3/4 of a year…..

So my little baby is 9 months old. Like when did this happen? I can’t believe that I only have 3 months left on maternity leave and that soon she will be a whole year old.

It’s seems such a cliche to say that you really should cherish every moment but it’s so unbelievably true. I’ve said it before and I will happily shout it from the roof tops – babies are not babies for long. Before having Peanut I had no idea how precious and limited their time as a tiny human is, but believe me I’m well versed in the ‘how is she this big already’ chat.

In what has seemed such a very short period of time my tiny (well she was over 8lb so less of the tiny) helpless baby has turned into a strong and very independent little lady. Milk has been swapped for meals, quiet cuddles are now kisses (with tongues – cheers darling) and naps are now long gone. Although we have less ups on the night, with that comes far more energy to burn and way more exploring (or getting everywhere she shouldn’t be). Nothing is out of bounds now in her eyes and we’ve both had tantrums about her lack of fear.

One thing I had no idea about though was the love. Of course I knew I would love my baby (although not a given for all mum’s in the begining), I had no idea how much it would grow everyday. Although there are days I can go from bursting with pride to wanting to drink all the gin – I wouldn’t for a second change this adventure.

So baby girl when you were growing for 9 months you made mummy realise she had a purpose, like she had found the missing puzzle piece. In the 9 months youve been her with us you’ve stollen my heart, my sleep and my peace and quiet. Your daddy’s little princess. Your cheeky, smart and it’s clear to see your nobody’s fool.

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags

My 10k and Me…..

So firstly I did it. There have been many moments in the build up that my self.douby tried to creep in and ruin it for me but I joined thousands on the start line and plodded through walking and jogging my way through.

My time will not break any records and certainly won’t impress anyone but its mine, no one else’s.

At times it was bloody hard but at no point did I think – fuck this I’m stopping. Everyone who takes part is amazing. We all spurred each other on, from runner to runner, the marshals, to the air cadets who had been roped in to help too.

So what made me do a 10k you ask (maybe you didn’t but here we go anyway)?

Two things brought this challenge on –

1) I wanted a motivation to try and get fit after having Peanut. I knew that being a new mum was gonna be hard and I knew I wouldn’t bounce back I’m not some mega watt celebrity but I also knew that if I didn’t start somewhere it would never happen so I took up running. In the begining I felt like a right twat. But you learn to love yourself a little bit while plodding along at snails pace like a red faced donkey. Yes I’ve no miraculous lost all my blubber but I have learned to trust my body again.

2) I did it for a charity close to my heart. I seriously recommend running for a charity because it really does make you follow through. If your like me then frankly letting people down is not and option so therefore in no way shape or form was I not getting my sorry ass round that 10k.

Would I do it again……5k absolutely bloody not but now after I’ve had time to recover (have an ice bath – FML and eat)……yes. I haven’t caught a running bug – well I’m not sure that I have. I’m still not a runner by any stretch but there is a place for it on my life. There is a place for the time it gives me with myself. Time to think. Time to breathe (or pant as the case often is).

So of your sitting reading this thinking should I – then yes you should. I think everyone who is able should try. Push yourself outside your comfort zone. But don’t set yourself up to fail. I picked 10k because of done a couple of 5k fun runs so ultimately I knew I could do it in theory. Theory is now reality.

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags

Sleep Roulette…..

I would never bet on a babies sleep. It’s like the shittest game of roulette you’ve ever played. No matter how many times you think you’ve nailed it – you haven’t.

We are currently in a regression ( I think). Either that or some really shitty test. Sleep is coming and going for everyone in our house. Peanut is teething, growing, developing and not sleeping like she used too. Every day is a new adventure into the unknown of will she nap or won’t she. The later leaving me with a screaming, grumpy and stubborn pre-toddler (I’m not sure that’s even a thing but she very much seems to be the n the verge of terrible twos at 8 months FML ).

So far what I’ve learned is:

  • She wants held
  • She doesn’t want held
  • She wants her blanky
  • She doesn’t want her blanky
  • She wants snuggles
  • She doesn’t want snuggles
  • She wants in our bed
  • She doesn’t want to be laid down
  • She doesn’t want to play
  • She does want to play
  • Bottle yes?
  • Bottle no?
  • Nappy change?

So literally I’ve learned nothing. What works today or even this minute, won’t work tomorrow or even this afternoon. Although what I have definitely learnt is there is nothing more tiring than being screamed and cried at. On the whole peanut is pretty placid but with no sleep she could easily break the most stone hearted of people with her tirade of antics.

My sleep is also now hostage to my 8 month old. The current leap or whatever that we are in has also brought the joys of the nightmares. She screams out or cries while asleep on the night. This can happen up to 6 times a night. She’s asleep and isn’t woken by it but me and her dad are found wandering the hall to make sure she’s ok.

