Motherhood Made Me


Before I fell pregnant, I thought it was something that would only ever happen to ‘other’ people. I’d notice the grand gestured announcements on Facebook and feel as though it was never going to be my turn.
In truth, I have to admit that for a long time, I didn’t know whether I ever wanted it to be. A part of me would feel pathetically sad each month when my period arrived and yet, another part of me would rejoice and think ‘thank god, I can continue as I am’. I was a mixture of desperate to fall pregnant and desperate to remain the same.

I’d been in no rush until my periods started having a mind of their own. I’d go two weeks over my cycle and the wonder would start to kick in. ‘I must be pregnant’ I’d think. Then the show would come and I’d be left questioning why my periods were so out of tune.

 

After several blood tests, it was confirmed that my body wasn’t producing the right amount of hormones. Some months, my fertility was suddenly jeopardised and my ability to join Motherhood was threatened. Having the choice of whether I wanted children, had allowed me to take it for granted but the moment I was told I may not be able to, I instinctively knew I HAD to become a Mother.

 

In a bid to drown out my sorrow, I made myself as busy as possible. I distanced myself from my Husband so I didn’t have to admit that I might be a bigger failure than he even realised; so I didn’t have to admit that I wanted children more than we’d really discussed.

The issues surrounding my periods had almost tricked me too many times into believing this was the time I was pregnant. I started taking contraception again as a means of feeling as though I had some control over what was happening. Through packet breaks, I’d wait anxiously to see if my period arrived.

Mostly, it didn’t.

 
I was 9 weeks into the first trimester when I first realised I was pregnant. My Gran had warned me that I would know intuitively when I fell…I didn’t have a clue!

Days before I took the test, I’d ventured up coast with some of my closest friends. We’d joked over how I’d gained weight despite dieting strictly and upping my gym routine. Worryingly, it wasn’t just my stomach that was showing – I could no longer get a pair of knickers to fit comfortably (I later learnt that this was due to my pelvis widening to give way for childbirth). I’d made us stop a million times to pee and felt bizarrely nauseous every time I sipped soda water.

 
But it wasn’t until I nearly passed out at my Auntie’s funeral that I realised something was a miss.

 
I’d began to resent purchasing pregnancy tests – the singular pink line was just an insult to me and my failing body. This time, I felt blasé about it all. Suspecting the result would reinforce my inability to conceive, I headed off into a local supermarket toilet. I mean, why get sentimental about it all? The test was most likely going to end up in the sanitary bin along with my pride and hope.

 
Also, I was incredibly hungover and just wanted the whole scenario to be over as soon as possible.
What can I say? I froze with fear when the second pink line manifested right in front of my eyes. Instantly, I vomited (which could have been the effects of the shock or the hangover).

 
I felt sick because I knew I hadn’t been looking after myself like a pregnant woman should. I’d drank far too much, restricted my calorie intake and overworked my body in hope of shifting those piling pounds before my holiday (which was only two days away).

 
I felt sick because my ideal moment had taken place in a skanky cubicle toilet with no-one close to share in my joy and fear.

 
I felt sick because the surge of maternal instinct was powerful and intense. I could not lose my child, ever. The need to protect was overwhelming and immense.
That doubt over whether I’d ever wanted children vanished instantaneously. I’d never wanted anything more in all my life!

Becoming a Mother made me. It wasn’t until my Son arrived that I realised, I was lost beforehand. I’d struggled with who I was, with what I wanted out of life, with what I’d tolerate.


Motherhood made life clear. I wanted love and affection but not from those who didn’t deserve it. I wanted for me what I wanted for my children. I wanted happiness, fulfilment, joy and laughter.

I wanted meaning!

