I left which was a pain. I couldn’t stand upright. I couldn’t poo but I didn’t have any pains down below like a natural birth so I didn’t feel like I had given birth. When I finally passed wind and had a bowel movement it was amazing. I had a side room and had the windows open and I could hear all of the ladies in labour screaming, yelping, groaning with pain then a cry of a baby and I secretly thought I’m glad I didn’t have to do that.

I had my staples removed on day 5 and had an infection which a course of antibiotics got rid of. The numbness has really only just fully come back in my tummy and my scar is a gooden. I was straight into tidying up putting the washing on when I got home. The grabber came in handy. My husband was a great help especially with the two boys and with each day it did get a little easier coping with three children. I did probably do too much in the first few days, it’s so important to accept any help offered, even if it’s someone taking the kids out for dinner.

My scar does get itchy now and again and they could have done a little tummy tuck but hey ho. So for me I can honestly say a natural birth is my preference. I love my babies with every breath in my body. But I do not want to experience labour in any form ever again. 

You can read more about Naomi’s journey through motherhood over on her blog here or her Instagram here.

Labour Stories: Zoe & Skyla

Labour Stories, Mum, Uncategorized

I had a very normal pregnancy. I actually loved being pregnant! Crazy how much I miss my bump and it was nearly two years ago now. I was due on the 16th of July. I had my midwife appointment on the 17th and decided to have a sweep. I wasn’t sure at first as I heard lots of mixed views, but it was actually a very quick process and I didn’t find it too uncomfortable and then I was sent on my way!

The day after, the 18th of July, was when my princess Skyla decided to join us. The day started as a normal day. I remember my mum ringing me at midday as she wanted to know if I was having any twinges. I wasn’t having any at this point- not a thing! A little back ache, but I’d been having that for weeks at this point.

My brother and his girlfriend came for tea and I remember when it got to about 7 I was just super tired and asked them to leave. It got to half 7 and (sorry but TMI) I had to keep going the toilet. I thought it was just constipation. It just clicked that this was it, and the pains were getting more intense and there wasn’t any rest in between. I still thought it was mainly constipation at this point!

Skyla now… all grown up.

I rang my husband at 8 and told him he needed to come home as this was it. He rang the ward for me and we pretty much set off straight away as at this point I was feeling a strong urge to push! We picked my mum up on the way. We got the hospital at around 9, I think. I was examined and I was at 6 and a half cm. I told them that I wanted a water birth, and to my luck they had one available. As soon as I got into the pool, I was ready to start pushing. I only had gas and air and I felt that biting down on it helped. The water was just so relaxing for me and it really helped me to get in the zone and just push!

At 11.03 pm my beautiful girl came into the world in her waters! I remember just being so proud of myself and it really was just love at first sight.