Then there is the baby equivalent to sleep walking which is sleep crawling. This results in her clonking her head off the end of the cot at least once a night – which also has her dad or me (mainly her dad) away through to check she’s no damaged her nogin.

When you have a newborn you think that surely that is the most sleep deprived you will be. I’m beginning to rethink this. I may get more sleep (on occasion) now but I am most definitely more exhausted now that I have to chase after a crawling, sofa surfing adventurer.

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags

Self Care…..

On the back of my post about my mental health I decided to have a good hard look at what I was doing for me. I had found that it had some what dwindled. Those nightly baths where I would read a chapter or two of a book had become a weekly quick dip after a run to help my muscles (I do shower daily but as any parent knows a daily showers is more of a – yep water hit my body).

It’s hard once your a parent to find time to prioritize yourself as it’s easy to find excuses as to why your child deserves that time more. But if you don’t take a bit of time back then is your child getting the best of you?

Recently due to one thing or another my other half has been working early most days and I had no idea how much of a knock on effect that would have. It sounds amazing that he’s home before 4 most days but the reality is that he’s shattered from being up at bad away at 5 and I’m exhausted from being up at 6 with Peanut. Neither of us is currently living our best life.

My 10k is coming up in just under 2 weeks and my training frankly has went to shit but I did take some self care time to go and see a physio about my tense and unhappy legs. Running had become an amazing part of my self care and then life got in the way as it does. Then came the discomfort after missing stretching because I needed to sort peanut or not warming up properly because i needed to squeeze in a run. No damage has been done luckily but I took a battering of a sports massage to sort out my tight unhappy muscles.

Once my 10k is over I’m going to make a conscious effort to run went I want to (and can). To spare some time for me and make sure the mister does the same. Maybe even get some time just the two of us.

Self-care isn’t a selfish thing, it’s prioritising a bit of you to make sure you can be the best you for those who need you. Things doesn’t seem so challenging when you’ve had a rest

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags

My Mental Health…..

So this week is Maternal Mental Health awareness week. So I think it’s about time I opened up again about how I’m feeling.

My mental health has been something I’ve struggled with since my teenage years. Back then (I say that as thought I was hundreds of years ago) there was a massive stigma around having mental health issues and often people could be very ignorant of it. I definitely suffered in silence and allowed my parents to think I was being a handful rather than admit how I really felt underneath.

I had watched my mum struggle a lot with her mental health and really didn’t want to follow in her footsteps. I had no idea back then that it wasn’t something I could control not something I definitely couldn’t suppress forever.

It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that the wheels fell off. It hit me like a tonne of bricks and I remember when the doctor signed me off work I felt like a failure. Failing had been my biggest enemy for a very long time and to this day it still is. Fear of failure has stopped me from doing so much. In many ways it probably controls my life.

I’ve written about how I don’t choose to feel mum guilt especially about time for me. It’s mainly because I know in order to stay as healthy mentally I need to give myself time to breath. I am a control freak by nature but by choosing to let go and not give myself a hard time about parenting, I’m actually choosing to not add to my already full plate of mental health concerns.

So my maternal mental health has been a battle. It always will be. I classically like to put myself down at every opportunity. I come across to those who know me as confident and occasionally a little bit extra but this is all one big cover up. Inside I’m a bloody mess.

The best me is the healthy eating, gym going, on the go all the time me. When she hits a road block she inverts. She sits in the house dwelling on the could be’s. She struggles to participate. She chooses not to be active. She stuffs her face with convenience food. She actively puts herself down and tells herself she isn’t good enough. She’s a right laugh a minute – not.

What motherhood has added to this is a drive to be stronger. A drive to want to be a better me for my daughter. But with wanting to be the best version of myself has become a barrage of self doubt. Motherhood (parenthood) can be a very lonely place and with time to consider yourself too closely it’s easy to pick yourself apart. Not only has there been massive changes that you may not have been totally prepared for, you also have a new dynamic in your relationships.

It’s easy to suddenly wake up one day and realise that your not ok. I did. I have. And I’m sure I will continue to have days where the whole world feels like a battlefield. It’s ok not to be ok. Don’t feel ashamed. Don’t feel guilty. And do talk about it. After all we are all human.

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags

Almost tears…..

I love my daughter. She literally brings unlimited joy into my life. However she can press my buttons like no one else and she’s only 7months old.

So here begins my woeful tale (do not judge me – we’ve all been there)…..