 
Motherhood made me value my worth. It suddenly became obvious to me how I needed to be treated…by others but mostly by myself. I found myself admiring my body and appreciating it in ways I’d never been able to before. My swollen postpartum stomach was worn with pride. My newly carved (and much wider) hips were beautiful and miraculous. I understood that if I put myself down, I’d only encourage my children to view their own flaws as negative or unattractive. I couldn’t entertain the thought that my own behaviour could be responsible for inflicting their own self-loathing in the future. Instead, I knew that I must instil confidence in them through displaying my own confidence outwardly.
I realised that I only needed the love of myself and my children. Anything above this was and is a bonus.

From the moment that second pink line appeared, I had changed. Changed in ways which made me whole and better.

 
Being a Mother has made me more patient, more tolerable, more kind and empathetic. It’s made me more confident, more assured, more certain and assertive.
It’s shown me how to be the best possible version of me and for that, I’ll always be grateful.
Grateful for the two amazing gifts I was granted.

A Mother’s Guide to a Good Bribe

“I’ll let you watch Finding Nemo for the 3rd time today if you eat your tea”

Bribery – a bargaining tool, a godsend or a self-inflicting torture device. No matter what age your child is, undoubtedly at some point, bribery will be your only gameplan.
Over the past two years, bribery has featured heavily in my mothering techniques. At times, I’ve immediately regretted this decision. At others, I’ve been incredibly grateful for such winning little tricks.

As awesome as a bribe may be, there’s a definite dark side. A bribe can be a gamble – it’ll either pay off dividends or cause you so much more hassle in the long run.

With that in mind, here’s five tips to the good bribe.

1) Be Consistent

With most toddlers, consistency is paramount…when it comes to discipline, rewards and bribery! Your toddler will suss out pretty quickly whether it’s worth taking the bait. If he or she feels as though your bribes are flakey, they’ll be less likely to see the advantage of taking it. Never offer a bribe which you have no intention of honouring. Remember the boy who cried wolf? Well, when the wolf arrived no-one took him seriously and this is exactly what will happen. The one time you need your child to accept a bribe, they’ll be thinking ‘yeah right, you said that last time and I’m still waiting for a month’s supply of Milky Bar’. 

Not my finest bribe “Finish your tea and I’ll let you have a chocolate pot”

This brings me nicely to my next point.

2). Don’t make unrealistic bribes

A bribe is a delicious little gift to help you through your day with more ease…or silence. It’s main purpose is to aid you not hinder you. If you offer unrealistic bribes, you may be at risk of making more work for yourself. For instance, don’t offer a bribe which will cost you money, time or patience. Be resourceful! If you suggest to your child that you’ll take them to the park for a run around, this could be a lovely concept but have you time today to fulfil this? Were you intending on taking them already or did you have other plans that you’ll now need to change? If so, you haven’t won…you’ve definitely lost the battle however sweet the victory felt when the bait was bitten. 

“We’ll take you to Beamish if you put your shoes on real quick” score – we were going anyway
 
3). Choose your bribes wisely

A packet of crisps may not be part of a stable diet but without doubt, they are adored by toddlers all over the world. Personally, I’d rather offer crisps as a bribe over chocolate or cake. In saying that, some crisps are not worth the bother. Take a Cheesy Wotsit, the golden puffs of wheat can be a delicious treat but the residue they leave behind will stain everything in their path. A pombear will fulfil the brief without half the mess. Fruit can be an even better offering (especially if you’re luckier to have one of those delightful souls who enjoy it) but once again, choose fruits which are self efficient and easy to prepare. 

The banana – little mess, cheap and full of goodness

4). Time your bribes 

Picture this, it’s a Saturday morning. You’ve been up since 5 am and just want five minutes peace and quiet. It feels like the ideal time to thrash out the promise of a Disney film. You’ll be able to recuperate and even enjoy a warm cup of tea…but are you desperate? Dropping the bribe too soon could be detrimental in the  long run. Wait until you’re completely flagging, that way, it will feel ever more sweet. Mainly, my bribes are timed with deadlines ‘if you get in your car seat, I’ll put the nursery rhymes on for you’ is one I use religiously when in a rush to get out of the house. Bribes have saved my not-so-little behind on several occasions when tardiness isn’t an option.

“One chocolate but then you have to go straight to bed”

My last piece of advice is:

5). Don’t rely heavily on bribery.

Yes, bribery done well is an absolute art form but overusing it can devalue the impact. Utilise bribery in a way which asserts your power and control over your child. Relying too heavily on bribes will reveal a weakness to your toddler and let’s face it, toddlers are like a pack of wolves, they sniff out weakness and use it to their own seedy advantage. They’ll become expectant of a bribe and will eventually learn to play you at your own game. We are all owned by our children – bribery is our one chance to have the upper hand.


I can’t promise that following these tips will transform your journey but I’m pretty sure they’ll help conquer bribery to a tremendous degree.

Enjoy and bribe well xx


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Remind Me

I know I’ve said this before but I really can’t reiterate how true it is.
Our life is bloody hard!

 
Between us both working full time jobs in stressful roles; a two year old well and truly in the grasp of ‘terrible-twohood’; a premature daughter who loves to keep our anxiety levels up and the most erratic border collie to have ever existed…it’s mental.

We struggle to find time for the ‘mundane’.So, finding time for the ‘exciting’ just doesn’t stand a chance. Most nights, we manage to spend the grand total of twenty minutes in each other’s company before you fall asleep on the settee and, well, most of that is also usually dominated with me working from my phone.
It’s not a case of no longer loving each other. It’s a case that we just sometimes forget to show it. It’s too easy at 9pm on a Thursday night to slog at separate ends of the room, tranced by the hindsight of a hard day and a manic evening. It’s too easy to sit numbly in front of the TV avoiding eye contact for fear of small talk that you no longer have the energy to pursue. It’s too easy to climb into bed an hour later and immediately adopt your fail safe sleeping position without a good night kiss. It’s too easy to let life pass us by. 

  
Our relationship has become that of a ‘working’ one. Our exchanges are predominantly business negotiations (who is cleaning whist the other one cooks? Which one of us will bath the babies whilst the other one irons?). The times we talk through the day are mainly opportunities to swap notes – Siena has needed her inhaler, Tristan had eaten well. The question of how one’s day is going never enters the equation. I’m not blaming you here, we’re both equally as guilty. 

  
Nevertheless, sometimes it hurts.

Being the oversensitive soul you’ve become to resent me for, I can’t help but take some things personally. It’s easy for me to convince myself that you no longer love me. That you no longer care about my dreams and ambitions, thoughts or emotions. It’s far too easy for me to believe that our relationship has lost its passion.
But this weekend has reminded me it hasn’t. 

We very rarely treat ourselves to some adult alone time. Our weekends are centred around finding a means of entertaining two toddlers. We no longer laugh together, no longer focus just on us.  

  
But this weekend has been exactly that! We escaped for not one, two nights! An entire weekend in each other’s company. No excuses to ignore each other. No excuses to avoid intimacy.
I’m not saying we spent the weekend locked in a loving embrace. No, we’re more than past that honeymoon stage. I mean, it was cluttered with small tender moments which reminded me that you love me.

The moments you instinctively held my hand as we strolled through market stalls, the moments you offered me your jacket because you noticed I was cold…those moments meant so much. Tiny and insignificant they may be but warming and reassuring they are, also.

Most importantly, we’ve laughed together. Your laughter was always something I loved about you so intensely. When we met, you were incredibly light-hearted. You found laughter in every situation. Recently, it’s a noise I often forget you’re capable of making. I don’t think that it’s because you’re unhappy, I just think it’s because you’re too suppressed by your hectic routine. And that’s fine.

I’m not asking that we promptly plan to change our ways. I’m not even suggesting that we need to. Our lives are busy and incredibly hard but we’re not failing. We are dedicated to our children, still dedicated to each other. Our business negotiations are working for us at the minute and as our children grow, I’m sure life will become easier.