Teething (I feel like it requires no explanation) is possibly the most gruelling, stressful and soul destroying thing as a parent, with no end in site even when those tiny little pearlers break through. We don’t have any teeth yet but my god have we been through the mill. In the past few weeks alone I’m sure I’ve gained at least a hundres grey hairs (don’t fret for me, I’m trying out a new hairdresser on Tuesday and i confident she can do the cover up). We are on out second bought of severe nappy rash. This is not just a pink bit that looks a wee bitty sore. This is full on red as a lobster, crying, hot to touch, FML nappy rash. It’s becomes this way due to the sheer volume of number 2s being caused by the aforementioned teethy pegs. Yes too much detail I know, however, we get to this point in less than 24hours and the whole world feels like it’s ending. Cue an emergency doctor’s appointment and some rather helpful cream (we attempted nappy free time but anyone who has a child that is moving on any way shape or form will agree that it’s never going to end well – in short I’m sure I need a new living room carpet).

So the cream helped (hooray) but my little cherub was still not entirely settled. That’s to the life explainer that is the wonder weeks app I soon realized that we were about to hit a rocky patch and had resigned myself to the fact it may have just come a little early. Several of the signs of the next leap were starting to become apart on my grumpy little madam.

Sleep has gone out the window, naps are a fight, bottles are half drank then wished for 5 minutes later. It’s safe to say that things have all gone a bit off. Generally she’s the happiest little lady and the most easy going.

So the day that really pushed me to the edge started incredibly early (coffee by IV anyone?). It was clear from this that we were on for a tough day. Boy was I right. Naps – what are those? Cuddles me, don’t cuddle me, don’t put me down, don’t put me near toys, nope I don’t want a nappy, I rolled over and didn’t like it, don’t want a bottle, want a bottle. By the time her dad got home not only was I bloody knackered,I was mentally drained. So naturally he walked on the door and she was a sheer delight, all smiles ( it was on no way his fault, she just was quite obviously sick of me). She crawled over to her daddy all happy. I thought if be all like yay so sst on the floor and beckoned her over ” come to mummy” “mummy cuddles”. Her dad tried “go and get mummy”. She turned looked me straight in the eyes, turned away and cuddled her dad’s leg.

My heart sank faster that the Titanic. I swallowed back the tears. I know she doesn’t understand and she won’t have know what she did but it stung. I started putting on my gym gear as I needed some space not only because I’d been on those four walls all day but I needed to not cry. Instead I went to rugby training. I reclaimed a bit of the old me.

Still now I could cry thinking of it. Nobody is to blame and it’s not really a big deal but it still hurt. Clearly I have some insecurities about my parenting, who doesn’t. I have insecurities about my life in general. I’m looking at the bigger picture and that stops me from dwelling. She is far too little to have any idea of what she is doing, far less what affect that has on other people. The following day she couldn’t get enough of me and it was her dad on the recieving end of the cold shoulder. What got to me the most, I think, was how emotionally raw I felt. Motherhood has a lot to answer for but I still wouldn’t change it for the world.

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags

Easter Weekend…..

So it’s only gone and been the loveliest weekend of the year so far. We were lucky that it happened to fall on my other halves scheduled weekend off.

For me Easter had normally been about rugby sevens, eating chocolate for the sake of it and a bank holiday Monday meaning the first Sunday sesh of the year. Safe to the last few haven’t looked anything like that and I’m glad (although a cheeky wee g+t in the sun is lovely).

For the first time in ages I was looking forward to the prospect of good quality family time. We seem to have had bucket loads in the last month or so with Charlotte’s christening and various other days out. I hadn’t quite realised how down I had been feeling before until now I feel pretty damn good. I’m not gonna pretend the sun doesn’t help but the prospect of two weeks without baby classes (adult mummy contact) and other life stresses had put me in a right old fog. Some lovely evening walks and laughing with my little bestie and her daddy has got me safely back to a sunnier disposition.

So our Easter plans weren’t too out there. Daddy had decided to buy a new driver for the upcoming golf competition season so we did a trip to American golf for him to be fitted (I popped to Tesco to buy an essential sun hat and cream for peanut). An hour or so later daddy was happy and peanut was asleep so we had a nice sit down coffee in Costa and a chat about stuff – not poo, or sick, or toys, or whether she needed a bottle – an actual conversation about life (well golf) but life non the less. Cue another wonder round F+F at Tesco then we were off on our day out.

So our new favourite place is the Zoo. Yes it’s a big bloody hill and the pram is not that easy to push all the way to the top, however, her little face is so worth it (plus I love penguins and will be damned of we don’t see the parade everytime we go). We have our trusty membership which helps us beat the massive queue and use the members entrance (best thing ever!!!). Honestly, I can’t wait for the summer now – if you need me I will be at the zoo staring at penguins with my baby. Of course it was busy and there was also a wedding taking place (safely planted the seed that when we eventually decide to get married – well he pops the question – that the zoo would be a fab venue) but with the weather most of the animals were sun bathing so Peanut saw loads. She is a big fan of the ooh oohs (the monkeys).