No doubt, there’ll come a time when we can unguiltily centre nights/weekends on each other without fear of abandoning our brood. However, until that time arrives, I am asking…can we have more weekends like this one? Can we take time to hold hands when our hands are free for each other? Can we make a date to laugh with each other again soon?

Can we remind each other of how awesome our relationship really is?

  

10 Things That Saved Me As a First Time Parent

I’ve mentioned before that I never expected parenting to be easy but I did approach it with visions of fairy tales and Disney experiences. There was such an array of things I didn’t have a clue about. It was only after my firstborn arrived, I realised just how clueless I was about parenting.

I was 28 when my son arrived. At that age, I expected to be somewhat an expert in the ‘living’ malarkey. After all, I was a baby once myself. And, having the best memory of anyone I’ve ever met (my earliest memories date back to around 16 months old), I can vividly remember what worked for me. My game plan was to do it exactly as my parents had done. Then I welcomed Tristan into the world and all I knew flew straight out the window.

The realisation that I knew nothing hit me seconds after Tristan was born. In fact, I’ll admit that it occurred as soon as he was handed to me. My initial feelings were to hand him back ‘can you look after him?’ I uttered to a Midwife, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing’. It was true, I was completely lost. The first night of his life, I never woke naturally once to his cry. I remember dying of embarrassment as the midwife rocked my shoulder and declared ‘he’s crying for his Mammy’. Great use I was!

It didn’t stop there either, my useless followed me home. Admittedly, the first time I left the house with him on my own, I forgot his milk. His milk! I mean, this was basic, I really should have known. Now I know that this was unforgivable (he’s 20 months now and I still shudder as I recall the look on my cousin’s face as I confessed to what I had done), but in my defence, there’s so much stuff that no one tells you. So much stuff which is meant to be natural.

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So, on that note, I’ll tell you what lessons I learn quickly as a new parent. Before I start, I know that all babies are different and what worked for mine won’t necessarily work for others but I bet there’s something in here which can be of use:

1: Dummies aren’t always evil!

Before Tristan was born, I was indifferent on the matter. Truth be told, I hadn’t considered them only because I didn’t realise a baby could have one from birth. I thought they were for older kids (holds head in shame). I don’t know whether I would have ever clicked on had it not been for a Midwife’s advice when Tristan was two days old. Tristan was born at 37 weeks, before his arrival, my husband had booked to travel to Wembley. I’d pleaded with him not to go. Instinctively, I knew my son was coming early. ‘You’ll miss the birth’ I uttered. He didn’t listen but luckily for him, Tristan came two days before he was meant to leave. Tristan’s severe jaundice saw him rendered to a BillyBed for his first 72 hours. Unable to cuddle him and comfort him, he squealed excessively. The only thing that would comfort him was sucking on his Father’s knuckle. So, for 16 hours straight, Dale stood perched over his cot with his finger in Tristan’s mouth. As Wembley drew nearer, the anxiety grew. How were we going to cope without ‘Golden Finger’? Then, like god answering our prayers, a midwife chirped ‘for crying out loud, buy this boy a dummy’. A dummy? It was that simple! We’ve really never looked back. I get that they’re not for every baby but some of you will have suckers and those suckers may need a dummy!

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2: White Noise Helps Babies Focus

This is another thing I would have never known before having a child. Babies are lulled by the sound of the womb. They constantly hear the sound of their Mother’s heart beating as well as the swishing and swooshing of water.

When Tristan was first born, he despised sleep. In fact, I could actually see the fear in his eyes as nighttime crept in. He was, quite simply, petrified. Doing as most Mothers will do, I took to the Internet for answers. In one of the chat rooms, I became acquainted with the notion of ‘white noise’. Thinking that I might as well give it a go (we had nothing else to lose – the only previous sound to comfort Tristan was Beyoncé. We listened to ‘Drunk In Love’ that many times on loop that my karaoke version is easily perfected), I downloaded an App. The sound of the womb was heavy and constant but I witnessed the calm wash over Tristan as he recognised a familiar sound. Soon, it became part of our nightly routine. When we first brought our Daughter home from NICU, we knew more than ever that white noise would be our saviour. At 5 weeks old, she had become accustomed to the bleeps and bangs of a busy hospital ward. Silence was going to be new…and scary! If any of you have poor sleepers, this could be the trick you’re after.

3: Dream Feeds are Magnificent

It didn’t matter how long my children had been settled for or how long it had been since their last feed, they always received a bottle (or breast) at 11pm at night. This guaranteed us at least 4 hours steady sleep. A human can function on 4 hours, 4 hours seems divine. I always offered my babies more than their usual bottle and it never failed us. Once again, I can’t promise that this will work for your baby but, if you’re in need of sleep and haven’t yet tried this tactic, it may work.

4: Swaddle Pods are Easier Than Blankets

I’d heard the risk of swaddling a baby, I knew the statistics proved that it could result in cot death. I worried endlessly about this but my son just wouldn’t settle if his arms and legs were free. The amount of times I peered over his cot to find his blanket completely covering his face worried me more so. I studied how to Swaddle properly on YouTube but I never felt confident. So, I took to Mamas and Papas determined for a solution. They presented me with a ‘Swaddle Pod’ it was made out of Lycra and was as easy as fastening a zip. It also reassured me that the product had been medically tested and the light material was designed to help regulate babies’ body temperatures. I was sold! The product looked cruel and many family members expressed their thoughts that we shouldn’t use it but we did what we thought was best for our child and I stand by that decision. Tristan needed his arms and legs restricting, he became too easily overstimulated. The Swaddle pod lasted until he was 5 months old, it definitely made our lives easier.

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5: Apnea Monitors Aren’t Worth It (Unless Your Baby Suffers From Apnea)

The anxiety over cot death was so strong when Tristan was first born that even when he’d sleep, I wouldn’t. Eventually, I bought an Apnea Mat to put my mind at rest. If he stopped breathing, the alarm would sound and I’d get to him before it became fatal. That’s how it was sold to me. Nowhere on the box did it say that the alarm would also sound every time he rolled off it. The fear and drama every time the mat sounded never went away. The first time it happened, I was sleeping soundly. Instinctively, I heard the beeping and rose instantly. I grabbed Tristan and squeezed him so tight I could have actually hurt him. Once it was established that it was a false alarm, I lay paralysed clinching to my son. It took 45 minutes for my Husband to convince me that everything was fine and to let go of Tristan. Even then, the hysterics didn’t stop for hours later. Needless to say, the panic and dread had all been for nothing. Unless advised by a Dr, this product can breed unnecessary pain.

6: Colic is Real and Painful to All Involved

My son had the worst colic I’ve ever know. He’d cry for hours upon end and I felt as though every time it happened, people would deem ‘he’s got colic’. I honestly grew sick of hearing it. So, if only to prove them wrong, I bought some Infacol. It was like heavenly syrup sent to save us. He burped, he trumped, he cried less, he smiled! At long last, he smiled! Gripe water, Infacol and baby gaviscon all became part of our feeding ritual. At first, I felt like a failure relying on such products to settle my son but the look of satisfaction and relief on his face soon made my guilt subside. Hot baths also worked a treat.

7: Sometimes It’s Best to Wait Until 6 Months To Wean (Sometimes its Not)

Tristan’s guts were immature as a result of his slightly early arrival. I was desperate to wean him early but every time we tried, he was crippled with constipation. Eventually, I gave up and waited until he was 6 months old. When we did wean, he took to food naturally and initially enjoyed it. However, I sometimes look at his negative attitude towards food and wonder whether this was instigated by us weaning him too young. I know of others who have successfully weaned even before 4 months but look at your child and read their signs. They’ll tell you when they’re ready.

8: Time is The Only Healer For Teething

Amber bracelets, Anbesol, Teething Gels, Calpol, Ice Pops, Teething Rings…will all only offer a short term fix. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can really do to help your child until that first tooth cuts. In that, I don’t mean leave your baby to suffer. Those short term fixes are definitely worth it but if you’re looking for the miracle cure, you’re going to be severely disappointed.

9: Routine is Key

I don’t believe a newborn baby is ready for a routine, they need you as and when they most desire but from 6 weeks, an established routine can go a long way. It doesn’t matter which way you do things or what time you start but having such a pattern is definitely worth it. Sometimes, babies will tell you when they’re ready for this or when something needs changing but giving babies boundaries can definitely be useful.

10: What is Best For You is Best For Your Baby

As soon as a baby is born, every parent crawls out of the woodwork to offer guidance and advice (this entire blog is exactly that). However, you are the one who knows your baby inside out. Yes, take some advice on board, be open minded and willing to try techniques that are tried and tested by others but trust your instincts when something isn’t working. There was advice offered to me that I immediately turned my nose up at, there were lessons I learnt that I should have listened sooner. However, for every 10 pieces of advice offered to me, I could guarantee that there’d be something that just wasn’t right for me or my children. Don’t be afraid to take advice on board, it doesn’t make you a failure but also, listen to yourself. After all, you know best.

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I’m Just Waiting For You to Need Me

You had a nightmare last night. Woke up screaming at 2am. For a while, you were inconsolable, obviously still affected by the images haunting your dreams.

I thought you’d want your Daddy so I sent him to calm you. You always want your Daddy.

This time was different, it was my name you chanted when you saw him enter your room. Daddy wouldn’t do, you needed your Mother’s touch.

I scooped you up and you instantly wrapped your arms around my neck, allowed your legs to coil around my waist and nuzzled your head into my neck.

I held you as you sobbed loudly and erratically. I rocked you and reassured you that everything would be alright. I took you to my bed and held your body until you were completely soothed. Then, I lay with you until you fell back to sleep.

The feeling was bittersweet.

Partly, I felt saddened by your distress. It broke my heart to see you hurting, to watch you cry with fear in your eyes. Yet, partly I felt happy.

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For so long, I’ve worried about our bond. It’s never me you crave, never me you look for. Since Siena was born, I worry that you’ve learnt to take comfort in others first. I’ve anxiously wondered whether you became accustomed to my negligence, if you learnt to turn to others when Mammy couldn’t be there for you.

I never want you to feel that way. That, in itself, breaks my heart more that anything else ever could. I’ll always be there for you and I’ll always love you unconditionally.

When Siena was born, her prematurity and illness meant her needs were momentarily greater than yours. I tried my very best to make sure you didn’t notice. But I guess you did.

Before she arrived, we were so close. I was your comforter, your entertainer, your best friend. I was yours. You loved me and I knew it, I felt it in those delicate moments we shared. Your cottage pie kisses were gentle and tender. Your cuddles were long and generous.

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Now, I wonder whether you feel differently about me.

It’s no longer me you cry for. It’s no longer me you turn to for comfort or for fun. I sense the disappointment when it’s me you get and not your Dad.

I don’t know how to fix the distance between us. I look at other women with their sons and cry that our bond isn’t the same. I love you insanely and want you to be aware of that.

It breaks my heart when you push me away, when you cry because your Daddy has left and you’re stuck with me. When I ask you for a kiss and you turn your head, when I try to cuddle you but you kick away.

I wonder if you’re angry with me, if you feel as though your love wasn’t enough? It was baby. It would have always been enough. Your love could move mountains. Your love taught me what love actually was.

Once Siena arrived, I made special effort to still do things together. Your Art class was meant to be an opportunity for us to still do fun things together, our Monday’s were also Mother and Son fun days. Then I returned to work and the gulf between us intensified.

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So, tonight, as you cried, I selfishly took comfort in your neediness. You cried for me and that meant the world.

As you grow, I hope our bond does too. I want you to know that I’ll always be the person there for you first. I’ll listen to your problems, wipe away your tears and always care about your hopes and dreams. I’ll hold your hand through hardships and celebrations. I’ll kiss your scraped knees and mend your hurts. I’ll always be ready to comfort you.

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I’m just waiting for you to need me.

The Twinkle Diaries

The Good, The Bad and The Honestly Insane

Baby announcement

Before I fell pregnant, I had a somewhat rose-tinted view of what it would be like. I imagined peeing on a stick, one hand clenching the results and the other placed tenderly in my Husband’s grasp. We’d see the pink line appear and jump harmoniously, tears of joy running down our cheeks. The reality? I took the test alone in a local supermarket toilet (which was a good place to be considering I nearly shit myself when I saw the positive symbol). Nobody had prepared me for that initial surge of emotions. Holy crap – I was about to become responsible for keeping someone ALIVE.

As I embarked on my journey through pregnancy, I discovered that there was lots of things women ‘hid’ from each other. Some of which I may have been grateful for but some left me feeling cheated by womankind. Why had no-one told me what it was really like?

So here I am, baring the truth (or my perception of it, I know we all have different experiences).

People told me that I’d instinctively know when I was pregnant, that I’d feel different. It’s true, I did spot differences but I’m not entirely sure I believed they were pregnancy related to begin.

I recall the day before I took ‘the test’. I was at Bamburgh Castle with a few of my closest friends. I remember confiding in them that my ‘area’ felt different, a little wider, less able to fit in a thong so comfortably. I simply put it down to the few extra pounds I seemed to have gained, in spite of dieting excessively to fit in my bikini a week later. I was 9 weeks on when I took the test – and already showing.

So, now with an explanation in hand, the fun really started. Having already expressed that my perception of pregnancy was Hollywood influenced, I looked forward to the glow and compliments of radiating beauty.

This part I skipped – both times round. My glow was more of a luminous shine created by the several hot flushes I’d experience in an hour. My compliments came in the form of ‘well isn’t your face round these days’ and ‘you won’t look tired forever…just until your child is 5’. I mean, I had moments where I could cry at the way I looked but I knew it was short lived. I managed to find positives in most things (like when my face filled up with fluid and gave me a free Khloe Kardashian lip makeover).

pregnancy shoot

Another thing I wasn’t expecting was the speed in which my leg hair would grow. In the early days I shaved those bad boys…every day! Sure enough, I’d wake up each morning appalled at the sandpaper texture of my pins. It was manic. Then…I became too damn fat and could no longer reach them. After a while, my priorities lay elsewhere and the legs became neglected. There was an awful moment when I was 35 weeks pregnant. I’d been Chief Bridesmaid at my Best Friend’s wedding the day before. As a treat, my husband had arranged a leg and foot massage to help me feel better after standing so much at the wedding. It wasn’t until I was laid bare from the waist down on the massage table that I realised my legs hadn’t been touched in maybe 5 weeks. I felt hideous.

Then there was the wind – the painfully loud and blatantly obvious wind. I think this part speaks for itself.

Between the sweat, the farts and the leg hair, I can vouch that pregnancy is not always as glamorous as the Movies make it out to be. However, even they don’t document afterbirth.

So here I was, in labour. Now the one thing I had been prepared for was the possibility that I’d open my bowels on the baby’s head. Honestly? In the heat of the moment after nearly 11 hours of pushing and 15 hours of labour, I couldn’t have cared a less. In fact, I would have welcomed it if it made the tinker extract himself any quicker.

In the Movies, I’d deliver my baby and scoop him up in a loving embrace. My hair would be perfect and my make up would still be in tact. I’d get up from the bed and head home, several stone lighter and in perfect form.

The reality? I think being hit by a bus would be less painful. Oh yeah, and thanks for the heads up about how my ‘lady garden’ would be feeling. Despairingly, I convinced myself that I’d had a prolapse. I made six Doctors/Midwives check me in several positions to make sure I was in working order. They all told me the same outcome – I was fine. The seventh Doctor (a 40 something year old man) told me ‘I’ll check you again but then really, you need to draw a line under this’. I listened to him but never fully believed him until one morning, nearly two weeks later, I stood up and felt ‘normal’ again. So, what had been wrong with my Foof? swelling! Yes, apparently after the trauma of childbirth, one’s delicate place can be quite swollen. Remember this one and save yourself the embarrassment of getting in trouble with your Husband for flashing Doctors left, right and centre.

Now comes my last glamorous point, the 1st time you try to open your bowels will feel as though you’re pushing your insides out. Good luck with that…

But every cloud has a silver lining doesn’t it? This one simply couldn’t be better either. You’ll have heard about how much you’ll love your own baby but seriously, it’s indescribable. It makes all of the above disappear in a single heartbeat and completely worth it.

Tristan 4 hours old

Mummascribbles</div

To The Struggling Mother

To The Struggling Mother
  
I saw you yesterday in the Shopping Centre as you pleaded with your son to stop climbing out of his pushchair. I watched you patiently reason with him, I noticed the glazed look in your eyes signalling your submission. You were ready to give up, I wondered whether mentally you already had. 
I saw you in the car park pleading with your son to sit still as you fastened him safely into his car seat. I observed how you gently handled his convulsing body as you guided him into position, one rigid arm at a time. I spotted the tiredness in your face, tired of fighting, tired of having someone constantly battle against you.
I saw you in the supermarket retrieving the dummy he’d thrown on the ground numerous times. I noticed you as you handed it back to him, knowing too well he’d throw it again only seconds later. I knew what you were doing, you were hoping that this would be the time that the dummy pacified him. I sensed the agitation (at yourself) as you realised it wasn’t. I saw you bribe him with something from the trolley, desperate for a few moments peace, just long enough for you to complete the task at hand. I detected your embarrassment as you wondered whether anyone would spot your chocolate covered child and blame you for being incompetent.

  
I saw you at the park, the anxiety almost luminous as you encouraged your daughter to become more independent. Your reluctance radiated, your nerves were translucent. I admired you as you cast them aside, hid them seamlessly from her as you pushed her to let go. I watched as you took a step back, then another and relinquished control as she started to ease into her new surroundings. I knew it was hard for you, I wondered whether your palms were sweating, your heart was beating.
I saw you in the changing room as you struggled to keep your daughter still long enough to change her nappy. I sympathised as you realised you hadn’t brought a spare pare of bottoms, the one time you’d forgotten them, regretting allowing yourself to become confident in her abilities as accidents haven’t happened in so long. I noticed the anger (at yourself) trembling in your bottom lip. You felt rubbish and awful, a low point in your day. 
I saw you in the toddler group, trying to calm your daughter from her tantrum. I viewed you as you apologised to the other parents for her behaviour, made excuses for why she was screaming so intensely. I grasped the level of your discomfort as you realised no other children were crying – or had cried this session. I knew instinctively that you felt alone, as though you were the only Mother ever to have a crying baby. You wondered why it was always you, what the other Mothers were doing better to make their children more content. 
I saw you and I recognised you. 
I spotted the familiarities of my every day life and it made me feel better. I’ve been you for so long, you’re living in my shadow. 
I spotted you and you noticed me, you mistook my smile as pity, my look as judgement. I want you to know, I wasn’t judging, I was trying to let you know you’re not alone. 
You’re part of a new sisterhood, a coven of Motherhood. We’re united by our struggles, joined by our understanding of how hard life can be and ultimately, how bitter sweet it also is. Motherhood is both magical and manic, traumatic and terrific. 
So, to the struggling Mother, you’re not struggling at all! You’re doing an amazing job. Please take comfort in knowing you’re not alone. We all feel like you, we’re all trying to do our best.

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Mummascribbles