Post penguin parade we headed home and everyone conked out. Peanut went for a nap and we just lay ok the couch eating our Easter eggs.

Sunday we got up headed off to church for the family friendly service. We don’t go every Sunday – maybe not even every month but when we can we do. After church we headed to Sunday lunch at the golf club with Grandma, Grandad and Great Grandma. Peanut had her first taste of non mashed up meat (I just shredded a bit with my fork) and potato croquet. She was a very happy girl. She then showed off her new crawling skills to her grandma and great grandma.

All in all, a fab weekend. The sun is still shining and im hoping it’s going to last (well I think everyone is). There’s nothing better than fun in the sun.

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags

My Cesarean Journey…..

So April is Cesarean awareness month and lots of posts and affirmations have been batted about on Instagram, Facebook and the likes.

So here’s my tuppence worth. As with many of my social media counterparts who have given birth via C-section whether through personal choice or in an emergency I very much agree that there is still a stigma surrounding it.

Through most of my pregnancy I was very aware of not wanting a c-section. So much so when a midwife suggest to me and my partner we discus what we would want to do in that situation, I was astounded. In my head I point blank refused to accept or admit that it may be a scenario. I strongly believe this is a lack of education.

I’ve spoken before about the fact that we did classes with NCT antenatally. I honestly don’t remember C-sections being discussed in any depth. I didn’t go to my local NHS antenatal classes so I can’t say that it came up there. One midwife broached the subject with me and she wasn’t even my usual person. Frankly in hindsight I’m glad she did.

When filling out a birth plan, nobody goes beyond their ideal. I certainly didn’t have more than get the baby out safely, try not to use all the drugs and the less intervention the better. I really think that it’s not just Cesarean that gets a bad rep either. I think intervention in general. Some women feel ashamed that they needed to get pain relief. Some feel that any assistance makes them a failure.

For me there wasn’t really a comprehensive plan when there probably should have been. Due to a strange medical sensitivity with an anaesthetic drug I was advised to have an epidural to reduce the chance of needing GA if there were post birth compilations. Wouldn’t have been my first choice but i accepted it and moved on.

My labour was by no means straight forward and frankly when your in the moment you just want the safe delivery of your baby by what ever means gets your both through it. I had an emergency cesarean. I can’t tell you what happened and due to many different things I had to have a general anaesthetic.

My acceptance of having a C-section wasn’t an easy mental road for me. I had never had any form of surgery up until this point and definitely was not prepared to take it slow and recover. I wanted to bounce back. There was no bounce I can assure you. I didn’t struggle to accept I had given birth that way. It wasn’t my first choice by a long shot but my baby girl being safe will always be a bigger priority.

The actual recovery itself I didn’t find all that bad. I was lucky that I responded well to the pain killers and with some well timed warnings from family and friends to slow down and take it easy, on the whole I was back to myself quicker than most.

I still don’t have feeling in a lower part of my stomach. Yes I have an overhang. My scare is what it is. But my baby is thriving. She’s the best thing I’ve ever done. She fills me with more joy than I ever thought imaginable.

I didn’t fail. I grew her for 9 months. She was born safely and soundly by professionals. If this was 100 or more years ago I maybe wouldnt be here to tell this story. But I am. And I am grateful for every person who made her arrival into this world safe for not only her but me.

It would be easy to beat myself up and trust me I have. There have been days when ive felt lost or overwhelmed. For a long time I was worried that not having had skin to skin ment I had no bond with my baby.

I know if we went on to have another child we would most likely be advised to have an elective section. What would have previously worried me no longer does. If that’s what needs to be done then so be it. Having a healthy baby is the main priority, not whether or not narrow-minded people think I failed.

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags

Mothering Sunday……

Here’s to a day of celebrating the mums. Every single one. To the first time mum’s, the multiple mum’s, the twin mum’s, step mum’s, grandma’s who are out mum’s, foster mum’s, adoptive mum’s, dad’s who are mum’s, mum’s who are no longer with us, auntie’s who are our mum’s, godmothers,great grandmother’s. The lot. Those who parent from every angle. Those who encompass mum, dad and confidant.

Being a mum is more than having a child. It’s choosing to give your everything to a child.

Now that I’m a mum, I can truly understand everything that my mum did for me. I finally appreciate the sacrifices she made to give me better. I can see the times that my dad had to be mum as well as dad because he was a stay at home parent. I understand that it’s more than a title.

Mothering Sunday is not always the joy filled day that retail portrays. There are those are mum’s to angels and those who’s mum’s are angels. For them a day of reminders. A pain I can neither understand nor begin to imagine. To those I send my love. My best wishes.

For myself, this year is my first as a mum. I will spend it with my daughter. It will be like any other day for us. I look forward to years to come when she will undoubtedly come home from nursery with a glitter embellished card but for today snuggles will suffice.

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags